[Story] Ashenvale

“Why do we have to stay here, Father?” Halthin gathered his robes more tightly around himself. This did little to warm him, as they were already soaked with rain. “There’s a perfectly good inn in Darnassus.” He would have settled for the floor of a shop at this point — at least it would be dry. Above them, the trees shuddered in the cold wind, sending another barrage of raindrops down upon their camp.

Faindor knelt at the firepit, striking the flint with grim determination. “It’s not safe there for you, Halthin. We’ve discussed this.”

Not safe? How could they be safer here, in the middle of an orc invasion? True, the sentinels said they had mostly retreated — mostly. It was the “mostly” that concerned Halthin. He did well enough with his prayers in the serenity of the temple, it would be another matter entirely to recite them with an angry orc in his face. “They have mages,” Halthin pointed out gently. His father was in one of his moods, and the last thing he wanted was to provoke him.

The older elf grunted in annoyance, both at his son’s words and the fire’s refusal to spark. “That’s foolish enough.”

“I don’t see how it’s so different,” said Halthin, wringing the rainwater from one of his sleeves. “People can dislike it, but they can’t do anything.”

A tiny flicker of flame leapt from the twigs, then quickly changed its mind, sizzling out in a wisp of smoke. “Because,” Faindor growled. “If Elune didn’t like what you were doing, she wouldn’t allow it. What you’re doing isn’t hurting anyone. That’s how it’s different. But not everybody sees it that way.”

Halthin frowned. He didn’t like to admit it, but his father was right — again. Halthin knew that he spoke with the voice of experience as well. There was a reason they had never really set down roots after his mother’s passing. One heretic in the family ought to be enough, but Halthin had shown aptitude for the healing arts very young. Or perhaps it was that Faindor knew what to watch for, and encouraged it. Maybe it had been his father’s plan all along — but even if it was, Halthin had the choice now. He could abandon his studies, go learn a trade or try to swing a sword. But the truth was that he was good at it, and as a result he liked it. If he could ease someone’s suffering, or soothe their troubled mind, then all the better. It shouldn’t matter that he was a boy, but to some it still did. He took some crumpled papers from inside his robes, still mostly dry, and held them out to his father.

Faindor blinked in surprise, then gave him a grin. “Thanks.”

They weren’t anything important, just some notes he’d written, some ideas for a sermon. As if they would ever allow him to preach in the temple. Maybe not this temple, but perhaps another one. He’d read that humans had men in their Church of the Holy Light. The idea of speaking to a church full of little humans amused him.

“Do you really think all of the orcs have gone?” Halthin asked, once the paper had caught the twigs alight. The fire was still weak and smoky, but it would grow in strength. If there were orcs here, it might attract them.

Faindor glanced back down the hill, toward the town. “The sentinels patrol here. If there are any orcs left, they’ll have to get through them. And me.”

Father was right about that too.

[Story] Imralion’s Notes

I found my own paper this time! Well I bought it, because the other day I helped Lin hunting and she let me have some of the money. In truth, I don’t really think she needs any help, and I probably annoyed her more than I helped, but it was nice of her to let me go along. I guess she knows I don’t like being a bum. In Silvermoon they have whole shops just with fancy papers and inks, but not here. I was able to find some though. I figure I’ll need it to send letters back to Shattrath. We got our orders yesterday evening, we’re going to Blade’s Edge. I’ve seen drawings in my books, and it seems pretty dangerous. I’m worried about him staying out there alone. There must be an orc town or something that he can stay in.

We went out last night but he still wouldn’t let me help pay. Oh well. Kestrae was there, and the archer. He seems nice, but he barely said anything so I can’t really tell. Oh and at one point a woman came, I guess he and Kestrae know her and she’s helping with the dragon study. That dragon better appreciate all the hard work going into helping him! Kestrae said he doesn’t talk yet, in stories dragons talk all the time. So they think maybe his throat hurts or he’s not talking for some other reason. I don’t know, maybe he’s just a dragon who doesn’t like to talk very much. The woman, whose name was Vallindra, had a lot of ideas about how to make the dragon better. She was also really curious about the demons, so I told her a bit about that. Like she wanted to know where I’d gone and how much I had learned.

