[Art] Kazta & Kif Pops WIP

I’ve not been able to write much lately, the good news is that I only have a few more months of the awful schedule and then it will be summer sewing time! In the meantime I have also been working on the Kazta and Kif custom POPS. They looked pretty terrible up to this point so I hadn’t wanted to take any pictures. Today they got their primer coat and while they look… kinda better. I’m still not happy with how Kif’s lekku (head horn things) turned out. They proved to be a lot more difficult than I expected. It’s my hope that their paint job will hide some of the sculpting flaws. He doesn’t look as bad from far away. Kazta’s hair is kinda sloppy too, but it’ll be dark brown/black so it might not show.

As much as I’d like to do more, I really need to get going on plush patterns for the summer soon, it’ll be here before I know it!

kifpop

[Story] A Story a Week 13

[[ Prompt: A story that takes place entirely inside a vehicle.]]

“Best hurry, Lady Danforth,” said the doorman, opening the carriage door. “It’s raining something fierce.”

Large drops pattered heavily onto her woolen travel cloak, and the heavy clouds promised much more to come. A little rain never bothered Marjolaine, though it’s true she would rather not ride all the way out to the countryside soaking wet. She settled onto the plush velvet cushion as the footman tied her trunks outside. There were only two small ones, along with her small bag; she wouldn’t need any fancy gowns or shoes back at the farm. The footman gave the ropes a final tug and he came around to close the carriage door. “Travel safe,” he said, with a tip of his hat. “Hope that storm doesn’t catch you.”

Marjolaine heard the snap of the whip and the horses’ hooves scuffling on the gravel as the carriage began to move. She took off her shoes and got more comfortable on the seat; the countryside was a long ride from here, even in good weather. Her husband had called for the carriage, though she hadn’t expected it to arrive quite so late at night. He and the other gentlemen had lost track of the hour during their card game, as they often did, and she’d finally had to go and remind him. She hadn’t been back to see her parents since the wedding. How much had it changed? Or more importantly, how much had she changed? It was a fancy carriage at least, with real glass windows, which she appreciated especially given the foul weather. Gusts of wind pushed against it now and then, the rain lashing the roof in sheets. Marjolaine was glad she wasn’t the one driving tonight.

The gentle rocking of the wheels and the steady patter of rain made her drowsy, and she dozed off for a time beneath the warm blankets and furs. When she woke and checked her watch, it was well past one o’clock, which meant she still had some distance to go. It was too dark to read within the carriage, so she watched out the windows into the darkened forest. But were they near a town? Marjolaine saw dim lights in the distance. There weren’t any villages along the road, but perhaps there were houses back in the woods? It was possible. But she still thought it strange that their lamps would be burning so late into the night. They weren’t the warm golden glow of a lamp, either, but a cool bluish white, like the moon on cold nights. The storm had not relented, and rain seemed to pour down upon the carriage roof as if from a barrel. She could not hear the thunder over the din, but she saw lightning flicker on the horizon every now and then, illuminating the dark forest for only a moment. She hoped they would not need to stop due to the storm; there were no inns along the route, either. Sleeping in the carriage all night did not sound very appealing, nor did she wish to be out in these woods alone. Stories of bandits and worse, wild animals, were common. Marjolaine dismissed these as spooky tales meant to frighten children, but now that she was out here, she did not wish to test whether or not this was true.

Perhaps the horses and driver sensed it too, because the carriage kept a quick pace over the muddy roads, and Marjolaine worried that it might be dangerous to drive so fast in such poor conditions. She did not wish one of the horses to slip, or the carriage to tip over around a sharp curve in the road. She leaned forward and rapped on the front panel. “Driver? Driver!” She waited several long moments, but he did not open the panel. Likely he couldn’t hear her above the noise of the carriage and the storm. Marjolaine knocked again, more insistently this time, but he still did not hear her, it seemed. She settled back into her cushion, looking out the windows again. Surely he knew the route well, and would not push his horses into danger — or at least this is what she told herself for reassurance. Even above the din of the storm she could hear their hooves pounding the ground. Tree branches reached ominously out of the darkness like black spindly fingers, scratching the sides of the carriage as it rushed past. Shouldn’t they be close to the village by now? At the very least, the crossroads. At such a pace, they should arrive a bit ahead of schedule, yet Marjolaine saw nothing familiar outside. A fearful thought occurred to her; had the driver taken the wrong road in the darkness? If they had already passed through the crossroads, it was possible. But she knew from the map in Lord Danforth’s study that there were villages along the other roads; they would have come across one of them by now. Someplace she could stop and sleep for the night and get dry, have a little something to eat, perhaps a hot bath. It sounded nice, but at the same time so far away.

