[Story] Fairsong Academy – School Shopping

The stationery store bustled with activity, packed with school-age children and their parents buying up the needed supplies for the start of school. There were displays of various types of quill pens, another with journals and notebooks to write in, and some featuring paints and colored pencils. Raleth had never thought he’d seen children so excited about pencils and paper before. Of course he’d wanted to bring Naraleth with him, to take part in the excitement of going to school — big kid school, as Naraleth called it — for the first time. And it was possible that no one would have noticed that Naraleth was quite a bit taller than most children his age, that he had a different tone to his skin — but it was very unlikely. Raleth lived with the fear of what might happen if anyone outside of Fairsong Academy might learn about his son, it never really left his mind. So he’d taken the list of supplies and gone to the city himself, promising to get every last thing on the list. They could have gone to Shattrath, and indeed Raleth thought that next year they would, but the shops there were much smaller and had less variety to choose from. And Naraleth still wouldn’t get the experience of meeting the other kids, talking to them and feeling the anticipation of the new school year.

Raleth wandered over beside a harried couple who were holding armfuls of paper and notebooks as their twins picked out more items. He’d mentioned the idea of a sibling to Vaelarian, but he hadn’t really had a chance to discuss it with Lali yet. Naraleth was old enough that he would be able to play with a baby safely, and he might really enjoy being a big brother. Of course, as Vaelarian was eager to point out, they might hate each other too. Raleth could have done without his own older brother, even when they’d been young there had never been much warmth there. But he liked to believe his own would be different, certainly he saw none of the cruelty or ruthlessness of Sorran in Naraleth. But Lali would be busy creating lessons and preparing for class, and maybe it wouldn’t be a good time to bring it up. Several other women around the Ghostlands were expecting, and though they weren’t kaldorei, it might give them something to talk about.

That was another thing, Vaelarian had suggested that Lali should remain in the nursery classroom rather than teaching the older students. He didn’t say it, but he implied that she didn’t know enough to be instructing young blood elves in their history. So what if she was still learning? That didn’t make her any less intelligent, or less capable. Of course, she might prefer to stay with the babies, but that should be her own choice, not Vaelarian’s or anyone else’s. Hethurin had been discussing finding a second teacher, since there would be several new general education students this year, but Raleth hadn’t seen one yet. Looking over each of the items carefully, Raleth compared them to the list that Lali had prepared, and set the items into his basket. He added some things that weren’t there, like a pencil sharpener, and some bookmarks. Those were always useful.

For some time, Vaelarian’s presence had actually been somewhat tolerable. He spent a lot of time playing with and caring for Naraleth, and sometimes he even used Raleth’s name. But lately he’d been his old self again, going out of his way — as Raleth perceived it — to fluster and annoy him. They were still taking their weekly trips to Ratchet, something Raleth didn’t enjoy at all. It took him away from his own home, the goblin town smelled something awful, and he always felt anxious being in Kalimdor. Vaelarian was meeting with the sentinel, which is to say they were spending the day in her room at the inn. She was tasked with locating Lali, and Raleth had to go along with Vaelarian’s demands or he could tell her the truth — all of it. Wouldn’t he rather go and stay with this woman? Clearly she could tolerate him, which was more than Raleth could say for himself. Vaelarian would probably be happier in the woods, surrounded by trees and fellow kaldorei, than skulking around the Ghostlands. But he waved the idea away, saying he preferred to stay here. Raleth would have to see if Lali could change his mind. He could still visit Naraleth, of course, but it would be much preferable to have visits rather than a constant presence. Raleth knew that he loved Lali — and Naraleth — and deserved to be able to see them, but the old man certainly got on his nerves often.

His basket full of the required supplies, Raleth picked out the last item on the list — a lunch box. It was made of wood and carved with a design depicting trees and elf rangers stalking among them. Hopefully Naraleth would like it.

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[Story] Fairsong Academy – Braedra’s Diary

Isturon hasn’t been around lately. That’s not entirely accurate — he has been around his house. I’ve seen him once or twice in the hallways at the school, and he spends a lot of time chopping wood in his yard. He left a big stack of wood at the side of our house, I’m not sure why because it’s summer, but I suppose it’s better to chop wood before you actually need it. I also think it might give him a reason to be out there without a shirt on. I don’t know if he’s actually avoiding me, or just trying to give me space. I’m not sure which one I prefer, which makes it more complicated. I’m upset with him for keeping secrets, but I think I’m more upset that he doesn’t seem to think he did anything wrong. Or maybe he hasn’t, and I’m just over-reacting. Verisna said it’s very common among arranged marriages, and she would know better than I do. But I already know he’s willing to keep what he’s doing a secret, why wouldn’t he in the future as well? I am sure he’d say it’s different because he chose to be with me, but I still am not sure.

