[Story] Winter Veil Postcards – The Harrier

They all had a lot of questions that he didn’t know the answer to. The Harrier admitted that it was probably fair payback for all the times that he’d done the same, except it wasn’t really. He wasn’t the one in charge of everything, the one they all looked to and relied upon. He wasn’t anyone. She was the leader. Where had she gone? Outland, except it was some other past version of Outland that might or might not match their own. Was the real Outland gone? He didn’t know. Would it change? Possibly, he didn’t know that either.  Why had she gone there? The reason she’d given was something vague about seeking new opportunities, but the Harrier thought it had more to do with getting away from the city. She’d lived on a farm in her youth, grown up in the forests of Gilneas, and maybe she was just tired of all the crowds and stone buildings. Elwynn had trees, but it wasn’t really wild. Maybe that was the actual reason she’d had to go, and he could understand to a degree. Would she come back? That was Josie who asked, and he wanted to lie and assure her that Rose would come back, he couldn’t be sure. He thought it likely that she might not, that she might bring Josie with her and leave all of the rest of them behind. After all the times she’d scolded him for abandoning Pup! Could she really? It was difficult to guess her intentions, sometimes. But the Harrier very much doubted there was a great demand for clocks in the wilderness.

She had sent along a small chunk of ore, a sample from the mining operation in the settlement. It was impossible to tell how good the metal might be until it was refined, but as he knew nothing about it, he wasn’t sure of the proper method. It would take some trial and error to get right. Either way, one new metal was hardly worth leaving everyone behind, was it? Alinash had said he’d be willing to help run the shop if need be, but the Harrier wasn’t certain it was a good idea. That would mean being face to face with customers every day, and speaking with them. It was a lot more likely that someone would notice something off. Officially speaking, there was a truce, but that didn’t stop people’s long-held grudges. And the truce could evaporate tomorrow, it was worth nothing more than the paper it was written on.

In the letter, Rose had written that she wanted to be back in time for the holiday, but she wasn’t sure if it was possible. The Harrier hadn’t bought her gift yet, even before he’d received the letter. As he had for the past few years, he considered giving her the ring he’d found in the ruins of Gilneas. He’d had it cleaned and repaired, set with new gems, and it looked as if it was new. But it had never quite seemed like the right time to give it to her, and now most of all. She felt further away than she ever had, and not only in distance. The Harrier suspected it was only a matter of time before she broke things off entirely. She spent most nights with Josie, and he suspected Josie only turned her away from time to time for the sake of peace in the house. Otherwise he’d probably never see Rose at all, except at the front counter in the shop. He wasn’t ready to be told no, in no uncertain terms. So he had waited.

He’d bought Josie some nice earrings with blue gemstones, they’d been imported from Dalaran and the gnome who’d sold them claimed they were enchanted. The Harrier didn’t know if this was true or not, but they did seem to glow with a faint light. He’d bought Pup a warm winter jacket, lined with fur. The irony of that didn’t escape him, but it would keep him warm when he went to his classes during the winter. He also bought him another knife, a larger one that was higher quality, since Rose wasn’t here to disapprove. Alinash was a puzzle, he didn’t need any more scarves or mittens, and he knew little about the blood elf to know what he might like. Last night he’d mentioned a song that his mother used to sing to him, the only scrap of memory he had left. The Harrier envied him that much; he had no memory of his mother at all. She’d left him with the Sentinels in Astranaar when he was mere days old. It took a few trips to different rare bookshops, but he eventually found what he was looking for — a compilation of Thalassian songs, its pages weathered by age. Maybe the song was in there, maybe not. But hopefully he would like it.

He’d almost asked the blood elf to stay. It had occurred to him on a whim, but he wasn’t sure how he’d react. Earlier he had make a joke, that he could stay in one of their rooms, but he hadn’t so much as raised a brow. He hadn’t asked which room he meant, or protested either way. The woman in Silvermoon wasn’t his girlfriend, so he said, but that doesn’t mean he’d be interested in such things. There had been a handful, all of them humans, and they’d all been the ones to approach Harrier.  He supposed elves were mysterious and alluring to a human, but that was probably not the case to another elf. It was probably for the best, it would complicate things even further, but he couldn’t help but think it would be nice not to be alone, especially when the nights grew cold.

 

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