[Story] The Ghostclaw – Leinath’s Journal

So things have been a little awkward since we stayed at the huts. We still bake every morning like usual, and we talk about baking things, and go on patrol and talk about normal things. But it’s almost like Orledin is pretending that nothing happened. I didn’t want to ask about it because I didn’t want to seem like I was being pushy or weird, but I finally decided that I at least wanted to know what was going on, even if it was bad. I mean, everything seemed fine, but you can never really be sure what someone else is thinking. Orledin said he just hadn’t wanted to seem like he was being too pushy, which I guess I appreciate. I feel a bit better now that we talked about it. He said it wasn’t weird or bad, which is mostly what I was worried about. I mean, I don’t know, it’s been years. Maybe it was really bad.

We talked about the past too, a bit. I said that I didn’t know if Erilan had been turned into a death knight. He could have, and I’d never know about it, but Orledin said he probably would have tried to contact me. I guess he’s right, unless he forgot — he said that can happen with some death knights. Or he was too scared that I’d reject him, which Orledin said happens a lot too. His boyfriend, who’d been living with him, said he was disgusting and left. But he still sees him because he’s the mage who comes to make the wards at the lodge. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t be friendly with someone who did that to me, but maybe Orledin’s a better person than I am. I’ve thought about it a lot since meeting Orledin. I’m pretty sure that I would be okay with it, like a second chance. Being undead is probably better than being all the way dead. Unless he’d really changed a lot, or something. But if I found out he was still around now it would be really awkward, so maybe all the way dead is better. That sounds really terrible. I’m not glad that he’s dead.

Some people don’t mind it as much, I think. Like Salenicus, he never complains and he goes back to the death knight place often, Orledin said. He helps locate other death knights, so he must be good at dealing with them. I’d never met one before Orledin, I just assumed they were scary and dangerous, I’m sure some must be, but regular people can be scary and dangerous too. We both think it’s weird that he likes humans, at least that one human at the school. Orledin said there are plenty of elf death knights at Ebon Hold that he could have picked.

I’m still not sure what happens now though, even if I know we’re proceeding. We can’t really stay at the huts all the time — we’re needed to bake in the mornings and as Orledin pointed out, they’re not warded. We could get one of the mages to do it, but it’s still pretty far from the lodge to travel all the time. Now that spring is here, we could ask for a cabin, but I’m not sure we’re ready for that yet. I mean, it was just one night, I don’t want to be jumping into anything without being sure. But it’s difficult to find time alone together, we have the same patrol but nothing can happen there. We also bake, but that’s not really good either, especially if someone comes in looking for cookies. Erilan and I never stayed in the same place for long, though we had one tent so I guess we were living together, in a way. It just felt like an adventure though, not like a big commitment. I’ll have to think about a place that Orledin and I could go that’s a little more private, but not too far away.


[Story] Morthorn’s Notes

I find it especially fascinating when I hear about a situation from different sides. Even then, I am certain I don’t have the full picture, but I do try my best to help everyone involved. Last night, Hethurin teleported into the clinic and wanted to talk. He had a lot on his mind, the most pressing was the situation with Terellion’s mother though. Hethurin is convinced that she and Isturon are involved in a relationship, and he is struggling with his feelings about that, and what it might mean for his family. All of that is perfectly reasonable, of course, though I tried to point out that it’s pointless to try to force someone to follow your ideas, especially when it comes to feelings. Hethurin kept saying that Isturon could simply find someone else, as if it’s ever that simple. I asked if he could simply give up Terellion and find someone different, which he admitted he could not. But somehow, he thought it would be different for Isturon because he’d been in other relationships.

Braedra — Terellion’s mother — just came to see me for the first time a few days ago. She was a little anxious about it, I believe, since she didn’t know me well. She admitted that she wasn’t sure if I could understand her perspective, but I told her that I would do my best and she could make up her mind whether or not she felt understood. Thankfully, she relaxed a bit by the end of the session and I believe she’ll come by to see me again. While she shares some of the same concerns as Terellion and Hethurin, she sees Isturon as a friend at this point. She admitted there may be the possibility of more, but she is struggling with the death of her husband and whether or not she’s ready to move on yet. I agreed with her that it was best to keep things slow for the time being, until she’d been able to sort through those feelings. I offered my own perspective on it, though my family was a great deal longer ago, so the feelings weren’t quite as immediate. It was still very difficult to let go of my worries though, and I still am probably far more cautious than I should be.

