[Art] Ice Dragons – Fala

I’ve got a bunch of new Ice dragons since the last time I drew, so I figured I should start drawing them too. This one is named Fala! You can’t really see the wind on a white background though.

dancinghare_fala

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[Story] Thorns – Booty Bay

We’re here in Booty Bay now, the minute that Nash got home from the Cathedral from getting his cast taken off, he wanted to leave. We were able to go in my flying machine, which made it a lot easier to get down there rather than trying to hire a gryphon. I haven’t been here in ages, I remember it being kind of sleazy, which I guess it still is, it’s a goblin town after all. But it seems like they’ve fixed it up a bit so it’s a place that people would want to visit. Aside from all the shops, where they sell anything you can imagine, there are also a lot of bars and places that you can stay. Our room is nice, it’s got a little balcony that looks out onto the harbor, and the windows on the other side face the jungle. There’s a little ice box with drinks in it, and since it’s still early in the season, we don’t have any neighbors. Nash was nervous when we first arrived I think, he kept his hat on and he was worried that people would recognize him as a blood elf. But like I told him, no one here really cares. Goblins don’t care what race you are, or who you’re talking to, as long as you have gold. I made up enough stock that the shop should be good for several days, I did bring some tools and parts with me, in case  I find time to work. If I’m able to, I can send them back, though I don’t expect there will be a big rush this time of year. I also thought Nash could start on his seashell clock if I brought the parts. If I run out of anything, I’m sure one of the shops will have it, they’re goblins after all, they’re big on making mechanical things. They probably have some interesting things that I can’t get in Stormwind.

Once we got settled in, we went out to the beach. It’s really beautiful, the sand is pure white and the water is the brightest blue I’ve ever seen. I brought a tray of drinks down with us, while they do have ale and beer, most of what they sell is the fruity stuff with little paper umbrellas in them. I was telling Nash about the ones they have that are frozen too, they’re nice when it’s hot out. The food here is great too, there’s all kinds of seafood, I never really had it living in the forest, or in Ironforge. All they have is dried fish, and it’s pretty gross and salty. They have fresh fish here, and it’s roasted the same day they caught it, with all kinds of vegetables. There’s also clams and crab and things that they get from the beach. I actually think I like fish now, at least when it’s done like this.

Nash finally took off his hat and started to relax a little, I think. He wants to go swimming, I said that there might be sharks, but I think the harbor would be safe enough. In any case, there are goblins with explosives there to scare away any sharks. I’m a little worried that he might get a sunburn, but he says he won’t. I guess we’ll find out later. He asked what color I’ll get if I get a tan. Honestly, I don’t have any idea. I had to remind him that I’m a night elf, so it’s not like I ever spent a lot of time in the sun. The forest is really dark and shadowy, and Ironforge is underground. Stormwind has big buildings blocking the sun, and I’m inside most of the day anyway. If I’m not, I always have my hat on. Probably just darker? I don’t know.

He says he doesn’t want to leave. I think he was probably joking, but I’ll admit it’s kind of tempting. We could just stay here and I could make clocks and ship them back, just drinking cold fruity drinks and laying on the beach during the day. But I’d miss Stormwind I think. And I know I’d miss Rose, even if she doesn’t miss me.

[Story] Character of the Week – Raleth

[[ Raleth is one of my oldest characters! I rolled him in Wrath so I could see the Horde storylines and ended up really liking Frost. He’s currently a  Frost magic instructor at Fairsong Academy, but he had fought as a Battlemage for many years in the past. Here’s a story about his first trip to Kalimdor. ]]

Raleth regretted taking the assignment the moment he stepped through the portal; the heat clung oppressively to the mages, shimmering and still beneath the relentless afternoon sun. And it smelled. Animal odors, dung and sweat, the sickly scent of something rotten, and the musty smell of orc over the top of all of it. He wanted nothing more than to turn around and return through the portal, go back to his quiet study with its peaceful, clean books. But he hadn’t had a choice, really. The orcs — their new allies, so they’d been told — had requested the use of a regiment of mages in their conflict. Eager to solidify their partnership, Silvermoon had agreed, and Raleth had been among those chosen. Standing in the plush luxury of the Spire, they’d made it sound like a grand adventure, an opportunity for glory and to advance their people’s political influence.

