I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again this year and I thought I’d share my progress with you.
In the first ‘official’ chapter (cleverly labeled as Chapter 1), we meet Brulee, her sister Shamundi, and Brulee’s mentor, Brother Kalim, during the flight and subsequent crash of the Exodar. After the crash, Brulee learns from Kalim that many of her people were died, injured, or put into a ‘magical coma’ due to some emissions from the exploding engines. Her sister is one of the severely wounded, and Brulee is shocked to hear that they are now stuck on this world of Azeroth
Here’s an interesting note; I was originally going to kill off her sister. However, I thought that would be way too depressing for BOTH the characters to have no family so Shamundi got to live. Isn’t that nice. Now I might actually have to roll her up on Feathermoon.
Things to change: I feel this section is better than the first one. However, I probably didn’t need to make up all the Draenei getting magical comas (though that would explain why some of them seem to wake up late still at a crash site. >.>). Also, the details about the layout of the Exodar and how they got there need to be straightened out. I doubt they had a room full of harnesses and seatbelts for some reason…
Chapter 1: Life Comes Crashing Down
They embraced, briefly, before using each other to steady against the craft’s shaking.
“What is it, sister?” Brulee asked, concern visible in her eyes.
“Something has gone horribly wrong,” started Shamundi.
Her sister rolled her eyes. “Something is wrong with the engine. They tried to make the jump and -” The ship shuttered again, more violently, as if to make a point.
“I am on my way to the central chamber,” Brulee said. That was one of the safest points on the ship, in case of emergency. “You are coming too, yes?”
Shamundi shook her head. “I’m needed to look at the engines. You know me, always fiddling with things.” She weakly grinned and wiggled her fingers at Brulee. It was true; her sister spent much of her time with gadgets. Shamundi’s knowledge of mechanics was part of the reason why they were able to separate The Exodar from the rest of the Tempest on their escape from Draenor. It was right for her to try to fix the engines.
The ship shuttered again.
“I must go,” Shamundi said. She embraced her sister once more.
“Light be with you always,” Brulee whispered.
“And also with you,” Shamundi replied before stumbling off down the hallway.
Brulee watched her go before another shudder reminded her to get to the chamber. Let the engineers handle the ship with its mechanical ways. It was be best for her to stay out of the way in the chamber with the others.
It took her a few minutes to get into the chamber, with the constant shaking. At least one section she had walked through had caught fire; luckily nearby mages were able to contain them and put them out quickly.
“Brulee! Come, quickly!”
Brulee looked over to see her mentor, Brother Kelim, beckon her over. The reason was obvious; not everyone had made it to the safety chamber as intact as she was.
She picked her way across the rumbling floor as quickly as she could.
“‘Tis good to see you here. I have this little one under control, but there are a few others…”
“I understand.” Brulee knelt and scooted over to another draenei, suffering from some burn wounds. From the fires, no doubt.
“Just stay calm,” cautioned Brother Kalim. “I know that channeling the Light in such a way is not your area of expertise but…”
“This is an emergency, Brother. I could not let them suffer, as you too cannot.” Brulee smiled softly before closing her eyes and channeling the Light’s power into her hands. She gently worked them over the areas that were burned, soothing the flesh and willing it to become new again.
Opening her eyes to view her handywork, Brulee could tell that the wound still had scars that those more skilled in healing could likely remove. But her patient was no longer in the pain that he had been before.
Kalim nodded in approval as she moved down to the next person who was wounded. Deep bruises and some cuts from a fall. She got to work immediately.
Several other priests and paladins around her who were skilled in the healing arts took on even more serious wounds that other Draenei had sustained on the ship. Elsewhere children and their parents began to attach themselves to the ship’s hull with some soft yet durable cords; the room had been designed so that one could safely secure themselves in a such a manner.
But Brulee’s focus was on the wounds of the others. The cuts were sealed, the bruises mended. Onto the next.
Kalim worked busily aside her, both of them silent for awhile, concentrating.
Eventually Kalim broke the silence between them. “Your sister, is she in here?” he asked tentatively.
Brulee shook her head. “She is helping out with the engine room.”
Kalim nodded, understanding. They both knew that a situation like this; an unexpected takeoff, using machinery they hadn’t touched in years in a rather unorthodox fashion… it was very dangerous.
There was a pause as both of them concentrated at their work again.
“Do not worry. She will be fine,” Kalim finally said. She smiled at him and nodded, yet was unable to dispel her worry as she moved onto the next patient.
She was working on her tenth patient when a loud boom from an explosion shook her out of her trance. The ship shook even more violently than it did before, knocking those who were standing to the ground. It then began to dip and shake violently, throwing those who were not secured around the room. Brulee, Kalim, and the others who were tending to the wounded where bounced about; those that were secure grabbed at them to hold them down and help them into harnesses. The patients were already secured in their makeshift beds on the ground.
