[Art/Story] Character of the Week: Loralinde

[[ Loralinde is a fire student at Fairsong Academy, whose favorite hobby is studying ghosts! ]]

Loralinde paused as she ascended the stairs to ensure that Haani was still behind her. The school was large and very easy to get lost in, especially if you hadn’t been there long. Loralinde remembered her own little tricks that she’d used to find her way around — she’d remember the pattern of the wallpaper to recognize which corner was which. Some other students drew maps, that was probably simpler.

Haani’s hoofsteps echoed on the wooden staircase, impossibly loud in the stillness of the hallway. She paused, looking a little sheepish. “It’s just a bit further,” Loralinde said, beckoning Haani up to the landing. It was exciting to be the one showing her around, after Haani had guided her through the tombs in Auchindoun. While Keyalenn was always interested in hearing about her studies, it wasn’t really the same. Haani understood, she had the same keen interest in spirits and learning about them that she did. Loralinde was so thankful that the headmaster had agreed to let her visit — and that her brother had, as well. They’d both been at the winter ball, but they kept to themselves and didn’t really mix with anyone else. She hoped that in time, they’d both feel a little more comfortable, but it couldn’t be easy being around people so different. At the very least, she’d seen Haani talking with Lali, the kaldorei teacher.

“Are you liking the school so far?” Loralinde asked, hoping to fill the silence.

“Yes,” Haani nodded, running her hand along the polished wooden railing. “It is very large.”

What were Draenei schools like? Did they even go to school? Of course they do, Loralinde scolded herself. How else would they learn to read and do magic and everything else? She imagined they must look similar to the architecture of Shattrath. “When it’s a little warmer outside, the gardens are very nice,” Loralinde said. “And we could go into the woods, there are some ghosts there, but I haven’t been able to speak to them yet.”

“Oh?” Haani seemed interested in that.

Loralinde nodded, removing the key from her pocket. This room was normally kept locked, but the headmaster had allowed her to have a key because of how much time she spent with the house ghosts. They trusted her, but it was still wise to be cautious whenever they met new people — especially someone so different looking. Loralinde peered through the door. Ellavia, the little girl ghost, sat before the fireplace, playing with her toys. She was fully visible, and Haani gasped in surprise.

“Ellavia?” Loralinde asked, closing the door behind them. “I’ve a new friend for you to meet. Her name is Haani.”

The little girl ghost raised her eyes to Haani, and Loralinde saw her outline flicker briefly as she began to dissipate. “Oh, don’t be afraid,” Loralinde said gently. “She’s a friend. I’ve been telling her all about you, and she’s very excited to meet you.”

Ellavia hovered just above where she had been sitting, watching Haani uncertainly. “You look funny,” she said at last. Haani was so surprised to hear a ghost speak clearly that it took her a moment to answer.

“I’m a Draenei,” she explained. “From Outland.” Ellavia’s suspicious look still lingered.

“It’s a place far away from here,” Loralinde explained. “But it’s very beautiful. I could bring you a book about it, if you want.”

Ellavia nodded, her form appearing more solid again as she settled down with her dolls again. She was manipulating objects as well! All of the major signs of ghost interaction, and Haani was getting to see them all at once. Loralinde felt oddly proud of Ellavia.

“Do you want to play dolls?” she asked.

Haani smiled. “Yes, I love dolls.”




[Story] Fairsong Academy – Ghosts

[[ Still working on NaNo planning, but I needed a break so here’s some WoW fluff! ]]

Loralinde took the path that led into the deeper part of the woods, away from the greenhouse and the houses. Dead leaves had blown over it, but she had walked it enough times to remember the landmarks — the tree with crooked branches, the log covered with moss and mushrooms, the old worn statue that might have once stood atop a grave. Though ghosts weren’t often active during the day, it was a perfect day for ghosts if there ever was one. The sky was cold and gray, dark clouds lingering overhead with the threat of rain. A cold wind rattled the naked branches of the trees and sent the leaves rushing over the ground. Further in the woods, Lora could hear the stream, strengthened by the recent rain. There was a sort of beauty in it, but it was the quiet beauty of a graveyard or a fallen bird, not the riotous color and buzz of spring. Lora had always liked the autumn, as well as the quiet stillness of winter. The city had neither winter nor stillness, but here in the country she had opportunity for both. With her reading and essays finished for the day, and Keyalenn still away at his classes, she had come to visit the ghosts in the woods.

