[Story] Fairsong Academy – Letter to Galandil

[[ Left near the rockslide in the tunnels beneath Orgrimmar, with three other letters and a worn medal. ]]

To my dearest Galandil (the Gallant),

I can’t believe it’s really been five years since you left. Sometimes I still expect to see you come through the door and leave your armor in the chair like you always did. A lot has changed since you’ve been away. Even with my job, we had a hard time with money afterward, and Terellion wanted to help by getting a job too. I know we’d always talked about him joining the guard as well, but I couldn’t really say no when we needed the extra money. He wound up working as a gardener and caretaker at a new school in the Ghostlands. After the Scourge were killed, people have slowly started to take back their houses and some new people have moved in. It’s been so encouraging to see life return there, like the first buds after a cold, hard winter. It makes me feel hopeful.

Well, Terellion and the school’s headmaster — a very nice young man — are married now. They’ve adopted three orphans from Silvermoon. I know, we’re far too young to be grandparents, but here we are. They’re so cute, you would love them. Malwen is the oldest, she’s obsessed with dolls and her pet turtle. Narise is a toddler, she looks just like Terellion. The baby is named Galandil, he is growing well. They were a bit worried at first because he couldn’t drink the regular milk, and they still watch what he eats carefully, but I am sure he will grow as strong and brave as his grandfather. The other thing is that Terellion has a new hobby, he’s started baking cakes for the school. Originally I think it was because Hethurin liked cake and he wanted to impress him, but he’s got really good at them. You should see the things he can make! I’m so proud of him, he even entered a contest in Silvermoon. He wanted to win of course, but the judges recognized his great potential at his young age. I know he’ll go on to do amazing things in the future.

Elthanni loves black and anything scary or spooky. She was delighted when we moved to our house on the school grounds and I told her she could make her room any color she wished. She picked black, of course, though two of the walls are red. She’s doing very well in her studies, especially when it’s a subject she is interested in. Mostly she likes learning about anatomy and the way elves and animals are put together, she even visited one of the rangers who has a collection of assembled skeletons. She was so enthusiastic that he’s going to invite her back to help him put the next one together. She writes poems as well, maybe she’s included one with her letter to you, I didn’t read it because I didn’t think it would be right. But I know she thinks of you.

Telaena is doing well also, she’s made fast friends with one of the girls that Terellion and Hethurin have sponsored to attend the school. She’s had a more difficult life, but she’s gradually starting to trust people here. I am certain that Telaena has been a large part of that, she’s so cheerful and friendly to everyone she meets. She’s getting good marks in her work as well. Sometimes I see her and I am struck by what a lovely young lady she is becoming, I still think of her as my little baby.

I came here with Nessna, one of the rangers in the Ghostlands. Her husband died here as well, so I thought she might want to come along with me because she would understand. I didn’t realize just how far beneath the city you had been, how dark and frightening it must have seemed surrounded by these strange people. But I know you would have been the first to encourage the others, remind them of those who waited back home, to bring a smile or lighten the mood with one of your dumb jokes. You could always see the bright side of any situation, no matter how dire it seemed.

Hethurin’s father came to live at the school. He was a healer before, he had a clinic and he’s been sent away to battles to help the injured before. Now he’s retired, though he likes to help me watch the babies in the nursery at the school. We’ve gone to some plays, and to listen to music, and he took me on a trip to Booty Bay where everything was pirates. He’s caring and  patient and the girls adore him, he likes to come and eat dinner with us often. Terellion isn’t quite convinced yet, I know he feels that he has to protect me because you’re not here. But Isturon came with us on the trip to be sure we are safe, and because he would have worried too much about me if he’d stayed behind. I thought you’d want to get to meet him.

Terellion has most of your medals, but I brought one for you, to remember all your years of service to the city and to our people. I hope that others who come this way will see it and think of you.

