[Story] Story a Week 26

[[ Hey, we’re halfway done! Woohoo!

Prompt: A story about nostalgia

This isn’t really a story, just me talking about a place that’s very special to me. It ended up being pretty long though! ]]

Camp River Ranch is a Girl Scout camp nestled in the woods in Carnation, Washington. I attended many summers as a camper, and then worked two summers as a counselor when I was older. To me, it was always a magical place that was the essence of summer. When the brochure came in the mail, I’d spend hours pouring over the descriptions of the different programs, circling the ones that I liked the most. In the end, I always chose horse programs though, because I loved horses and camp was one of the few times a year that I got to ride. I’d carefully pack all of my things into my dad’s old army duffle bag, sometimes I’d have to ask him for things like a flashlight. The bag was always too heavy, but I insisted I could carry it anyway. The camp is located behind Remlinger Farms, and we’d always stop in the shop after my parents picked me up. They sold fresh berries and fruit, along with jam and pies and the like. As counselors, it was a popular place to go during our break because they sold ice cream.

Counting the days until camp was torture. I didn’t know what unit I’d be in until the counselors told us. Each of the units in the camp have a different style of cabins, and have their own personality. I haven’t slept in all of them, but they certainly all have their own charm. The horse units were usually in Wagons West — shaped like covered wagons — or Cascades. These were cabins with no exterior walls. The very youngest campers stayed in Meadows, the first unit along the road, fully enclosed miniature houses. There was also a unit with A-frames, and one with teepees. As counselors, we slept in the cabins too. There was a designated “counselor cabin”, usually the first in the row. It was exciting to pick a cabin and a bed and meet the other girls and set out our things. In Cascades, it was common to see or hear animals at night — deer, bats, raccoons, squirrels. Black bears and cougars also lived in the woods, but they were far less common to see. I saw a cougar only once in all of my years there — and that was exciting! We did find a deer kill once, while clearing trails. I’m not sure which animal left it there. No candy was allowed in the cabins, because the animals would smell it and seek it out, no matter what it was stored in! Sometimes bats would flutter through at night, which would inevitably frighten the girls, though they were harmless and munching on those pesky mosquitos. Some wet mornings, we’d find banana slugs on the railings of our Cascades cabins, sort of the unofficial mascot of River Ranch. There was even a song about them, I can still remember it today.

Crafts activities were held in a big red barn known as the crafts barn. Besides horses, it was one of my favorite things at camp. We learned how to make lanyards with plastic lacing, and we’d take the laces with us so we could finish while we were waiting at other places. I probably made two dozen over the course of the summer as a counselor. Making candles was another favorite of mine, dipping the wick over and over into the various colors. At night, they’d bring out the telescope and we could look at the stars and planets. I remember seeing Jupiter and Saturn for the first time through it and being so amazed. At the waterfront, there were three sections for swimming based on skill level. I’m not a very good swimmer (at all!) so I’d skip the swimming test and just stay in the first level. It was still fun, and a good way to cool off on a hot day. There were also rowboats, canoes, and kayaks. It was quite a sight to see the lake dotted with campers in their boats. On the far side of the lake was a public boat launch, so we’d often see fishermen there too. In fact, my dad fished there for many years, it was one of his favorite lakes! In the mornings, the mist would rise off the cold water looking like something out a fantasy movie. At dusk, you could hear the fish jumping to catch insects.

Most meals were at the lodge, a beautiful wooden building overlooking the lake. The whole camp gathered there for breakfast and dinner – lunches were usually eaten just with your unit. It was bustling, alive and exciting to have the whole camp there at once. We’d sit two counselors per table and the campers could sit at whichever table they wanted. It was a great way to get to meet campers who weren’t in your own unit, and ask them about their day and what they were doing at camp. A favorite thing to do was to fold our cloth napkins into different shapes to amaze the campers. I remember that the food was always good, but that may just be because you work up a big appetite when you’re at camp! I especially loved when we had oatmeal for breakfast, because it was delicious and very filling. After the meal was over, we’d sing songs until it was time to go back to our units or to the next activity. I still remember all of the songs, they hadn’t changed since I was a camper and I’m sure they’re still singing the same songs at River Ranch this summer.

