[Story] Ashenvale – The House

Bear is helping me to find a good place to make a house. I don’t know how to build a house at all, but Bear does, and he said he’d help me with it. There’s nothing wrong with my cave, I’d say it’s the best cave in the forest. But I know sentinels don’t like to live in caves, and though Zhyra comes to visit sometimes, I think I’d like her to stay more. It’s a strange feeling, because I have always preferred to be by myself, and at first Zhyra would talk too much and ask too many questions. She still does at first, but then after some time she can just be there with me and appreciate the sounds of the forest and all of its creatures. In those times it’s really nice, and I’ve got better at talking I think too. At least, I think I have. I guess only Zhyra would be able to answer that. But I can’t ask her to stay in a cave, she’d need a proper place to live. I don’t want to stay in town, but if I found a spot that wasn’t too far away from town, I think that would be okay. I could still go and check on my cave too; I am sure that someone will take it after I leave, but I have to be okay with that. I hope it’s some bears or sabers and not a druid though. Once I have a place to live, then I can ask Zhyra about it.

I don’t know if she’ll agree though. I went to ask Bear because he knows a lot about that stuff, and  because Risarra said yes. So he must know. But he just said that he wasn’t sure if she’d say yes either. Also, she wasn’t there. She had gone with the sentinel captain to somewhere in the Eastern Kingdoms. He didn’t even know where. He said he wasn’t worried but I think he just didn’t want to say it out loud. I wouldn’t blame him for being worried. I thought he would have gone with, but she left him some dumplings. If Zhyra went somewhere far away, I’d want to go make sure she was safe. They’re going to look for the old man and his grand-daughter, who was captured by a blood elf. That sounds dangerous to me. Also, if there are any druids there, I wouldn’t want Zhyra to go.

If I was a druid, I could just make a place to live quickly out of trees, but I’m not. Bear said the druids are probably all upset because they can’t have Risarra, and soon hopefully they can’t have Zhyra either. But we’ll see. It would be a lot easier if they all just went back into their barrows. After Bear and I ate some dumplings, we went out to look for a good place. I had a few in mind, that were high enough to not be flooded, and allow a good vantage point. They needed to be close to water too, for cleaning and fish, and because the sound of water is calming. It couldn’t be too close to a road or trail where orcs might travel. Zhyra said the orcs wouldn’t cause trouble anymore now, but I’m not sure if I believe that.  She said there was some paper they signed about it. Well, I don’t think orcs can even read, so how would they know about a paper? If I see one, I won’t kill it right away, but if it seems dangerous I will.

Bear didn’t talk too much on the way. I think he was worried about Risarra. We looked at a few different spots and he pointed out the good and bad parts about each. I finally picked one, it’s beautiful, especially at sunset. Bear is going to help me put some stones down for the floor tomorrow. I really hope Zhyra likes it, otherwise I’m not sure what I’ll do with a house.

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[Art] Happy Birthday Banjo 2019

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Banjo was born in Southern California, but he loved the snow! Today in 2000 was his adoption day (I’ve heard it called Gotcha Day), and I always used to make him a special treat. Now that he’s gone, I like to draw a picture for him.

He definitely would have loved the storm we just got, about 14 inches of snow!

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Loralinde’s Journal

The school trips to Shattrath are always so fun! It’s been a while since our last one, so I was excited to see everything and visit the restaurant and the library again. The library at the school is really nice, but the one there is the biggest I’ve ever seen, and they have different books of course, so it’s fun to look for new things there. The teachers still do some lessons, but they’re usually shorter so the students have time to do other things, and a lot of times they will take them on trips as well. Outland is warm in general, so there’s not really a good place to practice frost magic, but Keyalenn makes it work somehow. Also, Professor Raleth has been busy because he just adopted two new kids from the orphanage here. Actually, pretty much everyone has — Professor Firewind, the Headmaster, and even Des! She’s close to my age so I admit it got me thinking about whether we should get one too. It probably would be really difficult to take care of a child and do all my work, besides, we haven’t had our wedding yet. And Keyalenn’s father still lives with us, so we’d need another room. I really don’t mind him there, it’s better than him being alone all the time, and he’s nice. I was wondering if he might want some friends to talk to though, maybe even a lady friend who was interested in fake hawkstriders. I figure there must be some people in his league that he could talk to, maybe they’d want to share a house.

