[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.

[Story] Risarra’s Journal

I wonder if all men are as clueless as Bear is. Avanniel says they are, but that really makes me worry for the future. How is our society going to move ahead if half of them don’t even understand anything at all? I don’t know anyone who has one, otherwise I’d ask them. I would guess they probably would say they aren’t, otherwise they wouldn’t be with them in the first place. Unless they got lonely enough to ignore it, which I suppose is possible.

I thought I might take him some of my extra candy, I hadn’t eaten it all and I know it came from Sorias, but once he gave it to me, it became mine so it wouldn’t really be from him. Except I don’t think Bear understood when I explained it at all. He thought you were supposed to buy candy for the goblins. Why would anyone do that? I told him you bought it from them, and then gave it to someone else, but I still don’t think he got it. I also told him we’d had chocolate in Astranaar. The goblins had been selling it at a discount because it was the last day of the festival, so some of the sentinels bought some and brought it back for us. He could have had some if he hadn’t been so stubborn. I still haven’t eaten it all yet. Maybe I’ll try again, but maybe not.

He didn’t notice the perfume, either. Or maybe he did, because one of his bears got up and left when I got there. I thought it smelled nice. Definitely not enough to scare bears away. They should be used to my smell by now, I come by every few days at most. And of course, Bear didn’t notice at all. He said he wanted to give me some fish to take back. That’s good, I guess? We can always use fish. But I’d think he needs them to feed to the bears. We did talk a little though, which is more than usual. Most of the time he just stares off when I’m there. He talked about the places he used to live, and the sentinels there. I’ve heard about Feralas, but never been. I know there’s a large sentinel outpost there, you’d think he would like it, but he says they’re scary. I never heard anything so silly. I’m not scary, but I didn’t ask if he thought that. He probably would say yes, but he just puts up with me because I bring dumplings. He also asked what I like to do after patrol. Usually I just read books, or fish or something relaxing like that. He said that he likes fishing too, but he falls asleep during. That’s so strange. I told him he shouldn’t fish so close to dawn if that was the case.

I’ll have to ask Zhyra about the other one, or maybe go look for him myself. But he’s more used to Zhyra so he’d be less likely to hide from her. I should warn her not to use any perfume either.

[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.

[Story] Story a Week 48

[[ Prompt: A story set in a strange small town. ]]

Leinath held his breath as he approached the town, the painted spires peeking into view over the hills. Even from this distance he could see that the paint was faded and chipped in places, that the formerly regal spires now looked crumbled and tired. It had been so long since he’d walked along these paths, and coming home felt strange and uncomfortable. It wasn’t his home any longer. Maybe some parts of it looked the same, but it wasn’t.

Nearly all of the buildings were in similar disrepair — cracks snaked up through the walls, scraggly vines clinging to the dirty surfaces. Leinath could remember them all. That one had been the bakery, the big clear glass window was long ago broken and gone. The display now held various bottles and jars, poisons, Leinath supposed. The hooded figure behind the counter was gaunt and skeletal, either one of the dead or an elf who might as well be. That was the library, where all of the city’s book collection had been held. A few lay trampled and forgotten on the floor, but where were the rest? Had someone stolen them? What use would the dead have for books? It hurt to see his town like this, broken down and stolen by the dead. Worse, they didn’t even care enough to fix the things that needed repair. Maybe they saw it as pointless, Leinath couldn’t be sure. There was the mayor’s hall, and the hawkstrider stable. None of the faces there were ones that he recognized. The old chapel still stood, and while it was dusty and had pieces of the stained glass missing, it looked at least as if it had been cared for. The grounds out front were free of weeds, and the door had been recently painted. Leinath couldn’t remember the Confessor’s name, but he could picture his face, and his long white hair. Was he here still, or was he one of the dead? Leinath couldn’t see how anyone could have escaped the onslaught of the scourge.

Not far away, he noticed a new building. He stood and blinked at it for a moment, trying to remember what had stood there before. Had it been the potter? No, now he remembered: the old man who made furniture. Someone must have torn the whole thing down to put up this new building. The idea bothered him, though the building looked clean and well-kept, there was even a fountain out in front, water bubbling through it. Why couldn’t they just fix up the old building? Now it was gone forever, and perhaps there was no one else who even remembered it had once been there.

Leinath walked to where the leatherworker’s shop had been. He could remember the shop well, its warm and comfortable smell, the harnesses and armor displayed on the wall. He remembered being fitted for his armor and choosing a pair of boots to go with them, how pleased he had been and how excited to wear them home. There was no one here now. The shop was dark, cobwebs and a thick layer of dust coated the work tables and counters now. It didn’t look as if anyone, alive or dead, had been in here for many years. He knew this would probably be the case, but he hoped that he might be wrong. He’d hoped to see a few  familiar faces, someone who might remember him and say hello. He wasn’t entirely sure if he was ready to give up on his home yet, but it seemed to have gone ahead without him.

Frowning, he walked up the road toward the dragonhawk handler. He at least knew there was one, he’d seen their bright feathers from the road. He would have to get his new armor in the city.

