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Aiyan

The Compendium

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My Dearest Daughter,

By the time you read this, I will have long gone from this world, and you will have just truly begun to learn about it. I apologise for not being able to be with you as I'd have wished, but the degradation of immortality in our race affects me and the other elders far more drastically. I write this in the hopes that I do not leave you empty-handed, and that you gain a proper understanding of who your father really was.

I was left with only stories of my parents, and I would not wish that set of circumstances on anyone, least of all my daughter. Know this: I am very proud of you.

The Compendium is a very special tome. It was given to me by Aurin, my mentor, and before him it was in the possession of another. It is the last of its kind, I was made to believe. Its pages are heavily imbued with magic, Highborne magic. It was they who created it in the time of Queen Azshara before the War of the Ancients for the purpose of storing immense amounts of information in a relatively small space. Other compendiums contain magical formulae and histories, but this one contains only memories. For me, it contained the memories of Aurin. For you, it will contain the memories I write.

From them, I hope to teach you what I can of the world and its people so that you might not make the same mistakes as I did. May you appreciate the world for what it is ~ a challenge. I hope I might offer you counsel when the answer is lost to you.

Have faith in those you trust. Value your morals and your principles. For all that you are given, restore the same amount. I was always taught to trust my head, but it was your mother who taught me the benefits of following your heart. May you learn those benefits as well.

My love, always,

Aiyan

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<<PAST WRITINGS>>

. . . .

Perception is greater than reality. Understand that principle, my daughter, and I might hope to better justify my actions. Your mother would be the first to tell you of my fondness for 'masks' - my need for privacy, and the false emotions and guises I wear. It was for protection as well as usefulness. Anonymity allows for objectivity and rational decision-making, both of which will be important in your life. Not always, mind you. Your mother was one to teach me the wonders of love, which is perhaps the most common irrational force known to us all. You were another to teach me this.

Appreciate what you hold dear, because with the unpredictability of life, you've no idea when things might change. I have learnt that sore lesson with Ashenvale. I pray that when you read these words, it is a wondrous sight to behold once more. I doubt it very much. But we must hope, and so I do. I work hard to try and change its course, which is yet another important quality: determination and conviction. Learn them well, and you'll be the happiest and most-stubborn lady your friends will come across. If you are anything like your father though, I've no need to tell you that you should be stubborn.

It is curious, in writing this, I reflect on what it is I have learnt and lived through, and even though I have lived perhaps one hundred centuries, there is not a great deal. I am not sure if these words are of comfort to you or not - perhaps it is a sign of the simplicity of life, that learning how to do well at it doesn't involve much at all. Make the most of your years, dear one. They pass by faster than you like, and that will only hasten as you get older. Know that I love you very much, and that already, I am so proud of all that you are.

~A~

. . . .

How I Met Your Mother

It was your Aunt who introduced me to the Sanctum, and after learning of its goals and the people who comprised it, I had made the decision to join their ranks. At that time, the meetings were held in the Stormwind Park - perhaps I shall show you exactly where, one evening. My induction proceeded smoothly, however I was of the mind that the newer generation of druids had forgotten a great many of the practices and ethics that I deemed to be crucial. As is my wont, I decided to rant.

On and on, I prattled about the degradation of morals and an understanding of true druidism. I spoke of the blending of our culture with that of the mortal races, and all that I felt we had lost with it. As the humans say, I was standing on my soap box. All the while, there was a certain snowy-haired woman who was glaring daggers at me. She was affronted at my insinuations, as she felt she was being incorrectly represented by this old whining bogrot.

My words kept spouting, and her anger kept rising. Finally, she spoke up against me. In that instant, I learnt two things about Angeni Riverdawn: one, she will speak her mind when she feels the truth is being poorly conveyed; and two, she valued the ancient ways as much as I did. Both qualities, I admired. Perhaps in a later entry, I might entail the development of my relationship with her.

. . . .

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<<RECENT WRITINGS>>

. . . .

Oh, I hope in your day Auraya, you learn a bit about manners. Given the generation that's only just come before you though, I cannot say I am too hopeful. Goodness me, only reading those words I have written do I realise how much I've grown to be like Aurin. It is funny how similar we become to our role models as we grow. Perhaps it is intended - the decision to use an inspirational example as a framework upon which to base ourselves, and by doing so, becoming them with time and age. I feel egotistical thinking you might choose me, and while I would be flattered, I would hope that you would find a stronger man.

Shadows and subterfuge have been my tools of late. Manipulation, another. Orchestrating events of my own design because I am incapable of accomplishing my task alone. It is a dangerous game to rely on others for success, Auraya. Alas, it is the command I have received, and it is the command I shall of course, follow. My stamina is not what it once was. I've resolved to try a new recipe for the condition. Here's hoping that its success will allow me to hand this Compendium to you myself, many years from now. If not, at least this tool remains. Any words I can provide are certainly better than none.

. . . .

The Hood

Masks can be physical as well as metaphorical. Their function is, of course, concealment. My purpose for concealment is two fold: one, I am capable of representing more than I am; and two, I convey little to no facial expression in a conversation. Non-verbal cues are amazingly powerful tools. Often, they can betray your thoughts, and reveal truths that you would prefer to keep hidden.

With my hood donned, I am more than a withered, old kaldorei with lines creasing his face, scars from previous mistakes in battle, and hair with fading vibrancy. I am anonymous, serving as an instrument rather than a person. It was a technique I learnt in my years serving the Highborne family in Ashenvale, before their banishment. As a servant, I was treated as being lesser, and for most of their dinner parties and functions, I wore the plainest clothing and a high collar that masked the better portion of my face.

Taking that idea further (or perhaps not so much), I am still a servant, merely to a different entity. I can appear as more than a man, or less, depending on the situation. It gives me an option of greater control. It was many millennia ago that I learnt how to alter my shape to become a beast. I have since learnt the art of shape-shifting to become a different elf. The greatest challenge of the art is remembering how to unmask yourself.

. . . .

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