I went to visit Anorelle and deliver the gift for her and the baby. She seemed to love the outfit and the little soft toy. She gave me a tour of the nursery and I agreed it was very cute. I can’t help but feel a little jealous — not about the baby, I’m not really sure that’s something I want at this stage in my life. But because she’s so obviously taken with Arancon, you can see it whenever she talks about him. I wish I felt that way. Maybe I could, and it’s just my own worry and doubt blocking the way. She told me about their dinner with Aeramin and Imralion, and said she hoped that Aeramin would continue to work on his relationship with his father. There were times it was a little tense, she thought, but overall it went well. And he maybe was coming around to the idea of a sibling. It can’t be easy to be an only child for over a century and then suddenly not be. Anorelle seemed a little confused by the books but she said she knew what they were, a lot of the lady rangers lend them around the quarters.

And then yesterday afternoon I had coffee with Verisna again. Actually, she had coffee and I had one of their fruit drinks. It was far too hot for coffee in my opinion! I’m not sure what kind of fruit was in it, they said the names but I didn’t recognize all of them. They use fancy exotic fruits from all around the world. Regardless, it was very good and refreshing. Bailas was with her, which I assume means they’re trying to work things out. I’m glad, I think she was being a little too harsh on him, he just made a mistake. Maybe I’m being too harsh on Isturon too, but then again, we aren’t married either. That was mostly what I talked about, I’m just not sure what to do. I mentioned maybe talking to Keyalenn’s father some more, and Verisna mentioned that she knew him. Evidently he’s popular to have at parties. She also said she knew several married men who are looking for company. I don’t think that’s the sort of thing I want, but I am not really sure, am I? She said there is a meeting place for singles on the island, people go there to meet and have drinks and the like. I’ve never been to the island, that’s for rich people. She also told me about a beach where no one wears clothes, and suggested I should go there. I don’t think so! I’m sure no one wants to see me without robes on, and I definitely don’t want to see any old men in that state. Still, a vacation could be nice. I know I just went on one, but maybe I could go alone to have time to just think about things. I could ask the lady in the womens’ building to check on the girls, or they could stay there temporarily. I don’t have the money for something like that right now though, so it’s only a dream for now.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Braedra’s Journal

I went into Silvermoon to do some shopping, I needed some things for the house and the girls wanted new pens. It’s not quite time to get supplies for school, but it will be soon. I also wanted to find a gift for Anorelle, we don’t know each other well but I thought it would be nice. There aren’t many women my age here — there are a few at the school, Lilithel is a bit older and Irael’s mother is close but she always seems to be busy. I got some blankets and decorations for the baby’s room, they don’t know if it’s a boy or girl yet but she said the nursery is painted green. I got a soft caterpillar toy for the baby, and some romance books for Anorelle. I don’t know if she likes them or not, but from experience it’s nice to have something to occupy your time while baby is eating late at night. I went to the stationery shop last to find the pens and to perhaps look for a new journal. Mine is nearly full! I never used to write in my journal so often, but then I suppose I never had exciting adventures like going to see dragons to write about before.

There was a woman there with red hair, and I didn’t think too much of it until the man with her said her name — Verisna. I’m sure there is more than one woman named Verisna in the city, but I still thought it was probably not just a coincidence. I went over cautiously; I’d heard stories from both Terellion and Isturon about her so I wasn’t sure what to expect. She did seem a little wary and haughty, but she agreed to get coffee with me at the little shop on the corner. They have wonderful pastries in addition to coffee, so I always like to stop there when I’m in the city. I expected that she might be upset or resentful toward me because I’d been seeing Isturon, but it was quite the opposite. She told me that she never loved him, and in fact he might do better with me than he had with her. It was all quite a lot to take in — my marriage with Galandil wasn’t arranged, so it’s true I don’t really know how such a marriage might work. Verisna said it was common for both parties to find company elsewhere, and they had a contract so they each had to stay a certain amount of time. I can’t imagine entering into such an arrangement, knowing I’d be unhappy for so long. I suppose you have no guarantees with choosing your own mate either, they could just as well cheat — or something could happen to them — but Verisna said it was practically guaranteed. Ter seems happy having picked his own husband, and I’ll let the girls find their own unless they ask me otherwise.

