[Story] Fairsong Academy – School Shopping

The stationery store bustled with activity, packed with school-age children and their parents buying up the needed supplies for the start of school. There were displays of various types of quill pens, another with journals and notebooks to write in, and some featuring paints and colored pencils. Raleth had never thought he’d seen children so excited about pencils and paper before. Of course he’d wanted to bring Naraleth with him, to take part in the excitement of going to school — big kid school, as Naraleth called it — for the first time. And it was possible that no one would have noticed that Naraleth was quite a bit taller than most children his age, that he had a different tone to his skin — but it was very unlikely. Raleth lived with the fear of what might happen if anyone outside of Fairsong Academy might learn about his son, it never really left his mind. So he’d taken the list of supplies and gone to the city himself, promising to get every last thing on the list. They could have gone to Shattrath, and indeed Raleth thought that next year they would, but the shops there were much smaller and had less variety to choose from. And Naraleth still wouldn’t get the experience of meeting the other kids, talking to them and feeling the anticipation of the new school year.

Raleth wandered over beside a harried couple who were holding armfuls of paper and notebooks as their twins picked out more items. He’d mentioned the idea of a sibling to Vaelarian, but he hadn’t really had a chance to discuss it with Lali yet. Naraleth was old enough that he would be able to play with a baby safely, and he might really enjoy being a big brother. Of course, as Vaelarian was eager to point out, they might hate each other too. Raleth could have done without his own older brother, even when they’d been young there had never been much warmth there. But he liked to believe his own would be different, certainly he saw none of the cruelty or ruthlessness of Sorran in Naraleth. But Lali would be busy creating lessons and preparing for class, and maybe it wouldn’t be a good time to bring it up. Several other women around the Ghostlands were expecting, and though they weren’t kaldorei, it might give them something to talk about.

That was another thing, Vaelarian had suggested that Lali should remain in the nursery classroom rather than teaching the older students. He didn’t say it, but he implied that she didn’t know enough to be instructing young blood elves in their history. So what if she was still learning? That didn’t make her any less intelligent, or less capable. Of course, she might prefer to stay with the babies, but that should be her own choice, not Vaelarian’s or anyone else’s. Hethurin had been discussing finding a second teacher, since there would be several new general education students this year, but Raleth hadn’t seen one yet. Looking over each of the items carefully, Raleth compared them to the list that Lali had prepared, and set the items into his basket. He added some things that weren’t there, like a pencil sharpener, and some bookmarks. Those were always useful.

For some time, Vaelarian’s presence had actually been somewhat tolerable. He spent a lot of time playing with and caring for Naraleth, and sometimes he even used Raleth’s name. But lately he’d been his old self again, going out of his way — as Raleth perceived it — to fluster and annoy him. They were still taking their weekly trips to Ratchet, something Raleth didn’t enjoy at all. It took him away from his own home, the goblin town smelled something awful, and he always felt anxious being in Kalimdor. Vaelarian was meeting with the sentinel, which is to say they were spending the day in her room at the inn. She was tasked with locating Lali, and Raleth had to go along with Vaelarian’s demands or he could tell her the truth — all of it. Wouldn’t he rather go and stay with this woman? Clearly she could tolerate him, which was more than Raleth could say for himself. Vaelarian would probably be happier in the woods, surrounded by trees and fellow kaldorei, than skulking around the Ghostlands. But he waved the idea away, saying he preferred to stay here. Raleth would have to see if Lali could change his mind. He could still visit Naraleth, of course, but it would be much preferable to have visits rather than a constant presence. Raleth knew that he loved Lali — and Naraleth — and deserved to be able to see them, but the old man certainly got on his nerves often.

His basket full of the required supplies, Raleth picked out the last item on the list — a lunch box. It was made of wood and carved with a design depicting trees and elf rangers stalking among them. Hopefully Naraleth would like it.


[Story] The Ghostclaw – Faeris’s Journal

Julan and I are back from our trip, and back on our patrols again. I have to admit, walking around in the forest isn’t as fun as laying in the sun on a beach while drinking a tasty drink with a little paper umbrella. And it’s definitely not as fun as inviting people over to our room. But at the same time, it’s good to be home again. Kavia was excited to see me, and wanted to know about everything we did. I left some parts out, obviously, but I told her about the town and the beaches and things like that. It’s also good to see our little cabin again, and spend time with just Julan. Not that it wasn’t fun having guests, but sometimes I like to have him all to myself.

