[Story] Character of the Week – Linarelle Flamereaver

[[ Lin is Imralion’s twin sister, currently a member of the Ghostclaw rangers. ]]

Linarelle pried open the lid of the wooden crate, revealing a tangled nest of straw and a sealed envelope. She recognized the handwriting right away as her mother’s, and broke the seal with a smile. The box had arrived earlier that morning, but she hadn’t had time to open it before her patrol. The sturdy wooden box looked as if had travelled a great distance to arrive in the Ghostlands, its corners scuffed and the ink-stamps faded from the sunlight.

Dearest Linarelle,

Please forgive me for not being there with you today. I promised I would never spend another of your birthdays away, but I hope I am there in your heart and your thoughts. I’ll make it up to you and Tialan when we return. The professor has discovered a tomb that has been untouched by thieves or raiders, so it promises to be a very important trip. Maybe they’ll put something in the museum in Silvermoon, and you can tell everyone that your mother helped find it. Please wish Imralion well for me too, even though I know he’s going to make that face.

Love,
Liara

When they were little, they’d never known their birthday — not for certain. The Matron could guess, based on how big they were when they’d been left with her, but not the exact day. Imralion had seemed to take this indignity in stride, he didn’t seem to really care which day he got cake and presents, so long as he got them. But to Lin, it was part of their story that had been taken away from them. She remembered crying under her little cot in the orphanage because she insisted it wasn’t her real birthday that day.

Now, of course, they had it back. Their mother had returned to their lives, and it had been awkward at first, and there had been a lot of difficult conversations. Imralion still seemed a bit hesitant, but she thought eventually he would come around. He was less angry about it than he had been, but he still bristled at the mention of their father. Lin could understand that — her mother had her reasons for giving them up, her father didn’t even have an excuse. He didn’t deserve to know how they were doing now.

Linarelle removed the straw, curious to uncover what her mother had sent. She’d already bought Tialan everything he could possibly need for the next several years. Lin thought spoiling her grandson was her way of making amends for her absence, but then it was probably just a grandparent thing. He had dozens of little outfits and shoes and hats, not to mention all of the toys and books. They didn’t really need anything; their house was small but neat, even with the enormous lizard lounging on the floor most days.

It was an art piece of some kind, hardly the kind of thing you’d want to have around a little baby, but they had shelves that were out of his reach. It was from Uldum, a golden statue of a humanoid figure with the head of a lizard. The figure wore a head-dress inlaid with different colored stones, and held some kind of weapon in its carefully sculpted hands — a staff with some kind of symbol on its end. Lin didn’t know exactly what she’d expected, but it wasn’t a lizard-man statue. Still, it was beautifully sculpted, the gold burnished to a warm patina. She wondered just how long it had lain underground, just waiting to be discovered. And perhaps Sunashe would know something about who the figure was supposed to be. At the very least, he’d be excited about yet another lizard decoration.

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[Story] The Ghostclaw – Leinath’s Journal

It had been a while since Orledin invited me to come over to the huts. I thought that it was because he didn’t want to, that things had been kind of awkward before, but he assured me that wasn’t the case. He said there was a surprise there and I had to wait to see it. With everything else going on, I’d actually forgotten about it for a bit. Julan and Faeris had their party, and left for their trip. They’re going to Booty Bay, which is probably the perfect place for Julan to go on vacation. Nessna and Anorelle are both expecting, which everyone knew only because the Captain and Arancon told everyone, you can’t tell from looking yet. I expect patrols will have to be moved around a bit once they get closer to when it’s time, because you can’t have two pregnant ladies on one patrol. Esladra has been coming from the clinic often to see them, but I think she’s also coming to see Teloth who works in the stables. He’s somehow always in the lodge and all washed up whenever she’s here. We still see a little demon now and then, but it seems like wherever they were coming from has been closed off, which is good. Now all we have to worry about are stray scourge and spiders, but that’s what we are used to.

From the outside, the huts looked the same, they’re still made of wood and painted with designs on the walls. The larger one is where Orledin keeps all of his assembled skeletons, because he doesn’t want them to get damaged by rain or snow. I’d think bones are probably okay in the weather, but I guess eventually they would get worn away. I think it’s more likely some animal would try to steal them to chew or something! Ever since Arancon got his riding machine, Orledin has been talking about maybe getting one too, he says he could keep it in the hut with the bones. It’s easier to care for than a hawkstrider, though Orledin says you do have to put oil in it, and repair the parts sometimes. I guess I just worry a little about what will become of the hawkstrider keepers and farmers if everyone decides to get machines. I suppose there will always be some who prefer the old-fashioned way. But if we’re having to go back and forth every day, we definitely need something.