Keyalenn did suggest that I could help Mister Sorhorn with the younger students, maybe during lunch time so he could have a break. That’s such a good idea! I’m definitely going to ask him about it when we get back. That way I could see all the cute little kids, but it won’t take up too much of my study time. That’s best for now. Though I want to see if we can buy some manaberry bushes to grow inside our house, I think the winters are too cold for them, but we could get some planters and keep them inside. And if we had a solarium, they’d get plenty of sunlight! We don’t have one now, but Keyalenn is going to look into getting one built in the spring. I’m sure the Headmaster already has lots of plans for the builders, so we need to get on the list early.

I’m also really excited to go to Auchindoun again. Haani has been teaching me more draenei, so hopefully I’ll be able to speak with the ghosts a little better. I don’t want them to feel afraid or worried about me. Keyalenn says I’m not scary, but they never saw an elf when they were alive, so they might feel a little confused about what I am or why I’m there. Ghosts in general can often get confused about where they are, or even not know they are dead! Haani is also going to help me buy some incense and beads that we can take with us to leave for the ghosts. That should make them feel calm. The book I was reading talked about arakkoa spirits out in the wastes. I’ve never talked to one of those before, I’m not sure if they would even be able to understand me. The arakkoa (alive ones) in the market can speak, but I think they learned recently. Either way, Keyalenn offered to go with me to make sure it’s safe, so I am very much looking forward to that. I hope I can learn more about arakkoa ghosts! I need to start collecting my notes into a book soon, I could have a whole chapter about Outland ghosts. Keyalenn said there are a lot of ghosts in Northrend too, but I’ve never been there. I also need to see some kaldorei and troll ghosts from Kalimdor. Oh, and tauren spirits. I have a lot of traveling to do yet, but I can get started on the sin’dorei and Outland chapters.

[Story] Flood

[[ This week’s word was flood. Last January our basement flooded, so that’s kind of where the idea for this one came from. Also, creepy water critters. ]]

Mark surveyed the basement from the top of the stairs, and grimaced.

She had been right. It wasn’t so much that he disliked being wrong (though that was part of it), it was more that he dreaded the prospect of having to hear about it a hundred times in the future. Possibly even years from now. It’s going to flood, Kath had insisted, gripping her mug tightly as the watched the ominous weather reports. We need to put sandbags all around the house and move everything upstairs.

Most of the time, the alarmist weather reports were wrong. The actual weather they got was nowhere near as harsh as Floodpocalypse or whatever they were predicting. Besides, their house perched atop a small incline — if anyone was going to flood, it would be the neighbors at the other end of the street. The idea of first buying, then lugging around hundreds of bags of sand — who had time for that? And most of the stuff in the basement was just junk, his old records and boxes of winter coats and worn kids’ toys from when the twins were little.

The rain started, and continued for days, forming little rivers in the streets, and the drains overflowed. That was the first hint of trouble, but they’d had bad spring storms before. Mark was confident they were safe on higher ground. Until that evening, when Kath had gone to do laundry and uttered a cry of dismay. Dark water lapped at the stairs, their basement under several inches of water. She insisted that he go down and try to find where it was coming in, which seemed a fruitless task as it was probably coming in from everywhere. But she had been right, hadn’t she? Mark pulled on his rubber boots and got the flashlight out of the junk drawer and waded down into the basement.

The lights were off, and he didn’t dare turn them on even if they had been working. He’d read somewhere that was a good way to get electrocuted. The water rushed around his feet, gurgling at the top of his boots. It had a murky and fishy smell, having run through the ground to arrive here. Mark was just thankful it wasn’t sewer water, he supposed. The thin beam of the flashlight shone over all of the now-ruined stuff that he hadn’t wanted to move. He was going to have to move it now, wasn’t he? Only now it’d be water-logged and smelly, so it would be even worse. The basement felt eerie and strange, like he was exploring a dungeon or deep inside a cave.

Mark turned to return to the stairs when something bumbled against his boot. He gasped and almost dropped the flashlight, shining it into the water to see what it was. Just a branch, he assured himself, or a toy that had floated loose from the box. But whatever it was had felt alive, and Mark couldn’t explain how he knew that. He held his breath, watching the water for any other signs of movement. It rippled and trickled faintly from somewhere, but he heard no tell-tale splashes or saw anything else. It couldn’t be a fish, could it? How would it have got in? Mark couldn’t think of what other kind of animal might be swimming in their basement. Maybe a really big toad or, he shuddered to think, a snake.

