[Story] Xanaroth’s Notes

* I’m assuming that Vallindra still wants to pursue learning to summon. Privately, I think she’d be quite good at it, but I don’t want my own opinion to color her decision. She hasn’t yet said she’s changed her mind though, so I am proceeding as if she wishes to. She’s at a distinct advantage, already being a mage and having a grounding in the fundamentals of magic. Even more valuable, she’s worked with shadow magic before. Unfortunately, it’s been so long since I had an apprentice that I don’t have any of the introductory books. I’ll have to make do with what I can find in the library. To begin with, I’ve begun work on a chart of the relevant symbols that she’ll need to learn. It’s a first step, at least.

* The Gilnean has managed to find his way to Shattrath as well. I received a note from him, but I also nearly tripped over him in the library. He’d found one of the little hidden coves and had almost hidden himself behind a barricade of books. He was perfectly happy to lose himself there. I suppose Stormwind doesn’t have the sort of books he’d be interested in. I would still like to go over his research at some point in the future, but I suppose it will have to wait until after this business with the ley-lines.

* Most of the time I work on them alone — well, Beluri is there, but she doesn’t do much. I no longer need to rely on Flaazun to locate them — at least the larger ones. They’re less like rivers than they are like threads, I think. Once you find one, you must follow it to its end, and it’s tangled up amid all the others. Vallindra was quite clear in her instruction to keep to basic fire spells, but I very much want to try my binding experiment soon. I thought that Kestrae would be interested, but I  haven’t seen her at the Sanctum for a few days. I have no idea what she could be up to now. I hope it’s more important than my research.

* They repaired the roof (again), but I still prefer my room in Shattrath. It’s a great deal more travel, but the comfort and quiet is worth it, I believe. I have been taking my evening tea at the Sanctum, simply because it’s easier than making Vallindra travel back every time. Though she’s still a mage, I suppose she could just make a portal, but I haven’t pressed the issue. They don’t even have a proper table at the Sanctum, so we use the one propped up with books and have to be careful where we set our cups down. I don’t know how anyone could stay here for any length of time. The employees must have nowhere else to go.

* Carraith has become better with practice. I just hope that whatever imp Vallindra binds doesn’t talk to her. That would be rather awkward.

[Story] A Tangle of Brambles 102

That lying little bitch. Does she think I wouldn’t find out? I do talk to Rose. I notice things. I noticed that she was gone that evening, and I asked where she was. I asked some other things too. Rose said she didn’t know, which isn’t exactly a lie, but it’s not exactly the truth either. So Josie lied about going to see him, and she lied about breaking things off with him. Just as I knew she would. I hate being right about people sometimes.

If it were my choice, I’d make her leave. But I know that it’s not my choice, and I know what side Rose would pick if I forced the issue. So I won’t. I’ll just have to tolerate her living here, in my own house, because Rose wants her here. We already barely speak, I don’t know why she’d want to make things worse.

I can’t make Josie go, but I can. Maybe getting away for a while will help. Or maybe it’ll make everything worse. I guess I’ll find out when I come back. I know where to go, the same place I always go when my life is a mess. At least there, no one asks questions and I can put my focus back where it belongs: in my blades. I wish I could take Pup with me. He’s almost old enough — I’ve seen kids his age there before. But I don’t think he is ready. Not quite. He’s probably going to be disappointed in me. I guess I’m used to that too. But I left him a note explaining that I’d be back soon, and with a present. I left one for Alinash too, on his table. It’s probably too dangerous for him to try to get out of the city, but I said he could meet me there if he wanted to. He knows the way. All of us do.

Maybe Malcos will be there. It’s been far too long since we’ve talked. I wonder how he’s doing out there in Darnassus. Maybe he’s been turned into a proper elf by now.

And I left a note for Rose, too. She’s going to be furious, me leaving at this time of year. It’s by far the busiest season for our legitimate goods — everyone wants watches and clocks for gifts. And the clockwork animals. I’ve been working hard and there should be enough to keep the shop stocked while I’m away. If not, I can work while I’m there. I won’t have the full workshop, but I don’t need it. Most of my things I’ve made while sitting in the dark on a rooftop. I told her I’d be back before the holiday. I’m not sure if it matters at this point or not.

