[Story] Fairsong Academy – Terellion’s Journal

Classes are out for the summer, which means Hethurin has more time to spend with the kids. Malwen has still been helping me outside, the garden is in full bloom and it smells wonderful when the afternoon sun warms all of the flowers. She’s taken quite an interest in them; she knows all of their names and can tell you the parts of the plant and some of its uses. She’s really very smart, maybe that’s a side effect of living at a school. I made her own little section in the greenhouse that she can use to plant things, I think next spring we’ll do a vegetable garden too. I think she’d really like that, because then we could use them at dinner time.

Speaking of vegetables, my mother has been onto me about Hethurin eating his again. I’m pretty sure it’s because Hethurin’s father has been staying here, and he’s always telling Hethurin that he needs to eat something other than cake. So I think that’s my mother’s way of gently reminding me to try to talk him into it. Believe me, I’ve tried. And it’s not that I disagree with her, I do wish he’d eat a little better, and it is setting a bad example for the children if he doesn’t. But he does try, although I think sometimes he hides it in his sleeve, he at least pretends to eat them. Malwen is smart though, I think she’ll figure it out if she hasn’t already. Maybe he’d eat vegetables if she was the one who grew them? That might work. I already do my best to sneak them in where he won’t notice, like mixing them into other things or using vegetables where you wouldn’t expect them to be. Luckily the kids eat them all right so far. I’ve been helping Tik make soft food for Galandil and Tik’s baby, since they are pretty much the same age it’s easier to just make one big batch. Though I expect they’ll like different things and we’ll figure that out eventually. So far he’ll eat pretty much everything, I hope he stays like that because that makes things a lot easier.

Since classes are out, my mother doesn’t have much to do now that we don’t need her help as often. She used to do paperwork at the Spire, but there isn’t a lot of that in the summer either. She’s asked if she can help Lali with the younger class once school starts up again, I think she just wants to be able to hold all the babies, but she’d be good at it. We still haven’t found a proper teacher, but if they’re just little babies she could probably teach them. I mean, all you have to teach babies is the letters and colors and things like that. I’m not sure if Hethurin’s father is staying either. He was staying until he got better, but I don’t think that will be too much longer. We already have the clinic in town, but maybe he could help if students got small injuries or things like that? I don’t know. The builders are already booked up through the whole summer. I don’t dare ask them if we can add any more houses onto their list.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Leinath’s Journal

Orledin got me a fox. An actual baby fox, not a statue or something. He said he got it from Dalaran, I don’t know how he was able to get there, and I didn’t know they kept animals there. A lot of animals have been displaced from all the demons, and he said they take care of them there. That must be a lot of animals though. You’d think they would just release them somewhere safe where there aren’t demons, but I’m not complaining. I’m really happy to have my own fox. I don’t have any idea how to take care of him though, I’ve never had a pet before and I’ve only seen foxes in glimpses now and then in the forest. Orledin gave me a paper from the place, it lists some things I should feed him and which things I shouldn’t (like candy). So I guess no cookies for him.

I don’t actually know if it’s a him or not. I’m not really sure how to tell. I asked Orledin what I should name him, and he said he wasn’t good at naming things, Pancat is called that because he’s grey, like a pan. I think Lucky is a good name. Because he’s lucky he won’t be eaten by demons, or hunted, and because he should be good luck for me, too. Orledin also got him a bunch of stuff, two bowls – one for food and one for water, some toys, and a little bed. I set up the bed in the corner where my bunk is, but so far Lucky likes my bed better. I don’t mind, he’s really cute. When he sleeps he curls up into a tiny ball with his little tail over his nose. He really likes roast spider, and also bread. I know bread isn’t a good thing to feed to foxes, but I like to let him try everything. Mostly I think he’ll eat stew or roast bird, I know they have that a lot at the school and Lin goes there all the time. So I’ll ask her if she can bring me some back for Lucky.

I don’t know how to train him either. I think it would be great if he could go on patrol with me when he’s bigger. Orledin suggested I ask the Captain or Nessna about that, because they know a lot about animals. And a fox is closer to a cat than a lizard or bird. For now though I’m just going to try to teach him some basic things, like to come when I call his name or to find things. He really likes bringing a toy back if you throw it for him. Everyone in the quarters wanted to watch him when I was doing that. I hope they don’t mind him being there too much. He’s not as loud as that dumb bird, anyway.