Love always,
Braedra

Advertisements

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Letter from Braedra

Dear Terellion,

Please thank Hethurin for making the portal for us. It’s very beautiful here! There are green trees and dense jungles everywhere, and our room looks out over the bay. During the daytime, the water is so clear and blue that you can see all the way to the bottom. Isturon says he saw a shark, but I didn’t see it in time, so I suppose it swam away. At sunset, the sky is painted in every color and it reflects on the water, it’s so beautiful. And the stars are so bright and clear it seems like you could touch them. You and Hethurin ought to come for one of the pirate weekends! They give out free eye patches, Isturon got some for all the kids. But don’t tell them because it’s supposed to be a surprise. The inn is actually an old ship that they put up on a cliff overlooking the bay. It’s decorated with pirate things like flags and a fake parrot too. I was hoping there would be hammocks, but there aren’t, at least not in our room.

There’s a brochure with a list of all the different pirate activities. Tomorrow we’re doing a treasure hunt in the morning, then there’s a pirate carnival, and a dance in the evening. It will certainly be a busy day! Tonight we had dinner at one of the restaurants, everything had a pirate name. I had “Shiver Me Tuna”, Isturon had “Release the Kraken”. I didn’t know what that meant, but apparently it’s octopus. I didn’t even know you could eat those! But he said it was good. Our dessert was called “Buried Treasure Cake”, and it had molten chocolate sauce in the middle. I think that would be wonderful to try in some cakes, I hope you will try it! Are the girls doing okay? Make sure they aren’t just eating cake for dinner. I know Hethurin does it, but they are still growing. Give all of the babies a kiss for me.

Love,
Minn’da

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Letter to Isturon

Isturon,

You were right about Verisna. I spoke to Terellion this morning, and he told me about what happened at the Spire. Hethurin is distraught because he believes that it’s fault that you left, but if he is to blame then I am as well. Perhaps more so, because I am sure I could have stopped it, I still know enough people there. I believed that she had no reason to do something to harm you, now that she had her own husband and her own life, but I was wrong. I cannot fathom why she would be so petty and cruel, other than to intentionally hurt you. And if she could do it to you, she could easily do it to me as well. I do feel foolish for believing her, and for insisting that you were wrong. Maybe I was looking for the best in her.

But then what you said about Hethurin and Xyliah — maybe it was the same. I thought about it more, and the situations weren’t so different. I was so quick to excuse Hethurin, because it never bothered Terellion, I suppose. Was it the right choice? Maybe not, but we can never know for certain at the time. It’s easier to look back in hindsight and know what the right thing was. I could have prevented Galandil from being sent to Kalimdor, it would have been a simple matter to add an exemption to his file, or have him sent to a different unit. But I didn’t, because I believed it would be immoral and I could have lost my job. Now of course, I wish I had, but I believed it was right at the time.

You don’t seem like the same person who left. You were adamant that you had done nothing wrong, and that frightened me. I don’t think that you should dwell on it or feel shame forever, but it sounded as if you didn’t see anything wrong with it at all. All I could think is what would happen if you decided I was too boring, or not enough. I don’t think I could stand that. And if you felt all the things you wrote in the letter, why did you leave at all? Why would you listen to what Haldeith said, if that’s what you truly felt? I admit it was all sort of a surprise, we’ve spent a lot of time together but you hadn’t said anything like that.

When you left, I thought that you wouldn’t be back, perhaps for holidays but nothing more. But now you are, and I’m not sure where that leaves us. I thought things were over between us, and I thought that’s what you wanted too. If it is, I believe what I said before — that you should stay at the school so you can be close to your family. If it’s not, then I’m not sure how to proceed. I think we both have some distance to go to repair trust with the other. Let me know what you think.

