[Story] Fairsong Academy – Braedra’s Journal

[[ This was not a good week for writing! I had dental surgery on Friday, and I have also had a cold all week, yuck. Hopefully I’ll be better soon! ]]

I’m not having coffee with Verisna anymore. She hasn’t asked, and even if she had, I would have to politely decline. I’m sure she could guess the real reason that I don’t want to see her, and no doubt she’d be amused by it. I just feel so foolish for having given her the benefit of the doubt when I shouldn’t. I still believe most people are good, but she was only pretending. It was enough to fool me, I suppose. I do worry now too about what Isturon said, that she might want to harm me or the girls, or do something while Terellion is there at Hethurin’s visits. I’m afraid of that happening, but I also don’t know how to avoid it. I figure it is best to just avoid her altogether. Instead I’ve been going with Anorelle to the little place in Tranquillien. It’s not nearly as fancy as Silvermoon, of course, but it’s quiet and there’s no chance of running into Verisna — or Haldeith — there. And despite the girl behind the counter being undead, their coffee isn’t bad at all, they have different flavorings you can mix in as well. I suppose they are trying to make the town more appealing to alive people since so many are moving back to the area. Anorelle can’t have too much coffee, but they have a variety of teas as well.

That reminds me, since the letter I wrote to Isturon, I’ve gone to visit him at his house a few times. The first time, he was quite ill and I’m not sure he even remembered much of my visit. I brought some chicken soup from the kitchen and left the pot for him to eat later, he fell asleep on the couch while we were talking. But he asked about what I wanted to be when I was a girl, and what I liked to do, things like that. It was nice. I told him I’d always wanted to be a pirate, which sounds a bit silly when I said it out loud, but he wanted to be a dragon so I guess that’s no more or less silly. I told him about our little fortress in the forest we’d had as children, back then it seemed so exciting and daring, made of branches and scraps of wood and metal we’d found. Isturon suggested building one on the school grounds, and I think it would be safe if it was within the wards, in the woods. I just hope they would check for spiders or animals before letting them play out there. Then again, my parents never checked and we were just fine. Isturon said someone at the Sunwell had been ill, so perhaps he’d caught it, but I suspect stress might have played a part as well. So much has happened in a short time that it can’t be easy to deal with.

And I suppose we’re back together again, I am not sure how it happened but he invited me to go on a trip with him. He said there’s an island where they have a ship that’s been converted into an inn, and there are all sorts of pirate activities, like a treasure hunt. How could I say no to that? He also made marmalade muffins and brought my favorite tea — he remembered from one of the times we went to Silvermoon. I don’t need fancy trips to the theater or expensive gifts, just thoughtful things like that. I wasn’t sure what he would think of me after the letter, but he said he’s willing to try again. I’m not sure if it’s the right thing either. He asked what I would want, if I had passed on and Galandil was alive. Of course I’d want him to be happy, but I don’t think I’d want him to forget me either. But I think you can do both. Arancon clearly loves Anorelle, but he hasn’t forgotten Maena either — they have their paintings in their house.

It’s nice to have someone to talk to, even if she hasn’t been in my place, sometimes just saying it aloud helps. She said I should go on the trip, and allow things to happen if I want them to. She also pointed out that we’d been seeing each other nearly a year, and no one would say anything about impropriety now. I have to admit she has a point. But I’m still afraid, on some level, that people won’t approve, or it won’t work out, or I’ll feel too guilty. She said that I should anyway, because wondering what might have been is worse than any of those. Maybe she is right.

