[Story] The Ghostclaw – Linarelle’s Journal

I think that Sunashe has been feeling a little down lately, since the draenei ranger came from Shattrath. After I had put Tialan down for his nap, I went out to the practice range to find him. I also brought some of the cookies from the kitchen, normally he tries to avoid them, but a few won’t hurt. I was surprised to see him out there alone, usually there is at least one of the other rangers practicing. He’s always reminding the crossbow rangers that they need to learn to use a proper one, but I suppose they don’t listen. Sunashe said that perhaps the draenei should be the one training recruits, since his skill must have impressed Sunashe. I haven’t watched him myself, but I doubt he could be better than Sunashe, an Eversong veteran. Even if he is, no one could replace him. He said the others treat him as sort of a novelty, asking him to perform tricks which he happily does. I don’t know if there’s really anything wrong with that, but it’s sort of humiliating for the draenei. He probably doesn’t even understand what they are saying, I know I wouldn’t if I was the only elf around draenei all the time. I think the cookies cheered him up a little, at least.

I also suggested we should go camping somewhere again, once the weather warms a bit. Sunashe liked that idea a lot, though he said we should leave Tialan with someone to watch him. I’m not sure, I think I’d worry about him the whole time. Especially when he suggested Imralion watch him! Im’s never even cared for a pet, let alone a baby, I shudder to think what might happen in his care. I also think Aeramin wouldn’t be very enthusiastic about the idea, and it would probably cause strain between them. I don’t want that, even if I think it was a bad idea for Im to marry him in the first place. I don’t think I could stay with someone who had betrayed me like that, and Sunashe said he couldn’t either. I hope I don’t have to find out. But if we do have to leave Tialan with someone, Hethurin would be a better choice, he already has three children who are doing well. Or Lali, or Terellion’s mother, they take care of the babies at the school all the time. I want to get a new dress for the ball, I saw one in the city that’s pink with a slit on the side. Sunashe insisted that he get new armor to match, if that’s even possible, I hope it doesn’t cost too much. Pink armor really isn’t something you can wear often, unless you’re Julan I suppose.

We talked about the other new rangers a little. Really there’s only one, and she doesn’t talk much to anyone. Sunashe said she’d transferred from Eversong, which makes me wonder — why would anyone leave there for here? It’s not that our unit is bad, but it’s certainly less prestigious and well-known. Sunashe said maybe she just wanted a change, but I suspect there’s more to it than that. Maybe I’ll try to talk to her and find out. The guy who works in the stable wants to learn to shoot, too. While we still need him to work in the stable, it could be useful to have someone who can take over a patrol if one ranger is sick or away. I haven’t talked to him much either, he still seems to be getting used to the routine and everyone here. Sunashe says his brother is a student at the school.

 

We spoke a little about his past as well, when he was living in the city. It sounds like it was awful, I wish he didn’t have to go through that. But it brought him here, so in the end perhaps it was worth it.

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[Story] The Ghostclaw – Leinath’s Journal

Orledin took me on a date, I think. At least, it was a place away from the building and not on patrol. It wasn’t that far off our patrol route though, I never even knew the path was there. There are many troll ruins in the forest, and these were some abandoned troll huts, two standing not far from each other. I’m guessing there were probably more buildings in the past, but they are gone now. Or maybe these trolls just really liked privacy. The huts are well hidden, you can’t see them from the trail at all, though I guess if you had a fire going you’d see the smoke. We went in the afternoon, after patrol but before time to eat. Orledin says he usually goes there at night, which is a little odd because he does have a bunk in the quarters even if he rarely uses it. He says he likes the privacy here, which I can understand. Some of the other guys can get pretty loud sometimes, but usually not while they’re sleeping.

The first one he called the work hut, and I’ll admit it freaked me out a little. He had taken bones that he’d found around the forest, mostly from animals, and put them together again with wire so they’re standing up. I thought it was weird at first, but it’s really not much different than a puzzle when you think about it. And yeah, he has to find something to take up all that time when everyone’s sleeping. They build skeletons for museums, and no one calls those people weird. Something about seeing bones standing up and staring at me with empty eyes still is a little creepy, though. I’m glad we weren’t there at night. Orledin was really excited to show me the big cat skeletons, he thought the captain might want one. He also gave me a little mouse, I’ll put it on my shelf next to the fox, hopefully Lucky doesn’t try to eat it. There’s no meat, but it’s still a mouse. Orledin’s favorite skeleton is a raptor that he accidentally animated, and he can ride it around. I admit that’s pretty cool, but he’s right in that if anyone saw it they would probably freak out. He said there are elf skeletons too, and he’s not sure what to do with them. I suggested he could build them a graveyard with proper markers and everything, it seems like the right thing to do so they aren’t forgotten.