[Story] Raleth’s Notes

* I brought up the idea of moving again. I thought I was fair about it. I won’t be like her grandfather, I won’t force her into anything she doesn’t want, but neither did I want to frighten her. I’ve heard things that may or may not be true. I’d rather not wait until it’s too late for anything to be done, until us being together here becomes an actual problem. For a time, I thought things were getting better. I don’t understand the endless need to be at each other’s throats. What does it accomplish? Barely a few years ago, we were on the same side. Maybe in a few more, we will be again. It’s stupid, and pointless. I just wish the rest of them could see that.

* I know she’s hesitant to leave Dalaran, I am too. Though it helps that some of her friends have already fled to Shattrath. She was quite excited when I told her that Kestrae was there. I showed her the library on the map, and the orphanage. It might actually be a good thing for Potato, as there aren’t many children in Dalaran. Of course, I don’t know that I want him playing with orcs — then again, maybe he should, so he’ll be more open to people different from him.

* I’m worried about that, a bit. He’ll know that Lali and I are different, children are very perceptive. What will others say to him? What will he think? If he looks more like one of us, he may reject the other as different. Lali says that my voice calms him. I don’t know if that is true. I wonder what he’ll look like, but I know he’ll be very cute. She says she hasn’t decided on a name yet. I hope she has, because it won’t be too much longer. I can’t call him “Potato” forever.

* I told Lali that I’d already been looking into houses here, which I have. I’ve been researching this move for some time now. I found that there were some built into the trees, near where the bird-people live, that I thought she’d particularly like. They’re a little more like the forest where she once lived — still different, but not as much as the Tier would be. Lali was concerned that Potato might fall off, until I pointed out that we’d have a steady supply of feathers for Slow Fall thanks to the bird neighbors. Besides, Dalaran is floating too. I think she’d forgotten that. Then she was worried that the birds might carry disease. They very well might, but it isn’t as if they will be in our house.

* Our house. I’ll miss the one in Dalaran, it was home for a great many years. But even I have to admit that it’s not big enough for the three of us. This way I can have a study, and Potato can have his own room once he’s big enough. And it’s so much quieter here than in Dalaran. You’d think that a city of mages is quiet, but there’s always a bustle in the street and the murmur of conversation. Here, the only sounds are the insects and sometimes the birds in the trees. It really is a very strange feeling to know you are on another world.

* She asked about Thero and Isandri. I said I didn’t know if they would come here, or go back to Silvermoon. I doubt that they’ll stay behind in Dalaran. Any blood elf with any sense will leave before things get too dangerous.

* I don’t know what to do about Vaelarian. If Lali writes, the sentinel will know where we are. She agreed to have them forward any letters from our old house. That should be safe enough.

* Right before we left, Lali found another one of those books. It’s a new one, just published I think. It’s a shame I’ll have to wait to do anything about it. I finally got up the courage to ask the healers about that.

[Story] Berwick’s Notes

We had to make another trip to Dalaran to drop stuff off. I wanted to stay for a few days to sell things, too. It had been a bit difficult, because we couldn’t find Sanimir to make the portal for us. Finally we were able to locate another mage — there are more here now, but he still charged us a lot. Sanimir wouldn’t have. I checked on the house and everything seemed okay, except there was a strange letter waiting there for me.

It was from Aeramin, asking if I could help him get Sanimir out from his parents’ control again. I have to admit, I’m kind of curious what happened to make them try that again. Last I knew, they were okay with he and Aeramin being together — they’d approved the annulment and even helped him set up their new place. Xy asked the same thing, when I showed it to her. I could tell she was a lot more hesitant about the whole thing. She seemed surprised that my first instinct was to say yes.