Verisna was quite upset about losing her second husband, Bailas, though. He was, in her words, supposed to be devoted to her, when that quite clearly wasn’t the case. I didn’t think Verisna needed all of the details about that, when she was already upset. But I did suggest that perhaps she could talk to him and work things out. Yes, he made a mistake, but if she truly does love them, and he her, then perhaps he deserves another chance. Besides, I am not sure he’ll be able to find work on his own in the Ghostlands. Hethurin won’t have him at the school, nor will the rangers, and Lani at the clinic didn’t seem to want his help either. Unless he can find an estate with a pool, I think it might be difficult for him.

Oh, and she did confirm that Isturon was seeing other women while they were married. And men. I know better than to believe everything she says without question, but Isturon never mentioned that to me, and from what Verisna said, it sounded as if it was going on recently. As I told Verisna, I don’t have any patience for that kind of nonsense. If he wants someone else, he can choose them. I’m perfectly happy being on my own rather than having some man make a fool of me. Verisna thought he would stop if he really loved the person he was with, but I’m not sure if that’s true. Is it in his nature, or even just habit formed after a century of practice? I don’t believe that Galandil was ever unfaithful, if he was I never knew about it, so I don’t know how I would feel about it. Verisna said I was innocent, too. It felt like an insult the way she said it, but maybe it wasn’t. I never thought of myself as such, maybe I should ask Isturon about that too.

I think it was a surprise to both of us that the meeting went so nicely. She even agreed to meet me again for coffee the next time I’m in the city. Sometimes taking a chance can result in something positive.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Braedra’s Journal

Outland was lovely, but it’s nice to be back home in my comfortable room and familiar bed. It’s not to say the places weren’t nice — they were lovely, even the ethereal inn, though it was a little unusual. But I think I was ready to come back and see everyone again. The girls managed just fine on their own, they ate at the school and kept everything neat and tidy at the house — or if not, they cleaned it up before we got back at least. I asked the lady who lives in the girls’ building to check in on them now and then. Summer classes are out, so there aren’t as many babies in the nursery, but there are still a few. The most exciting news we missed is that Anorelle is going to have one of her own. She’s younger than me, but still a bit old to be having her first. I hope everything goes well for them, although it does make me wonder if Isturon will bring up the subject. We have so many between us, I think it’s a bit late for any more, but I don’t want to assume anything either.

That’s the other thing, I suppose he waited until we were back home to tell me about some things so I wouldn’t be stuck there and make everything awkward. He told me he’d been seeing another woman while he was still married to Verisna. Things weren’t working out, so I thought he must just be after something fun, but he said he wanted a relationship. If that’s the case, why was he staying married? He says it’s because of the children, but they’re old enough to understand if he would have been happier away from their mother. It would be a different matter if they were very young, but they aren’t. Am I being too judgmental? I don’t know. I told him he should have left properly first, and he didn’t argue with me on that. It’s just that he was just so… unapologetic about all of it, as if he was totally justified. I’m sure it was uncomfortable for him, but he was the one who chose to stay. And if he’s willing to look elsewhere once, would he do it again? I know he’d say it was because Verisna didn’t care, but she might have a different opinion. Not that I’m going to ask her about it, Ter has already warned me to stay away from her. In a way I could talk to her though, just to get her perspective. I certainly can’t ask Nessna or Lani, it would be awkward to talk about their father in that way, and if they don’t already know, I don’t want to be the one to tell them. I don’t know what Anorelle has been through, maybe she would have some perspective. But I don’t know her very well, and I’m sure she’s busy with her new husband and preparing for the baby.

I know we should have a more serious discussion about it if things are going to go much further, but I feel like I already know what he’ll say. I couldn’t have imagined him doing that, but he didn’t even deny it, so now I’m re-examining everything he’s said and done while I’ve known him for clues. I guess it’s something I should bring up with the Confessor, though he’ll probably just tell me I need to speak to Isturon about it. He’s right, of course, but it’s not going to be a pleasant conversation for anyone.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Sorelle’s Diary

Dear Diary,

I think summer is the nicest month. It’s warm outside, even at night, and all of the garden is in bloom. I can smell the flowers if I walk close to them, and Terellion’s vegetable garden is growing well too. Malwen helps him water the plants and pick vegetables to take inside for Tik to cook with, there’s even a little patch of lettuce for Malwen’s turtle to eat. I haven’t grown vegetables before, but I can’t imagine that it’s much different from flowers. I wonder if I could help with it next year. In the greenhouse, all of the plants are going wild with all of the warmth and sun! Hethurin’s manaberry bushes have already flowered and will have some berries soon. I don’t think there will be too many, but they are still young. I think next year they will probably have a full crop. But it’s enough to sprinkle them on top of a cake, or with a bowl of cream or something. Xarola’s herbs are doing really well too, and I thought about clearing off a little shelf for Malwen. She’d probably like being able to grow things when it gets cold outside, too.