 

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Leinath’s Journal

I’ve been here at the ranger place for about a week now. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it’s not bad at all. Mostly I’ve just been practicing my bow, making sure I’m not rusty. The guy who does the training said I’m doing well, which is good. I hope I can make a good impression on everyone. The last thing I want is to have to go to jail. This is definitely better. There’s enough people that there’s usually someone to talk to, and the food is pretty good. One of the rangers is also a baker, or I guess he used to be. He’s actually dead. Well, undead. So are two of the others, three if you count the one outside, but he’s not really a ranger. That was a little bit of a shock. I knew undead had taken over the town, but to actually see it is another thing. It’s hard not to remember the town as it used to be. But the ones who are rangers aren’t so bad, I guess. Two of them I hardly ever see because they take the late night patrol and they don’t really talk to anyone. Salenicus has a bunk in the quarters where I sleep but he’s hardly ever there. I guess most people live in the cabins, there’s an older guy named Arancon who I talk to sometimes but he’s not really chatty either. I kind of wonder if he’s here for the same reason I am, but of course I can’t ask.

The other one is Orledin, he’s the one who does all the baking. Sometimes he comes out while I’m eating and talks. I don’t mind, like I said there aren’t really many people around to talk to, especially after dinner. Everyone else goes back to their cabins. He told me about how he used to be a baker, and about his family. Most of them are still alive, but they don’t want anything to do with him because he’s undead. I’m not sure how I would feel about it, but I think I’d still want to see my brother even if he was. It’s possible, he could have been killed. I think having him undead would be better than totally dead, because at least we could still talk. It just seems harsh to turn away like that and just pretend he’s dead. He did say he saw me outside practicing. It’s not really strange, because I’m out there a lot, but why was he looking anyway? I’m supposed to start on my patrol tomorrow, I’m looking forward to it. I’m not sure yet who I will be working with. I know one of the women is pregnant so she’ll need to be replaced soon, but I guess I’ll find out in the morning. I just hope everything goes well and they like me. I’m so worried about breaking the rules or doing something I shouldn’t by accident. Or what if someone decides they don’t like me and they tell the Captain and he sends me back? He seems like a reasonable guy, but maybe he doesn’t want criminals on his patrols. Some people just judge you by the label before they even know you. I don’t think any of the others know either, though like I said I have a hunch about a couple of the others. Maybe it’s not the first time he’s hired someone like me.

[Story] Risarra’s Journal

I’ve been taking dumplings to Bear at his camp before my patrols. I’m not sure why, he’s perfectly able to hunt for himself, and it’s always strange. I always tell him he should move in closer to the town, where it’s safer and people would be able to look out for him, but I suppose he’d rather be in danger than be around other people. Or sentinels, at least. He and the other one both have a strange aversion that I can’t figure out. I’ve never seen them be rude or cruel to anyone, strict yes, but not rude. Though I guess others might see it differently. I know Sorias dislikes them, and I suppose they weren’t very fair to him. He replied to my letter, saying that they were safe in the city behind the walls. I wonder if Bear and the other man might like it better there? Bear said that people yelled at him where he used to live, I asked where but he only said “up north”. That could be a lot of places. Maybe Feralas, I know there’s the sentinel stronghold there. But I really doubt anyone yelled at him. He can exaggerate sometimes. He also said they’d stare. That’s just because they are curious, I don’t think you can be upset at people for that. He does look a bit unusual, but not so strange that I think they would stare. I suspect there might be another reason, he just doesn’t want to say it. Usually he doesn’t want to say much of anything at all.

There have been a few more sightings, but still not a huge number. It’s discouraging that they are not decreasing, they must be coming from somewhere. A portal is the most likely, but we’ve not found one yet. I wonder if mages could sense that sort of thing? I should ask, though it’s not likely to be a popular idea. Still, if it could help us get rid of the demons for good, I think it’s worth trying. There have been some druids here trying to cleanse the river and the places where the demons were. It’s taking time, but it seems to be working. It would go faster if we had more, but they have all been called away to fight the Legion in other places. We need them here too! Our home is just as important as those other places. I would say even more so.

I was going to mention my strange dream, but in the end I decided not to. I thought it was too odd and he’d probably think I was mad or something. At least he wasn’t in it. I have had a dream about the fletcher but that was a while ago, and nothing happened, I just remember that he was in it. Bear asked if I could show him how to make dumplings. I guess so he doesn’t need me to bring them anymore. I explained that it would be difficult to make them in a camp, because you need a flat surface to roll out the dough and put the filling in. But it might be possible, I guess. I had a roasted quail with me too, because I thought he might get tired of eating the same food every day, but then I guess he eats fish all the time when I’m not there.

He hasn’t heard from the old man either. I’m beginning to think that the blood elves captured him after all. I’ve heard that they keep people as captives and drain out their magic. I don’t know if we have much magic to drain out, but they could have tried. I hope he’s not dead. I would feel partly responsible, because I was the one who helped convince Avanniel to let him go. I thought it was the best thing to do, but maybe it wasn’t?