“The engine! It must have -” Brulee exclaimed before another loud explosion shook the frame of the ship. She began to panic, trying to free herself from the restraints that had been placed about her just a moment ago even as the ship rattled her entire being. Nearby hands attempted to keep her in her place as the shuttering worsened.
A jolt from the front of the ship jerked everyone forward. It seemed that they were falling downwards, at an alarming rate.
“We should not be falling down! We were in space! We were going to find another place to stay, to hide from the Legion!” Brulee thought frantically to herself. “Have we fallen once again to Draenor? But Shamundi said we had made some distance from there before we were to jump again. Is there another planet? Or has the Legion found us at last?”
The ship started to shutter violently left and right, shaking everyone alomst out of their restraints. A few of the less secured fell to the other side of the room; Brulee prayed they were alright. Prayed that everyone else on the ship would be alright too.
Those prayers were in her mind when the ship made its final landing in a jolting crash that broke most of the restraints in the room and sent everyone crashing down into unconsciousness.
Her head felt like it was on fire and too big for her skull. It pushed and throbbed against her skull, seeking escape.
She groaned, or at least tried to. Her throat was dry; all that came out was a rush of air and crackling noises that tickled her throat. She coughed and slowly moved her hands to try to contain her throbbing skull. They felt worse for wear too, her arms almost too sore to move.
Brulee lay there for a moment to try and figure out what was going on. Around her she could hear others, apparently sleeping. A few coughs, a few groans, but no talking.
“We were… we were running from them… agents of the Burning Legion… We… we were on… on the ship. The ship… it was flying and…”
Her thoughts were interrupted by a series of quick hoof steps walking on some sort of hard flooring. They were getting closer.
“Brulee! Thank goodness you’re alright,” came a hushed voice. Brother Kalim.
“Broth..ther… K-” Brulee started, but her throat was still too dry to speak and only resulted in coughing. A gentle hand touched her shoulder to hold her body still as she lay on the ground.
“Shh, don’t speak. We’ll get you fixed up right away.” A soft glow filled her mind and she could feel her headache ease away enough where she felt she could open her eyes.
Her view was filled with Brother Kalim’s kind face; a deep blue-purple, with only a few wrinkles giving hints to his age. He looked concerned.
She made a move to stand, but instead Brother Kalim scooped her up in his arms. She let him do so, as she had no strength to protest. Around them was a darkened room; no, a tent. Row upon row of injured Draenei lay there, likely sleeping. Many were covered with crude bandages. Her eyes widened as she realized just how many were inside the tent were she had been laying; nearly the entire room full of people she had been with.
Brother Kalim ducked through a flap of the tent, causing Brulee to shield her eyes from the bright sunlight.
Outside, there were rows of tents, each the same size as the one she had been in. A strange grass grew on the grounds between them, and oddly shaped trees grew in the distance. A few other Draenei bustled down the well-trod path that Kalim was walking on with her, that wove between the tents. Many were carrying bandages and other potions that would aid in healing.
The path ended at a familiar structure – a section of The Exodar. Brulee gasped.
“It… crashed?!” she exclaimed with her voice still ragged.
Kalim’s expression remained neutral as he walked towards the structure. “Yes, we did. Sections of the ship have scattered over this planet we crashed onto. We have been using them as bases for our recovery missions.”
The rest of their walk to the buildling was in silence as Brulee slowly pieced together exactly what had happened.
Inside the structure, even more Draenei were bustling. Some makeshift looms had been set up, where several weavers were hard at work constructing bandages. Others were mixing together various serums; one was even crushing strange plants and examining them under some tools.
Others who were not skilled in healing or the creation of potions and bandages were busy securing the structure. Brulee thought she saw some making a new one outside. Some were busy tinkering with various devices. One was talking through a holoprojector. Others still were standing guard near the exits.
Kalim carried her through the commotion in what she assumed was the commons area of this re-purposed structure into a smaller alcove. It contained a makeshift bench, upon which Kalim gently sat her down. She swayed, for a moment, before catching her arm against the wall to steady herself. Kalim, meanwhile, busied himself gathering some materials at a nearby table.
Brulee opened her mouth to speak but was interrupted by Kalim thrusting a cup at her.
“Drink,” he said.
Brulee grabbed the cup and did so. It was water. It was delicious. It soothed her throat. She drank it all rather quickly.
As soon as she had finished he turned and grabbed that cup from her and replaced it with another. “Drink,” he said again.
Brulee took a large gulp and almost spit it out. It was some sort of medicine or tonic, and it tasted horrible.
Kalim had caught her gag reaction. “Drink all of it, Sister.”
