[Story] Story a Week 17

[[ Using a new prompt list for now with one-word prompts. I rolled and got “horse”. So this is a very old horse character I used to RP on a horse MU* (don’t judge me!). She is a mustang who has had quite an interesting life. ]]

Tempest looked out over the valley where their small herd grazed. The last of the evening sun had faded, and the air had grown cool and misty with the promise of rain. The warm days would be here soon enough, and so would the foals. She looked forward to seeing her new foal, of course, its tiny hooves and sweet breath, watching them all play together and meeting their father and siblings. Her son, Tristan, kicked up his heels and chased the other boys instead of grazing. She knew it would be time for them all to leave very soon, and she wasn’t sure if her heart was ready. More than that, though, she found herself thinking of the foal that she had lost, back when they had lived in the forest. Most times she had no cause to do so, and letting the sadness in served no purpose but to upset her, but she couldn’t help it. Sometimes the memories were just too strong, too persuasive to keep away.

She had been the herd’s leader then, as she was now, but for some years they survived all on their own, without a stallion. They didn’t need one. Tempest and her second, a fierce mare called Ironhooves, were more than enough to meet any challenge. The dense forest where they slept provided protection from predators, and sweet roots and berries when they had eaten their fill of grass out on the plains. Of course there were those who called them foolish, and every stallion who passed by took it upon himself to prove himself to them. It never worked, they were all chased off, bleeding and humiliated.

Heart-Seer had been different, though. He was striking to look at, the purest white with eyes the color of a clear summer sky. Tempest had never seen a horse that looked like him. But more than that, he had a serenity and wisdom about him. Whenever he spoke, his words carried ancient truth. They didn’t like him at first, of course, and tried to chase him off as they had the others. But Heart-Seer did not run or fight back, he merely asked to stay and graze. Tempest was doubtful, but they allowed him to stay. He was polite and deferred to Tempest in all matters, which perplexed her. He told them stories, fanciful tales about humans and about the gods. Tempest liked those  stories the best, could imagine the horse goddess galloping across the sky making thunderstorms. Perhaps as he’d planned all along, the herd gradually accepted him, and when her season came around again, Tempest found herself wanting a foal for the first time. Ironhooves scoffed at the idea, but even she was excited to meet the herd’s first baby.

Fate, though, had other plans. Heart-Seer disappeared one night, and though she searched endlessly, Tempest never did find him. It was as if he had vanished from the forest altogether. Ironhooves said that humans might have taken him. Tempest preferred to think that the gods had claimed him, to run at their side. It was less heart-breaking to consider than the other options. At least she would still have the foal, some part of him to hold onto. But a great drought struck the plains, and their surrounding forest, and lightning struck a dried tree and burned much of it. The herd was forced to move on, during the hottest part of the summer. Without Heart-Seer to protect them, Tempest and Ironhooves had to defend the herd against predators and would-be conquerors. Food was scarce and the days were long. It took them many weeks to find a place that was both unclaimed and safe enough to stay. And by then, it was too late. The foal within her had stopped moving, and she felt her heart stop moving with it. Ironhooves showed a rare gentleness as she comforted Tempest, and she told how the little colt would join his father among the gods in the sky. It didn’t help, not really. The pain was like a physical thing, dragging her down and pressing on her heart. It wasn’t fair to lose both of them, why was she being punished like this?

Tempest shook her head, trying to free herself of the thoughts. Titan touched his nose to hers, reassuringly. He was the stallion who had joined them after they found the new territory. He told them he had once been with the humans, but he escaped. When he arrived, he still had rope tied around his head, and he carried their smell on him. He was a dark bay with white socks, larger than any horse Tempest had seen before. Ironhooves wanted to chase him away, but Tempest felt defeated. She couldn’t do it alone anymore, and she wanted his help. He was polite enough, and proved to be a good father to the foals. But he wasn’t Heart-Seer. Was he watching her, even now? She wondered if he would be pleased. Their herd was safe and growing, their foals healthy and the grass good. Tempest studied the stars, wondering if he was among them. She thought that she saw one twinkle; a bright big star with a smaller star beside it, and she was reassured.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Menissa’s Journal

For our first time, I think we did a pretty good job of making party food. Of course Tik was a lot of help, he gave us an idea of how much of everything to make, and how to make the recipes bigger, also how to put them on the tray so people can pick them up and eat them easily. No one wants to have to use a lot of silverware for food at a party and they don’t want it all over their fancy robes. Really it’s common sense, but you don’t really think about it. Tik made loads of rolls, both salmon and spinach, along with the things he usually does like little cubes of cheese and meat skewers. We both agreed that we should do some Pandarian food, because it’s something people wouldn’t have had a lot before and they seem to like it when we make it for dinner. Ara wrote a bunch of recipes down and then Tik helped us make them bigger for lots of people. We did some meat and vegetable skewers, some little buns with meat inside, a noodle soup and a spicy vegetable salad.