Now, of course, the reality of the situation set in. Raleth stood huddled among his fellow mages as the orcs barked orders in their coarse tongue. They understood very little of it, but the intent was clear enough — they would follow the orcs into the woods, and turn their spells onto whatever they should come across. They were tools, nothing more. Surely it had been so before, but Raleth had always believed in the cause before. They fought to defend their homeland and their very lives, to defend against the Scourge that scratched at their gates. Now they were going in blind, it was a territorial dispute, as far as he was aware. The orcs wanted to push further into the forest, and met resistance from its residents. These, he’d been told, were elves as well. He’d heard stories, surely becoming more fanciful with each telling, of these wild savage elves who lived among the trees. How much of it was true, he couldn’t really say — this was his first time setting foot on the soil of Kalimdor. Even so, he felt a nagging doubt. Killing Scourge was one thing, they may have looked like elves, but they were merely a hollow husk, mindless and driven by instinct. Killing people, especially elves, was another matter entirely.

The orcs led them to the edge of the forest, where the trees grew thick and so tall that Raleth could not even see the tops of them. Brush and vines tangled below, making any passage difficult, but the orcs hacked out a path with their axes. Raleth could smell the bright green scent of the sap as it oozed from the wounded branches, and he grew more uneasy. They set up a hasty camp as the sun disappeared from the sky, plunging the already dark forest into ominous blackness. One of the orcs, his green skin riddled with criss-crossing scars, frowned and looked somewhere out into the shadows.

“Be on guard,” he grunted. He was adorned in teeth and tusks, a crudely tanned animal hide draped over his shoulders. “They move at night.” He extended a crooked finger, poking Raleth in the chest. “Arrows.”

Raleth followed the orc’s gaze into the shadows. Were they playing a joke, trying to rattle the elves for a laugh? The concern in his eyes looked genuine. What kind of creature could frighten an orc?

From somewhere in the surrounding forest, an animal called out. Raleth couldn’t be certain what it was.

“Other thing,” said the orc, hefting his heavy iron axe. “If you see animal, kill it.”

Raleth and the other mages exchanged a curious look. What did he mean by that? But the scarred orc had already retreated into his tent, leaving the mages alone in the firelight. Raleth’s hand went instinctively to his side, touching the hilt of his blade. Its familiar chill reassured him, and he could hear the ice crystals crackling faintly as they stirred at his touch. They would be safe. Whatever was out there would be stunned and slowed by the onslaught of ice magic, just as the Scourge had been.

Even so, Raleth found it difficult to sleep on the hard and rocky ground, the thin blankets offering little warmth or protection from the night. It seemed that he could hear the rustle of every leaf, and each time it startled him into wakefulness again. Was something there? His eyes could pick out some vague shapes among the darkness, but that was all. Had that been there before? Surely it was just a branch, but didn’t it look like it could be arms? The others slept quietly around the fire, some snoring faintly. Raleth pushed back his sleeping roll and rose to his feet, making his way to the far side of the firepit, which had now burned down to embers. The ground felt harsh and rocky beneath his bare feet.

He heard a low rumbling sound, nearly imperceptible, but in the still of the night, his ears flicked toward it. Crouched just out of the fire’s dying light was an enormous cat, its cat the color of midnight. Though it was difficult to see well in the darkness, Raleth was sure it was much larger than any of the lynxes he’d seen in Eversong. Its eyes blazed bright gold, catching the firelight and reflecting it back. He could swear that as the cat looked at him, those eyes widened. Startled, the cat turned sharply and disappeared further into the cover of the underbrush. Raleth only saw the end of its tail as it was swallowed by the darkness. If you see animal, kill it. The orc’s orders echoed in his mind, but it was too late now. Besides, conjuring a blizzard spell would surely have attracted the attention of any scouts that might be in the area. Unless the cat had been the scout. It had a knowing look, and it had been startled — but wouldn’t any wild animal be startled to come across a camp of orcs? Probably just some foolish orc superstition, Raleth assured himself. He lingered a few moments longer, but the cat didn’t return. Raleth went back to his bedroll, but sleep didn’t come to him easily. Something about this place didn’t feel right.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Braedra’s Journal

