Welcome. Here in this quiet refuge the elements coexist in relative peace, and so our discourse with you will be easier, especially in the early stages of your journey, before you have learned to feel our intentions without thinking. True knowledge and understanding will take years, but if you stay the course, in time we will be yours to call upon... but never to command. Yet if you respect us, and your motives remain unselfish, we will never abandon you.
"Why have you chosen me "
The cataclysm cast us all into turmoil and uncertainty. For a time we were lost. In you we sensed a kindred spirit: confused, neglected. It took time for us to recover sufficiently to reach out once again, but when we did, we hoped you would be... receptive.
To Nobundo it seemed almost too good to be true. But what of the Light Was he forsaking it if he chose this new path Was he turning his back on it Was this a test
The risk would be worthwhile if...
"Will I be able to use these abilities to help my people "
Yes. The relationship between the elements and the shaman is one of synchronicity. The shaman's influence helps to calm and unite us, just as our influence enriches and fulfills the shaman. When you have completed your training, you will be able to call upon the elements in times of need. If the elements deem your cause just, we will assist you in any way possible.
True understanding, as Water promised, took years. In time, however, Nobundo gained an understanding of the life-energies around him. From the largest creatures on Draenor to a single, seemingly insignificant grain of sand, he was keenly aware that everything in existence was alive with a vital energy, and that these energies were linked and dependent on one another despite geographic location and opposing forces. What was more, he could feel these energies as if they were a part of him, which as he now understood, they were.
The elements kept their bargain, and aspects of their nature were bestowed upon him. From Water he gained clarity and patience: for the first time in so many years, his thoughts were unclouded. From Fire he gained passion, a renewed appreciation for life, and the desire to overcome any obstacle. From Earth he gained resolve, a steel will, and unshakable determination. From Wind he learned courage and persistence: how to dig deep within and press on in the face of adversity.
Still, there was a key lesson that eluded him. He felt it, sensed that the elements were holding something back, something that he was simply not yet ready to understand.
And... there were still the nightmares. They had eased somewhat, but night after night Nobundo still found himself pounding on the gates of Shattrath while the screams of the dying rang in his ears. And now when he went beyond the gates and stood by the fire, when the reproachful dead appeared, they were accompanied by Korin.
He felt the soothing tone of Water: We sense that you are still... conflicted.
"Yes," he answered. "I am haunted by the spirits of those who passed at Shattrath. Can the elements assist in this "
The conflict rests not with the spirits of the departed, but within you. It is a conflict you alone must resolve.
"Will this inner struggle prevent me from realizing my true potential as a shaman "
A sense of mirth radiated from the pools around him. Of all the elements, Water was the most lighthearted. Your conflict is reflected in the sky above, in the ground beneath you, in me, and especially in Fire. It is a reflection of nature's eternal struggle to achieve and maintain balance.
Nobundo thought for a moment. "No matter how far my journey takes me, I suppose true understanding lies in the knowledge that the journey will never end."
Good... very good. The time has come for you to take your next step, one that may prove to be the most important of all.
"I am ready."
Close your eyes.
Nobundo did. He felt the earth seemingly fall away beneath him, felt the elements withdraw, and for a single terrifying second his mind was back in Shattrath, abandoned and left in the dark.
Then he felt... something. Something very different from the other elements. It felt immense: cold but not hostile. And in its presence Nobundo felt very, very small. Then, he felt this presence speak with a multitude of voices, both feminine and masculine, a harmonic symphony within and all around him.
Open your eyes.
Nobundo did. And again he experienced that sense of diminution, of insignificance as he witnessed a dark, never-ending expanse filled with myriad worlds. Some like Draenor, some great balls of ice and frost, some covered in water, some lifeless and barren.
And suddenly Nobundo understood... something seemingly so simple, yet a concept that had completely eluded his mind: there were countless worlds beyond. This much he had known, as his people had traveled to many worlds before settling on Draenor. But what Nobundo had failed to comprehend was that the power of the elements stretched far beyond as well. Each world had its own elements, its own powers to call upon.
And there was more. Out here in the void was another element, one that seemed to bind the worlds together, one composed of unspeakable energy. If he could call upon this one--but he knew immediately that he was far too inexperienced at this stage of his journey to commune with this mysterious new element. This was just a glimpse, a gift of understanding...
- Chapter 4 -
Velen appraised Nobundo with his crystal blue eyes. Nobundo protested, "They will not listen to me! I do not think this was a good idea."
Velen's lip curved upward on one side. He wore that same expression that made Nobundo feel as if the Prophet was aware of so many things beyond Nobundo's understanding. "After all you have been through, all you have overcome, are you really willing to give up now "
"I cannot get them to see me as anything more than Krokul, despite what I may have to teach."
"Perhaps the true problem does not lie with them."
That is what the elements said, Nobundo thought.
As a result of their previous conversations, Nobundo had learned not to try and guess at what the Prophet was thinking, so he stayed silent and waited.
Velen continued, "I hear the screams in your mind: the women of Shattrath. I am aware of your heart's burden. You have questioned whether or not your departure was an act of cowardice."
Nobundo nodded, suddenly overcome with emotion.
"A part of you knew even then that it was imperative for you to survive, to embrace your greater destiny. And throughout so many trials from that day on, never once did you give up. That is why I chose you. Why the elements have chosen you. Our people call you Krokul, Broken, but I believe you may present us with our greatest hope."
Velen extended a gentle hand to Nobundo's shoulder. "Let them go. Let the screams be silenced."
It was true. He was not a coward. Part of him had known, but in all that had happened since then, that part of him had gotten hopelessly lost. Nobundo let out a deep sigh, and somehow he knew right then that when he lay down to sleep that evening, the nightmare would not be waiting for him. He felt a sense of joy from the elements, as if they were... proud.
Velen smiled. "Now, for the good of all of us, go. Go and embrace your destiny."
Nobundo returned to the landing. The gathered draenei were conversing among themselves, paying no heed to the frail figure above.
He raised his staff. Clouds gathered from a clear blue sky, casting a dark shadow onto the settlement. The draenei stopped their conversations.
Nobundo called out, his voice carrying across the marsh. "Watch and listen."
A deluge of rain poured down. Lightning danced between the lamps surrounding the plaza, shattering the glass. The gathered draenei stared in awe.
"You have come here to learn. To one day wield these powers: the powers of the shaman."
"But shamanism is an orcish practice!" one of the audience called out. Others joined in concurrence.
"Yes. A practice they abandoned in favor of communing with demons. Now we will journey the shaman's path, a path that will lead us to a future where no one will kill our women..."
Nobundo paused, keeping his voice steady.
"Or our children. Where Krokul and unaffected will work together to realize a dream that has long been forgotten by our people: true freedom."
The members of the assembly looked at one another, seeking approval from one another, measuring any continued resistance. Finally they all seemed to come to the same conclusion: they would listen.
"Your journey begins with these simple words...."
Nobundo smiled. The clouds above swirled. Lightning arced. Rain poured.
"Everything that is, is alive."