He’s definitely the best present I’ve ever gotten. It’s not my birthday or anything, either, so I feel a little weird that he’s spending all that money on me. It must have cost a lot to get him here all the way from Dalaran, and he also bought all those things for him. Orledin said he doesn’t have much to spend it on, which is true, I don’t either but I’m still trying to save as much as I can. Was he just trying to be nice? I think so, I don’t really know what to say to that. I’m grateful but what if he expects something else? It might be okay, I know there are other rangers who are together but they have their own places. It might be less okay if it’s there in front of everyone. And I’m still not sure about how things work since he’s… you know, not alive. It’s not something I can just casually ask, though maybe Julan would know. It’s always weird when I talk to him though.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Irael’s Journal

Felarius has been going to get lessons away from the school, I asked him about it just because I was curious. At first he tried to lie but he’s not very good at it, plus he must know that I can keep a secret. He’s the only student here that I’d trust with a secret, and maybe Professor Firewind but he’s not a student. Anyway it wasn’t that hard to figure out, because he leaves at the same time and takes books and quills with him. Most of us hardly ever leave, so it wasn’t hard to notice. He’s getting lessons in summoning, and I guess the Headmaster knows about it. He only allowed it because the lessons are away from the school. That makes sense, I can only imagine what the rich students’ parents would say if they knew people were summoning demons inside the school. Felarius said he hasn’t summoned any yet, right now he’s just learning fel fire and studying the different kinds of demons. It’s a lot of extra work in addition to his regular classes, but the spring term is finishing so he should be less busy now. Felarius said it’s important to study demons so we can better protect against them, which I guess makes sense but it still seems like a bad idea to me. I mean, I’m sure I can find enough trouble without bringing demons into it. Oh yeah, and he said one of the demons wanted to eat him, but his instructor (Magister Firewind) wouldn’t let it. How could you even possibly want to study them after that? I would have been out of there. Magister Firewind is teaching him, along with someone else he doesn’t know as well. I was surprised by that, but I guess if anyone at the school would know about summoning, he makes the most sense. Felarius also said that’s how he got his face burned, which also makes sense. That’s another thing that would discourage me from wanting to study it, if I were him.

I’m not going to tell anyone. I still think it’s a bad idea, but I’m not going to say anything. He’s the only one here who knows what it’s like, where we are from and all of that. I still talk to him more than anyone else, even if he has weird ideas sometimes. And hopefully he can tell me funny stories about demons later on.

Fire class is going pretty well. The others aren’t so much, but I’ll have the whole summer to study and practice. I don’t have any plans to go anywhere, unless the Headmaster arranges a trip for us again. I liked Shattrath, it was interesting, and they have different books there so it’s kind of fun to go. I think some of the other students are going on trips on their own or with their families. My mother has settled in pretty well, I think. She seems happy in her little house and she’s even started doing some paintings on her own in her free time. She used to get home so late at night that she wasn’t able to, the hours here aren’t as bad. She painted little flowers and vines on all of her cabinets in the kitchen, it’s really cute. It’s good to see her doing something for herself after all that she did for me.

[Story] Story a Week 23

[[ I used the word “Fern” which I could swear was on my list but apparently wasn’t, so I have no idea where I got it. But here’s a story about ferns. ]]

Vynlorin knelt on the carpet of moss, plucking a small piece and crumbling it between his fingers. It had a slight, subtle scent — green and woody, evoking spring sunlight on the forest floor. That was the scent he was trying to capture, something that would be suitable for a ranger. But knowing your goal and actually achieving it were two completely different things. Perfumers could spend decades trying to perfect that one particular scent. To complicate matters, he didn’t really have a proper laboratory, either. He kept tiny jars and bottles on every surface of his room — the shelves, his desk, the windowsill, but it was a sort of organized chaos. He looked forward to having a real work-room, fully stocked and with proper storage.

Even without a laboratory, Vynlorin thought he was close to being satisfied with his fire-inspired perfume. Due to the spices he’d used, it even gave a slight warming effect on the skin when used. The only thing missing, he thought, was the subtle hint of ash at the finish. He’d tried using both ash and charcoal, but neither left much of a scent, certainly not enough to linger after the other stronger notes had dissipated. Still, he’d given samples to Xarola and Master Firewind, and some of the other fire students and they’d all been enthusiastic about it. Some encouragement was needed as he struggled with trying to pin down a frost scent — and this ranger one. There were a number of mints he thought about trying for frost, but none of them had the right watery edge to them. When he was stumped like this, he would simply smell everything and hope for inspiration to come.