Kath called down from the top of the stairs. “Did you find it?”

Right. He was looking for the spot the water was coming in.

“Not yet,” he shouted back, doing his best to sound cheerful and not annoyed. Or unsettled. What was that thing?

A flicker of darkness caught the corner of his eye, a shape moving effortlessly in the water. Flashlight held aloft like a talisman, Mark inched closer to where it had been. Whatever it was, it was big. Unless that was just the light — and his mind — playing tricks on him. Everything seemed more spooky in a basement, especially a dark basement with almost a foot of water in it. The thing brushed past him again, this time in between his two boots, and he could feel the muscular slithering of its vile body. And this time, he did drop the flashlight, uttering a little cry of disgust. It shone there under the water, its beam illuminating the strange depths. Pretty good flashlight, Mark thought.

He reached in for it, when something struck his hand. It took a second for the blood to begin running, but once it did, Mark saw the gash, between his thumb and forefinger. He’d just touched something, he assured himself. There wasn’t something in the water that bit him. That made no sense. Mark wrapped his hand in his shirt, but the blood soon soaked through. Whatever it was had got him good. Worse, it was stinging, not only from the pain, but it felt like touching nettles or poison ivy. The shape suddenly moved over the flashlight, silhouetted against the light. Mark could see its long sinuous body, the two pairs of meaty lobed fins, and spines. A lot of spines.

Forget it. He didn’t need the light. And he’d just have to sit through Kath’s scolding. He started to make his way back toward the stairs, when the thing swam directly in front of him. Unexpectedly, Mark felt himself stumbling and falling on his knees into the murky water. It struck at his thigh, and he felt teeth tear the cloth of his jeans, then the other. How was that possible? Unless there was more than one. Another latched into his other hand, its needle-sharp teeth sinking deep into his flesh. As if guided by a command, the others rose from the water, churning with their efforts. Mark disappeared beneath the writhing bodies, his cries muffled by the splashing.

Eventually the water stood still again, no sign of what lay beneath — and no sign of Mark.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Anorelle’s Journal

Tiros is a month old now. It’s hard to remember what it was like before he was here — more sleep, probably. But he gets hungry at regular intervals, so I know I can get at least a little nap in once he falls asleep. Arancon is here to help too, I don’t know how I’d manage without him. He told me that when Aeramin was born, he was busy with the harvest on his farm and couldn’t spend a lot of time with him at first. I’m glad that’s not the case now, but I wonder how Maena was able to manage. Esladra said Tiros will start to sleep more at night soon, which I’m looking forward to. I still feel tired overall, and a bit sore, but I think I’ll be ready to go back on patrol soon. I’m just not sure I want to leave Tiros with someone other than Arancon, I suppose the Captain has a lot of experience with babies. I’d like to see if I could bring him with, but I guess that might be more dangerous. Arancon said that Nessna is already back on patrol! Maybe it gets easier after the first one.

I admit that I miss seeing everyone and getting all the news. I’m here with Tiros alone most of the day so I always ask Arancon when he gets home. He said that Orledin is planning to bake some cupcakes for us, which is really nice of him. Tiros can’t eat them yet, but the rangers will enjoy them. The only really big news is that Aeramin and Imralion adopted two orphans from Shattrath. They are both human, one is a baby just a little older than Tiros, and the other is a girl who is nine years old. It’s exciting because they’re kind of my grandkids, aren’t they? I don’t know if Aeramin sees it that way, but I hope we can meet them soon. I do wonder if they wanted kids, why they couldn’t have just kept Lyorri. I wouldn’t take her away from her parents now, but it seems odd to me. But that’s between Aeramin and Arancon, I guess.

The other news is that Braedra and Isturon got married on their trip! It must have been the same place that we went to. I went to the school to see if she wanted to go for coffee, I wanted to get all of the details on what happened. She was completely surprised, she didn’t know he’d been planning it at all. Which is good, because if she’d known and not told me, I would have been upset. It sounds like their trip was really nice, I hope Arancon and I can go back one day. They’re also planning to have a party in the spring, I assume at the school. She said that Terellion seemed to be taking it okay, and the girls are very excited, especially Telaena because she wants to get a new dress and have flowers. I really didn’t expect it either, I don’t know him very well, but from what Arancon told me he seemed to be rather hesitant to commit. I’m glad that turned out to not be the case, Braedra deserves to be happy. Her ring is so pretty! She was worried that he spent a lot on it, and wanted to check on how his case was doing, but worried that it might look improper now that they are married. It just seems so unfair for Verisna to keep trying to hurt him even after she has a new husband. I hope she doesn’t come back here, Braedra was worried she might move out. I am grateful that her new husband was around to show Arancon how he felt about me, even if it was in a painful way.

