[Story] Winter Veil Postcards 2017

[[ Sorry it’s been quiet… I have unexpected guests over this weekend. Here are two Winter Veil shorts, I’ll do more later! ]]

“Just get him dumplings,” Zhyra said over breakfast. The night was chilly, fog had rolled in over the small lake around the town, and a steady rain dripped from the eaves. “He likes them, doesn’t he?”

Of course he did. And while she’d been doing her best to learn to make them herself, Risarra felt they weren’t special enough for a gift. Bear got dumplings just about every day, he had for all the time they’d been checking on him at his camp — which counted in years now.

Avanniel made a face. “I don’t know why you want to follow a dwarf holiday anyway.”

Risarra frowned and stirred her oatmeal, mixing the berries in for flavor. “It doesn’t have to be for that,” she argued. “It could just be a gift.” The other two sentinels exchanged a look, but said nothing else on the subject.

There would be a market in Darnassus today. She’d have to hurry, but Risarra thought she could make it there and back in time before her patrol if she could borrow a hippogryph. Surely there she could find something that would make a good gift — something for his house perhaps, or to keep him warm when she was away at patrol. A scarf or a cloak, something like that. Risarra hurried to finish her breakfast and dug her bag of coins out from under her bunk.

“Ouch!” Sath’alor pulled his hand back from the hawkstrider’s sharp beak. He’d like to think it had simply mistaken his fingers for a snack, but he couldn’t be sure. They were probably just nervous, he reasoned, being led away from their farm to their new home. Sath’alor had specifically asked for birds with good temperaments and steady nerves to face the rigors of patrol. He didn’t care what they looked like or what their bloodlines were — though they looked fancy and colorful to him, at least.  There were six in total, four males and two female, their feathers varying shades of blue and black. One had a slightly greenish tint if you looked at it in the right light. The seller said that Sath’alor could name them, but he wasn’t terribly good with names, he thought he’d leave that to the rangers, and perhaps Rylad.

The stable was warm and dry, fresh straw spread over the floor and the bins filled with greens and vegetables. Each stall had a bucket of water and a blank nameplate on the door waiting to be filled in. Sath’alor hadn’t yet figured out a schedule for which hawkstriders would patrol when, but they couldn’t be worked all day, they would need to rotate. And not everyone would need or want to ride anyway, ideally only one pair would be out at any time. He hoped that at least one of them would be gentle enough to give rides to Rylad, and the other children if they were big enough. He could even bring them to Hethurin’s parties if he so wished, decked out in matching saddles. For now, he just had the plain leather saddles and bridles from the breeder, along with detailed instructions for their care. Sath’alor knew a lot about cats, but practically nothing about hawkstriders, so he hoped to hire someone to look after them. For the time being though, it was his job.

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[Story] Ashenvale – Risarra’s Journal

I’m back in Astranaar, and Avanniel will be leaving just before dusk to travel to Ratchet. I’m a little nervous, but not too much — everyone already knows their patrols, and knows me, so it should just be a matter of collecting reports and reading them. Unless of course, something unusual happens like some orcs invade, or we find some demons. That’s the part that I do worry about, but I’ve thought a lot about what I’d do and I feel like I’m ready if anything like that happens. I want to prove that I can do a good job and Avanniel was right to trust me to be in charge.

I hope I won’t be too distracted though. It’s hard not to think about other things, especially on nights when patrol is boring and nothing is happening. I think it’s probably the prettiest place in the world, except that I haven’t been anywhere else so I can’t really compare. I think about maybe one day I’ll get to see them too, I hope I do. I would like Bear to be there too, although I’m still a bit confused about what’s going on. When he asked if I could go, I thought there was some special reason — I mean, other than just seeing everything. Probably it was silly of me to think that, after all he usually just says what he means. And I did love it there, other than being cold, which wasn’t so bad because we had a fire in our little cabin and lots of blankets. It was incredible to see the sabers and their families out there in the snow, and the furbolgs in their little villages. On the second day we went to the hot springs and they were amazing! The water in them is really hot, so hot that steam comes up, but some of the shallow ones you can actually go in. It feels just like a wonderful hot bath. The water is bright blue, because of the surrounding ice, I guess. Then later we went and saw some blue dragons. They were just little ones, Bear said, but I’ve never seen dragons before and I loved them. I don’t know how to describe them, like bright little jewels flying in the air. The last thing we saw was a whole cave full of moonkin, well we didn’t get too close because they can be unpredictable. But they were beautiful too, their feathers were white and grey and blue, not like the ones in Ashenvale. I didn’t find any tauren, though Winterspring is very large and there could be camps or villages hiding in the hills, we didn’t go everywhere.