It’s not that surprising when you think about it. I wouldn’t have even met her if not for Sanimir — though I know it wasn’t through his own doing. Still, he could have made things a lot more difficult for both of us — especially her — and he didn’t. When he told his family, he didn’t tell them about me. I respect him a lot for that. And I guess it’s because he was an okay kid really, and he doesn’t deserve to be trapped somewhere he doesn’t want to be. I’m not big on rescuing people in distress or anything like that, but if I can help then why shouldn’t I?

Aeramin’s worried about the sister recognizing me, the one who can’t even remember my name. I’m not too concerned about her, but I’m going to wear my hair differently and maybe wear a hat anyway. And of course, get fake papers. I’ll definitely need those. I could tell Xy wasn’t really sold on the whole idea, but I told her I’d get out the moment I felt like it could go wrong. I still have some of those survival instincts leftover from my days on the Row. If it feels wrong, or too dangerous, I can slip away. I’m good at going un-noticed when I want to be. I was worried about leaving her alone, more because I thought she might get lonely. Is that too vain? I didn’t mean it that way. I just thought she’s used to me being around the way I’m used to her being around. I know I’d go crazy if she was gone for a few weeks. And Dalaran seems colder, more closed off, every time we come back. Maybe I’m just imagining things.

So she decided to find an inn that’s not too far from the place in Eversong, and hopefully I can go there at nights. I don’t know how strict they are with their employees. I told her I can always sneak off into the bushes once in a while anyway.

Aeramin,

I’m good at not being seen. I’m sure I can find out some information for you. I’m definitely interested in some papers. I’m not too worried about Vallindra recognizing me, but I’ll change my hair just in case. We’re in Dalaran now, but I should be able to find a portal to Shattrath easily.

~Berwick

[Screenshots] One to Go

Finished up both Shado-Pan and my last farm friend today (no, I didn’t plan that). Finally! Shado-Pan are my least favorite quests of the dailies, I never want to see them again. That puts me at 55 exalted reps, and pushed me over 14k nerd points. Woo.

I love this dragon! It’s the best. I probably would have focused on them first if I’d known I’d get a cool free dragon out of it. Orny is wearing the Wakener title right now, because I think it’s hilarious for a druid.

Just Celestials left, they’re slow but at least they’re not too annoying. Today I think I’m going to focus on getting the rogue to 90 so I can get all those boxes out of my inventory!

[Story] Tathariel’s Journal

Though it’s always warm in the glade, once you go out onto the wastes, you can feel the change of the season. It’s subtle here, if you don’t know what to look for it’s easy to miss. Winter on the wastes is bone-chilling cold, the wind coming in from the ocean and sweeping over the dead ground. Sometimes I still forget and ask Jaellynn if he’s cold, and as soon as the words leave my lips I realize my mistake. Yes, of course he’s cold. He’s always cold — well, not always. I think sometimes he’s a little less cold, when we’re cuddled close by the fire and Relanos is with us.

I can’t believe how big he’s grown, he hardly fits on my lap anymore. He’s big enough to go walking with Jaellynn — they call it their “patrol”, though by the time they return, he’s being carried and almost always asleep. I’ve started to read books to him, mostly the ones that Terivanis gave us. Relanos likes the one about the bear, of course.

Time is a funny thing. It seems that things have always been the way they are now, and it’s difficult to imagine the time before. When it was just Mother and I, when I didn’t know such a person as Jaellynn and Relanos even existed. I realize that it will soon be midwinter again, when he and I first spoke in Darnassus. I suppose if that hadn’t happened, he might still be in the temple with the priestesses and their wary looks. I don’t know where I would be. The forests aren’t as safe as they were. I assure myself that I could handle it alone, but I’m not sure if that’s really true. I’m glad that I don’t have to find out.

We’ve all heard the news about Theramore, but it hasn’t seemed to affect Karnum or the other Tauren.  I think they, like us, hope it’ll just smooth itself over in time. It’s an abstract thing, and doesn’t really touch us here. We all heard about it and clucked our tongues about how unfortunate it was, and moved on. And I’ve never had reason to mistrust the Tauren. I think they probably trust us more than they do the rest of the Horde. I don’t know where we’d go if that changed, Feralas probably.