I wanted last night to be really good since I’ll be going away for a while. I mean, we’ll probably see each other while I’m there but he’s really busy and he has to practice. We got dessert at the restaurant, they had a pie made with the Outland berries that was really good. I bet Aeramin could make it himself though. When we got back to his house I told him about the orders and I said I wanted to do some other things too. At first I thought he didn’t want to but I guess he was surprised, because he thought I didn’t. I was just worried about it, that’s all, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I wanted to at least try. I still want to try the other too but I know he doesn’t want that. It was really different, but not bad either. I think like anything else, it’s better with practice.

We have to leave before lunch, it doesn’t seem like long enough. I’m sure the other guys are wondering where I am all the time. I am not sure what I should tell them.

[Story] Isandri’s Diary

Dear Diary,

After my lessons I went to visit with the naaru in the center of the city again. I found out its name is V’eru, but I still don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl. I guess it doesn’t matter, but I can’t help being curious. I wanted to ask it about some things that I can’t ask Thero. I guess I could have asked Haani, but I didn’t see her there today. I guess she probably has lessons to go to, too. As usual, V’eru didn’t have much to say to me, but I think it at least said hello. Maybe it’s unhappy with me for being an elf, or for another reason. I feel guilty, and then I get upset with myself for feeling guilty because it’s stupid. I know I should help people no matter who they are, but I’m not perfect. Thero acted totally clueless when I asked him about it, but then he said he won’t do anything unless I tell him to. I don’t want him to be like that, I want him to decide for himself. But I’m glad he won’t be coming here, and I feel guilty for that too. But it’s true.

Not much progress has been made in the other area either. I found a book in the library that has a bunch of different tricks and things but I’m skeptical. Most of them require eating certain foods or certain herbs, which won’t be easy to find here in Outland. I thought he might be upset about needing a book to help but he seemed really curious about it, so I showed him. I do wonder how he can be so naive about some of these things though, I mean, don’t rangers’ animals have babies at least? He asked last night how late we’d have to stay up to be able to tell if it worked. Fortunately I didn’t laugh, that’s the last thing you want to do. I mean I know a fair amount about it because I’ve worked with some patients who were having babies — not a whole lot, but definitely more than him! That might be a good area to go into when I’m finished, but what if I don’t even have my own yet by then? That would be difficult. I think I’ll ask Lali if she has any ideas.

Kestrae was supposed to have one too, so they’d all grow up together. Sath should come home soon. I haven’t heard from Sanimir about it yet, but I suppose he’s busy helping with the dragon.

~Isandri

[Screenshots] Corrupted Fire Hawk

Yay! We finished the last 2 achievements tonight, Barrel Roll and Only the Penitent (which I thought might never happen). As a bonus we also got Ragnar-Os, which isn’t needed for the mount, but still cool!

fireland_bird

[Story] Letters

Sanimir,

I hope you don’t me writing to you like this. Partly I just want to make sure that you and Aeramin got out of Dalaran safely, since Xyliah didn’t seem to know for sure. I guess you’ve already heard about what happened there. The humans and high elves started going through the city forcing everyone to leave, and some they just killed right there. Xyliah and I were leaving, but they arrested me anyway and put us all into a prison. They were just ordinary people, mostly shopkeepers and things like that, the mages all went into a different prison. I don’t know why they thought any of us had anything to do with Theramore, we’re just regular people going about our business. I know it’s not the same as what happened to you — I wasn’t tied up and I wasn’t beaten (although a few others were).

But I guess I feel like you might understand more than others. I feel a little safer now that we’re in Eversong, but I still worry about them finding me again. I wonder why no one in Silvermoon has sent anyone to help us. We were there for a really long time, I don’t know exactly how long but I watched myself and everyone else get thinner and thinner. I don’t know how to explain it to her, and part of me doesn’t really want to, because I don’t want to upset her. She’s been bringing me food and she went and got me new clothes yesterday. I lost everything in the bank, and we can’t go back to the house of course, it’s in Dalaran. I’m sure some high elves have taken it over by now. So I have to start all over again, with nothing. I guess for now we’re going to stay here with her father at his shop. I hate it, not because I dislike her father but because I’m ashamed that I have to work in a shop for money. At least my mother’s house is already paid for, otherwise she would have nowhere to go either. I wrote her a letter to tell her I’m okay, and I’m going to go into the city in a few days to visit her. Xyliah won’t even let me get up at all, she says I have to rest. It’s pretty boring in here. I feel okay now that I’m clean and I can eat and see the sky.