The other hut he called his resting hut, it had a hole in the center of the roof so smoke can escape, for cooking and heat. He has some furniture in there, but he said he doesn’t really sleep here. Maybe he writes in his journal. I wonder if he has one? I wonder if he’s written about me? The conversation got a little more serious than I was expecting. I don’t want him to think I’m not interested, it’s just — even aside from the rules, it’s been a really long time and I don’t want to rush into anything. That’s even if he wasn’t in his condition. He mentioned that he talked to another death knight who has a living wife and she might come to the next ball at the school. I do think that might be useful — I could ask her questions that I wouldn’t ask Orledin — but I’ve also never seen a kaldorei up close. I think they’re huge, and dangerous. This one’s probably not, but I’m not going to stop thinking about how she could probably put an arrow through my eye while hiding in the shadows. Granted, I guess I probably could too, but I’m not going to. I did promise to go to the one shop in town for him, because he can’t go himself. I mean, why else would you have something like that out here in a private place, if not to use it? He says he doesn’t. I’m not sure I believe him.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Teloth

Teloth poured the grain into the feeding troughs, laying fresh greens on the top for each hawkstrider. The barn was soon filled with the clatter of their beaks and contended chirps as they ate their morning meal. After they ate, he’d shovel out the dirty straw and replace it with fresh, then inspect the tack to make sure nothing was broken. The hawkstriders would be ready for their morning patrol. Teloth noticed that not everyone liked to ride, and he felt a little sorry for the ones who were left behind, but he supposed they didn’t mind getting some extra sleep. He picked up the rake and went to start cleaning out the aisle. The back door of the stable was open, and faced out to where the rangers practiced their aim at targets. It was still early enough that the draenei ranger was out there, letting loose a few arrows before going to bed. He had the night patrol, and slept during most of the day, so Teloth didn’t see him often. But last night Sunashe had suggested that he watch the draenei, to learn from his form. In truth, he was pretty intimidating — he stood far taller than any of the elves, and he didn’t speak much. He always looked as if he was about to crush someone in his fists, and his arms were muscular from years of practice with a bow. Teloth watched as he drew the bow back with what appeared to be no effort at all, loosing it with a fluid motion into the center of the target.

Teloth thought it would be a long time before he was that good. He’d picked up one of the spare bows in the storage room, and though its string was too loose, he could hardly pull it back. He hadn’t even tried to fire an arrow, he couldn’t get it to sit on the string at the same time he was holding it. Some of the rangers used crossbows, he’d seen them being tightened and cleaned. But Teloth wanted to at least try to learn a proper bow, so he could be a proper ranger. It’s not that he disliked caring for the hawkstriders, it was simple enough, but being a ranger sounded so much more interesting. He thought he could at least patrol during the middle of the day, when the birds didn’t need much caring. Last night, he’d approached Sunashe, who he knew was the one who did most of the training. No, he hadn’t exactly asked the captain for permission first, but surely it would be fine if Sunashe gave him a few tips? He couldn’t very well ask to go on patrol if he didn’t know anything at all. He was all right with his short blades; he’d used them to fend off trolls and undead in the past, but that was all. Living in the city, he didn’t have much opportunity to use them.

He wondered how Tystus was doing at his school. The ball had been far grander than he’d imagined, with food as good as any restaurant in Silvermoon, and the desserts were amazing as well. Teloth had to admit that maybe his little brother had been on to something. Teloth had lingered around the food and drinks, but in time he hoped he’d be able to dance. Sunashe told him that a few of the women rangers were single, but he wasn’t entirely sure. At the very least, he could start by making friends with some of them.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Faeris’s Journal

