[Art] SWTOR Valentines

I know I’m way behind on writing! RL stuff has been rough this month, and I’m also moving in… 3 weeks or so.

But here are some dumb Valentine cards featuring a grophet and an orokeet!

groph_valdentine copykeet_valentine copy

[Story] Thorns – Egg Day

I bought a lot of chocolate eggs at the market. I knew Nash wouldn’t be able to go to the one in town with his leg in a cast, and he really enjoys it so I hid them all around the shop while he was asleep. He probably only found about a quarter of them, so I’m sure we’ll be finding chocolate for months now. I think he liked it. It’s not always easy to tell with him, but it seemed like he had fun looking for them. And he didn’t even have to compete with a bunch of little kids either. I told him that a rabbit had hidden them or something, and he gave me a weird look. I don’t think that’s actually how the story goes. What do rabbits have to do with eggs, or chocolate? It should be a chicken. Or a chocolate chicken. He hopped around with his cast and ate most of the ones he found. I tried to give hints, but I couldn’t remember where I’d put all of them either because I was half asleep when I hid them. I guess they must be really well hidden.

I don’t know why I can’t just be happy. Maybe I should have just lied, but I think that would be worse. But as soon as I said it, I knew I shouldn’t have. How am I supposed to know if I’m happy? I don’t think I have ever have been. Maybe for a little while, but then it goes away just as quickly. I don’t know if I can be what he wants me to be, either. I’ve tried to tell him that, but he’s stubborn. The last thing I want is for him to get hurt again, either by breaking his leg or something worse. He’s so convinced that he doesn’t deserve to be happy, either. He’s also trying to prove that he should be here, even though I said he doesn’t. One thing he’s doing is trying to cook. I came downstairs and there was smoke everywhere, but I guess he only burned his own. Mine actually tasted pretty good. I think it’s good that he’s learning new things, but he shouldn’t be doing it for the wrong reason.

What if I actually got what I thought I wanted, but still wasn’t happy? I think about that, too. Maybe no one’s really happy, and they just pretend they are so they don’t let others down. Or themselves. Maybe you’re just supposed to be content with what you have. I don’t know. Things aren’t so bad, I have the shop and a lot of work, it’s not as lucrative as before but it’s steady and I enjoy it. It’s also a lot less dangerous, which is important when I’m trying to not get Nash arrested. I never dreamed about growing up to make clocks in a human city when I was little, but then I didn’t even know what a human was. Sometimes you just have to work with what you have, I guess.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Heart’s Tempest

“Xarola!” Sorelle knocked on her friend’s door, though it was late she could see the candle-light glowing underneath the door. She was often up reading, or making notes on herbs in her little notebook.

“”What’s wrong?” asked Xarola as she opened the door, inviting Sorelle inside. “Did Salenicus come?”

Xarola’s room was bright and colorful, herbs tied into bundles and hung to dry from every available space. She and Vynlorin often went into the woods together to look for them, and now in the winter spent a lot of time in the greenhouse with their cuttings. It was nice that they had something like that to do together. Salenicus showed an interest in learning about plants, she hoped that he would help her with the seedlings in the spring. But it would probably be a long time before they could go on walks together, at least while he was a ranger.

“Not yet,” replied Sorelle, sitting down in Xarola’s comfortable chair. The arms had bundles of icecap and mint tied to them, lending it a fresh and cool scent. “I think he will be later. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”

“From what I saw, things were going pretty well,” Xarola said, grinning.

If Sorelle could have blushed, she would be. “I guess so.”

“I saw dancing. And kissing.”

“That’s true,” Sorelle said. There had been, and it seemed that Salenicus had been practicing — he seemed more sure of his steps, more confident. And he hadn’t stepped on her feet once. “We tried the wine too. He said it was allowed, but I didn’t really taste it anyway.”

“So?” Xarola asked, sitting in the other chair. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, I mean, I just wanted to ask if you had any more books about the ranger and the mage. He said he liked the last one.”

“I told you he would,” said Xarola. She looked over the small bookshelf, taking a few off and looking at the covers. “Here. This one’s by the same writer, but different characters. He should like it too though.”

Sorelle looked at the cover, where a ranger and mage embraced on a cliff in front of a storm. Wind whipped their hair and the mage’s dress artfully behind them. “Heart’s Tempest” was the title. “Thanks,” she said, trying not to sound too doubtful. Sorelle liked to read them, but she knew they weren’t very realistic, people didn’t talk or act like that in real life. Especially not Salenicus. Most of the time he wanted to talk about patrol, which was interesting, but not very romantic. Maybe he just didn’t know what he was supposed to say, Sorelle could relate because she didn’t know either. There had been boys at her school in Dalaran, but that was different. Salenicus wasn’t a student, he was older — and an elf. He was above schoolboy pranks and notes left in study books.

