[Story] Character of the Week – Maerista Dawnwrath

[[ Mae is one of the first graduates of Fairsong Academy, and now is an assistant professor helping Aeramin with fire magic classes. Her husband is Gaelardrim, the ranger and architect. ]]

This time of the year is the busiest for us. Gael has been hard at work drawing up all the plans for this year’s building season. The captain wants some rooms added to his house, and there are the usual repairs and upkeep needed for all the existing buildings. I’m not sure yet what Hethurin wants, but he usually asks for something elaborate! Gael has to work on them after he gets back from patrol, so he’s always very tired in the evenings. Once construction starts, he’ll have to go now and then to make sure everything is proceeding as it should, which also means a lot of traveling. Normally I’m there to make sure everything runs smoothly at home, but it’s been a busy time for me too.

I took over Aeramin’s fire classes while he was away, and no one died or set the school on fire so I consider that a success! It’s certainly been challenging, but it’s also good because it gave me the chance to try it out on my own, and I did really enjoy it. Obviously, Aeramin is too young to retire, but I thought maybe we could split the class into beginner and advanced, if we get enough students.  I know that Hethurin is always putting up flyers for more, we certainly have plenty of room still. I’ll have to ask Aeramin about that sometime over the summer; right now he’s going crazy trying to finish all of the finals and exams. When you’re a student, you really don’t think about how much work teachers have to do! He said he’s going away for a short trip soon, so maybe when he gets back from that — he’s sure to be in a good mood after that.

And then Braedra asked me if I could help with the nursery while she’s away. It’s during the school day, so I’m not normally doing a whole lot other than helping with Aeramin’s classes. Even though I only have Zaeris, I consider myself pretty experienced at this mother thing by now, so of course I agreed. Let me tell you, caring for one baby is a whole lot different than caring for a whole room full of them! They’re adorable and sweet, but someone is always needing something — it took me most of the morning just to get everyone fed, and then I had to do changes, while making sure no one got into too much trouble. I don’t know how Braedra does it! I guess it’s easier when some of the children are older, and not all babies. It did make me think about when we’d like another one. Zaeris is still really young yet, but I know I’d like more eventually. I suspect that if I asked Gael, he’d say we should right away, which wouldn’t be so bad either. Gael told me that the captain’s wife is expecting, it’s nice if there are other mothers with babies around to play with who are the same age. Of course, we’ll probably have to add on eventually, too. I wonder if Gael planned that when he designed this house!

After everyone else gets back from their trips, I think we should go on one. It would have to be near the end of the summer, when the builders are almost done with their work and won’t need him to come supervise much. I’m not really sure where I’d like to go though. The island is close, but it’s expensive, although it would be wonderful and I’m sure Zaeris would love it. I haven’t been since before I left for school here, my parents used to take me every year. I’m sure Gael would enjoy it too, as he helped build a lot of the new buildings there. I know he’d love pointing them out to us.


[Story] Fairsong Academy – Maerista’s Journal

It was a relief to see that Magister Firewind is back from his trip. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy teaching the classes, I did, but it’s definitely more work than I am used to! I told him that everything went okay, for the most part. No one set anything on fire or hurt themselves. Their work got done and everyone showed up for class and lessons. I was a bit worried that they might think it was a break since their teacher was gone and I was only the temporary one, but I should have known better. They are good students and work hard. Felarius missed a few of his private lessons though, which I found odd as he kept up in his classwork. Aeramin didn’t seem concerned, though, he said that he probably just went to study at his house. While he wasn’t home? Seems a little strange, but if Aeramin isn’t concerned then I won’t be. As I said, he did all of his class work. Maybe he doesn’t actually need private lessons anymore.

