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Dueg has tagged me for my first WoW-blog-meme.  These questions are to be answered from the perspective of one’s toon, and while K- and I play on an RP server, I really haven’t spent as much time developing Khaeli’s background story as I’d like.  But nonetheless, her answers…

What is your name and where did it come from?
The humans have a word in one of their languages — céilí — for a dance.  Khaeli’s name is a nod to such celebrations as well as to the longstanding custom in her family to begin girls’ names with the letters “Kh.”

How old are you and what is your birthday? While young by Night Elf standards, some days, she feels bloody ancient.  Khaeli’s hair has been white since her childhood, which saves her from worry about that feature as she ages.  As with most Night Elf females who love to dance, she’s far more concerned that her ass might be getting a bit saggy as the years progress.

Are you in love and with whom? Khaeli is madly in love with the Death Knight, Kaleyen.  They are a solid pair:  he slays; she heals.  But when he boasts, “Ha!  I totally one-shotted that clothie” admittedly she mutters “bastard” under her breath.

What is your favorite mount and why? Khaeli’s favorite mount is the Baron’s Deathcharger.  Khaeli doesn’t have this mount, sadly.  Shadow form does make almost any mount look bad ass… except the Alterac Valley ram.  A purple smoky goat is still a goat.

Do you prefer a certain type of Azerothian meal and where do you get it from? While Khaeli isn’t particularly fussy when it comes to food, she is known to hoard the Hot Pockets summoned by her Mage companions.  She has come, lately, to resent the Fish Feast as she always feels she enters battle smelling like a Kaluak.

You know those giant mushrooms in Zangarmarsh? What is your theory on how they came to be and why are they so huge? In all likelihood, it’s a combination of fertile spores and Kurenai feces.

If you saw the Lich King walking toward you, what would you do? Khaeli would be torn between pointing out how fat he looks in his armor or shadowmelding.

I’m supposed to “tag” other bloggers to continue this meme, so Kaleyen from Hungering Cold, Megan at Out of Mana, and the Pugnacious Priest (and anyone else who wants to do so), you’re it!

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Khæli had no specific recollection of learning to read or do
arithmetic.  There was always the expectation that she know how.  These
were simple skills, necessary skills, the basis of and the basics for
communication, for business, for survival.  And thus, despite the
pleasure of hearing a tale, a joke, or a song, language always seemed
to Khæli to be functional, not fanciful.

Until she started her training as a priest.

Khæli's
days were spent immersed in prayers and recitation.  But even with the
rote and repetition of her lessons, words no longer seemed merely
practical.  They became magical.  Words gave the young priest power. 
One incantation healed; another destroyed.  One word strengthened her
allies; another wrought agony upon her enemies.  One could shield from
harm; another slowly inflicted it.

For as long as she could
recall, people had pressured Khæli to tell her story.  That it was a
tale she didn't know and couldn't tell made the story — or, rather,
potential story — a burden; to struggle with the words to explain
this, a chore in and of itself. 

But her training as a priest
demonstrated words could give her strength to step into the world
rather than simply make her recoil into herself.  She smiled with
satisfaction that she now could weave the words to make people
literally spellbound.  She stood taller with a certain bravado knowing
that language could wreak pain on others and bring power to herself.

● ● ●

Chapter 1: The Unweaving
Chapter 2: Telling/Threads
Chapter 3: A Proclamation–From the Dark
Chapter 4: A Choice

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What is it with the names people have chosen for their death knights?!  A simple /who death knight on my server includes the following:

Ärthäs
Darksied
Darkerangel
Darkangelo
Decay
Deathlys
Ðéath
Deathmain
Dethsong
Darktidings
Deadwina
Darfvader
Darkdeaths
Deathlord
Darkreaver
Elfnite
Frostyknight
Kkrypt
Lïchßorne
Moefoe
Pisdovknight
Scarecrone

Is it really that hard to come up with a name for one's toon that
doesn't involve "dark" or "death" or "knight"?  I admit, I chuckle
sometimes at the names of Tauren Druids — "Bullshifter" comes to mind. 
But these DK names just make me /sigh.

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Khæli was certain that onlookers would think it was a prisoner
transfer.  She stood, head bowed, hands clasped before her, as the
emissary from the Stormwind Orphanage put her in the custody of the
tall Night Elf that greeted them on the docks of Ru'theran Village. 
"Watch out for this one.  She seethes with shadow," said the emissary
as he turned abrubtly and embarked on the boat back to the Eastern
Kingdoms.  "Hmm," responded the elf.  "Follow me," he barked.  Even
with her eyes lowered, Khæli could see that her surroundings had
changed to the grey stone of Stormwind to the lush green of her
homeland, and the color gave her solace.