I can’t believe I forgot to write in here! With everything going on I was too busy I guess, but I need to because some really important things happened. The first of course is that I gave Julan his ring. I’d thought about waiting until maybe the goblin holiday, or closer to our anniversary, but the winter ball is always so nice that I thought it would be a good time too. Besides, I’m not sure if I could have hid the ring from him for that long, and if he found it on his own he wouldn’t have been so surprised. I made sure to get a really nice one, but at the same time one that was fancy enough that he’d want to show off, because I know that he would. He’s been wearing it all the time, even on patrol, and just casually posing his hand in places so people will notice. It’s pretty funny, but I’m glad he likes it. I talked to my parents about it first, just so they wouldn’t freak out or anything. In the past maybe I would have asked, but I told them it was going to happen. My mother asked if I was sure and my father said I didn’t have to rush anything. I know they’re probably not all that excited about it, and it’s true I’m not that old, but we don’t have to have it right away. And I’m definitely sure, I’ve never cared for anyone the way I do for Julan, and he is so funny and makes every day interesting. I can’t see that changing. I know he sometimes gets a little carried away with the flirting, but as long as it’s just flirting and he’s honest about it, then it’s fine. I know I’m probably kind of boring compared to some of the people he knows, especially now that I’m a ranger. I enjoy it a lot, but every day is pretty similar. I guess it was before in Silvermoon too, except I would go to parties instead of patrol. I think this is better. Besides, this way they won’t even be tempted to try to match me up with some girl. My mother probably will still look for one as a back-up plan, but she’s going to be waiting a long time. I’m sure some people are okay with it, but I think it’s much better to find someone on your own, and I did!

I was really afraid he wasn’t going to say yes at first, just because he took so long to answer. But, I think that’s because  he was surprised, at least that’s what I hope. I mean, I don’t want him to say yes if he doesn’t really mean it, as much as that would hurt. He also wore this pretty skimpy outfit to the ball, and I was a little worried that someone might notice and ask us to leave before I got a chance to ask him. I wanted to stay for the food and dancing, too, because the school always has the best food. Thankfully, I think everyone was more focused on their own thing — oh and there was a lot of mistletoe hung up too. Like, everywhere I looked I could see some, I don’t know whose idea that was. I’d be tempted to say it was Julan’s, except I know he was patrolling the few days before the ball. I helped Julan put the ring on and thankfully it fit! I’d taken some string and measured it for his finger before I went to the shop, that was tricky to do while he was sleeping. He went around to show everyone, I did talk to the captain about it before too, he was the only one who knew besides my parents. I wanted to make sure that it was okay, I don’t know why it wouldn’t be, but I just wanted to be certain. We haven’t decided on any plans just yet, I think Julan is still getting used to the idea. But I want to see if Orledin can make some of those cupcakes like he did before.

The other weird thing is we have a new ranger from Shattrath. He’s a draenei, so he’s really huge and spiky. Julan keeps asking if all of him is huge and spiky, but either he doesn’t understand or he is pretending not to. I mean, he probably shouldn’t ask that, but I admit I’m curious too. He also keeps trying to touch his tail, whenever the new guy sits on a chair or couch there’s nowhere for his tail to go, so it just kind of hangs there. I don’t know if he can pick up things with it or anything like that, Julan dares me to try to touch it but I don’t think it’s a good idea. He also has hooves, I am pretty sure he could stomp someone to death with those, so I don’t think we should make him mad. I am not even really sure how to tell if he’s mad or not, because he always looks mad. Right now he goes on the night patrol with Salenicus and Sorrowmoss, so I don’t see him that often.

Anyway that’s all I wanted to write about. I’m really glad Julan said yes!

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Leinath’s Journal

I wonder how much it costs to put on parties like this all the time. I remember before, some estates had them every weekend, not as big or fancy as this one, but all that food and wine adds up fast. Tik and Terellion went all out with the decorations, you can really tell they wanted to do a good job. That’s not to say they don’t for the others, but I think the winter one might be their favorite because of how fancy everything is. There were tables full of food, and another with different kinds of wine, then a third for the enormous cake. It had several tiers, and each one had a different kind of forest animal on it, made out of candy. There were also sugar snowflakes everywhere, and something like glitter but you could eat it. Behind that there was a whole separate cake that was just for Hethurin, I know because there was a little card that said so. That one had two blue sugar dragons on top of it.

I always feel out of place at things like this. I polished my armor, but there’s only so much you can do — it’s still armor and there’s still dirt in the seams and my boots aren’t party boots. Some of the other rangers wore their armor too, so at least I wasn’t the only one looking different. Orledin had this fancy dress armor, all silver and white. I’ve never seen it before, he must keep it in the storage or something. He said it wasn’t new, but was he really saving it for years just for this occasion? I don’t know. I wanted to eat something, because it all looked really good, but I thought it would be awkward for Orledin to just have to stand there and watch me. I think if I was undead, that would be one of the things I missed the most. Orledin insisted it was okay, but I tried my best to describe everything to him in detail. I think he appreciated that. I only hope one day I can bake cakes as good as that one, I mean our baking is great too but Terellion really has a touch for cakes. I suggested to Orledin that we could use manaberry filling for the doughnuts that we make for breakfast, and he liked that idea. They’re supposedly growing some in the greenhouse here, so maybe we could get some. I didn’t know they’d grow berries in the winter, but Orledin says it’s warm enough to trick them into it. I’d think it has something to do with the light too, but maybe the light in Outland is dim too. He did have a little sip of wine, it was really good. We never have wine at the rangers’ because of Arancon, and sometimes I miss it.

