Anew

Over the next year, Neli carts supplies on rafts with Sefi to the Echo Isles, strengthening her new arm. As the isles near their proud completion, the fifteen-year-old longs to rejoin her bow.

She travels to the Crossroads alone, spending the next six months sharping marksmanship around the outpost's edge.

“Good as ya was again.” a male voice says from behind the savannah’s bushes.

Neli jumps, instinctively preparing an arrow.

The voice chuckles, Maj’atal emerging from the shaded foliage.

Neli beams, giving her father a tight squeeze, “Ya’s got shorter!”

“Ya’s taller, stupid.” he replies with a smirk, at eye level with his firstborn.

She grasps his wrist with her regrown hand, leaning on his shoulder.

“Avenged me parents.” Maj’atal says.

Neli nods, “We going back?”

Maj’atal shakes his head, “Place’s a mess now, girl. Not for a bit.”

Unsheathing his bow, Maj'atal heads south with a slight limp, “Come.”

 

Exploring the outer chambers of the Wailing Caverns over the next half year, Neli and Maj'atal return home frequently. Jal’antu and Sefi accompany the hunters on their way the Crossroads occasionally, giving Sefi opportunities to practice her mother’s teachings of shamanistic restoration.

Fond of wearing the necklace made with Sefi, Gonk’s command remains in the back of Neli’s mind at all times.

“Papi?” she says with a ring of uncertainty, looking down to her necklace.

The two stop walking on the pathway home and face one another.

Speaking slowly and reflectively, she recalls the vision to the best of her ability.

Maj'atal sighs with a hand on his chin, “Lucky ya's weren't cursed. Or blinded. Ya's as far the Loa's want'ya ta be, he's trying to get'cha dead."

He resumes walking.

Neli’s countenance sinks, silent the short trip home.

She goes to bed early, becoming more frustrated with her father as she tries to make sense of his dismissal. 

 

Jal'antu enters Neli's dark room, the nightly wind whistling through the rocks of Durotar.

"Ya up?" the shaman asks.

Neli grumbles, rolling over to look at her mother.

Jal'antu takes a seat on the beanbag-like bed, “He told me bout Gonk’s speaking with ya.”

With arms around the shaman's waist, Neli pulls her head onto her mother's lap, “Didn’t seem ta care.”

Jal’antu shakes her head, “More to it, lemme look.” She pulls off Neli’s necklace, walking towards her table to light a candle.

Running her fingers along the rune, she says, “Haven’t seen it on anything before. What’re these?” she picks up a stack of parchment on the other side of the table, holding a page up to the light.

Neli joins her side, “Just drawings.”

Jal’antu spreads the papers over the table, casting her gaze towards Neli.

“Didn’t wanna forget,” Neli explains, pointing at the depictions of a raptor, “one that got me looks like this.”

"Why so many?" Jal'antu asks.

The daughter stops to ponder, looking to the dozens of drawings, “Keeps me thinkin’.”

Jal’antu holds the candle closer to the table, “Papi thinks ya's done gettin' better.”

Neli draws in a breath while eyeing the papers, "He's wrong."

The mother blows out the candle, walking out of the room, “Get some sleep, think I know where it is.” 

Neli’s blinks at the empty doorway, excitement filling her mind.