[Story] Letter to Ellorian

Master Melith’enddare,

I hope you will forgive the intrusion of an unexpected letter. I suppose I do have some need for outside contact after all, even if it is infrequent. I could have visited in person, but I do not know the current situation in Dalaran. I would prefer not to be murdered in the street by a deranged savage. There are days when I do miss the city though. Not all of the noise, and certainly not all of the disgusting Horde races, but the serenity of the library and the majestic spires that reach into the sunlight.

I don’t know if I mentioned it the last time we spoke, but I’ve agreed to take on another apprentice. Yes I know, I should have learned my lesson from the last one, and this one is much more horrifying in appearance. She is a risen human, now held in undeath, though I don’t believe there are many with her mindset. What intrigued me about her case is that she was an apprentice in the city back when it was located in Lordaeron. She’s told me she isn’t so enthusiastic about the changes, either! Admittedly, it took some willpower to look past her frightful appearance — to my great relief, she doesn’t have much of a smell. There is a sort of cellary, musty scent about her sometimes, but I believe she uses perfume to mask it. One day she’ll need to buy more, I suppose I’ll have to bring her to Dalaran for that. What an awkward conversation that will be! In spite of this, she is a very diligent student and has exceeded my expectations in her main area of study, fire. Unfortunately, she is still rather hopeless in arcane manipulation. I certainly wouldn’t trust one of her portals unless it was to a place I can currently see. I know Dalaran has a formal system in place for testing apprentices, but I don’t wish to partake in their political games. When I feel she is finished with her studies, she is.

She’s been useful in another regard, as well. She doesn’t sleep — being undead — and has taken it upon herself to clean the tower thoroughly while I am resting or at my work. I will be the first to admit that the layers of dust were quite thick in some places. Yes, I could have enchanted a duster or something, but they still require watching to ensure they don’t knock over a vase or get stuck in a corner. And it’s difficult to read another spell while maintaining that one. So she’s been a pleasant surprise in that regard. When she first came, she locked herself in her room whenever she wasn’t at her studies. That would have suited me just fine, but over time she became curious and asked me about what things were like before. I suppose I don’t feel as wary telling some things to her, after all, she has plenty of things to keep hidden herself. She strikes me as a very lonely person, which is understandable given her situation. I think she misses her associates in Dalaran more than she lets on.

If you ever decide that you would like to study here, I have plenty of extra rooms. Of course, I’ll have to empty them of books first, but Sora can help with that. I hope you and your family are well.

~Andarthir

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[Story] Magic Lessons 74: Sora’s Diary

Dear Diary,

Master Heller’s friend is here again. He’s emptied out the room downstairs and that’s where they meet now. I helped him draw the circle, why did I do that? I haven’t been back down since, but I can hear their voices. Master Heller and the elf, and another voice too, a deep and ancient one. I guess it must have worked.

I can overhear them talking if I put my head to the floor. The elf said he ran into someone he recognized from Silvermoon, someone with common interests, that was how he said it. She had her apprentice there with her and they were talking about it right there in the Lounge. It made me wonder who they were, whether I’d seen them before. There are more of them than the mages would like to admit. And then there are mages who want to be more than mages, like Master Heller. The elf told him that they could practice here if they wanted to, but they seemed suspicious. They both had a laugh about that.

If they come here, that’s more people that will know. While they were still downstairs, I pulled on my cloak. It’s really too hot for a cloak, so people might think it’s odd, but I don’t really feel hot or cold very much. And I don’t want anyone to see me. I’m so afraid now. I walked down to the tailor shop, pretending like I’m just someone going out shopping. The tailor said I had a letter. It was from the kaldorei mage. He agreed to meet me at the park.

Something new occured to me as I was walking there. If I leave, Master Heller will eventually notice. And he knows that I know about him. He’d probably want to make sure that I don’t tell anyone. I’ll have to tell Andarthir everything, even if it means he probably won’t help me. When I saw him, he was wearing a very fancy purple robe, and standing near the lamp-post. I sat down on the bench and took off my hood and hoped he didn’t stare too much at me. I can always feel the frowns when people look at me. They’d frown more if they knew everything.