~Braedra

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Letter from Braedra

Dear Elthanni and Telaena,

Today we’re at the outpost in Shadowmoon Valley. You should see it! I hope that you’ll be able to come soon, it’s so strange and exciting. The sky is covered with heavy green clouds, and sometimes you will see green lightning jump between them. It’s dark and eerie, and you can never forget you’re on another world. But it’s beautiful in its own way, too. The inn where we’re staying isn’t very fancy, I only saw one other outpost on the way there, and that was was built by orcs. I’m rather glad we aren’t staying at that one! So far we have the whole inn to ourselves, which is nice because we got our choice of rooms. We chose the top of the tower, there’s a large balcony so you can walk out and look over the fields of crystals. Yes, crystals! They grow all over the ground, the clusters are everywhere and some of them are taller than an elf. There are no plants of any kind there, so the animals that live there must feed on them. I imagine it’s very hard to eat crystals, but Isturon said the flayers have sharp claws that scrape bits of the crystal off at a time. With binoculars I was able to see some of them, the innkeeper said it was too dangerous to go out among them. They certainly look scary! They are about the same size as an elf, though much more thin and frail. They have very long claws attached to two hooklike hands, and they are very dark which makes them difficult to see against the cracked ground. I suppose that is for camouflage, for the dragons feed on them.

Yes, there are dragons here! Though they’re unlike any dragons that I’ve seen in books. Granted, I haven’t seen any in person so I can’t compare, but the dragons in books all look more or less the same. These have very angular heads with short snouts, and the most intriguing thing is that they are translucent all over — not just their skin, otherwise their bones and insides would show, but the whole of them. I don’t know if it’s due to the magic from the crystals, or something else. They’re certainly not ghosts, because I’ve seen them hunting and feeding on flayers, and ghosts don’t do that. Isturon said he believed some of them might have a nest, but I’ve been unable to find any with the binoculars. Of course, they’d probably build their nest somewhere safe and hidden from view. When we stop back in Shattrath, I’m going to see if I can find some books about these sort of dragons, Isturon said they are called “nether dragons”. I wish you could see them! They’re so ethereal and beautiful. They seem to have no interest in us or the inn at all, so it’s certainly safe to watch them.

The only worry I had was about infernals. I know there are demons in some other parts of the area, and the inn has areas of the roof that had clearly been patched. Isturon assured me that the building was meant to withstand them, but he was so nervous and shaken after I brought it up that I regretted it! He very narrowly missed being killed by one when he was on the islands, so I can understand his caution. Of course, I don’t want anything to happen to either of us. I suggested that we could stay in the same room because it would be safer in case one should fall. I assure you that nothing improper happened! We sat on the long couch and watched the dragons outside of the window. I must have fallen asleep there, because I woke later and he’d covered me with a blanket. I’m not sure if he slept or not, I feel a little guilty if I was the reason he couldn’t.

We will be heading out to the domes in Netherstorm next. As I understand, they are sort of greenhouses maintained by magical barriers in which they grow plants and animals. It sounds very exciting! Isturon thinks there may be some researchers there, I hope that’s the case. It would be so interesting to speak to them about their work here and what they’ve discovered. There’s so much that we don’t know about this place still. Maybe one day you’ll want to study here too? I could come and visit you. Just make sure your roof is infernal proof.

Love,
Minn’da

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Braedra’s Letter

Dear Elthanni and Telaena,

I promised Terellion that I would write and make sure everything is all right here, so please be sure to tell him that you received my letter. You don’t have to let him read it though, if you don’t want to. I know he’s still a little strange about everything, and I don’t want to make him upset.

This is such an unusual and interesting place! I hope that Hethurin will allow you to go along on the next trip. I know it’s usually only the magic students who go, but I don’t see why you couldn’t enjoy it too. I’m going to insist on going along too, so you can always stay with me if he says no. Much of the city has these very strange dome-like buildings, they don’t have any bricks or seams that I can see, it’s almost as if they were put up in one piece. The place we’re staying now was settled by elves, so it looks almost like a little replica of Silvermoon, though it’s much less crowded, and the plants look different. The city itself is surrounded by these very tall trees, Isturon says there are all sorts of animals out there so I don’t expect we’ll be going out there. I do sometimes sit and watch from the balcony to see if I’m able to see any though. So far I saw a moth that was as large as a dragonhawk! It was really something else, I thought at first that I’d dreamt it. The food here is unusual too, but so far everything I’ve tried has been good. I think I could easily get used to staying here, if we didn’t already have the house of course. But perhaps we could get one for trips? Isturon mentioned that Aeramin has a house here, many of them seem to be empty so I don’t think it would cost too much to get one.

