[Story] Story a Week 23

[[ Prompt: A story about a birthday ]]

Soranasha looked down at the package that the elf had left on her desk. It was neatly wrapped in brightly colored paper with little flowers on it, and had a pale green satin ribbon holding everything together. For a few moments she thought he’d got it for her birthday, but then she realized he didn’t know when that was. Truthfully, she didn’t remember the exact day now either, not anymore. It had seemed pointless to celebrate it after, and she wasn’t getting any older anyway. What good would it do, remembering those times, other than making her feel sad again? She remembered one, back when she was little. Her father had bought her a pony, it had been white and fuzzy. She could still see it nibbling the grass on the bright green lawn, speckled with little blue flowers. She’d been wearing a dress but she’d ridden the pony anyway, with her father leading it on the rope. Her friends all took turns too. That had been a good birthday.

“Well, open it,” said Andarthir, puffing on his pipe. It made little swirls of smoke rise up around his head.

It looked too pretty to touch, but Sora did as he said. She slid her bony fingers carefully under the ribbon and loosened it, then she broke the tape holding the folds of paper. She thought she’d save it for something, perhaps to write letters on. It would be a shame to just throw it out. When she was younger she didn’t bother opening her birthday presents carefully, she’d just rip the paper in her impatience to see what was inside. But of course she was older now, and this wasn’t a birthday present. She wasn’t exactly sure what it was. Folded in the box beneath a layer of tissue was a beautiful robe. Sora could see that it was expensive from the sheen and weight of the fabric, and it had been embroidered with a filigree design all along its edges.

“I thought a mage needed a proper robe,” Andarthir explained. “I hope it fits all right.”

Sora could scarcely speak. It was far too beautiful to wear, but she wanted to try it on, just to see. He’d given her exam a few days ago, because neither of them wanted to go to a city. It wasn’t usually allowed, because of the bias of a teacher testing his own apprentice, but due to the situation in Dalaran it had been necessary for many mages. The test had to be sent to the testing board and looked over there, to ensure the questions were difficult enough and the mage hadn’t given the apprentice any help. It must have just come back, and she’d passed. It didn’t really feel real yet, she’d been an apprentice for so long, even before everything had happened. She held the robe up off the ground so it wouldn’t get dirty — even though she swept those floors every day. It was a little loose, but that was to be expected. She didn’t mind, and she definitely didn’t want to go to a tailor. Sora walked out of her room into the study to show him.

“Good, good. Do you like it?” he asked.

Sora nodded, because she did, but her words felt stuck in her throat. She wanted to cry, but of course she couldn’t. Not because she was sad, not exactly, but for all those birthdays she wouldn’t have anymore, and because everything would change now. Where was she supposed to go? She couldn’t go to Stormwind, as much as she wanted to. Nor could she go back to Dalaran; Andarthir visited from time to time, and while there was no law forbidding them to return, very few blood elves or other Horde had returned. And she definitely did not want to go back to the Undercity. That place was horrid, Sora shivered thinking about it. He could see something was wrong though, his brows were drawn together as he looked at her, so she had to say something.

“Where do I go now?” she asked.

Andarthir stroked his beard thoughtfully. “Yes, I’d been considering that myself. Politics have made a mess of things, as they often do. Do you have any interest in frost magic?”

Sora knew a little of frost magic, of course, she’d had to learn it for the exam. But normally she worked with fire spells, they’d always been her favorite. “A little,” she shrugged.

“There’s a school in the Ghostlands that might be a good fit. Their frost mage used to come by in Dalaran, do you remember him? I could write a letter.”

Of course she remembered everyone from Dalaran. She’d missed all of them so badly over the years, though they weren’t really her friend they had always been kind to her, more than most people. She’d almost felt alive around them, sometimes. The frost mage had Andarthir’s old apprentice, the kaldorei girl. Sora wondered what had happened to her, and the other elves that used to meet in the cafe in the evenings. It seemed so long ago.

“Please,” she said.

 

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