[Story] The Ghostclaw – Fishing

“Ann’da, can we go fishing?”

Sath’alor looked over the stacks of paperwork that covered his desk. Most were reports that needed to be read and filed, some were equipment requests, there might have even been a letter of inquiry in there, but he hadn’t got that far into the pile yet. Whatever it was, fishing sounded like a much better idea.

“We sure can,” he said, patting Rylad on the head as he got up. Perhaps he’d already known that his ann’da would say yes, because he had on his boots and coat. “Do you think Zaren would like to go too? I think he’s big enough.”

Rylad seemed to consider for a moment and then nodded. “Yeah, but he can’t hold a pole.”

“No?”

“He’d drop it,” said Rylad.

That was probably true. While Zaren had grown a lot, he was still little, and he was still at the age where he was more interested in eating things off the ground than much else. “I’ll help him,” Sath’alor suggested, and Rylad agreed to that plan.

Nessna was still away on her patrol, so he left a note that he’d taken the boys fishing with him. He also put on the scratchy new sweater she’d just bought for him. It would take some getting used to, but it was certainly warm. And it had lynxes on it. Sath’alor had never seen a sweater like that before, and he would have bought it if he had, so he was pleased with her choice. He wrangled Zaren into a hooded suit with a zipper, and helped him into his boots. Rylad could do most of it by himself, so he fetched the fishing poles and basket. They could stop along the way to look under rocks for grubs and worms for bait.

The forest was ablaze with autumn color, the once-dead trees having regrown some of their leaves over the past few years. Birds and little animals — squirrels and chipmunks — dashed and chirped overhead. Rylad delighted in stomping on every particularly crunchy leaf along the trail, hearing the satisfying crackle they made. The morning was chilly, but not too cold, and the day would grow warmer as it went on. It was a day that was practically made for fishing.

He baited the hooks and helped them get into the water. Rylad was an old pro at fishing, he gripped his pole and stared intently at the water, watching for any splashes or ripples. Zaren was more fascinated by the grub on the hook, but Sath’alor didn’t let him eat it. He had snuck some cookies in his pack though, and gave one of them to each.

Rylad had a lot of questions about fish, though. Sath’alor didn’t really know terribly much about them — his main interest in fishing had been finding food for his cats to eat.

“Do fish sleep?”

“Where do fish pee?”

“Does it hurt them to get caught?”

“Do fish have ann’das?”

Sath’alor hoped they might catch one or two — fresh fish with spices sounded delicious for dinner. But even if they didn’t, it had been a perfect day.

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[Story] Fairsong Academy – Maerista’s Journal

The weather’s starting to get cold, and I thought I should get Gael a new sweater. Not that there’s really anything wrong with any of the other ones he has, but they’re maybe not as soft as they once were, and some of them have got a little mud on them from patrol. That’s going to happen, living out in the woods. And I admit, they always have new designs and I feel like he might get bored with wearing the same old boring sweaters all the time. I’ve been so busy with the extra work at school that  I hadn’t had time to go yet, though. Even though Xarola and Vynlorin offered to help check papers — which I certainly appreciate — there’s a lot of work to be done preparing lessons and exams. I also check essays myself, because those are subjective. I thought a trip to the city to look for a sweater would be a nice break, but then Gael brought up something I hadn’t thought about before.

Don’t the other rangers get cold? Sure, they have cloaks, but he said none of them have sweaters. Can you imagine! I guess their wives don’t care if they freeze to death or not. Or if their ears get frozen in the wind. So I decided that I would invite some of them along with me, it could be a fun trip and I could get a chance to talk to some of them more. Since we have our own house, I hardly ever see them, let alone get to talk. Nessna and Lin both have young babies too — Lin’s is the littlest. He’s so cute, it makes me realize how big Zaeris has gotten. I didn’t think I should ask Sorrowmoss, first of all she wouldn’t be allowed in Silvermoon, second she doesn’t have anyone to buy a sweater for. Neither do Kavia, Yara, or Anorelle, at least that I know of. That left Vellira, Lin, and Nessna, and I had to find a time when they all wouldn’t be on patrol and I wouldn’t be teaching classes. Well, I thought about asking Julan, but honestly I wasn’t sure if it would be a good idea having to keep a close eye on him all afternoon. They all seemed confused at first, but agreed to come anyway, maybe because I said I’d buy lunch.