Where were they, then? She looked out into the darkness again, and as if in answer, the horses increased their pace yet again. The carriage jostled and bounced over the road, and Marjolaine feared they would certainly crash. It seemed that the horses now ran in a blind panic, how else could they keep such a pace? “Driver!” She shouted, pounding on the panel with her fist now. “Slow down!” The road curved, and the carriage leaned into it. Marjolaine had to scramble to keep from sliding along the bench. She pried open the front panel. Maybe he just couldn’t hear her. “Driver–”

The driver’s perch was empty. At first, she thought she just could not see him in the darkness, but a flash of lightning revealed the truth — he was gone. Panic rose in her, had he fallen off somewhere back on the road? How long had the driver been missing? How did the horses know where to go? She knew how to drive, she’d driven the farm horses around in their old wagon since she was a small girl. But there was no way to get up into the seat without climbing out the door, and that was impossible at the pace the horses now kept. They must tire soon, she assured herself, and she could guide them then. Or maybe she could pull herself up, it wasn’t very far but it would be difficult in the best conditions, nearly impossible in the dark and rain, with the horses at a full gallop. The last thing she needed was to end up stranded on the road as well, without any of her things in the middle of the dark woods. Still, she convinced herself to look. Marjolaine leaned as far as she could against the door, but she could not see to the front. She would have to open the door and lean out. The wind pushed back against it and the rain felt like a waterfall rushing against her. There weren’t any hand-holds that she could see. The carriage jolted suddenly to one side, and Marjolaine gave a little cry of surprise. Thankfully she did not fall, but she pulled the door closed after her quickly. Had they hit a rock? Probably–

The carriage rocked again, now the other direction. It felt like something large had hit the side of it, but she could not think what it could possibly be. And again, this time it seemed that the wheels teetered an instant off the ground before deciding whether to fall again. They would tip over, especially if it happened as they rounded a curve. The road was never this bumpy, what could be causing the carriage to rock so violently? Marjolaine pressed close to the glass, looking down at the road. There was something there. Something large and dark, darker even than the surrounding woods, and it was hairy. Her hands shaking, Marjolaine fumbled for her travel bag. It had fallen off the bench in the commotion, but she found it now. She’d thought her husband absurd when he insisted that she bring along one of his pistols, but now she was grateful for it. Had he known? She didn’t have time to consider that now. She prayed the powder was still dry enough, it had been inside the entire trip so it should be. She dropped one of the lead balls into the barrel and readied the shot. She couldn’t fire through the door. At best, it would make a hole and ruin a fancy carriage door, at worst it would simply bounce back at her. She would have to open the door again, and fire with the other hand. Marjolaine was not sure her aim was so good, but she’d fired pistols before. Just never in a moving carriage in the dark. But the thing — the animal, whatever it was, was only feet away. It had to be keeping pace with the horses, she realized in horror. What animal could run as fast as a horse at full gallop?

Holding her breath, Marjolaine inched open the carriage door. She could see the thing there still, hear its panting breath as it ran. She pulled the trigger, and smoke poured into the carriage. She heard the thing outside cry out — she’d hit it! But it was still there. A moment later, the carriage rocked again as it hurled its body against the side. Too far, Marjolaine realized, but it was already too late. She heard the loud snap of the wooden tongue as it broke, and the horses fled into the night without her. The carriage lay on its side in the mud, the wheels still spinning. The beast closed in.