I explain that my Master is good, but he’s getting involved in things that I don’t want to be a part of. I’ll have to go somewhere he can’t find me, because I know his secrets. I left out the part where I taught him how to do it. The kaldorei mage sighs a lot. I can tell he’s thinking, so I look at my hands and try to prepare myself for what he’s going to say. I can see all of the bones.

He said I’m an unconventional student but he was willing to let me show him what I can do so far. I’m good at fire, I’ve always liked it. Even before, it was my favorite. His brows arched up and I think he was impressed, and he touched his beard thoughtfully. Inside my head I was begging him to say yes.

I guess it worked, because he said he would let me have a trial period. I don’t know what I’ll do if he asks me to make a portal. Thankfully he offered to make it for me, because the place where he lives is a secret. I’m not allowed to go outside of the tower, but I don’t need to. He’s going to fix up the top part for me to stay in. I wonder how long it will take Master Heller to notice that I’m gone.

Now I wish I’d got that kitten. I guess it’s probably too late now. But Andarthir said he has cats at the tower.

~Sora

[Story] Magic Lessons 73: Sora’s Diary

Dear Diary,

I’m really worried about Master Heller. And if I’m being totally honest, about myself too. It’s like he can’t stop, can’t be content with one little imp. That’s the way the instructors were in Undercity too, they’d talk about all the power you could have and how this was the quickest path to it. I never cared about power. Besides, what power does an imp give you really? Not much. You could enchant a broom to do about as much as an imp does. Well, besides the fireballs I guess but I can do my own of those too.

But the worst part is that I know he’s told people. I came home from the library the other day and there was a blond sin’dorei there, and he had an imp too! There must be more in Dalaran than I knew about. But the more people know, the more chance that someone will find out and they’ll throw us off Dalaran faster than you can say “forbidden fel magics”. I went into my room and closed the door but I could still hear them talking. The blood elf was working on a spell to summon another demon — the big blue kind — and was showing it to Master Heller. It made me afraid, but also relieved, because if he’s getting spells from other people maybe he doesn’t need me anymore.

I feel like I’m getting deeper into this than I wanted to. I decided to go back to the library because I didn’t even want to be around if they got the spell right. The blood elf watched me with his creepy eyes. They were hard, like a snake’s. I stayed out of the restricted room and I just went out onto the balcony to read my books. It was hard to concentrate so I wasn’t really reading, just more sort of drifting off into my thoughts and that’s probably why I didn’t notice him arrive. Or it could be because he took a portal, too. There was a really old kaldorei there, and that’s the reason I remembered him, because there aren’t many kaldorei in Dalaran. He had a long white beard and he looked startled when he saw me. I wondered if he was Lali’s old instructor, she said he was an old kaldorei with a beard. He started down the stairs into the main part of the library, but I stood up and called after him. He still looked afraid, which upset me a little. I don’t mean to frighten anyone.

I asked if he was Lali’s old instructor and his eyes got even bigger. He asked if Lali was still in Dalaran, and I said she was, and was doing well in her mage studies. Then he asked if her grandfather was, and I said I didn’t know but the last I’d heard he wasn’t. That calmed him down a little, but he still kept glancing all around the library as if he expected someone to jump out at any moment. I shifted my books to my other arm, and I asked if he had a new student yet.

Heavens, no, is what he said, and he seemed surprised by the question.

I explained that I was looking for a new one, because mine was doing illegal things and I didn’t want to get caught with it. I also said that I was an advanced student and had already done a few years of apprenticeship, you know, when I was alive. He stroked his beard thoughtfully and I added in the last thing that I have going for me: I don’t even eat anything so you won’t have to conjure or buy me any food. I think he thought that was kind of funny. He didn’t say yes, but he didn’t say no, either. So he’ll at least consider it. He asked where he could reach me and I gave him the address of the tailor shop down the street. I don’t want him sending letters to Master Heller’s house, just in case. I’ll just tell the tailor to watch for any letters for me. I’m there all the time looking at fabric so I know he’ll do it.