I went straight to my favorite stall in the market for sweaters, they set up their booth around this time every year and there’s piles of different ones. I think every single one is different, so you have to look through all of them to find the best ones. Nessna said that the other rangers didn’t need sweaters, because they already had cloaks. Sure, I said, but wouldn’t they be warmer with a sweater AND a cloak? Also, you can get a set of matching ear-warmers and a scarf if you like. Then I found a sweater that had little lynxes running across the front and that convinced her. Lin asked if they had any with lizards, which they didn’t, but she did find one with a dragon. I think if you squint you could pretend that it was a lizard. And lizards and dragons are probably related, anyway. Vellira seemed to love the idea, and she ended up buying three sweaters, with matching ear-warmers and scarves. At least one of them is worried about her ranger getting cold. One of them had a ship on the front, she said that one was her favorite.

We went to the tea house and had tea and sandwiches. It has been so long since I got to just talk with other ladies that I think I’d forgotten how to. But it was nice, I want to do it again. It just feels a little awkward because they’re all rangers and I’m a mage, but then we just talked about normal things for the most part, so maybe it isn’t too strange. Especially when we talked about babies, Vellira made a face about that. I think she’s older than I am, then again mine was kind of a surprise.

We also stopped to have the sweaters all wrapped up. You can’t give someone a gift without wrapping it properly! The boxes looked really large because the sweaters are so big and fluffy. Vellira was trying to balance all three of hers, fortunately she was able to balance them long enough for me to open a portal back to the ranger building. I hope they all like their sweaters, and stay warm on their patrols. Gael’s is blue with little white snowflakes, and I got a matching little hat for Zaeris. They’ll both be so adorable!

[Story] Xanaroth’s Journal

Felarius’s lessons have been going well. Fortunately I’ve been able to keep Elara with me much of the time, in the same way that I imagine Hethurin must. I feel safer having her there with me rather than leaving her alone in a room during that time. Though I take her out any time we are summoning, even with imps. I’m not taking any chances. If she shows interest when she is older, that would be another matter, but I won’t take the risks I did in the past. It isn’t worth it. Nor will I put Felarius at risk. He’s so curious and eager, and I don’t want to dampen that, but at the same time I want to ensure he really understands the dangers of what he is working with. Like any tool, demons can harm the user if used incorrectly or carelessly.

He’s copying and studying bindings, and learning about the various types of demons. Sometimes he has questions that I don’t know the answer to — like last night, he was asking me about imps. I’ve never given imps much thought, they are just simply there most of the time and taken for granted. But he asked me about where they come from. I explained that they are born in great litters? Clutches? From broodmothers, something like a queen bee will give birth to all of the bees in a hive. And like bees, individual imps are simply workers who exist for the greater good of the swarm. Who fathers them? That question stumped me. Something  must, assuming that demons work in the same way that animals do. But perhaps they do not, perhaps the female doesn’t require a male at all. Or perhaps she finds a mate before she becomes so large. There is much we still don’t know about demons and their lives, given their secrecy and ability to hide away in the Nether. Maybe Felarius will be the one to discover it one day. He also asked if they miss their families. I said that they didn’t, because they don’t form familial attachments in the way that we elves do. Doesn’t the mother miss her children? I doubt she even knows how many she has, but it is true that imps form attachments easily to their masters. Perhaps they do seek some sort of parental figure, though I had always assumed they wanted protection from the Nether’s more dangerous residents. It’s an interesting thought, one I am glad that he brought up. A student who challenges the teacher is sure to go far in his studies, and in turn should make me a better teacher.