 

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Linarelle’s Journal

I finally got the plans finished for the stable! It took a little while because it’s a very busy time for the builders right now, they’re drafting up all the plans and gathering supplies that they will need to start work in a few weeks. I know they’re doing the houses on the school grounds first, but they like to have all the plans done ahead of time so they can schedule things better. Also I think they won’t really have time for that once it’s summer. I’m sure Gael probably helped with them, that’s strange to think about, but he didn’t say anything about it. It’s just a stable anyway, nothing weird about that. It’s only for Blinky and perhaps a hawkstrider or two, so it’s small. There are four stalls and two small storage rooms, one on either side of the walkway. I was so excited to see Sunashe’s expression when I showed him! I think maybe he forgot that we talked about it though, or he couldn’t tell what it was from the drawing. That could be, the drawing doesn’t really look like a stable — it’s like a graph of everything and the measurements. But once I told him he was really excited, it was nice. We talked about maybe getting a pair of hawkstriders too, then we could go riding together. I’d like that a lot. I feel so guilty sometimes when I think about almost missing all of this with him, from misunderstandings or my own foolishness. I’m glad I didn’t.

We talked about the new recruits too, well I suppose they aren’t so new anymore. He thinks they’re ready for patrols soon, as long as the captain agrees. We’ll have to move the teams around again, most likely. Sunashe is still unhappy that the other death knight won’t use a bow at all. A lot of them, including Orledin, don’t use a bow on their patrols, but they at least have it with them and know how to use it if need be. I think that’s good enough. But this one doesn’t want to practice at all, because he says it’ll make a crease in his fingers. It’s supposed to do that! Whoever heard of a ranger without a bow crease?

As for the rest of the gold, I am not sure if I want to keep it in the city or just in a locked chest at home. In the city, it would be a lot more difficult to spend it and would probably be safer, but what if something happens there? I wouldn’t even know until it was too late. I think we should save it to maybe get a larger house one day, you know, if we need it. We don’t yet, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I don’t think Im will be able to buy a house, but he plans to find a place to rent in the city. I am not sure why, because Aeramin will have a fit again if he stays away for even one night, but I suppose he can do what he wants with it, it’s his money. I do wish he’d spend more time with our mother though. She’s going to be returning to her work with the professor soon, but she’s promised to write to me. I’ll miss having her nearby.

[OOC/Screenshots] Legion: Definite Maybes

I haven’t spent very much time on the beta alpha at all. I feel overwhelmingly negative about most of the changes, and I’ve just really lost interest in WoW in general. On top of that, Legion runs really poorly on my potato of a computer and I’m not sure what I’ll do about that. But, since I read that Marksman hunters will be getting the option to have a pet back, I fired it up again and tried out a couple of the other classes that interested me, but weren’t in last time I played.

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[Story] A Story a Week 12

[[ Prompt: A story about a contest or competition. ]]

“What’re you doing, ann’da?” Malwen asked, peeking over the counter. “Making a cake?”

It was a bit of a silly question, Terellion always baked at this time of day. But it’s true he was usually finished by now, and one was already safely in the oven. Now he was mixing the ingredients for a second. “Yep,” he said. “Do you want to help?”

Malwen nodded eagerly and set her doll up in one of the chairs so she could watch. She raced over to the sink to wash her hands without even being asked to. Terellion set the bowl of manaberries in front of her. “Can you squish those up for me? Get them nice and smashed.” He probably should have given her an apron, too, but he figured her dress was dark enough that any stains wouldn’t show too much.

Terellion read the flyer again. Tik had brought it back from one of his supply trips to the city; it advertised a baking competition to be held this afternoon. He hadn’t thought very much of it at first, but Hethurin urged him to enter — with the manaberry cake. It’s true that everyone at the school liked it, but Terellion wasn’t sure it was good enough to compete with the bakers in Silvermoon. He suspected that Hethurin might just want him to make manaberry cake so he could eat it, which wasn’t a bad idea in itself. There weren’t many rules. The recipe had to be original, it must be three layers high, and baked in a standard round pan. No dragon-shaped cakes this time around, not that he had time for one of those today anyway.

He sprinkled a dash of sugar into Malwen’s bowl, and she stirred it into the mashed berries. They looked just about ready to add to the mix. “Is your schoolwork all done for today?” He asked, sifting together the flour and other dry ingredients.