Come to think of it, Aeramin was acting a little strange too. I wanted to know how his  trip was, and he was vague about it. He just said that it was warm. Well, obviously! I meant all the other parts, whether it was romantic and wonderful and all of that. He did tell me a bit about the island, how they bring food out every evening on boats. That does sound exciting! I’d like to go with Gael one day if it’s not too much. We never really got a real trip before, he had to start working and I was getting ready for Zaeris. I think I’d miss him so much if we left him at home though, and who would watch him? I would trust Nessna, maybe Lin but Sunashe is always making comments about letting their son ride that lizard. I can’t tell if he’s actually joking or not. There’s Ter’s mother, she normally watches him during school hours so he would already be used to her. I don’t want to impose by asking her to keep him for a whole trip though.

I also told Aeramin that he needs to get a sweater for Imralion so he doesn’t freeze, and to protect his ears. He’s convinced that he doesn’t need them because he’s always in the city, or at home with Aeramin. Well, it might get cold in the city, and what if he has to go outside for some reason? It’s not like they cost a lot of money. I think it’s well worth it to keep your husband’s ears safe and warm. He at least agreed to look at them, I told him about the stall in the market. Aeramin thought they wouldn’t have any in his size, but they have lots of different sizes. I mean, orcs need sweaters too, and they’re definitely bigger than Imralion. We also talked about children a little, I said I’d like more eventually, probably once Zaeris is a bit older. He doesn’t want any, he said, but would agree to it if Imralion wanted. I thought that’s probably something you should decide before you get married, but he has a point in that it’s not just going to happen accidentally. I mean, unless someone leaves another baby on their doorstep.

I wanted to talk to Terellion, but he was busy making sure there was enough food out on the tables. That’s supposed to be Tik’s job, but he insisted. He also kept wanting to check in on Narise and Galandil. Malwen was out with the main party, but the other two were in the nursery room with his mother. I’m not sure why he was so worried about it, she has a lot of experience with babies and she watches them all the time. He said it was because Hethurin’s father was in there, too, and he suspected they might be kissing. Seriously? He has the strangest ideas sometimes. I’m pretty sure they’re not, but even if they were, would they be doing it with a bunch of babies around? I doubt it. Ter made me promise that I’d tell him if I saw anything though. I don’t expect that I will, but I promised.


[Story] Fairsong Academy – Maerista’s Journal

The weather’s starting to get cold, and I thought I should get Gael a new sweater. Not that there’s really anything wrong with any of the other ones he has, but they’re maybe not as soft as they once were, and some of them have got a little mud on them from patrol. That’s going to happen, living out in the woods. And I admit, they always have new designs and I feel like he might get bored with wearing the same old boring sweaters all the time. I’ve been so busy with the extra work at school that  I hadn’t had time to go yet, though. Even though Xarola and Vynlorin offered to help check papers — which I certainly appreciate — there’s a lot of work to be done preparing lessons and exams. I also check essays myself, because those are subjective. I thought a trip to the city to look for a sweater would be a nice break, but then Gael brought up something I hadn’t thought about before.

Don’t the other rangers get cold? Sure, they have cloaks, but he said none of them have sweaters. Can you imagine! I guess their wives don’t care if they freeze to death or not. Or if their ears get frozen in the wind. So I decided that I would invite some of them along with me, it could be a fun trip and I could get a chance to talk to some of them more. Since we have our own house, I hardly ever see them, let alone get to talk. Nessna and Lin both have young babies too — Lin’s is the littlest. He’s so cute, it makes me realize how big Zaeris has gotten. I didn’t think I should ask Sorrowmoss, first of all she wouldn’t be allowed in Silvermoon, second she doesn’t have anyone to buy a sweater for. Neither do Kavia, Yara, or Anorelle, at least that I know of. That left Vellira, Lin, and Nessna, and I had to find a time when they all wouldn’t be on patrol and I wouldn’t be teaching classes. Well, I thought about asking Julan, but honestly I wasn’t sure if it would be a good idea having to keep a close eye on him all afternoon. They all seemed confused at first, but agreed to come anyway, maybe because I said I’d buy lunch.

