(( credit to Vela for the title. Thank you for the help! ))
Breathe in. Breathe out. Focus.
Sidda breathed in through her nose, exhaled through her mouth, and tried to force herself to sit as still as she could, attempting to focus her mind and body in another attempt at trying to meditate. Not the easiest thing to do, at least for her.
But she had to. From the advice she has been given in her efforts to learn more of the earth, and how to use it, she has to learn to be like the earth: strong and unmoving, like a mountain. A feat that seemed to become harder each time she has made efforts to try to. And, unfortunately, each failed effort struck more at her confidence, and increased her ire.
Sidda let out another sigh as she once more shifted, trying to get comfortable on the large stone she sat upon. She silently wished she had worn more padded clothing instead of the lighter clothing she had opted to wear, which she had decided upon on the advice of how thicker clothing, and clothing in general, could hinder spellcasting.
Once comfortable again, she crossed her legs together and closed her eyes again, once more attempting to center herself. She reached out to the earth below and around her, trying to take it in and be one with it.
"You are persistent, small thing."
Sidda jumped slightly, opening her eyes, as she heard a deep voice ring out, feeling it vibrate beyond her ears and through her whole being. She glanced around and frowned, not seeing anyone near her. She detested unfamiliar, disembodied voices, reminding her too much of the whispers she has heard before.
She continued to look around before turning her gaze down to her feet, blinking. At her feet, she saw what seemed to be a small pile of moving rocks, seemingly looking up at her and staring. An elemental spirit! Or at least she assumed it was one. She blinked and instinctively moved to poke at it with a finger, though she paused and pulled her hand back before managing to accomplish that. “...who are you?”
"You seek the power of the Earth. Why?"
Sidda frowned, slightly annoyed that her question was ignored by the spirit. She eyed the spirit again before regaining her composure. “...I want to learn what I am able to learn.”
“Because… I want to be able to help.”
Sidda frowned at the spirit’s questions, noting a harsh tone coming from them. “...my friends. And Azeroth.”
“Because…” Sidda paused. “...I just want to. I want to help.”
“Because-” Sidda growled, growing angrier at the spirit’s attitude. She paused, glaring at the spirit. “...because I want to help undo what has been done.”
The spirit seemed to pause, eyeing Sidda. “What has been done cannot be undone.”
“I know,” Sidda replied, still frowning. “...even if that is the case, I have to try. Even if it’ll only accomplish something small, I have to.”
The spirit paused again. “That is not enough.”
“Then what is?”
“You must be worthy to wield the Earth. You must be strong.”
“I’m tryi-” Sidda paused, clenching her fists and staring at the spirit. She continued to stare at it before letting out a sigh and slump forward. “...I can feel the earth around me. I can sense the strength of it, but it’s out of reach. I’ve… been becoming stronger, but… each step feels more out of reach.” She looked at the spirit. “I need help.”
Once again, the spirit just stared at her. “You are not strong. You falter, break, crack. You cannot wield the Earth if you will crumble under its weight.”
“Then what more can I do?”
The spirit seemed to tremble, shaking a bit and emitting what sounded like crystals clinking together. “Prove yourself worthy.” It then shook one last time before crumbling, the elemental spirit going elsewhere.
Sidda watched as the spirit left, not sure how to feel about it. A somewhat success that did little to help push her forward. Doubts once more nagged at the back of her mind, weighing it and dragging it down.
She curled her fist and punched down onto the rock. A move that she will probably regret later, but one that brought a pause to those thoughts. The spirit told her to be stronger, so she will be. After all, the earth didn’t doubt. The mountains didn’t doubt. They stood strong, unmoving and stubborn.
So would she.
Nnngh… almost there…
Sidda felt sweat roll down her forehead as she strained to keep herself balanced as she looked towards her objective, now so very close to her. She, partially out of boredom and partially in an attempt to continue her training, opted to spend some time today scaling the hills and cliffs along the northern borders of Stormwind and Elwynn Forest. It was much different from climbing trees and scaling buildings, but it felt similar in ways as well. Perhaps a bit more dangerous, though. She didn’t want to think about that at that present time. At least she had an emergency Goblin Glider Kit in case something happened.