She had left them gifts a few days ago, a little jar of jam, some candies, and rolls from the kitchen, all spread out on a cloth she had laid over a stump. Ghosts couldn’t eat, of course, but they were still attracted to things that they had enjoyed in life. The ghosts of the woods were shy though, and rarely showed themselves to anyone, even her. Lora suspected that they may have been people who weren’t supposed to be on the grounds, squatters or perhaps even criminals, who were afraid of being discovered even in death. Birds or squirrels had been at the rolls, she could see crumbs scattered over the cloth and little nibbles in the baked crust. They’d also tried to get at the candies — the bowl had been upturned and a few of them had fallen onto the ground. But the animals had not been able to unwrap them, and eventually given up. She didn’t suppose that ghosts would want candy that had fallen onto the ground, anyway. It was too windy now for a candle, but she brought a small ball from within her cloak. It was made of a translucent stone, perfectly rounded and smooth. Lora had read that sometimes spirits could be seen within them, and even speak to a person. Normally this was done in a darkened room, but she saw no reason not to try here — it was their home after all, and was certainly quiet enough.

Lora often thought about what sort of ghost she would be, if she were a ghost. She’d enjoy it, she thought, playing little tricks and delighting people by giving them a harmless scare. Perhaps she’d even make an appearance at the masked ball, to the wonder of the host and all of their guests. Imagine, a real ghost at your ball! It would be talked about for months. But she also knew that not every ghost had such an outlook. Some had suffered terrible heartache and loss — imagine dying and seeing your love with someone else. If that happened to her, she would be an unhappy and mournful ghost indeed. Or the poor ghost children, who had died while still young and innocent, never getting the chance to grow up. Lora sought to learn more about all of the different ghosts so she could understand them better, and help them if possible. She was still convinced that it was some sort of magic, just one that was not properly understood yet. It was still a matter of trial and error as to what worked and what didn’t, but she kept detailed notes about the ghosts here at the school. Eventually she aimed to add other ghosts as well, such as the ones in the tombs in Shattrath, and the human ghosts around Lordaeron.

Lora took away the half-eaten rolls, and put the candies back into the bowl. She placed the stone orb on the cloth beside it, and peered into it, watching for some kind of movement. She tried speaking to the ghosts quietly, making them aware of her presence and asking if they wished to be seen. Some leaves stirred up, but it could have just been a gust of wind. A little later, she felt cold drops begin to patter down onto her hair and cloak, the sky growing darker and more threatening. Disappointed, she picked up her orb again and turned back toward her house. The ghosts didn’t want to be seen today.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Lora’s Letter

Dear Haani,

I have some wonderful news! I spoke to the Headmaster here and he said it’s fine for you to come and study for a while. I wanted to wait and make sure he was in a good mood, he was about to eat cake and he had two of his little babies with him. Have you ever seen an elf baby? I guess you must have at the orphanage. They’re very cute. Narise is a little bit older but Galandil is still just a small baby. They also have another daughter who is older and goes to classes, but just the general class so she probably won’t have any with you. But you’ll definitely see her around because she’s always curious about everything and likes to talk to new people. I wonder if she’d want to learn draenei too!

There are all sorts of classes you can take here. There’s the schools of magic, of course, and all of the teachers are really nice. Magister Firewind is the fire instructor usually, you’ll be able to meet him when he comes back from his trip. Maerista is a student who helps him with his classes, she was a student here who passed her exams. The Headmaster teaches the arcane classes, and Des helps him with that. If you want to learn ice magic, that’s Magister Raleth and Keyalenn, who you already know. There’s also a class about enchanting, and hawkstrider care and riding, and learning to grow plants in the greenhouse. If you want to learn sewing, there’s a student who helps people with that. She’s an undead, I guess you probably don’t have those in Shattrath. She looks a little scary but she’s really nice. There’s also a kaldorei who teaches the younger students, so you could probably talk to her about what it’s like if you’re anxious. The only thing is, you probably want to avoid the towns and you definitely shouldn’t go into Silvermoon. They can be very mistrustful of strangers.

