[Story] The Ghostclaw – Leinath’s Journal

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

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

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

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

[Story] Story a Week 20

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

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

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

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

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

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Linarelle’s Journal

I had a really lovely day, and the best part it was all a surprise. I always say Sunashe isn’t very romantic, but sometimes he does a good job. In some places there’s a special day to do nice things for mothers, but as mine is far away — she’s back working for the Reliquary — I didn’t give it much thought. Most of the rangers here don’t keep in touch with theirs either. The thought didn’t really occur to me that I was one as well. It seems silly now that I think about it, but it’s true. So I certainly was surprised when Sunashe brought me flowers in the morning and made breakfast. Well, he often makes breakfast, but it was extra nice, there was cut fruit and little cakes as well as eggs and juice and toast. He also brought some sunflowers for Snowflake, because he said it was “moth day”. Oh dear… had he really got confused about the day? I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed, but at the same time he’d gone to so much effort and it was so sweet that I didn’t say anything. I was going to enjoy Moth Day all the same.

After patrol, he’d made up a whole lovely dinner. I think some of it he might have got at the school, but he did cook a lot of it. No, it wasn’t moth! Salenicus asked me that. Even if I wanted to eat a moth, I don’t think they would be very good eating. Only the body would be edible and they’re insects so there wouldn’t be a lot of meat, not like spiders. He made a roasted wild bird with herbs, fresh greens and potatoes, bread and a lovely sauce. For dessert he brought out a tray of the cutest little moth cookies. He admitted that Orledin made those, I saw them later in the kitchen as well. The patterns on the wings were made with icing, they were just adorable. Snowflake also got some fruit to nibble on, in her own bowl. Normally she doesn’t eat with us, but it was a special occasion after all.

And he gave me a card, it was so sweet. And it mentioned that I was a mother, so he was just teasing me with the moth day stuff after all. I have to admit that I’m relieved! It was all so nice though. I think I should plan something for him for Lizard Day, although I’m not sure when it would be. Maybe near Father’s Day.

I got a chance to talk to Salenicus too. I’m a little annoyed that Orledin didn’t even give him my message, or maybe he tried and he just wasn’t listening. I think I did manage to convince him to go to the school again though. And he said he’s going to bring flowers, and a poem. If I’m right, that should definitely work. I may have exaggerated just a tiny bit, but she’s certainly not going to change her mind if he stays away forever. I hope it works out okay. It must be so lonely being undead. He’s already talking about living together though! I hope he doesn’t say that, he’ll probably scare her off.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Linarelle’s Journal

I promised Orledin that I would stop by the school and talk to the undead girl there. I was due anyway because I needed to bring by some milk. It still feels a little strange to put it into a jar and carry it there, but I don’t mind because it really seems to help the new baby there. And I can bring some food home for dinner, which Sunashe appreciates. It’s not that either of us is bad at cooking, just that Tik’s is so much fancier. It’s like getting food from a fancy restaurant every time. I don’t really know Salenicus at all, he keeps to himself when he’s at the building and he’s on the night patrol with Orledin and Sorrowmoss. From what Orledin tells me, he doesn’t talk a lot there either. He might not be happy that I’m interfering at all, and it’s probably a bad idea, but I do like Orledin and he feels a bit guilty about it, I think. It was his idea to bring Salenicus to the school in the first place. I don’t know the girl, either, but I said I was willing to talk to her. Mostly I wanted to find out what she actually said — if it’s a situation like I was in with Keyalenn, I’ll just tell Orledin that plainly. Not that it really helped in that case, either. Or with Gael. I’m probably the worst possible person to ask for advice about men, but I offered anyway.

Classes are over when I finish my patrol, I think Tik was a little puzzled when I asked to see her, but the girl was even more puzzled. Luckily she wasn’t up in her room, but reading in the common room, curled up in one of the soft chairs. I think she must have been very pretty when she was alive, even for a human, but now she just looked sad. I guess I can’t blame her. She was worried that I had asked for her until I explained that I was one of the rangers. I might have taken a little creative liberty with the message because I had a feeling that it would help. She may be dead, but she’s still a girl. I told her that Salenicus was sad about not being able to dance and he hadn’t stopped talking about it, and that he wondered what he’d done wrong, and if he could ever show his face here again. Like I said, a bit of an exaggeration but there was probably some truth in it. The girl seemed surprised and she said that it had been unexpected, and not romantic at all. It was supposed to be like in the books. Well, I can definitely understand her there. I didn’t mention that some men just don’t know how to be romantic, because I didn’t think that would make her feel better. That’s not entirely true, he does sometimes, but it’s rare and definitely not like in the books. But he does mean it, and that’s what is important.