She found a place to grab ahold of and gripped it before moving her foot, searching for a new step. She found it and moved up once again, this time into grabbing distance of the cliff she was aiming for. She grabbed the edge of it before pulling herself up onto it, using her legs to help roll her onto her back. She looked up at the sky before she shifted and looked over the edge of the cliff, looking at the forest and the city before her.
She let out a sigh before pulling her waterskin out and taking a few gulps of it. She put it aside and stared off into the distance, just enjoying where she was and the view she had. She then leaned back and flattened her palms against the stone she sat on and closed her eyes, muttering softly and slowing her breathing.
Once she calmed herself, body and mind, she reached out around her. She reached out through the stone and into the mountain, feeling it as if it was a part of her. She felt it’s ridges and slopes of the earth. She felt the caves, caverns, and tunnels within it, whether they were exposed or not. She felt the weight of it on her, pressing against her from all angles.
She also heard things as she focused. Bits of noises and possibly chatter, but she turned away from all of that, aware of the dangers of listening to the deep places. But there was one voice she couldn’t ignore: a loud cry coming from seemingly far away but everywhere at the same time. It wasn’t a normal cry, like what you’d hear from most people, but Sidda could feel what it was. A cry of pain, anguish, and fear.
This wasn’t the first time she’s heard it, having heard it before. Every time she heard it, made her feel nothing but sorrow for the wounded world, and powerlessness for not being able to do anything meaningful to ease the pain.
“There is little you alone can do about it.”
Sidda blinked and opened her eyes, glancing around her before spotting, once more, a small moving pile of rocks looking up at her. She wasn’t sure if this was the same spirit as before or a different one. Regardless, she eyed the spirit before responding. “I’m aware that there is little I can do. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t keep trying to see if there is something more I can do.” She frowns a bit, thinking. “...I’m currently doing what I can to help those who are working to ease Azeroth’s pain. But I want to be able to do more.”
Sidda recalled a conversation she had weeks ago with a Troll shaman, one that was associated with the Earthen Ring. They spoke about the efforts to heal Azeroth, about what the Horde and the Alliance could do to aid the effort, and what they could do to help in their own way. Lacking in any real way to aid the efforts in Silithus, Sidda gathers supplies every so often to send to those working there, and has recently included containers of cooked food and baked goods that would be able to remain stored there. And while the shaman she spoke with encouraged her that what she was doing was plenty enough help, it still didn’t feel like she was doing enough.
The spirit looked at her, seemingly tilting its head to the side as if it was thinking. “You are unsatisfied with what you are already doing?”
Sidda eyed the spirit and shook her head. “That’s not what I mea- ...of course I’m satisfied with… what I’m doing already...” She paused.
The spirit continued on. “You do what you believe is what you should do, yet you focus on what more can be done.” It pointed to the sky. “Your thoughts are focused beyond where you are, of what could be. Your head in the clouds.” It then pointed to the ground. “As you do that, you forget of what is now. What you have done and are doing. You say you are doing what you can, but don’t acknowledge it yourself. You ignore the moment.”
Sidda eyed the spirit before glancing down at the rocky cliff she sat on. She let out a sigh. “...I’m aware. I ju-” She paused again. “...I’ve had a conversation like this recently. With my mother.”
“Your mother is wise.”
Sidda nodded. “...she is.”
The spirit shifted and looked at her again. “If you seek to be the earth, ground yourself. Then you will be able to wield the power within it.” It then shook a few times before crumbling back into pebbles.
Sidda stared at the small pile of pebbles before looking forward again, quietly thinking to herself once again. She then leaned back once more and enjoyed the view. If she is to ground herself in the moment, she was definitely going to do it while enjoying the view.
Sidda fell to her knees, breathing harshly and sweating as she stared at the stone wall she was looking at. More specifically at the four blast marks in the stone wall, with each mark holding a solidified shard of earth imbedded into the stone.
Four bolts. That’s what she was capable of for now before becoming too exhausted to fire more. She wasn’t sure if that was simply all she was capable for now, or if she was potentially doing something wrong or overexerting herself in the process. But it was still progress, and Sid found that acceptable.
Sidda continued to breath hard for a few more moments before gaining control of her breath, slowing it, and her heartrate, back down to a more relaxed, if still exhausted, state. She stayed there, kneeling on the ground, before slowly getting back up to her feet and walking over to the stone wall. She inspected one of the blast marks, poking at the stone shard imbedded into the wall before carefully pulling it out, inspecting it absentmindedly. She then placed it onto the ground before sitting down, leaning against the wall.
