[Screenshots] The Well of Eternity

Is this the best dungeon or what? Here’s Orny in his current transmog armor.

Everyone who isn’t an elf gets turned into one in there. I ran it with Marjo, too, and she turned out to be totally adorable. I’m actually halfway tempted to roll a girl nelf like this now!


[Story] A Tangle of Brambles XVI

All damn day. I’ve been in this room all damn day. I feel like I’m going to go crazy. If the boredom wasn’t bad enough, my leg itches like mad. I have some herb salve that’s supposed to make it itch less, but it doesn’t. It just makes my leg smell funny and gets under my nails when I scratch it off.

I rode back in the wagon from Darkshire, the elf sat on the seat and drove. I don’t really think he did anything, I think Blackjack just headed home, because that’s what horses do. He kept turning around and looking back at me. I think the others had already left before I did. I didn’t check all the rooms, but I didn’t smell anyone. I hope they got back to the city all right, Nora especially. I’m doing a pretty lousy job of protecting her, but it’s hard when I can’t even stand up. That’s not an excuse. I write a letter to the inn, addressed to her. I tell her to check in with me when she gets back, so I know she’s all right.

Before we leave, I have to look one last time. Harrison isn’t on the hill where we left him, and I smell the fresh scent of several feral worgen. There’s some blood, but not enough to cause alarm. It seems like the wild pack has welcomed him among them. Good. Satisfied, I cede defeat to the elf and allow him to taxi me home like a frail old woman.

He sets the herb salve and several vials of potion on the desk. He’s going out to bring me food, he says, and he does. He brings fruit and cheese and meat. No wine, but I still have some left over. He tells me not to get up from that chair unless the place is on fire, and he goes back out to watch the house.

I read the few books I have. They’re boring, but it’s better than being alone with my own thoughts. I’ve had enough of that lately. In the evening, Josie knocks on the door and I invite her in. She’s come to check on me, under the presumption of reporting on the house. My leg is propped up on the other chair, because it hurts slightly less that way. It itches just as much though. She looks at it and frowns. She asks if it hurts, and how long it’ll take to heal. Yes, it does, and I don’t know. The bite on my neck and shoulder is nearly gone though, I don’t have to wear the scarf anymore.

She tells me about the house. The maid is the only one she’s seen, and she spends a great deal of time inside. She draws the curtains, so Josie can’t see what she’s up to. That surprises me. I expected a lot more activity. Josie asks if she should go inside the house. I don’t think she should alone, but I know she and the elf don’t like each other much. I hear what he says about her, no doubt she tells Big Guy similar about him. I suggest she try to get a sniff before we resort to that, and she agrees. And she doesn’t hate the elf now, she says, she’s learned to ignore his stupid remarks. But she says he’s quieter now, he doesn’t talk as much. I’m not sure what that means.

She leaves again, whether back to the house or her own, I don’t know. It encourages me that I don’t think I care as much as I did last night. But I suppose if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be wondering where she was going at all. I watch the window, a few streaks of rain trickling down the glass. I wonder if Nora made it back to the inn all right, and whether Pretty Boy walked with her. I can’t tell if I can trust him yet. I think I can, but then I thought I could trust Big Guy, too.

The elf arrives with a bunch of fresh roses. He dumps out the last few drops of my wine bottle and puts the stems inside.

“What are those?” I ask. “Did you steal them from the cemetery?”

Their scent fills the room, bright and grassy despite the grey gloom outside. “You’re supposed to give flowers to sick people,” the elf explains. I notice he doesn’t answer my question about stealing them from the cemetery.

I tell him I’m not sick. He shakes his head and brings me one of the potions, and covers me up with the blanket like I’m a child. Maybe I’m more sick than I thought. I close my eyes and sleep comes rapidly, for once. If I dream, I don’t remember it.

