[Story] Story a Week 43

[[ Prompt: A retelling of a recent Hollywood movie

I hardly ever watch movies, so I ended up choosing not a recent one, but a famous one all the same. I think you’ll be able to figure it out! ]]

Risarra awoke in a place she didn’t recognize. She wasn’t in her cot in the sentinel quarters, inside their barracks. She was in the center of a lush field sprinkled with flowers, the grass soft as fur beneath her. “That’s odd,” she said to herself, looking around for her bow. She couldn’t find that either. “I don’t remember being here before.” Without her bow, she was anxious and vulnerable, but at the same time, this place didn’t seem to hold any danger. It was so vibrant, so beautiful, while at the same time strange to her. Could it be the Dream? Risarra was no druid, so how was that possible? A spiraling pattern grew among the grass, starting from where she was now sitting. It continued into a path that led into some trees.

“I might as well follow it,” Risarra told herself, “And see where it goes.”

If it was the Dream, she saw no other elves here, no druids or even sisters. There were ordinary animals, though. Rabbits nibbled at the tender grass, and she could hear the chorus of birds overhead. As she approached the treeline, a deer watched her warily. Then, as she stepped into the cool shadows of the forest, she heard the rustle of leaves. There was no breeze; perhaps it had been another animal moving nearby.

“Hello,” said a voice, and Risarra blinked in surprise. She could still see no one around. She felt a twig brush her shoulder.

It was a treant — a very small one, but a treant all the same. It looked like the ones she’d seen when she went to Darnassus.

“Oh, pardon me,” Risarra said, flustered. “I didn’t see you — wait, you can talk?”

The treant’s stick arms moved in something like a shrug. “I suppose I can,” it said. “I’m talking now.”

Having never spoken with a treant before, Risarra wasn’t sure what to say. “I’m Risarra,” she offered.

“I’m Treant.”

“That isn’t a name,” Risarra pointed out.

“Yes it is,” the Treant replied indignantly. Well, she wasn’t going to argue. If it wanted to be called Treant, that was fine with her. “Where are you going?”

Risarra frowned, glancing around at the forest. “I’m not sure exactly. I’m trying to get back home. Do you know where this path leads?”

“No,” said Treant, far too enthusiastically she thought. “But I’ll go with you, if you want.”

She looked down at its roots. Sure enough, they were free from the ground. “Sure,” Risarra said. Some company couldn’t hurt.

She wasn’t sure how far they walked. The forest was new to her, so she didn’t know the landmarks, but she followed the path that wound through. It had to lead somewhere, if someone had made it. She just hoped it would be back to Ashenvale. The Treant didn’t know much about the forest, or much of anything really. But it was cheerful, and Risarra supposed it was better than being alone if she should run into any danger. Most treants were able to heal with druidic magic.

“Hey, what’s this?” Treant said, shaking its branch arm at something beside the path.

Risarra came to see. Sunlight glinted from something metal, obscured by the long grass. Carefully, she stepped off the trail to see what it was. She pulled back the grass and tugged loose some vines and leaves.

“Oh!” she gasped, as she heard something whir inside the metal thing. “What is that?”

It was shaped like a person, except not really — it was far too round and far too short, and of course it was entirely made of metal, every bit of it. It had huge eyes that were some kind of lamps, and Risarra could see a faint light within them. Was this thing… alive?

With Treant’s help, she hauled the metal thing up onto the path, where the grass was shorter. Dirt and rust had seized many of the thing’s joints. From helping with the glaives, she knew water would only make it worse. They needed some sort of oil — but of course she didn’t have any here in the middle of this strange forest. Treant shuffled over to the spot where the metal person had lay. Sure enough, there was a small can of oil hidden in the grass. If it had been right there, why hadn’t it used it on itself? Risarra didn’t know, but she poured the oil carefully into the joints and rubbed some of the dirt away with a corner of her shirt.

A series of loud beeps and whirs startled her, and Risarra backed away from it. Maybe it was broken?

“Activation complete,” said the small metal person. “Unit B10 operational.”

Risarra glanced at Treant, but it didn’t seem to have any idea either.

