[Story] Preparations

I finally got Kes her ring. It wasn’t easy though! I thought maybe she wouldn’t want it or something. I practically had to drag her into the jewelry shop. We’d gone into the city to buy Hethurin’s wedding gift. I had to bring all of the gold I’ve been saving up, because I wasn’t sure exactly how much the ring was going to cost. I felt anxious carrying that much around with me, I tied the bag to the inside of my vest so I’d feel it if anyone tried to steal it from me. Though I guess they could have cut a hole or something, but thankfully that didn’t happen. We were mostly in the market, where there are patrollers, but you never know. Losing the money would have been really awful and I’ve had to start saving all over again.

We bought robes for Hethurin and Terellion, not mage robes but the kind you wear when you get out of the bath. They were really thick and fluffy, we got one blue and one white. I hope they’re just the right shade of blue, Kes said that Hethurin is being a little picky about that, but she seemed to think it would be okay. We got them to sew the letters on, HF and TF, and that took a while for them to finish. They did it right there! The girls who work there obviously get a lot of practice at sewing on letters, but it was still pretty amazing. I was worried that the jewelry shop would be closed by the time we were finished, I don’t know if they close early or something.

Lyorri also needed a dress, so we had to go to one of the baby shops. There are a lot of those but Kes found one that she liked. We both agreed it shouldn’t have too many ruffles because it would scratch her too much and also because Lyorri would just chew on them. The one we found was cute, but not too complicated. Baby clothes are so expensive! You’d think they would cost less because of how small they are, they don’t use very much cloth. We also bought her a hat, to keep the sun off her eyes while she’s outside. I had the idea of just getting one hat and then changing the ribbon to match different outfits, I mean it’s not like she needs more than one hat anyway right? Then they had little toys for babies to chew on when they are getting teeth, which Lyorri is, so we looked at those. We got one that had different kinds of beads with different colors. She was holding onto it so I guess that means she likes it. I really don’t know what makes a toy look good for chewing on, if you are a baby. So we bought those, and I think Kes probably would have liked to stay there all night looking at cute baby clothes but I wanted to get her into the jewelry store.

I said that we should go and get something to eat, and my plan was to walk past there and then pretend like I just had the idea to go in. But it was like she didn’t want to! She thought I meant to buy a gift for Hethurin there, she didn’t get at first that I meant it was for her. And then she kept looking at earrings, I had to go over to the case with the rings and point some out. I guess it probably wasn’t very romantic but I wanted it to be a surprise, but I also wanted her to pick one that she’d really like. She kept asking if I was sure, of course I’m sure! We’ve been together for a long time and we have Lyorri now and she needs to have a proper family. I’m a little worried about Aeramin changing his mind, he’s been visiting a lot more, but hopefully he’ll see that she’s doing well with us. I don’t know why I waited this long, but I think Lyorri was what made me realize that we should be. Anyway, she found one with a really nice red stone, and they had some bracelets in a similar style that Lyorri can wear when she’s older. I think right now she’d just try to chew on it, and jewelry isn’t as good for babies to chew on. Kes said I needed one too, which was kind of more than I planned for, money-wise, but thankfully I  had enough. We have to get them all made the proper size, so I’ll have to go back and pick them up soon.
I am not sure when we’ll have the party, or how fancy it’ll be. I know her family is fairly large, so they’ll probably all want to come. I just have my parents, and I haven’t been in touch with them for so long, but I’m sure they will want to hear about it. And they’ll definitely want to see Lyorri, though they’ll probably have a lot of questions. Now that she has hair it’s a bit more obvious. Either way, we’ll have to wait until Hethurin’s is over, I think everyone will be partied out for a while after that.

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[Story] Asking Questions

Captain Dawnstrike didn’t even look up from his papers, so Imralion wasn’t sure if he’d even heard his request.

“Sir,” he asked again, shifting in his armor. “I said I’d like permission to investigate the murders.”

This time, the Captain had heard him. He laid his quill down across the top of the paper he was writing on, and looked at Imralion. “What are you talking about?”

“In Murder Row,” explained Imralion. “I was told–”

“There’s a reason it is called that,” the Captain sneered. “Do you think you can guess why that might be?”