We unwrapped all of our presents from the party. Most of them were practical things, like my parents got us a set of dishes. We already had a few, and it’s not like we really cook here much, but it’s nice that they are made of wood so they won’t break easily. Maybe my mother remembered all of the times I accidentally broke her dishes when I wasn’t paying attention. Orledin gave us some kind of skeleton that he’d put together with wire, which is a little creepy, but I guess we could use it for a decoration or something. The Captain gave us robes, they have the first letter of our names on them so we can tell them apart. That’s a pretty good gift. Julan’s brother gave us a box from the one shop in town. I was surprised because he doesn’t seem like the type of person who would even know that stuff exists, let alone go inside. But he got us some good things, we were having fun coming up with different names for some of them. The big one is called Mister Kaldorei. I guess Julan’s brother is going to stay here and do paperwork for the Captain, it’s good that they’re going to finally get to know each other. It has to be a little weird learning that you actually have a brother after all those years. My brothers are a lot older, so it’s kind of like I was an only child. They’d already grown up and married rich girls from good families, so my parents didn’t really care what I did. At times it kind of made me mad, but I’m glad about it now. I’m happy that I could make my own choice instead of doing what they wanted.

I also thought it would be fun to make up some of our own drinks like the ones they had there. Obviously they wouldn’t be exactly the same, but we could come up with the names and they’d be our own unique ones. And of course, we can’t make them for any of the other rangers, because alcohol isn’t allowed in the lodge. Unless we invite them to our cabin, I guess. But I don’t want to bend any rules, they can just be for Julan and I. When it’s cold and snowy outside, we could make up some drinks and put umbrellas in them and sit in front of the fire and think about the beach. I think that sounds nice.

I kind of wish we’d talked to the guys there a little more. Obviously there had to be some story there, otherwise how would a kaldorei even meet a sin’dorei? Maybe they were pirates or something, that would make sense. Except Julan said that the kaldorei was a clock maker, so I don’t know. Unless that was just his cover for actually being a pirate. Maybe. I just hope Julan doesn’t get any ideas about running off with kaldorei clock-making pirates.

[Art] Ingvar Ironfang

A less-sticky picture of Ingvar Ironfang, Mr Hare’s character. I promised I would finish it once ArtFight was over!


[Art] Stick Figure GURPS


A group stick picture of our GURPS crew, including two special guest characters this week!

Left to right:

Ingvar the Paladin, Mikolas the Bard, Elfalina the Ranger, Raloric the Mage, Tony the Cleric, and Luthian the Fighter.


[Story] Character of the Week – Ahali Whitefeather

[[ Ahali is a Tauren shaman who has been looking after Makota, a Sunwalker, after her mother passed. Here’s a story from his past, with Makota’s mother. ]]

“Ahali!” The voice called from deep within the shadows of the thicket. “What are you doing so far out in the woods?”

The shaman couldn’t hide a little smile at the protest; he knew the voice well and knew also that her protest was all for show. Sure enough, Tahanah emerged a few moments later, with a great rustling of twigs and leaves, which still clung around her horns. Ahali couldn’t remember ever seeing her without something caught in them.

“Well, if you don’t want any of this, I could just take it back…” Ahali reached to pick up the reed basket at his hooves, heaped full of freshly-baked bread. The delicious smell seemed even stronger in the warm afternoon sunshine.

Tahanah huffed and shouldered him aside, crouching to look into the basket. “They baked all of this just for me?” She took one of the small rolls, round as a boulder, and bit into the crust.

Ahali shrugged, still smiling. “Not exactly, no. But I took a little extra, and I figured you might want some.”

She hooked the basket in the crook of her arm, striding quickly over the forest floor. “Come on,” she called back to him. “We’ll need some jam to go with this.”

Ahali had been to Tahanah’s home a few times before — he was hesitant to call it a den, but if he was being honest, that’s really what it was. Hidden between several massive boulders, it was well protected from the elements and from intruders. It was exactly the sort of place a bear might sleep — which was fitting, since she often changed her shape into a bear. Thankfully, she didn’t today. It wasn’t that she was more frightening, he’d seen bears plenty of times before. And she still held that same look in her eye, that sparkle of wit and curiosity that she always had. It was more that any conversation with a bear was frustratingly one-sided. As they neared her shelter, Tahanah ducked inside and emerged a few moments later with a small clay jar, and a bunch of dried fish tied up with twine. She brushed off a nearby rock and set the food upon it, as well as the basket.

She’d never been one for small talk. It was probably why Ahali had never really found the right time to talk to her — really talk, the way he wanted to. Couldn’t he now? She spread jam from the little jar onto another roll, and began cutting the dried fish into smaller chunks. He didn’t really know what to say. It was better to stick to safe things. “Are you coming back to the village?”

Tahanah shrugged. “I don’t think so. I like it out here.”

Ahali frowned a little, looking more critically at the forest surrounding them. “Isn’t it dangerous? There are elves near here.”

“I know,” said Tahanah. “They aren’t dangerous.”

Ahali’s ears lifted in surprise. “No?”

“Just as long as you don’t startle them. But the same could be said for me, couldn’t it?” She grinned at Ahali.