The metal person stared intently at Treant. “Beginning bio-scan.”

She — nor any of the sentinels — had ever seen anything like this in the forest before. The orc and goblin machines were huge, sharp, and loud. This seemed more like gnome technology, though she’d never seen it firsthand herself. She didn’t have any idea how to talk to a metal person any more than she did a Treant.

“Excuse me, hello?” she asked it. Treant was trying to push it away with its branches. The metal person stopped and looked toward Risarra.

“Voice identification failed,” said the metal person.

“Do you know the way out of this forest?” Risarra asked.

“Invalid command,” said the metal person.

She sighed. “Come on, Treant. I don’t think it’s going to help us.”

But when they began to walk away, they heard the clanking of the metal person following closely behind. It was very loud. If there was anything dangerous here, it was going to hear them now for sure. Still, maybe it could be useful if there was a problem. At the very least, she could take its arm off to use for a club.

They walked for a very long time. Risarra kept looking up to guess the hour, but it seemed that the sun wasn’t moving at all in the sky. Everything about this place felt strange, and that didn’t help. She was hungry, too. She couldn’t remember when she’d last eaten. They were probably serving the afternoon snack now for those who were already awake. Maybe dumplings. Tallstrider and vegetable and spider dumplings, her very favorite. She heard her stomach growl in protest.

Treant had stopped abruptly in front of her. Its branch extended shakily to point at something.

Risarra heard the growl again, but this time she knew it wasn’t her stomach. The path before them was blocked by a very large furbolg.

Ordinarily, furbolgs weren’t dangerous, but this one was much larger than she’d ever seen. It stood at least a head taller than herself — as tall as an elf man — and at least as wide. Its teeth were bared in a snarl.

“Is this your land? We didn’t know,” Risarra explained. Most furbolgs could at least understand, if not speak themselves.

The furbolg roared, spittle dripping from its jaws.

“There’s no need to be rude,” Risarra said. “Just tell us the way out, and we’ll leave.”

It dropped to all fours and made a swipe of its paws toward Treant.

“Stop that!” Risarra said, and smacked the furbolg’s nose. It gave a pitiful yelp and sat down on all fours.

“Well,” she said, checking Treant’s bark. “You didn’t need to do that.” If those claws had connected, Treant would have deep gashes that might not heal. She wasn’t really sure how wounds worked with treants.

The furbolg rubbed its eyes, still whimpering. She hadn’t hit it that hard. “You’re fine,” Risarra said, feeling guilty now. “Let me see it. Oh, you’re not bleeding at all. See?” It sniffled and continued to wail. Maybe the poor thing was hungry too. Risarra hadn’t seen any food at all the whole time they’d been walking. “If you show me the way out, I’ll bring you some dumplings.” It worked for the elves, maybe it would work for a furbolg too.

It perked up its ears and began to lumber quickly down the path. Risarra smiled and hurried after. They were finally getting somewhere!

Deeper in the forest, the light grew dimmer and Risarra no longer saw any animals or heard any birds. Even the trees seemed more ominous, bent and twisted. The ground beneath them looked black and charred, as if a fire had passed through, or — no, not a fire. Demons. She could smell them now, the stink of fel hanging in the air. Her traveling companions were reluctant to follow her, and she could not blame them for being afraid, but she had to get back. Beautiful though this place was, it wasn’t her home.

“Come on,” she urged them. “I need your help.” If there was a demon here, she didn’t want to face it alone and unarmed.

Risarra entered another clearing, charred black and twisted. In the very center stood the demon, each of its four arms holding a sharp blade. The smile on its horrid face widened when it saw Risarra. How was she supposed to fight it? She had no weapon — but she did have the furbolg. And the metal person. And the Treant.

“Will you help me?” she whispered to them.

The furbolg rumbled.

“Yes!” said Treant.

“Combat protocol activated,” said the metal person.