Magister Fairsong also said your brother might be able to come if he’s worried about you, I suggested he could be a guard here for the school but he doesn’t think we need any more. However, there’s a unit of rangers nearby. If you don’t know what those are, they patrol around the forest to keep it safe from undead and robbers and spiders, things like that. I think your brother would be good at that, if he’s interested! He needs to speak with the ranger captain though. We’re going to be in Shattrath in two weeks, he thought we might be able to meet and talk about it then. If you have any more questions you can ask him then, and also just to get a chance to meet him. He’s very protective of his students and always wants them to be safe. Oh, I also told him that you could help the chef make some draenei food. I bet everyone would be excited to try that! We could even have a draenei festival maybe. If you come in time, you’ll be able to attend the masked ball. That’s where you have a costume and everything is decorated with pumpkins and spooky things. It’s really fun, trust me.

Also, if you like, I can introduce you to the ghosts that live here. I know the ones inside the school well, and they trust me. There are more out in the woods that I’ve seen but haven’t spoken with as much. There must be hundreds more out there, ghosts of elves who died in the scourge attacks and were simply left alone out there. I am sure they would appreciate having another person to talk to.

Your friend,


[Story] Fairsong Academy – Loralinde’s Journal

[[ I couldn’t find a word that I really clicked with so I just wrote a regular story for this week! ]]

Leaving Shattrath was difficult. I’m excited to see everyone at the school again, of course, and resume my classes. I’m glad that Keyalenn will be able to help with the frost students, and work toward taking the exams in fire and arcane. But I’ve also learned so much here, I wish I could stay and continue with it. Haani has lent me some books to practice reading in draenei, and she has said that she’ll write too. I’m supposed to reply in Thalassian, so she can practice hers. It’s so much more than just language though, she told me about different holidays and customs they have, and made some of their food so I could try it. They use many of the local plants and spices, so it’s unlike anything else. The food at the inn is very good of course, too, but they try to make it appealing to everyone so it’s not really authentic, Haani says. If you want real draenei food, you have to ask a draenei to cook it for you. Preferably someone’s grandmother, even though Haani isn’t one. I did get to see one festival, with the bonfires. I told her they do that in Silvermoon too, and she seemed kind of surprised. Now I wonder if they learned it from draenei but didn’t want to admit it, so they just pretend like it was our idea. It was very exciting, they had people throwing torches and breathing fire, though I’m fairly sure they were just mages casting fireballs from their mouth. Still, it looked very impressive. I wonder if I could learn to do that? I’m sure Magister Firewind would not approve. They also had a little market with food and things to buy, little fried bread and some kind of spicy meat. I bought a lovely dress that was dyed in the colors of flame, and the hem kind of has sharp points so it even looks a bit like fire. I hope I can wear it to the mask party, I could be fire and Keyalenn could be frost with his blue robes.

I haven’t asked the Headmaster about Haani coming here yet. I’m afraid he might say no. I know we’ve had kaldorei here before, and now a human, but a draenei might be too different. I’m also worried that someone in the town might hear about it and make a fuss. And of course she wouldn’t be able to go to the city and see our buildings the way I was able to visit hers. She can’t try our food and see our ceremonies, either. I suppose I could ask Tik to make some things for her. Maybe she could just come for one of the balls. The Headmaster could make her a portal to visit for the night and then just take her home after. I bet she would like that, and if anyone asked she could just say she’s dressed up as a draenei for her costume.

She did take me to the tombs right before we had to leave. I let her talk mostly, but they seemed curious about who I was. I am not sure if the ghosts recognized me from before or not, but I could sense them around the room we were in. I hate to say they have a certain energy, because that sounds like it’s purely based in feeling, but I can’t think of a better way to describe it until I know more. I can usually tell if a ghost feels curious, or hostile, or friendly. Some ghosts feel very uneasy and restless, while others feel more peaceful and serene. The ones at the school are mostly serene; they are in a place they know and recognize and they are accustomed to the living people there. These ones were, for the most part. They had come to this tomb by choice and decided to stay there, perhaps because they were among their own people. They seemed to recognize that it was intended for them and can wander freely without bothering anyone. I tried to speak a little draenei, it probably wasn’t very good. Maybe they at least found it amusing. I know there are many other chambers, some under the ground, where more spirits might dwell. They could be more dangerous, Haani said, because they are closer to the naaru husk. I don’t want to get involved in anything that I am not sure I can handle, and things to do with dark magic I’m not too sure about. A few of them let me see them, just glowing eyes at first and then the rest of their forms. I told them I would come back and visit as soon as I was able, I know the Headmaster is planning a trip soon so maybe I will be able to take an afternoon to go then. Haani also showed me which spices they should like — many of the same ones used in draenei cooking — so I’m going to make some incense to take with me.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Loralinde’s Journal