Brulee was pretty sure he was trying not to smile. “What is this?” she asked, grimancing before taking another gulp. Tasted just as bad as it did before.
“It is a tonic that will help you gain your strength quickly and innoculate you from several diseases of this world and from any further ill affects of the engine residue.”
“And did you have to put all of those effects into a single, disgusting drink?” Brulee muttered as she downed the rest in a single shot.
“I had little to do with it. And I’ve been told that all of those tasted much worse separately. Here’s some more water to wash it down.” Kalim handed her another glass, which Brulee inspected thoroughly before drinking. It was water, which cut through the nasty taste in her mouth.
As she drank, Kalim began to check her over more, applying the Light’s touch to ease her muscle’s pain and removing bandages she didn’t realize she had on before.
“What happened, exactly? After the crash?” she asked quietly once she had had her fill of water.
“You were there when the ship first shuttered, yes?”
“That was the hyperdimensional drive failing. The Exodar was never intended to run without the full Keep, but had been designed too. Something went wrong – some of the engineers tried to explain to me exactly what went wrong but it all went over my head – and when they tried to make the jump away from Draenor, the engine failed completely. We think it made a partial jump, but in the process the explosion happened and we were knocked out. Our people tried to fix the engine while we were still in space. I am sure they would have been able to, but there was a planet nearby. It had trapped the ship in it’s gravity field, and since we were unprepared for that with failing engines, our landing was less than satifactory. The ship could not be controlled when it landed, and I had heard there were even more system failures. It crashed in the planet, scattering quite a few sections across the land.”
“What planet is this that we landed on?” Brulee asked. Her eyes were wide; it was worse than she had thought.
“The people here call it Azeroth. We have met some denizens… albeit briefly.” Kalim frowned slightly. “It is not my place to say, but we may yet become allies with them. But for now we must focus on our own people.”
“I hope we did not land on them.”
“Not quite. But we are close. And the ship’s crash landing has caused more problems in their world than just taking up space.”
“Yes. Some of the … technologies used in the engines have corrupted the wildlife. Some seem to have turned into horrible beasts.”
“Does this radiation harm our people as well?”
“Not in the way that it does this world’s wildlife. Obviously we would not use such substances unless we had to, and even then we’ve never had a situation like this before. We do not become corrupted from contact with it, as they do. However, I do believe it had an effect on much of us, keeping people in an unnatural state of unconsciousness.”
“… What? What do you mean? It wasn’t too long ago that the ship went down.”
Kalim leaned forward to put a hand on Brulee’s shoulder. “It’s been two months since the crash, Sister.”
Brulee’s eyes widened in shock. “It couldn’t be! I just woke up, it did not feel as if much time had passed!”
“But it did. Every person who was affected by the gases fell into a similar sleep, with a similar reaction when waking. I had been monitoring you, Brulee, and you started showing signs that you would wake today.”
“Light preserve us,” Brulee murmured, still in shock from this revelation. “Was… was everyone effected by this?”
“Not everyone,” came Kalim’s response. “Some of us were not effected at all, while others have yet to stir at all. Those are the ones we fear for the most. You, along with others who were less affected by the chemicals would at least start to stir in slumber. The ones who have yet to wake are in a trance. An almost magical sleep from which we cannot wake them. And we had tried. We know enough now to at least keep those who slumber safe and treat their wounds, as well as being more aware of when they will wake.”
Brulee rubbed at head, hand moving down the length of one of her horns, which curved down the side of her head to her ear.
“Injuries… was I-” she started to ask before Kalim interrupted with another information spout.
“You sustained some injuries, yes.” He gestured at the used pile of bandages nearby. “But the more serious ones were treated-”
“- with bandages?”
“Yes. Not all who was awake at the beginning had the Light’s power. We focused our energies on the severely injured during the rescue operations; for those like you who only suffered minor cuts and bruises received attention from our physical healers.”
Brulee rubbed at her neck. “Makes sense…” Her voice dropped. “Were there many casualties?”
Kalim looked pained. “There were far too many.” He breathed in deeply. “Those first days were… rough, to say the least. Most in the safe rooms were – or will be – okay, but outside of those areas…” He shook his head.
She reached a hand out to touch his arm; the loss of so many looked to have been hard on him, after so much had happened to their people. The Legion, the Orcs, and now this.
Her gentle touched tightened more urgently when she thought more closely on what he had said. “Do you have word of my sister? Did she…?” she asked with haste, eyes flickering over Kalim’s face for any sign from him. It remained neutral, causing momentary panic from Brulee; had her sister been alive and well she would have met her when she woke. She knew it. Her heart began to sink.
“She was found alive, but barely. She is recovering, slowly,” came Kalim’s reply.
