[Story] Character of the Week – Ornasse Evershade

[[ Finally it’s time for O, the Old Man, my main dude. As much as I like him, I don’t actually write him much because I find it difficult to get inside the head of someone who has lived for thousands of years. And he hasn’t really been doing much storywise – he’s happily living a quiet life with his family in Feathermoon. Here’s a story from when he was just a student, learning to enter the Dream. ]]

Entering the Dream was unlike anything else that Ornasse had experienced, and he found it difficult to find a fitting comparison. Maybe a little like slipping into a cool, shaded pool on a hot day — shocking at first, but then soothing and comfortable, and the longer you stayed, the more reluctant you were to leave. But there was also a curious feeling of separation from his physical form, which lay in the barrow on its bed of straw and blankets, the knowledge that he was somehow  removed from it, yet it kept him tethered as well. Ornasse thought otherwise one might roam the Dream forever, opting to stay rather than return to the waking world which was so much more drab and dulled. Surely there must have been some who had done it, but he didn’t know how. He wasn’t ready to escape the waking world just yet, either. It had its appeals too — mostly food. While he didn’t hunger in the Dream, he sometimes missed the scent of dumplings steaming over the fire, or the taste of berries with cream.

This was his second time Dreaming, again led by his shan’do and a handful of fellow druids that he had deemed ready for the journey. He had guided them deep into the barrow, lit the herbs that filled the underground chamber with fragrant smoke, and showed them the way to enter the Dream. When they arrived, they were stunned and disoriented, and he stood watch to ensure that no one bolted in a panic, or otherwise hurt himself. After he’d roused them back in the barrow, they’d had a lesson about what they had experienced, what they would do differently when they returned. Soon, he would step back and allow them to cross over on their own, only present to protect them from danger and guide their path through the primeval forests. When Ornasse entered, he saw his shan’do perched atop a rock outcropping, in the form of a shaggy white cat. Taking the cue from his master, Ornasse shifted as well, the change coming even more easily within the Dream, perhaps because he was outside of his physical form. He surveyed his surroundings with his keen feline eyesight, taking in the jumble of new scents. Two other students were present, so he had not been the first, but he was also not the last. The students gathered, sitting patiently on panther haunches until they had all made the journey.

Ornasse’s whiskers trembled with excitement — what sights awaited them here? Their first trip had been to this clearing, but they had not left it. The tangle of brambles and brush beyond remained a mystery. But they had passed their first test, and their shan’do now led them deeper into the Dream, squeezing through an imperceptible gap between the vines. One by one, they followed after him, their sleek feline forms easily navigating the dense forest. Ornasse could intently feel every branch and leaf that brushed against his side, every pebble beneath the pads of his feet, the beetle that crawled over them. He could smell his master, and the other students, their musky feral panther scents, he smelled the green leaves warming in the sunlight, the sweet flowers opening from their buds. Further away, he smelled deer and rabbits, moving somewhere out of sight. The world before his eyes exploded in a kaleidoscope of greens and yellows, more shades than he’d ever imagined possible. Here, his senses were more intense, stronger and more keen. Ornasse thought it might take some time to adjust lest he feel overwhelmed by it all at once.

The large white cat led them down to a stream, and Ornasse began to recognize the familiar landscape beneath the tangles of leaves and brush. This was the stream they crossed on the way to their lessons, but here it rushed higher and swifter. The water smelled fresh and clean, and in its depths, Ornasse could see fish resting in the shade. This world, their shan’do had told them, was the true expression of their forest. What they saw while awake was the pale, meager shadow, but they could use such landmarks to navigate in the Dream. Just how far did it go? Ornasse’s whiskers twitched again excitedly. Could one travel the whole world within the Dream? What did the other places look like? He longed to explore on his own, but there were lessons to be had first. They would be given permission to roam where they liked soon enough.