He was already beginning to regret his promise. “Yeah — yes, sir. I know. It’s just it was brought to my attention that we never send any patrols to–”

The Captain looked at Imralion sharply. “I’m not sending my knights down there. Listen, you can do whatever you like off-duty. I don’t need to hear about it. But it’s a stupid idea and you’re going to get yourself robbed, or killed, or worse.” He took his scabbard from where it had rested, leaning against the wall, and ensured that it was tied on. “If you’ll excuse me.” He brushed past Imralion and headed out into the street.

Reluctantly, Imralion checked that his own weapon was still handy. Aeramin told him not to wear his usual armor, that it would mark him too much and he would stand out too easily. So he’d borrowed some old recruits’ pieces from the armory, looking for the most dented and rusty pieces. They didn’t fit him quite right, either, so it wasn’t exactly comfortable, but it would do for a short while. Even so, he felt the curious stares as he approached the darkened street, and one an arcane patroller paused to scan over him.

He hadn’t really any idea where to start, he thought to just look for someone who might be willing to talk, and begin asking questions. The Captain was right, murders weren’t unusual, but there had been many more of late, and whoever was responsible was targeting the workers specifically. It upset Julan, the dancer — new ranger, Imralion reminded himself — and by extension, Aeramin. There was some history there, it seemed, as there often was. Imralion supposed it was natural, given that he’d once lived and worked here, but why did Aeramin seem to know every guy in the city?

Imralion wrinkled his nose as he walked along the street. He could smell urine and garbage, and who knows what else. The surrounding buildings towered over, throwing the street into dim shadows, even now in the bright evening sunshine. He thought he saw movement in the darker shadows, whether they were elves or something else he couldn’t be certain. But he most certainly felt that he was being watched.

It didn’t take long for an enterprising resident to approach, however. The boy looked fairly young, but it was difficult to be sure. He wore a pair of green shorts, and nothing else, not even shoes. Imralion had expected that he would be propositioned, but he hadn’t expected that they would be quite so persistent. Nor did the guy even seem to have any idea what Imralion was asking about. Sure there are murders, he said, every day. Was Julan making the whole thing up? Was it all some twisted prank of Aeramin’s to trick him into coming down here? The guy suggested that he talk to a nearby girl, who lingered around a nearby pillar. They finally described a man with dark hair, who wore robes — but they didn’t know what color — who sometimes frequented the area. Just great, Imralion thought, frustrated. The most vague and useless description imaginable. Had he hired the victims? They didn’t know, but it was likely given that their bodies were found inside their own homes. Would they recognize him if they saw him again? They didn’t know. Here he was, trying his best to help them, but they couldn’t tell him anything. And then the girl had the nerve to charge him gold, “for her time”, she said. Annoyed, Imralion fished out five gold pieces and gave them to her. He would have given her a lot more if she’d actually said something useful. Perhaps sensing this, she frowned and took only two of them. Imralion gave the other two to the guy.

He wrote his address onto two scraps of paper, and gave one to each of them. He instructed them to write if they saw or heard anything else, or knew someone who might. If they couldn’t do that, they could always come to the office and ask for him. They both looked skeptical, but perhaps they’d be more willing to talk if he wasn’t standing right there and causing a scene. By this point, eyes were beginning to show around corners and in windows. They didn’t trust him, and why should they? No one else had bothered before. Imralion was trying. He wanted to help them, wanted to make a difference. But it all seemed so difficult.

It was best to leave before the sun set completely, Imralion thought. Best not to press what luck he’d had so far. He would have to tell Aeramin what he’d discovered — all of nothing, so far.

[Story] Thorns – A Letter in the Ghostlands

Finally got a letter from Rose. It actually came to Nash — I mean “Lhoris” because I told her to use that name. I think my fake name is a little too embarrassing. I guess it’s also a little more suspicious if a Kalimdor elf was getting letters here. She didn’t write the address on the envelope either, of course. But I knew it was from her, I recognized her handwriting right away. The butler brought it to him, and I think Nash was a little nervous about getting a letter until he saw that it was to “Lhoris”. Nobody outside of the school — and Rose — knows that name.