I started looking for someone who might be able to help me talk to ghosts. I figured that a priest might be the best person for that, they also might be able to help me learn how to speak draenei, because they should be friendly and patient if they are priests. At least, I think so. I asked about where to find some, and everyone pointed me to the big temple up on the tier. I did try going there, but I think they were all in the middle of something important, because they were all gathered around in one room. Also, it was very quiet and no one else was talking. I felt odd and out of place, and I guess I found it all a bit intimidating. Keyalenn reminded me that there were injured people in the lower part of the city, and there were surely some priests there with them. So while he went to look at the market, I did that.

I was surprised to see orcs and trolls there among the injured, as well as some draenei and other people like the birds and little mushrooms. I think it must be interesting to live among so many different kinds of people. I guess sometimes there are some in the city, but not too often. It’s almost always just elves. They probably don’t feel very welcome there, which I guess I can understand, but it would be neat to learn more about them, and especially about their ghosts. I know they have shamans who can talk to the elements, which is not really the same, but they may know something about ghosts, too. I’d like to talk to some, one day.

Anyway, I found a draenei woman tending to the injured people there in a little building. She was by herself, which was a lot less intimidating. Also, she spoke Orcish. That surprised me a little, but it makes sense if she’s healing a lot of orcs and trolls. I told her that I was wanting to learn how to speak draenei, which of course made her curious so she asked why. Then I told her about wanting to be able to speak to the ghosts in the tomb. She seemed wary about that, and wanted to know my reasons. I can understand why. There isn’t much trust between elves and draenei, even still, and someone could easily have bad intentions. But I hoped that being honest would show her that I am trustworthy, I told her that I wanted to speak to the ghosts there and study them. She agreed that learning to speak draenei would show them that I am respectful and had taken the time to learn about them first.

She also told me some more about the history of the tomb. I’d read a little in the library, but as history books usually do, they left out some things. And it’s always better hearing about it from a person, especially a person who might have seen it for themselves. She told me that there is a corpse of a naaru, that draws the ghosts too it. When I asked why, she said they were drawn to its energy, and that it protects the spirits there. I wonder too if it serves the same sort of purpose as they do in our world, only to spirits. It’s definitely something to look into. But, it’s also dangerous to stay there too long because the void energy will eventually corrupt you — it happened to the former keepers of the tomb. None of that was in the book! I think sometimes they try to make things sound better and leave out unpleasant things like that. I know it happens in our history books anytime we did something not so good.

I told her about the ghosts at our school and how I am studying them. I said something about how there aren’t any draenei there, but I wish there were. That was sort of a hint. But maybe the headmaster would allow it? We have kaldorei there, so why not? The priest kind of perked up at that and said that she’d like to learn Thalassian so she could speak to the elves here. I know a lot of them either don’t speak Orcish, or pretend they don’t. So I said I could teach her, and she could teach me. She’s busy during the evenings, but free in the daytime. I’m so excited to have a real draenei to teach me instead of just books! And I get to help her too, which makes it even better. She seems really nice. We met at the restaurant for dinner with Keyalenn and the draenei’s brother. He’s really big. I’d never seen one that close before and I can’t get over how big he is. He kept talking to her in draenei, I don’t think he really trusts us yet. But soon I’ll be able to talk to him in draenei and I can prove that I’m not going to cause any trouble. I only wish we could stay here longer to study! Maybe after the summer, Haani (that’s her name) could come back to the school with us. Wouldn’t that be something!

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Loralinde’s Ghost Journal

[[ Still in the middle of unpacking… it’s a big job but I’m making progress! ]]

Keyalenn and I left for our trip to Shattrath. We haven’t been in so long, and never without the Headmaster and other students there, so it was exciting to see it again. Keyalenn got the big room that the Headmaster usually stays in, it has a balcony overlooking the forest and you can see the pond in the front of the city. I worried that it might cost too much, but I guess they gave us a deal because there’s hardly anyone staying here, and also we’re going to be staying for the whole summer. I couldn’t believe my ears when Keyalenn said that! But he’s going to study and work on his lessons here while I study the ghosts in the draenei tomb. I was expecting a few days at most so this so exciting and wonderful. He’s the best! He didn’t have to come along and indulge my silly ghost interest, but I’m so glad he did.