Vynlorin pulled another small tuft of moss and placed it in his basket. Even if it wasn’t exactly what he was looking for, he wanted to save it to experiment with. He glanced around the forest for anything else he could try. Leaf litter? Messy, and the odor had the faint undertone of decay — not what someone wanted to wear for perfume. Mushrooms? Possible, but it would be difficult to distill them. Vynlorin took one just in case, its surface brown and woody like bark. Tiny white flowers speckled the forest floor, but they didn’t have much scent at all. Ferns? He paused, considering. They were plants, but not flowers. Most simply had a green sort of scent, nothing especially unique. But Vynlorin crushed a few of the small leaves and held them up to his nose. Yes, it mostly smelled of green, but it had a deeper complexity as well — reminiscent of a fresh rain, shadowy places, and soft earth. In short, it would be the perfect addition to his ranger scent. Smiling, Vynlorin took out his small knife and cut a bundle of fern fronds and lay them carefully in his basket. He had some work to do.

[Story] Xanaroth’s Journal

I brought Vallindra into the healers’ office, I was worried that something might be wrong and I thought it best that they see her. Everything seemed normal to be, but of course I’m not a healer, and she was well past her due date. I suppose the little one was warm and comfortable and wasn’t in any hurry to be disturbed! They decided to give Vallindra something that they said would hurry things along, she said it tasted really terrible. We waited there for quite a while, but nothing had happened yet. Esladra went home for the night, though Lani was still there, seeing to her father in the next room. Vallindra was worried because Lani doesn’t have much training in the area of babies — though she does have one herself so she must have some idea. Still, I had a hawkstrider outside ready to go and fetch Esladra at a moment’s notice. Vallindra slept, I had meant to stay awake but I fell asleep in the chair, until she woke me later that night. I wasn’t sure of the hour, but it was certainly late. Or early. I felt a little guilty waking Esladra at that hour, but then it was her job, wasn’t it? She was dressed and had her little bag ready much more quickly than I expected.

Once things started to happen, it went quickly. Lani came to assist so I did my best simply to stay out of the way. I wasn’t especially eager to see Vallindra in pain either — not to mention that she might rightfully blame me for being in this situation. I’m not the one who had to go through all of the discomfort, hopefully I can make it up to her later on. The baby is a girl. Vallindra said I could choose her name, and though I had a whole list ready it still wasn’t easy. Their name is something they have for life, it has to be nice and should fit them. I chose Elara, it’s short and pretty and it goes nicely with Embersun. I got to hold her, she’s so tiny that I was afraid I might drop her. Everything about her is tiny — her little fingers and her little ears and nose. And she’s cute. Of course I’m biased, but I think she’s one of the cutest babies I ever saw. No doubt she’ll grow up to be just as beautiful as her mother. She mostly sleeps now, and eats. I bring her to Vallindra for that, though sometimes I make a bottle if I want to let her get some rest. Esladra said that’s all she will do for a couple of weeks. I wonder about what she’ll be like, what her interests will be, what she’ll like in school, whether she’ll want to study summoning or not. I wouldn’t deter her of course, but I admit that it would worry me.

I had to skip Felarius’s lesson that week, because there was just too much to do. I felt bad about it, so we had an extra the next. He’s a good student, he has been keeping up on his reading and did all of the practice circles that I asked him to do. He asks questions but he doesn’t challenge me. I think he’ll do well. It’s been nice having a student again. I tried to explain it to Vallindra but I’m not sure she really understood. There’s nothing quite like seeing the student that you taught succeed and grow. Though I expect it must be similar to be a parent.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Faeris’s Journal

I’m planning a trip for Julan and I, kind of an anniversary thing even though I actually came to the rangers in the fall. So it can be a little early, that’s okay. Julan didn’t say anything anyway, so either he doesn’t mind that it’s a bit early or he doesn’t remember when I got there. I had to look back in my journal to find out. I wrote about him back then, too. It’s a little weird to read it now — I didn’t write anything bad, of course, it’s just strange because I didn’t know how important he’d turn out to be and how he’d change things. I think he might have been a little reluctant, I told him we could go anywhere he wanted, which is true. I have plenty saved up from our wages — what am I going to spend it on out here? And I can borrow some from my parents if need be. I have everything I need here, including a place to live, so why not spend it on something we’ll both enjoy? Julan said he didn’t know where he wanted to go. I’m not sure if that’s true or he just didn’t want to say. He must have thought about places? Or maybe he just thought he’d never get to go, so it wasn’t something he worried about.