And the horses, of course the horses. Hiking out to Horse Country, seeing the hoofprints on the trail, being so excited we could hardly stand it. Looking at all the horses and trying to guess which one we’d be assigned. Each camper usually rode the same horse all week, being matched to the rider by personality and skill level. Sometimes there would be swaps of course, but this was usually the case. Meeting “your” horse for the first time. I still remember some of “my” horses: Blackie, Bluebell, Toby. As a counselor, we usually got to ride on Fridays when the campers went on the trail ride. A counselor was placed last in line to watch for any problems, and sometimes one in the middle if it was a particularly large group. The “wrangler” (one of the horse staff) would lead. Horse Country was universally dusty, hot, and sometimes smelly, and there were biting flies. But it was paradise to me and all the other horse-loving girls. My last year at River Ranch, I got to go along on a horsepacking trip in the Cascade mountains with a group of high-school age campers. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. We rode for three days straight, up through the forests into the flowery alpine meadows, so high that it was snowing when we arrived at the site — in July. In the mornings there was ice on the outside of our sleeping bags. We could hear the bell attached to the lead horse’s neck as they grazed in the meadow. We saw a black bear, climbing a steep hillside. One day we rode out to a beautiful mountain waterfall. I have a photo of me there, what the photo doesn’t show is that my legs were so wobbly from riding all day that I could hardly stand!

After camp closed for the summer, and the counselors had finished cleaning up and storing all the equipment, I asked if it was okay to bring my dog there to walk on the trails. Walking through the quiet forest, with only the sounds of the birds and my dog Banjo, is a memory that I’ll always treasure.


[Screenshots] SWTOR – KotFE Chapter XV

Even though it was pretty strongly foreshadowed, I still had a fun time with this chapter. I’m curious if the one decision I made will impact anything down the line. As always: They’re not in chronological order, most are of Kazta and there are spoilers within!

I’ve also made two new alts for the Light vs Dark event. I’m not down with leveling all 8 classes again, but two I can do. Hopefully they get some cool rewards!

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[OOC] Officially Summer!

With the fur stash migration from my closet to our (totally retro wood-panel) TV room, summer has officially started!


My plan is to start patterning and cutting the werewolf tomorrow, and alternate with cleaning since I have a lot of that. I bought a cute bunny pattern on Etsy, I can’t sell them but I can certainly make them for myself and I intend to do that!

[Story] Story a Week – 25

[[ Prompt: A story set at the summer solstice.

Just some more background stuff in the same world that Tamazi and Harvian live in! Far, far to the north, the citizens revere the sun dragon. On the longest day of the year, a festival is held in her honor. ]]

The capital city of Adekhari was ablaze in white and gold, ribbons and banners wound around every post and hung from every doorway. In the streets, her citizens had donned their finest clothes in honor of the holiday, and children darted to and fro, racing their flying paper dragons.

“Why such a gloomy expression, Nomara?”

Nomara, chief advisor to her Exalted, frowned further. She turned away from the balcony, retreating into the cool shade of the room. Though a slight breeze stirred the curtains, the day was already hot and would only grow hotter. She wore a loose garment of thin fabric, and the long hair of her ears was pinned back into a gold clip. But it would still be difficult to keep cool. Nomara had no idea how the guards could tolerate wearing all that armor on a day such as this.

“I believe you know the cause of my concern, Captain.” Zimos presented an intimidating figure; taller than herself by a head and at least as far across. The captain of the guard bristled with gleaming armor and all manner of weapons from large to small. His face and arms bore the scars of many battles, yet underneath all of this Nomara knew the kiraal’s ferocity was saved for only his enemies. They had something like a friendship, having worked closely together for many years in the city’s defense. Certainly, he knew her well enough to know when she was troubled.

Zimos grunted quietly, stalking over to one of the chairs, settling his sizeable body into it. He also knew which chairs would support his weight, Nomara was thankful of that. “No one would try anything today, of all days.”