She also said she thought it was just because she was the only undead girl, and I could understand that too. It doesn’t feel good thinking they’re only interested because you’re the only option, it’s like winning a race that no one else is running. She said it was fine if he wanted to come back again, she doesn’t hate him or anything like that. I made sure to ask that he wasn’t bothering her, and she said he wasn’t. I made her promise to tell me if she changed her mind about that. I do feel bad about what happened with Keyalenn, but I think it all worked out for the better anyway. He has a girl his own age, who’s also a mage, and they seem really happy together. Of course he couldn’t have known that at the time though. The girl also said if I or the other rangers wanted any dresses, she could make them for us. I thought that was a nice thing to offer, though honestly I don’t know if any of us wear dresses very often. Or ever. I don’t think Nessna or Vellira have ever worn one, I guess I do sometimes. Anorelle I’ve only ever seen in armor. I thanked her and said I’d consider it. Then again, maybe Julan would like one.

 

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Faeris’s Journal

Both Mother and Father came today to see me at the ranger building. I didn’t expect that Mother would come, usually she’s busy with her own things, but I guess she was curious enough to want to come see where I live for herself. I’ll be honest, I was kind of nervous about it. I didn’t care what they thought before, but now I feel like I’m actually doing something important and I want them to see that and be proud of me. Also, I was kind of worried about what they’d think about Julan. I know the Captain wouldn’t make me leave if I don’t want to, I already asked him about that. He said that since I’m an adult, I’m the only one who can make that choice, unless of course I do something really stupid and get kicked out. Which I’m not. I have more freedom here than I did in Silvermoon, and I get to do something to help people, and earn my own money too. We picked up the cabin the day before, putting away some of the stuff that I don’t think parents need to see. I thought they’d still probably dislike it, because they like fancy expensive stuff that’s covered in gold and junk like that. That’s just not our style.

They noticed the undead in the yard right away. I couldn’t do anything about that. He’s sitting under an eave right now, because it rains now and then. He doesn’t make noise or anything most of the time, so we kind of forget he’s there. My mother saw him and I could tell she thought it was gross, even though she didn’t say anything. I did tell them there were a couple of others there, though they’re a lot less weird because they act pretty much like normal people. I walked them around the grounds, I showed them the stable, our little garden where we grow vegetables, and the cabins. They thought Rylad’s miniature house was cute. I’m pretty sure they did think our cabin was tacky, but at least they didn’t say anything about that. They did notice that it was shared, I guess because no one else has single cabins. I’d mentioned that before, but maybe they forgot or something. I said they’d be able to meet him inside.

Orledin had made a fresh batch of cookies, so they liked that. I showed them around the common room, and the mens’ quarters. Some people were on patrol, but Salenicus was in there carving on some wood. I’m not sure if they even noticed that he was dead. They looked at the maps and I pointed out the route that I patrol on and the landmarks and stuff. The captain came out and said hello to them, he also went on about how much I practice and how much I’ve learned since coming here, and how I was a valuable member of the team. I think he knew they wanted to hear something like that, and I admit it felt nice to hear it too. They asked him some questions, mostly just about the area and the rangers in general. My father seemed interested in the fact that estates were cheap out here, I wonder if that means he’ll buy one. That might be strange having him closer, I don’t think my mother would ever want to leave the city though.

Julan was outside at the practice range. Maybe he was trying to impress Sunashe at the same time. He was wearing regular armor, like we’re supposed to wear on patrol. I was relieved about that! He was really polite and answered all of their questions. I think my mother might actually know his family, because she seemed to recognize the name when he said it. I hope she’s not going to digging up a lot of gossip but she probably will. I think I was holding my breath the whole time they were talking, but I can read my parents pretty well and I think it actually went okay. Which makes me feel bad, because he shouldn’t have to pretend to be a certain way just so my snobby parents will like him. I don’t care that he used to work on the Row, or that he likes to dress a certain why, so they shouldn’t either. But at the same time I think he’s trying to make things easier for me, which I appreciate. I don’t want them trying to make me leave, or worse, deciding that I need to marry someone’s daughter. I’m happy where I am now, I’m definitely not interested in going back to Silvermoon and I’m way too young to get married.

They stayed for dinner, they said they wanted the “authentic ranger experience” so they had some of the ranger food with us. They probably thought it was some exciting adventure they can tell their friends about. We had spider legs and stew from the garden. Julan didn’t even make any jokes, well except once when he said he used to be in the “Longwood” ranger unit. I almost choked when he said that but I don’t think they noticed, thankfully. I’ll have to think of something to make it up to him, but I’m not sure what yet.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Sath’alor’s Journal

Nessna and I took the boys to visit her father at the healers’ in town. It’s only fitting since he (and Lani) were the ones who saved her in a similar situation a few years back. I’m sure it’s not a time that Nessna wants to recall at all, but it’s hard not to make comparisons. At least from what I have heard and seen, Isturon’s not as badly injured as Nessna was. He does have some felfire burns, but Lani is skilled in dealing with those. Actually, Nessna said he was arguing with Lani about how best to treat them. If he’s still able to be stubborn, he can’t be doing too badly. I’m glad he’ll be okay. We aren’t especially close or anything, but I know how much it would upset Hethurin and Nessna and the rest of the siblings if something were to happen, and of course the boys. They were rushing out the door as soon as we said the words “go visit grandpa”.

