[Story] The Ghostclaw – Leinath’s Journal

So things have been a little awkward since we stayed at the huts. We still bake every morning like usual, and we talk about baking things, and go on patrol and talk about normal things. But it’s almost like Orledin is pretending that nothing happened. I didn’t want to ask about it because I didn’t want to seem like I was being pushy or weird, but I finally decided that I at least wanted to know what was going on, even if it was bad. I mean, everything seemed fine, but you can never really be sure what someone else is thinking. Orledin said he just hadn’t wanted to seem like he was being too pushy, which I guess I appreciate. I feel a bit better now that we talked about it. He said it wasn’t weird or bad, which is mostly what I was worried about. I mean, I don’t know, it’s been years. Maybe it was really bad.

We talked about the past too, a bit. I said that I didn’t know if Erilan had been turned into a death knight. He could have, and I’d never know about it, but Orledin said he probably would have tried to contact me. I guess he’s right, unless he forgot — he said that can happen with some death knights. Or he was too scared that I’d reject him, which Orledin said happens a lot too. His boyfriend, who’d been living with him, said he was disgusting and left. But he still sees him because he’s the mage who comes to make the wards at the lodge. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t be friendly with someone who did that to me, but maybe Orledin’s a better person than I am. I’ve thought about it a lot since meeting Orledin. I’m pretty sure that I would be okay with it, like a second chance. Being undead is probably better than being all the way dead. Unless he’d really changed a lot, or something. But if I found out he was still around now it would be really awkward, so maybe all the way dead is better. That sounds really terrible. I’m not glad that he’s dead.

Some people don’t mind it as much, I think. Like Salenicus, he never complains and he goes back to the death knight place often, Orledin said. He helps locate other death knights, so he must be good at dealing with them. I’d never met one before Orledin, I just assumed they were scary and dangerous, I’m sure some must be, but regular people can be scary and dangerous too. We both think it’s weird that he likes humans, at least that one human at the school. Orledin said there are plenty of elf death knights at Ebon Hold that he could have picked.

I’m still not sure what happens now though, even if I know we’re proceeding. We can’t really stay at the huts all the time — we’re needed to bake in the mornings and as Orledin pointed out, they’re not warded. We could get one of the mages to do it, but it’s still pretty far from the lodge to travel all the time. Now that spring is here, we could ask for a cabin, but I’m not sure we’re ready for that yet. I mean, it was just one night, I don’t want to be jumping into anything without being sure. But it’s difficult to find time alone together, we have the same patrol but nothing can happen there. We also bake, but that’s not really good either, especially if someone comes in looking for cookies. Erilan and I never stayed in the same place for long, though we had one tent so I guess we were living together, in a way. It just felt like an adventure though, not like a big commitment. I’ll have to think about a place that Orledin and I could go that’s a little more private, but not too far away.


[Story] Character of the Week – An’shula Skyseer

[[ An’shula is one of my oldest characters. She used to live in Thousand Needles, until the floods from the Cataclysm destroyed her home.  No art this week as I’m busy with sewing!]]

An’shula had lived in Feralas for several years now, but it still didn’t really feel like home. The dense forest and still lakes were familiar to her now, she recognized the landmarks and all the tents of the town, but she longed for the village she could no longer return to. Most of all she missed the view when she climbed to the top of a rocky ridge, the sky painted in the palest blue, the clouds galloping across like a herd of white kodos. An’shula could still smell it too, the dusty smell of the rocks, the tough green scraggly plants that clung to the canyon walls, the fresh clear river below. As time passed, she worried that the memory would fade, that one day she wouldn’t be able to remember her old home at all. She had nothing tangible to hold onto, it had all been swept away in the floods. Down at the water’s edge, she’d walked many mornings looking for something that could have been washed up — some beads or a hatchet, perhaps a feather. But she never found any. Her village, her entire life, had been swept away somewhere and disappeared, just like that.

There was one thing in Feralas that tied her to home — the windserpents that dwelled in the dark corners of the forest. In the canyon, these had nested on the cliffsides, and An’shula would see them silhouetted against the bright sky, their bright scales shimmering. Most were shades of blue, the color of the sky in all its moods, but a few were clean, bright white. Sometimes she’d see a green one, vivid as the canyon trees against the dull, dusty rock. As soon as she heard that they lived here in the forest as well, An’shula sought them out. It could have been a trick, she realized, but she didn’t think that was the case. The people here were not her villagers, but they were good, and decent. They had been kind, offered her food and allowed her to stay, but she’d not grown close to any of them. How could she, when her heart still longed for those she had lost?