Isturon invited the family out for dinner, from what Hethurin said that includes Vaildor, but I’m not certain about Lani and I. Since she’s his family too, I would think so, but I’ll wait for an actual invitation. I haven’t been into the city for ages, I think Lani would really enjoy it. Hethurin said we could leave Telinda with one of the students for the evening. I know I’ll worry, but he says some of them have experience caring for younger siblings. Hethurin is also interested in sponsoring an older orphan who might not have many educational opportunities. I think that’s a wonderful way to give back to others, as well as improve the school’s reputation and awareness. And, he mentioned a little orphan he saw who was in need of a family. I think I know what Hethurin was trying to do, and I think it worked. I’ll have to talk to Lani about it of course, but I can’t imagine that she would oppose us taking in a boy who needed a family. We’ll have to meet him and see how he gets along with Vaildor and Telinda, of course, but Hethurin said he enjoys playing with the other children at the orphanage.

Hethurin’s final problem was one I’m not certain I can solve. His mother’s new husband is at the school and apparently causing trouble with one of the other employees, the woman who works in the stable. She’s also the mother of Tik’s child, and dismissing her might mean that Tik never sees him again. It’s not an easy situation, I suggested sending the husband back, but Hethurin isn’t ready to forgive him just yet. I suggested he could work in another place at the school, perhaps with the builders, hopefully that and a warning will be enough to prevent it from happening again. What people want to do in their own time is their business, but it shouldn’t be during work hours, or in the stable, of all places. Terellion is going to bring up the issue with Tik and see what he thinks of it. Perhaps he’ll have a better idea than I do.

[Story] Xanaroth’s Journal

Aeramin came calling on me at home, which is a rare enough occasion that I figured it must be something important. Thankfully, Elara had just gone down for a nap so I didn’t have to try to corral her while we were talking. Normally she’s quite happy to stay in the sling, but of late she’s got the urge to explore and I have to keep a close eye on her at all times when she’s in such a mood. I’ve gone through and put up most of the things that could be dangerous, but babies can be extremely persistent, and sometimes I or Vallindra will forget and leave a glass out, something like that. Aeramin seemed curt and tense, and it took some prying to get the reason out of him. He wasn’t happy that I allowed Felarius to summon an imp, he believes that he’s not yet ready. How odd that he should be the one lecturing me about being reckless!

The summoning was performed under my direct supervision, in my work room. Felarius knows not to attempt it anywhere else. Maybe some of his skills are lagging behind, but I thought it would give him incentive to work harder, a reward of sorts. His rune drawings are excellent for a student of his age, and he is eager to study demon anatomy and physiology. His felfire lessons are perhaps not where they should be, but he is making progress. Aeramin seems concerned with his progress in regular fire class, but I believe it is just that Felarius lacks the same drive for that material. Any student will learn more quickly and easily when they find the subject exciting and interesting. That’s not to put the blame on Aeramin, of course, but I will see if I can’t instill the importance of a good fire foundation in Felarius.

I would never put Felarius at risk, nor Elara and Vallindra. I’m a little insulted that Aeramin would even suggest it. One imp, properly encircled and bound, behind a sealed and warded door, is not a risk. We’ll need somewhere more suitable — and away from my family — if Felarius is ever ready for anything more dangerous. To that end, Aeramin suggested that I take him to the void fields in Outland to observe the voidwalkers there. I agree that it would be a very valuable experience for him, he could get first-hand experience and observation from a safe distance. But I couldn’t bring Elara for that, and I’m not certain if Vallindra knows what to do to care for her on a daily basis. Aeramin offered to keep her for me, they apparently watched Imralion’s nephew for a few days, but I’m not entirely convinced of his ability in that area. There’s Hethurin of course, but I’d need to speak to him about it. I think he would probably agree, though he’s no doubt busy with his own students and the operation of the school. Still, I know he’s at least managed to care for babies successfully. I tried to speak to Aeramin about Lyorri, but he would have nothing of it. I can’t understand how he can feel nothing at all for her. Even if he didn’t plan for her to be here, she’s here now, and she’s part of him. I’m certain that Kes is caring for her well, she’d wanted a child for so long. I just hope Aeramin doesn’t regret it later on.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Terellion’s Journal

Hethurin wanted to tell me about the date my mother went on. I keep trying to convince myself it wasn’t, but he thinks it was. I said he should have just refused to make the portal, but he thought Isturon would make a fuss and then just go ask Raleth or someone else. He might be right. I just don’t understand how she could want to go on a date with someone else. Didn’t she love my father? I am certain she did, so how could she forget about him so quickly? Hethurin said it’s because she’s lonely, but she has me, and my sisters. If Hethurin died, I am sure I wouldn’t want to look for anyone else, but then he said he’d want me to. I don’t know what to think about that. I kind of sounded like I agreed, but I don’t, and if he’s gone he won’t be here to know anyway. Then he said he wouldn’t find anyone else, so I don’t know why he thinks it would be okay for me. Hopefully I’ll never have to fnd out though. We can be old and go on dates in the city too, but that’s okay because we already knew each other.