He had one last thing to show them. He indicated that they should follow, and they climbed a steep hill, one that was often used by sentinel scouts to watch for danger. On all fours and with sharp claws to dig into the earth and moss, they ascended the slope easily. Once at the top, Ornasse’s breath caught in his throat at the sight of an enormous green dragon. They, like the druids, were capable of entering the Dream while their physical body remained behind. Ornasse had never seen one before, and he was awed and a little frightened by the size and power of it. Her sinuous coils shimmered with bright green scales, her enormous head crowned with sharp horns and her mouth full of jagged teeth. Yet the dragon did not threaten them, rather it seemed to recognize their shan’do and greeted him gently, then all of the students in turn. Around her, a clutch of hatchlings fluttered clumsily in the air — they couldn’t have been more than a few days old. Were they, too, able to Dream so young? It must be so, they were so intimately tied to the Dream that it was second nature to them. They did not have to work at it for years as elves did.

As he had before, Ornasse returned to the waking world feeling exhausted and humbled by what he had experienced. They would remain longer next time, perhaps seeking some threat that needed to be dealt with. The green dragons stood vigil, but they could not be everywhere at once. Ornasse did not know what sort of things they would see on their next trip, but he wanted to be ready.

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[Story/Screenshot] Character of the Week – Tathariel Evershade

[[ Tathariel was born on January 30, 2006. She was my very first WoW character, though she was initially a Tauren and became Ornasse’s daughter when she was race-changed. This is actually a “fake” Tathariel, one on another server, as the account with her has been unsubscribed for 18 months. So it’s weird to be looking at what’s probably the end of my WoW journey soon when writing about her.

I have no plans to buy the expansion at this time, I won’t say never because they could always add something that I can’t resist. But slightly-recolored existing race skins just aren’t enough to convince me to buy a third expansion in a row that I don’t like. They are doubling down on things I actively dislike — forced faction conflict, artifact grind, mythic+, and I just really dislike the way the lore and game in general are going. Some of my formerly favorite classes are awful to me now, and they have no plans to reverse the class changes made in Legion. I had planned to just run old raids — but then they squished stats so they’re much more difficult now. I’m not sure how much longer I can justify paying every month just to RP. It’s not really about the money, it’s about paying for a game I don’t enjoy anymore. It also stinks that I’ll be stuck in Legion for the foreseeable future, the expansion that killed my love for the game. I do love my characters though, and writing about them, so I don’t know. ]]

tathariel

Tathariel shivered as she stepped through the deathgate, she could feel the clammy grasp of the air there, even through the portal. A damp and unpleasant smell hung in the air, and dozens of bright blue eyes turned to regard her curiously. She’d been to Acherus once before, but it had been a long time ago. It didn’t seem any less unsettling now, and she was thankful that Jaellynn had worn his armor after all. At first she’d argued against it, worried that the sin’dorei rangers would be afraid of him, or worse, attack him. He ushered her to the balcony, where several of those strange skeletal gryphons waited with empty eyes.

She’d imagined the forests to be bright and colorful, ablaze with red and gold — and they were, until they flew further south, over the black scar that marred the earth. There all the life and color seemed to drain from the land, a dreary grey expanse that stretched as far as Tathariel could see. How could anyone live here? She shivered, holding onto the leather saddle more tightly. Orledin had told Jaellynn where to find the rangers, along the main road to the south. She saw other estates lying below, most of them in disrepair, as hopeless as the forest around them. But a few appeared to have been rebuilt, and some even had people living in them. Tathariel saw what had to be the school, a sprawling old building surrounded by smaller outbuildings, all beneath a shimmering dome. Orledin had said that a kaldorei lived there, but Tathariel couldn’t imagine how she could tolerate the gloom.

The bone gryphon landed with a clatter of bones and shook itself as they dismounted. Jaellynn approached the building first, his hand on his runeblade. He paused in front of an undead that seemed to have been forgotten out here, dressed in dirty and torn clothing. Though he tried to speak with him, the undead made no reply. Perhaps he didn’t speak common, though as a former human he ought to understand it. Orledin, who had emerged from the building by then, explained that the undead wouldn’t be saying much of anything. Tathariel felt anxious about going inside — the entire trip here, Jaellynn kept reminding her that it could be a trap. And she’d left Relanos with their neighbor on the chance that it was. The possibility seemed remote, but it was still there. Orledin told her to wait outside near the practice targets, and he’d send Leinath out. They were made of leather and stuffed with hay, lined up so the rangers could improve their aim. She’d never been a sentinel, but surely they had something similar.

He was short, as all sin’dorei were, his long reddish hair tied back. And he seemed frightened, as if he might startle and bolt at any moment. He wasn’t armed, at least that she could see. Jaellynn lurked nearby, just in case.

