[Story] The Ghostclaw – Mossflower

[[ Another “flower” story, it wasn’t planned that way but I got the idea so I ran with it! ]]

At first, Sorrowmoss protested against Selenicus’s visits to the mage school. It was reckless and foolish, not to mention going directly against their patrol orders. If he wished to waste his time with that human girl, Salenicus could do so on his own, without dragging she and Orledin into it. Of course Orledin was the one who encouraged it in the first place. Worse than that, it was boring simply standing around waiting while Salenicus discussed hair ribbons or whatever it is that young human girls care about. Though she too was undead, Sorrowmoss thought there could be little in common with any of them, any more than being alive made humans and elves alike. But as the spring bloomed into the summer, Sorrowmoss found herself enchanted by the school’s gardens. She dared not go through the heavy gates, of course, but she stood outside them and marvelled at the beautiful blooms. In this dismal forest, the gardens seemed like a colorful oasis, a glimpse into a happier time in the past. She could not smell them, not from so far away, but when the breeze was just right she almost thought that she could. The delicate, romantic smell of roses and the hot, summery-sweet jasmine of warm summer nights. They stirred memories she had not thought about in decades, because they hurt too much. But here, with the others distracted, sometimes she would permit them to rise and dwell there in her mind.

Niarah would have loved the gardens, taken her hand and dragged her to every single one of the bushes and insist she smell them. She would have plucked a stem or two — careful not to harm the plant, of course, and tucked a spring behind Sorrowmoss’s ear. Except she was Selenne then. She always felt like a drab little sparrow, with her plain brown hair and ordinary looking features — the leather armor didn’t help matters, either. Niarah was like a majestic phoenix, a bonfire burning bright in the night, a swirl of autumn leaves with their vivid colors. She had the brightest hair the color of fire, in loose curls that she was always tucking behind her ears. The mage from the school who sometimes came to the ranger building, his was the closest that Sorrowmoss had seen since then. The color wasn’t quite right, and his curls were smaller, but it was close enough to remind her every time that he came to recharge the wards. But beyond that, there was a sense of life about her, she seemed to stir it in everyone she came across. Beyond being hopelessly beautiful, she was an exceptional ranger. She was made captain only a few short years after joining the unit, chosen by the retiring former captain. It seemed unfair, Sorrowmoss remembered thinking, that she should have everything. But it was difficult to dislike Niarah, and certainly more so when they started to spend more time together.

Sorrowmoss never understood why someone like Niarah wanted to spend time with her, but she did. They patrolled together often, at first they talked often, talking about their families and their pasts and their dreams, but eventually they didn’t need to. They worked in tandem, like a pair of hunting cats, the one knowing the other’s intentions without words. Some evenings they would go down and swim in the river, bringing a basket of food to eat afterward. Niarah loved flowers, she almost always had a little vase of them in her room, or woven into her hair. She knew all of their names and what they could be used for. She also said they had meanings, if you gave someone a certain flower. Niarah would often stop on patrol and pick one, tucking it into her pouch. Back at home she would put it between the pages of a book to flatten and dry it. If you tried to read any book at her house, you would find dozens of those little dried flowers waiting in the pages. Sorrowmoss thought she rarely read them and probably kept them only for that purpose.

Niarah called her “Mossflower”, those impossibly tiny white blooms that grow among the green velvet moss. They weren’t flashy or showy, in fact they were easily overlooked, Niarah said. But those who took the time to look would be rewarded with their beauty and sweet scent. Would she still think that now? If she was thankful for anything, it was that Niarah never had to see what she had become.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Leinath’s Journal

I’ve been doing a lot of training work with Lucky. He’s still really young, so I can’t expect too much of him. Sunashe and the Captain have been giving me advice about it, which I really appreciate. I’ve never even had a pet before, let alone tried to train an animal. I think I’m learning more than Lucky is at this point. I do feel that he’s probably more similar to a cat than a lizard, though I think Sunashe has some valuable advice, too. These first couple of weeks, I’m mostly just getting Lucky accustomed to me and to the ranger building. He has his own little bed under my bunk, though sometimes he likes to sleep up top with me. I like when he does that, it feels all cozy, though Sunashe says he’s probably just cold. But it’s summer, so how cold could it be? I guess I’ll find out in the winter. Lucky goes outside to use the toilet, thankfully the people at Dalaran already taught him about that. I take him on a little leash until I can be sure he’ll follow without it. He’s still pretty young so he tends to wander off and get distracted by smells sometimes. They both said it’s really important to expose him to a wide variety of people and situations, but to make sure it’s not frightening for him so he doesn’t get afraid of them later on. So far he’s met all of the other rangers, Sunashe’s lizard, and the Captain’s tiger. He hasn’t met Julan’s seagull yet, because I’m worried either he might try to eat her, or she might peck him. Both of those would be bad.