“Yes, ann’da,” replied Malwen. “I’m learning about plants.”

“Oh? What about them?”

“The parts and things,” Malwen explained. “Like the stem and roots and leaves. I had to draw a picture.”

As she watched, Terellion added the dry ingredients to the eggs and milk, stirring often. If they were added too quickly, there was a chance it wouldn’t mix properly. Everything had to be perfect. “Do you want to go to the city with me this afternoon?” He asked.

Of course she did, even if there hadn’t been cake involved, Malwen loved looking at all the shops. Maybe they’d even have time to visit her friends at the orphanage.

Malwen held open the oven door as he carefully slid the three round pans inside to bake.

~*~

“Ooh, look at them all!” Malwen exclaimed, pointing to the table full of cakes. Terellion saw them. They were all different colors, and they all looked perfect. Some were dusted with sugar crystals to make them shimmer, others sported delicate flowers made of sugar that looked exactly like the real thing. Terellion had added manaberries to the icing, too, so his cake was a subtle pastel purple, and he’d decorated it with purple swirls and flourishes. There was a layer of manaberry jam between each layer, accented with the fresh cream of the icing. He knew it would taste good, but now he wasn’t so sure that entering the contest was such a good idea. Carefully, Terellion set the plate down beside the other cakes and filled out the little card with his name and what type of cake he’d made. He was sure to add “Fairsong Academy” so everyone knew about the school.

They walked around the tables, admiring every one, and pointing out which ones they’d like to taste. There would be a chance later, after the judges had their slices. Right now his stomach felt too tied in knots to eat much of anything, but maybe he’d feel differently later.

The judges wore little ribbons to identify themselves, and carried plates and little silver cake knives. Terellion wondered how one got to be a cake judge. Hethurin would surely like that position, but would he ever be able to choose one winner? Terellion wasn’t so sure. He held his breath when the judges got to his cake and cut a thin sliver out to taste it. He couldn’t tell from their expressions whether they liked it or not, but he thought he saw one of their eyebrows go up. Was that good or bad? Malwen held his hand so it wouldn’t get too sweaty.

While the judges met to discuss, the guests were free to sample the cakes. A lot of people tried Terellion’s, but a lot of people tried other cakes, too. “Don’t worry, ann’da,” Malwen whispered. “Our cake is going to win.”

Terellion wasn’t so sure. Every cake that he tried was delicious in its own way. There were cakes with chocolate and coffee, cakes with lemon, cakes with swirls, and everything in between. He did get a lot of ideas for new flavors to try — he especially liked the one made with oranges. The judges finally emerged, holding ribbons in their hands. He held his breath as they stalked among the tables, placing ribbons beside the cakes. The first prize went to a chocolate and coffee cake, the second to a fluffy peach cake, and the third to a bright minty chocolate cake. The judges paused near Terellion’s cake, and he held his breath. They placed a yellow fourth place ribbon beside it and Malwen squeaked excitedly.

“You won!” She jumped up and down.

Sure, it wasn’t first — or second, or third — but Terellion was thrilled all the same. All of those fancy Silvermoon bakers, and he’d got a ribbon. He couldn’t wait to tell Hethurin, and let everyone try some of his prize-winning manaberry cake.

 

[Story] Ordinicus’s Journal

I pray that Kes never finds this. I don’t want her to know I’m even thinking about things like this. But I don’t know what else to do. If it stops Arancon from taking Lyorri away, it would be worth it. I guess that’s how they get what they want from people, they want something so badly they’d do anything to make it happen. I’d ask them myself if I knew how, but I don’t. Besides, Kestrae would know for certain if I started messing with things in that room. I’m sure Aeramin would do it. Maybe I can talk to him alone sometime, like when we’re working at the school. But by then it might be too late, they might give Lyorri to Arancon. Would they do that? It seems unfair, but I guess they might because he’s a blood relative. Even if Aeramin chose us instead.

