(Uh, think I ought to give a PG warning for this :P Also, intro is quoted from the Great Bear Spirit, in Moonglade, and is the very first lesson young druids learn, when starting their training down the feral path. It is the closest thing to a life-motto that Windstar has.)
Strength of the body is the power and swiftness of action. You must keep yourself fit at all times, both physically and mentally. The bear's girth highlights it's strength, as it is a ferocious foe in combat. The bear's girth, however, belies it's agility and sharp mind. These are surprises you will use to your advantage.
You must rely on the strength of the bear's body in order to master the way of the Claw.
Strength of the heart is what gives you the resolve to take action... action that is rooted in intents that are pure and forthright. To keep the balance is not to be complacent or banal.
You must show resolve for that which you believe in, and you must be willing to fight for it. The mother bear shows endless conviction in protecting her young, as does the elder bear protecting his den. It is this resolve, this strength of heart, which you must come to know if you are to master the way of the Claw.
- - - - -
Windstar stood before the large stone, the pouch of powder in her hand. She took deep breath, preparing to face the powerful moonkin known as Lunaclaw. The words of the Bear Spirit ran through her mind again. Muscles tensed, as ready as she could get, Star turned the pouch upside down over the stone. The dust glittered in the perpetual dusk that shrouded the moonkins' territory, then faded as it touched the rock's surface. Everything seemed to go still for a moment, then the air rang with the bellow of an enraged moonkin. Star whirled towards the entrance of the cave, as a huge creature charged down on her. The following fight was furious and chaotic, but finally Lunaclaw fell. Star approached cautiously, to make sure it was dead, when it suddenly lunged at her with a final desperate cry. One massive claw slammed into Star's side, and the world went dark with the pain. She barely held on, and managed to call down a strike of moonfire on the beast, which finally dropped dead.
Star fell as well, but then looked up as a dim light glowed in the small cave. Lunaclaw's spirit looked down at her, almost apologetically. It stoood, waiting, as she gathered what little strength she had left, and dragged herself nearer. At the spirit's feet, she collapsed again, rested for a moment, and then somehow managed to stand. She held one hand to her side, feeling the blood running through her fingers and down her side. The spirit looked her in the eyes, and she could hear it's voice in her head, commending her on the fight. As the spirit faded, she managed somehow to focus well enough to cast the spell to teleport herself back to Moonglade.
Remulos was meditating in his grove, when two of the wardens came, half-dragging a limp, bloody Night elf. They carefully set her on the ground, then one responded to his unasked question. "Lunaclaw. She won." He waved them away, then lifted the elf's head, to look at her face. He gave a small start as he realized it was Windstar. His forehead furrowed with concern as he looked her over to find the source of the blood that covered almost her entire left side. He finally had to peel her soaked shirt away from where it was sticking to her skin, and found the long gash on her ribcage. He grimaced at the sight. The gash went from just under her shoulderblade, along one of her ribs (which was badly fractured), and finally ended directly underneath her left breast. White bone showed through the raggedly torn skin and muscles. Remulos sighed, realizing that he couldn't leave her to her heal on her own. Even if she didn't bleed to death, an injury like this would leave her semi-crippled for the rest of her life. He closed his eyes, bent over her, and began casting his healing spells.
- - - -
Star slowly regained conciousness. She managed to open her eyes, and looked around, disoriented. Eventually, she recognized the room, and realized she was still in Moonglade. She was lying on her back, in a bed in one of the inns. She began to sit up, then stopped with a strangled gasp as pain lanced through her side. She forced herself to relax and slow her breathing, and gradually the pain receded to a bearable level. Slowly, she looked around, trying to not move anything besides her head. On a table near her right side, she spotted a small note. Carefully, Star reached for it, and managed to open it one-handed. It was from Remulos.
I healed enough to keep you alive and prevent you from becoming crippled. The rest is up to you.
She couldn't help a small wry grin. Honestly, she was surprised he had let her be taken into Nighthaven, but she supposed he didn't want her taking up space in his beloved glade. She dropped the note back onto the table, closed her eyes, and tried to rest.
Two days later, Windstar stood in front of a mirror in her room, left arm carefully raised so she could inspect the gash on her side. Most of the torn muscles had been knitted back together, but the skin was still a mess, with a long and painful scab running along her rib, and there was an enourmous blue and purple bruise that covered her side, from armpit to just above her hipbone. Her fractured rib was mostly healed, as well, but she still had to be careful about taking deep breaths. She looked soberly at the wound for another moment, then turned away from the mirror and allowed the nearby warden to wrap a bandage around it. She then grabbed her shirt, pulled it on, and hobbled out towards Remulos' shrine.
Star paused at the archway of the shrine, waiting until the Keeper noticed her. He was meditating, as usual, so it was several minutes before he looked up at her. Remulos nodded slowly, and said, "Good to see you up again, Windstar. I supose you will be departing soon?" She nodded back. "I was heading to the wind master now. I just wanted to say thank you." Remulos waved a hand absently, but Star could see the affectionate gleam in his eyes. "It was nothing," he told her. "Although, you may want to remain at home and rest for a few weeks. Maybe find a hobby to work on. It would be a pity to reinjure yourself, after I had to put you back together." Star grinned. "I may just do that. Malorne's blessings, my friend." He waved again, smiling at her this time, and she turned and walked slowly to the flight masters.
- - -
About two weeks later, in Stormwind:
Tad winced as he examined the still-raw scar running across Star's side, careful not to touch the blue-green bruises. "You know, sometimes you make me glad I wasn't called to be a druid." he told her, jokingly. Star chuckled, pulling her shirt back down. "I don't think I'll be going anywhere for a few more weeks. I think I'm going to go visit that old scribe near the canals. It seems like an interesting proffession. At least it will keep me from going out of my mind with boredom, while I finish healing." Tad looked at her incedulously. "You have a mind?" he asked in feigned shock. She swatted his shoulder, and he laughed as Keenath barked in protest. Star laughed too, then suddenly sobered as she remembered. "Tad," she began hesitantly, "something went wrong, after Lunaclaw hit me. I couldn't heal myself. I don't know why, but I couldn't." Tad looked at her, concerned. "Uh, that is not a good thing to hear. If you can't heal yourself when you're hurt that bad, what good is being able to heal in the first place?" He winced again. "That probably didn't sound right, but you know what I mean." Star nodded. "I do, and you're right. Perhaps it's just a block I have to work through. I just need to practice enough." "Uh," Tad said worriedly. "I hope that doesn't mean you're gonna go get yourself hurt again. Can't have my sister getting more impressive scars than me, you know." He ducked, laughing, as Star swatted at him again.