When Tertami met Atherya
The weather in Northrend was far worse than Tertami had been led to believe. When she’d boarded the ice breaker in Stormwind docks she had wondered why the more seasoned explorer’s had scoffed at her clothing. She was wearing thin leather garments at the time, light and easy to move in, but they were not meant for the harsh winters out on the Tundra.
As soon as she’d departed the ice breaker into Valiance Keep she had noticed the drop in temperature and change in fashion. The wind was biting cold here, so cold it made your teeth chatter. The sun was always low in the sky and barely warm enough to melt the icicles that formed on ledges and window sills each evening. Fortunately, Tertami has soon managed to barter herself some thicker, more robust clothing.
She was now based out on the tundra working with the D.E.H.T.A (Druids for the Ethical and Humane Treatment of Animals). Out here on the plains of the Borean Tundra the wind had few barriers to break its relenting speed and power and the rain poured in torrential, unpredictable bursts. It really was a wilderness where the animals roamed freely and largely undisturbed by man.
Atleast it had been. Recently there had been a surge in poaching and she had been drafted in to help D.E.H.T.A protect what remained. Tertami, being a druid herself, was very sympathetic towards the natural world and largely sided with the views of the Cenarion Circle. Sadly, her mission here was not simple. The poachers were part of Hemet Nesingwary’s crew of sport hunters.
She had had the displeasure of meeting this particular foul Dwarf once before, in Nagrand. Nesingwary was relentless in his pursuit of blood and had taken great delight in exterminating many of the wild animal populations of the grasslands. She had tried to intervene but alone she was nothing compared to his forces. But Northrend was different. She was not alone out here. She had D.E.H.T.A by her side. A group of like minded individuals fighting together for what was right.
It was now deep into winter and Tertami had been fighting poachers for several weeks. They had been dwindling in their numbers but had also found more creative ways to get what they wanted. Today she was patrolling along the coast near Kaskala. The mossy ground was damp and starting to ice over - night was setting in. She stood looking out into the deep blue of the sea as the light dimmed. As always the wind was howling around her and rumbling in her elongate Night Elf ears.
A gun shot.
Without a second thought she switched to flight form and headed north east to where the sound had originated, flying high to avoid immediate detection by her adversary. The dim light made visibility poor and so she had to descend. As she did a shadowy figure came into focus, before it the victim – a dead mammoth calf. Something startled the poacher and they dashed off with what meat and fur they had. Tertami landed to investigate the carcass. There was nothing unusual about the scene before her. The calf had been travelling with a nearby herd. The poacher had managed to get between the calf and its mother making it an easy kill.
It was now nearly pitch black on the tundra so Tertami headed back to camp to report her findings.
Over the next few days more and more remains were being found. It seemed the poachers had increased their onslaught. In response D.E.H.T.A had upped the frequency of their patrols but with dwindling numbers and the harshness of winter they were losing the battle.
It was an especially mild morning when Tertami first caught site of her foe. She was patrolling near the flood plains following a trail of fresh mammoth and caribou carcasses. The ground was strewn with blood and intestines, the signs of particularly messy butchering. The smell had also begun attracting scavengers such as worgs and vultures. She continued along the bloody path laid out before her.
Then she saw something. Just up ahead was a female Blood Elf inspecting the remains of what she had surely just massacred? Tertami held back, assessing the situation playing out before her. If the Elf was alone then she stood a chance of justice but if she has company she wasn’t so sure.
This was the first time she had seen a Blood Elf amongst the poachers and her behaviour was far from typical. The Elf seemed nervous and kept looking over her shoulder as she butchered the carcasses before her. There was something else unusual about her actions. She didn’t appear to be taking any trophy items, such as tusks, which were prized by the poachers.
Having established that the Blood Elf was alone Tertami decided now was her best chance to wield the hammer of justice. But something didn’t feel right about killing the Elf. She had been acting in an unusual way and perhaps she could aid D.E.H.T.A in eradicating this poaching problem once and for all. Tertami decided to capture the Elf and take her back to the camp for questioning.
She approached cautiously before entangling the Elf’s feet and ankles in roots. The Elf remained in her crouched position beside the pile of carcasses; she barely acknowledged the roots holding her there. Communicating with the Horde was never easy and if past experience was anything to go by they were never ones to give in. Tertami was careful not to get within arms reach of her prisoner.
“I am Tertami.” she said pointing to her chest, “we do not take the killing of innocent animals lightly.” she gestured towards the carcasses “I am taking you for questioning. Do you understand?”.
The Blood Elf looked up with her with her bright, piercing green eyes. She slowly began to stand stretching to her full height which was roughly at Tertami’s shoulder height. She was slight in build, well dressed and very calm given her situation.
The Elf inhaled deeply before speaking, “I am Atherya. This was not me” she looked at the mess of carcass and blood that surrounded her.
The Blood Elf lifted her eyes to meet Tertami’s and the two stood in silence for a brief second. The two races both shared a common ancestor but had separated many generations ago yet similarities remained.
Suddenly, a series of gunshots pierced the frigid air. It seemed the Elf was innocent and Tertami’s uncertainty over her involvement had not be in vain. She released her grip and the roots that had held the Elf in place vanished back into the ground.
“I have poachers to find” she muttered, half apologetically to the Elf.