I can’t ever tell what he’s thinking. I know he’s probably back at his camp, working on the little house. Before we left, I brought some more blankets from the supply building, so we should be warm enough. I know there’s also a hole in the roof so we can have a fire. Ashenvale doesn’t usually get too cold, so that should be enough. But I still don’t know what he thinks beyond that, I mean other than wanting dumplings. Which I do plan to work on while I’m here, and have a proper oven. If I can make up a few batches I should have enough until Avanniel’s next trip. Maybe I am just expecting too much, I don’t know. I should just be patient but I don’t like not knowing what is going to happen.

[Story] Thorns – Harrier’s Journal

Rose has been taking Josie out to the countryside to look at places for sale. I wish she wouldn’t do that during the busy season, because I hate having to work the front. I’m not good at being friendly and smiling at everyone when I’m trying to get things done. Pup tries his best, but I think customers would rather have an adult behind the counter. I’m glad the shop is doing well, but it’s hard to keep up with orders if I’m always having to answer questions. I set my stuff on the counter though so people can watch me if they want, I guess they like that. I’m also not happy about the idea of moving at all. Rose didn’t even talk to me about it, she just went out and started looking. No, she doesn’t need my permission, but it would have been nice, you know? I live here too, it affects me too.

She said she wants a bigger place with more rooms. Okay, that makes sense, I guess. Pup does definitely need his own space, and Nash might too. I can never tell what he’s thinking. There would be room for growing vegetables, and Rose and Josie are already talking about getting some animals or something. I don’t want to live on a farm, thanks.  I guess she did already talk to Nash though, and he’s mostly sold on the idea. I think because he thinks he can get a bunch more rabbits and he won’t have to hide under a hat all the time. Which I can understand, I guess. I’m just worried about him having to go through the guards twice a day. He already passes them in the city, but I feel like they pay more attention at the gates. I couldn’t ask him to put himself at risk like that, even if he is getting the illusion from the other elf, it seems really dangerous. And we’d have to ride to and from the city every day. I like being able to just go up to my room and sleep after working.

I mean, I could just stay here. Maybe that was Rose’s plan all along. I should be the one there with her making these decisions, not Josie. Maybe it’s her way of showing that what I think doesn’t matter as much, or maybe it never did and I’m just an idiot. That’s probably the case. But I still don’t know what I’m going to do. I guess it depends on if they find a place, and what it’s like. And it depends if Nash wants to go or not. I still think it’d be a pain to have to ride there and back all the time, I don’t have a horse either, and neither does Nash. Though I guess if we’re getting a whole farm, we can get some. I don’t want a horse. Machines are a lot more reliable, and they don’t bite. Or poop.

And if that’s not enough, Risarra wrote to me too. She’s got a boyfriend named “Bear”, which I can only imagine means he’s huge and hairy. I know I shouldn’t be jealous, if I wanted there to be anything, it could have happened when I went to visit. But I’ll never belong there, just as she’d never belong here. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt a little. And if he hurts her I’m going to poison him or something, I know better than to try to fight someone called “Bear”.

[Story] Risarra’s Report – Winterspring

Winterspring is very snowy this time of the year. It comes up to my waist, though the locals say it will probably reach the eaves of the cabins by the end of the winter. There is a small kaldorei settlement here, one large building which contains a kitchen and serving area, as well as a small library and sitting rooms. It is built in traditional style without walls, so one might look out over the landscape. Surrounding the large building are several smaller cabins which can be rented out for a fee. They contain a bed, table and chairs, and a small reading area, as well as a fireplace. The operation is run by kaldorei, some of whom seem to be related. I saw a few who I presumed were druids, based on their attire. I believe there is a barrow den in the area and they come to the settlement for food. There is a very large lake surrounded by ruins, and it is frozen over most of the year. Further west there are said to be hot springs, but I did not see these yet.

A wide variety of wildlife makes Winterspring home. So far I have seen owls, sabers, bears, deer, and furbolgs. I am told there are more magical creatures such as moonkin, ice elementals, and blue dragons as well, but I have not seen these yet.

My official report wasn’t very good, but I feel that I need to get more practice if I’m going to be responsible for making them when Avanniel is away. I think she’ll be leaving for Ratchet soon, so I can’t stay here in Winterspring very long. I was able to find a mail box at the town, so she’ll get this before she leaves I think. It really is beautiful, I’ve never seen so much snow before in my life. Sometimes it snows in Ashenvale, but it’s only a little, like dust sprinkled over everything. The trees are thick so not much of it can fall to the ground. While there are trees here, even thick in some places, it’s much more open overall and there are wide fields just full of snow that haven’t been touched by any person or animal. And the sky has these beautiful bands of color, green and blue and purple. Bear said it has something to do with the way the sky works here, I thought maybe it was just a reflection from the snow. Either way, it’s breathtaking and wonderful.