[Story] Character of the Week – Temperance Stillwater

[[ Temperance is a second-generation Worgen which I think isn’t even lore compliant but do I care? Nope. She was a priestess in Duskwood who was mauled by Harrison, the guard captain that Marjolaine and the others released there. Unable to remain in her hometown, she traveled to Stormwind for treatment and Marjolaine took her under her wing — in part because she feels responsible for the girl’s condition. ]]

Nash came to the Cathedral today, for our walk near the docks. It was a bit of a surprise, since he didn’t tell me an exact day, but it was in the evening so there wasn’t anything else to do. It was raining too, which might be better, it means fewer people would be around to see him. Or me. So maybe he picked tonight for that reason. I had some cheese and bread and fruit, I like to bring a plate down with me while I work, but he said we should bring it with. So I put everything into a little basket, I also took one of the bottles of wine. It’s not very good wine, it’s mostly water anyway, but it tastes all right. Since it was raining, I could wear my cloak and hood and no one would think it strange. People look twice if you wear it when it’s warm and sunny out. We went out the side door that they use for the kitchen deliveries, just because I didn’t want anyone seeing us leave and asking questions. The cathedral is usually quiet this time of night anyway, but you never know.

We walked along the street toward the docks. It was raining so the water shone on the stones, they were kind of pretty. I’d never really noticed that. I never walk down to that part of the city, sometimes I go to the market but that’s the only place really. We didn’t see any guards, but we saw someone going around to light the lamps, as the sun would be setting soon. It was a bit dark already because of all the clouds, but the sun shone through in some places and it made golden beams of light. On the way we talked, I asked him about Silvermoon. He said it’s always warm there, like summer. I suppose it’s because the mages keep it that way, I think I read that in a book. But I don’t know how mages can make the rain stop. And how do they grow crops that way? Nash said further south there’s rain and sometimes even snow, that must be where the farms are. It does sound pretty, but I like the rain and snow too. It often rained in Duskwood, and in the fall the roads were often covered in fog.

Nash found a spot under a big tree that wasn’t too wet, and he put his cloak down on the grass. I should have thought to bring a blanket. I had brought apples and pears, and he said they were his favorite, that he used to steal them from the market in Silvermoon. I also brought some of the cheese he likes, the kind with the holes. He asked how they get the holes in the cheese, but I don’t know, I said I’d need to read a book about it. I’m sure I saw a book about cheese in the shelves with the other cooking books. Then he said maybe they fart on it! Can you imagine! I hope that’s not true, because I think that would make it smell bad, but then some cheeses are quite stinky already. So how would you even know the difference?

Up on the cliff, we could look down at the boats in the dock. He told me one of them had come from Northrend, he could tell because it was bigger and had thicker walls for breaking through the ice. I wonder why anyone would want to go there now, but he said that not all places there had scourge, that there were farms and mines. I didn’t ask how he knew, but he must have been there. I didn’t see very many people, maybe because it was raining. They must have all been snug inside their bunks inside the ships. One did leave while we were there, I wondered why they would leave so late at night. Nash thought they might be going to Booty Bay, the place he had gone with the elf. He said the beaches there were beautiful, with lots of smooth sand and shells, and clear blue water. The beach here is very rocky, with steep cliffs. You couldn’t look for shells if you tried. Nash also said there are sharks in the water here, but I don’t know if that’s true or he’s just trying to scare me.

He talked about staying at the school in the Ghostlands, and how he disliked it. I think staying at such a school sounds exciting! But he said he would rather learn things on his own, though I think some things you need a teacher for. And he said everyone was far older than him. Nash is  in his 40s, which is young for an elf I suppose. It’s not young for a human, but he looks young. Then he asked if I was lonely here. I wanted to say I’m not, but that’s not true. I miss Duskwood terribly, I miss all the people in the town and having an ordinary life. He must be lonely too, though he says he doesn’t miss Silvermoon. And he has the kaldorei, though I said I think he’s scary. Nash doesn’t think so, but I suppose he’s been around more kaldorei. Or maybe elves aren’t scary to other elves. Either way, he said he would keep visiting me, and I said that was good.

After we went back, I found the pirate book that I’d let him read while he was here. He’d said it was good, and that I might like it. Back in Duskwood, there was nothing I liked more than getting under the warm blankets in my bed while rain pattered the roof outside. I can’t hear the rain in the basement, but I took the book upstairs and sat on one of the benches beside the colored glass. It wasn’t quite the same, but it was still good. And he was right, it’s a good story so far.