She got the boxes, and they’re back in the shop. They had to clean and unpack everything. She didn’t say very much what they were doing all that time, but I didn’t really expect her to. I guess I wouldn’t in her place, either. She did say that they brought back a lot of that ore, as well as some different kinds of spices, and a bunch of those shirts. She said there was one for me. Thankfully, she didn’t mail it. She said that it was nice sleeping in an actual bed again, I’m not sure if that was supposed to be a hint or not.

The mage came by the shop, and at first she didn’t recognize him — he asked about the elf and the girl that he’d hired. The mage thinks Nash is a girl, I guess. I don’t think Nash appreciated that part. He’s anxious about us taking so long to locate the book. Look, if it were easy, he could have done it himself and not hired anyone. These things take time. I’ve been able to check some of the rooms, there are times when people are in classes and it’s relatively easy. I always have to be aware of the butler and Terellion, they are often moving around when others aren’t. And the butler is good at being quiet. It makes me wonder. A few of the rooms are locked, they are old locks but they look easy to pick, I’m just not sure if they have any kind of magical alarm or something on them. There’s one that I think I can reach from an outside window, it’ll take some climbing but I’m good at that. I am not sure about the others. Nash says those rooms aren’t used, but that doesn’t mean the book couldn’t be stored in there. He’s much more able to check rooms than I am, having more access to more places. Most of the time, I’m supposed to be working at my desk. It’s a nice job, actually. This guy wants clocks in every room, then the standing clock for the entry-way, and the clock for the tower. Then a few nights ago, he was asking me about pocket watches. I could probably find work here for months. Maybe I should see if that human mage wants any watches, or anyone else at the tower. I don’t think I’d want to live in their house, but having a patron would certainly help my income. I have a feeling that Rose won’t be so upset once she sees how much money this guy is giving us. Well, me. It’s mine, isn’t it? But it would feel wrong not giving her any of it. Nash will get some too, of course. Maybe he can find a nicer place to live than that awful inn. I mean to talk about it with him eventually, but it hasn’t really come up. And usually there isn’t much talking when we see each other, because it’s late. And other reasons.

It’s helped though, I don’t feel that desperate loneliness that I did before, though I still miss her. I can’t explain it, I tried to. He said it doesn’t bother him, but I am not sure if that’s true. It bothers me. I wish I could just stop, if it were only that easy. Things would be a lot simpler.

[Art] Plush Plans

I’ve had a bunch of new ideas for things I want to sew, I don’t know if I’ll have time to finish them all this summer though!

I’ve cut out pieces for another bear similar to the last one. I narrowed his body so hopefully I’ll be more happy with how he comes out. I also thought of a great use for my rainbow fur, though I haven’t made a pattern yet. And then while playing Flight Rising, I was reminded of the cute deity ragdolls —

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Wouldn’t it be cute to make a real life version of one? I plan to use button eyes though, because I don’t really like how the X’s look. I won’t be able to sell these, but I could post the pattern for free if people were interested. I couldn’t go to the fabric store because of my car trouble, but I found this fleece on eBay for a really great price.

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I am really excited to start work on this guy! The seller had nearly 30 different colors, so I was getting all sorts of ideas for other rag doll type plush too — like maybe druid kitties! I wish I had more summer to sew.

[Story] Thorns – The Meeting

[[ I am writing this in the car place, hope it’s not too disjointed! ]]

Professor Dawnshard pulled back the flap of the research tent, startling Liara. She was deep in her notes, recording the symbols found on the demon statue’s base. They were similar to the picture words used elsewhere in Uldum, but different enough that she could not decipher them. She copied them meticulously, that she might look in the books back in Shattrath or Silvermoon to compare them there. Surely she could find more information there.

“There’s a boy to see you,” he said. The Professor looked shaken, a look that Liara had rarely seen on him before, and it concerned her.

A boy? Liara drew her brows, puzzled. Was it a letter? A package? She did not expect any, and visitors to the digsite were exceptionally rare. The last one had actually come across them by accident, a traveling merchant who had attempted to take a shorter route through the vast desert. Gathering herself, Liara lay down her quill and adjusted her scarf before stepping out into the searing sun to meet her guest.