There were a lot more people than I thought there would be. It’s not bad — especially because they make food, and it was good food, too. Bear really liked their dumplings, he said they were better than the ones from Astranaar. I think I could make them like this, they’re just larger and they use some more spices, I don’t know which ones but I could buy some from the market. I want to learn how to make the best dumplings ever. He also didn’t like that there were druids, so I went and got the food. I wish he’d understand that not every druid is going to be a jerk, I’m sure there are many who are very nice. They wouldn’t work so hard to protect everyone if they were all jerks. I love our little cabin, all except for the bear skin rug. I thought that was pretty rude, they could have used some other kind of rug. I love the little bench to read on, and they left bread and cheese on the table. The bed was a little small but it was nice. I just kind of wish there hadn’t been so many other people around. I talked to him a little about how I’d be doing the patrols when Avanniel was away, and I don’t think he was too happy that I’d be in town for that time. But he didn’t like my suggestion to find a place closer to the town, either. If we did, I could stay with him all the time. But maybe I’m not ready for that yet either, it’s like he doesn’t really want to talk too much about the future. Which is okay for now, I suppose.

We went to look at the sabers. We had to travel north along the road quite a way, you can go off the road but the snow there is so deep that it’s difficult. There is a really large rock outcropping that juts out over a small frozen lake, and a lot of sabers live around there. We had to wait for a while before we saw any, but finally we did — a group of mothers with their cubs. They were so cute I wanted to make a sound but I didn’t want to scare them off. I’ve never seen such beautiful sabers, some had purple stripes and others had blue, while others had black and some were completely white. I missed Magnolia when I saw them. I’ve thought about getting another saber, but I don’t know if it’s the right time. If I do, I definitely want to get one from here.

Bear said that tomorrow we’ll go to the hot springs. They sound interesting, I don’t know how they can be hot when it’s so cold here, but he said the water comes from under the ground. I guess the lava makes it hot and it stays warm when it comes up through the spring. It definitely sounds interesting.

[Screenshots] Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest

It’s that time in an expansion when I spend my time doing things like finishing old legendaries, and this week I finished up Dragonwrath! (Thanks to some help from Sanimir.)

I am a little bummed that I didn’t actually appear on her back, I don’t know if I messed up or it got changed. But this was really cool, I love dragon lore. Why couldn’t we get a dragon expansion?

dragonshort
“Lol you’re short.”

dragon2

dragon4

dragon3

dragon5

I’ve started Shadowmourne on my Death Knight, guess I need to do Black Temple for glaives eventually too.

[Story] Risarra’s Report – Ratchet

[[ 881 words that don’t count, /cry ]]

Sentinel Highbough’s Report – Ratchet

The subject appeared on the second night of watch. The time was close to midnight. The subject was alone, and armed with two visible daggers (possibly more). He approached the general store and entered. Zhyra and I followed, and confronted the subject. Confirmed that he was Vaelarian and had sent the letter. He explained that he had a lead on finding his grand-daughter and time was of the essence. Claimed to have arrived from the Eastern Kingdoms via a mage’s portal, no mage was nearby. Still uncertain as to how he learned this information in the Eastern Kingdoms. Subject agreed to explain in more detail to Captain Avanniel. Went with the subject to order food at the inn. It was terrible. He mostly ate candy.

—-

I’m relieved that the old man is safe, but I have so many questions. His story didn’t make any sense at all. When I was checking the old reports, I saw that he’s been gone for over a year. Surely he could have contacted us in all that time? At the very least, his friends? I might have lied a little when I told him that Avanniel wanted to speak to him in private. Maybe she does, but she doesn’t want to admit it. It was the best thing I could think of on a moment’s notice, I didn’t want him to leave nor to get violent. He’s in there talking to her now. Talking, or “talking” I’m not sure. I kind of hope it’s the latter, then Avanniel won’t be asking me quite so many questions when I ask if I can go to Winterspring with Bear.

I’m still not exactly sure why he wants to go, it’s not going to be very pleasant at this time of year. And he seemed surprised when I told him about the sabers, so I guess that’s not the reason either. Vaelarian has been there too, or so he claims. I promised I’d look for any Tauren there, and speak to them if I get the chance. But he said he’s seen his grand-daughter, in the company of the blood elf. A steady shot should take care of that problem quickly, but maybe it’s more complicated than that. He’d surely draw attention, but he couldn’t think of a plan in a whole year?

