[Story] Morthorn’s Notes

The clinic has been so busy that I hardly realized how little time I’ve had to write any personal observations. Ordinarily, this would be only in a patient file, but considering the identity of the patient… Lani certainly has the same stubborn-ness that runs in her family. I’ve been seeing Hethurin fairly regularly, as well as some of the students. Lani likes to nudge some of them in the direction of my office after their physical check-ups. Particularly, I think some of the scholarship students are having a bit more difficulty fitting in. The school is an entirely different world than what they are used to, in addition to the burden of keeping their true past and identity a secret. It was wise of Hethurin to choose two of them to receive scholarships, so at least they have each other to confide in. And myself, of course, though I’m not sure either of them trusts me entirely yet. It’s understandable, but I hope in time I can prove myself trustworthy to them.

I had a late walk-in last night as Lani was straightening up the exam room. She saw him as he came in, so there was no point in trying to deny who it was — her father. We’ve spoken before, of course, but never in a patient setting. I thought there might be some problem that had brought him to me, but he told me that everything was going well at the school, he was becoming accustomed to staying on the grounds there with his children and grandchildren. He’s considered retirement, but still wishes to help out with Lani’s clinic here and there. Hethurin is urging him to stay on the grounds, repairing one of the abandoned houses. All of this sounds encouraging to me, so I was uncertain why he’d sought me out. It could just be for the sake of conversation, but that’s not usually the case. Most people only come to me when they feel they have no one else to turn to.

He’d been seeing someone, he said, and was uncertain whether it should continue. He worried that his children might be upset by it. I advised him that his own opinion should be the priority here, that he didn’t need their approval in his personal life. Of course, he shouldn’t aim to upset them, but it can always be difficult for children to see their parents in a romantic relationship, especially if there has been a split previously. Many wish for their parents to get back together, even when that’s flatly impossible, as is the case here. Isturon’s children are grown, however, and should be more accepting of him moving on, and I told him that it was a positive change. The woman in question is Terellion’s mother. I can see how that could complicate things. While I haven’t spoken to her myself, I know through Hethurin that her husband died not terribly long ago. Even aside from Terellion and Hethurin’s possible opposition, she might not be to the point where she can consider another relationship. I thought it best that he proceed very slowly, allowing a friendship to build naturally before suggesting anything else. If she’s interested, she will probably make that fact known.

It’s a bit odd to be giving advice in romantic matters, as I’m really terrible at it. In both cases, it was the lady who initiated things, with me finally figuring out their intentions much later. Of course I thought about it, imagined what it might be like, but never actually acted until I was absolutely sure, and sometimes not even then. I suppose I overthink things, or worry too much about making a mistake. Were I my own patient, I would tell me that mistakes are important for growth, and sometimes we have pleasant surprises that happen as well as mistakes. But I’m not, and I continue along in the same manner even while I know it’s not the best. Isturon made a remark about Lani running off with a pool boy as her mother had, and while it was just to illustrate a point, I could imagine it all too well in dreadful detail. I’ve worried about being too boring or too old or too stuffy, many times before. He also implied that she was only interested in because I would fill out her paperwork for her. I assume that was also meant to be a joke, but it elicited the same panic in me. Was it true? What if she found someone younger, with better penmanship, who also enjoyed filling out forms?

Regardless, the moment he left, Lani insisted to know what we had discussed. And she was prepared for my reply. “He’s my father,” she said. “I have a right to know.” She didn’t, really, but I wasn’t about to try to force the point with her, I know better. I reminded her that what I told her was strictly to stay within our office, but I suspect she’ll go straight to him and give him her opinion. Then again, he probably expected that too.