I kind of picked for us, I suggested we should go to the island. Yeah, it’s kind of boring and cliche but there’s a reason it’s so popular. It’s really nice. The beaches are beautiful, with clear blue water and white sand, and the hotels are built right along the shore. There are all sorts of restaurants and places to drink, there’s even a boardwalk with games where you can win prizes. It’s the kind of place that everyone wants to go. I used to go with my parents every year, and I enjoyed it enough, but I’m really looking forward to going with Julan. We’ll have our own room, and he always makes things more fun. He said he’d been once, when he was really little, but he hardly remembered it. That was before the attacks though, so everything’s been rebuilt since then. It’s a lot fancier, a lot more busy than it was when I was little. My other idea was the goblin resort, but he didn’t seem to sure about that one. Honestly, he’s probably right to be wary. If I’m going to lose a bunch of gold gambling, I’d at least rather do it in a place that’s beautiful, with good food and drinks instead of smelly goblins and whatever those things they hire are. I really hope he likes it, but I’m not worried at all. Once he sees the hotel and our room he’s going to flip. They even have a menu you can order food and they bring it right to your door. I think Julan was a little worried about the cost, but he shouldn’t be. I’ll take care of it, I want to do this for him.

There shouldn’t be any trouble at all getting a few days off. The Captain always gives people time when they ask for it, and it’s not like we’re really busy right now anyway. And it’s the first time I’ve asked, so I am definitely due for some.

[Story] Story a Week 20

[[ My word this week was: bread! ]]

Leinath stopped to check the instructions again. Was this the second or third time he’d kneaded it? Would it matter? Bread was so much more complicated than cookies. With cookies, you just needed to measure everything and then mix it together. Sometimes you had to keep the dry ingredients separate from the wet at first, and then sometimes you had to mix in the nuts or chips later, but that was it. Nothing more complicated than that. A few of them you had to let the dough rest in the cooler for a while, but it didn’t need any more attention. Bread, on the other hand, was downright demanding.

It had been Orledin’s suggestion, he assured Leinath that he’d done enough baking to be able to handle it. And at the time, he’d agreed, but now he wasn’t so sure. He’d never baked anything before coming to the rangers, and he felt that he’d suddenly got in over his head. The first part had been easy enough, mixing the flour and salt and other things. But then there was the yeast. Orledin explained that these were tiny creatures that ate the flour and it made the dough rise. That was kind of gross when you really think about it, but he assumed they died when the dough baked. Still, he’d always think about eating the corpses of all those tiny animals from now on. You had to have just the right temperature and amount of water, or the bread wouldn’t rise properly. He’d already had to start over once because of that, thankfully Orledin wasn’t in the kitchen to see that. Leinath was sure he’d be irritated over wasting ingredients like that. Once it did rise, then you had to take the dough out and knead it. Then back into the oven to rise again. This was repeated once or twice, he couldn’t be sure, and then finally the bread was baked. If he got to that stage, Leinath figured, it would be difficult to mess up. He hadn’t had any burning incidents since that first week. And he had to admit he looked forward to being able to eat it after all this work. Corpses of little creatures or not, there was nothing like hot, freshly made bread.

Orledin came in to check how he was doing. He took over kneading, though it seemed that he did it in a different way, and much more efficiently. He seemed surprised that it wasn’t in the oven yet, but thankfully he didn’t look into the trash bin and see the failed first attempt. Orledin was an expert at bread though. Besides the normal kind, he could make all different shapes, like little round buns or fancy braided twists, or bread with brown flour or soft bread with nuts in it. He thought they could probably sell it in town — well, maybe once there were a few more living residents. Still, Leinath thought he wasn’t doing too badly for someone who was brand new at it. His old friends would hardly believe it, if they could see him now. A legitimate ranger, and one who was baking bread at that.

He opened the hot oven and slid the pan with the dough inside. Now it was just a matter of waiting.