It just kind of happened, Orledin didn’t ask or anything. He showed me the living hut, he’d done a lot of work fixing it up. There’s a chimney and fireplace so the hole in the roof is closed up now, that will be nice when it’s cold outside. He also got a lot of new furniture, including a stove and kitchen area. Since it’s round, there aren’t really proper rooms but Orledin got dividers to separate the kitchen from the sitting room and things like that. It actually feels like a real house — or at least like one of the cabins. He still wants to get some curtains for the windows, but there’s never anyone around here so I think it’ll be okay for now. It’s nice to be able to look out and see the forest so close. He kept asking if I liked it, and I do. It’s really great. I wasn’t sure if it would be okay for me to stay away from the lodge, but Orledin said that he asked the Captain about it. I might want to double check, just to be sure. I don’t think he mistrusts me or anything, but there might be rules about it in my file. I’ve also never lived with anyone before — I’ve shared a tent, but that’s not really permanent. It feels different, more serious. I could have said no if I didn’t want to do it, but it’s been nice having more time alone. We’re kind of alone in the kitchen, but not really, and anyway our hands are usually covered with flour or something. I’m just not sure what it means, or where it’s going. I should probably just relax and try to stop worrying so much about it. We do have a lot of really comfortable pillows, after all.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Astiria’s Journal

I don’t think anyone really notices that I’m here at all, but that’s exactly how I like it. I am still trying to sort things out and find my place. Even though I’ve patrolled in Eversong for years, I’ve just now been assigned a patrol, and that’s because Anorelle is away on a trip. I’m taking over her slot for the time being. It’s first thing in the morning, which I like because then I have the whole rest of the day to practice. I’m much further ahead of many of the other rangers, having already gained some skill with the bow, but I’m not sure what else Sunashe is looking for. I’m not here to cause trouble though, so I’m doing my best to be patient. It was terribly boring just sitting around in the quarters with nothing to do.

So far, things seem a lot more casual here. I don’t mean that the rangers don’t take their patrol seriously, but it seems everyone has a lot more freedom on their off hours. You don’t have to report in, and the captain is more lax about paperwork than my old one. I suppose that’s an effect of being further away from Silvermoon. A lot of people there were simply after the prestige of being a ranger, or their parents had sent them out because they had no other prospects. Here, it seems like everyone genuinely wants to be at this post — I can’t imagine anyone staying out here if they didn’t want to be. There are also rangers that would never be allowed in Eversong, like the undead, and the draenei. As long as they do a good job, they don’t bother me. Another thing that’s new to me is the spiders. Evidently they do it every year, and it makes sense, but it’s not a very pleasant job. But they make it into kind of a party, and we had food afterward, Orledin even made cookies with spiders made of icing after.

There aren’t many other rangers in here, either. There’s Yara and Kavia, and Anorelle was in here but she moved to Arancon’s house in town. Sorrowmoss has a bunk, but she’s very rarely in it. I’m not sure where she goes during the day, but it’s not here. She isn’t one for talking either, which makes me like her already. I imagine that a patrol with her would be straight-forward and efficient. It’s not that I dislike any of the others, it’s just that they want to know things that I don’t feel like answering. I know they’re just trying to be friendly, or make small talk, there’s nothing malicious behind it. At least, I don’t think so. I don’t want to lie, but I don’t really want to talk about myself very much either. Not the recent past, anyway. I’m sure with time it’ll be easier, but I still have too many feelings about it right now to think clearly. Nessna said there’s a man in the town who you can talk to about problems, but I’m not sure if I could do that either. Then again, maybe it would help to get everything out with someone who won’t discuss it — Nessna said anything you tell him is considered private.

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

Last night, I got to take Nessna to dinner and a play. Actually, her father bought the tickets for us, but I was still the one who took her. I originally thought he would be coming with us, since he took Hethurin and Vaildor, but then he said he’d watch the boys so we could go. I feel bad for not being able to take her out like that more often, I should see if Lin or Mae would be willing to babysit for us sometime. And she wore a dress! I couldn’t even believe it. Nessna said that Lani was the one who finally talked her into it, because she said you can’t wear armor to a play. I did, but I guess she meant that ladies can’t. I’m going to have to get Lani something nice to thank her, because I’ve tried and I could never talk her into it. She looked so beautiful though, I tried to make sure she knew without being too creepy.

