Nightfall.

The stars are out on a clear sky, shining and winking intermittently. A low breeze is blowing, accompanied by the sounds of waves crashing against a rocky shore. An abandoned campsite is seen on the cliffs; an unlit firepit dark with burned wood and ringed with flat stones. A small cave behind, ostensibly a shelter against the elements. The wind picks up slightly, catching dirt and tiny pebbles in its grip.

The comparative silence is broken by the slow tread of bare foot on dirt and stone as a figure slowly moved into view. He drags a very large sword behind him by the handle, its tip digging a furrow in the dirt. His shuffled step is like the one in the throes of a dream, or the state one enters when the mind is fogged by exhaustion but the body keeps moving. He stops at the firepit and stares at it for a long moment. Blood drips from the side of his head and falls into the dirt. Blinking, he shakes his head as if to clear it and he drops his sword by the pit. The hair on the side of his head is dark and matted with clotted blood. The long braids that normally drape over his shoulders lay on his chest unbound, also matted with blood and filth. His eyes move over the cold firepit, and the scrub brush nearby. A chill gust of wind blows past, and he shivers involuntarily. Moving to the brushes, he briefly examines them, and breaks off a few branches to lay them in the pit. He stumbles, falling to his hands and knees with a stifled gasp of pain. More blood patters the ground beside him, and he levers himself upright slowly, swaying slightly. Easing down in front of the pit, he reaches for the sword, picking up one of the stones nearby and striking it against the cold metal. Rewarded with a sharp ringing sound and sparks, a slight smile crosses his lips. He repeats the action multiple times until the sparks produce a fire in the pit. Laying the sword across his knees, he watches the hypnotizing movements of the fire. His eyes slowly close as he sways involuntarily then leans forward; his head drooping to rest on his chest. The firepit burns on into the night, a semi-silent companion to the sleeping human, accompanied by the slow crash of waves against the rocks below.

The stars twinkle in the night sky, and slowly form into the face of a female draenei; looking down on the man from above. She smiles gently, starlight reaching down to caress his battered form before fading into the night.

Author Acele
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