The next thing I’m trying to teach him is to respond to his name and focus on me. So every time I say his name and he looks at me, he gets a treat. His favorite treats are little bits of cheese, fruit, and bits of fish. I think he might also like cookies, next time we make some I’m going to have to save him a few. It’s probably not too healthy for foxes, but I bet he’d do anything for a cookie. I feel a little bad I’ve been so busy with Lucky that I haven’t been baking as much. I mean I still do, but not all the time. I hope Orledin isn’t upset about that. He came out to watch me working with Lucky, I guess because he was bored. He hasn’t trained his cat, I’m not sure if you can. But the Captain’s cats are trained, they’re just bigger? Does that make a difference? I don’t know.

We talked about how they stop at the school on patrol a lot. Salenicus is seeing a student there, except she’s a human and also undead. I guess it’s not my business, but I think it’s a little odd. I don’t think I could be interested in a human. Orledin said Salenicus is interested in things besides ears, which obviously I am too, but it’s not as if ears aren’t important. I just feel like a human wouldn’t know about a lot of things, and they’d not live as long, but I guess that’s not an issue if you are both undead. Like I said, not really my business anyway. Then Orledin was telling me about how he has to go and recharge some runes, honestly I don’t really understand what that means. I know he has some on his sword, but I don’t understand how they work or why they need to be recharged — or how that happens. I guess I don’t really want to know, to tell the truth. Anyway there’s only two places it can be done. I asked why they don’t just make more runeforges, and he said it would attract a lot of death knights here if we had one. But if they behaved themselves, it wouldn’t be an issue, would it? And Orledin said it only takes a few minutes, so I doubt they’d just be hanging around here. He also told me about how he has to use rubbing alcohol to clean himself. I figured you could just use ordinary soap and water, but I guess that makes sense. It’s not really something you give a lot of thought to normally. I would miss being able to eat and drink, though. I don’t know how he can bake and not eat any of it, I think that would be like torture.

Lucky’s next lesson will be learning to follow me. I hope he’s ready.

[Story] Ashenvale – Risarra’s Journal

I wrote my bear report and submitted it to Avanniel. I know she knows I wasn’t just observing bears, along with probably everyone else, but they didn’t say anything where I could hear it at least. I didn’t see very much of them, either. Maybe they didn’t like my smell and decided to stay away. I did see them at the edge of the camp at dusk when I was getting ready to leave. They ate some fish, which seem big and healthy, which means the river is doing well. I just wrote about their behavior and things like that, the female bear (Espen) doesn’t have any cubs, but she’s also a different type of bear I think. Bear said she’s from Northrend, and her fur is lighter in color, so it makes sense she may not want to have cubs with the other bears. Or maybe she’s just not sure about them yet, I can definitely relate there. I don’t know if he was talking about us or not, I can never really be sure. He did say he wanted to help raise a child if he had any. I’m not opposed to it one day, but I’m far too young to be thinking about that right now.

He had tidied up the camp when I arrived, not that it’s usually messy or anything but I could tell he’d straightened things up. Also his hair was long and unbraided, and had those little waves you get if you leave it braided for a long time. It looked nice. It made me feel embarrassed of mine, I used to have it long but it got to be such a pain having to comb and braid it all the time that I just cut it short. I can still tie it back a little, and it’s way easier now, but I admit it isn’t very pretty. If I was a priestess I would have time to sit and comb my hair all the time, but I’m not.

I brought the spider, and the berry muffins, and he also had some fish he’d caught before. He said he forgot he had them, how do you forget that? I think it would smell pretty bad to leave fish around, though I guess the bears would find them pretty quickly. I also am not sure where he got ice in the summer. We have a small shed for it, but by this time it’s usually pretty much gone. I know in the city they have ice that’s made by mages, but of course we don’t have any of those here, and I think most of the sentinels wouldn’t use it anyway. They might be right, and it has some magical residue on it, but when it’s really hot I think I’d take the chance.