Orledin gave me my gift, it was a little wooden fox that he had Salenicus carve, but he did the painting himself. It looks just like Lucky. I didn’t know that Salenicus was so good at carving, it’s really lifelike and delicate. One little paw is held up like he just heard something, and the tail sweep around behind just like he’d paused from running. I know the perfect spot for it, there’s a little shelf on the wall by my bunk. Now I feel like my gift wasn’t very good. Orledin said he likes his boots, and he’d meant to buy some anyway, but it’s not very personal. It doesn’t seem like the thing you’d get for someone that you’re kissing, that’s what I mean. It’s a little cool, but not too weird. I wondered if I even remembered what to do. Orledin didn’t complain, so I guess it was all right.

I’m afraid that something might happen, or I’ll say the wrong thing. Or people will talk because he’s — in his condition. Honestly, sometimes I forget when we’re just talking or baking or doing something normal. He’s just like anyone else, I think the other rangers see that but I know some people wouldn’t. I thought about it a lot though, if it was Erilan who’d returned after dying, would I still be with him? I knew the answer to that immediately. So I don’t see why it’d be different if I just happened to meet Orledin afterward instead of before. I just feel like I’ve forgotten how it’s supposed to go, I mean we know each other pretty well but not on that level. I am worried about one thing he said — he said that if he took all of his armor off, he’d start to decay. I guess it might be true? But it seems it might be difficult to remember if something is happening that involves removing armor. Orledin said he’d try to find  out, but somehow I think it’s not a situation that death knights  find themselves in often. Something must prevent it, though — he and Salenicus both look the same as when they arrived here. They aren’t getting worse or anything like that. So maybe he’s right, and he’ll just have to wear his bracers all the time. I guess that’s not the worst thing.

We danced, and Terellion had put mistletoe on just about every possible place on the ceiling. Not that I think Orledin needed an excuse anyway. It was nice. It’s been so long since I had someone, I mean I’m not sure if I do yet. But I think so. I’m not sure what’s supposed to happen next, I guess when it’s warmer we can go somewhere in the woods. But not to eat. Orledin did mention some troll huts that he knew of, those could be interesting. I just hope there aren’t any trolls still left there.

[Story] Story a Week – Family

[[ This is the last Story a Week of 2017. The book that I got didn’t end up being very useful and I stopped using it pretty early on. Next year, I think I’m going to steal my friend’s idea and focus on one character a week. There will certainly be a story, maybe some art or screenshots, to go along with each. I am making a big push to work on sewing more next year as well, so I think I can do both realistically. I hope. I’m going to need to make up a list of 52 characters though! ]]

The little evergreen tree stood in the corner of the rangers’ common room, covered in hand-made paper ornaments. Rylad had done most of them, and been enthusiastic with the glitter — Sath’alor was still finding it in places he’d never imagined finding glitter. But a few of the rangers had got into the Winter Veil spirit, cutting shapes from colored paper and hanging them with ribbons on the tree. He’d had to move a couple that Julan made onto the side of the tree that faced the wall, luckily no little eyes would see them there. They’d also folded white paper and cut it to form snowflakes, unfolding seemingly like magic from the ordinary paper. These were hung along the walls, and in the windows. Winter Veil might be a strange dwarf holiday, but it did serve to make the cold winter nights just a bit brighter. Besides, giving gifts was fun — especially to the kids. The pile of gifts beneath the tree had gradually grown over the past couple of weeks. Maerista had gone into the city and bought scarves and ear cozies for every ranger, he couldn’t imagine how much that had cost. She’d also got those sweaters for everyone who hadn’t already received one, because she said she didn’t want anyone to get too cold on patrol. Even Orledin and the other undead got some, Sath’alor wasn’t certain they were even able to get cold, but hopefully they would at least appreciate the thought. Unfortunately there weren’t any for the newest rangers, but Maerista promised she’d go to the city soon and get sweaters for them, too.