It was definitely a lot of work! I chopped so many vegetables I think my hands were about to fall off. Thankfully I already got my tests finished so I could just work and not worry too much about it. I mean, I don’t know how I did on them yet, but there’s no point in worrying about them now. I’ll find out once we get back from break. I don’t really have any plans for break. I could go back to the city, but there’s nothing in particular I want to do there — if I’m going to do nothing I might as well do it here in my own room. Plus I guess I’m still kind of annoyed with my parents for sending me out here, even if I do like it better than I thought I would. I know it doesn’t make sense, but if I stay here it’s like I’m proving it doesn’t bother me. Besides, out here there are a lot of flowers blooming and the trees are starting to get their little buds and green fresh leaves. It’s actually really pretty, and the air in the garden smells really nice.

Ara didn’t ask to dance at the party. She did want to show me some ruins out on the grounds, though. I guess that’s good? Ruins are more Lora’s thing, she’s always wanting to go into old buildings to look at ghosts or whatever. I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be like a date or not. I mean, she is a lot older, and she’s the headmaster’s sister. Not to mention that we work together. If things get weird, it could be really weird and uncomfortable. She could also go back to Pandaria at any time. She said she wants to go back and continue studying. I admit, from the way she describes it, I don’t blame her. She said it’s up on top of a really high mountain and you can see way down into the valleys, but a lot of time there’s mist and clouds all around, it must feel like you’re a bird flying above the whole world. And there are hot springs, and obviously a lot of Pandarian food. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be any good at punching and kicking things, but maybe they allow people to visit. I’m thinking way too far ahead though. It might not be anything, or it might just be a walk to see old ruins.

[Story] Story a Week 16 – Leporine

[[ Prompt: Write a story about a word you pick out of the dictionary at random.

I used one of the words of the day from dictionary.com — “leporine”. ]]

 

I love the day after Easter. Who doesn’t? All through March and April I’d resisted the siren song of jellybeans, chocolate-covered marshmallow, those little sugary chickens and, of course, the chocolate bunnies. But now I stood before the candy aisle, gripping my shopping basket tightly as I surveyed the options before me. All of it was on sale. Yeah, I know, it’s bad for me. Did I care? Not one bit. It’s only once a year, after all. I wasn’t too picky about what I put into my basket. I knew it was all good. Peanut butter filled eggs, the little crispy chocolate coins, orange jellybeans in a carrot-shaped container. There were some bedraggled plush bunnies and ducks too, bright ribbons tied around their necks. I wasn’t interested in those, but they had other decorations too. Little decorations for your table or your mantel or wherever you’d put a little ceramic rabbit holding an egg. It wasn’t like I had any particular desire for that kind of thing, but I dug around on the shelf anyway.

There was one that drew my eye, for some reason. It could generously be described as “homely”, made of some rough, coarse brown material like burlap. The eyes were black buttons, and it felt like it was stuffed with straw. No bright friendly ribbon around this one’s neck; rather it had a sort of primitive and slightly menacing look to it. In other words, I loved it. The weird little rabbit was tossed into my basket atop all the bags of candy. Why not? It was only a couple of bucks.

At home, I unloaded my stash into the cupboard. I live alone, so I didn’t have to worry about anyone stealing it. Really, it was more an effort to pace myself so I didn’t eat all of it a once. I managed to eat only the jelly beans and a few of those chocolate eggs with the gooey white stuff in the middle. I know, some people hate them. I can’t get enough of them. I needed a place for the strange little rabbit. I don’t have a fireplace, so no mantel. I set him up next to my collection of movie discs, his rough texture and appearance a sharp contrast to the sleek lines of my entertainment center. He didn’t seem to belong there at all, but he didn’t seem to belong anywhere, really. Hey buddy, I can relate.