“Get one of the knives,” she urged the furbolg, as the metal person clattered over toward the demon. With one on either side of her, she was distracted, and the furbolg sunk its teeth into one of the arms. Risarra grabbed the knife. She wasn’t well trained in close combat, but she’d watched Sorias a few times, and he’d given her a few tips. Hopefully it would be enough. While she and the furbolg alternated attacks, the metal person assaulted the demon’s legs. Treant mostly ran back and forth at first, but it proved useful when it held the demon in place with roots that sprung up from the ground.

With a final shriek, the demon dissipated into the Nether. In the place she had stood, already small sprouts had begun to grow, covering the burned and ruined ground. There had to be a portal nearby…

When Risarra woke again, it was back in her cot in the sentinel quarters. It was dusk, and the others were preparing for patrol.

“Get up, sleepyhead,” Zhyra teased. “You’re going to miss breakfast.”

Had it all been a dream? She’d never had a dream so intense, so real. But maybe that’s all it was. She began putting on her armor for her patrol.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Irael’s Journal

The autumn ball is coming up really soon and I still don’t know what I’m supposed to do for it. We never did that kind of stuff on the Row. I mean, Magister Firewind explained that people wear costumes and masks though I don’t really get why, I guess just for fun. But how did it get started? I don’t know. This will be the second big party here, besides the weddings. Those are easier because no one pays attention to anyone except the couple, but here I have to wear a costume and Zalindri said everyone dances. I don’t know how to dance! I never had lessons in a fancy school to learn that. She said she could teach me but I think that’d be a little weird, and I also don’t want to have to explain why I’m so bad at it. Felarius says they teach dancing at even the regular Silvermoon schools but I never learned it, so maybe it’s not every school. She and Des both think I should do it anyway, but I don’t think anyone would ask even if I did know how. They said sometimes guys are too shy to ask but that’s not really my experience. At least with things other than dancing. Besides, I think they all already have girlfriends or something, the last thing I need is trouble with someone’s boyfriend.

Zalindri said I should make a frog mask, I guess because she thinks I’m warty and slimy. I don’t like that idea very much. We were all sitting at the table and working on them, we had fabric and feathers and glue and things like that. I had no idea I’d have to do an art project for this, I’m not any good at art. To give me ideas she asked what my favorite color is, I said green but I’m not really sure. I just think my green robe looks the best on me. So she told me to think of things that are green but there aren’t very many. A frog, like I said, maybe a bird but Zalindri was already doing a bird mask. A tree, but how am I supposed to make a tree costume? Des said I could just glue a bunch of things on it, so I tried doing that, but it looked terrible. Oh and they also said I could be an orc or a goblin. Thanks a lot. That’s actually worse than a frog. She did say that Malwen likes to make them, she’s made like a dozen or something, so maybe I could ask to use one of hers. I’m not sure about that, I think the Headmaster might get mad or something, if we’re supposed to make it ourselves. And maybe he doesn’t want me talking to his daughter. I’m embarrassed to have to ask a kid to do it for me, and what if she says no? I guess I can just wear the ugly one, and hope no one notices. It should be dark anyway, right?

Mother is busy with work so I don’t think she will be able to go. The winter holiday will be here soon and they have to have a lot of things done for that. I hope she’ll be able to come for the winter one, though, maybe they will be ahead enough that she can get an evening off. She already came for a tour but hopefully I will be able to start casting by then and I can show her a spell!

[OOC] Legion 7.1

So the first patch for Legion comes out tomorrow, which seems like a good time to look back at the stuff I complained about in beta and see if I was right or not.

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[Story] Story a Week 42

[[ Prompt: A tragedy that ends in romance

I was boring and re-used characters again, though I’ve written these events before and I don’t think they actually happened on the same day. Creative license! ]]