Oh, and Nash was half right about the cheese. The holes are caused by gas from things in the milk growing. So they are farts, but from little bugs.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Teloth’s Journal

[[ Teloth technically isn’t a ranger but he lives out there, so I’m still using the tag for him haha. ]]

We moved the chicks into the barn today. It’s a little sad, because we’ve really got used to them being around all the time, and their funny antics. Though it’s going to be a lot cleaner and quieter in the house, that’s for sure. We tried to keep them herded into one room but they always found ways to get through and get into trouble. I think we finally have names for them. The teal male is called Aster, the yellow-green one is called Pepper, and the green one is called Fern. I think plant names are a great theme since eventually we’ll hopefully have a lot of vegetables and plants from our greenhouse too. There’s still no name for the farm yet, we still have to think about that. I was surprised how quickly the builders were able to put up the barn! I guess they are really experienced at it. The first couple of days they made the frame and then stood it up, and put boards all around the outside. They made it look so easy, even though I’m sure if I tried it, the barn would be all crooked and saggy. We only needed one stall to be finished for the chicks to sleep in, so once that was done we moved them out there. It’s still not too cold at night, so they were okay with just straw, though I was worried they might miss us since they’d been spending so much time with people. I went out a couple of times during the night to check on them; the first time they were kind of squawking so I went in and told them it was okay. Later on when I checked they were all sleeping together in a big pile, so I guess it’s okay now. We are still going to work on training and exercise during the day so they’ll still have a lot of time with us. Also, we feed them!

Later on, once it’s colder I will see about getting some rocks enchanted with a heat spell to keep in there. I know Sunashe does that for his lizard and it works great, I think he had the fire mage from the school do it, the same one who comes out and does the wards. I’ll have to find out when he’s coming out again, and have some big rocks ready to go. It would be nice if we could get a greenhouse built before the winter too, but I don’t know if Esladra has enough money for that right now, plus the builders are trying to finish up everything before the weather gets bad. It’s rained, but it hasn’t been too cold yet, but that will change soon. It feels a little awkward not getting paid anymore, like she has to buy everything and I’m just eating all her food and living in her house. I guess it’s mostly Tik’s food, but you know what I mean. I’m doing my best to be useful, I’m working with the chicks every day, and I build the fence around the yard for them. There’s a larger area for grazing and running, and then some smaller pens in case we need to separate them for anything. It did take me a while, you’d think that making a fence is simple but it’s more complicated than it first looks. I also had to make sure it was strong enough that the hawkstriders can’t push it over when they’re grown, they are quite strong. And they can’t jump over it either. Right now they are still small enough to crawl underneath, so they can’t be left out there alone.

I haven’t really had time to talk to Tystus, so I’m not sure how he is doing. I know he’s focusing on Arcane magic so Esladra said he’s probably in Des’s class, since she teaches the introductory Arcane classes. I guess if he was doing really badly, Hethurin would have said something to Esladra about it, maybe. I’ll have to corner him at the masked ball and see how he is, though he always says the same thing — everything’s fine and he doesn’t need me to come check on him. Maybe he’s right, but I still feel like I need to make sure he’s okay, he’s never really been good at doing things on his own. But I guess he’s doing magic while I’m cleaning up hawkstrider feathers, so who knows. I’m going to save some of them and see if we can use them for our masks, I wish we had some red though.