Salenicus brought me a present, it’s a really big about plants. It’s really old, but the paintings are beautiful and take up the whole page. I have been just sitting and looking at all of them, then I get distracted reading about plants I’ve never seen. It includes plants from Kalimdor and Northrend, it doesn’t have Outland or Pandaria plants because of how old it is. I showed it to Xarola and she said it was really valuable, her mother has one like it but it’s more worn. So I have to be really careful not to damage it! I didn’t expect him to get me a present at all, that was nice of him. He can only come a couple of times a week because they have other routes to patrol as well. There’s only one night patrol since Orledin is on the daytime patrol now. It sounded like Salenicus misses him a little, because he said they used to talk.  I think it would be awfully boring having nothing to do except walk every night, and not even being allowed to talk. Well, the draenei doesn’t know much common or Thalassian, so he can’t. Most nights I don’t think much happens, sometimes they might see a demon or some scourge on the Scar. Salenicus said they found some traps down there, he thought it might be someone trying to capture one. I don’t know why anyone would do that? I’m hoping it’s just someone trying to catch an animal for food, but he’s right that they shouldn’t leave them around where someone might step into them. We don’t go down that way usually anyway, but I’m going to tell the Headmaster just in case.

We also walked along the beach, that’s another good thing about summer. I guess you could go there in the winter too, but it’s more beautiful in the summer. The moonlight reflects on the water and there are little things that glow, I think they must be tiny animals or maybe jellyfish? I don’t know. We held hands and he wanted to kiss some, that was nice too. It’s nice late at night because there’s no one else around to look at us or say it’s gross because we’re not alive. I told Xarola about it and she said that the beach is a very good place to take walks. Sunset is probably even more beautiful, but I’m worried there might be other people there. I would like to be able to find some shells though, at night it’s too dark to see them very well. Maybe I’ll go very early in the morning, right when the sun comes up, and try to find some. I’m not sure if Salenicus would like shells or not, but I’d like some for my shelf, I think they would look pretty.

I know it’s early but I’m already thinking about the masked ball. I need to decide what kind of mask I want, and then what kind of dress would go with it. I wish there was somewhere else we could dance before that, because it’s a long time away.

~Sorelle

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Seline’s Diary

Dear Diary,

Classes have ended for the year. I know I did okay in frost, because I find it easier than the others and Professor Raleth is always willing to help me out after class if I don’t understand something. He always says that I can ask Keyalenn too, but I think it’s weirder to ask someone closer to my age. It’s not weird to ask a teacher, they’re used to helping people. And I just trust Professor Raleth, I guess. He doesn’t think my questions are dumb or laugh at me. I think I did okay on my arcane theory exam, but that’s only because I studied like crazy for weeks. Headmaster Fairsong also is nice and sometimes still marks things right if it was mostly right, or if it was wrong but you had a good reason for putting it. That’s nice of him, but I know the people at the Spire doing the exam won’t, so I’d rather learn it the right way. It seems like no matter how much I study, it’s still confusing. I don’t know how I did at fire at all, probably terrible. You would think it’s the easiest, because it’s just doing things to a flame that’s already there, but I just can’t get it to go right. Fire is easy for everyone else, why can’t I do it? I’m going to get some books from the library and use one of the warded practice rooms so I can hopefully get better over the summer. I don’t want to forget everything I’ve already learned.

There was a boy in the sitting room and he wanted to help me with my lessons. He’s in one of the advanced classes, and he said he also leaves for private lessons a few times a week. I’ve seen him leaving out the front gate, but I didn’t know that’s what he was doing. If he gets private lessons, he’s probably really good at fire, and also really rich. I thought it was odd that he offered to help me, he said it was because it would help him understand better. But if he’s in advanced fire class, I know he doesn’t need help at basic flame manipulation. I wonder if maybe one of the other students asked him to play a joke on me or something. I don’t know who, but I can’t think of why else he’d want to waste his time on baby fire lessons. At one point I mentioned that I sometimes do my homework with the guy with glasses, and then he started acting really weird. Fire boy kept saying how he could beat him in a fist fight even though glasses boy has big muscles. I’ve honestly never noticed, I thought it was weird that he didn’t have sleeves but I thought it was just because it’s been hot outside. Fire boy said it’s to show off his muscles. What? Even if he did have big muscles, Fire boy is better at magic, so he could easily beat him that way. That’s assuming they’d even fight in the first place, what an odd thing to say. Did they have some kind of argument or something? I’ve never seen glasses boy upset with anyone, he just keeps to himself most of the time. It was all really weird, and a little scary. I wonder if I should warn him that Fire boy wants to fight him.