Thankfully, we will only be here another day at most. We’re lucky, it could have been a week or more, depending how often Vaelarian checked the mail box. Did he really come through a mage portal? How did he meet a mage in Eversong? Isn’t that dangerous? What if he’d ended up dissolved into little bits, or stuck on the bottom of the ocean or something? I wouldn’t trust a portal. Oh, he told us that there are sentinels in Eversong, but they are called rangers. And they let men be rangers too, and they go on patrols with the women. I don’t know, I think that sounds like a bad idea. It’s bad enough when the druids are in town, what would it be like if they were on patrol too? Maybe it’s less of a novelty because they see each other all the time. Or perhaps male rangers aren’t considered attractive to female rangers.

I’ll be glad to get out of this place. The ocean is nice, especially at sunset and dawn, but the trees are scrawny and strange. There are goblins everywhere, as well as orcs and trolls, and it feels they’re always watching us. I think they gave us terrible food on purpose, I can’t think of another reason it would be so bad. Bear’s had bugs in it. Disgusting! Last night Vaelarian said he could read some of the Orcish and he ordered some kind of fish, except it was slimy and awful, not at all like the fish Bear caught in the stream. We mostly ate candy, but then Bear returned from hunting with a boar. I wanted to kiss him — well, I wanted to anyway, but especially for bringing us some real food.

I told him he didn’t have to come along, but he did anyway. I don’t think he was very happy about it, he was worried he’d trip over a goblin. If that happened, it would probably explode or cause a scene. And I felt bad for him trying to eat food with bugs in it. Talking to him didn’t really answer any of my questions. He just said that he’d tell me whatever I wanted, without actually answering anything. I didn’t know what I was supposed to ask, just things in general. I talk all the time and it feels like he always just listens. I did agree to stay at his camp though, at least part of the time. The other days, I’ll stay in Astranaar so I can get all of the reports and see Zhyra and Avanniel and the others. After we return, I’ll bring some of my things — some books so he has something to do while I’m away, and some cooking supplies. I still don’t know what it means. He says he likes me, I suppose that’s enough for now. I do like him. I let him stay in my room and I liked that too.

[Story] Hallow’s End

[[ Happy NaNo Eve! Working on getting into practice writing at this time for NaNo. A short Hallow’s End story. ]]

“Mama look,” shouted Relanos. “Mama look, I’m jumping.” The elf boy crawled on top of a boulder with his arms outstretched.

“I’m not sure bears jump,” said Tathariel. “And I need to tie your hood. You’re not a bear yet.”

Relanos bounded over to his mother with his best bear growl as she tied the strings on his hood. In the doorway, Jaellynn frowned faintly. “I still say this isn’t a good idea.”

In truth, her mate was right. Hallow’s End was a holiday to commemorate the forsaken breaking free of the Scourge, coinciding with the humans’ harvest festival. Neither were really appropriate for a young kaldorei. They were losing hold of their own traditions already, there was no need to speed it along with strange human ideas. They’d both agreed to raise Relanos with traditional kaldorei customs — but the moment he’d seen the pumpkins in the glade he’d been obsessed. A day where you wear a costume and collect candy? It was easy to see why children would be enchanted by the idea. Reluctantly, Tathariel had agreed to help Relanos make a costume. At least he wanted to be a bear, which was a good costume in her opinion.

“It’s just one night,” Tathariel reminded Jaellynn. Relanos didn’t understand the meaning of the day or what it stood for. As far as he was concerned, it was about candy and being a bear. “Look how excited he is.” Relanos, now with his bear hood on, was stomping around the house and roaring as he pulled out the cloth bag Tathariel had saved for him.

“I want candy!” roared Relanos.

“That isn’t how you ask,” said Tathariel gently.

“Trick or treat!” roared Relanos.

“And?”

“Thank you!” roared Relanos.

“Are you coming with?” Tathariel asked Jaellynn. “I think it will be fun.”

“I don’t have a costume,” Jaellynn protested.

“I don’t either. Come on.”

Relanos ran ahead on the path to each of the little houses in the glade, knocking on the door hurriedly at each one. Tathariel worried that they might be irritated by the disruption, but everyone seemed just as excited about the holiday as Relanos. They gave him candies wrapped in paper, apples, cookies, and all manner of treats. Tathariel had to hold the bag so he didn’t eat all of them on the way to the next house. All of the residents knew Relanos, of course; they’d seen him in their yard or playing at the moonwell or fishing with Jaellynn. A handful of tauren children, perhaps relatives of Karnum, were out in costumes as well. Relanos momentarily forgot about his candy and went to play with them while Tathariel held his bag. She took out one of the paper wrapped candies and ate it.

“I guess you were right,” Jaellynn said at last, as they watched Relanos running with the tauren children. One of them was a kodo, and wanted to pretend they were hunting each other.

“Hmm?”

“He’s having fun.”

“Are you?” asked Tathariel.

He smiled faintly. “Yes.”