[Story] Morthorn’s Journal

Orledin came to speak with me last night. To get things started, I asked him about what sort of books he had been reading, and which he liked the best. He said that some of the rangers had been borrowing them for the school on his behalf, since he’s still not allowed to go there himself. He likes the cookbooks the best, because he can find new recipes to try out, though I must admit I’m not sure how is able to tell whether or not they’ve turned out well. I suppose he can have the rangers try it for him, and tell him how it is. It does seem that they’ve accepted him well there, which is very encouraging. He is able to live — well, not live exactly, but stay — among them, and is part of their everyday routine. I know that he patrols with the other undead ranger, simply because they are both able to patrol in the middle of the night without ill effect. He doesn’t speak much about her though, so I don’t know how close they are. Orledin is still seeking someone that he can be closer with. The cat is some help, he said, but it’s not the same. I would never come out and say it’s impossible, because it isn’t. There very well could be someone willing to look past his condition — unlikely, but not impossible. After all, as I mentioned, the rangers don’t seem to mind it much. There are still few enough people here that it isn’t easy for anyone, alive or not, to find someone. I reminded him that I was alone for more than ten years, myself.

He told me that he’s been collecting bones from around the forest, raptor bones according to him. I’m not entirely sure how he can tell just from one little bone what it belonged to, but perhaps he knows a lot about raptors. There were certainly a lot of trolls in the area until recently, so it’s not unreasonable. My only worry would be some sort of spirit or curse laid on them; trolls are notorious for that sort of thing. Orledin said that was only an issue if you touch their jars. I hope he’s right on that account, I’m certain the captain would be displeased if troll spirits were haunting the ranger building. Orledin was a bit sheepish about it, worried that people might think him odd. I don’t think it’s odd, most everyone has some sort of hobby, and collecting bones happens to be his. I suppose some might see it as morbid, but there are many others who would appreciate the educational value of such a thing — the Reliquary in Silvermoon, for instance, or perhaps even Hethurin. Mounted, a raptor skeleton would make an impressive decoration for the school, and could be used to instruct students about anatomy.

Vaildor met a friend in town, and he has begun general education classes at the academy. I was able to speak to him briefly, I didn’t recognize him because they are newly arrived. His mother works for one of the nearby estates. That was about all I got out of him before they disappeared again. They’ve only known each other a short time but they seem inseparable. I have seen them working on school work together often. I hope they can remain friends, I know at times young relationships can be puzzlingly volatile to us adults. He seems like a responsible boy though, and I don’t think he and Vaildor will get into too much trouble together.

[Story] Morthorn’s Journal

Our daughter is finally here. She’s so tiny and perfect. Everything went smoothly, no doubt because Lani was prepared and her sister was here to attend to her. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t worried, but they made me wait in the patients’ waiting room with some tea that was supposed to be calming. I don’t think it was, but I barely had any. I kept thinking about all of the awful things that could happen. They didn’t, of course, she was born perfectly healthy and very very cute. Now that we know she’s a girl, we can get all sorts of dresses and little lacy hats and shoes and things. I thought it might be strange, but it’s not really. She has my hair! Well, just a tiny bit, little wisps of it, but you can tell it’ll be my color. I’ve already got to hold her a little bit, when she’s not busy eating. I thought Lani had a whole list of names ready, but she wanted me to pick one. I couldn’t even remember the ones from the list, so I just thought of the first ones I could. Now I’m wondering if that wasn’t intentional. We both agreed that Telinda was nice. Privately I’m relieved she didn’t go with the name that started with V that was on her list.

Her room is all the way on the other end of the house, so we’re keeping her in our room for now. I’ve moved the crib in and set it up, though I think she won’t be using that just yet either. I think she’s still too tiny to be alone in there, though I put her little dragonhawk toy in for when she’s ready. I expect all the visitors will come to see her soon, once Lani has had a chance to rest and she’s old enough to not be in danger of getting sick. Vaildor and Hethurin did come by already. Lani said he’s very excited to be a brother and wants to paint a portrait of her. I know he was feeling a bit apprehensive before, so I’m happy that he is so enthusiastic about the baby. It will be wonderful to have a way to remember what she looked like so small, as she’ll grow up very quickly. I’m already thinking about whether she’ll go to school at the Academy, I suppose she will, but Vaildor will have probably moved to the art school full time by then. Thankfully there are several other babies being born that she will be able to play with — Rylad and Iannor, and Mae’s baby who will arrive any day now. And there may be more after that, it’s impossible to say.