We came into Silvermoon last night for the orchestra, because we had our tickets. There are so many mages here, that it didn’t take us long to find someone to make us a portal. I felt a little underdressed in my plain robe, everyone else — including Isturon — looked so fancy and extravagant! I suppose we’ll have to go shopping for robes soon, won’t we? The orchestra was so wonderful. Our seats were close enough that we could watch all of the musicians playing. Many of the songs they played were traditional Eversong melodies, songs that I remember hearing and singing when I was younger. Of course they sounded so much more elegant and impressive when played by a full orchestra, but it was still lovely to hear. I’d love to go again, but I’m not sure if Isturon liked it very much. He said it was “pretty good”, which is usually something people say when they expected something to be bad. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it. What do you think he meant?

Tomorrow we’re going to visit the dragons! I really hope we’ll be able to see one. He said that they can be seen from the inn, we’re going to try to get a room on the highest floor. It’s too dangerous to go out of the grounds, not because of the dragons, but other things called flayers. I’d think it might be dangerous because of dragons too, even a friendly dragon might mistake an elf for food from far away.

I still can’t tell how things are going. He’s polite, but he doesn’t really like to talk about anything personal, either about himself or me. And he wanted to invite Ter to come visit. Of course I don’t mind seeing him, but isn’t it strange to invite him to a romantic trip? Maybe it’s just a friend trip. I can’t really be sure. Oh, I bought some things for you in the market, I hope you’ll like them. There are so many interesting things to see there! We’ll have to go when Hethurin brings the students.

Love,
Minn’da

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Teloth’s Letter

Dear Minn’da,

I’m not sure if Tystus wrote to you or not, when I asked him he said that he hadn’t. So I’ll keep you updated on everything that is going on out here. There are so many trees! That’s the first thing I noticed. Quite a few of the estates have been purchased and are in the process of being fixed up, but there are still a lot that are empty and abandoned. I bet if you wanted to, you could find a little one out here for the same price as Silvermoon. It’s something to think about anyway, and you could keep a better eye on Tystus that way. The school he’s at is very fancy. It’s on a very large estate, there are some buildings where the students live, a giant garden, a greenhouse, and a fountain out front. I expected it to be really tiny, but it’s actually very impressive. Next time they have a visiting day, you should come to see it. You’ll be amazed! Tystus seems to really be enjoying his classes, he says he likes his teachers a lot. He wouldn’t tell me about his grades. I will tell you he wasn’t dancing with anyone at the ball, though.

I forgot to mention the ball. The people at the school hold them often, at least one every season, more for other things like weddings. They’re fancier than any I ever went to in Silvermoon! The food is amazing and everything was decorated, even the garden. I went with a girl — well, I didn’t exactly go with her, she was already there, but we ate together and we danced. Let me explain how that happened! I work in the stables at the ranger lodge, taking care of the hawkstriders, and the captain had a new guy come in to help me. But he scared them, and I ended up getting kicked by one of them. I’m all right, but I had to go to the healers’ in town to get stitches. It turns out this girl works there, and she was the one who took care of me. Her older sister is usually the one who sees people, Esladra usually takes care of women who are pregnant, and their babies. Except there aren’t any right now, so she’s taking whatever work she can get. I know what you’re thinking, but it’s way too early for that! Well, she told me about the ball and I asked if she’d go with me. I am pretty sure her family is rich, her sister and father are doctors, and her brother is the one who owns the school. So I’m a little worried about that, but I guess that’s a long way off too. She is a really good dancer, so I should thank you for making me do the dance lessons when I was in school, I guess! We’re going to next ball, but that’s not until the summer. There’s a beach along the edge of the estate and I think it’ll be nice to walk there at night with the moons and lanterns and everything. But I also think that’s a long way off, so we will hopefully go to dinner or something soon. It can’t be anywhere too expensive, but I want to go somewhere that’s nice. She’s probably used to really fancy places.