An’shula ventured deep along the tangled branches and heavy brush. How could the windserpents fly in such a place? She imagined their wings must get caught often, or were there sinuous bodies agile enough to weave through the dense growth? When she saw them, she let out a little gasp of delight. A pair with their nest of hatchlings, one of the parents had brought a small bird and dropped it into the waiting babies’ mouths. They seized and tore eagerly at the meal. Their scales were a bright, vivid scarlet, not at all what An’shula expected in the forest. Smaller scales of yellow and blue lined their bodies and the underside of their wings. They were bold and fearless, unafraid to be seen and unwilling to hide. The other adult sensed An’shula’s presence, pulling its head back into a striking posture and emitting a warning hiss. An’shula crouched further down in the brush to hide herself, and show that she was no threat. She was thrilled to see them, this echo of her old home, yet new and exciting as well. Had they too been pushed out of the canyon by the flood? It was impossible to say, but they had made their new home here, and now looked as if they belonged. If they could do it, couldn’t she? An’shula would have to adapt, of course, as they had. She would need to get used to living here in the dark and green forest instead of the wide, bright canyons. But as she watched the windserpents and their family, she was encouraged.


[Story] The Ghostclaw – The Troll Hut

Leinath was confused for a moment when he woke, not in his sturdy ranger bunk but a dark hut, its walls built of roughly hewn wood and painted with brightly colored patterns. The troll hut in the woods, he remembered now, and there was Orledin sitting near the fire, making up some breakfast.

“You’re awake,” he said as he saw Leinath stir. “Did you sleep all right?”

The bed was comfortable enough, but even despite the extra blankets, Leinath felt a bit cold. His breath came in a cloud when he spoke, and the air seemed thick and foggy. These were the last days of winter, but they had not given up just yet. They’d have to come again when it was warmer — if, that is, Orledin invited him again. He didn’t seem upset with him, nor had he last night, but it was always impossible to tell. What if he’d changed his mind? Leinath had been nervous about their trip ever since Orledin had suggested it. Unfortunately, they were limited in where they could go — anyplace in Silvermoon was out, and Orledin couldn’t eat, so a nice meal would be sort of a waste. The Captain had agreed to let them leave for the night, but Leinath doubted he’d allow him to go too much further for fear that he’d run. He wouldn’t, of course, but the Captain didn’t know that.

Instead, Orledin had done all the planning. He’d made up a delicious soup of chicken, rice, and vegetables — far more than Leinath could have eaten at once. He brought bread from the kitchen, which paired nicely with the hearty soup. Leinath thought it had been one that he’d made; it was crooked and bumpy, though it tasted just as good. Orledin had decades of experience with baking, of course his bread looked better, but he wouldn’t admit to it. They talked a little about the shop he used to have in Silvermoon, and Leinath suggested he could open one in town. It seemed such a waste for him to spending his days in the forest when he had such talent for baking, but Orledin insisted that he preferred being a ranger. Maybe there were too many memories attached. He’d received his fatal wound while in the shop, though thankfully he remembered little of his own death. Leinath thought that at least was some comfort, he couldn’t imagine having to relive that memory over and over again. Orledin had also brought a book to read, some poems that probably shouldn’t be read in polite company. They made Leinath’s ears darken, and he couldn’t help but wonder if that hadn’t been Orledin’s plan all along. He did like some of them though, and snickered at others as they sat close together in the firelight.

It was different, but not so different that he didn’t welcome the touch, the feeling of having someone resting beside him in the darkness. It had been so long, he hadn’t realized how much he’d missed it. What would become of them now? They had patrol together, but they couldn’t do anything then, nor in the quarters back at the ranger building. Leinath didn’t want to sneak around in closets, but they couldn’t always stay at the hut. For one thing, the morning doughnuts wouldn’t get made, and that would no doubt make everyone cranky, the Captain most of all. And while the hut wasn’t bad, it was far from ideal. Maybe they could fix it up, or maybe they could built a new cabin on the ranger grounds. Soon it would be spring, and warm enough to work outside. But that would be a big step, and Leinath was getting ahead of himself. He didn’t even know how Orledin felt, let alone what the future held. Rushing into things was reckless, he preferred to plan for all possible outcomes before acting.

Orledin brought the tray over, a full breakfast of eggs, bread, cheese, and sausage. He still felt awkward eating when Orledin couldn’t, but he was hungry enough not to mind too much this morning.

[Story/Screenshots] Character of the Week – Risarra Highbough

[[ Risarra is a Sentinel in Ashenvale forest. ]]

Risarra crouched back on her heels as she watched Frostwing approach the fish. Bear had brought them back earlier that evening, and suggested that the hippogryph might be interested in it. Surely they didn’t eat fish often in Winterspring — any fish would have been safely under a layer of ice. But they were plentiful here, the bears ate them for every meal. The hippogryph was the most breath-taking thing that Risarra had ever seen, graceful and delicate yet at the same time powerful and ferocious. Her feathers were soft, and a thousand shades of blue, like shadows on the snow. The ones near her head were the smallest, and sometimes Risarra would find one of them in the grass and marvel at its perfection. Around her neck they grew long and fluffy, her wing feathers straight and strong.