Despite how slow the progress felt to her, she has improved immensely since she began focusing more in learning how to use geomancy. The difference between the shadow magic she knew to conceal herself and move around undetected, and the magic she was trying to learn now, was much clearer now than it had been before. As well as the toll it had on her. Thrukla, the Mag’har shaman she was introduced to by Alice and Edward, and had been speaking with, had told her that it was not something to be rushed, yet she wondered if it was even possible for her to even attempt to rush it. Or perhaps she was already and needed to slow down even more, something she would be too willing to do.
Sidda let out a sigh and closed her eyes, focusing her mind and body before placing her palms against the ground and reaching out into the earth and stone around her. This was something she was beginning to enjoy more lately, despite the despair she felt as she continued to hear the cries coming from the world. It was still a strange experience to her, reaching out beyond her own body and feeling something else. And yet, it still felt natural to her.
Sidda’s breathing slowed more as she opted to push further, wanting to see how much she could push past and how far she could reach out. When she went as far as she could, she went downward, being cautious. Once more, she heard more noise the deeper she probed, taking that as a sign to not go further. Having reached the limit of how far and how deep she could go, she settled where she was and focused on that.
But after a long while, the noises and chatter from the deeper parts of the earth suddenly stopped. The cries she heard coming from the world itself also stopped. Sidda sat there, disturbed by the sudden silence and becoming worried. Fear and worry kept her in place, but soon her curiosity rose. She prodded deeper than she had before, found nothing and heard nothing else, and proceeded to prod further. She continued being cautious, refusing to delve too much further at a time. Still hearing nothing, and her own fear pulling the reins of her curiosity, she began moving her consciousness back.
Suddenly, she felt everything disappear around her. The earth, the weight, her body, it all disappeared as she felt herself suddenly falling into cold, dark nothing. She panicked, trying to move, trying to return, but couldn’t
Another moment later, she noticed that she wasn’t alone. She felt something cold, colder than the emptiness around her, and it spoke.
“All alone, in the dark. Young. Naïve. Your eyes are closed. Open them.”
Fear and panic filled her. She fought harder, struggling to escape this cold place. She cursed her stupidity. She knew the risks, and still made the mistake. As she fought, she heard and felt movement as more voices appeared.
“There is no hope. Let go. Open your eyes.”
“What hope do you have, when even he was bent and broken before us?”
‘No! Shut up!’ As the voices multiplied, Sidda only fought harder. She’s faced these voices before. She wouldn’t let them get to her. She felt herself move. She had control. She could escape. She moved to escape, fighting off the presence, but felt it’s hold tighten. She then felt something, or somethings, wrap around her neck and get closer to her ears.
“You want to save them? Embrace us. We will help you save them.”
“You love them, right? Let us help you.”
‘SHUT UP!’ Sidda continued to struggle, fighting against the voices. They kept multiplying and grew louder. She felt herself being pulled further down. She tried to move upwards, away from the darkness. She instinctively reached out for help, wanting to escape, but she felt more of those cold tendrils grasp and wrap around her and-
Sidda suddenly felt herself shoot up from the ground, standing up and gasping for air. She glanced around, slightly blinded by the fact that the sun was out. The cold feeling that she was feeling moments ago faded away in the warmth of the sun.
“The deep places are dangerous. Do not forget again.”
Sidda blinked, looking around again. She then spotted the spirit, the little elemental consisting of rocks and pebbles, looking up at her. She eyed the spirit as she caught her breath. She felt herself want to argue at it, but paused, thinking. She then slumped back to the ground, leaning back against the mountain, before looking at the spirit again. “…why did you save me?”
The spirit continued to regard her but was silent for a time before it finally spoke again. “You asked for help.”
Sidda blinked at the spirit, not seemingly expecting that answer. She also wasn’t entirely expecting the spirit to come to her aid when she called out. She quietly looked at the spirit, wondering what that meant.
The earth spirit continued to look at her before it spoke again. “Be careful. We will not be able to help again.” After it had said that, it once again departed, leaving the pebbles and rocks behind to collapse. As well as leaving Sid to her thoughts.