“Your dress was really pretty,” Xarola said, and Sorelle smiled a little. She’d spent so much time on it, she was glad that someone had noticed. Thankfully, Salenicus had too. And no one had stared at her during the dance, they’d all been busy dancing or talking. They’d danced inside, with all of the lights and music and decoration, and it hadn’t been so bad. She could probably do it again. But the next dance wouldn’t be until spring. That gave her plenty of time to work on a new dress.

[Story] Valentine Shorts 2.5

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

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

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

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

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

[Story] Valentine Shorts 2

[[ Really having difficulty concentrating today due to a bad toothache, I can’t get it looked at until tomorrow though. So this is shorter than I wanted, might try to do more after it’s fixed. ]]

Leinath glanced up and down the street before stepping out of the shop, his packages tucked safely under his arm. Anyone familiar with that particular shop would surely be able to guess at the nature of his purchases, wrapped in long boxes. He ducked quickly down another street, ears burning even though he was sure no one had seen him. The gifts hadn’t been his idea, Orledin had asked for them in a round-about way, and since he couldn’t go himself, Leinath had offered to buy them. He thought he’d picked out a good variety, though he hadn’t wanted to spend too much time staring at the display on the wall. Hopefully Orledin would like what he’d chosen, but it wasn’t really the kind of gift Leinath would have picked out.

The problem was that he couldn’t use most usual gifts — wine or chocolates, he didn’t even need a scarf to keep warm on their patrol. He thought about buying something for the kitchen, but they already had everything that Leinath could imagine. What about his other — admittedly strange — hobby? Other than wire and clay, Orledin didn’t need much for that. There weren’t any bones for sale in the marketplace, either. Leinath walked out into the main market, bustling with shoppers, in hopes that he would see something that inspired him.

Most of the merchants were goblins, their stalls decorated with bright ribbons and heart shapes cut out of paper. Leinath stopped to look over them, but he couldn’t imagine either of them wearing the sort of things they had for sale. At least, not yet. A dusty booth near the back of the market caught his eye, piled with all manner of strange items. The elf behind the counter claimed they were artifacts, dug up from far-off lands. Leinath was no expert, but they certainly looked exotic — there were jade carvings from Pandaria, a drinking horn from Northrend, miniature statues and clay tablets from Uldum.

The bright paint and feathers of the troll artifacts stood out from the others. Leinath leaned in closer to look at them. Maybe Orledin would appreciate something to decorate his hut? He could leave it there, and they could stop by after their patrol again. He was drawn to a carved wooden puppet in the shape of a raptor, strings attached to a pair of crossed sticks overhead. The elf showed him how the sticks could be moved to bring the raptor to life, seeming to bob its head and lift its legs in a lifelike manner. It was painted in bright green and blue, and even had feathers attached. It wasn’t a practical gift at all, but Leinath liked it. He hoped that Orledin would too.

[Story] Valentine Shorts

Sorelle pinned the lace edging into place, making sure that it lay flat against the seam. There were only a few days until the ball, so she’d had to take a few shortcuts to finish her new dress in time. Salenicus was the one who’d told her about the ball, though she’d seen the paper hearts and ribbons being hung, she hadn’t paid it much mind. A relatively new custom adopt from the goblins, it was meant to be a day to celebrate love, but in truth was probably just a ruse to sell candy and flowers. Obviously, Sorelle had never had anyone to go with before, but this year she did. Salenicus had asked her, and she wanted a new dress that would match the ruffly pink decorations in the ballroom. She’d given Tik a list of what sort of fabric and supplies she needed, and he’d returned with a length of beautiful soft pink cloth, like rose petals. For a butler, he was fortunately good at picking out cloth that she would like. Or perhaps everything in Silvermoon was nice, and it was impossible to pick something bad. She’d never been to the shops there herself, though she desperately wanted to. The Headmaster assured her that the arcane guards could see through magical disguises, and they might ask her to leave.

Though it wasn’t especially complex, the lines were soft and flattering, and Sorelle was pleased with how it was turning out. There was enough fabric left for some matching bows — she made one for herself, and one for Xarola. Of all the students, she was the one who had been the most like a friend to her, talking to her and loaning her books. Sorelle thought Xarola probably wasn’t very fond of pink, but maybe she’d wear it just for the ball. The last little piece she made into a handkerchief for Salenicus. Of course, he couldn’t really use it, but she thought it might look nice tucked into his coat or armor.