We just talked about normal things while we cooked the food. Mostly about druids and places he’s been, things like that. I’ve never really been anywhere; to the edge of the forest and to Darnassus, but that’s all. I want to, someday, but Northrend sounded pretty awful. I don’t think I want to go there. He told me about his mother and how she really wanted him to be a druid. She died when Auberdine was destroyed, and he feels like she’d still be disappointed in him. I wanted to say that wasn’t true, but how would I know? I told him there are more important things, like being a good person and helping others. If she’s not proud of that, then I don’t know what else to say.

We watched the sun come up over the hill. It was so late I was practically falling asleep right there. I didn’t want to be rude, but I don’t know how he can do that, I have to be up right at dusk for my patrol every night. It was also awkward because I didn’t know if I was supposed to sleep out on the grass or what. There are some trees in the camp, but not many, and it would be difficult to sleep in the bright sun. He said I could use his shelter, which was okay, but then he said he could stay there too if I wanted. Did I? I said I did, maybe I just wanted to see what would happen. I’m not sure whose idea it was to kiss, maybe both. I haven’t kissed anyone before and I wanted to know what it was like. Now I know, it’s pretty good. Nothing else happened besides that though, but it was nice having him there, if a little strange. I was so tired that I fell asleep right away so I’m not sure what he thought about it.

 

[Story] Ashenvale – On Patrol

Risarra had trouble keeping focused on her patrol. The chance of any danger was slight; no orcs or demons had been spotted in the forest for weeks, and the midsummer bonfires burned brightly, lifting everyone’s spirits. The spicy incense still hung in the air, even this far from the town. But none of those were reasons to lower her guard, Risarra was well aware. She could hear Avanniel’s voice scolding in her head: Danger waits for you to look the other way. When you least expect is when it is most likely to strike.

She crossed the river at the bridge, pausing to look down into the clear water. Fish rested there in the shadowed parts of the bank, and she considered stopping to catch some. It would be rude to show up without anything to eat, worse than that, she’d be hungry all night unless Bear had some fish. What she’d agreed to was reckless and foolish, Risarra was well aware of that. And no doubt she’d hear about it tomorrow, Zhyra was sure to notice that she was missing, as well as Avanniel. She planned to make up an excuse, though she wasn’t sure exactly what yet, but she had a feeling they’d guess what she really had planned.

More than likely nothing would happen at all, just like the other hundreds of times she’d gone to Bear’s camp. He would eat, and she’d talk and that would be all. If he had any other intentions, surely he would have made them clear by now. Although he did come to town, finally, and maybe that was the reason she’d finally agreed to stay with him. She knew the real reason was because he wanted the delicious dumplings that they made in town, but it had still taken months of coaxing, and even then he’d stayed outside the edge of town, across the bridge. He brought a basket full of berries, which Risarra had given to the cooks. They gave her muffins baked with the berries inside, and she planned to bring those along as well. And he brought sticks. She wasn’t sure what to make of those, it was the oddest gift she’d received. He said the bear had wanted him to bring them to her, and she wasn’t about to argue with a bear. She stowed them in the little chest underneath her bunk, just in case.

She did consider what might happen otherwise, though. He might try to kiss her. She decided that would probably be all right, as long as the bears weren’t watching. Anything more than that, she wasn’t certain about. She knew what was supposed to happen, more or less — she’d seen stags and sabers, and of course she’d heard the talk from the other sentinels. But knowing and doing were two entirely different things, and she didn’t want to try it simply for its own sake. She’d seen how some of the sentinels acted around the druids, the way they tried to get their attention, always tried to talk to them and stand near them. It shouldn’t be like that, like some strange competition. Risarra reminded herself that Bear might not be interested in that at all, so she may be worrying about something that wouldn’t happen. It was a bad habit she had, one she endeavored to break. Just wait, she told herself, and see what happens, and then decide. She did want to find something to eat though. Fish were good, but ordinary. A nice roasted spider would do well. She remembered where she’d seen a nest earlier in the season, with luck they would be large enough to eat now.

[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.