Sath’alor sat on a cot in the healers’ tent, waiting for one of the mages to make a portal to send him back to Silvermoon. It seemed they had been gone for a long time, but he couldn’t be sure. Every breath caused him to wince in pain. The man healer had been the one to look him over, press on his ribs and tell him that some were broken. Sath’alor had been bandaged tightly all around and told to report to a healer in Silvermoon if any further problems presented themselves. He knew he’d been lucky. When the proto-drake staggered back onto him, he was sure he was dead. Sath’alor had heard the sickening crunch as some of his ribs gave way, felt the crippling pain surge up his side. But someone had pulled him out from underneath and escorted him to the tent. He barely remembered it himself, until he was lying on the cot with Hethurin’s sister looking down at him. She didn’t scold him, but he scolded himself plenty. How stupid could he be, standing too close to the drake like that? What did he expect to happen? Now he was being sent home before he’d even really had a chance to help. It wasn’t even their war, this was between one orc and the rest of Kalimdor, but the elves had been dragged into it, all the same. No one really wanted to be there, and the conditions were terrible. Things had been much better back in Pandaria, but still there was some allure to the idea of being sent home as a war hero. That certainly wasn’t happening now.

Many had been injured in the siege, and worse. Every day rumors went around the camps about a unit being exploded from the crude iron bombs, or crushed in the tunnels beneath the city. It was a lot more difficult to hold onto his dreams of glory when Sath’alor heard about those. One of the newest rumors concerned a siege machine that had been driven over a unit of archers. That one was especially disturbing because it could very well have been his own unit. Judging by the commotion in the other healer tent, Sath’alor knew something must have happened since he’d come in; whether it was that or another incident.

When he awoke, he still wasn’t sure what time it was, but the sky outside was a great deal darker. He was no longer alone in the tent; one of the other cots was occupied and a man stood beside it. Sath’alor thought it must be the healer at first, and indeed the man’s hands lit with a soft glow in the darkness of the tent. But he was much older, his hair a dark brown rather than the other healer’s pale blond. He looked familiar, but Sath’alor couldn’t place him. The woman on the cot lay very still, he could not even see the rise of her breathing. He did recognize her; she was one of Hethurin’s sisters, who was a ranger as well. He knew very little about her, except that she once served in Eversong, and had a small baby back at home. He was no healer, but it looked as if she might not make it. She would need much more sophisticated healing than they could offer here in this dusty tent. It all struck Sath’alor as very unfair if she should die, leaving her child alone before he even really got a chance to know who she was. He doubted very much that she had come here seeking any kind of recognition — if she had a small child she should have been exempt from fighting though. Maybe it had been her choice, as it had been his.  

On his way out, the old healer glanced at Sath’alor and nodded briefly. They didn’t speak, but he could see the worry etched in his features. Sath’alor did not often pray, but now he did, that the mage would arrive quickly and the other ranger would survive to see her child again.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Faeris’s Journal

My father keeps sending letters asking how I am doing here. I’m guessing he’s probably sent them to the Captain as well, but I get them regularly, every week. I keep meaning to write back, but I’ve been busy. He’s heard about the rumors about the demons, and wants to know if he should make me go back to the city. That’s especially ironic since it was his idea to make me go here in the first place. I think the rumors about the demons make them sound much worse than they are. It’s just a few every now and then, and little tiny ones. They’re no bigger than cats. Truthfully, it’s kind of exciting when we find some. Patrol is a lot more boring when you don’t see anything at all, and you’re not supposed to talk. I wouldn’t tell him that though, then I think he’d make me go back for sure. If all this had happened when I first got here, maybe I would have wanted to leave, but not now. I’ve gotten used to it, and I have my own cabin with Julan.

I know he would definitely have something to say about me spending time with a guy, especially a guy from Murder Row. He’d make me leave immediately. But it’s not his life, it’s mine, and I can do what I want. Right now that means staying with him. I’ve never really got the chance to be with anyone for a long time, like a real relationship, so it’s been great. Julan is a lot of fun and I think he likes being with me, too. We got furniture for our house and went to the city together, and no one said anything. It’s really cozy and comfortable, way better than the old quarters. I mean, they’re okay but we have a really big bed with tons of pillows, and there’s no one else around. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but I’m happy right now. If my father caught word of any of it, I’m sure he’d arrange me to some boring girl who’d want me to stay home all the time. I wonder if Julan thinks that, maybe I’m the boring one? That would be awful.

