[Story] Thorns – Booty Bay

Our room is in a pirate ship, I’m not sure if it was a real ship that they turned into rooms, or they just built it to look like one. Either way, it’s perched up on a hillside, so it looks out over the bay. When the sun goes down, the sky lights up with all different colors, and it’s reflected on the surface of the water. You can just sit and watch it while you do nothing, but in my case I was putting clock parts together. It’s not really that I was bored, it’s just habit when I’m not doing anything else. Besides, if we want to stay longer, I’ll have to send some stock back for the shop soon. Summer’s not usually a busy time, but stuff does still sell now and then.

We decided to stay in and order food from the room menu, because we hadn’t done that before. Usually we’d pick one of the little spots along the dock to eat, though they mostly all serve the same thing — fish. It’s not really boring because there are a lot of different kinds of fish, plus there are a lot of different ways to cook it, or different spices. I’m surprised Nash hasn’t asked about cooking any yet, there’s no stove in our room though. They thought people would want a fake parrot made out of feathers, but not a stove. I guess a stove doesn’t fit with a pirate theme.

I got fried clams with chips, and Nash got some clams with pasta in butter and garlic. Both were good. You can also order umbrella drinks off the room menu, so we did that as well. I got one called a “shark bite” which has a candy shark filled with cherry juice so it kind of looks like blood. Nash was a little freaked out by it I think, I had to assure him I didn’t actually want to drink blood.

I can tell he doesn’t want to leave, and it’s understandable. I brought up the idea of opening a second shop here, since a lot of people come through the bay. I’m not even sure if it would even be possible — how much rent for the shop would cost, for one, and the more pressing issue of how I’d  make enough stock for both shops, especially in the holiday season. But then, maybe the bay isn’t as busy then — the weather’s rougher, so maybe summer is the busy season here. Anyway, it’s something I would have to talk to Rose about, to see if it’s even possible. Would it be bad living on the beach? Definitely not. And Nash wouldn’t have to worry about getting nabbed by the guards, either. He also insists that he’ll be able to help build soon, and I think he might be able. He’s already able to make some repairs and replace parts, and he’s going to try making his own clock with the shells he found on the beach. Maybe he’s a little slower than I am, but I’m sure he can catch up. I’d miss them though, and Pup. Maybe they could come visit now and then, it’s not that far away. I bet they’d all love the beach.

In one of the shops here they have stuff you can buy, like funny shirts, and also pirate shirts. I think Nash and I both need one of those, and maybe drinking glasses or something. Nash wanted me to pretend to be a shark, that boy is a little odd sometimes.

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[Story] Character of the Week – Ornasse Evershade

[[ Finally it’s time for O, the Old Man, my main dude. As much as I like him, I don’t actually write him much because I find it difficult to get inside the head of someone who has lived for thousands of years. And he hasn’t really been doing much storywise – he’s happily living a quiet life with his family in Feathermoon. Here’s a story from when he was just a student, learning to enter the Dream. ]]

Entering the Dream was unlike anything else that Ornasse had experienced, and he found it difficult to find a fitting comparison. Maybe a little like slipping into a cool, shaded pool on a hot day — shocking at first, but then soothing and comfortable, and the longer you stayed, the more reluctant you were to leave. But there was also a curious feeling of separation from his physical form, which lay in the barrow on its bed of straw and blankets, the knowledge that he was somehow  removed from it, yet it kept him tethered as well. Ornasse thought otherwise one might roam the Dream forever, opting to stay rather than return to the waking world which was so much more drab and dulled. Surely there must have been some who had done it, but he didn’t know how. He wasn’t ready to escape the waking world just yet, either. It had its appeals too — mostly food. While he didn’t hunger in the Dream, he sometimes missed the scent of dumplings steaming over the fire, or the taste of berries with cream.

This was his second time Dreaming, again led by his shan’do and a handful of fellow druids that he had deemed ready for the journey. He had guided them deep into the barrow, lit the herbs that filled the underground chamber with fragrant smoke, and showed them the way to enter the Dream. When they arrived, they were stunned and disoriented, and he stood watch to ensure that no one bolted in a panic, or otherwise hurt himself. After he’d roused them back in the barrow, they’d had a lesson about what they had experienced, what they would do differently when they returned. Soon, he would step back and allow them to cross over on their own, only present to protect them from danger and guide their path through the primeval forests. When Ornasse entered, he saw his shan’do perched atop a rock outcropping, in the form of a shaggy white cat. Taking the cue from his master, Ornasse shifted as well, the change coming even more easily within the Dream, perhaps because he was outside of his physical form. He surveyed his surroundings with his keen feline eyesight, taking in the jumble of new scents. Two other students were present, so he had not been the first, but he was also not the last. The students gathered, sitting patiently on panther haunches until they had all made the journey.