I want to ask about going to Shattrath again, but I’m afraid of the answer. I know he wants to wait longer, until Relanos has a chance to grow up more. But Relanos is already growing up, faster than I want him to. I think about having another tiny, precious baby to hold (a girl one, if we have any choice in the matter) and how perfect it would all be. He says it’s already good, why change things? He’s right about that, and I’ve tried to explain it, I don’t think he understands.

I think about my Mother and I wonder where she is, if she’s carried on with the man who found her, or if she is still waiting for Father to return someday. I think of him and Kelanori, of my tiny brother who’s almost as big as Relanos now. We haven’t seen them in too long. It isn’t a far trip, but I don’t like to go alone and I know the sentinels make Jaellynn uncomfortable. I even think of Jaeyn sometimes, he and his strange draenei, and wonder how they are. I suppose I could write, but I don’t know what I’d say. I wish things were different between us, but last time we tried it didn’t go so well.

The surest sign of winter in Desolace is the tiny blue flowers that sprout along the cliffs, sprouting seemingly out of nowhere to cover the dead stone. From afar, they look almost like ice. I saw a few of them sprinkling the grey this morning, as I flew overhead.

[Story] Shadowmoon Valley

Ordinicus was not, as a rule, given to gossip. Besides, it didn’t count as gossip if the person you were talking to wasn’t really a person, but a boar. Not a pig, like the mage had called him. Or was she really a mage? Ordinicus wasn’t really sure of that either. She had claimed to be studying the ley-lines in Shadowmoon, but that could just be a cover like everyone else’s. The other night he’d tried to talk to her about it, maybe make a little joke. How did they get that name? Did people lay on them? He’d been tempted — albeit briefly — to steer the joke further off-color but in hindsight he was glad he hadn’t. She surely wouldn’t have laughed, and would probably have reported it to the Commander. That one had a sort of dour look to her altogether, and Ordinicus got the feeling she took him for something of an idiot.

He didn’t know what a ley-line was exactly, other than it was something to do with magic. Like a river, maybe, but it was invisible. Plenty of lines crossed the scarred landscape of the valley, but Ordinicus didn’t know if many were magical. There were places where it looked as if the ground had split, something clawing its way up from beneath. Who knows, maybe it had. The demons had to come from somewhere, after all.

The dour mage and the dark-haired woman had been arguing, but he wasn’t completely sure just what about. Someone was in danger, and the dour mage said he wasn’t, and none of it made sense to him. Ordinicus did his best to be as inconspicuous as possible, and eat the rest of his meal in peace. He hadn’t thought anything more about it until last night, when the dark-haired woman accused him of — what? He wasn’t even sure exactly. Talking to the mage, yes he’d done that, but he didn’t see what was wrong with that. He hadn’t even been flirting, he would have been reasonably certain if he had been. Yet the dark-haired woman seemed annoyed, even angry, that he’d done that much. Ordinicus was baffled, especially if what the mage said was true and her apprentice was more than that. He still wasn’t completely clear on that point, and it wasn’t exactly something you could just come out and ask. It would be too obvious, for one thing.

It sometimes seemed that way, though, when she kept saying “us” and “we”, and she sat so close to him. But maybe it was just his imagination. They wanted help with some scheme or other, going to work on a farm to find out information about Sanimir. Ordinicus thought he’d seen him once, or maybe it’s just that he’d heard about him so often. They said Ordinicus wouldn’t be suitable because Vallindra (that was the dour mage’s name) would recognize him, and they needed someone who would notice small details. It was just as well. If he asked the Commander for time off to work on a farm, he was certain that he wouldn’t have a job to return to. Would that be so bad though, finally leaving the valley? Probably not, but where would he go? He didn’t have any family to speak of, and he wasn’t sure if he’d be welcome back in Silvermoon. Some people have long memories. No, he was happy to stay where he was for now, even if it meant that things were a little dull.

But then Kestrae said she did want him to do it after all, after they’d just said he couldn’t. Ordinicus said he’d think it over, but in truth he’d mostly made up his mind already. Hopefully the other person they’d mentioned would be able to, otherwise he’d have to start working on his excuse now.