I do worry a bit that he’ll fall behind in his fire lessons. Aeramin is away, so his assistant Maerista is taking over his classes for the trip. Normally, Felarius does his private fire lessons with Aeramin, but it seems that he’s been studying his summoning instead. I don’t want to discourage that, of course, but nor do I want him to fall behind in fire. Not only is it incredibly important to have a good fire foundation, it would look awfully suspicious if he’s taking private lessons off site and still not doing well. I don’t want to raise any questions.

I think he’ll be ready for an imp soon. Obviously he can’t keep it at the school, but I could probably set up a place in the work room here. It will be easier than constantly summoning it, and I will also be able to keep a closer eye on its behavior. I’m somewhat relieved that he doesn’t seem to have any interest in a succubus. Those are nothing but trouble.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Lora’s Letter

Dear Haani,

I have some wonderful news! I spoke to the Headmaster here and he said it’s fine for you to come and study for a while. I wanted to wait and make sure he was in a good mood, he was about to eat cake and he had two of his little babies with him. Have you ever seen an elf baby? I guess you must have at the orphanage. They’re very cute. Narise is a little bit older but Galandil is still just a small baby. They also have another daughter who is older and goes to classes, but just the general class so she probably won’t have any with you. But you’ll definitely see her around because she’s always curious about everything and likes to talk to new people. I wonder if she’d want to learn draenei too!

There are all sorts of classes you can take here. There’s the schools of magic, of course, and all of the teachers are really nice. Magister Firewind is the fire instructor usually, you’ll be able to meet him when he comes back from his trip. Maerista is a student who helps him with his classes, she was a student here who passed her exams. The Headmaster teaches the arcane classes, and Des helps him with that. If you want to learn ice magic, that’s Magister Raleth and Keyalenn, who you already know. There’s also a class about enchanting, and hawkstrider care and riding, and learning to grow plants in the greenhouse. If you want to learn sewing, there’s a student who helps people with that. She’s an undead, I guess you probably don’t have those in Shattrath. She looks a little scary but she’s really nice. There’s also a kaldorei who teaches the younger students, so you could probably talk to her about what it’s like if you’re anxious. The only thing is, you probably want to avoid the towns and you definitely shouldn’t go into Silvermoon. They can be very mistrustful of strangers.

Magister Fairsong also said your brother might be able to come if he’s worried about you, I suggested he could be a guard here for the school but he doesn’t think we need any more. However, there’s a unit of rangers nearby. If you don’t know what those are, they patrol around the forest to keep it safe from undead and robbers and spiders, things like that. I think your brother would be good at that, if he’s interested! He needs to speak with the ranger captain though. We’re going to be in Shattrath in two weeks, he thought we might be able to meet and talk about it then. If you have any more questions you can ask him then, and also just to get a chance to meet him. He’s very protective of his students and always wants them to be safe. Oh, I also told him that you could help the chef make some draenei food. I bet everyone would be excited to try that! We could even have a draenei festival maybe. If you come in time, you’ll be able to attend the masked ball. That’s where you have a costume and everything is decorated with pumpkins and spooky things. It’s really fun, trust me.

Also, if you like, I can introduce you to the ghosts that live here. I know the ones inside the school well, and they trust me. There are more out in the woods that I’ve seen but haven’t spoken with as much. There must be hundreds more out there, ghosts of elves who died in the scourge attacks and were simply left alone out there. I am sure they would appreciate having another person to talk to.

Your friend,
Loralinde

 

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Faeris’s Journal

I had to give dancing lessons to Salenicus the other day. He asked Julan first, but I guess Julan told him that he didn’t know how to dance — which is pretty silly considering that’s what he was doing when he first came here. Maybe Salenicus forgot that part, although I guess to be fair he wasn’t here yet. But it’s not like Julan hasn’t talked about it, either. Maybe it was for the best, because I’m not sure the style of dancing Julan was doing would be allowed at a school dance anyway. My mother made me go to all kinds of lessons when I was younger, and I’ve been to a lot of dances in the city, so I do actually know them pretty well. That doesn’t mean I’m a good dancing teacher though, I don’t think I am. Plus, honestly I didn’t really want to have to hold hands with him and stuff, so I picked the easiest dance I could think of that didn’t require a lot of touching. Just a regular waltz, which is easy to remember and would go well with slow songs, which is I assume mostly what they would be playing. And you can always just go faster if you need to. But then he said he might dance out in the garden, where I’m not sure you could hear the music anyway. Which you could do, but it’d just be a little weird.