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

The last few days have been unusual, it’s the first time we’ve had a missing person in the Ghostlands. The missing person happened to be Isturon, so Nessna was very eager to help with the investigation. So instead of their normal patrol, I had her and Anorelle look into it — for one because they work well together, and also because it’s a lot less walking around than patrolling. I know Nessna will insist that she can patrol right up until the minute she starts having the baby, but I don’t like it. So they went to the school and looked at Isturon’s house, it was left open and looked like some things had been taken, mainly clothes and medicine. It likely wasn’t a robbery, but if he had left on his own, why would he leave in such a hurry, and not even lock the door? Arancon was concerned that he’d been kidnapped, and I admit it’s possible, though I think it would be difficult for someone to gain entrance to the school grounds without Hethurin noticing. Especially if that person was Verisna. Who else would want to kidnap him? I can’t think of anyone. Nessna and Anorelle tried to get information from Hethurin, but he was reluctant to talk. They got a tip from Braedra that he might be in Silvermoon, so they went to talk to people there too. They managed to convince Vallindra to come along, and she talked to Verisna while Nessna spoke to Isturon’s priest friend, and Anorelle looked to see if he’d visited any rooms for rent. The priest gave them some brochures about things on the Sunwell, like vacations except they had a purpose, which I’m guessing means listening to someone talk a lot. That doesn’t sound like a vacation to me. Except Nessna was certain that’s where he had gone, especially since someone in Tranquillien had mentioned seeing Isturon walking north. So Nessna and Anorelle took an official ranger trip to the island. I wish I could have gone, but Anorelle really wanted Arancon to go too, but it’s already going to be difficult enough to explain why I’m requesting funding for two rangers to go. Plus, Nessna can have a nice relaxing couple of days without the boys (and me).

Arancon came to stay at the lodge while Anorelle was away. Originally he was just going to sleep in his old bunk, but there’s hardly anyone in there, just Julan’s brother. Jamos is there, but he’s gone at night. Considering how mopey he was, I thought Arancon might want some company instead. I let the boys make a fort with blankets in the common room, and got a big plate of cookies from the kitchen, and we went inside and ate them. I think it did help cheer him up a little, but he was still worried that something would happen and they wouldn’t come back. I mean, I worry about Nessna being on patrol sometimes, but the island is pretty safe. I wanted to say it would just be a couple of days, but I’ve never lost someone like that. Maybe it’s natural to worry about something happening if it’s happened to you once before. I’m really glad things are going so well for him though. When he first came here, I wasn’t sure if he was going to be cut out for being a ranger. But he got through it and now he’s really happy. I’ve always said I believe in giving people second chances, and I haven’t been wrong yet, so I’m going to keep doing it.

They only ended up being away for one night, because they found Isturon the next day, at the Sunwell. He was in some Light cleansing program or something, I’m not really sure. Nessna was really upset because Verisna filed to have Isturon’s payments stopped while he was away, which means someone must have told her that he was gone. It had to be Vallindra, she’s the only person I can imagine being that petty, and she’s closer with her mother than her father. They missed the hearing by only a couple of hours. I’m really glad I don’t have to deal with that kind of city nonsense and politics out here. I mean, I still have to do all the forms, but for the most part no one bothers us. And I’m really glad I didn’t have to file a missing person report, because he was found quickly enough.  It would really look bad for our unit if we managed to lose a citizen.

Arancon asked me if I had names picked out for the baby yet. I guess I’d better think about some. I figured she’d pick this one, since I named Zaren, but it’s better to be prepared so I don’t end up having to name him Tiny or something like that.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Letter to Isturon

Isturon,

You were right about Verisna. I spoke to Terellion this morning, and he told me about what happened at the Spire. Hethurin is distraught because he believes that it’s fault that you left, but if he is to blame then I am as well. Perhaps more so, because I am sure I could have stopped it, I still know enough people there. I believed that she had no reason to do something to harm you, now that she had her own husband and her own life, but I was wrong. I cannot fathom why she would be so petty and cruel, other than to intentionally hurt you. And if she could do it to you, she could easily do it to me as well. I do feel foolish for believing her, and for insisting that you were wrong. Maybe I was looking for the best in her.