Hethurin said it would be okay if it was a different woman. I still think he ought to try that secretary again, but Hethurin thinks she wouldn’t be interested. There have to be some other women around, like maybe Lilithel. He suggested my mother could meet Keyalenn’s father, I forgot about him. That’s a good suggestion, he’d probably like someone to talk to, except I hope he doesn’t just talk about hawkstrider racing the whole time.

And he’s also wanting to adopt another child. I told him I thought we should wait a while until they’re a bit older — we still have two babies. His answer to that is that we could adopt an older child, someone who would otherwise get passed over. I think it might be really strange to adopt someone who is thirty years old or something. I did come up with an idea I think he liked, though. I suggested we could sponsor one, they could come live here at the school and have their own room, and attend classes for free. That way they’d get an education, and be surrounded by friendly people. It’s not quite the same as adoption, but I honestly think it would be a really nice thing to do. Plus, once they decide to move on, we could have another one. Hethurin is going to have some rooms added on soon, once the builders start working.

I haven’t decided yet what kind of cake I want for the spring ball. Obviously it will have flowers on it, with the greenhouse I might be able to use actual sugared petals this year, I will have to talk to Sorelle and see if she can save some for me. I wonder if I could make a cake filling with violets? They don’t really have much flavor on their own. Maybe I should just stick with the strawberry. It’s also going to be time to let Shelly and her babies out into the garden. I’m afraid Malwen is going to cry when they leave. But maybe we can get her a different animal instead, like a real pet.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Braedra’s Journal

I went to the city last night with Hethurin’s father. The girls helped me do my hair and picked out a dress, though I’m not sure if it was fancy enough. I felt a little frumpy next to all of the ladies at the theater, but I can’t say I remember the last time I got to go, so it was exciting all the same. We went to eat first, a place we surely never could have afforded before. They had a lot of different seafood dishes, so I thought I’d be adventurous and try some. I like fish quite a lot, but that’s from the stream so I wasn’t sure if it would be the same. As a little girl we used to get fried clams sometimes when we went to the beach in the summer, but now I think all of those houses are gone. I tried crab, it came with a steak too so I figured if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t go hungry, but it was quite nice. It was light and sweet, not fishy or salty at all, and it came with a little bowl of butter to put on it. Isturon had scallops, which are a sort of clam, but they’re very tender and delicate. The wine there was lovely as well, and he said that Hethurin has similar at the school. He must be saving it for a special occasion, I’ll have to ask Terellion if we could have some, perhaps at the spring ball. We just had time for dessert before we had to leave, I had a berry custard, I thought about getting the cake but I’m sure it wasn’t as nice as Terellion’s.

We talked about the children a lot, he told me about how Hethurin had a difficult time when he was younger, because of his sister and all of the expectations put on him. I don’t blame him all for rebelling, I think I would have done the same thing! I certainly wouldn’t have forced Terellion to marry some girl, even if he hadn’t told me he wasn’t interested in them. I think those sort of things shouldn’t be decided by your parents, Isturon seemed to agree so perhaps it was his wife’s idea. Even so, he could have said something. He told me about his sisters, and asked about where I grew up. It turns out we weren’t that far away, I wonder if I ever met him back then, of course I don’t remember it now. He suggested that we go to dinner again, but wanted to invite the rest of the family with. I think it’s a lovely idea, I know the girls would adore going to a fancy grown-up place, but I did think it a little strange. You don’t usually invite children along to dates, do you? Maybe it isn’t, and I’m completely misreading everything.

The play was wonderful. It was a romance about a young lady who felt stifled by her life of nobility, and ran away to join some pirates. After some misadventures, naturally she fell in love with the handsome and dashing captain. Maybe it was a little silly and predictable, but I liked it, and it was so exciting being surrounded by all of those people all experiencing it at the same time. I’d like to go again, but I’m sure the tickets were expensive. And I feel bad because I didn’t even get him a gift for the goblin holiday. I am not even sure what he’d want? I also think I might go into town to speak to Lani’s husband. He suggested it again, and assured me that anything I tell him is confidential. It might be a good idea, the girls like to give advice but I’m not sure how good it is. Although I still wonder how much a man would understand a woman’s perspective, but Isturon says he can.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – The Troll Hut

Leinath was confused for a moment when he woke, not in his sturdy ranger bunk but a dark hut, its walls built of roughly hewn wood and painted with brightly colored patterns. The troll hut in the woods, he remembered now, and there was Orledin sitting near the fire, making up some breakfast.

“You’re awake,” he said as he saw Leinath stir. “Did you sleep all right?”