When I first came out to the Ghostlands, I couldn’t have imagined I’d be where I am now. I saw it as a step backward, and felt ashamed of   being assigned out here. It just goes to show that you should give new things a chance.

[Screenshots] Happy Birthday Kazta!

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I am not sure of her exact birthday, but her first mention here on my blog is January 11, 2012. So Kazta is 7 years old this month! Wow, time sure flies. She is without a doubt my favorite character in SWTOR, and Vanguard is maybe my favorite class in any MMO I’ve played. She’s super brave and loyal and fearless, and I love that the game gives you different options so you can answer in-character.

When I rolled her, companions had set roles (tank, healer, etc) so I was constantly swapping between Aric (DPS cat husband) and Elara (healer). I need heals for heroics and bosses, but for ordinary quests, DPS is faster. Also back then, you needed to gear your companions — fortunately Aric wore the same type of armor as me so he’d get all my hand-me-downs. For a while we were perfectly matched! (Then I figured out how to save appearances… hey, I was a noob.)

I always want to write or draw her more but I never feel like I do her justice. I love my little brave zabrak!

[Story] Telaena’s Journal

The holiday ball was so exciting! The Headmaster got everyone new journals to write in, so I thought I’d start using mine now that we’re back in classes. It’s the first time I’ve had one, so I hope I’m doing it right! My mother said she has one too, just to write down things that she wants to remember or important things that happen. She wouldn’t tell me if she wrote things about me, but I’m sure she has. This is our first time going to Shattrath, usually just the mage students go, but I guess Mother or Terellion talked him into letting us go, too. I’ve never been somewhere so far away before, so I can’t wait to look around the city! Ter said there’s a big market with all kinds of strange things. I hope Rhan will go with me, I think it would be fun.

That’s the thing I wanted to write about! She gave me the most beautiful necklace for the winter holiday, it’s shaped like a flower and it has pink stones for the petals. I haven’t even taken it off, except to take a bath because I don’t want it to get ruined. I feel horrible that my present wasn’t nearly as nice, and I want to get her something but I’m really not sure what she’d like. I know what Elthanni likes, but I’m not really sure about Rhan. Mother said maybe some of those books, but I’m not sure if she’s into that. Plus, she might have a hard time reading them on her own, but we could read them together! Rhan thinks that makes her dumb, but really she’s awfully smart if she’s just started school and almost caught up already. Still, I don’t want to get her a present that will make her feel bad. We danced at the ball too, and we also kissed. Does that mean we’re girlfriends? I don’t know, I know Mother would say I’m too young for a girlfriend but I don’t see anything wrong with dancing. I haven’t asked Rhan about it because maybe she didn’t mean it like that and then I’d feel silly. Maybe I could ask Ter, but he’s a guy and doesn’t know anything about girls at all.

The other exciting thing is that Mister Lightmist and Mother are getting married! Well they actually already got married on their trip, but they’re going to have a party in the spring and she said I can be the flower girl. I’ve already got a lot of magazines with dresses in them so I can start looking for the perfect one. I’m so excited! I’m not sure what he wants us to call him though, calling him Mister Lightmist seems a little strange, and he’s not our father but I guess he kind of is now since he lives with us. Maybe just his first name, but it feels weird calling a grown-up that. I’m going to help Mother pick a dress too, and help with her hair. It’s going to be the best ever! Also, Ter had better agree to make their cake or I’ll make him, but I think he’s agreed to it because he doesn’t want Mother to have a terrible cake. I know he still thinks Mister Lightmist is going to do something to hurt her, but he doesn’t see him every day like we do. I know he would never do that, he’s very nice and smart and handsome. He even got us presents, which he didn’t have to do, and they were really nice presents.

Tomorrow we’re going to visit the big library here, and then in the afternoon we have free time to look around the city. I really hope we can go to the market! I also want to see the naaru, I’ve read about them in books but never seen one in real life. I’ve heard they can read your thoughts! That might be weird.