Lani won’t be seeing anyone for a few days, though I am still able to. Maybe she will let me keep Telinda in the sling at my desk, it’s easier for me because I don’t have to get up and look at patients. I’m not sure if she’ll agree to being away from her that long though.

[Story] Morthorn’s Notes

I think that Lani liked her gifts, at least she seemed to. She got me some books to read to the baby, and socks. Are my socks really that bad? Worse, did she notice that they were? I suppose it’s been a very long time since I bought any new ones. But still, it’s the sort of thing your grandmother usually gets you. They are nice socks though, and very warm. And she will be giving me a much better present in a few months.

The closer it gets, the more nervous I am about everything going right. Her sister is studying in that area specifically, so she should be a very good choice to attend the birth. Lani said her father will be nearby in case of emergency, and Isandri as well. With three healers present, anything unusual should be easily dealt with, but of course things can always happen. I don’t want to frighten her by talking about them, but I can’t help worrying. It’s been a very long time since I held or cared for a baby, I hope I still remember how. She and Des were discussing whether we’d prefer a girl or a boy, and whether we had any names picked out. I said that it didn’t matter to me either way, which is true. But a small part of me worries that a girl might bring up too many memories, too many comparisons. It’s natural for our mind to make such connections, despite our efforts not to. Then Lani said some of the names that she liked. One of them was a little too close. She had no way of knowing, of course. I am afraid that this dark cloud will hang over even after the child is born, and it worries me. I don’t know how to chase it away.

Des is going with her ranger for a trip to the island. According to Lani, her mother is there as well, with her “friend”. I must admit I’m surprised that he is still there, either Lani’s mother is continuing to pay him well, or he actually enjoys her company. It’s unlikely but certainly not impossible.

The ball was lovely. We both ate too much, and at one point went out into the garden to sit on the bench. It was cold, but not enough to snow. Lani said that she wished it would, and I had to agree. The forest looks so tranquil and peaceful with a blanket of snow. Perhaps it will soon. A lot has changed from a year ago; Lani and I are married, we have the new building finished and Vaildor is living with us as well. I hadn’t really thought about it until she pointed it out. Next year the baby will be here, but I don’t know what else the future will hold. Back inside, we danced but it seemed many had already gone home by that point. Or perhaps they’d retreated into the corners, where Tik or Terellion had cleverly hung some mistletoe. I’ll have to get some for our house before the holiday is over.

[Story] Winter Veil Postcards – The Confessor

The Confessor had checked the little clay jar to make sure there were no more coins hiding within it. He never charged anyone to speak with him, though he left the jar on the desk should they wish to drop a few coins into it. If they didn’t, he understood perfectly well. It wasn’t easy to get by sometimes here, when so many were still rebuilding. And he certainly wasn’t going to turn away anyone for lack of money. Most of the coins were put in by a select handful of his visitors, Hethurin being among them. Lani disliked it, and said he should charge at least a few silver at minimum, but he figured she made enough from her side of the office to make up for it.

Maybe she’d been right in this case, though. The pile of coins had been building for several months now, and he’d thought it would add up to a bit more. Still, there was a certain shop in town that he planned to visit, they sold used items but they didn’t call them that. They were “antique”, which appealed more to the rich elves in the city. It wasn’t something used and old, it was aged and full of history. The Confessor had been by to look a few times before, but they never had the same items twice, so it was a bit of luck to find something in particular. The Confessor went very early in the morning, as the shops were all bound to busy due to the holiday. Though it had originated in dwarven lands, Winter Veil had proven to be a huge hit with Silvermoon and its surrounding villages; an excuse to buy lavish gifts, drink a lot, and attend fancy balls. He had to admit that he felt a bit excited himself — last year’s ball had been lovely, and he was certain this one would be even better. Next year would be even better still, when the baby would be here and nearly a year old.