Ornasse’s whiskers trembled with excitement — what sights awaited them here? Their first trip had been to this clearing, but they had not left it. The tangle of brambles and brush beyond remained a mystery. But they had passed their first test, and their shan’do now led them deeper into the Dream, squeezing through an imperceptible gap between the vines. One by one, they followed after him, their sleek feline forms easily navigating the dense forest. Ornasse could intently feel every branch and leaf that brushed against his side, every pebble beneath the pads of his feet, the beetle that crawled over them. He could smell his master, and the other students, their musky feral panther scents, he smelled the green leaves warming in the sunlight, the sweet flowers opening from their buds. Further away, he smelled deer and rabbits, moving somewhere out of sight. The world before his eyes exploded in a kaleidoscope of greens and yellows, more shades than he’d ever imagined possible. Here, his senses were more intense, stronger and more keen. Ornasse thought it might take some time to adjust lest he feel overwhelmed by it all at once.

The large white cat led them down to a stream, and Ornasse began to recognize the familiar landscape beneath the tangles of leaves and brush. This was the stream they crossed on the way to their lessons, but here it rushed higher and swifter. The water smelled fresh and clean, and in its depths, Ornasse could see fish resting in the shade. This world, their shan’do had told them, was the true expression of their forest. What they saw while awake was the pale, meager shadow, but they could use such landmarks to navigate in the Dream. Just how far did it go? Ornasse’s whiskers twitched again excitedly. Could one travel the whole world within the Dream? What did the other places look like? He longed to explore on his own, but there were lessons to be had first. They would be given permission to roam where they liked soon enough.

He had one last thing to show them. He indicated that they should follow, and they climbed a steep hill, one that was often used by sentinel scouts to watch for danger. On all fours and with sharp claws to dig into the earth and moss, they ascended the slope easily. Once at the top, Ornasse’s breath caught in his throat at the sight of an enormous green dragon. They, like the druids, were capable of entering the Dream while their physical body remained behind. Ornasse had never seen one before, and he was awed and a little frightened by the size and power of it. Her sinuous coils shimmered with bright green scales, her enormous head crowned with sharp horns and her mouth full of jagged teeth. Yet the dragon did not threaten them, rather it seemed to recognize their shan’do and greeted him gently, then all of the students in turn. Around her, a clutch of hatchlings fluttered clumsily in the air — they couldn’t have been more than a few days old. Were they, too, able to Dream so young? It must be so, they were so intimately tied to the Dream that it was second nature to them. They did not have to work at it for years as elves did.

As he had before, Ornasse returned to the waking world feeling exhausted and humbled by what he had experienced. They would remain longer next time, perhaps seeking some threat that needed to be dealt with. The green dragons stood vigil, but they could not be everywhere at once. Ornasse did not know what sort of things they would see on their next trip, but he wanted to be ready.

[Story] Thorns – Booty Bay

We’re here in Booty Bay now, the minute that Nash got home from the Cathedral from getting his cast taken off, he wanted to leave. We were able to go in my flying machine, which made it a lot easier to get down there rather than trying to hire a gryphon. I haven’t been here in ages, I remember it being kind of sleazy, which I guess it still is, it’s a goblin town after all. But it seems like they’ve fixed it up a bit so it’s a place that people would want to visit. Aside from all the shops, where they sell anything you can imagine, there are also a lot of bars and places that you can stay. Our room is nice, it’s got a little balcony that looks out onto the harbor, and the windows on the other side face the jungle. There’s a little ice box with drinks in it, and since it’s still early in the season, we don’t have any neighbors. Nash was nervous when we first arrived I think, he kept his hat on and he was worried that people would recognize him as a blood elf. But like I told him, no one here really cares. Goblins don’t care what race you are, or who you’re talking to, as long as you have gold. I made up enough stock that the shop should be good for several days, I did bring some tools and parts with me, in case  I find time to work. If I’m able to, I can send them back, though I don’t expect there will be a big rush this time of year. I also thought Nash could start on his seashell clock if I brought the parts. If I run out of anything, I’m sure one of the shops will have it, they’re goblins after all, they’re big on making mechanical things. They probably have some interesting things that I can’t get in Stormwind.