“Lin! You’re a woman, can you help me?”

Linarelle lowered her bow and looked at the Captain, puzzled.

“What?”

Sath’alor held a sheet of paper. From what Linarelle could see, there were a lot of things scratched out and rewritten. “I want to know if this is a good poem for Nessna.”

“Shouldn’t you ask her that?”

“Okay, yes,” Sath’alor explained. “But if she hates it, then it’s not a good gift, is it?”

Linarelle bit her lip. “Is that the only thing you got her?”

“No, of course not. I got flowers and some chocolates, a bottle of wine… oh, and a book. From that one shop. Forget I said that.”

Linarelle nodded. At least if the poem was terrible, he had a backup plan. She laid her bow against the bench and sat down. “Let’s hear it.”

The Captain read from the paper. “An ode to Nessna. My dearest Nessna, you are the best-na ranger I’ve ever known. I’d be a mess-na if you don’t say yes-na to being mine. You’ll never guess-na how much you mean to me. I’m truly blessed-na.”

“Um,” said Linarelle. “Do you want me to be honest?”

Sath’alor nodded.

“It’s pretty bad.”

“How can it be bad?” Sath’alor protested. “It rhymes and everything. I mean, kind of.”

Still, as awful as it was, he’d clearly gone to a lot of effort. And he probably meant every awkward line. Would Nessna at least be amused by it? Probably. Linarelle had her own share of odd gifts from Sunashe, but that didn’t mean she loved him any less. “It might not be the best poem ever, but she’ll like it.”

Sath’alor brightened. “You think so?”

“I’m sure of it.”

[Story] Story a Week 7

[[ Another weird prompt this week… not happy about having so many I don’t like. So I wrote a little Valentine’s thing instead. ]]

It was the first time Risarra had even heard of the goblin holiday. She’d only been to Darnassus a handful of times, and never further than that. So she didn’t know what to make of the package from Stormwind; a small heart-shaped box of chocolates, a bag of hard candies, and a tiny vial of perfume. Sorias had sent it, along with a small note, but it didn’t explain what the things were or why he’d sent them. Avanniel made a face when she saw them sitting on the table at first-meal time.

“I wish they’d send those filthy goblins out of Darnassus,” she muttered. “But the people in Darnassus never did have much sense.”

According to Avanniel, the treats were all some sort of holiday invented by the goblins to sell candy and other things. You were supposed to buy gifts for people — so it was similar to what the dwarves did, except it was closer to spring and everything was pink. Also, there was meant to be some romantic connotation to the gift — the little hard candies had words printed on them in Common. Things like “Be Mine” and “Kiss Me”. Risarra wasn’t sure what to make of that. She had no intention of kissing Sorias, especially across the sea in Stormwind. She assured herself that he probably just didn’t know much about the holiday either, and had just sent them to be nice. The chocolates were very nice, after all. They were enrobed in a shell of chocolate that cracked when you bit into it, and the middle was filled with a creamy, sweet center. There were different flavors inside, some vanilla, others chocolate, and others some sort of berry. Risarra wanted to make them last as long as possible, but they were just so delicious she ended up eating most of them straight away. She did share a few with the other sentinels first.

She liked the little vial of perfume best, though. According to the writing on the bottle, it was called “Forever”, and it was like nothing she’d smelled before. Risarra thought she could recognize some of the scents in it, but then it would change and she couldn’t be sure. She dabbed a little on her wrist, and it seemed to shift as it dried, becoming deeper and more complex. It really was lovely. It was rare for the sentinels to wear perfume; it made them more noticeable to both animals and orcs, but sometimes for special occasions. There weren’t any of those coming up, though, besides the kite festival but that wasn’t for a month or so yet.

Zhyra suggested that she should wear it when she brought the dumplings to Bear’s camp. Risarra thought that was a bad idea — who knows how the animals might react to a strange scent. They were not normally aggressive, but maybe it had some sort of effect on bears that she didn’t know about. She certainly had no expectation that Bear, the elf, would notice it. He didn’t seem to notice anything at all, other than whether she had a basket of food with her. Maybe they ought to make dumpling-scented perfume. Still, she dabbed a few more drops onto her wrist, and added a touch behind each ear. It seemed a shame not to use it, if nothing else, she could enjoy the scent.