I hope Lali won’t be angry if I am his apprentice. I know she doesn’t like him very much. I don’t want to do anything to upset any of them, but then maybe they’ve forgotten about me anyway and she won’t care. I stop and look into the Lounge sometimes and I still see them there, though I see new people sometimes too, people who I don’t know. I never see the ranger anymore, the one with the limp. I wonder what’s become of him.

~Sora

[Art] Beard

I was lazy today and didn’t write, but have a beard.

[Screenshots] LOTRO – Simbelmyne Steed

Anders got his pretty teal horse today. I swear, it’s always night-time when I go to take pony pictures.

Much as I like this one, I don’t think I’ll get any others, because 40 leaves take a long time to collect!

Edit: Daytime picture!

[Screenshots] LOTRO: Steed of the Jester

I still need to get the new spring horse, but Andarthir got the Jester in his last box today. I love, love, love this horse. I like the realistic shading, and its bells jingle while it runs.

His name is "Joker"!

His name is “Joker”!

[Story] Magic Lessons 63: Whispers from Zin-Azshari

Andarthir stood at the top of his lonely tower, watching the shore-birds wheel in the grey sky. It was a lonely place by necessity, the powerful wards and illusions that kept it concealed from view occupied much of the Highborne’s time and energy. Yes, he should have known better than to leave it in the first place, his own little refuge, the one place where no person could find him.

He didn’t know what spurred him to look into the scrying-waters that morning, but he had. What the old mage had seen there unsettled him — the sin’dorei mage’s curious sickly green gaze. But his panic eased as he realized that the other mage was not looking into his tower, simply into the reflective face of Lali’s mirror — Isamira’s mirror. No doubt she had buried it beneath her stockings in the bottom drawer of her dresser, where her young instructor rummaged now. He was dressed in fine ornamental blue robes, a white flower pinned above his heart. Andarthir shook his head in disbelief. How foolish that girl had been! And he was more the fool for believing he could have taught her anything. And what did he have to show for his trouble? Half a dozen ruined books, one intruder in his home, and one very important lesson learned. Raleth would learn sooner or later. His inexperience and desire blinded him to the facts — and the fact was that consorting with kaldorei could only end in ruin.

Despite his youth, Raleth would recognize that the mirror was enchanted, and surely deduce who had done so, in spite of Andarthir’s superior ability. He would rather the little fool break the thing, but Raleth tucked it back where he had found it, the dark shapes of the stockings obscuring the scrying-glass. But just to be safe, he emptied the shallow bowl of clear water, putting it away in a cabinet. Just in case he should be clever enough to turn the enchantment around on itself. Surely he would have better things to do with his time.

Andarthir lit a pipe, the sweet burning herbs mingling with the scent of the sea. This particular mixture always made him think of the old days, before their world and the ornate walls had all fallen down around them.

“Isamira, you’ve been at that long enough. Come inside and have your tea.”

Their terrace overlooked a wide shallow pool, that reflected the brilliant blue of the sky. Fountains lined either side, and it was stocked with exotic birds from far-away lands. They waded and paddled in the clear water, living jewels that chirped and fluttered. His wife was fond of practicing  her studies there.  And this morning, as most mornings, she did not wish to stop. She sighed and placed a ribbon in the tome to mark her place, turning to look at him.

“But I’m so close, I can feel it. It’s probably my pronunciation, I always mix up the–”

Andarthir placed a finger to her lips, silencing her gently. “Not here.”

Her expression darkened, just for a moment. Isamira had all of the beauty and grace of any Highborne woman, but he was lucky in that she seemed to have genuine affection for him. They spoke to each other kindly, and they often ate together. If her attentions wandered elsewhere, she had the tact and consideration to hide it well enough from Andarthir. But of late, she worried him with the sort of spells she was researching. There were some who said things were beginning to reach too far, creeping into forces that refused to be contained. And Isamira, like her fellow scholars, brushed aside these worries. We are the masters of the arcane, she insisted. We are not some children playing at magic. Andarthir would not admit it, but that was exactly why he was worried. At least a child will recognize when he is in danger.

As quickly as it had arrived, her frown dissipated. “You worry too much, my husband. You will be less grumpy after you eat.”

She was right, of course. Wives usually are. But not always.