I went straight to my favorite stall in the market for sweaters, they set up their booth around this time every year and there’s piles of different ones. I think every single one is different, so you have to look through all of them to find the best ones. Nessna said that the other rangers didn’t need sweaters, because they already had cloaks. Sure, I said, but wouldn’t they be warmer with a sweater AND a cloak? Also, you can get a set of matching ear-warmers and a scarf if you like. Then I found a sweater that had little lynxes running across the front and that convinced her. Lin asked if they had any with lizards, which they didn’t, but she did find one with a dragon. I think if you squint you could pretend that it was a lizard. And lizards and dragons are probably related, anyway. Vellira seemed to love the idea, and she ended up buying three sweaters, with matching ear-warmers and scarves. At least one of them is worried about her ranger getting cold. One of them had a ship on the front, she said that one was her favorite.

We went to the tea house and had tea and sandwiches. It has been so long since I got to just talk with other ladies that I think I’d forgotten how to. But it was nice, I want to do it again. It just feels a little awkward because they’re all rangers and I’m a mage, but then we just talked about normal things for the most part, so maybe it isn’t too strange. Especially when we talked about babies, Vellira made a face about that. I think she’s older than I am, then again mine was kind of a surprise.

We also stopped to have the sweaters all wrapped up. You can’t give someone a gift without wrapping it properly! The boxes looked really large because the sweaters are so big and fluffy. Vellira was trying to balance all three of hers, fortunately she was able to balance them long enough for me to open a portal back to the ranger building. I hope they all like their sweaters, and stay warm on their patrols. Gael’s is blue with little white snowflakes, and I got a matching little hat for Zaeris. They’ll both be so adorable!

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Maerista’s Journal

Last night I stayed a little late at the school, I’ll admit it was mostly because Lyorri was there and I wanted to see her. She’s so cute! She has the most beautiful hair. I think every girl will be jealous of it when she’s older. Magister Firewind has been spending more time with her, which I think is good. I never say anything, but I do worry about their relationship when she’s older. I think he does too, which is why he’s making efforts so she’ll know him and like him. He was telling Kestrae that he wants a sling so she can be in class with him, like the Headmaster does with Narise. That isn’t a bad idea! Though I think Zaeris is getting a little too big for that, plus he’s putting anything he can grab into his mouth. That could be bad in a magic classroom! I think Kestrae was a little hesitant, I know I would be if someone wanted to take Zaeris most of the day. I mean technically he’s her father, but she is taking care of her and has got attached. Her poor husband is working a lot, they’re all trying to wrap up the projects before it starts to rain and get cold. But then they’ll basically have the winter free, sometimes I wish Gael did that still so I could see him more. But I think he really enjoys being a ranger, even though he has to go out in the middle of winter when it’s freezing. At least he has a hat and sweater so his ears don’t freeze off! I was telling Magister Firewind that I hope my next baby is a girl so I can put her in dresses and put little ribbons in her hair. I haven’t brought it up with Gael yet, but I don’t imagine that he’d be opposed. Of course it wouldn’t be for years yet, I want to make sure they have some space between them. I never had any siblings, but I’ve read that’s better. Caring for two babies at once would be difficult!

Magister Firewind was also talking about the Faire. He said Lyorri really liked riding on the ponies and looking at everything. I bet Zaeris would like it too, I mean, he couldn’t do a whole lot but he would definitely like those I think. And he enjoys riding on Gael’s shoulders and he could do that the whole evening! He thought it was a good idea, I hope he’ll be able to take a patrol off. From what he tells me, it isn’t very busy right now so it shouldn’t be a problem. I feel bad for Magister Firewind, and mostly for her. It doesn’t sound like Imralion is very interested in being around her, which must be very difficult for Magister Firewind. Of course he loves him, but his daughter is more important to him, as she should be! I’m just thankful that I don’t have to be in a situation like that. I am so lucky and I never forget that.

My parents sent some clothes and things for Zaeris, I plan to meet with them soon in the city for lunch so they can see him. If they don’t say anything awful about Gael, I’ll ask about inviting them over to our house for dinner. They really need to get over the fact that he’s not some spoiled city brat!