She shot him a sharp look. “On the contrary, today would be the perfect day. The crowds, the chaos, Her Radiance will show herself–”

The kiraal scratched his chin. A recent cut was healing there. “Will she?”

“I trust the guard will be aware of the potential danger,” Nomara said, crossing her slender arms in front of her. “It would upset the citizens if she doesn’t show herself. They will worry that the rumors are true. That she’s in danger.”

The flight of the Exalted, the High Dragon, was the high point of the festival. Even working at her side every day, Nomara’s breath was taken away by seeing the great dragon take to the skies, every golden scale glimmering in the summer sun. Zimos nodded. “That’s true. What of her son?”

Nomara frowned again. “That I don’t know. He’s –” she paused, taking the time to select the right words. “Willful. I expressed my opinion to him the evening last.”

The High Dragon’s son was a much more unpredictable creature, given to youthful exuberance and the lack of good judgment that came with it. Being much smaller, he emerged from the palace more often — which was good, as the citizens were thrilled to catch a glimpse of him, but it also put him at greater risk should someone plan an attack. There had been rumors of such since the Temple of the Moon far to the south stood empty, and they had only increased as time went on.

Nomara moved to the balcony again, watching the people in the street below. The parade would begin soon, and citizens had gathered on either side of the street. Some clutched flags of white and gold, others held snacks bought from the carts wheeled up and down the street. Zimos would be needed soon; he and his guards would lead off the parade. She hesitated, but in the end decided that her friend could be entrusted with her secret. Perhaps it would put his mind at ease and he, at least, could enjoy the holiday.

“There won’t be any problems,” she said quietly. “I hired someone.”

Ziros’s amber gaze fixed on her. “Like who?”

“You needn’t worry about that. But he’s good. Very good. No harm will come to Her Radiance, nor her son, nor Adekhari.”

Nomara said it as much to convince herself as anyone else. But she had searched for the finest, and paid for the finest. The asenji had given his word, and while that wasn’t worth much, he knew who Nomara worked for and what would happen should he go back on it. And everyone she spoke to said that Harvian was one of the best, even among the asenji.

Her ears perked to the roar of the crowd in the street below. Her Exalted, Glory of Aurilahn, the ancient High Dragon herself, embraced the city in the shadow of her wings as she soared overhead.


[Story] Fairsong Academy – Sora’s Journal

I can’t believe I’m really here. None of it feels real at all, like I’m having a really good dream and I’m going to wake up in my old room at the tower. Except I don’t sleep so I can’t be dreaming. Magister Andarthir wrote a letter to the school and Magister Raleth wrote back, he talked to all the other teachers there and they said it was okay for me to go there. Me! I like to think that Magister Raleth remembered me. There were a lot of people at the wedding, but I was there too. Maybe Lali even helped talk him into it. Either way, I’m happy. I would smile really big if I could. I packed my things into a trunk, mostly just books and magic supplies like bottles and things like that. I guess they probably have some there at the school but I’m used to the ones I have. Magister Raleth came and they talked for a little while. I’m going to study frost magic with him, and arcane magic with another teacher. He was just a student when we were in Dalaran, but he owns the whole school now. He must be really good. I bet I can learn a lot from him. I’m not very good at arcane. Magister Raleth also said there’s elective classes, like enchanting and hawkstrider care. I like to learn new things. I’m most excited about the gardening class. I think I would like that a lot. He said they’re building a greenhouse, so maybe we can grow some of the plants needed for spells and things. That would be a very useful thing to have at a magic school.