The girl he’s going to dance  with studied in Dalaran — I mean old Dalaran — so I’m going to guess that she knows how to dance properly too. They used to hold balls there all the time, and anyone who could afford magic school in Dalaran is rich enough to be sent to dance lessons. So Salenicus better hope that she’s forgotten all of the steps, or she can pretend to be impressed by a boring waltz, I guess. I kept asking if he remembered, and he said he did, but I told him it was a good idea to practice anyway. It helps to let your feet remember how to go, then you can focus on other things like talking when it is time to dance for real. Or kissing, but I don’t even want to think about that. Would it be cold? I bet it would.

He was also married before, and had two kids before he died. I’m assuming that they died too, but even so, that’s kind of a big deal. I’m not her, but I’d hesitate a little if Julan had been married before, that’s a serious thing to lose and I’d worry he still wasn’t really over it. Also she’s a human, and a lot younger than him, he got really upset when I mentioned that. He said I was shallow for thinking about her having small ears and being too different from an elf. I don’t think it’s shallow to like how a person looks at all, obviously it’s not the only thing that matters but it’s important. Maybe dead people don’t care, but then why is he trying to impress her by dancing anyway? He also asked if I was with anyone before Julan, obviously I was, and obviously Julan was too. But neither of us had anyone we were really serious about, and that’s a long way from being married and having kids. I just told him that he should talk to her about it because she might hesitate because of that. Probably not during the dance, though.

I suggested he bring her a present too, normally I’d say like wine or candy but she can’t eat those. Flowers are good, he wants to get a live plant to put in a pot, because it won’t die as fast as cut flowers.  I mentioned that all plants die eventually, I think he pretended not to hear me. But she likes working in the greenhouse, so she’s probably pretty good at keeping plants alive, and she would probably like that for a gift. He doesn’t have a mask yet though, so he should make one soon, the dance is only a few weeks away. Julan and I haven’t either, he keeps thinking of stuff that’s funny but probably wouldn’t be allowed at a school dance. I think we should make a set for the school and then a set to wear here, we could hang them on the wall when we’re done too.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Vynlorin’s Journal

The mask party will be here soon, Xarola and I already started making ours though. She was doing Silverleaft, because it’s her favorite plant so I thought I should do Mageroyal for mine. Though I’m pretty sure we might have done that before, I guess it doesn’t really matter. They’re new masks this year anyway so it’s not like anyone will notice. Neither of us is the best at art, but we do know the leaf and flower shapes, so if anyone was to check they’ll see that they are accurate. Not that they will, but I like knowing they are anyway. Silverleaf is a bit easier I think because it’s mostly leaves, Xarola cut out a bunch of them, and then it has little tiny flowers that most people don’t see. I wanted to see something about how she’s like that too but I thought it would sound bad, like she’s a boring leaf. Which she isn’t.

I had to cut out a lot of petals for mine, I used two different colors of paper. Then I also had to make little yellow dots for the stamens with pollen on them. The flowers are pink — well kind of dark pink and red, so I’m not sure what I have to match with that. I might have to use a green robe, so that would be like the leaves or stem. Xarola was talking about helping the undead girl with her mask. I didn’t know she needed one, I’ve never seen her at any of the parties. But Xarola said that one of the ranger guys might have asked to come, in which case I guess she would need one. I’ve never seen him, but I guess he’s been coming to the garden to visit her at night. I have sometimes seen the other two waiting around near the gate. I don’t know what kind of mask she’d want though, I guess Xarola will have to ask. That girl doesn’t really talk to anyone much at all, but she does to Xarola. Probably because she’s the only one who tries to be nice to her most of the time.