I hope you’re doing okay. Does it get easier eventually? I don’t mean to bring up bad memories so you don’t have to write back if you don’t want to. I’ll be here at Xyliah’s father’s house for a while I guess. Once she allows me to travel, I’ll start looking for some things to sell again.

~Berwick

Lin,

Are you staying at the inn? I’m sending this there but the woman at the counter didn’t think you were. Did you go out in the woods? Or back to Silvermoon? I wanted to meet with you for lunch or something before we go out again. The Captain hasn’t told us yet where we’ll be going, he likes to wait until the last minute so it’s a surprise or something. Aeramin says there are demons in Netherstorm and Blade’s Edge, so it’s likely one of those two. Aren’t the names here weird? Blade’s Edge sounds like it would be really dangerous. And from what I read, there’s just a bunch of floating rocks in Netherstorm.

Also I was thinking maybe I could help you hunting bird people sometime. I feel bad that Aeramin is always paying for everything, and he has to work so much. If I had my own money he wouldn’t have to. Would that be okay? I can show you my new armor and everything. He’s been really sweet so far, he left a little note for me when he left yesterday. We’re both so busy but at least I get to see him in the evening, until we have to go out again that is. He’s been helping to take care of a sick dragon in Shadowmoon Valley, he reads books to it and sings to it. I asked how come he didn’t read books or sing to me and he gave me a funny look so I don’t know, maybe that was the wrong thing to say. But I did finally convince him to sing and he has a really nice voice, I don’t know why he’s embarrassed to do it. He was afraid I would laugh. Well, he’ll probably laugh when I try, but then maybe I should sing bad on purpose so it’s funnier.

Have you thought about what you’ll do after I’m done here? I mean, I kind of want to stay now but it hasn’t been that long. I can’t just invite myself to stay here, though I don’t think he would mind. We kind of talked about it, a little. We agreed that we’re more than friends, but I’m not sure exactly what that means. I mean, obviously I don’t do anything like that with just a friend. He was talking about someone else earlier too, which was a little awkward. We had dinner at the place behind the inn, his friend Kestrae was there. I guess she’s also his teacher, he has to go and study with her today. I think maybe she’s got used to the idea of me being around more because I didn’t get any dirty looks this time. I bet you’d like her though, at least it would be another woman to talk to instead of an annoying brother, right?

I forgot to mention the paintings, they’re all over the house, his mother did them before she died. They’re really nice. I kind of want to ask for one, but he probably doesn’t want to give them away because they’re the only thing he has left of her. I should ask if she ever did any portraits.

~Imralion

Dear Hethurin,

I hope you are well. There was a draenei girl that I spoke to and she says she might have found out something about Sath. They think that he took a portal to Pandaria! If we found it when this was, we could see which mages knew how to make them back then. But I’m not sure if it’s even really him, they said he didn’t have a cat with him and I’ve never seen Sath without one of his cats. And why would he go there? It’s very mysterious.

I wish I could help you with the dragon. I assume everyone has tried the usual healing spells? Maybe Thero would let me go out to try. He’s starting his studies for enchanting so he’ll be very busy but I’m sure someone could make me a portal.

Oh, and we got a letter from his brother, he’s made it out of Dalaran and someone told him we were in Shattrath. So I suppose we’ll probably find him on our doorstep soon. I might have to plan a trip to visit you then!

I’d love to see you when you come to visit, I assume your apprentice will be coming as well? It would be nice to see her again. We could go visit Lali’s baby!

~Isandri

[Story] Venomspite

The dead don’t feel the cold. That was the only way Berwick knew that he was in fact, still alive. Earlier that night, the group of rangers and mages had opened their cages and set them free. He didn’t know if they’d got everyone — Xyliah had said she didn’t know, which he took to mean that some had been left behind. He couldn’t imagine how those few must feel, having the hope of rescue only to have it torn away from them. They would probably die in there. He almost had given up himself.