When I woke up from my sugar coma, the little rabbit wasn’t there. I found him on the kitchen counter. I tried to assure myself that I’d just forgotten to put him up, and maybe he’d somehow fallen from the entertainment center… and rolled all the way into the kitchen and righted himself. Or more likely, I’d just forgotten. It wouldn’t be the first time, and not the last either. It was also oddly warm to the touch, as if someone had been holding it for a long time, or it had been in the sunlight on a windowsill. It was unsettling. I set it on top of my nightstand, and set to cooking some actual food that wasn’t shaped like an egg or bunny.

I guess my stomach wasn’t happy about all the candy I’d eaten, because the thought of eating anything at all was decidedly unappealing. I pulled some vegetables out from the drawer of the fridge. That was healthy, right? Surely it would counter my indiscretion from earlier. And more importantly, I wouldn’t have to cook them. Before I realized it, I’d finished the whole bag of carrots, several stalks of celery, and a bundle of spinach. I’m not normally what you would call a health food nut, so the fact that I even had that much in my refrigerator is kind of amazing, to say nothing of devouring it in one sitting.

Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw something dart across the room. As I don’t have any pets, my first and most alarming thought was — rat. I armed myself with a broom and went looking around, flipping lights on. The strange little rabbit was on the kitchen counter again. Had  I just seen it dash across the living room on its own? Of course not. That would be absurd.

But it kept happening. No matter where I would set it, the odd little rabbit would always return to its perch on the counter. I thought about just throwing it away, and I tried it once, but it was out of the trash bin and back on the counter within an hour. Also, other things are starting to happen. Things that I don’t know how to explain. My feet ache all the time and I could swear they’re getting longer. So are my teeth, the front two anyway. They were always just normal teeth, not perfect but okay. The middle two are definitely longer now. It’s not just my imagination. And I can hear things no one should be able to hear. Like people talking several floors above. They’re not just being that loud. I’m afraid something is happening to me, and it has to do with that little rabbit somehow. I’m more afraid of what will happen if I try to get rid of it.

 

[Story] Thorns – Harrier’s Journal

I went with Nash to look for eggs for the holiday. It’s really more for kids, I think, as there weren’t a whole lot of adults actually looking for eggs. But Nash never got to go as a kid, not to mention I am not going to pass up any free chocolate. I could have just bought some in a shop, but it’s more fun getting it for free off the ground, right? This holiday is a bit weird when you think about it. I’m not sure who hides all of the eggs, either. The kids kept finding more, so someone must have been placing them, but we never saw anyone doing it. Nash said he wanted to just wait for the guy and take all of them before he hides them. That would work, but it’s not really in the spirit of the whole thing. He also said we should just take some out of the kids’ baskets while they weren’t paying attention. Look, I’ve done some not so great things, but I’m not going to steal chocolate from kids. Besides, if we got caught they’d make us leave and draw a lot of attention, which is the last thing Nash needs. I finally talked him out of it. We didn’t get a whole lot, but we found a few that the kids had missed. There are always some hidden up higher and I got those ones, that the kids didn’t see or couldn’t reach.

There’s a booth where they sell things, baskets, toy rabbits, and things like that. They also sell real rabbits, I guess if you don’t feel like trying to catch your own. I got a black one and I pretended like I found it in the bushes. Nash had been all excited about one before, but then he kind of got cold feet. Like what if it dies? It shouldn’t die, I think rabbits are pretty easy to take care of. You just need to feed it grass and vegetables, maybe hay. We will need a little pen so it doesn’t get loose or anything. And I think it would be a good idea to keep the rabbit away from the furry people during the full moon. A rabbit would just look like a tasty snack to them if they’re in wolf form. Nash wanted to name it Mister McHoppers, which I think is a pretty silly name but hey, it’s his rabbit. He’s never had a pet. I haven’t either, I never really had any desire for one. I can understand where he’s coming from, because if it dies there’s really no one else to blame except yourself. That is a lot of responsibility. A lot of the sentinels have animals, but they’re not really pets so much as partners. But I remember Risarra showing me her saber cub right after it was born. I bet a nightsaber would be a pretty useful pet in the city, because it could guard your house.

Nash said it wasn’t exactly like he imagined it, but it might have been a little unrealistic. Like I think he thought chocolate was going to rain from the sky or something. It’s not quite like that. But he did say it was okay, which is something. I’m just happy I got some chocolate.