He did need to rest while we were visiting, though — Lani’s orders. It makes sense that he’s receiving a lot of visitors and it can be tiring. We’ll have to either come earlier in the day before he’s tired, or later in the evening after he’s eaten. Trying to keep the boys busy and not restless wasn’t easy, especially because they were hungry and we hadn’t brought anything more than a few snacks. Maybe we could stop and eat at the school on the way, though I hear they’re pretty busy of late as well with the new babies. It’ll mess up their sleeping for a bit, but I guess it’s worth it, I’m sure Isturon appreciates getting to see them as well. It also means I’ll be leaving the rangers alone more for a bit. Sunashe is normally the one who keeps everyone in line, but he’s attending to Lin and Tialan. I trust most of them not to get up to much trouble, except maybe Faeris and Julan. Nessna said Julan already went out on patrol in heels one time. I really should say something, because I can’t really afford to have anyone twisting ankles right now, but until then I guess it’s not hurting anyone. I can only imagine Sunashe’s expression when he finds out though. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone else takes charge, my bet would be Arancon.

Being there did remind me of when Nessna was recovering though, and how Lani wouldn’t let her get up or do anything. We’re going to bring some cookies or something for him to eat, and maybe some books to read. I really have no idea what kind of books he likes, Nessna said there are magazines about healing. I didn’t know such a thing even existed, sounds boring but if that’s what he wants, we can get it. I thought some adventure stories might be better, but that’s me I guess. And maybe flowers too, they are cheerful and make the room smell nice. I’d wanted to get Nessna some back then but I hardly knew her and I didn’t know if it was appropriate or not. And not everyone likes flowers anyway, especially from some guy when you’ve just lost your husband. I’m just thankful every day that she does, and she didn’t think I was some kind of creep.

It was good seeing Isandri too. Iannor is getting so big, I think he’ll have to start going to school soon. I don’t know what I’ll do when Rylad has to go, it’ll be strange not having him here. When Hethurin is less busy I’ll ask him about it.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Leinath’s Journal

I finally feel like I’m starting to get into the routine here. It probably helps that I already knew how to use a bow, so I got a lot less yelling from Sunashe. I hear the others complaining about him sometimes, and while I might not agree with his methods I agree with what he’s saying most of the time. Maybe I could help him give people tips, in a somewhat quieter way. He’s got a new baby and that has to take up a lot of time. It’s also good that nobody asks too many questions, because I don’t know what I would say if they did. I’d probably just tell the truth, but I’m pretty sure some of the guys here are the sort of people I used to rob if I saw them out on the roads, so I don’t know how they’d feel about that.

Like Faeris. He definitely has that rich-kid look about him, though he’s nice enough and he seems pretty good with a sword. Not a bow though, as Sunashe likes to remind everyone. It was never personal when I robbed anyone, I just told myself they deserved it because it made it easier. But I have to admit he’s an okay guy. I can’t tell if he was flirting with me or not. I’d brought out a new tray of cookies and he was out there – no Julan in sight. That was a little unusual, but I guess he was still on patrol. Faeris asked if I thought anyone here was interesting. I know he’s with Julan, so I thought that was an odd thing to ask, though I don’t know all the details there. Maybe they’re trying to invite me over, not sure I’m interested in getting in the middle of something like that. I don’t know if it’s really allowed at all. No one’s allowed in each others’ quarters, but obviously it must happen anyway. I can’t risk that though, I know how much better it is here than in jail. I don’t want to give the captain any excuse to send me there. I told Faeris I didn’t know what he meant, even though I did.

Then he asked what I thought about Orledin. I said he’s been teaching me how to bake and it’s been pretty good. There were also the flowers, and the cupcake. I’m not dumb, I think I know what he’s hinting at, but I’m not sure what I think about it. If he were alive? Sure, why not — as long as I didn’t get in trouble, that is. As he is now? I’m not sure. I guess I haven’t ruled it out completely but I also don’t want to give him any false hope. And it depends what he wants. I’m assuming there are some things he just can’t do and maybe he just wants a friend to talk to. I can certainly do that. I realized afterward that Orledin might have asked Faeris to find out because he was too embarrassed to ask himself. I could bring it up with him myself, but I don’t want things to be weird either, it might cause trouble, which is the last thing I want. I don’t want Orledin to have to move to another unit, either. I know he likes it here and everyone likes his baking.

Or I can just keep quiet and see what happens. I think that sounds like a better idea.