He nodded meekly. On one of his first ventures into the forest, he’d accidentally stumbled over her while she was sleeping. As a bear. Thankfully she’d realized who he was before anything too serious happened, but he still bore a few scars from that mistake.

“I stay away from their dens, and they stay away from mine. It’s all right.”

Ahali frowned, pulling a chunk off from his roll. “But aren’t you lonely out here? I mean–” he hastened to explain. “There’s no bonfire or shops or anything at all.”

“Exactly. That’s the point.”

Ahali sighed. He couldn’t understand, not really. It was nice to be alone sometimes, to gather one’s thoughts and feel a closer connection to the ground beneath their hooves. But all the time, forever? He couldn’t do it. Especially not on those blustery, windy winter nights, wouldn’t she like to have someone else around?

She gestured toward the clay jar. “Have some jam, it’s good.”

Ahali spread some onto his bread with his knife. It was good, of course. It tasted of the forest, of the summer sunshine and the fresh water of the stream, of the vivid green leaves and the little furry creatures that scurried beneath them. She belonged here, just as he belonged to the elements. He couldn’t change her nature any more than he could change his own, but he could learn to live with it.

And it was a pleasant place, he could see why she enjoyed it. Even more so while they shared a delicious meal together. He’d just have to bring more next week.

[Art] Mini Horse Update

I had been neglecting the mini horses due to ArtFight, but it ended last night so I was able to work on them again. They are in different stages of being finished, but three were able to be sealed today. This one is definitely my favorite! It’s not too visible in the photos, but the grey areas are actually metallic silver, so it has a kind of tarnished finish.


And here he is next to my gold chase horse. This one has not been painted by me, he came this way in the package. But I think they make a good pair!



[Story] Fairsong Academy – Braedra’s Diary

Isturon hasn’t been around lately. That’s not entirely accurate — he has been around his house. I’ve seen him once or twice in the hallways at the school, and he spends a lot of time chopping wood in his yard. He left a big stack of wood at the side of our house, I’m not sure why because it’s summer, but I suppose it’s better to chop wood before you actually need it. I also think it might give him a reason to be out there without a shirt on. I don’t know if he’s actually avoiding me, or just trying to give me space. I’m not sure which one I prefer, which makes it more complicated. I’m upset with him for keeping secrets, but I think I’m more upset that he doesn’t seem to think he did anything wrong. Or maybe he hasn’t, and I’m just over-reacting. Verisna said it’s very common among arranged marriages, and she would know better than I do. But I already know he’s willing to keep what he’s doing a secret, why wouldn’t he in the future as well? I am sure he’d say it’s different because he chose to be with me, but I still am not sure.

I went to visit Anorelle and deliver the gift for her and the baby. She seemed to love the outfit and the little soft toy. She gave me a tour of the nursery and I agreed it was very cute. I can’t help but feel a little jealous — not about the baby, I’m not really sure that’s something I want at this stage in my life. But because she’s so obviously taken with Arancon, you can see it whenever she talks about him. I wish I felt that way. Maybe I could, and it’s just my own worry and doubt blocking the way. She told me about their dinner with Aeramin and Imralion, and said she hoped that Aeramin would continue to work on his relationship with his father. There were times it was a little tense, she thought, but overall it went well. And he maybe was coming around to the idea of a sibling. It can’t be easy to be an only child for over a century and then suddenly not be. Anorelle seemed a little confused by the books but she said she knew what they were, a lot of the lady rangers lend them around the quarters.

And then yesterday afternoon I had coffee with Verisna again. Actually, she had coffee and I had one of their fruit drinks. It was far too hot for coffee in my opinion! I’m not sure what kind of fruit was in it, they said the names but I didn’t recognize all of them. They use fancy exotic fruits from all around the world. Regardless, it was very good and refreshing. Bailas was with her, which I assume means they’re trying to work things out. I’m glad, I think she was being a little too harsh on him, he just made a mistake. Maybe I’m being too harsh on Isturon too, but then again, we aren’t married either. That was mostly what I talked about, I’m just not sure what to do. I mentioned maybe talking to Keyalenn’s father some more, and Verisna mentioned that she knew him. Evidently he’s popular to have at parties. She also said she knew several married men who are looking for company. I don’t think that’s the sort of thing I want, but I am not really sure, am I? She said there is a meeting place for singles on the island, people go there to meet and have drinks and the like. I’ve never been to the island, that’s for rich people. She also told me about a beach where no one wears clothes, and suggested I should go there. I don’t think so! I’m sure no one wants to see me without robes on, and I definitely don’t want to see any old men in that state. Still, a vacation could be nice. I know I just went on one, but maybe I could go alone to have time to just think about things. I could ask the lady in the womens’ building to check on the girls, or they could stay there temporarily. I don’t have the money for something like that right now though, so it’s only a dream for now.