It’s all so ridiculous, Arancon wants us to keep her last name as Firewind. I don’t understand why. But then I guess I don’t see why it’s so important to me that she doesn’t. I guess so she’ll feel like she’s really part of our family, if she has a different name she’ll know for sure that she isn’t. It’s going to be hard enough to explain her hair. And she’s not a Firewind, not anymore. Aeramin gave her to us. But Arancon is refusing to budge on it, and he gave us these papers with a long list of demands. Most of them were fine, things like we had to tell him if we move away, and provide him a portal to come and visit Lyorri if we do. That he’s allowed to see her a certain number of times per month. All of that is fine, we would have done it already, we weren’t going to take her away from him. But now… he’s trying to push us into doing things his way and threatening us if we don’t. I don’t like it, and it surely doesn’t make me think well of him. Kes is so worried she can hardly sleep, and I admit I can’t either. It’s not fair to either her or Lyorri to take her away now.

No one can talk any sense into Arancon either. Aeramin tried, he said, and I assume some of the rangers as well. He’s still being stubborn. I don’t see why it makes such a difference to him, she’ll still be his grand-daughter.

He could have an accident. There are lots of ways an old man could get injured out in the woods. People might suspect us, but if it looked like an accident it could never be proven. I feel horrible for even thinking those things, but I don’t know what else to do. I can’t think of any solution that would make everyone happy. Kes said maybe we could use both, like with a dash. Maybe that would work. I’d accidentally leave off Firewind all the time, though.

It’s warm enough that we’ll be starting work at the school this week. We’re fixing up more of the houses, Keyalenn’s for one. One of the guys said something about making a camping area, not sure what that’s all about. We’ll also be building a stable at the rangers’ estate, she asked that it be a surprise but it’s a bit difficult to keep a building a surprise. I guess he’ll be surprised when we show up to start work.

[OOC/Screenshots] Heros of the Storm

I recently re-installed this to give another crack at getting the Graves pet another shot. (Which, looking at the WoWHead link, is I think from a map that no longer exists. But anyway!) I was actually in the alpha for this, and while it was okay, I never played it much because the only hero I had access to was Raynor from StarCraft.

It’s a free game, and they don’t even give you any starter heroes for free, which I think is kind of cruddy. Though I own Cho’gall from BlizzCon or something, you can’t play him without someone else.

free_rot

The only ones I actually own are the ones without the logo in the upper left. But they do rotate every week which ones are free to try out, presumably to get you to buy them. I bought my Malfurion with gold that I had still left over from alpha/beta. The gold gain is pretty grindy. I’m playing versus AI on the easiest difficulty and I get a whopping ten gold per win. That’s ten. Heroes cost 2,000 – 10,000.

malfy

You do, however, get bonuses for leveling up. In this case I got 500 gold for getting Malfurion to level 5. I’m actually kind of excited about getting him to level 6 so I can use his portrait. According to the forums he’s a really cruddy hero (and he’s apparently super hated on Tumblr???) but I like him a lot. He’s a support so he can heal people and root. In general I find the hero selection pretty lacking, like do we really need three different orcs? And three different protoss? I tried out Li Li, and while she was okay to play, I cannot get over my seething hatred of her (and her stupid comments). Same with E.T.C. It’s a neat concept (basically a bard) and I had fun playing him, but I can’t get over the RAWR HORDE theme. I suppose in the future there might be more heroes that interest me, but right now I’m gonna stick with Malfurion. I do want to try Kael when he’s on free week and I may end up buying him, but dang they are expensive. I think he costs around 7 bucks.

I guess it’s because I don’t play this type of game much, but I don’t really get the appeal of the skins either. You can barely even see your character in the game? I mean, look how tiny he is in this screenshot. I’m the one with the yellow bar. Can you see what I look like? Not really. (You can also see just how bad the AI player is, haha.)

malf_roots

It’s a good time-waster when I have 15 minutes or so, pointless killing stuff except that I can sorta-kinda be a druid at the same time. I really can’t see myself playing it too much past that, I think. Grinding to level 20 already seems kind of daunting when I’m only level 8. Granted, I’m not playing it the way you are supposed to — I think with friends it might be a bit more fun at least.

I also feel like I’m kind of past the target demographic, it tries very hard to be “cool” but it really just comes off as juvenile most of the time. Especially a lot of the things the characters say, E.T.C. was super cringeworthy.