“Hello,” Tathariel said, doing her best not to seem scary. “I’m Tathariel, I think Orledin mentioned me?”

Leinath nodded silently. He was watching Jaellynn.

“That’s Jaellynn, he’s a death knight.” She figured that was probably obvious, considering his appearance.

“And you two are–?”

Tathariel nodded. She told him about how they’d met and how she’d been his friend at first, but then she realized it was something more than that. She told him about Relanos and how they’d chosen him from the orphanage. Leinath asked a few questions, but not many. It seemed he was still trying to take everything in.

“Can I write to you if I think of anything else?” he asked.

“Yes, of course. And we’ll be at the ball too — if it’s allowed.”

Leinath smiled, just a little. It was a nice smile, she could see why Orledin was trying so hard to win him over. “That’s not up to me, unfortunately. But there’s another kaldorei there. And a draenei.”

Tathariel nodded, she remembered that Orledin had mentioned that. She still needed to write a letter to the kaldorei teacher, just to calm her own fears. But if the rangers were safe, no doubt the mages were as well. “I’ll see you then,” she said.

[Story] Tathariel’s Journal

A blood elf came into the grove while Jaellynn and Relanos were away fishing. I was a little wary at first, but I thought maybe he’d come from the orphanage to say they had a kaldorei available. But once he got closer I recognized him, he’s a death knight who spoke to Jaellynn before at their gathering place. He didn’t really look like one, aside from the eyes, he dressed in normal clothes just as Jaellynn does most of the time. When he was alive, he used to be a baker, and I agreed that he was an unlikely person to be chosen for this. I might have been a little nervous at first, but he’s quiet and gentle. He wanted to get some advice for dealing with his living friend. Honestly, I don’t know if Jaellynn is really the right person to ask about that. I think it was more my idea than anything, and it took some convincing. But I’m happy for the blood elf — Orledin is his name — and I tried to be helpful. I think it’s important for death knights to try to have as normal of lives as they can now. I know it’s not an easy thing, and there are still a lot of people who won’t accept them living nearby, but any progress is good.

Orledin seemed upset that his friend had got him boots, I don’t know why because I think boots are a very good gift. They’re useful and practical, everyone needs boots. He did also tell me that they danced together at the ball, and they kissed. Orledin said he put some warm water in first so his friend wouldn’t notice the cold as much. I told him I don’t think there’s any point in trying to hide what he is, surely his friend knows and I don’t know how much some water is going to change that. If he’s like me, he’ll probably stop noticing it after a while. Sometimes I still want to offer Jaellynn things to eat or drink — oh, that’s another thing, Orledin brought us cookies. I refuse to believe anyone who brings us cookies could be bad. And they were very good cookies too, Relanos wanted to eat all of them before supper time. Anyway, he seemed to be asking what he should do next, and I suggested that they go somewhere nice together, there must be some nice places in Eversong. Orledin seemed surprised when I told him that we went to Stormwind, while that wasn’t really my idea, it turned out to be a nice trip after all. Orledin said there are troll huts in Eversong, I don’t know if those would be very romantic, but the idea is to spend time together away from other people. They go on their patrol together, which is something, but there are other people there too. And from what Orledin said, it’s not really permitted to kiss or anything like that during patrol. Then Orledin suggested going to the Undercity, which I agreed was a terrible idea. I’m not sure he’s very good at this, and as I said, I doubt Jaellynn will be a great deal of help either.

The most exciting thing is that Orledin said the magic school there often has fancy balls, with lots of food and dancing. He said that there is a kaldorei teacher there, as well as some draenei, and there are a lot of children so Relanos could come too. I’ve never been to a fancy ball, but it sounds really nice. Jaellynn thinks it might be a trap, I doubt that they’d go to all that trouble just to trick us, but I said I would write to the kaldorei there and see what she says. And I’ll write it in Darnassian, so hopefully no blood elves would be able to read it. I definitely didn’t get the idea that Orledin was trying to trick us, though. He doesn’t seem like that kind of person at all. I hope he’ll agree to go, he might feel safer if he’s allowed to wear his armor. I also think it would be a good idea for me to speak to Orledin’s friend if he’s there. He probably has a lot of questions and I could answer them for him. Well, some of them. Things are a little more complicated when it’s two guys, apparently.