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Maerista’s Journal

I’ve finally found a few minutes to write while Zaeris is asleep. I expected to be tired, but not this tired! Luckily he’s fairly regular about how often he needs to eat, so I know I have a few hours until he wakes up again. Gael always offers to help but right now I’m the only one who can feed him! I did make him wash diapers though. We’re staying at the school for the next few days, because Gael thinks I can’t take a portal home yet. I can’t really complain, it’s comfortable and everyone brings me anything I need, even Des. She brought me juice and bread the first night, then Tik started bringing giant trays of food. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I ate almost all of it. Being a mother makes you hungry! I didn’t know that either.

Esladra has come to check on me a couple of times already. Apparently Lani had her baby just a day before mine, so she definitely is keeping busy! Lani had a girl, I can’t wait to see her. I bet she’s so cute (but not as cute as mine). With all of the babies in the area, we were saying that maybe Esladra should stay and work at the building in town. They’d probably need to add on another room or something, but it should be possible, right? Those poor builders are never going to get a break! In a month or so they’ll have to start working again, I know the rangers are making some new cabins on the property. I’m looking forward to having Zaeris grow up out here in the woods, I think it’s much better than the city. He’ll be able to play outdoors and learn how to do ranger things, rather than just stay inside and study all day. Of course he can study too, hopefully here at the school! It’s a good thing that Magister Fairsong planned ahead and got a teacher for general classes! They’ll all be in the same class together when they are older.

Of course Mother and Father want to come see Zaeris, I’m not so sure about that yet. I need to talk to Gael. I think maybe it would be better for them to see him somewhere besides our house, but he’ll have to be a bit older for that. Maybe I’m being stubborn but I’m still a bit angry about how they treated Gael. Like now that we have a baby they’re suddenly being nice again but I know it’s just because they want to see Zaeris. Maybe they’ll start to like Gael again. I guess I could at least let them buy things for him! He has so much already but the little clothes they make for babies are so cute. Gael was talking about getting him a little toy farm set too. He’d have to be a bit older for that, he’s not even interested in toys yet. All he likes to do is eat and sleep.

[Story] Winter Veil Postcards – Maerista

Maerista peered into the shop windows as she passed. It was proving more difficult to find a sweater than she had imagined. Probably because few people in the city had to stay outdoors like Gaelardrim did, not to mention that the Ghostlands were colder than Eversong. She saw a few in one shop, but they were thin and not warm enough at all, more for looks than warmth. As the other girls had suggested, she had better luck down in the bazaar among the stalls. Every evening when Gael came home, he was cold and his fingers as cold as ice. A thick wooly sweater would be perfect, and maybe some mittens to go along with. Des had suggested a hat as well, which she had to admit was a very good idea. It would be nice if she could find someone who sold them all together as a set, so they’d match.

Under her arm was tucked the robe she had already bought, wrapped up in bright paper. She was a little embarrassed to have to buy a special robe just for the ball, but none of her old ones fit properly anymore. This one was specially cut to be loose around her belly, but it otherwise looked like a normal robe. She had to admit that it looked — and felt — much better than trying to stuff herself into one of her old ones. She had no idea they had a special shop for robes like that, but she supposed it made sense. There was also a little lacy night-dress, one that she certainly wouldn’t wear for quite a while. That would have to wait until the spring, after the baby was born. But she hoped that Gael would appreciate the gift anyway.