He wasn’t exactly a boy; he had a beard. But she could see why the Professor had called him that, he looked impossibly young and innocent. He stood out plainly as an outsider here, his complexion looked as if he had not been out in the sun in months. And he was dressed all in black, with long pants and sleeves, and a heavy woolen cloak. Liara couldn’t imagine how hot he must be. Oh, and he was a human. There were some here, but not many, and those who lived in the desert all took a deep bronze color. The boy held his hat, turning it around anxiously in his hands. He seemed to be waiting for Liara to say something.

“Yes?” she asked. His eyes were a clear and deep blue, really quite nice. Liara felt a pang of jealousy that hers would never look like that again.

The boy glanced toward the Professor, as if gauging his reaction first. “I have information about your children,” he said. His voice bore an accent that Liara didn’t recognize.

It had been years since she had thought of them, wondered where they were or what had become of them. They were well into adulthood now, no doubt with lives of their own. They didn’t need a mother anymore, and it eased some of the guilt that she had carried for decades. But with those words it came over her like a wave, threatening to knock her off her feet. Liara swayed, unsteadily, but regained herself.

“Where– how–?” There were so many questions she had for this strange man.

The boy took out a bundle of papers from within his coat and handed them to Liara. “Those are their addresses.” She glanced at it briefly. Both lived in the Ghostlands, which made no sense. Were they actually dead, was this some cruel prank? But he spoke again before she could ask another question. “They hired me to find you.”

Liara’s breath caught in her throat. What else had they dug up? They must have found out her shameful secrets — all of them. Did they want to confront her? She could not really blame them if that was the case. Liara had had decades to accept her choices and to move past them, but they had not. She didn’t know what she would say if they asked her why.

And the Professor heard all of this, too. She had never told him of her children, the circumstances of their birth nor their being given to the Matron. He had been silent, observing, his regular cool composure returned. He answered the question that she was about to ask. “You need to go to them,” he said. “The dig will still be here. I can handle it for a while.”

She frowned faintly. She didn’t want to stop in the middle of her work, nor — she admitted — did she want to leave the Professor alone out in the desert. He would most likely be fine, but unexpected things could happen. Still, she knew he was right. As much as the idea frightened her, she needed to meet with her son and daughter. She wondered what they looked like now, whether they looked like their father or not.

“But first –” said the Professor. “Won’t you stay for lunch?”

The strange pale boy smiled shyly. “I was hoping you would ask.”

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Loralinde’s Diary

I’m going to keep notes about my ghost experiences in this journal. I mean, it’ll still be a regular journal too but I’m going to keep records about what happens because that is very important. I’ve been talking to everyone in the school and I think there are definitely ghosts here! Des said that there’s even one who sometimes goes in her room, named Ellavia. Mostly she moves some of Des’s belongings around. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her about it too much yet but I’d like to try putting some flour in her room. I read that sometimes the ghosts will leave footprints in them, so I could see where the ghost is going to. I think they don’t always stay in the same place because it’s such a big house and otherwise I think we’d see them more. Keyalenn said he heard footsteps out in the woods, but I’m a little bit scared to look for ghosts out in the woods at night. I’d rather start with the ones inside at first. Plus, it might be an animal or something, not even a ghost. I found some books in the library about ghosts and how to talk to them. One way is to get a paper or a board with letters on it and have them move the pointer around to spell things out. I’m not sure if that would work or not, I don’t have one but I could make one. Also I read that there are certain herbs and plants that ghosts like, so if you burn those it could make them come to you. And of course candles are good because you can watch the flame to see if it moves really suddenly. I hope Des or Keyalenn or someone will help me, because I think it’s better if I’m not alone to try to talk to them. I’m not scared (okay maybe a little) but you never know because it could be a mean or scary ghost.