[Story] Tathariel’s Journal

My brother is here. It’s so strange to see those words. I never believed that I would have a sibling. Jaellynn says he hated it, but he doesn’t know what it’s like growing up with no one around. I guess it’s not exactly the way I wanted. That sounds terrible. It’s not that I don’t love him, it’s not that I’m unhappy that he’s here, it’s just that I’m an adult with a family of my own. He won’t really see me as a sister, though it’s my hope that he’ll think of Relanos as a brother.

Jaellynn’s worried that Father won’t need him anymore now. I admit, I’ve thought about it too. When he approached Jaellynn, he told him that he’d always wanted a son. I know he thinks that, but I wish he wouldn’t say it. That sounds awful too. I know he loves me, and I know he wants what’s best for me, but I can’t help but think he wouldn’t love me more if I wasn’t a girl.

Am I jealous? I guess I am a little bit. But he didn’t know Mother was going to have me. He returned to the Dream, and he didn’t even know she was pregnant. She had no way to reach him, and nobody blamed him for being gone. A lot of the children in the town had fathers who were in the Dream — or at least, that’s what the polite explanation was. I got teased plenty by those horrible boys in my druid lessons.  They said my father didn’t want me, and that’s why he hadn’t come to find me. Mother used to get irritated with me, she said I was making excuses for him. Funny that I see her side a bit more clearly now.

But when I see my brother, I can’t be jealous. He’s adorable. I was there when Kelanori started to go into labor and I was there when he was born. I am jealous of that part, I’ll fully admit. I know I can’t ever carry my own child, not without  and I do get sad about it sometimes. I get sad when I think about Mother and wish that somehow they could have worked out their differences. Father often says that I’m so much like her, which makes me wonder sometimes since they fought constantly.

They’ll all be going to Feralas soon, and we can go home to our house. I hope the flowers haven’t died. I even think I miss Karnum a little bit.

[OOC/Screenshots] 4.3 Fun!

The long-awaited 4.3 arrived today. My bank on Orny was stuffed to the gills, so the first thing I did was carry armloads of junk over to Void Storage. I wish I could have more, but I’m not complaining at all. I have 50 slots in my bags — for now!

Look at them all...

I also set up Orny’s transmog outfit. For him, I have quite a few options, and the cost isn’t very high, so I see myself changing his outfit on a whim. Thankfully, I was able to transmog my “harness” leather chest piece, so he can almost be shirtless.

I’ve got outfits for a few of my alts too, and I’m just so excited to be able to wear my RP gear all the time. It might seem like a small thing, but it’s really convenient to not have to remember to swap all the time, and if you get saddled with a hideous tier, this makes it much less painful. I’m pretty pleased with Marjolaine’s set:

She’s my next-best geared after Orny, so I’m going to see if she can’t get into some of the new dungeons with guildies and get geared up a bit more. I haven’t run any of them yet, but I will soon! But a few guildies wanted to try out the Raid Finder, and I figured what the heck. It actually didn’t go too badly, we managed to kill all four of the bosses, and it was great practice. The instance itself is pretty neat too, taking place on Wyrmrest Temple. I didn’t win any of the shiny new gear, but you can see Orny’s current transmog set in the last picture there.


[Story] A Letter to My Son, on the Day of His Birth

Dearest Farahlor,

On the day that you were born, a great shudder of relief ran through Mount Hyjal, as the Firelord’s defenses were finally broken. I, and an army of others, have been here half a year fighting his forces, and his retreat was a momentous victory. I was at the camp with the others, our tired, sweating faces covered with smiles, when your uncle came to tell me. It was time. You were almost here! I forgot all about Ragnaros as I flew out through the portal, to your mother at the Shrine.

I’m sure you know this already, but your mother is the most beautiful woman in the world. She’s gentle and loving, she listens to everyone’s problems and never complains of her own. She helped to raise all three of your uncles, so she is very experienced as a mother. Yet until you, she never had a child of her own, so you are very special to her. I want you to know how happy she was when she learned that you were coming.