We ate at a place that serves Pandaren food. It’s not really authentic pandaren food, because they don’t have any actual pandaren working there, it’s all elves. But they had it decorated to look like a pandaren temple and there was a statue of one and everything. And it was really good! I got these noodles that were fried with beef and vegetables in a delicious sauce, and Nessna got spring rolls. I will say I missed the food that they had in Pandaria, we’ll have to go to this place again sometime. We talked a little bit about some of the other rangers, mostly Arancon. I’m pretty sure he’ll be moving out of the mens’ quarters and into his own house soon. We’re both just a little worried because it’s right next to the inn, and he might be tempted to go there and get a drink. But hopefully Anorelle will be there to talk him out of it. I hope it works out for him, he’s worked really hard to get where he is and he deserves to be happy. Especially having to put up with Aeramin all the time. He also keeps getting her things! The other morning, there was a huge bouquet of flowers that he bought for her, and Sunashe got some for Lin too because he was there when Arancon bought them. Then yesterday afternoon, he got chocolates. I don’t want Nessna to feel unappreciated so I’m going to have to step it up. Also because she told me some important news — we’re going to have another baby around the winter holidays. I couldn’t believe it at first, but she said she’s seen Esladra and everything. I think it would be exciting to have a girl, but three boys would be good too. I’m going to talk to Gael right away to see about getting some plans made up to add a second story onto the house. There’s probably enough space now, but it would be great if they all had their own rooms, and a play room would be nice for when it’s cold or rainy outside. It’s so strange to think that I’ll have three children, when just a few years ago I thought I’d be alone forever. She’s really the best.

Of course I was kind of distracted by the news when we went to the play. It was my first time going to one, Nessna said she’d been before. She made sure to tell me the rules, like no jumping up and yelling when something exciting happens. You are allowed to laugh and clap though. The story was about a soldier who went to fight in a far away land, and he met a woman there and they fell in love, but she thought he was killed. Later on, she had his child and they were reunited at the end, so it had a happy ending. I liked the play a lot, I even forgot that I was watching actors for a while. I wonder if they have any plays about rangers? I’d definitely like to watch that.

On the way home, I got Nessna some flowers from the little stand they had outside. There aren’t really any blue flowers, but I got some that were purple mixed with pink. I know it’s not a lot, but I’m not good at writing poems like Arancon is. I also promised that I’d talk to Nessna’s father about trying to help with his girl problems. I’m really not an expert, but Nessna said I should because I’ve been in a similar situation. The lady he’s trying to impress lost her husband — in fact, around the same time that Vessen died. I’ll try, but I’m not sure he’s interested in my advice and I don’t really know if he likes me very much.

 

[Story] Character of the Week – Marjolaine

[[ Formerly a Gilnean noblewoman, Marjolaine led a small crew of criminals in Stormwind before they opened the clock shop. While she works at the shop during the day, she and Josie return to their farm in the Elwynn countryside in the evenings. ]]

It was their first spring on the farm, and even Marjolaine hadn’t quite expected how alive it would feel. The surrounding trees bloomed with soft new leaves and sweet-smelling buds, the warm breeze carrying the scent on the air. Birds busily built nests for their hatchlings who would be arriving soon, and there were babies everywhere on the farm. Cute little yellow chicks followed their mothers through the bright green grass, dotted with wildflowers. There were wobbly little white lambs and even a brown calf. She was struck by just how much like home it made her feel, in spite of looking different, that feeling of life and growth was the same. Not the dreary, rainy home of the estate, but the farm where she’d grown up as a child, riding the horses bareback through the fields and forests.

She’d  have to take Blackjack out to check the fences soon, there were probably repairs needed from the winter winds, or any wild animals looking to come in for an easy meal. Marjolaine couldn’t help but think of her conversation with Nash last night, and just how miserable he’d seemed. He seemed to have no faith in fences, said the farm would feel more like a prison to him than the walls of Stormwind. Some people preferred the city, to be sure, but she was certain that he’d grow to love it if he gave it a chance. Here, he could walk around freely, without having to hide. But he firmly refused to leave the city, insisting that he wanted to learn to cook and help in the shop in order to feel useful. And for what? Probably to try to please that elf, who probably didn’t care either way. She felt bad for him, but she could also see that he didn’t want to hear the truth — at least, not from her. She urged him to talk about it with Harrier, though she didn’t expect it would go well. But at least he wouldn’t be trying to be something he wasn’t, in a place he didn’t feel like he belonged.

Out in the yard, the chickens came running in anticipation of being fed, the little fluffy chicks hurrying behind them. Nash was afraid of chickens, he said, and she found that funny. If he came out to the farm, he could keep one of the chicks, and she was sure he’d be won over in no time. They were curious and clever, even affectionate. While the chickens were busy eating their grain, she went into the little house and collected the eggs, still warm in their nests. Marjolaine had promised to bring some with her to the shop, so Nash could make omelettes. She didn’t know how he was doing with cooking, but last night he’d successfully put a clock back together. She did have doubts, though, about whether he’d be safe in the city. He said he’d fallen the first time because he’d fallen asleep after crying. What would stop that from happening again? Nash said that now he cried in the bathroom instead. That was only a short step away from crying on the roof. And he shouldn’t be crying at all. That wasn’t how love was supposed to be, and though she tried to explain it to him, the message didn’t seem to get through. He’s making you miserable, she wanted to say, that’s not love. Find somebody who makes you happy. But though she said it, she knew it wasn’t just that simple. Still, he’d be better off here than crying in the bathroom. Hopefully he’d figure it out for himself sooner than later.