There aren’t many records about the house or who lived here before. I asked Tik a little bit, but he said the former owners died in the Scourge attacks, so that would mean they have only been dead for a short time. I don’t know if that’s long enough to turn into a ghost yet. I wrote to the Spire and asked them for more records about the house and who owned it before. I’m looking for a girl named Ellavia and anyone else who might have died here. Tik isn’t sure how many ghosts there are, or what their names are. Keylenn brought up something I hadn’t even thought of, he said I should ask the Magister first. He thought the ghosts might be upset that I was trying to talk to them. I hope they wouldn’t, I mean, I’m not trying to make them leave or anything. If I was a ghost I would like it if someone took interest in me, I think. Anyway, I’ll check with him to make sure it’s okay because maybe he knows more about them. I should ask him while I’m there.

In normal news I talked to Keyalenn a little bit. Tik suggested that he could work with Magister Raleth as an assistant after he passes his exams. Keyalenn said he hadn’t really thought about what he’ll do yet after he graduates. I thought that was a little odd, if he only has a year or so left to go. He can’t do food yet, or fire very well, but I’m sure it won’t take him very long to learn it at all. I tried asking Tik about what Keyalenn was like before but he didn’t have very much to say about that. He did say that he used to play pranks a lot. I guess it’s good that he’s more serious about school now but I think a little prank never hurt anyone. Though the glass thing was bad, it could have broken or hit someone on the head. Tik also told me that he had to go to Orgrimmar. I can’t imagine how awful that would be. At least he got to go home early, because he got injured. I mean, it’s not good that he was injured, but at least he didn’t have to stay and at least something even worse didn’t happen. I couldn’t even go to school during that time because they were all closed, it was so scary. I can’t even imagine having to actually go there.

I’m excited about the wedding, and especially about getting to dance. I haven’t picked out what dress I am going to wear yet.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Linarelle’s Journal

Hethurin and Terellion’s party was the other night. It wasn’t too boisterous, probably because there were students there. Though I don’t think those two get really rowdy anyway. Mostly it was just like any other party, lots of food and people talking. I made sure that Im came, and I was glad to see that he sat with Kavia and talked to her, so I didn’t have to drag him over by his ears. For a while Aeramin even came over to sit with them, which I assume is good. Neither of them got up and left, anyway, but I think Im was flustered. I haven’t talked to him about it, I don’t need to hear every single detail of his personal life, honestly. I do hope they get along though, Kavia seems nice. I think she’s very apprehensive about it, which I can understand. I wish I had some advice for her but honestly I’ve never been in that kind of situation and I’m not sure how I’d react. I definitely wouldn’t want to share Sunashe with anyone else.

Speaking of that, the Captain is letting the dancer stay here. I guess he’s been meaning to get out of the city, and Aeramin asked if he could stay and train here. I’m really not sure what he means to do here, we don’t really need a dancer, but the Captain is willing to give everyone a chance. That’s a good policy I think, but he’s making all the guys a little nervous with all of his flirting. They’re just not used to it and it makes them a little uncomfortable. I think it makes Sunashe a lot uncomfortable, he was so tense that first day. He’s usually in a good mood when he comes home, but he didn’t want to talk much at all, and he wouldn’t eat any of the leftover cupcakes. I don’t think he would have eaten anything at all but I told him he had to or he wouldn’t feel well. I cut some of the bread and put some slices of meat and cheese on it, he really seemed to like that and he perked up a bit after. He wants me to try training him, which took me aback a little. Sunashe is a great teacher, I’m nowhere near as good as he is, but I agreed to try it. I think it would help me at least as much as it would help the new guy.

He hasn’t had any training at all, but he’s not completely hopeless. After spending some time with him, I do really think he wants to learn. The trouble is that he is a bit impatient, it takes time and a lot of practice to get better. I assured him that it would happen if he is persistent. He’s already holding his bow a lot better. He’ll need to go and buy one of his own soon, either I or Nessna can help him with that. He makes these little remarks too, I don’t think he really means to but they just come out. It’s just the way he is. I know he doesn’t mean to make anyone upset, and he’s concerned that the other guys don’t like him. I’m sure once they get to know him, they’ll be joking right along with him, especially Ty. It’s just a lot different from the city and it will take him some time to get used to everything. Besides, he has some useful lines. Like he kept talking about how cute Sunashe’s butt is, and how he’d rather see his snake than his lizard. I’m going to have to try that one soon.