I was happy too. You have a sister, she’s grown already but you will love her. She’s got a baby too, about your age, and it is my hope that you two will grow together as brothers. I wasn’t there when she was born, or when she was growing up. It is the greatest regret of my long life, that I have failed her. I will not fail you, Farahlor. I am here for you from your very first day. You were my chance to make things right again, and I hope your sister won’t be jealous of you for that.

Our family is a little unusual. Two of your uncles have mates who aren’t elves. They’re draenei, and you needn’t be afraid of them. They may look a little strange with their horns and tails and hooves, but they are gentle and kind. The two at the shrine are especially so. They’re going to help your mother take care of you while I’m away. They’ve been waiting for months for you to get here, just so they can play with you and give you the gifts they’ve made.

One of your uncles is different, too. He’ll feel cold when he holds you, but his heart is warm. He’s your sister’s mate, and the father of Relanos. He’s the one I told you about. He’s a baby still, but soon you two will be able to play together. His father tells me he’s well on his way to becoming a druid. I hope you’ll show him and get your first form before he does.

I look forward to teaching you, to showing you everything the world has in it, to talking to you when you need someone to talk to. Thank you for giving me the chance to do so.

Your an’da,

[Story] A Tangle of Brambles XV

It is the leader’s job to protect the pack, to keep them from all harm. In this, I have failed. But I cannot protect her from herself, no matter how I might try. She is young, and doesn’t know better. I try to remember myself at her age, knowing nothing of treachery or betrayal, of the sort of suffering only a wound of the heart can bring. I suppose I wouldn’t have listened either.

I request they meet me at the gates. I have a delivery to make, in Duskwood. Blackjack is harnessed to the cart, a heavy wooden crate tied in the back. Within, the worgen who was once Captain Harrison still slumbers soundly, thanks to Kobold’s mixture. The elf tightens the ropes on the crate again. He’s upset with me.

Last night I gingerly took the torn leather of my breeches off and let him inspect the bite. I’ve already been bitten before, but the wound shows the same angry festering that Nora’s did. The skin around is dark red, and even after the elf has cleaned it, feels slightly feverish.

“Give it a few days to rest,” he tells me, wrapping a linen bandage loosely around my leg. I don’t have a few days, and he must know that. “You can’t ride on it like that.”

I tell him that I decide what I can and can’t do, and his ears snap backward, just for a second. There’s no more discussion on the subject, but every time I wince in the saddle, I catch an “I-told-you-so” look from the elf. I know he’s right, I should rest, but I can’t risk it.

I guess I could have left the others here. But Nora needs me, and I have the foolish idea that maybe it’ll soothe things between us to get out of the city for a night. We move out in the early afternoon, a motley caravan traveling down the road out of the city. I stay out ahead, riding Blackjack as he’s pulling the cart, lost in my own thoughts. The others talk about ordinary things. Nora and Pretty Boy and the elf talk about various herbs and their uses, peacebloom and dreamfoil and fadeleaf tea. Big Guy and Josie walk next to each other, and I find their silence un-nerving.

I remember the elf’s advice from that first night. Lie to yourself, he said, until you believe it. She’s too young, she never thought of a woman that way, there will be plenty of other women, prettier and more clever too. I’m not sure if it’s working or not. I still feel every smile she gives him, though it’s true the pain isn’t as keen as it was before. It’s too late for Josie, but it’s not yet for Nora. I can still protect her, make sure she’s safe. I have to concentrate on that.

We approach the shadowed banks of Duskwood, crossing the rickety bridge over the river. It doesn’t look as if it’s been used in decades. I pause just briefly to allow the elf to check the ropes, but it’s as much to steel my resolve as anything else. I hear Big Guy talking about the forest being haunted. Nora seems shaken by the idea, and he says he’s only joking. I don’t know if it’s haunted or not; I know the stories of feral worgen are true, and the eerie darkness of the woods only lends the legend veracity.