He’d originally planned to buy Lani the new book from her favorite author, the one with the questionable titles and covers. Thankfully the people at the book shop wrapped it for him, so he didn’t have to feel too embarrassed to carry it around the city. But as soon as he reached the antique shop, he knew what he’d buy her — a lovely wooden rocking chair, with sweeping elegant lines and a rich, dark stain. He hadn’t really been sure what to buy her, she’d wanted things for the baby, of course, but he wanted to get her something special as well. It would be perfect.

For Vaildor, they had a full-sized easel, a bit dusty but in good repair. There were a few paint splatters that could be sanded off, but the Confessor figured that Vaildor wouldn’t mind those so much. Later he’d stop at one of the art supply shops and buy as many as his remaining coins would allow. He hoped it would be enough. Vaildor had recently been very honest about his feelings, and even asked if he might call them Ann’da and Minn’da. Lani had cried, and he very nearly had. He seemed a bit uncertain about the new baby, worried that he’d be forgotten, but the Confessor hoped he’d warm a bit once they actually met.

He still had the little dragonhawk doll, hidden away in his chest. At first he’d thought to give it to the baby, but on taking it out he saw that its fabric had faded over the years, dust settling into its seams. It wouldn’t really be safe for a baby. And more importantly, he would be passing all of its weight and memories onto the new baby, and that really wasn’t fair. He had a new life now, a new beginning. At the toy shop he found one that was very similar to old Sunny, but bright and new, its little black glass eyes gleaming brightly. It had a yellow satin ribbon around its neck. That one would be the baby’s gift.

[Story] Morthorn’s Notes

I’m hardly an expert when it comes to relationships, yet this week I’ve been asked about them more than any other subject. I still don’t really believe I have one woman figured out, let alone all of them. But I always try my best to give helpful advice, even if it’s just to talk to the person in question. Sometimes I’ve considered having Lani sit in and give her opinion! Though I know she’d point out that every woman is different, and you can’t just apply the same principles to all of them. It would be so much simpler if you could.

Hethurin is still having doubts about Terellion, which surprised me a bit as they seemed to enjoy themselves at the party. I pointed that out to him, and he said that he’s learned to hide his feelings well. His worry is that Terellion doesn’t wish to be married at all, and plans to leave in the future. This in spite of Terellion saying exactly the opposite. Sometimes Hethurin can be very difficult to get through to, I imagine it must be even more frustrating for poor Terellion. I suggested, once again, that he explain his feelings to him. It seems that Hethurin is making assumptions again, about things that Terellion most likely didn’t really say — Hethurin can have a tendency to jump to conclusions that are sometimes extreme. I explained that Terellion is quite young and may not yet feel ready for that kind of commitment, but he likely will in the future. Pressuring him, whether directly or indirectly, is a good way to ensure that it won’t happen. Then Hethurin wanted to cease sleeping in the same bed until they were married. I explained that trying to go backward now would only cause Terellion to feel confused and hurt, unless Hethurin explained very clearly his intent. He seems to believe that Terellion’s interest is only physical, I said that from my interactions with them both it seemed that wasn’t the case. I’m not sure that I got through to him at all, he left more upset than when he came in. I really hope he isn’t going to give up on Terellion. He’s doing so much better than he was before he came.

Two of the rangers also came to visit, Sunashe and Tylenthis. Ty was worried that Vellira didn’t want to look at the babies at the party. I said that she likely felt it was some sort of hint about their relationship and perhaps wasn’t ready for that. Ty assured me that wasn’t the case. It’s possible that she just doesn’t care much for children, there are certainly women who feel that way. It’s probably a bit too early in their relationship to bring it up, however. Evidently Vaildor told everyone at the party about our baby, so there isn’t any surprise there. I think she plans to tell her father soon, if she hasn’t already.