[Story] Xanaroth’s Notes

* I asked about the tea. I think she suspected some sort of trick, because she asked a lot of questions and took a long time to answer. She ought to just stay in the Shattrath inn anyway, I have no idea why she prefers the other.

* Maybe one idea. At first I thought I’d seen a ghost, he looked so much like Astimos. But on watching, I don’t think he’s like him at all. The boy at the Sanctum seems quiet and cautious, not like the ranger I knew at all. Still, I’d hardly be surprised if that was part of her motivation to stay there.

* We went to work one of the smaller lines. I didn’t call Flaazun, I wanted to be able to locate it by myself. Yes, I had a general idea from the map, but I’m practicing being able to sense them. I think I did fairly well, I don’t think Vallindra agreed. This line ran through the ruins of some kind of settlement, possibly a temple. I can’t tell you how many years it’s been since I practiced basic fire spells, but that is what I did. Vallindra says I’ve made some progress, which is encouraging. I’m not sure if I can yet feel the difference between a normal spell and one that is ley-powered, so I plan to work on that more. She assures me that it’s safe to do so alone, so long as I don’t cast anything too strong, or accidentally draw too much. Of course, she hasn’t told me how to prevent that, either. I suspect she wants my brain to be melted.

* Eventually, she claims, I will be able to detect and draw from the weakest of lines. Then I hope I can move on to drawing from the large ones, as that was the goal of my research. But I know this sort of work takes patience, and steps cannot be skipped. I have all the time in the world. It’s not like there is somewhere else I need to be.

* Vallindra is worried that her brother should be moved. Evidently her father’s apprentice went to visit him, but the paper that Sanimir wrote upon is missing. The apprentice isn’t a mage, so she couldn’t create a portal to move him out. Still, I don’t blame Vallindra for being wary, especially as Sanimir has escaped once before. His father must have endless patience. I think by this point I might have given up and just let his soul be taken, if he wants that so badly.

* Vallindra returned to Shattrath with me to have tea. It was unusual, obviously the leaves used here are different from those in Dalaran or Eversong, and I believe it is flavored with native fruits as well. But it was quite good, and she conjured some cakes to go along with. She says she doesn’t eat sweets normally, which I found rather strange for a mage. The ones I know conjure every sort of dessert you can imagine.

* She asked about Beluri, in a vague sort of way. I had to be cautious with my answers because we were in the inn. She expressed an interest in the shadow, and asked whether I could instruct her in that. Could I? Yes. Do I want to? That is another matter entirely. I haven’t had a student since the accident. I feel that it would be tempting fate to take on another. If she weren’t truly an apprentice, but a peer — as Heller is — I think that would be all right. But that raises another concern, of course.

* Carraith had plenty to say about that. “Then don’t call her your apprentice,” she says. “That’s simple.” Regardless of what I call her, it would be the same. Carraith has only seen her briefly, so her disguise wasn’t perfect. But it’s much more difficult to mimic a specific person, at least without practice. I’m sure she will get better at it, with time. And it was certainly good enough.

[Story] A Tangle of Brambles 101

There were just a few lonely snowflakes on the roof last night, the first of the season. Just a hint of what will be coming soon. I don’t miss those cold winter nights on the roof, but I look forward to the ones inside by the fire. Or I think I do. Josie’s making it more complicated than it needs to be, again.

I told her she can’t keep going back and forth, and she says she isn’t, but if that half-breed shows up in Stormwind again, I know exactly what will happen. He’d be pretty stupid if he did. People aren’t exactly friendly toward the Horde right now, and especially the ones they hold responsible for what happened in Theramore. I don’t know if they really are or not, but that’s what people think, and angry crowds don’t listen to reason.

I worry about Alinash staying here too. I haven’t seen him, which comes as a relief. If I’m not seeing him, hopefully nobody else is either. The food and clothes left on the table disappear every night, so I know he’s still out there. Rose is going to leave a scarf and a pair of gloves, now that the nights are starting to freeze. Josie asked me if he’s all right. Since when does she worry about him? I don’t think she’d turn him in or anything, but it is strange. If the house was bigger, she could let him stay with us, like the place she used to live in Gilneas. She’s mentioned it in passing, once or twice. I wonder if it’s still there now.