He and Nessna had bought toys for the boys, as well as some things for the other ranger babies. They’d even found a little soft alligator for Sunashe’s son, and tied a bright green ribbon around its neck. For Nessna, he’d bought a heavy fur cloak, made from Northrend shoveltusk hide. It was thick and waterproof, and would surely keep her warm on her patrols. Sath’alor hoped she would like it, she cared much more for practical things than jewelry or fancy clothes, but he still wanted to get her something nice. It was just difficult because she already had most everything she could need.

Rylad helped pass out the gifts. He was small, so he was kind of like a dwarf. He’d have to work on the beard before he’d pass for Greatfather Winter though. He was able to read the names on the packages and happily took them over to the person. Orledin put out a plate of fresh cookies, warm from the oven. They were shaped like snowflakes and were frosted with blue and white sugar. He must have been making them all night, there were several plates of them. Everyone cheerfully ate cookies while they tore the paper off their gifts. Some he hadn’t seen before this evening, there were some gifts to the boys from some of the rangers, and Sunashe had got him a block of wax for his bow strings. Nessna had got another map for the sitting room, with the new routes added on, and the estates updated — many had been bought and rebuilt since the Ghostclaw had first been formed. Arancon got a leather-bound journal and a fancy pen, but the package wasn’t signed and no one could say who it was from. Must have been Greatfather Winter. Or Sunashe.

They all seemed to be in a festive mood, eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate as the cold wind howled outside in the forest. He was proud of all of them, how far they’d come, and eager to see where the future would take them. They were a family — a large and unusual one, but a family all the same.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Astiria

Sath’alor sighed, laying his stack of reports down as the bell rang again. He’d never get them finished at this rate — normally he didn’t mind putting off reports, but these were late and the winter ball would be here soon. Reports were the last thing he wanted to be thinking about over the holiday.

He made his way to the front door, as the bell jangled insistently again. Unfortunately, Hernester didn’t really do his job as a doorman. They’d moved him under the eaves in case it started to rain again, but Sath’alor hadn’t seen him move since then. He sometimes worried how much longer his body would hold together, and what they’d do with him when that day came.

A young woman stood in the doorway, her black hair tied back and a long bow slung over her shoulder. She extended a hand, and Sath’alor could feel the ranger’s callus formed there. “Astiria Dawnfire,” she said. Of course, he remembered now. There had been a transfer form from one of the Eversong units, he’d put it aside at the time, but he did remember seeing it.

“Please, come in,” Sath’alor said, gesturing to the sitting room. A plate of cookies, still warm from the oven, rested on the table. The woman eyed them briefly, but didn’t take any. She laid her bow carefully against the chair before sitting on it. “You — requested to be transferred here?” asked Sath’alor. It was a little unusual, he had to admit. He was proud of the Ghostclaw, but even he had to admit they weren’t the biggest ranger patrol, nor the busiest. Not many people wanted to come out here unless they had no other choice.

“That’s right,” Astiria said, looking over one of the maps on the wall. “Is this the route map?”

Maybe she didn’t want to talk about it. That was fine. Sath’alor didn’t really care what her reasons were, so long as she worked well and got along with the other rangers. He’d have to explain about the undead, but he had a feeling she’d already been told when she filled out the transfer request. If she’d already been working on a patrol further north, she’d probably need very little in the way of training, and could go onto a shift almost immediately.

“Yeah,” Sath’alor said. “Let me show you around the rest of the grounds.” He showed her the kitchen, currently empty because Orledin and Leinath were out on their morning patrol. She took one of the empty bunks in the womens’ quarters, and hung her bow up on the rack there. She said very little as he pointed out the cabins and the stable. The other new guy, Teloth, paused to look at them curiously as they passed by. He’d applied to help care for the hawkstriders, and he had a brother who would be attending the mage school. Truth be told, he’d been the only applicant so far, and Sath’alor was eager to have someone besides himself sweeping out the dirty straw and lugging in the bales of greens and buckets of water every morning. He nodded to Astiria and Sath’alor and went back to oiling the leather saddles.

He wasn’t sure what else to say. “Do you have any questions for me?” he asked, as they returned to the sitting room.

Astiria shook her head. She hadn’t said more than a dozen words in the time she’d been here. But maybe she was still adjusting. Hopefully she’d make friends soon. “Well, there’s a ball up at the mage school. Most of the rangers like to go, the food is really good and there’s wine and dancing. You’re welcome to come along.”

She paused thoughtfully. “I might,” she said at last.