[Screenshots] Class Mounts 2

Finished up the other three that I could do now: Paladin, Hunter, and Priest. Even with very low ilevel and NO legendaries, my Priest had no problem completing hers. Which makes me really wonder what’s up with the Warrior one.

I actually thought the Paladin scenario was a lot of fun. It was a neat throwback to the original charger quest, and I liked that I got to choose my followers and it was a little dungeon party. I know some people aren’t crazy about the Paladin mount, but as a Draenei paladin, I’m overjoyed to have a horse again instead of that stupid elekk. I do wish it had actual wings when flying, and it does seem a bit tiny for a Draenei, but otherwise I like it.

mount_pally

Hunter was next. I’m a little bummed that I’ll never be able to tame gryphons, because it requires maxing the BM weapon and, well, that’s never happening. But the mount is all right. It looks pretty good with a Tauren, and the MM color (which is what I am) will match her black fur and black pets.

mount_hunter

I actually think the Priest mount is pretty neat, it just… doesn’t fit a Priest thematically, at all. Well, I guess it works all right for Night Elf priests, but really no one else. The Disc color matches my transmog better too, it’s one that swaps with your spec.

mount_priest

So I still have Warrior and Rogue left to finish, but no idea when that’ll actually happen.

[Story] Story a Week 21

[[ This week’s word: Ripe ]]

Risarra hurried down the narrow trail, a basket over her arm. It was rare for her to be awake so late in the morning, but she was far too excited to sleep. The starberries she’d noticed on her patrol the other night should be fully ripe now. She could smell their sweet scent in the air, warmed by the morning sunshine. Starberries had been Risarra’s favorite ever since she was little, she loved their translucent sky-blue color and sweet flavor, the way the juice burst into her mouth when she’d bite into one. And if you were to look at the end that attached to the stem, you would see the pattern of a star left there on the fruit. Her mother used to say that Elune had made them as a special treat for the kaldorei.

She knew of a special spot, one along her patrol where few others rarely went. It was hidden in a small grove, behind some boulders overgrown with moss. The entrance was easy to miss if you didn’t know to look for it. Of course she planned to share the starberries, it’s just that she wanted to eat a few for herself first. Especially since she had come all the way out here this late in the morning to get them. Risarra smiled as she stepped into the clearing. The entire shady side was overgrown with the starberry bushes, their vines twining up onto the sides of the rocks. They preferred shade, and needed plenty of rain. Thankfully they had plenty of that in the past few weeks. The vines were laden with plump, ripe berries in their clusters. Risarra wondered if she should have perhaps brought a larger basket. She set it down on the grass and got to work, careful not to squish or bruise any of the starberries. Her mind wandered thinking of all the things the cooks could make with them — jam, pies, muffins, wine. Did Bear like starberries? She didn’t know if it even mattered. He would eat what she brought regardless of whether he liked it or not. But she supposed it couldn’t hurt to bring him just a few.

The rustling of leaves brought her back to the grove, and Risarra was startled to see a bear had joined her. It seemed unaware of her presence, head and shoulders buried deep in the leaves, picking off clusters of berries with its lips. It wasn’t one of Bear’s, she would have recognized them and, she hoped, they would her as well. Risarra remained still, watching for a reaction. If she had to escape quickly, she wanted to plan her route ahead of time. There was the gap in the boulders, through which she’d come in. That would work so long as the bear didn’t reach it first. It might not be able to fit through the opening, either. Or she could go up into one of the trees, just enough to jump out on the other side. The tree wouldn’t slow the bear down for long, though, not even with a belly full of starberries. She heard a squeak, and two cubs clamored out from underneath the bear, standing on their hind legs and trying to reach the berries. She remembered what Bear had said, that a mother protecting her cubs was the most dangerous kind of bear to come across. Risarra watched them in silence, uncertainly. She didn’t want to startle them, but neither did she want to hurt them. The mother bear pulled down one of the vines, bringing the berries low enough for the cubs to eat. They did so eagerly, their little jaws smacking with delight. Risarra couldn’t help but smile at their reaction to their first taste of starberries.

The mother bear paused, lifting her nose to sniff at the air. It was then she noticed the elf, crouched on the other side of the grove. She watched Risarra for a moment, checked to be certain her two cubs were safe, then returned to eating berries. Risarra sighed, relieved. Though she would still be cautious, she was happy to share her starberries with the bear family. There were plenty to go around.