I really didn’t like when he was on night patrol, because he was gone when I was in bed and then he had to sleep during the day so I had to be extra quiet so I didn’t wake him. Thankfully, that only lasted for a week or so until the death knights came back. Never thought I’d be grateful to see death knights again, but I was. His patrol partner was the weird dead girl. I asked if she smelled and if you can see her bones, he said not really, and sometimes. That’s pretty gross. I don’t think I’d be able to stop staring if I was on patrol with her. He also said she never talked, at all, and she got mad when he talked. How annoying! If there aren’t any demons to kill, you need to talk to pass the time.

I guess I’ll work on a letter. I’ll keep it short and to the point, tell him we’re allowed to stay here because we need to kill the demons that are in this area. Nothing else. He doesn’t need to know everything.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Sath’alor’s Journal

My letter must have worked, because Orledin and Salenicus came back not long ago. Salenicus says they had to leave because Orledin was whining, but I find that a little more unlikely. I’ve never heard him whine, he says he’s unhappy about some things, sure, but that’s not the same. Maybe when you become undead, you lose your patience for listening to people. It might explain Sorrowmoss anyway. I talked to Orledin a little after he got back. He seemed relieved to not have to be there anymore. I guess they were going to have to go fight demons, which is more or less what I expected, but I need them fighting demons here. Julan did fine on the late patrol, but it’s really difficult for living people to adjust to that schedule, and Sorrowmoss came to me to complain that he talked too much. I think Julan also likes having someone to talk to and flirt with, and Sorrowmoss doesn’t really fit either of those criteria. The builders just finished up Julan and Faeris’s cabin, along with Sunashe’s lizard barn, so I know Julan was eager to spend time there and not just sleeping the whole day while Faeris was away on patrol. According to Arancon, the mens’ quarters have been a lot quieter since they’ve moved, and no one has seen anything in any closets lately, so that’s good. There are hardly any full beds in there now, though, or the womens’ quarters either. I have flyers up but I’m guessing everyone is away fighting demons. Maybe once they get back they’ll want to be rangers, I hope so at least.

Sightings here have been staying about the same, no more and no less. Aeramin came around to work on our wards with the information they got in Tanaris. I wonder if they’re studying the demons here, too, but I didn’t ask. It would make sense. As long as they stay away from the school and my ranger building, I guess I don’t care what they do with them. The autumn ball is coming up soon. I haven’t thought of any ideas for masks yet, well besides Rylad who still wants to be a tiger. Sometimes I’ll find him sleeping in Clementine’s bed, I don’t think Nessna knows he does that. I don’t think she’d be very happy about it, but at least I’m not trying to let him ride her. I was talking to Sunashe, and he’s wanting to get a saddle made for his lizard. Well, a basket first, because babies can’t hold on to a saddle very well. Sometimes I think he’s just joking and trying to see how people will react. I asked him if he had any ideas for his baby’s name and he said “Tiny”. He couldn’t possibly be serious about that. He said he didn’t see what was wrong with the name, and Lin would probably like it as well. Based on what I know about women, he’s going to be in for a surprise there. It just doesn’t seem like he’s taking it very seriously, I guess. Maybe it’s not really sunk in yet. I mean, Rylad was already born when I met Nessna so there wasn’t any time when he was just an abstract idea, and with Zeran I already kind of knew what to expect. But I told him it’s important that he makes sure Lin is taken care of, both physically and emotionally. Carrying around a baby can’t be easy, and I know the birth part isn’t easy, so he should be helping her get ready for that. He should also be thinking about names and getting the room ready and things like that. I mean, I’m no expert or anything but that’s what I think. A lot of people never get the chance to be a father, so he should be taking it seriously. Especially with everything that’s going on.

The spiders will be starting to come out soon, now that it’s a bit cooler, the ones who were born in the summer will be getting large and looking for mates. We clear out the caves the best we can, but obviously we can’t get all of them. I’ll admit, I’m glad we leave some to grow up, because then we can have spider legs to eat. They’re one of my favorite dishes in the fall.

[Art] Custom Funko POPs – Dogs

These guys are basically just straight repaints, except I cut the ears off the Husky and made them folded over. They are going to be Joker (our current dog) and Banjo (my late dog). After several layers of base coat I think they are almost ready for detailing.