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

I had to write my first incident report in a long time today. Sunashe and Arancon came in, looking sheepish. Arancon’s hand was wrapped up and had a bag with ice on it. At first I’d thought there’d been an accident of some kind, but they told me that Arancon had punched Bailas on patrol. I couldn’t believe that! So, it turns out that he was running his mouth and saying some things he shouldn’t have. I guess I can’t blame him for punching the kid, but I feel like maybe he could have tried talking to him first? Arancon told me what he said though, and I have to agree he kind of deserved it. I don’t want anyone talking about other rangers that way. If he’d said that about Nessna, I would have punched him too, but I didn’t tell Arancon that. It did make me wonder if there’s something to the rumors but — hey, not really my business. Sunashe did say he was going to warn her to keep away from him. I can’t believe I gave him one rule: don’t bother the women, and he’s already broken it.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’ll talk to the kid and see if he wants to stay, because I’m pretty sure Hethurin doesn’t want him back either. I could put him on another patrol, but I don’t really want them to have to put up with him either. Maybe he could just stay here around the grounds, help Teloth in the stables or something. Or he could keep trying to practice with that huge bow that Sunashe gave him. I felt kind of bad about that, and got him one of the practice bows out of the storage room. At least he can sort of pull that one back, though I haven’t seen him hit the target yet.  I told Arancon I’d give him a couple of days off, to get his hand looked at, and because there ought to be some consequence for what he did, even if I don’t really think it was wrong. On the form I wrote that Bailas hit himself in the face while he was trying to draw his bow, though. No need for Arancon to get in any trouble.

That egg thing is going on, I’d actually forgotten about it until Hethurin invited us to bring the boys. He’s having a big fancy egg hunt on the grounds and he invited everyone with little kids, Lali and the Confessor came, as well as Xanaroth and his daughter (but not Vallindra). I don’t really understand what it’s all about, but the kids love running around looking for eggs, and eating a lot of chocolate. I might have accidentally eaten one or two. Malwen also had a little turtle and was carrying it around to show everyone. I think the spring ball has got to be this week, I hadn’t realized it was so soon either. I’m definitely not wanting to bring Bailas to that, so I’ll have to think of some reason he can stay behind.

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

We have a new recruit — sort of. Hethurin begged me to let him stay here, because he’s been causing trouble at the school. He has no skills, has never held a bow, and wants to leave as soon as he can. Obviously not the ideal ranger candidate. I told Bailas — that’s his name — that I wasn’t going to waste anyone’s time if he didn’t actually want to learn. But Sunashe has agreed to keep an eye on him for a few days. I figure we can let him hold a bow and pretend to shoot it, tag along on a couple of patrols, give him the whole ranger weekend experience thing. Maybe that’ll be enough to satisfy Hethurin. Or, what I hope happens is that he discovers he actually likes it and wants to learn for real, as has happened with a few others.

I just hope he doesn’t bother any of the women. He apparently has a liking for older women — like a lot older — and has trouble controlling that urge. He said it was the stablekeeper’s fault that he ended up in the loft with her. Which I’m sure it was, to a degree, but I really doubt she forced him into it. I think the only one he might try to talk to is Anorelle, so I’ll warn her beforehand. Bailas is going to tag along with Arancon and Sunashe’s patrol anyway, so maybe he’ll be too tired to do anything else. He was worried about the mud though, bad season to join up with the rangers then!

He says he wants to go home to Verisna, which might be true. But he doesn’t plan to tell her about what happened in the loft. I don’t know if that’s right or not, I feel like she’ll be more upset if she ever does find out. Or maybe she’s replaced him already, I don’t know how her mind works. I do know for certain that I would never do anything like that to Nessna, even if she did kick me out. And I guess I’d do anything she asked to get her back, even if it meant doing something I hated. He’s worried that Hethurin is going to turn him into a sheep, and I told him maybe that wouldn’t be so bad. All he’d have to do is eat grass, not be a ranger or shovel hawkstrider poop or anything else. I was only half joking, I think. I do feel bad for him, especially when he started to cry. I’m just not sure he’s cut out to be a ranger, even a weekend ranger.

Nessna’s father got tickets for some play in the city. I think it’s just some family thing with him and her sisters, but I’m not sure yet. I’ve never been to a play, but I think it would be pretty interesting. If it’s just her, I’ll have her explain everything that happened when she gets home. But it would be nice to go with her. Maybe if she likes it, I’ll get tickets for her and I to go sometime. I’m not sure who I’d get to watch the boys though. I’d say Linarelle, but I’m pretty sure Sunashe would let them ride on his lizard, and Rylad is old enough that he’d want to.