Frostwing cocked her head and turned over the fish with her clawed foot, lowering her beak to inspect it. With a soft click, the grey beak closed down on the fish and then released it again. She was testing it, Risarra realized. “It’s okay,” she whispered to Frostwing. “It’s food.” This time, the fish disappeared down the hippogryph’s throat in a single gulp, and she fluffed up her feathers as she looked to Risarra.

“You want another one?” she asked, and Frostwing uttered a trilling chirp.

Risarra rose and walked back to the camp, where Bear was busy making a new table for the house. It was warm enough that he could work outside, and he was taking advantage of the opportunity before it started to rain. Frostwing followed behind her as she went to the drying rack and took another fish. The hippogryph gobbled it down quickly, so she took one more. She supposed that Frostwind needed it, they’d been busy training with the saddle and harness so Risarra could ride. Hopefully there would be enough fish left for the bears. Frostwing’s appetite seemed sated, and she settled down on the ground near the cabin, her legs folded neatly underneath her.

They’d only been together a short time, but Risarra already felt an overwhelming sense of pride and love when she looked at Frostwing. It was something she hadn’t felt since her saber, Magnolia, had died some years ago. She loved Bear, of course, but that was entirely different, and it had taken much longer. There was a great deal of doubt and uncertainty, because elves were much more complicated than animals. Frostwing looked to her as a friend and partner, protector and comrade, after only a few weeks. There was a purity and an innocence to her feelings, but they were just as strong as any elf’s. Risarra rested a hand on Frostwing’s side, and the hippogryph gently nibbled at it with her beak. She could have been looking for more fish, but Risarra preferred to believe that she was grooming her, the way she would another hippogryph that she was friendly with.

Risarra smiled and leaned against Frostwing’s soft, warm side to watch Bear work.

[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] Risarra’s Journal

It’s still hard to believe I have my own hippogryph. I keep going to the stable to look at her. As soon as I saw her in the paddock, I knew that’s the one I wanted. Not only is she the most beautiful hippogryph I’ve ever seen, she’s gentle and affectionate. Her feathers are white and silver and blue, like the snowy hills in Winterspring. I decided to name her Frostwing. I like to think that she likes me too, whenever I come to the stable I bring her a little treat, and she nudges my hand with her beak to get at it. I haven’t really had an animal friend since Magnolia — there was the bear that I helped back to health, but it wasn’t really the same. With Frostwing I feel that same connection, but at the same time, the fear that something will happen and we’ll be separated. But the breeder assured me that she’s a strong and confident flyer, well-trained and we shouldn’t have any problems at all. She said that Frostwing had obviously bonded with me. I haven’t tried riding her yet. I will soon, once she’d had a chance to settle into the stable. I want to take her somewhere quiet, away from distractions so she won’t be startled. Near the camp might be good, so she can get used to being there — she’ll be staying there when I do. There is a lake and plenty of soft grass for her to rest on there, though I might see about building a fence to keep animals away from her. Not the bears, but wild sabers and things like that.

The trip was nice. Feathermoon has so many people, and many different buildings. Their barracks are enormous! We stayed in a fancy room in a fancy inn. I was worried there might be druids there, but we didn’t see any. We ate in the restaurant, and they had a sampler plate will all different kinds of dumplings. Some of them I’ve never even tried before, so I tried to figure out what the ingredients might be. I’ll have to write down all my recipes so I don’t forget them. They also had a very nice sauce for dipping, just the hint of spice, Bear seemed to like it a great deal. We drank sparkling wine and had a berry cake. I brought him a book of poems, I thought he might like to read them while I’m away, or we could read them together. I think that would be even nicer. He got me a bracelet with a little bear charm and a hippogryph charm. I like the idea of carrying a tiny bear around with me all the time. There was also a candle that smelled like fresh spring flowers, Bear said he’d bought it at a shop here. I thought it might be a good idea to get more, because we can always use candles for the house, and it smelled so lovely. The shop was run by a strange looking woman, Bear said she was a draenei and she’d seen them in Northrend. No one else seemed to find her presence strange, so I thought little of it, but she had horns and a tail! To her credit, she spoke enough Darnassian to ask us what sort of scents we wanted, and soon I’d forgotten about the strange woman as I smelled all of the different perfumes and soaps. They were lovely. We ended up getting quite a few candles, as well as some soaps — I had a little money left over from buying Frostwing.

Once she’s accustomed to the route, I’ll be able to ride Frostwing back to the camp even when Avanniel is away. That means I can spend more time there, and I do like that idea. Bear talked about making the house larger, adding a kitchen and I suggested a little reading area like the cabins had in Winterspring. I feel happy and hopeful for the future, though I don’t know what it will hold I feel safer with Bear there.

[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.