Once we got settled in, we went out to the beach. It’s really beautiful, the sand is pure white and the water is the brightest blue I’ve ever seen. I brought a tray of drinks down with us, while they do have ale and beer, most of what they sell is the fruity stuff with little paper umbrellas in them. I was telling Nash about the ones they have that are frozen too, they’re nice when it’s hot out. The food here is great too, there’s all kinds of seafood, I never really had it living in the forest, or in Ironforge. All they have is dried fish, and it’s pretty gross and salty. They have fresh fish here, and it’s roasted the same day they caught it, with all kinds of vegetables. There’s also clams and crab and things that they get from the beach. I actually think I like fish now, at least when it’s done like this.

Nash finally took off his hat and started to relax a little, I think. He wants to go swimming, I said that there might be sharks, but I think the harbor would be safe enough. In any case, there are goblins with explosives there to scare away any sharks. I’m a little worried that he might get a sunburn, but he says he won’t. I guess we’ll find out later. He asked what color I’ll get if I get a tan. Honestly, I don’t have any idea. I had to remind him that I’m a night elf, so it’s not like I ever spent a lot of time in the sun. The forest is really dark and shadowy, and Ironforge is underground. Stormwind has big buildings blocking the sun, and I’m inside most of the day anyway. If I’m not, I always have my hat on. Probably just darker? I don’t know.

He says he doesn’t want to leave. I think he was probably joking, but I’ll admit it’s kind of tempting. We could just stay here and I could make clocks and ship them back, just drinking cold fruity drinks and laying on the beach during the day. But I’d miss Stormwind I think. And I know I’d miss Rose, even if she doesn’t miss me.

[Story] Thorns – Cheesy

I think I’ve figured out the secret to cheering Nash up. At least, until he changes his mind about it again. He mentioned a little while ago that he wanted some cheese, and I remembered he said that he likes the kind with holes in it. So I went to the cheese shop and I let the guy help me pick out a bunch of different kinds, I got a whole basket with different ones to try, and also a big chunk of the hole kind. For myself, I got the smoky kind that they serve at Brewfest, I like the taste and it reminds me of being in Ironforge. It would be better if we had some stout, I guess, but it’s still good.

We ate the cheese and we talked about stuff. I had no idea he was so crazy about cheese, maybe they don’t have it in Silvermoon? But I suppose they must, they probably have fancy cheese that only rich people are allowed to eat. I told him about the one from Darnassus, I never really liked it much, one because it stinks and two, because it reminds me of being in Astranaar. Nash asked me if it smells like druid’s feet. I’ve never smelled druid’s feet, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that’s what they smell like. Nash said he liked it though. He made me try the soft cheese, I thought it was kind of weird but then he showed me how you’re supposed to spread it onto bread, like butter. That makes more sense, it also tasted good. I could definitely eat more of that. I still think the smoked Ironforge cheese is the best though, Nash asked me how they make it. I think they just put the wheels into the smokehouse along with all the sausages and other meat, it has that same rich smoky flavor.

Nash wanted to know if I’d do things if there was a dwarf woman here in the house. That’s a weird thing to ask, but I think I know what he was getting at. I told him I wouldn’t, that stuff is just for fun and not really serious. I didn’t think this was either, but maybe it is now? Nash said it’s not complicated, even though he’s been saying that for weeks and hiding in the bathroom to cry. But maybe he means it now? I don’t know, I don’t really understand what he means when he says that. But I told him I wouldn’t, unless he wanted to of course. I’m not sure if he’d be interested in any dwarf women. He wanted to know if they are hairy, I said that a lot of them are. I mean, they’re dwarves.

He asked again if I’m happy, and I said I just kind of feel like I’m existing, doing things day to day. I think he understood what I mean, at least he said he did. But again, he has a history of saying he understands when he really doesn’t, and then getting upset by it either. I like making clocks, I like working in the shop. Sure it’s a lot less exciting than what we did before, but it’s also less dangerous, and less chance of getting us all into trouble. That’s important if we’re allowing a blood elf to live with us. Nash wants to keep helping with the clocks, he’s still convinced that he has to do something in order to stay. I told him I do like having breakfast, he’s getting pretty good at omelettes.

