Inspired from a random Discord conversation as well as Kanta’s permission. A story from their Sentinel days, millennia ago. ))
Beneath the twilight canopy of Ashenvale, a young kaldorei swore under his breath as his mentor once again smacked the top of his hands with a stick. A literal stick, one snatched right up from the ground, with little mind to carve the barbs from it, and the rough bark between each prickle just as unforgiving. For good measure, she then whacked him upside the head.
“I heard that,” she told him. “My ears work, you know. Better than yours, apparently. You’ve been daydreaming all damn day. Now, do it again and do it right this time.”
Looming over him, Anarial waited once again for Kanta to properly complete his lesson. Grasping a delicate stem gingerly between two fingers, he worked the thin blade of a knife just above the soil and between the herb’s first budding leaf. Severing it cleanly, he treated the flower as if the tiniest twitch could somehow shatter it — or invite another whap from the stick.
“Better,” she growled, her tone almost a warning. This nearly made him flinch. Catching himself, Kanta gently lay the herb on a flat stone and rubbed its freshest bud between his fingers. This parted the still-green blossoms and revealed the round seeds inside. Using the tiny tip of his knife, he carefully extracted them.
“Well, you are not terrible,” Anarial said without much encouragement, still leaning over him. Teeming with frustration, Kanta deliberately removed the last seed before setting down his knife and standing. He was shorter than her, not exactly helping with his intentions. But his jaw set tight and chest squared, he prepared a retort only to find the stick pointed less than an inch away from his nose.
“All right, you did it. Done. Next lesson — get these for me.” With one hand jabbing the stick at his face, Anarial pointed the other to a cluster of three-leafed plants nearby. “We need them for medicine back at camp. Healing herbs, something you can touch with your hands. And if you got any scrapes or injuries from training earlier, feel free to help yourself to some before you make your way back.”
Kanta quirked an eyebrow but gathered up his pack to do as he was told. The Sentinels were hardly welcoming and he was subject to a record amount of teasing. But his arrows flew straighter every day, his reflexes grew quicker, and ears sharper. Even the captain didn’t stare at him with as much distain as before. Anarial was the most hostile of all the them, but stuck mentoring him as she was, her resentment was partly justified. The rest simply didn’t like what he was. At least Anarial had a personal reason to tell him to go screw himself, which she very often did.
“Be back soon,” he told her, tying his knapsack to his back and slipping into the forest.
Medicine herbs. He hadn’t heard of those before. However, it didn’t take long to locate them. They were nearly everywhere, much to his surprise. Hoping then to make quick work of it, Kanta skipped the knife and simply used his hands, stuffing whatever three-leafed herbs he could into a sleeve of his pack. He paused only long enough to crush and press one into a fresh abrasion on his forearm from training early that morning.
It wasn’t till he started on his way back that his forearm began to tingle. Not unusual, his first thought was. Probably just the medicine working. But when his hands felt similarly peckish, dread crept upon him. Looking down at his arm and hands, itchy, raised hives had broken out and spread over him. A satisfied snicker drew his attention to the nearby brush.
“Anarial,” he growled, guessing who it was.
“Really?” She asked with a coy smile, coming out of the trees. “You fell for that? So… you definitely weren’t listening early today when I told you about poison ivy. I thought so, those ears of yours just don’t go to your head sometimes. Well, I thought sometimes the best lesson comes when you experience it firsth — “
He lunged at her before she could finish her sentence. Laughing, she quickly moved out of the way and skirted up a tree. Faster, surer of footing, and overall more experienced, she evaded him quickly but he was determined to follow. The itchiness of his arms and clumsy feet made it difficult. He found that mimicking the footholds she found so easily could help him almost keep pace.
“By the way!” She yelled at him from ahead. No matter how he kept up his pursuit, he was always a few limbs behind. She was quicker than him. He would have to learn speed next. “We’re still training. Catch me if you can! Keep up, slowpoke!”
And so the lessons continued.