The night elf led Khæli through the winding paths of Darnassus.  The
city was much quieter than Stormwind, and despite her trepidations of
what would come, Khæli felt serene.  "Seethes with the shadow," she
muttered to herself.  "Perhaps they were the ones keeping me from the
light."  Khæli followed the night elf into a secluded garden and before
her stood the three imposing figures.  Khæli was relieved to have kept
her demure semblance and as she had strong suspicions as to who these
figures were, bowed before them.

"Welcome home, Khæli," said the male of the three.  The two others nodded in agreement.

"Do you know who we are?" asked one of the women.

"I think so, aye," said Khæli, lifting her eyes to meet theirs.  "Arch
Druid Fandral Staghelm.  High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind.  Sentinel
Elanaria,"  Khæli bowed her head to each in turn. "I am humbled that
you are here to greet me on my return."  Having been pinned as a rude
troublemaker with the humans, she was eager to endear herself to her
own people, particularly to these great leaders.

As though she'd read Khæli's mind, the High Priestess spoke, "Such a
different child than the reports we received.  But do not fret, Khæli. 
Humans always fail to comprehend our ways.  And we are not here to
judge you.  Not now at least.  We are hear for you to judge yourself."

"Khæli, what do you know?  What do you want to know?  Who are you?  Who
will you be?" the Arch Druid rattled off these questions in rapid fire.

Khæli gulped, unsure to respond to the immensity of the inquiry.  "Well, I can read and write.  And sew.  A bit. And…"

Elanaria cut her off.  "Bah, that is not what we want to know.  We care
not for your skills with needle and thread or pen and paper.  Think
bigger, child.  Think bolder.  Who are you?  Who will you be?" 

Elanaria stepped toward Khæli and unsheathed her sword.  The sunlight
gleamed on the metal, and as Elanaria spun and sliced the air, the
sword itself began to emanate its own lightforce.  "Does the blade
speak to you, child?  Will you choose the path of the warrior and lead
your people in battle?  Or, with the prediliction for the shadow we
hear about you, will you choose the path of the rogue and wield the
blade with stealth?"

"Or do you hear the calling of the wild?" asked the druid, bending down
and grabbing a handful of the earth from the garden.  In his hands, the
soil began to spin like a miniature whirlwind.  "Will you learn to
harness the shifting sands, the moonfire, the rage of bear, the claws
of cat, the feathers of flight, the rejuvenation of tree?  Will you
choose the path of the druid?"

Tyrande moved forward and placed both her hands over Khæli's heart. 
Drawing back her right hand, a stream of white energy arced from
Khæli's chest.  Drawing back her left, a smoky purple haze.  Tyrande
stood before Khæli with her arms outstretched, the white and purple now
orbs spinning above her hands.  Even before Tyrande spoke, Khæli knew
how she would respond.  The High Priestess had pulled the energy from
within Khæli–forces Khæli knew had been inside her–and had harnessed
it somehow–a feat that Khæli had always longed for.  "Or do you will
you walk the way of the spirit?" asked the priestess.  "Will you be a
discipline of the holy or the shadow?"

The words had barely left Tyrande's lips before Khæli responded.  Finally, her destiny in her own hands.  Finally, a choice.

"Yes, I will be a priest."

● ● ●

Chapter 1:  The Unweaving
Chapter 2:  Telling/Threads
Chapter 3:  A Proclamation–From the Dark

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"The child requires some sort of divine intervention," said Matron Nightingale.

"I would say," Shellene responded thoughtfully, "she has already had one."

"Aye, the child is blessed," said High Priestess Laurena.

"Or cursed, I would contend," Matron Nightingale retorted sharply.  "Regardless, she must go."

Khæli sat on the wooden bench outside the room while the orphanage council decided her fate.  With a look on her face of combined fury and frustration, Khæli kicked at the floor and swore to herself this would be the last time someone dictated her future.  First her family, then Jayale, who'd so kindly stepped in as her guardian — killed.  It was Jayale's death as the two of them had journeyed to Stormwind that landed Khæli here at the orphanage.

"Humans,"  spat Khæli.

"Khæli," barked the Matron, "come in here."

Khæli paused before entering the room and contemplating just bolting.  But the questions she perpetually asked herself stopped her from doing so:  Where would she go?  How would she survive?  She had only minimal sewing skills, and although she knew she could muster some magic, she could hardly wield it.  With a heavy sigh, a hard swallow, and a promise to herself "no more," she stood before the orphanage council, ready to hear their proclamation.  For the first time in recent memory, Khæli's heart sang when she heard their words:

"Khæli, you will return to Darnassus."