But then what you said about Hethurin and Xyliah — maybe it was the same. I thought about it more, and the situations weren’t so different. I was so quick to excuse Hethurin, because it never bothered Terellion, I suppose. Was it the right choice? Maybe not, but we can never know for certain at the time. It’s easier to look back in hindsight and know what the right thing was. I could have prevented Galandil from being sent to Kalimdor, it would have been a simple matter to add an exemption to his file, or have him sent to a different unit. But I didn’t, because I believed it would be immoral and I could have lost my job. Now of course, I wish I had, but I believed it was right at the time.

You don’t seem like the same person who left. You were adamant that you had done nothing wrong, and that frightened me. I don’t think that you should dwell on it or feel shame forever, but it sounded as if you didn’t see anything wrong with it at all. All I could think is what would happen if you decided I was too boring, or not enough. I don’t think I could stand that. And if you felt all the things you wrote in the letter, why did you leave at all? Why would you listen to what Haldeith said, if that’s what you truly felt? I admit it was all sort of a surprise, we’ve spent a lot of time together but you hadn’t said anything like that.

When you left, I thought that you wouldn’t be back, perhaps for holidays but nothing more. But now you are, and I’m not sure where that leaves us. I thought things were over between us, and I thought that’s what you wanted too. If it is, I believe what I said before — that you should stay at the school so you can be close to your family. If it’s not, then I’m not sure how to proceed. I think we both have some distance to go to repair trust with the other. Let me know what you think.

~Braedra

[Story] Character of the Week – Xarlo

[[ Xarlo is my cathar Jedi Knight! (No, he’s not named after Kylo, he was created years before TLJ came out 🙂 ) He is still learning, but eager to prove himself, especially because his mother is also a Jedi. The absence of his father has affected him greatly, and recently he has taken a more active role in trying to locate him. ]]

From the shuttle window, Taris looked serene and peaceful, revealing no hint of the turmoil it had endured. He had visited once, many years ago, when his mother had first taken the position with the reclamation effort. Xarlo was pleasantly surprised when they touched down on the landing pad, surrounded by buildings and a thriving settlement. Thankfully, the Eternal Empire had not considered Taris a worthy target, and had been spared more destruction. But the scars of the Imperial Empire still lay bare across the land, and the rakghouls festered there like a raging infection. Here in the settlement, he saw little trace of them, but they lurked in the wilds and dark places — the places his mother was often sent to.

Xarlo learned at the desk that his mother was stationed at one of the camps to the north, and as he walked along the road, the structures grew more ruined and forgotten the further away he got. Though they had been working at it for many years, it seemed an almost insurmountable task. Slow progress was progress, that was something Master Rusaa liked to say. Xarlo was sure that his mother would agree with that.

He found her helping to clear rocks from a massive slide that had buried an entire end of the village. There were likely buildings underneath, but it was impossible to tell for certain. In spite of the effort — Xarlo could see it in her hands and the set of her jaw — she looked as prim as he remembered, every hair in place, every line of her robe smooth. Xarlo watched as she lifted a jagged stone the size of a speeder and set it neatly beside the others. Her expression brightened immediately when she noticed him. “Xarlo.”

They walked to one of the tents to talk in the shade, an assortment of monitoring equipment humming and intermittently beeping behind them. “It’s been so long! How have you been.” She paused and looked him over critically. Xarlo’s robes were rumpled, and he tried to smooth them out as if she wouldn’t notice. “You’re not eating enough.”

Xarlo’s ears twitched sheepishly. “Well, I was busy. And I wrote to you before. About the outpost on Tattooine?”

His mother made a little rumble of assent. “Are you still there now?”

“Ehm, kind of. I mean, I don’t know. I’ve been doing other things.”

Xaliha frowned in the way Xarlo dreaded. It meant she didn’t approve of what he’d just said. “What is more important than your studies, Xarlo?”

He sighed, because they’d had this conversation before, more than once. She knew what he was going to say, and then she’d just say the same thing in response. “I want to find him. I think I deserve answers.”