“Thank the Light!” her heart fluttered up again, and she could feel tears coming to her eyes. “IS she recovering? May I go see her?”
Kalim gave her an appraising look, and then sighed. “If you insist. It would not be my place to keep family apart. But I must warn you,” he said, bending over to look into Brulee’s eyes, “she is in the coma that many others are in, and she is still very hurt. I am confident in our healers abilities, but I do not want you to get your hopes up, just in case.”
“I… I understand. Let’s go.” Brulee moved to stand and wobbled briefly on her hooves, tail flicking lightly to keep her balance. Kalim steadied her.
“Do not worry; you’ll regain your balance and strength in time,” Kalim said with a small smile. Even as he said it Brulee could feel the calming power of the Light fill her body, giving her strength.
They left the alcove. Kalim guided her not outside, but further into the makeshift building. “We have our more serious cases inside here, towards the back. Everyone else is making due outside until we coordinate to form a more permanent living situation here,” Kalim provided to assure Brulee’s glancing at the entrance.
“Permanent living situation? Are we not going to repair the ship?”
Kalim sucked in his breath. “It is unlikely we can ever make the ship airworthy again. Pieces have scattered, as I mentioned before; large sections. We have made contact with the others who crashed with other sections, and it is apparent that the majority of The Exodar is half submerged in the ground. We do not have the manpower to even consider re-enabling it, and likely not the parts either.”
“Then we are stuck here?” Brulee asked, distressed. “But what if the Legion comes? They will, they know we have left…”
“Then this is the last time we run. We must fight. The natives here may help us, if we help them.”
As he finished speaking, they entered a small room through a cloth draping over the entrance. On the other side were rows of sturdy beds, filled with plush mattress and pillows. The room was dark as the tents before, dimly lit with purple-blue lights attached to the sloping wall. It was quiet, with only muffled noises coming from the bustling commons area. A few draenei were there, tending to the others lying the beds with healing spells and potions.
Kalim motioned to Brulee to follow, and they slowly walked down a row. Brulee’s eyes wandered to the others lying in the beds; most were in the magical sleep Kalim had mentioned before, though a few were sleeping naturally, covered in sweat from pain, she guessed. Almost all of them were covered with bandages; some seemed to have bled through still, even after a few months time.
“Here,” Kalim said softly, and pointed at a bed at the end of the row.
There lay Shamundi. Or at least someone who could possibly be mistaken for her sister; there were so many bandages.
One of her horns was half gone, the right one, wrapped in bandages along with that side of her head, covering one of her eyes tightly. Brulee could only assume it was missing or otherwise injured. Various bandages trailed along Shamundi’s chest and arms, leading down to her legs and hooves. No, hoof. Brulee gasped and took a step back when she realized her sister’s leg was missing below the knee.
A firm arm hugged her from behind. “It is bad, I know, but our healers have been working hard to-”
“Not hard enough!” Brulee exclaimed, distressed. “She barely looked like anyone has treated her!”
“She is doing much better than she was two months ago,” Kalim reasoned.
“Yet you do not offer her the assitance of the Light to treat her wounds?”
“Our resources are stretched thin, Sister. We cannot -”
“If you cannot, than I shall!” Brulee briskly summoned the Light to her hands. It flickered weakly, but Brulee did not notice as she turned to her sister. She stretched out her hands to her still prone sister, but Kalim caught them in his own. She struggled against him.
“Stop! Listen to me, Brulee. Listen. You yourself have just recovered; you are too weak to stretch yourself to heal someone else.”
Her struggles lessened. “But I must help her!”
“How? By collapsing from attempting to heal deep wounds with little strength and little training? These wounds are complex, Brulee. Inexperience healing could make them worse.”
She ceased struggling, hanging her head to hide her tears. Kalim tried to comfort her again.
“We have done our best with the Light,” he said quietly. “If we force her flesh to mend too quickly, it will only cause more problems in the long run, sapping her strength. We must let her body recover from both the wounds and the healing in its own time, even more so while she is in this coma.”
Brulee nodded, weeping gently as she sank to the floor in front of her sister’s bed. She knew that. She had learned that in passing, at some point in time. She knew all of that. But it was so hard to follow the rules when it was someone who was close to you.
Kalim stood near her murmuring comforting phrases as she got herself under control. The other draenei in the room kept themselves busy, either ignoring the spectacle or perhaps they were used to seeing such things happen. Some of the faces had been familiar on her way down there, after all. she was not the only one who had a loved one’s life hanging in the balance. She should consider herself lucky that her sister was still alive, albeit barely.
“Are you alright now?” Kalim asked gently. Brulee nodded.
“I… I should be fine. This is just… so much.”
“It is a trying time for us.”
“Will it ever not be?”
“One can hope so, Sister. One can hope.”