Fire boy also kept saying I should go to his floor to meet him, which sounds against the rules to me. He said it’s okay because there are girls on that floor too, but I think I’d rather just study out in the common room. There’s no chance of getting in trouble out there, plus Tik and Terellion put out snacks to eat sometimes. Maybe he wants to trick me up there so he can fight me? I don’t understand why he wants to fight so much. He’s at the wrong school if he wants to learn how to fight, they probably do that at the ranger lodge.

Anyway, I need to choose my classes soon for next year. We go in to talk to our speciality teacher and fill out the form based on what they think would be good for us. I don’t think I am quite ready for advanced frost magic yet, but I’m going to see if there’s anything I can do to get ahead in frost. I might as well have good grades in one class next year! I know the undead girl likes to sew, too. The Headmaster said she might teach a class about making dresses, I think that sounds like fun. I’d like to do that if she decides to make one.

~Seline

[Story] Character of the Week – Irael Summerwind

[[ Irael is a young elf from Murder Row who got a scholarship to attend Fairsong Academy. ]]

“You should at least think about it, Irael.”

Irael gave her mother a sharp look. “This again?” Most evenings, Irael and her mother ate their supper together in the common room. It was simpler to eat what Tik and Terellion had made — and their food was delicious. Irael didn’t see the point in using valuable study time to cook or clean up dishes. And normally it gave her a chance to talk to her mother, but in the last few weeks, the constant pestering had grown annoying. She’d become fixated on the idea of Irael finding some nice mage boy from a rich family to marry, and she was convinced that her daughter would be well taken care of. It was a nice idea, but not realistic at all, and Irael thought her mother ought to know better. After all, she’d spent her whole life on the Row too, and things like that just didn’t happen for people like them.

Now Felarius had got onto it to, and Irael half suspected that her mother had conspired with him to coax her into the idea. She didn’t know him well, but she knew that he was the other scholarship student from the Row. Usually they talked about just normal school things — how they’d done on their exams, whether they were going to take any summer courses or not. Felarius had his extra lessons, and he wanted to take summer classes on top of that. Irael thought the enchanting class sounded interesting, and perhaps the botany class as well — that one shouldn’t be too challenging. It was good to allow yourself some easy classes now and then so she didn’t get too burned out. She worried that Felarius might be trying to do too much too quickly, though she could understand his desire. They wouldn’t be here at all if it weren’t for the Headmaster’s generosity, and they wanted to use it to their best advantage.

But then Felarius asked if she liked anyone. It was an odd question, and she was’t sure why he was asking. No, she was here to study and learn, not to look at boys — the same thing she always told her mother when she asked. But he kept insisting that perhaps she just didn’t know yet, or maybe a new student would come that she couldn’t resist. The way he said it, Irael would have no control over her emotions or her actions, and she’d just be helpless to resist this mystery fellow. Irael knew that was nonsense. She’d never had it happen before. Felarius said that wasn’t proof of anything, but he was a guy. Even if some handsome and clever (and rich) mage student did appear, he wouldn’t want anything to do with her. Irael had seen plenty like that when she was trying to make it on the Row. Nice rich boys from good families didn’t want girls like her, at least not when it came to looking for wives. Felarius said she could just not tell them, but that was worse. It would mean she was ashamed of her past, which she wasn’t. Why should she be? There were no other options if you were hungry and poor. Besides, if she tried to hide it and it was found out later, then he’d be upset that she’d lied about it. It was better to be up front, that is, if the situation ever came up.

More than that, it seemed like cheating. Irael had got into a mage school on her own. Granted, she’d had help from the headmaster and Magister Firewind, but she’d beat out all the other applicants except for Felarius. She hadn’t just batted her eyelashes and looked pretty, she’d read books and practiced all on her own. She did all her lessons and practiced every day to keep her grades up and prove that she belonged here with the other students. Irael didn’t want to take the easy way out, she knew she could do it on her own — and she had. No rich mage student was going to take her own success away from her.