They ask surprisingly few questions as the wagon creaks down the road into Duskwood. Is it because they trust me? I’m not sure. I try to avoid the guard whenever possible, but we do look like a strange collection.  No one in Darkshire stops to question us, though. The few people we see hurry back behind closed doors like leaves scattering on the wind.

I urge Blackjack up a small hill, and pull him to a stop. It looks like a good enough place. There are worgen in the area, I can smell them, but none too close. The others can smell them too, I can see it in the way they sniff the air. Ferals. I slide down off the horse’s back, wincing visibly as I land on the injured leg. Both the women notice. Are you all right? Do you want Nora to look at it? I’m not weak, I’m fine. I can take care of it. I ignore the fiery pain in my leg as I untie the crate. I unfasten the bolts on the end panel, and let it fall open.

Nora begins to tremble and shake. “It’s him!” she wails, cowering behind the others for protection. They exchange puzzled looks and peer into the crate, too. Then they look at me.

“Are you going to kill him?” Josie asks, and it surprises me.

I should, but I don’t. I can’t explain why. I tell them it’s because he’s still one of us. Because we all did things we couldn’t help when we first turned, and we shouldn’t be executed for it. We turned out all right. He just needs to learn to control it. And this way he won’t be putting anyone in danger. I can see they question it, but they don’t say anything. The men lift the end of the crate together, and Harrison tumbles out onto the ground, still asleep.

Nora, still shaking, asks if he’ll wake up. I tell her that I drugged him again just before we left. Still, I don’t want to linger any longer than we have to. If animals come while he sleeps, if the pack of ferals tears him apart, if he can’t make it on his own — that’s not my fault. I did all I could. I try to get back onto the horse, but my leg wavers beneath me. They see it that time, too. I swallow the pain and swing onto his saddle, heading back toward Darkshire.

The inn is large and comfortable enough, there’s a fire built and we all huddle around it for warmth. All but the elf, who sits alone. I think the others still don’t trust him, and tolerate him only because of me. I can’t tell if it bothers him or not. The innkeeper’s daughter sure takes an interest in him, though, asking about his ears and wanting to see his knives and trying on his boots. He gives her a piece of candy, which doesn’t settle her down at all.

We all drink, even Nora. In fact, Nora drinks faster than I noticed, and is soon swaying in her chair. I guess I should have been paying closer attention. There are two large rooms, one downstairs and one upstairs, and I book both — one for the women and one for the men. I can tell Big Guy doesn’t like it, and I tell him he can pay for his own room if he wants. I tell myself it’s the wound that’s making me short-tempered, but it’s not the wound on my leg. I excuse myself before I say anything I’ll regret later, and Josie helps Nora up the stairs to our room.

I wish I’d brought some of the sleeping draught. Maybe I’d actually get some sleep. But that might be a little too much — I don’t want to be like Harrison was if something should happen while we’re here. I close my eyes and I try to rest, in spite of Josie a few feet away. I can hear the men downstairs talking, not the words, but I can hear the intonations of their voices. They’re rather drunk.

My thoughts wander, half-asleep. I’m walking in the deep snow through a forest, toward a house in the distance. I can see the faint light ahead, but the shape of the house is obscured by the blowing snow. I walk and walk, but I never seem to get any closer to the house. I can feel my feet freezing, and the snow clinging to my hair. I know if I can only make it a little farther, I’ll be warm and safe.

I stir awake as the dream fades, and I find myself wondering who was in the house to leave the lights on for me. I still feel cold. I roll out of bed and carefully make my way over to the fireplace. It’s nearly out, so I stir it and add some wood until the fire leaps meagerly to life again. Josie is watching me. I don’t look to see her, but I know she is.

She tells me she knows, now. I don’t know why she wants to tell me. I knew when she went to him. She says she doesn’t know if it’s right, but she thinks it is. If it’s not, she can’t come back. Nothing will ever be the way it was before.

I couldn’t protect her. But I can still protect Nora.

[Art] Draenei Druid: Bear Form