His cast will be coming off soon. I guess he’ll need to go see the girl at the Cathedral to do that. Nash said he wants to go visit her, instead of Zarellina. I’m not sure if I trust her any more than Zarellina, but it’s good for him to have more people that he can trust and talk to. If nothing else, I know she can keep a secret, and that’s important. Once his cast is off, we’ll be able to go on our trip. I think Nash is pretty excited about it, I’m looking forward to it as well. I’ve only been a couple of times, and that was just to get shipments. I think it’ll be a lot of fun to go walk on the beach, and swim in the water, and get drinks and stuff. We can look for shells, and Nash wants to use some to make a clock, his own, not fixing one that I gave him. I figure a clock with shells would be good for the bathroom.  If nothing else, the trip gives him a chance to get outside and not have to wear his hat for a while. The weather should be nice enough, it’s a little early yet but that means it shouldn’t be too crowded. It’s not a huge place for people to visit, but I remember it being pretty busy when I was there before. I hope I don’t trip over any goblins.

[Story] Thorns – Stew

Nash made stew for dinner. He said he’s trying to cook the easier recipes first, which is a good way to go about it. I thought it was pretty good. There was meat, and a lot of different kinds of vegetables. I forgot to tell him that he should try putting stout in, they do that in Ironforge and it’s really good, makes the broth taste really rich and good. He also made bread, which is I think a lot more complicated because you have to mix it just right, and then wait for it to rise, and then bake it. Some of the outside was a little dark, but it wasn’t bad.

What did I make? I made a mess. It doesn’t matter what I say, it’s always the wrong thing. I’m really trying, but it’s like he takes whatever I said and makes it fit what he wants to hear. I said I thought it was great that he wants to learn to cook, but he should do it because he wants to rather than because he has to work to stay here. He took that to mean that I don’t want him to cook anymore. When did I even say that?! I thought guys were easier to understand than girls, that’s not true at all. At least Rose tells me when she’s mad, and usually she tells me exactly what I did, too. Not Nash, he insists everything’s fine and then he goes and hides in the bathroom all night. If things are the same whether I try or not, maybe I shouldn’t try anymore? Nash said he’s going to keep things not complicated, which means not getting feelings involved, but I don’t really believe that. I think he’s just saying it because he thinks it’s what I want him to say.

And why does he think he has to work to stay here? It’s his home, and he’s part of the crew. Well, we’re not much of a crew right now, but some jobs could come up in the future and I’d want him there for that. Either way, he doesn’t have to cook or clean or do anything besides be himself, and it hurts that he thinks he does. Like he’s only here because I want him in my bed. While it’s a nice perk, it’s definitely not the only reason. I also told him he doesn’t have to, if he doesn’t feel like it or he’s not interested or whatever, and he said he’d never say no. That’s creepy. He’s allowed to say no whenever he wants to. Apparently I should have just lied when he asked if I was happy, that’s the lesson I’m getting here. I don’t see why his feelings depend on my own, he can be happy even if I’m not. It’s not like things are bad, either, just — I don’t know, not amazing or something. But like I told him, I don’t think my life has ever gone amazing, I’m just trying to get by.

I can’t ask Rose for advice, obviously, and Star wasn’t much help. She just told me I’m an idiot, which I already knew. I don’t need to pay for someone to tell me that.

[Story] Thorns – Egg Day

I bought a lot of chocolate eggs at the market. I knew Nash wouldn’t be able to go to the one in town with his leg in a cast, and he really enjoys it so I hid them all around the shop while he was asleep. He probably only found about a quarter of them, so I’m sure we’ll be finding chocolate for months now. I think he liked it. It’s not always easy to tell with him, but it seemed like he had fun looking for them. And he didn’t even have to compete with a bunch of little kids either. I told him that a rabbit had hidden them or something, and he gave me a weird look. I don’t think that’s actually how the story goes. What do rabbits have to do with eggs, or chocolate? It should be a chicken. Or a chocolate chicken. He hopped around with his cast and ate most of the ones he found. I tried to give hints, but I couldn’t remember where I’d put all of them either because I was half asleep when I hid them. I guess they must be really well hidden.

I don’t know why I can’t just be happy. Maybe I should have just lied, but I think that would be worse. But as soon as I said it, I knew I shouldn’t have. How am I supposed to know if I’m happy? I don’t think I have ever have been. Maybe for a little while, but then it goes away just as quickly. I don’t know if I can be what he wants me to be, either. I’ve tried to tell him that, but he’s stubborn. The last thing I want is for him to get hurt again, either by breaking his leg or something worse. He’s so convinced that he doesn’t deserve to be happy, either. He’s also trying to prove that he should be here, even though I said he doesn’t. One thing he’s doing is trying to cook. I came downstairs and there was smoke everywhere, but I guess he only burned his own. Mine actually tasted pretty good. I think it’s good that he’s learning new things, but he shouldn’t be doing it for the wrong reason.