She was also saying that we should ask Mae if she needs help with fire classes while Magister Firewind is on his trip. I don’t know if I’m ready to teach other students, I’ve never done it before. Xarola said she could talk and I could write things on the board. She might be right, I said we should talk to Maerista and see if she thinks we are ready or not. If nothing else, we could correct papers or something like that. It would only be for a couple of weeks anyway, or we could be assistants like Keyalenn is for Magister Raleth. There’s a lot more fire students, so they could definitely use assistants.

The ball should be fun though, I think it’s my favorite one of the year. There are always a lot of sweets, and hot apple cider, and all of the decorations make it look spooky. It’s not quite cold yet, but almost. I’m looking forward to getting to use the greenhouse this winter, too. It’ll be the first time we’ve had one here at the school, we’ll be able to grow all kinds of interesting plants.

[Story] Imralion’s Journal

We’re here on our island, well it’s not really ours but there aren’t any other guests here so it might as well be. The pandaren come by to bring food and drinks a few times a day, but otherwise we can just relax on the beach or in the little house. I told Aeramin that he should bring that cream so he doesn’t get a sunburn like last time, hopefully he’ll listen. I don’t want him to be miserable on our trip. It’s so much warmer here, it took a little while to get used to. But it’s really beautiful and the water is so clear. There are big crabs you can see down under the water where it gets a little deeper, I am worried that one will pinch my foot. In the evenings sometimes there are turtles on the beach too, they crawl up on the sand out of the ocean. It’s hard to believe but Aeramin says there was a lot of fighting here a few years back. We did pass an outpost on the way here, but it looks to be abandoned. I think letting people stay here on vacation is a much better thing to use it for.

Aeramin looked so fancy, his robes looked like they were made of fire, and it had gold trim. Julan had done his hair up too, and his makeup. Aeramin said Julan woke him up super early to get it done, but I guess he knew what he was doing because they just finished in time. Maybe it was to help distract him from worrying, too. He said he’s more relaxed now, and I definitely think that’s true. He doesn’t have to organize anything or make any appointments or find people to make things. Lin said he was also worried that I was going to change my mind at the last minute. I think that’s silly, but I guess she could be right. He’s had it happen before, and he gets really nervous if he’s away for too long. Lin said she was nervous about the same thing before hers, too. I wanted to say it wouldn’t be that bad if the lizard guy had changed his mind, but I didn’t. She helped out a lot and also did my hair. Our mother was there, she cried, that was embarrassing. Hethurin gave us some certificates to use at some shops, because he said he didn’t know what else to get. It’s true we don’t really need very much, since we’ve already had a house for years now. I was amazed at how much there was though, but he said he had to take it and it wasn’t too much. Aeramin will be able to get some new robes, and there’s one for the armor shop as well, so I could finally get a new sword. I’m actually pretty excited about that. Then if we want some new furniture we could maybe get some there. I know Aeramin gets upset when I polish my armor on the couch, so we could get a new couch that I won’t use.

I was a little worried that Lyorri’s mother might show up, but thankfully she didn’t. I guess that’s part of the reason that Aeramin only invited a few people. It was really nice though. Tik made spinach rolls, and he also made some with my favorite spicy vegetable from Shattrath. He also put some frog legs, which people probably thought was a bit odd, but I thought it was a nice personal touch. I think it’s better we didn’t go with that other place anyway. The wine was good, I had a few and Aeramin was worried that Hethurin would drink too much and not be able to make our portal, but he was okay. Aeramin’s father was also there, and he had a girl with him, at first I thought it might be Lin, because she’s there at the rangers with him. But Hethurin said it wasn’t, I guess it was another ranger. Aeramin went to talk to him but I don’t know what they said. It was probably awkward.

We’ll be here for a couple of weeks, then Aeramin will have to come back to teach his classes again. By that time it’ll be close to the mask ball, he suggested we should try to find some while we’re here. I think that would be neat, no one else will have Pandaren masks.