I also think she might want to meet the hawkstriders. She said her aunt owns a farm for them, but she didn’t seem to know a lot about them. Like she didn’t know they had a herd leader, and different personalities. I guess a lot of people probably don’t know that. But there is one called Midnight that I think she would like, he’s very gentle and he likes to snuggle his head against you, especially if you bring him treats. I bet she might like going on a ride with him, but I’d have to ask the Captain of course since they’re not mine.

Don’t worry, I told Tystus he should write to you soon. I know he’s busy with school work but he can’t be too busy to write his minn’da a letter, right?

Love,
Teloth

[Story] SWTOR – A Letter Home

Mother Xaliha,

I send you this message from the desert planet of Tatooine. I know it has been some time since we spoke, so I wanted to tell you what has happened. As you know, I was staying on Coruscant with some other students, I don’t suppose we can call ourselves padawans since none of us have masters at present. But it was a good and safe place to study and to practice, and I think I will miss seeing them there. The exciting part is that the Republic army major, whose house it is, put me in touch with a Master here that she’s working with. It is always rewarding to see how the Force can enact its will even through those who cannot sense its presence. I am thankful that she thought to do so. Though she insisted that it was a secret, she allowed me to tell one other person — the mirialan that I’d met before at the library, and at the gatherings.  She would also be in need of training, and then at least I’d have someone here that I already know. I mean, I kind of know the major, but not very well. Not enough that we have conversations or anything.

I don’t know exactly the purpose of their being here, but I can tell you there are quite a lot of people. We are staying inside a large structure with a few different buildings, set beneath the sand to cut down on the wind. Of course that means a lot of sand is always blowing in. There are droids working to move it out day and night. It’s very hot here too, I expected that but I didn’t expect it to be quite so hot. Master Serroz says I should not allow such trivial things to distract from my training, and he is right about that. Still, I think he should have to wear a fur coat all over when we practice, just so he can see what it’s like! Master Serroz is the Jedi that the major spoke of. I like him already, and he’s promised to speak to the council about finding a Master for each of us. Wouldn’t that be something! I am certain that this will be the nudge that sets the future into motion. He already has a padawan, further trained than either Teosta or myself. I’ve seen him around the compound, but haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet. Well I did, but I’ve been afraid to. Master Serroz says that Jedi should be fearless, and he is right about that, but it’s sometimes difficult. Teosta and I are going to meditate in the mornings before it gets too hot, and then practice sparring. She’s quite good so I am going to have to work hard to beat her!

The rest of the people seem a little strange. There are some who I believe have sensitivity to the Force, but they rarely talk with Master Serroz or practice. Then there was one man who wanted to poke me with a metal stick! I thought it was some kind of medic thing, but I’m pretty certain that man is not a medic. There’s a twi’lek lady, and she seems nice, but busy. I am just trying to stay out of the way of whatever it is they’re doing here. I sense too that they are upset about something, but no one has told me what it is. I am certain I will learn in time.

I miss Master Rusaa a great deal. Often I can hear his voice in my mind, giving me advice. Other times, something Master Serroz said reminds me of him, which makes sense considering that they are both Jedi Masters. But I know he wouldn’t want me to pass up this chance, and he’d want to see me grow and succeed. I am doing this for him, and for you.

Your son,
Xarlo

PS – Have you heard from my father? I am certain I know the answer, but as Master Rusaa always used to say: “You cannot know the answer to a question that you do not ask.”