[Screenshots] SWTOR – War for Iokath

The new patch? Expansion? Came out today. This one doesn’t have the chapter system, so I’m not sure how much of the content I’ve done or what is left. I got as far as unlocking some dailies, but by that point I’d already capped my rep gains for the week so I opted to stop there and wait. I’m going to try tomorrow to see if Imp rep is separate so I can see that side of the story.

I have to say that from a purely objective standpoint, it would have made sense to ally with the Empire. As Lana points out, they did support me previously and they hadn’t made any aggressive moves toward me. At the same time, I always play Kazta as in-character as possible. I think it would be very difficult for her to just erase all those years of loyal Republic service, and she has seen what the Empire can do to aliens and innocents. She also has a great deal of admiration for Supreme Commander Malcom, as well as a very close bond with her former squad-mate, Elara. There was one short scene where they caught up, I assume there would be a little more with a romanced Elara. I am curious to see things from the other perspective.

It’s my hope the storyline will be furthered in later patches, because there were a lot of threads left hanging. Overall it’s okay, though the faction conflict seems pretty artificial, previously it had been moving toward being allies against the Eternal Empire, but now it’s no longer a threat. It just feels kind of artificial, the way Blizzard keeps dragging out the Horde vs Alliance thing even when it’s way past being stale. I do very much appreciate that I can farm regular mobs for command points, and they drop reputation items. I sure would have appreciated that in the Broken Isles.

Screenshots below the cut!

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[Story] Fairsong Academy – Terellion’s Journal

Orledin is still bringing bread every day or so. I hate to say it, but I think it might almost be too much bread. Some days, we can hardly finish it all. There’s a big basket in the kitchen of bread that’s stale. Normally we’d use it for crumbs, but it’s overflowing and there’s no way we can eat that many crumbs unless we put it on everything. And then maybe not even then. Orledin suggested we could feed it to the birds. That might be a good idea, but we don’t really have that many birds here, most of the ones that come to the garden eat bugs and seeds, I think. I’ve tried putting some crumbs out on a plate and they pick at it a little, but not that much. I think maybe he should feed it to Julan’s seagull. I don’t want to tell him not to make it anymore, because everyone does like it. But maybe just slightly less.

I think part of the reason he likes to bake so much is because of the other ranger there who helps him. The more time he bakes, the more time he gets to spend with the other ranger. Orledin was asking me for advice about that. I don’t know why, because I’m probably the worst person to ask about anything like that. Hethurin would be a lot better. For the longest time, I thought he hated me, and it was all just really awkward all around. I don’t suggest it at all. Things are good now, but I sure wish I could have done things differently way back then. So I just tried to tell him things that I thought would work, like talking to him about things he likes and doing things together besides baking. That way he could show that he wants to get to know him better, because I think that’s the most important thing. The problem is that the other ranger is alive. No matter how nice Orledin is, there’s a pretty big chance that will stop anything from happening. I didn’t want to say that of course, because I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but it is true. Then again, if Hethurin was a death knight I don’t think I would mind. As long as he was still the same person as he is now, not trying to kill anyone or anything. So maybe it would be possible. I just think it would be kind of weird to get used to, especially being cold all the time.

Tik and I are finishing the preparations for the spring ball. Malwen helped me decorate, there are ribbons and little bouquets of flowers everywhere, she helped me put those up. Tik spends some time out of the kitchen to visit his baby, but it still seems like he’s able to make the same amount of food. I don’t know how he does it. We did have some help from Ara and Menissa, too, so we should have plenty of food for this party. My spring cake has a tree covered with icing flowers and sugar birds perched on it. Then I also made little cakes with nests and candy eggs inside. They look pretty good if I may say so.

[Screenshots] Prestigious Bronze Courser

Or as I like to call him, “Death Unicorn”.

pres4unciorn
This mount is the reward for reaching PVP Prestige 4. It is the reason I even started on the prestige treadmill on the first place. I was happy to learn that it is account-wide, even for my Horde characters! (It looks great with blood elves, with the black and red.)

At my pace, doing the tower dailies and free-for-all once or twice a day, I earn one prestige level in a month or so. I could speed it up by doing arenas or battlegrounds but most days I just don’t have the time or patience for that (especially as Alliance). Since they’re part of my daily “routine” now, I think I will keep going. At level 5 I will get a title!