Rounding a corner in the bazaar, she saw exactly what she was looking for — a stall piled high with fuzzy, wooly sweaters. It seemed that every single one was knitted in a different pattern; many of them were stripes but there were diamonds, checks, bands of color, and some even seemed to have little animals in neat geometric patterns. She wasn’t sure what color Gael would like best, but she liked one with little red and green hawkstriders arranged in a row across the chest. They held a ribbon between their beaks, and the background was sprinkled with snowflakes. She reached out to touch it, and it was even softer than it looked. She imagined cuddling next to him in front of the fire while he was wearing it, and smiled. The man behind the stall didn’t have mittens that matched exactly, but she found some that used the same colors of yarn, at least. Then the man showed her a hat as well. The top of it was knitted of wool, but inside it was lined with animal fur, and it had flaps that came down on either side to keep the wearer’s ears warm. Mae bought all of them and had the man wrap them up in paper. She hoped her gift would keep Gael warm and thinking of her while he was out in the cold, dark forest.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Maerista’s Journal

I know I haven’t written in ages! Between setting up the house and getting ready for the baby I haven’t had much time to do anything at all. I was also feeling rather awful most days, at least until after lunch or so, but I’m doing better now. The downside is that I’m starving all the time! I mean I can eat an entire full meal and still be ready for more. I’m glad Tik doesn’t mind, in fact I think he secretly likes that someone wants to eat that much of his food, especially since Magister Fairsong hardly ever does. The baby’s room is mostly ready now, though there’s still a few more decorations I’d like to get, and maybe some books or soft toys. And we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, so I have to be careful about what we get! It really doesn’t matter to me. I don’t think Gael is especially worried about carrying on his family name, so he won’t be disappointed if it’s a girl. A girl would be nice because we could wear matching dresses when she’s older… but a boy would be nice too because he could go on patrol and help Gael work on houses. I haven’t thought of a name yet. I think Lani was surprised when I said that, but then she’s had way more time to plan this! I’ve thought of some, but I keep changing my mind. I am going to borrow some books from the library and see if any of the characters have good names to give me ideas.

That is one thing I’m a little worried about, not the name but the planning. All of this happened really soon so Gael and I haven’t had much time to just be alone together. The baby will be here in just a few months and then we’ll both be so busy that I worry I won’t get any time with him. Then I realize that’s kind of selfish and the baby deserves to have a lot of time with him too. And of course I don’t regret it or anything, but I do think about it sometimes. Maybe we’ll be lucky and our baby will like to sleep! I guess we do have years and years ahead of us, but I already had to wait so long to live with him!

Lani is worried about Vaildor in Shattrath. I am sure he’s just fine, with both Magister Firewind and Magister Raleth looking after him. Magister Raleth has a child so he knows what to do, he wouldn’t just let Vaildor go wandering off wherever! It is a little worrisome that Magister Fairsong took off the way he did though. At the very last minute, he took Des and Renner with him somewhere else, but he wouldn’t say where. Terellion went with him too. Of all of them, I’m the most worried about him because he’s probably my best friend here at the school. If something bad has happened I don’t know what I’d do. The students are due back from Shattrath tomorrow, but no one knows when Magister Fairsong will be back.

Since things have calmed down here a bit, Gael has been doing some extra work again. Which is good, because we need the money to buy things for the baby! We still need to get diapers, and some more outfits once we know if it’s a boy or a girl. And if I’m being honest, I am going to need some new robes. I can’t get away with wearing my old ones anymore right now, it’s way too tight and I can’t breathe. You can definitely see it now and it feels a little weird because now it’s actually real. The baby moves around a lot too, Gael is so excited and always wants to feel him or her. It’s strange to think we’ll be able to see what the baby looks like soon! I hope it looks like Gael! The winter ball is coming up and I’d really like to be able to go, but I’ll need a dress that’s larger, at least in the front. Last year’s was so beautiful but I didn’t get to dance with him then — in fact I didn’t even know he existed yet. I’m sure he was probably there; the other rangers were, though I guess some of them hadn’t joined up yet. Anyway, he’s helping the captain to build a little playhouse for his son as a gift. It’s going to be so cute! I definitely want one for our baby when he or she is old enough! He’s also building a couple of cabins on the ranger property. I’m not sure if they are for guests, or if they have so many people that they’re running out of room. Either way, it’s nice because it’s extra money but I do miss having him here as much. He’s so funny, he’ll ask me at least five times before he leaves if it’s okay to go. I am fine! But I love that he is so worried about us.