Thunder and Fear
(The Founders Arc opening)
CLACK. WHISH…. CLACK.
The sound of the bo staves connecting and the smoothed wood whipping through the air filled the small clearing, playing well with the hint of labored breathing and the occasional grunt and groan. His opponent ducked under a high, whistling swing and stabbed for his foot, trying to trip him, but he tossed his staff high and threw himself to the side, his form folding just for one moment into a sleek, silver cat whose dextrous tail controlled his spin and landed him back on his paws at the young apparent-kal’dorei’s side. He shifted back to a night elf with a wicked grin and caught the staff out of the air, smacking it down roughly on the elf’s light-haired head.
“O-ow!” When he spoke, the timbre of the young man’s voice and the whine to his tone belied his tender age, and he staggered, grabbing his aching noggin. “An’da! That was too rough.”
The night elf chuckled, straightening from his ready stance and resting the end of the staff on the ground. He leaned indolently against the wood, waiting for his special oldest child to recover. “Is that what you’re going to say to your enemy when he bonks you too hard, Yami?”
“No.” Yamiriel Whispersong-Silverwing wrinkled his dusky nose, rubbing at his head. “I’ll just do … this!”
The youngling whipped out his staff and hooked his father’s feet out from under him in one swift motion, pitching him over with a distinct yelp that left him on the ground, blushing, while his son giggled.
“Alright, you-” Rhese was grinning wickedly and climbing to his feet when a crack of odd thunder rolled through the clear evening sky, and he blinked, looking up with a furrowed brow. “…. a storm?”
And then he nearly tripped when a small form hit his calf, grabbing on with an iron grip. A trembling, tiny iron grip. The druid looked down at the silver-haired and black-eyed little night elven toddler clinging to his leg, his eyes widening.
“Y… Yami?” He leaned down and scooped the frightened child into his arms, as familiar with this form as with the dozens of others his foundling son could take. “What’s wrong?”
Yami looked up at the sky for a moment, fear written all over his cherubic little face, and then he buried his head against his father’s leather armor, managing a muffled, “Somethin’ bad, an’da. Tha’ sound means somethin’ bad!”
Rhese Silverwing frowned at that and looked up at the clear evening glowing above them once more, his gaze darting over the stars winking through the encroaching night. His big hand rubbed the toddler’s back with soothing strokes, and he said, “Don’t be afraid, dalah’alei. I’m here, and you know I won’t let anything hurt you.”
His little boy sniffled and nodded, clinging to him. The only father he’d ever known had always been able to banish his fears. But as Rhese started to hum softly under his breath, usually a familiar comfort, the child shuddered at the strange, new song that didn’t make him feel better at all.