I also wonder how Sakia is doing. I haven’t heard from her for a long time. I hope she’s well.

[Screenshots] Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest

It’s that time in an expansion when I spend my time doing things like finishing old legendaries, and this week I finished up Dragonwrath! (Thanks to some help from Sanimir.)

I am a little bummed that I didn’t actually appear on her back, I don’t know if I messed up or it got changed. But this was really cool, I love dragon lore. Why couldn’t we get a dragon expansion?

dragonshort
“Lol you’re short.”

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I’ve started Shadowmourne on my Death Knight, guess I need to do Black Temple for glaives eventually too.

[Story] Hallow’s End

[[ Happy NaNo Eve! Working on getting into practice writing at this time for NaNo. A short Hallow’s End story. ]]

“Mama look,” shouted Relanos. “Mama look, I’m jumping.” The elf boy crawled on top of a boulder with his arms outstretched.

“I’m not sure bears jump,” said Tathariel. “And I need to tie your hood. You’re not a bear yet.”

Relanos bounded over to his mother with his best bear growl as she tied the strings on his hood. In the doorway, Jaellynn frowned faintly. “I still say this isn’t a good idea.”

In truth, her mate was right. Hallow’s End was a holiday to commemorate the forsaken breaking free of the Scourge, coinciding with the humans’ harvest festival. Neither were really appropriate for a young kaldorei. They were losing hold of their own traditions already, there was no need to speed it along with strange human ideas. They’d both agreed to raise Relanos with traditional kaldorei customs — but the moment he’d seen the pumpkins in the glade he’d been obsessed. A day where you wear a costume and collect candy? It was easy to see why children would be enchanted by the idea. Reluctantly, Tathariel had agreed to help Relanos make a costume. At least he wanted to be a bear, which was a good costume in her opinion.

“It’s just one night,” Tathariel reminded Jaellynn. Relanos didn’t understand the meaning of the day or what it stood for. As far as he was concerned, it was about candy and being a bear. “Look how excited he is.” Relanos, now with his bear hood on, was stomping around the house and roaring as he pulled out the cloth bag Tathariel had saved for him.

“I want candy!” roared Relanos.

“That isn’t how you ask,” said Tathariel gently.

“Trick or treat!” roared Relanos.

“And?”

“Thank you!” roared Relanos.

“Are you coming with?” Tathariel asked Jaellynn. “I think it will be fun.”

“I don’t have a costume,” Jaellynn protested.

“I don’t either. Come on.”

Relanos ran ahead on the path to each of the little houses in the glade, knocking on the door hurriedly at each one. Tathariel worried that they might be irritated by the disruption, but everyone seemed just as excited about the holiday as Relanos. They gave him candies wrapped in paper, apples, cookies, and all manner of treats. Tathariel had to hold the bag so he didn’t eat all of them on the way to the next house. All of the residents knew Relanos, of course; they’d seen him in their yard or playing at the moonwell or fishing with Jaellynn. A handful of tauren children, perhaps relatives of Karnum, were out in costumes as well. Relanos momentarily forgot about his candy and went to play with them while Tathariel held his bag. She took out one of the paper wrapped candies and ate it.

“I guess you were right,” Jaellynn said at last, as they watched Relanos running with the tauren children. One of them was a kodo, and wanted to pretend they were hunting each other.

“Hmm?”

“He’s having fun.”

“Are you?” asked Tathariel.

He smiled faintly. “Yes.”

[Screenshots] Blessed Defender of Nordrassil

I’ve had the dragonstaff quest in my log for ages, but since my friend’s mage is on the same step we decided to work on them together. (It’s much easier than trying to solo… I tried that.) We’re both now on collecting 1000 cinders, but soon we’ll both be blue dragons!

Being a druid, of course I had to take a bunch of screenshots with my temporary title. I sure wish we could keep it. This would have been so much better for the resto artifact, too.

[Art] Druid Nesting Dolls

I finally finished painting these guys today. They were pretty fun, though my symmetry isn’t that good, haha. These were painted with acrylic and oil-based paint pens, then sealed with spray sealant. I’m thinking about getting another set or two to make some Star Wars ones, but not sure which characters or creatures I would do yet.

My favorite one is the moonkin, I wish he was on the outside!

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