I was right that Isturon has been avoiding me for the past week, but I thought it was because I’d said something wrong. Or maybe I got something in my teeth and he was so disgusted that he couldn’t even tell me about it. Usually he comes in to help out in the nursery in the mornings, and then he’s sometimes there in the evening for dinner. I thought maybe the clinic was especially busy, but I asked Theronil — his wife works there too — and he said it wasn’t. And besides, Isturon hadn’t been there either, they were worried about where he was as well. Theronil had even gone to his house to check on him, in case he was sick, but he wasn’t at home.

Last night he showed up, as I was hurrying to eat my dinner. I had to get home to help the girls finish their costumes for the play. They’ve been practicing their lines constantly, so I’m sure by this point I could play their parts if needed! But they’re excited, and I am looking forward to it as well. Lali has certainly done a lot of hard work in putting it together. Isturon came in with some daisies, and he told me he’d been in Silvermoon all week. He was visiting a friend, and helping them with some work. He didn’t explain any more about who this friend, or what he was doing, so I suppose he didn’t want me to know. I’ll admit, I was a little upset with him for just disappearing like that, but he said it’s because he thought the trip to the farm went badly. I mean, it was a little muddy, but that’s because it’s a farm, and it’s hardly his fault! I thought it was nice, the restaurant was my favorite. But he’d been so worried that I didn’t like it, that he went away without telling me, and then suggested that I go to the orchestra with Elissar instead. I thought that meant he didn’t want to go with me, but he did. Or he said he did. I’m not sure, because he’s not exactly making sense.

Then he suggested that we go on a trip somewhere, I thought that sounded nice but I wasn’t sure where he had in mind. He mentioned Shattrath, I’ve never been myself but I know Terellion has gone with Hethurin and the students. They often go to visit the library, but I always thought it was dangerous, with animals and strange people there. Isturon said that it’s not, and they have some nice restaurants, so I suppose we’ll get to explore it together. I’ll have to find someone to take over the nursery for a few days, maybe one of the teaching assistants. All of the students are hard at work studying for their exams, and I don’t dare ask them for fear they’d break down or something. Being a mage is a lot of work! I think Maerista, the assistant fire professor, might be able to. Her son is here, so she shouldn’t mind watching the others too.

Isturon also mentioned that his former wife is staying at the inn in town. He was worried that she might come onto the school grounds to bother him or Hethurin. Terellion said that there are magical wards to prevent that from happening, but Isturon didn’t seem convinced. As far as I know, Hethurin is a talented mage, but I’ll have to ask Terellion about it. I don’t know what reason she would have to come see Isturon, but I can understand wanting to see her son. Hopefully she is just here to collect her husband and then go home. I really don’t want any kind of confrontation with her.

Oh, and he finally kissed me. It was nice. It would have been nicer if the girls weren’t watching from inside the window, but still.

[Story] SWTOR – Xarlo’s Meditations

Things have been peaceful around the homestead, that’s a relief. I know some were worried about another attack from the coalition, or even from the geonosians, but nothing has happened. Whether that’s a good sign, or just the calm before the storm, I can’t say for sure. The Major has been conducting her daily patrols, and she says she hasn’t seen anything out of the ordinary. The twi’lek has been fixing up the sandcrawler and I think it’s nearly ready to go — I haven’t been inside, but from what I can see, it looks operable. Of course I don’t know how different it is from a droid. Probably a lot.

I found a little one in the junk pile and I’ve been working on it in my spare time. My mother never really approved of it, she said messing with droids was for junkers and smugglers, not jedi. But I just find it so interesting that you can make something alive out of parts that someone has thrown away. I mean, maybe not alive in the usual sense, but it has thoughts and feelings and awareness. Mine’s not there yet, but hopefully soon. It will be nice to have a little pet around. It’s going to need some kind of casing to protect the inside parts from the sand, that’s the part I haven’t figured out yet.