They were in a little settlement in Dragonblight, a Forsaken outpost that normally didn’t see many visitors. The wind blew through the gaps in the rotting boards in the walls, and there were no fireplaces. Cobwebs fluttered from the ceiling beams, and there was a coffin leaning against the wall of the room that Xyliah shared with Kit, the jeweler’s woman. Berwick was grateful to be free, of course, but this place reminded him too much of the jail with its cold dampness and the feeling of hopelessness that clung to the buildings. Being Forsaken, they didn’t have any proper food, and Xyliah had to go out to hunt some. Berwick watched the stairway anxiously, worried that she might not return. Ember, the young core hound, seemed to have grown in his absence — he could hardly fit on Berwick’s lap anymore. He seemed overjoyed to be reunited, pushing his nose under Berwick’s hand and his little hindquarters wiggling with glee. He was thankful for the animal’s warmth in this cold place; while he was grateful to sleep in a proper bed for once, the blankets were threadbare and smelled strange. Xyliah herself didn’t seem quite so eager to see him. Every night he’d imagined what he would do if he ever saw her again, but that didn’t happen. She fussed over him and offered to find more food to eat, but he was used to being hungry. He could accept that. Being alone was far, far worse.

Thalien was gone, shot down by the guards when he returned to try to find Berwick. If he hadn’t been captured, he would still be alive. It wasn’t fair, Thalien had never hurt anyone. He had been a loyal friend to Xyliah, and Berwick believed the dragonhawk had even accepted him. More than one time he had risked himself to help them. They didn’t even bury him properly; he had just been left on the landing with the others, forgotten in a heap. Xyliah had found the young one that she called Caras on one of her scouting trips. He was an unusual dark silver in color, one Berwick had never seen before. But he wasn’t Thalien, and a part of Berwick resented the young dragonhawk for trying to take his place.

Where were they to go? Kit said many people had gone to Shattrath from Dalaran, including some of their friends. Berwick had been to Outland a handful of times, but it was not a place he’d ever considered living. They had nothing now, not even a place to live. Berwick had never lost everything before, and the idea troubled him. He could find more things, couldn’t he? But it would take time, and he’d need to regain his strength first. He hadn’t realized until they were free to walk around just how weak he was. Xyliah suggested that they stay with her father in  Eversong. She could work at his shop, she said. It seemed the best option, but it still worried Berwick. How could he look at her father now? He had made a promise to look after Xyliah, and now he couldn’t. He had not a single coin to his name, and her father would see him for the worthless Murder Row rat that he really was.

And the most troubling thought, what if Xyliah had decided that too? She hadn’t wanted to be near him, seemed curiously cold especially compared to the other girl. He remembered Teniron talking about her, but she was nowhere near as beautiful as Xyliah. While they spoke, he studied Xyliah carefully, being sure to get every detail right. He remembered the little wisp of hair that fell loose from her ponytail, the shape of her nose, the path that her scar took across her face. He listened to her voice and it was just as he had remembered it while he was inside. His own voice was the one that sounded strange to his ears, rough and unaccustomed to being used.

The sky outside was a pale grey, heralding the rise of the winter sun. The mages would be awake soon, and they would make a portal to Eversong. Then he would finally feel free of his cage.

[Screenshots] Gree Stuff

I got up to “Newcomer” which means I get the first title. I also did the quest for the one pet, but I don’t have enough rep to learn it yet. Oh well, he can hang out in my bags until then. I love the inside of their ship!

grey_secant

And a funny bugged loading screen.

That's probably not good.

That’s probably not good.

And a story: We were working on the last daily in a PVP-flagged zone. There’s a boss there that drops a rep token if you kill it, which I needed for the last little bit to reach Newcomer. I pulled it, and then noticed about 5 Imperials on the other side of him. I don’t know if they meant to kill it or not, but it’s likely! I was worried that they’d kill us for stealing it, or just for the heck of it but that’s not what happened. They helped us kill the boss and went on their way. I was totally floored and very grateful that they’d be so friendly. I wish I could send them some Imperial cookies!