[Story] Thorns – Homesick

The Harrier worked at his makeshift desk near one of the windows. In the afternoon, the sun would be too bright to stand and he’d have to draw the curtains, and use a lamp instead. But for now, it was warm and cheerful. The blood elf Headmaster had approved the first sketches he’d drawn, and he had begun making the casings for the first few clocks. While there was certainly something to be said for simplicity, the Harrier actually enjoyed the more intricate designs. They were more challenging, gave him more chance to show off what he could do. All of the bedroom clocks would have little mechanicals that announced the hours, for example, and he wanted to make them all different. The blood elf had also recently added a full-standing clock to his order, for one of the entryways. The Harrier hadn’t yet decided what he’d do for that one, but it had to be something that would demand attention. He got the feeling that the blood elf would appreciate that, unlike some of his customers in Stormwind who wanted simplicity.

He glanced outside the window, where he could see the black-haired elf working in the garden, as he usually did. It looked like he was trimming branches off of trees. The little girl followed behind him as he went, picking up the bits of branches and adding them to her rather enormous armful. The sight made him smile in spite of himself, but it made him think about Pup again. He’d promised that he’d never abandon the boy again, but isn’t that exactly what he had done? It hadn’t been by choice this time, at least, but he doubted that would be much consolation. Was Pup back in the city now, or was he still stuck in some strange land with nothing familiar? The Harrier had no way of knowing whether they could get letters there, but he had to try. He could send a copy both to their home in Stormwind, and the address that Rose had given him for the fort. Hopefully Nash would agree to take the letters into the nearby town to mail them. He’d better, after all the help the Harrier had given him with his studies.

As part of his ruse as a student of the school, Nash was required to take certain exams to determine what he knew. As he’d never had any formal schooling, the answer was: not much. He’d been fretting and pacing for days over the tests, and the Harrier had done his best to help him study. But it was a lot to cover, and the Harrier wasn’t the best teacher — nor was Nash the best student. He kept wheedling the elf to just steal the answers from the Headmaster’s office. If they were even there — they had no way to know if that was even true — it was just far too great a risk to take. Such a private room was undoubtedly shielded by magic wards, and the Harrier wasn’t anxious to cause trouble in this place where he already felt wary. Besides, he told Nash, wasn’t it better to actually learn the stuff? It could prove useful. At the very least, he could impress Rose with his knowledge of Sin’dorei history. Nash hadn’t seemed very convinced by that argument.

The students didn’t seem any less skittish around him, still giving him furtive glances as they walked past. He noticed there was a new one, a girl, who had come to visit with her parents. He’d wisely stayed out of sight during the time they were here. He wasn’t sure what rich blood elf parents would think about a kaldorei at their school — especially one like him. He’d spoken to the other kaldorei again briefly, but only about casual matters. The Harrier was curious to know how she’d come to find herself here — with a sin’dorei husband — but didn’t want to pry. Besides, she’d probably want to know about his past too, and he hadn’t come up with a good story yet. Nash had, though — he’d recount his conversations with the other students late at night. Sometimes they were too outrageous to believe, like the time he told them that he was part troll, or about his cousin who worked in Murder Row. The Harrier envied him a little, isolated in his work room, but at least he had Nash to talk to. And the others, if he could get their letters through.

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