Nobundo reached the edge and glanced over, seeing nothing but that faint glow far, far below.
You were too late.
He had failed once again, just as he had failed to save the women of Shattrath. Nobundo closed his eyes tight and called out to the Light with his mind: Why Why have you abandoned me Why do you continue to torment me Did I not serve you faithfully
Still no response. Only a gentle breeze drying the tears on his cheeks.
Perhaps Korin was right. Nobundo knew deep down exactly why she had done what she had: she had not wanted to become like the Lost Ones. Perhaps she had found the only way out.
This world had nothing left for him. It would be so easy to take those final steps, to walk off the edge and put an end to the misery.
Not far away a figure stepped out from behind jutting rocks, preparing to call out....
But even now, cast out by his own people, ignored by the Light, tormented by the souls of those he had failed to save... Nobundo found that he could not give up.
The breeze turned to a gush then, scattering clouds of steam and pushing so forcefully it backed Nobundo away from the edge. In its rushing he distinctly heard a single word: Everything...
Nobundo strained to hear. Surely his sanity had reached its end; surely his mind was playing tricks on him.
The figure near the rocks took cover again, maintaining its silent watch.
The wind picked up once more. Everything that is...
More words. What madness was this This was not the work of the Light. The Light did not "speak": it was warmth that pervaded the body. This was something new, something different. A final blast of wind rolled over the plateau, forcing Nobundo to take a seat.
Everything that is... is alive.
After all these years of pleading, Nobundo had finally received an answer; an answer that came not from the Light...
But from the wind.
Nobundo had heard of orcish practices that dealt with the elements: earth, wind, fire, and water. His people had witnessed some of the powers wielded by these "shaman" before the orcs' murderous campaign, but such things were completely foreign to the draenei.
Over the next several days Nobundo returned to the cliff, where he heard whispers carried by the wind: reassurances that he was not alone, promises, and tantalizing hints that a wealth of knowledge awaited him. Sometimes the voice of the wind was calm and placating; at others it was insistent and forceful. All the while, a nagging doubt still lingered in Nobundo's mind that perhaps he was going mad after all.
On the fifth day, as he sat near the cliff's edge, he heard a rumbling sound like thunder, though the sky was clear. He opened his eyes and witnessed a great column of fire erupting beyond the cliff's edge, rising from the fissure below. The flames spread out, and in their flickering dance he could see shifting, nebulous features. When the fire spoke, it sounded like a great and powerful storm.
Go to the mountains of Nagrand. High among the peaks you will find a place... where your true journey will begin.
Nobundo considered this, and answered: "To go there, I will have to pass through the camps of the unaffected, where my kind is forbidden."
The fire expanded rapidly, and he could feel the heat on his face. Do not question the opportunity you are being given!
The flames subsided.
Walk with your head held high, for you are no longer alone.
Not far away, Nobundo¡¯s longtime observer ducked back behind his concealment. And though he could not hear the elements as Nobundo could, he had seen the flames, seen their dancing features. Not surprisingly, if Nobundo could have looked into the eyes of the watcher, he would have seen absolute astonishment.
Over the next two days Nobundo made the arduous trek with the wind always at his back, always whispering in his ear. He learned that the orc shaman communed with the elements, but that their connection was severed when the orcs turned to practicing fel magic. He could have learned more, but many times it was difficult for Nobundo to understand, as if the communication was being filtered or dampened.
At several points along the route he thought he heard footsteps somewhere behind him. Always when he looked back, he sensed that whoever or whatever was following him had just ducked out of sight. He wondered if maybe it was the elements. Or a fabrication of his mind.
When he came at last to the camps of the unaffected, the sun had long since left the sky. Undoubtedly the watchmen had observed his approach, however, for two guards awaited him as he reached the camp perimeter.
"What is your business here " the larger of the two guards asked.
"I mean only to pass through to the mountains."
Some of the other camp members had emerged, eyeing Nobundo warily.
"We have strict orders. No Krokul are allowed in the camps. You will have to go elsewhere."
"I do not wish to stay in your camp, only to pass through." Nobundo took a step forward.
The larger guard thrust out his hand, shoving Nobundo backward. "I told you--"
There was a deafening clap of thunder then, and a black mass of clouds appeared where clear skies had been only seconds before, releasing a sudden deluge of rain. The wind that had gently urged Nobundo forward now gushed with fantastic strength, forcing the two guards backward. Most incredible of all, the wind and the stinging rain both moved around Nobundo to hammer against the two guards, who fell in the slick mud.
Nobundo witnessed the events, eyes wide in wonderment. "So this is what it is like", he mused out loud, "to have the elements on your side." He smiled.
The camp members sought shelter in the caves. The guards stared up at Nobundo in fear. For his part, Nobundo simply proceeded forward, leaning on his staff as he made his way slowly through the camp and finally to the foothills on the other side, leaving the residents of the camp shocked, scared, and confused.
The figure that had followed Nobundo stepped out from his hiding place behind one of the giant mushrooms. He dared not proceed for he was, after all, Krokul.
But the events that Akama had just witnessed planted a seed within him. Ever since he had awakened from his long sleep, he had felt nothing but despair and a needling dread of the future. But to see what this Krokul had just done, to see the elements rise to his defense stirred a feeling in Akama that he had feared long dead.
He felt hope.
With that newfound hope he turned and slipped quietly back into the marsh.
Many hours later, racked by fatigue, Nobundo scaled the upper reaches of the mountains and began seeing signs of fresh, verdant vegetation. When his pace slowed due to exhaustion, the wind pushed him on, and the very earth beneath his feet seemed to lend him strength. And though the rain continued, it seemed to land everywhere but on him, and it provided flowing streams from which Nobundo eagerly drank.
As he neared the peaks, he heard competing voices in his mind: one low and persistent, followed by the familiar sound of the wind, and finally the occasional rumbling of a fire. The voices seemed chaotic, clashing in their haste to commune with him, building to a cacophony that forced him to stop. Enough! I cannot understand all of you at once.
Nobundo summoned what little strength he had left and crested a hill that opened onto a lush vista. Here was Draenor as it had once been; fertile and serene, a beautiful garden-like refuge of cascading waterfalls and vibrant life.
You must forgive them: it has been too long since they have felt the tempering influence of the shaman. They are angry, confused, still reeling from the blow dealt to them.
"The cataclysm," Nobundo said as he stepped farther into the tranquil setting. He knelt and drank from a pool of water and felt immediately rejuvenated. He felt his mind open up, his thoughts becoming a part of his surroundings as the surroundings in turn became a part of him.
The voice that answered him was at once clear and soothing, strong and robust. Yes. I was perhaps the least affected, but it has always been this way. It is a necessity that I adapt quickly, given that I provide the very foundations of life.
He felt more than heard the affirmation.