I was worried I’d have to live in an old barn or something like that. I mean, my room at the tower was nice, but the whole place was old and crumbly, so it was okay. The school is so fancy, it looks like a huge mansion. I figured they wouldn’t want someone like me living there, but Magister Raleth said I could live in the girls’ building. There is one for the boys, too. They were just built so they’re bright and new, not crumbly at all. I think the girls there were a little surprised to see me. I don’t know if anyone warned them or not. They weren’t mean but they weren’t exactly friendly either. But not mean is okay. Maybe they’ll be nicer later on. It can take some time to get used to me, I think. One girl is studying fire. Maybe I can help her with her homework, I’m good at fire. She’s also interested in gardening, too. We might have that class together. The other girl is an assistant to Magister Hethurin, so I’ll see her in my classes as well. I haven’t seen all the other students yet. Magister Raleth says there’s a lot of undead in the town. I don’t know if he was warning me or suggesting I might like it there. I don’t really like to be around them, I’d rather be around living people, though I guess no one would stare or make faces in the town. It might be okay. I guess I could go get things there if anyone needs them. There’s a butler that does that usually. I’ve never lived anywhere with a butler. That’s pretty fancy.

The girls also said there’s a lot of parties here. I hope I’ll be allowed to go to them. It’s been forever since I’ve been to a party. I guess the wedding was the last one. The Magister didn’t have parties in his tower, he hardly ever went out at all. A lot of times he’d fall asleep while I was doing my practice. The teachers here are all so young. I’m sure none of them will do that. Oh, and I get my own practice room. I had that in the tower of course, because I was the only student, but not at my old school. They can do it here because there’s not too many students. It’s a nice perk. It will be good when I’m practicing frost and being really terrible at it. I hope I can stay here a long time. I like it a lot so far.

[Art] Werewolf Head WiP

I’m working on a plush werewolf, hoping to have him done in time for the horror convention in July. This is what I have so far, I’m pretty happy with how he looks — his teeth look funny because he’s missing his canines and lips though. He’s VERY heavy, I hope it won’t mess up the final plush but not sure if Apoxie is the best material for plush. I need to learn how to cast resin!


[Story] The Letter

[[ Sorry this is short and lame, I’d meant to do some nice stuff for Father’s Day but it’s really difficult with kids here all day D: ]]

Tathariel took the letter curiously from the Tauren. She wasn’t expecting any mail. Was it from her father? A glance at the delicate script told her that couldn’t be the case. Kelanori, then? But she couldn’t imagine why the priestess would be writing to her. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw the address. Darnassus. Now she knew who it was from, it had to be. Months ago, she had flown to Darnassus to see about adopting another child. Of course she loved Relanos, but he was big enough to have a little sibling. And she wanted a girl, she had to admit, someone she could dress in pretty robes and put ribbons in her hair. Granted, Jaellynn would let her braid his hair, but it wasn’t exactly the same.

The letter didn’t say whether there were any girls, only that some orphans were “available”. She’d go as soon as the sun began to set, but it was hours until then. It seemed impossible to wait that long. A few days ago, she’d helped Relanos press his hands into some clay. It was meant to be a gift for Jaellynn, a sort of keepsake, but Relanos had pressed little handprints all over it, not just in the center. Still, she hoped he would like it. Carefully she had etched Relanos’s name in the clay and allowed it to dry in the sun.

He seemed less excited about the letter than she was, but it was always difficult to tell with him. His emotions were subdued, greyed out; still more than others like him, Tathariel guessed, but starkly different from most living people. Tathariel was anxious about asking him to accompany her to Darnassus, there might be some who still recognized him there. She couldn’t very well go alone, most wouldn’t give a child away to a single parent, even orphans who needed homes. They did have the papers from the orphanage in Shattrath, though, and could bring Relanos along to demonstrate that he was healthy and well. Jaellynn would just have to be cautious. He suggested wearing a hooded cloak, but she thought it might look a bit suspicious. Hopefully it would be dark enough and the priestesses wouldn’t ask too many questions.

And she hoped there was a little girl. What would she look like? Would she like fishing or watering flowers, or would she prefer catching frogs and playing in the mud? Or maybe it would be an older girl, already talking and with her own personality. Tathariel thought that would be okay too, though she might find it more difficult to accept her new father. And would he accept her? Getting another child had been all her idea, she was the one who brought it up. He said they had Relanos already, maybe he didn’t really want any more? She was certain that he’d change his mind once she was home with them.