Sunashe asked for help expressing his feelings to Lin, one of the other rangers. I’d hardly consider myself a poet, but I could come up with better things than he could! I said that he should write his feelings down in a letter, since he has difficulty finding the words when he’s around her. I suggested that he describe things about her that he likes, for example her ears. He said they look like two trees sticking up out of a plain. He might need more help than I can offer. Then I suggested that he read some of the romance stories for ideas, most of them are written with women in mind so they’re quite romantic. I thought to give him some examples, but he really should be giving her his own feelings, not mine. I hardly think Lani would like me writing love letters to another woman! I asked if perhaps Ty could help him out, while I don’t think he’s any expert either, he’s got to be better at it than Sunashe is. I did come up with a couple of ideas — I said he could buy her some nice bath things, or flowers, or a blanket to have a picnic on. Quite honestly, I think he’s going to come up with something very impressive if he’s in competition with a well-funded suitor.

[Story] Morthorn’s Journal

I suppose I’m lucky that Lani doesn’t show the same stubborn streak as her brother — at least, she hasn’t yet. She may yet in the future, but by that time I’ll have had plenty of experience in trying to get through to him. Normally I wouldn’t feel so short when dealing with a patient’s problems, but things at home have been more tumultuous than usual lately. Vaildor’s mood can change rapidly from pleasant and friendly to grouchy and argumentative, and he’s awfully careless about leaving things around the house. I know he doesn’t do it intentionally, he simply doesn’t think ahead past whatever he’s doing at the moment. It’s normal for a boy his age, at least from what I have seen, so I can hardly get angry with him for it. But it’s still irritating and at times dangerous, like when he leaves a hot pan on the fire in the kitchen. In addition to the usual things young boys go through, he’s still struggling to understand exactly where his place is in his family. It’s something I would like to understand myself, but I’m allowing him to take the lead there. I don’t want to push anything that he’s not comfortable with. He has several people who could call his father, but none of us really are. It’s not easy.

Hethurin came to me to talk about Lani, initially. He said that he doesn’t want her checking on him every day, and he doesn’t like the cream that she puts on to help heal his burn. I don’t think anyone will talk her out of checking on her patients daily, but I agreed that she ought not come in while he’s in the middle of a lesson. I also said I would ask if there was a different cream that she might use. Truthfully, I think adding a more pleasant scent might be enough to convince him that it’s a different cream altogether. He’s also still upset over the party — rather, he wanted a wedding party without Terellion knowing what it was supposed to be. I told him it was hardly fair to have a wedding and not tell the other person, and that he should discuss his feelings with Terellion. I haven’t spoken to him much myself, so I cannot know his feelings, but I can make an educated guess. I don’t think he’s old enough to make such decisions, and Hethurin pushing him for an answer might cause more harm than good. I explained that Terellion would very likely be willing to have a proper wedding sometime in the future, so they could both enjoy it, but Hethurin didn’t like that answer very much. He’s certain that it’s never going to happen and he might as well tell Terellion to leave now. I might try to speak to Terellion, but it’s no substitute for them actually talking to each other. I just don’t know if either of them are willing to do it.

He did mention the party again, and confirmed that we’re invited. I’ll have to ask Lani what sort of mask she’d like to wear, I think it will be a nice time. Vaildor also mentioned Lani’s condition to Des, so I’m certain everyone in the Eastern Kingdoms will know by tomorrow morning. It isn’t a big secret, I just don’t think Lani was ready for everyone to know just yet. Des is definitely excited, I’m not sure what Vaildor thinks yet. I know he’s worried about the money, but I’m certain that either Hethurin or Isturon will help with his schooling if need be. He may also be unsure about having a sibling — or, half-sibling, whatever the baby will be to him — in the house. I hope he’ll be willing to talk about it soon. I’d like him to be happy either way, and if he could paint the walls for the baby’s room that might help him feel more involved.