Sielic stood on the hill, looking out from the monastery and across the Jade Forest. Trees covered the landscape, a vibrant green surrounded him. He knew better than to think it was not dangerous. The whispers on the transport down had warned of shadowy beings that fed on emotions. Most laughed this off, but Sielic had grinned and filed it away. He arrived and found the rumour to be true. He removed ink and quill and began to scribble in a book.

I have been here for a little over two weeks, and these ‘Sha’ seem to be everywhere. This Forest is of such an incredible beauty, but they hide within it. Amazing to note that such greenery hides such a dark, deep shadowed corruption. Northrend screamed with icy winds and the stench of the Scourge, the remains of Draenor were fractured and decayed with obvious corruption and demonic influence, and Azeroth, herself, still burns in places after the Destroyer rose from the earth. Visible threats, clearly seen. These ‘Sha’ are not always so easy to spot. 

Sielic’s writing breaks off as another walks down the path. He stares at them, watching them fade into the dense trees. He resumes his writing.

I have yet to see anyone I personally know become compromised, but I know it will change. There are ways to evict the Sha from a person according to the natives, but some cases must meet violent ends. I wonder who that can be, and I record these thoughts as analysis. Within the ranks, we have several special cases that I plan to keep watch on.

Nyres, the knight of death. She puts on a friendly face and demeanour, but she is still undead and her being was wrought from dark magic and sheer violence. We shall see how she fares and watch her closely.

Koryander, the brawler of fire. Koryander has long been a steadfast ally, but easily lost in the fight. I think she has trouble with her anger still, though I knew she sought help long ago. Like Nyres, we will watch her for signs of corruption. Fire burns bright, however, and I hope her fire burns bright enough to ward off the Sha.

Sigmar, the aging veteran. He has been distant lately. The cause is unknown to me, but I have seen some signs of hesitation. He could be a liability if he freezes up. I am told some Sha target those who hesitate and doubt. Sigmar is made of a metal stronger than most men born today, though. Less likely to succumb, but still someone to watch.

Jarrick, the grizzled warrior. Another who feeds on rage and passionate assaults. Susceptible to the Sha, but less so than Koryander or Nyres in my opinion. Will be watched for safety’s sake.

Everyone else in the ranks seems less inclined to be a major target, but we are all mortal and subject to the faults of being mortal. Hesitation will cost us, but so will overzealous vengeance. 

Sielic set the journal down on his lap, the ink and quill gently packed away with his other belongings. He gave a yawn and slept under the stars. The trees shook around him as shadows approached. They flooded into his being, sensing such hatred and violence within the mortal. They exulted in his doubt, his fear, and his hatred. 

Still sleeping, but Sielic saw them flooding in. He grinned. Like the Beast and the Shadow, these Sha were obstacles. In his mind’s eye, he saw them. He crushed them where they stood. They whispered sweet nothings, cajoled him with tempting offers to grant him power and let him unleash his rage. As he expelled them, he laughed.

 

Anger’s whispers had been with him long before these ‘Sha’ had reawakened. He had subjugated the Beast and the Shadow, the sources of his anger, doubt, and fear. The Sha offered little difference and he had prepared for them. They were drawn to him like moths to a flame, the raging of the Beast inside the meticulously crafted cage called them. Sielic smirked smugly, satisfied that his ideas had proven accurate. He reclined again and returned to sleep, surrounded by the meager remains of several unfortunate Sha.

 

 

In his mind, he considered several things. He had studied, and then taught, combat training within the Alliance military. The flowing style of the kaldorei to the blunt style of the dwarves. The gnomes flitted and darted between strikes, agility and acrobatics allowing them to strike areas thought out of reach. Draenei had a great reach and employed many overhand swings. The myriad of styles of his fellow men and women differed just as greatly, some used their bodies for leverage with their weapon style and others possessed the strength of dwarves and draenei. 

Had had sparred against them all, the novelty of fighting styles quickly wore off and he practiced and trained himself within their styles. He was no amateur at applying the quick daggers he wore at his hips. He had learned to fire rifles, and the strange guns of smaller design that people had tinkered. He practiced with longsword, axe, mace, and shield in varying combinations. People admonished him, bringing up the old adage of jack of all trades and master of none, but he paid it little mind. He had settled, long ago, and decided to be prepared. If you cannot use the weapon at hand, he would reply to naysayers, than you will not live long as a master. Master the crossbow, and die when all you have to protect yourself is a longsword.

The Monastery offered him a unique opportunity. The Pandaren style was different than the rest, unique, and he needed to study this. He had seen a few of the other races embracing this new style of combat, and had seen his fair share of unarmed fighters before Pandaria. This was new, novel. It would wear off and be less complicated, he knew. However, he could not leave the Monastery without studying this style. The Templars would need him, soon enough, but they were managing at current. He arranged contact with a few eyes and ears as the Templars moved on. He stayed behind at the Monastery, days filled with training and night filled with reports coming and going. 

“Was it worth it?” he mused, quietly, most nights. It had been several days since the Templars had moved on, but he still remained in the Monastery. His skills were not needed yet, and so he lingered. He was getting the hang of this new fighting style, as unique as it was. It shared efficiency of movement and many other aspects with the other races of Azeroth, and yet remained distinct. He was not facing off against freshly trained disciples any longer, but rather against accomplished students. The masters were still some time off.

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