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Many children, even those with happy, healthy families, make up stories
of alternate lineage.  For those children at the Stormwind Orphanage,
invention was often necessary.  "My father was a duke."  "My mother was
a princess."  "Orcs killed my real parents."  "I was kidnapped by
trolls, then rescued by pirates, who left me at the pub at Stormwind,
and that's where Shellene found me."

With no family and with a
mysterious, but horrific biography, Khæli too felt compelled to shape a new mythology to explain who she was.  Other people — children and adults
alike — had a nasty way of reminding her, in whispers, in stares, in
bold accusations, and in silent exclusion, that her tale was already
terrible, fanciful, and sadly, true.  Khæli did wish she had a
different story to tell than the one incessantly repeated in her
presence — "that's the girl whose whole family was murdered.  A right
mystery she wasn't killed too." But she never told stories of
aggrandizing her parents' identity.  Khæli was never the daughter of a
duke or princess.  She was always the daughter of Jarl, the farmer, of
Khori, the seamstress.  She wished, however, that the mundanity of
their occupations could have kept them alive. 

And that was where she'd invent a different identity, not for them as
much as for herself.  Khæli would claim she was spared as she was a
great magician, too powerful to kill.  ("But not powerful enough to
save your family," rude little Mik would retort.)  She would assert
she'd woven a magical tapestry that hidden her from the rampaging
killers.  ("Where is the tapestry now?" Jonah inquired.  "It's
invisible, you human fool," Khæli would reply, which didn't stop
Jonah tearing through her bedsheets in an attempt to find it.)  She
would insist she could make magic shoot from her fingertips, and she'd
consume the souls of blood elves and bullies and Matron Nightingale
with a vengeance.  ("If you are really magic," Twee said, mocking her,
"you should cast a spell to fix your horrid hair.") She would claim
that she was filled with the wrath of her dead kin and all shadowfolk and
that she would track down and slaughter those responsible for their
murders. 

What neither Khæli nor the other children at the Stormwind Orphanage
realized at the time was that many of Khæli's extravagant claims to
great magic and shadowpower were true.

● ● ●

Chapter 1:  The Unweaving

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Khæli could remember nothing from that day.  Granted she was only five at the time, but even so, she did have memories from "before," or, at least, vague fragments, wisps of recollection, of faces, places, smells.  She knew her father's beard was bristly, his lap bony, his arms strong.  She knew her mother never wore an apron and instead wiped her hands on her skirt; some days you could see the flour smeared down her front and know there was pie in the oven before you could catch a whiff of it baking.  She knew her two older brothers were much much faster than her, but when the three of them would race to the top of the hill overlooking the cottage, they would move at a slower pace so that her trouncing wasn't utterly so.

But of the day they died, she could recall nothing — "a blessing in the midst of such horror," neighbors would agree when, for many years to come, they continued to gossip about the family's grisly deaths. The screams that emanated from the cottage that day had caused all nearby to run to investigate, thinking perhaps there'd been some accident on the little farm, like the time Pattro's donkey had kicked Rana and broken her jaw.  But the broken bones and blood they found were far from accidental.  The family had been brutally murdered — Khæli's mother, her father, her brothers, all bludgeoned in turn, all caught in the middle of their daily chores, the mundane suddenly tragic:  Her mother in the kitchen, peeling potatoes; her father and oldest brother on their way to the barn; the other brother in the chicken coop.

Save Khæli.

"What happened?" people asked.  She didn't know.

"Where were you?" people asked.  She didn't know.

"Do you know who did this?"  people asked.  She didn't know.

That a child's mind would block out the horror of such violence was no surprise to anyone.  But what was remarkable, and what forever after made the neighbors frown and whisper with suspicion, were the discrepancies between all stories pertaining to Khæli on that fateful day.  Pattro claimed to find her, cowering behind the front door of the cottage.  Rana swore it was her that first noticed the girl, tucked up in the branches of the oak tree just beyond the barn.  Jorge countered that he was the one who had rescued her, from a tot-sized alcove cleared beneath the twisted blackberry brambles.  Jayne found her inside the barn; Koril found her outside.  Hidden or dispersed, in all these places or perhaps in none of them, Khæli had survived.

"She must have seen something," everyone agreed, and not simply because the hiding spots of a five-year-old are all too frequently transparent.  For on that day, the child's long black hair had suddenly turned a shocking white.  "The doings of pure Evil," some neighbors pronounced.  "Nae," others retorted.  "Good souls must have protected the child."  What no one disputed, however, was that the shadows were strong with the child.  And Khæli, whether she'd hidden in the darkness or fought against the darkness on that day, found herself drawn to the shadows.

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