Now I’ll be able to study in the library during the day, and hopefully find a draenei willing to serve as translator. We didn’t have any contact the first night, but there could be a number of reasons for that. One might be that they couldn’t understand me. I think if they heard someone speaking draenei, they might feel more at ease. Unfortunately I don’t know how draenei feel about ghosts — some people speak to spirits all the time, like tauren, while others are afraid of ghosts and don’t want them around. It’s my hope that draenei like speaking to ghosts, or at least are willing to help me. That’s the other thing, I don’t think draenei trust elves very much, so it may take some time to find someone willing to go with us. Keyalenn said that they’ll do it as long as they get paid — which I would, of course — but draenei don’t seem like the kind of people who will do things they don’t want for money. If we’re here all summer, hopefully they will get used to me and all my questions.

Another thing I want to try is different objects to attract their attention. Keyalenn suggested food, which normally doesn’t work very well for ghosts because they cannot smell or taste it, nor do they feel hunger. But he’s correct in that it may evoke a pleasant memory or make them feel more at home, especially if it’s a festival or ceremonial food. I started with candles and incense simply because they work much of the time, but obviously not always. Ghosts are individuals and they can be very particular about their likes and dislikes. Most of the books that exist are rubbish because they make broad generalizations. I have a feeling that the way they died and the reason they became ghosts affect how they behave, too. It’s my goal to write a book — a real book, with proof and study — about ghosts. It’s difficult because no one really thinks of ghosts as a real area of study, it’s not thought of a science or magic, even though I believe it must be magic of some sort. Learning more about the draenei ghosts will be very valuable, and I can compare them to the ghosts back in the school.

So, no real results the first night. I’m absolutely sure ghosts are present — it’s a tomb, and the candles were flickering — but they’re not ready to speak to me yet. I have to convince them that it’s okay. Thankfully, I have the whole rest of the summer to try.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Loralinde’s Journal

Keyalenn and I are back at school, which is good because I have end of term exams coming up this week, and he has to help grade them for Magister Raleth’s class. This week will also be the spring ball, I’d hoped it might help get his mind off things for a while, but I’m not sure if it will. He seems better at times, but then it’s like it all comes back at once. I’ve never been through something like that, but I can imagine there are little reminders everywhere. I’m trying to avoid them, like I wasn’t sure if he’d want to go to the draenei tomb so soon. I would think being around a lot of ghosts would be very difficult right now, but he says he does. I hope he isn’t just saying that to make me happy, because I’d be fine waiting. There are lots of other things to do in Shattrath, though — like the restaurant. Their food is so nice and it’s different from what we get here because they use local vegetables and meat in their dishes. Keyalenn said he’d also like to visit the magical domes in Netherstorm, we might even see some dragons! That would be so exciting. He also mentioned the ghost village there. I’ve read about it, apparently they were all mages. I bet it’s fascinating! It’s really kind of him to offer to go with me, even if he doesn’t really feel like going.

I worry a little about his father, too. He’s all alone in that big house with no one to talk to aside from servants. I worry that he’ll fall into bad habits, or drinking or something like that. I suggested maybe he should get a pet, but Keyalenn didn’t think it was a good idea. He says he visits after lunch, hopefully that is enough. I still worry though.

I’m looking forward to the ball as well, it’s much more fun when you have someone to look forward to dancing with. The spring ball is always so bright and cheerful with the flowers and ribbons, the weather is starting to get warmer so it’s mostly outside unless it rains. Keyalenn said they hadn’t asked him for help with the music yet, but they could have just forgotten. Magister Fairsong and Terellion are busy with the new baby, and Tik’s break. I just hope he’s feeling up to it, he said he couldn’t play any cheerful music just yet. But slow songs are good too. I would like to get a new dress, I noticed that the undead girl always has new dresses and I asked her about them. She said she makes them herself, usually at night because she has all that spare time. And they’re quite nice, too — I mean, they aren’t as fancy as the really expensive shops, but they’re still very well done. I found her after class this morning and asked if she would have time to make one before the dance. You should have seen how excited she got! She took out her notebook and started sketching a design right there. I need to go and get measured this evening, and I need to buy the fabric from the city. Sorelle also said she could do little cloth flowers to wear in my hair to go with it. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! I bet a lot of girls would like to have their own dresses made here, especially the ones who can’t afford to buy them. I do plan to give her some money though, but maybe Magister Fairsong could pay for people who don’t have enough.