What if I actually got what I thought I wanted, but still wasn’t happy? I think about that, too. Maybe no one’s really happy, and they just pretend they are so they don’t let others down. Or themselves. Maybe you’re just supposed to be content with what you have. I don’t know. Things aren’t so bad, I have the shop and a lot of work, it’s not as lucrative as before but it’s steady and I enjoy it. It’s also a lot less dangerous, which is important when I’m trying to not get Nash arrested. I never dreamed about growing up to make clocks in a human city when I was little, but then I didn’t even know what a human was. Sometimes you just have to work with what you have, I guess.

[Story] Character of the Week – Nimrathis

[[ Nimrathis is my night elf monk. I didn’t like the lore for them, so I made up my own. Nimrathis is a self-taught hermit whose beliefs clash with those of most kaldorei. He also lives in a cave in the forest, because he’s odd. ]]

Everything was in place. The night before, Nimrathis had gone into Darnassus with a handful of coins to buy what he needed. He didn’t like Darnassus, it was far too big and everything was much too expensive, but it was the only place that he could get things like candles, and soap, and pillows. Bear had said he’d need those things, and Bear was clearly more educated on such matters than he was. Nimrathis used candles to light the cave sometimes in the dark of winter, so he could read or work on his leatherwork. He bought an entire box, a supply that would ordinarily last him for years. As for the soap, he wasn’t sure Zhyra needed any. She already smelled nice, and he didn’t want to hint that she didn’t, but Bear assured him that girls liked soap. The one that Nimrathis chose was made with berries and had herbs poured inside of it, he could see the little leaves embedded within. And it did smell nice when the shopkeeper offered it to him. He got a little book with blank pages inside, the kind you might sketch or write a journal inside. That one had been his idea, he thought to make a cover for it with some of the soft fawn leather he had back at the cave. Armor would surely be more practical, or a quiver, but those took more time and he wasn’t sure of Zhyra’s measurements. He could finish the book cover in only a few hours, even press some designs into the front.  Lastly, he bought pillows. Nimrathis wasn’t sure exactly what kind he was supposed to get, but he bought two that were stuffed full of feathers.

Back at his cave, Nimrathis swept out the dust and pine needles that littered the floor. He arranged his belongings into neat piles and threw out anything he didn’t need anymore. From the forest, he cut some fresh pine boughs and replaced his bed, putting his best blanket and the new pillows on top. Then all he could do was light the candles and wait. He tried to remember everything Bear had told him, but there was so much. Bear made it sound so simple, in fact it sounded like she was the one who had suggested everything. Nimrathis could take no such risk, he had to make everything as nice as possible and hope that Zhyra would like it.

She came up the path not long after dusk, carrying a basket that he hoped was full of dumplings. “What is all this?” she asked, puzzled, as she looked at the candles.

“It’s for you,” Nimrathis explained, and she saw her expression shift briefly to a small smile. That was good, wasn’t it? He hoped so. Bear wasn’t here to ask.

“For me? Why?”

Nimrathis blinked blankly. What was he supposed to say? The dumplings, tell her you like the dumplings. “Because… you bring me dumplings.”

Zhyra laughed quietly, setting the basket down on the rock that Nimrathis often used for a table. “I did. Also some bread, and jam.” Nimrathis’s ears perked, dumplings and jam? This was going better than he’d expected.

“I got you something too,” he said, gesturing toward the cave. “A gift.”

Zhyra looked puzzled again, but she followed him toward the entrance. He took out the little book and the soap, both of which he’d wrapped in thin paper and tied with string. It didn’t look very nice, because he hadn’t had to wrap a gift before, but Zhyra didn’t say anything about it. “What’s the occasion?”

His ears darkened. Nimrathis had rehearsed what he’d say the entire way back from Darnassus, but now he’d forgotten all of it. “I just wanted to get you something, because — you bring me dumplings.”

“That’s all?” asked Zhyra, that little smile back on her face.

“And–” Nimrathis hesitated. “I like talking to you.” The words stumbled over themselves as they left his mouth.

“I like talking to you, too.” They both stood there in silence, and Nimrathis wished he knew what he was supposed to say next. Thankfully, Zhyra said something. “Do you want to share these?” She gestured to the basket. Normally, Nimrathis didn’t like to share any of his dumplings, but he could make an exception in this case.

“I’d like that.” Nimrathis was hardly surprised that Bear had been right after all.