The bed was comfortable enough, but even despite the extra blankets, Leinath felt a bit cold. His breath came in a cloud when he spoke, and the air seemed thick and foggy. These were the last days of winter, but they had not given up just yet. They’d have to come again when it was warmer — if, that is, Orledin invited him again. He didn’t seem upset with him, nor had he last night, but it was always impossible to tell. What if he’d changed his mind? Leinath had been nervous about their trip ever since Orledin had suggested it. Unfortunately, they were limited in where they could go — anyplace in Silvermoon was out, and Orledin couldn’t eat, so a nice meal would be sort of a waste. The Captain had agreed to let them leave for the night, but Leinath doubted he’d allow him to go too much further for fear that he’d run. He wouldn’t, of course, but the Captain didn’t know that.

Instead, Orledin had done all the planning. He’d made up a delicious soup of chicken, rice, and vegetables — far more than Leinath could have eaten at once. He brought bread from the kitchen, which paired nicely with the hearty soup. Leinath thought it had been one that he’d made; it was crooked and bumpy, though it tasted just as good. Orledin had decades of experience with baking, of course his bread looked better, but he wouldn’t admit to it. They talked a little about the shop he used to have in Silvermoon, and Leinath suggested he could open one in town. It seemed such a waste for him to spending his days in the forest when he had such talent for baking, but Orledin insisted that he preferred being a ranger. Maybe there were too many memories attached. He’d received his fatal wound while in the shop, though thankfully he remembered little of his own death. Leinath thought that at least was some comfort, he couldn’t imagine having to relive that memory over and over again. Orledin had also brought a book to read, some poems that probably shouldn’t be read in polite company. They made Leinath’s ears darken, and he couldn’t help but wonder if that hadn’t been Orledin’s plan all along. He did like some of them though, and snickered at others as they sat close together in the firelight.

It was different, but not so different that he didn’t welcome the touch, the feeling of having someone resting beside him in the darkness. It had been so long, he hadn’t realized how much he’d missed it. What would become of them now? They had patrol together, but they couldn’t do anything then, nor in the quarters back at the ranger building. Leinath didn’t want to sneak around in closets, but they couldn’t always stay at the hut. For one thing, the morning doughnuts wouldn’t get made, and that would no doubt make everyone cranky, the Captain most of all. And while the hut wasn’t bad, it was far from ideal. Maybe they could fix it up, or maybe they could built a new cabin on the ranger grounds. Soon it would be spring, and warm enough to work outside. But that would be a big step, and Leinath was getting ahead of himself. He didn’t even know how Orledin felt, let alone what the future held. Rushing into things was reckless, he preferred to plan for all possible outcomes before acting.

Orledin brought the tray over, a full breakfast of eggs, bread, cheese, and sausage. He still felt awkward eating when Orledin couldn’t, but he was hungry enough not to mind too much this morning.

[Story] Valentine Shorts 2.5

[[ Still not feeling 100%, and everyone’s home right now… but here’s another Valentine short to go with the other one. ]]

The way Terellion had explained it, Braedra expected the ball to be no different from most of the others — an opportunity to eat food, drink wine, and for the students to stand around nervously and not ask each other to dance. The ballroom was draped in red and pink ribbons, with paper hearts affixed to everything in sight. Terellion’s cake held the spotlight on the largest table, white with delicate pink flowers made of icing, and topped with sugar swans. He’d been working on those for days now, bringing her several failed attempts in the process — the girls were happy to eat them no matter how odd they looked. They’d both insisted on new dresses, too, in order to better match the theme.

Braedra just wore her red and black gown, it was comfortable and close enough that it wouldn’t stand out. She also liked it because it was forgiving of stains — those were a very real risk when looking after babies. The nursery was busy, as it always was for parties. In addition to the usual teachers’ children, the rangers brought theirs along as well. She loved having them, but she was glad of Isturon’s help when it got so busy — she only had so many hands. She slipped out to fetch some food while some of the babies had settled down for naps.

As she piled her plate up with food, a new student lingered nearby. As it turns out, he wasn’t a student, but he’d been hired to help Lilithel in the stables. He suggested that Hethurin build a pond in the gardens for fish, and he was quite knowledgeable about them, having kept them in the past. They could be relaxing, Braedra agreed, like a living painting. It was all a perfectly normal conversation as far as she was concerned, which was partly why his offer was so surprising. The other reason was that he was barely older than Terellion. Stunned, but not wanting to hurt his feelings, Braedra explained that she wasn’t really looking for anything like that right now. It was true, wasn’t it? Going to lunch and dancing once didn’t necessarily mean anything.

But when she returned to the nursery with a plate of food for Isturon, he’d gotten her a gift too. It wasn’t an expensive gift, thankfully, but she still felt awkward for not having got him one. Terellion said it was just an excuse for goblins to sell things to people, so she hadn’t felt that it was required. He’d also invited her to dinner in the city, and perhaps a play. She insisted that he didn’t need to go to all that trouble, but he said he wanted to. Perhaps it was a good idea to visit the Confessor in town after all.