A little droid rattled into the tent bearing two cups of tea. Xaliha sighed and took one of them. Xarlo didn’t, and it waited there for him until he waved it away. “You’re not going to get any answers, even if you are able to find him. You must know that.”

That was the part she always said, and Xarlo knew that it was at least partly true. Did curiosity truly drive him, or was there a small desire for revenge, as well? He told himself there wasn’t, but the idea frightened him.

“Xarlo, he doesn’t define you. Nor does his absence.”

“I know, but I want–”

“It’s foolish,” Xaliha said flatly. “And dangerous. Please just leave it be.”

She was right, of course. She’d said it before. But he couldn’t just forget, as much as he’d tried. Maybe it was easier for her to put her emotions aside, but he couldn’t. He just needed to be focused and not let them get the better of him. Master Rusaa wouldn’t have approved either, and he’d probably have cuffed his ears, too.

“I’m sorry,” Xarlo said. “I have to know. You don’t know where he is?”

Xaliha shook her head and took a sip of her tea. Xarlo didn’t have to see her face to know what her expression looked like right now. “The last time we spoke was before you were born. I tried to contact him when you went to the academy, but I don’t know if he received it or not.”

Xarlo nodded, he was disappointed but not surprised. But it meant that his father probably did know that he existed. Wasn’t he curious as well? Or did he not care at all? Maybe he was dead, and that’s why he’d never contacted him. It would explain a lot, and Xarlo could let go of all the worry and anger he’d built up over the years — but it wouldn’t answer everything.

“Have you searched in the archives?” Xaliha asked quietly.

Xarlo nodded. “Yeah.” He’d spent hours poring over any records of cathar, with his name or not. It wasn’t unheard of that he’d used a fake name, and some records were incomplete or damaged. Xarlo knew that his father wasn’t force sensitive, so he wouldn’t be as closely monitored.

“Imperial records?”

Xarlo frowned. He didn’t want to entertain his idea that his father was enslaved by sith. But then, maybe he’d be grateful if his long-lost son appeared and defeated his cruel masters. That probably wouldn’t happen; Xarlo had never even seen a sith in person, other than the ones at the gatherings. That wasn’t really the same. And Imperial records of slaves were even more shoddy than Republic records. Still, it was a good suggestion — except that he had no way to access any.

“I don’t know how I’d get those,” Xarlo said. “I could hire someone to look, maybe… if I knew someone like that.” But he didn’t — or did he? Maybe one of the people at the outpost. He knew one of them was a skilled slicer, maybe he’d be able to access Imperial frequencies at well. It all seemed — as his mother had said — highly dangerous though. How exactly would he explain himself if they caught him snooping around their computers? Sith wouldn’t care about him trying to find his father.

Xaliha shook her head. “I don’t want you to do this. I don’t think it will go the way you want.”

But Xarlo wasn’t even sure what he wanted. Answers, yes, but what else? An apology, maybe, for abandoning him and for leaving Xaliha behind to face the council alone. They’d urged her to give him away, but she had refused. Any aspirations she might have once had were gone — because of him, and because of Tirzo. She said that she never regretted it, and Xarlo believed her, but he still felt it was unfair. How could Tirzo go on as if nothing had happened, as if he didn’t have a son somewhere? And for all those years, he didn’t bother to reach out to him. Xarlo wanted to know why. He wanted to know where his father had come from, and — perhaps most of all — to be certain that they weren’t alike. His fear was that he would learn they were, after all.

Xaliha sighed again, and in that moment she looked older than she ever had to Xarlo. “Give me your comm,” she said, and Xarlo handed it to her, puzzled. She put a code in and gave it back. Xarlo didn’t recognize the name, or the code. “He might know something, but Xarlo… I beg of you, please be careful.”

He gave her a quick hug. “I will, mom.”

[Art] Happy Birthday Dad!

It’s two days early, but my Dad doesn’t visit this site so I can post it here now!

Just a little picture of my siblings and I with him, he liked to take us camping when we were younger.

dad_bday_2018