Pup will be here this year too. He’s doing all right in his lessons, not as well as Josie and Rose would like, I think. I know he can do it, he just doesn’t have the motivation. I’m trying to make him see that it’s important, but he’s more interested in learning the things that I know. I’ve cut back on that, mostly due to dirty looks from Rose, but it’s hard to say no to the kid. Especially because he’s so excited about it. I told her she could have her own pack of raggedy pick-pockets, but she didn’t seem very impressed. He already got a knife last year, so I have to think of something else for him. I think he’s old enough to take care of something I made, so maybe a box that unlocks, that he can hide things inside. I would have loved that as a kid.

Josie is getting a cave for Rose. Well, she’s taking her to a cave. I guess this is a wolf thing, because I don’t see how she could possibly like that. I know they go out together at night sometimes, but I don’t know exactly what they do there. Her hair always smells of the wind and rain when they come back in, and her feet are muddy. I told Josie that elves do that too, run through the woods — well, normal elves anyway. I told her they are able to move so silently that even the deer don’t hear them. I’m not sure if she believed me. Well, she should ask Kaldor then.

I had the ring restored, it’s beautiful now. It’s fussy and ornate, you can tell from looking that it’s from Gilneas. I wonder about who owned it before, whether Rose knew them or not. I wonder if its owner is alive now, or if she’s cursed too. I wonder if Rose will want it at all, or if she’d prefer a dark, cold cave. If I give it to her, I’m proving her right. I’ll keep looking in the shop windows. Maybe I’ll find something better.

[Story] Magic Lessons 84

I hope you’re pleased with yourself, the voice growled. Now the only people who liked you here think you’re a freak too.

It wasn’t the naaru that time, though he might have welcomed them into his head if it meant his father’s voice would be quiet. He still didn’t trust them, nor did the trust the strange blue draenei. Not even the priests. Especially not the priests.

Tonight, Uldred had ordered extra of the meat, and dropped it into his bag when no one was watching him. He walked out to the hills behind the inn and waited. For a time, he was worried that the dragon wouldn’t appear — that some ill had befallen him, or that he’d simply decided he didn’t want to be in Uldred’s care anymore. But eventually he heard the leathery creak of wings, smelled the distinct and peculiar blend of rot and brimstone, and the dragon settled down on the hill beside him. His snout pushed open the leather pack and greedily ate all of the meat inside. It wasn’t enough, Uldred knew that. The dragon was growing bigger all the time, and he could scarcely afford to feed it with food from the inn. He hoped there would be suitable prey for it to hunt out here. From the caked blood around the edges of his muzzle, it appeared that there was. Maybe he could eat some of those draenei. As soon as the thought came into his head, Uldred tried to shoo it away.

The blood elf woman said the naaru could see everything in your thoughts, and this troubled Uldred greatly. He had always been a very private person, even more so in his adulthood when he didn’t have to worry about anyone barging into his room. There were things he’d rather not share with anyone, most especially strange light-demons from another world. He frowned, tracing the scales of the dragon’s head as he ate. To his great surprise, both the blood elves seemed to trust the draenei. Of anyone, they should have more reason not to. They weren’t exactly shy about their dislike of the elves, he’d overheard them saying so as he walked by. Uldred warned Aeramin about leaving his mother in their care — at the very worst they might actually try to harm her. Neither of them seemed to think this was true though, and Uldred finished the rest of his meal in silence. At one point, the woman had expressed some interest in what he was reading, but he felt that it was the sort of polite small-talk that people made when they didn’t have anything else to say.

And now they disliked him, just as his father said they would. Because he didn’t trust draenei. Not after the way they could look inside your mind. Not after the one had lured Kor away from him. The closest he’d ever had to a friend,  and now it meant nothing.

The pack would be no good for carrying his books, at least until it was washed. Uldred gathered them up in his arms carefully, and walked back down toward the inn. The dragon let out a little snort, watching him go.