There was another jedi lecture, from the same Master as before. He recognizes me now and asks how I am, it’s nice. I told him a little about the mission, but not too much. Partly because I’m not supposed to, and partly because I don’t know it myself. But I did tell him about Teosta and Master Serroz, and how we’ve been practicing. The lecture was about the different styles, which I already knew about but it’s always exciting to learn about lightsaber stuff. And it’s good to hear different perspectives, from Master Bron and from others there. There was a girl there who I am pretty sure was a pureblood sith, but she seemed shy and nervous, so maybe she wasn’t? Or maybe she’d given up on that path and decided to follow the light, I’ve heard of that happening, though it would make her hunted by other sith. So maybe that’s why she was nervous. Either way, she seemed nice and I would have liked to talk to her more, but she said she was needed in the village to tend to someone who was sick. She also said her skin was red because she used to live on Tatooine, and it got burned. But I think she was just joking about that.

I was excited to hear more about soresu, that’s the style I am in the process of learning. It’s a protective stance that repels attacks and relies on your enemy weakening, so it requires a great deal of patience and meditation. I don’t know if I’m there yet. Master Bron said it’s important to know more than one style, to adapt to different situations. I agree with him on that, I’m just trying to get the hang of one first. As we talked about last time, a jedi can be a lot of different things — a teacher, a defender, someone who maintains traditions. What we are and what we do can change throughout our lives. I’d like to help protect people from danger, but I think eventually I’d like to have my own students. I’ll just have to see what comes, and adapt to it.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Checking In

Teloth found his brother in one of the study rooms, nearly obscured by a stack of books. The butler, Tik, had showed him in, and now lingered in the hallway, Teloth presumed to make sure he wasn’t going to start any trouble.

“Hey, kid.”

Tystus peered over the pile of books and scowled. “I’m busy. The final exams are this week, I need to study.”

Flopping into one of the chairs, Teloth picked up a book and opened it to the page that was marked with a slip of ribbon. It was an incomprehensible diagram, Teloth couldn’t even tell what it was supposed to be. Did Tystus really understand any of this stuff, or was he just pretending?

“While you were studying, I went on a date. To the theater. With my girlfriend.”

Tystus squinted at his older brother. “No you didn’t.”

“Yep. We went to this restaurant that only serves things with vegetables.”

“You don’t even like vegetables,” grumbled Tystus, scribbling something onto his paper.

Teloth shrugged. “It was pretty good though. She doesn’t like killing animals to eat them.”

Tystus pretended not to hear him, continuing to take notes out of the book in front of him.

“And then we went to the play. It was about troll hunters.”

His quill paused for a second and he looked up. “Really?”

“Yeah. It was cool, in one scene they had to fight off a whole band of trolls, and escape from the troll temple.”

Tystus frowned faintly. “Well, I have to study if I want to do well on the exams. I don’t want to fail and have to go home.”

“Oh, and we kissed.”

Tystus glared at him again. “No you didn’t. Who would kiss you?”

“She wants me to meet her mother.”

While that was true, Teloth was a little worried about it himself. They’d only been to one dance and one outing, it was a little soon to be meeting anyone’s parents. And Esladra told him that she wouldn’t exactly approve of him. While they weren’t poor, they weren’t really rich either, and they definitely weren’t noble or anyone important. Teloth knew that’s the kind of thing mothers liked. And they definitely didn’t like guys who worked in hawkstrider stables. That was just his job for now, he wouldn’t be there forever — although he did enjoy it. They’d talked over dinner about starting their own farm one day. There wasn’t one in the Ghostlands anymore, so they should have a ready market. Esladra told him that her father had grown up on a hawkstrider farm, and her aunt ran it still. He hadn’t ever imagined himself running a hawkstrider farm, but he found the idea interesting, and he did seem to have a natural knack for the birds. That is, if Esladra’s mother didn’t put a stop to things. She assured Teloth that she’d want to see him regardless, but he did wonder what kind of things her mother might say. No doubt they were nothing good.

