[Story] Astranaar – Spring

Risarra followed the stream that led away from Astranaar on the eastern end. Its waters flew high and swift along the banks, swollen by the recent rains. Some of the sentinels complained, but Risarra didn’t mind the rain. It made everything feel fresh and new again, and she loved the way the forest smelled right after, when the afternoon sunshine warmed the wet earth. This was the most beautiful time of the year, when the trees erupted into new growth, their branches covered in delicate blossoms. It was also the time that all of the babies were born to the animals of the forest, and Risarra knew that if she was quiet enough, she might see a doe with her fawn, or a rabbit with her little kits. She might even see a mother bear with her cubs, or even a saber, though their dens were usually hidden in the deepest and most secret places. Of late, she had thought more about Magnolia, her saber that she had raised since she was one of those little cubs. Having the bear around had eased the pain of losing her friend; his formerly thin fur had grown in thick and shiny. It’s true that he was quite different from Magnolia, but he had his own certain charm.

She’d also hoped to see a glimpse of Bear or Nimrathis, the strange men who had stayed in Astranaar during the fighting. They had been reluctant to do so, even going so far as to plan elaborate escape plans. Her friend Zharya had helped her to try to coax them into staying, bringing them food and conversation, but they’d never really been happy in the sentinel town. Were they now? Maybe. Neither Risarra nor Zharya had seen them since the sentinels said they could return to their homes in the forest. The forest was clear of orcs, there had not been any sign of one in months, and a decisive blow had been struck when the sentinels aided in the sacking of Orgrimmar. Risarra had not been among them; she was quietly relieved that she had not been chosen. Some sentinels were needed to stay behind, while the others fought within the orc city’s walls. She supposed it was cowardly of her to want to stay behind, but the stories she heard from the others only reassured her that it was the right choice. The scorched roofs and burned buildings were replaced, and the forest had grown back over the places that the orcs had marched. It was almost as if they’d never been there at all.

But she had to admit that she missed Bear and Nimrathis, a little. They’d never taken that trip to Feralas, or anywhere else. They had gone to the Barrens to observe the movements of the orcs and their allies, but that was only sentinel business. Neither of them had really warmed to them, or seemed to want to spend any more time. Maybe it was their nature, the way some sabers never really took to certain people. Or maybe they felt too out of place in the town. She frowned, glancing at the trail that led up to Bear’s camp. Was he still there? Most likely. She had seen smoke coming from that hill on more than one night. But did he want to be disturbed? It was likely that he didn’t. Maybe he would be more in the mood for company if she brought some dumplings along. She’d have to return later that evening when they were hot and fresh from the pot.

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