“Okay,” Tystus said flatly. “I’m still busy though.”

“Just checking on you, like I promised I would. You should write to Mother.”

“I will,” said Tystus, not looking up from his notes.

“I’ll see you at the summer ball.”

Tystus didn’t bother to reply. Teloth put his hat back on, and went out to find Tik. He’d need help finding the way out of the enormous house.

 

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Anorelle’s Diary

I think we’ve settled nicely into the house. It still feels a little strange sometimes to leave the lodge at night, we often stay a while after our patrols to visit, and I think Arancon wants to make sure he gets some of the cookies before they all disappear. The captain has allowed us to still keep our old bunks for now, in case we should want to lie down or something — Arancon says he sometimes does after I’ve left and before his patrol starts. I expect if we got a lot of new rangers we won’t be able to anymore, but for now there are plenty of beds. Well, maybe not as many in the mens’ quarters, because Jamos takes up three or four, I’m not sure. We’ll need to figure out about getting a hawkstrider soon, I think there’s room in the barn but of course we’d have to ask if it’s all right. And hopefully the inn has room in the evenings, but we’ll see. They aren’t terribly busy most nights, but I don’t know how many stalls they have. For now we’re walking, which is normally all right but it’s been quite rainy and muddy. In the winter it would be rather unpleasant, and it does take some time.

Last night Arancon cooked a hot dish with the leftover spider meat, it was perfect for a rainy evening. I feel a bit spoiled having him cook for me every night, but I do always help him with the dishes. All afternoon I was trying to think of how I’d bring up the subject of children, sort of working up to it, but then he just came out and asked. Maybe he knew I was thinking about it? Or maybe Nessna had mentioned it to him. Either way, he asked what I thought about it, I think he wanted to hear what I’d say before he answered. It was just one of those things that I assumed would never happen, so I tried not to think about it too much. I’d convinced myself it wouldn’t, so it didn’t upset me anymore. But now Arancon thinks it’s possible, and he seems really excited about the idea. He wants me to see Esladra and ask her if there’s anything I could do to improve our chances. On one hand, I love the idea — if I was going to have one, there’s no one else I’d rather be the father. But I also don’t know anything about children, what if I’m an awful mother? What if we’re too old to keep up with an energetic little one? And I also worry what Aeramin might think. I know it’s not his decision, but I don’t want to cause any intentional trouble with him, especially now that he seems to be coming around to the idea of us being together. At least, that’s the impression I got when we spoke. He said that they might come for the party, and that he could invite us for dinner one night. I think those are both good signs!

I also told him I felt a little guilty, like it was somehow wrong for me to feel so happy when they’d both been through so much. I know it isn’t my fault, but I can’t help but feel it anyway — if his wife was still here, I wouldn’t be here with him. He assured me that she would have liked me, and approved of us being together. I hope that’s true, I’d like to think she would want to see him happy after she was gone. Obviously both Arancon and Aeramin loved her a great deal, she must have been a wonderful person. She’s also a talented painter, I’m glad Aeramin let him have some of her paintings to hang up. I hope I can see the ones at Aeramin’s house if he has us over for dinner.

So I guess that means we’re trying to have one, or at least not trying to avoid it. Arancon was talking about how we could turn the extra room into a nursery. I think we’ll have to wait until something actually happens first, but he’s already making plans. He said we could have the captain look after the baby while we’re both away on patrol — he already watches his boys, and Lin’s son while they’re away. I still have the feeling that it’s one of those really nice dreams, and I’ll wake up and be back in my bunk in the lodge all alone. It hasn’t happened yet, though.

Arancon did some more sketches, too. Those ones he said are for our private collection. I told him I’d like one of him, too. Or maybe the two of us together, though I suppose it’s not easy to draw yourself as it is to draw someone else. I’m afraid if I tried it would just look like a scribbly mess. Maybe the room on the island will have a big mirror and he could use that. It’s only a short time away now, I’m really looking forward to our trip. It’s been years since I’ve been there, and most of the time I went by myself. It’s really the kind of place that’s better with someone special.