[Story] Ashenvale – Risarra’s Journal

Two important things happened, and I’m not sure about either of them. The first is that Avanniel got a letter from the old man, the one who she let to go look for his grand-daughter. He wrote that he is in the Eastern Kingdoms — which is where he’s supposed to be. A blood elf took her and is keeping her there. But Avanniel pointed out that the address on the envelope is a box in the goblin town on the coast. Is he actually there, and lying about where he is? Avanniel wants someone to go there and watch for him. If he’s expecting a reply, he will have to go there soon to get it. She also suggested asking the goblins about him, though I don’t know much about them, I expect that will take some coins. I asked who will have to do that, and she said she didn’t know yet. I don’t want to, it sounds awful. Goblins are terrible little things and I can only imagine how bad a town full of them would be. And it’s really far away. What if something happens? But if I get picked, I will have to go. There’s no way around it. Avanniel is concerned that he may have fallen under the blood elf’s control, as well. If he is, I’m not certain he would be able to write such a letter, but of course, if the blood elf is pulling the strings it is possible. It could be a trap, too. In the letter he asked about whether any tauren were in the area. That’s a very odd thing to ask, does he think they have her? Avanniel said she grew up with them, so she might return to them. But I haven’t seen any in the forest for quite a long time. I know there is a small camp at the border, but it’s too dangerous to go there alone. If she was there, I think she would have been killed by now. I will keep watch for any tauren on my patrols, but I don’t expect to see any.

Bear said that if I had to go to the goblin town, he would too. I thought that was very kind of him to offer, but I’m not sure Avanniel would allow it. I would feel a bit safer, though I know he wouldn’t want to stay in a goblin town any more than I do. Probably less, given how much he dislikes Astranaar. That’s the other thing that happened. I don’t regret it, I’d been thinking about it for a very long time and it was nice. But now I don’t know what it means. Bear was talking about moving his house to a different spot, and I think he was saying that because I wanted it. I know he’d be unhappy, not to mention the bears would have less room, and I don’t want either of those things. He has a good camp, and he’s already done a lot of work on the little house, I’d hate for him to give it all up just because I don’t want to walk as far. I do want to see him more often though, I’ll just have to get up in time to make it back to the barracks to report in time. Unless I got a hippogryph, but I don’t know where I’d keep it. And he doesn’t say things like Sorias did, I know they aren’t the same person but I guess I expected it a little. He does things though, he picked a whole basket of berries and I am taking the extras back for muffins and jam. Are we mates? I don’t know. I can’t exactly ask Zhyra about it and I think Avanniel would just roll her eyes.

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[Screenshots] Blessed Defender of Nordrassil

I’ve had the dragonstaff quest in my log for ages, but since my friend’s mage is on the same step we decided to work on them together. (It’s much easier than trying to solo… I tried that.) We’re both now on collecting 1000 cinders, but soon we’ll both be blue dragons!

Being a druid, of course I had to take a bunch of screenshots with my temporary title. I sure wish we could keep it. This would have been so much better for the resto artifact, too.

[Story] Brewfest

Brewfest is my favorite time of year. It always makes me feel a little homesick for Ironforge, standing out in the snow surrounded by dwarves, eating cheese and sausage and drinking good ale for once. They sometimes get dwarven ale in Stormwind, but it’s just not the same. You need all the atmosphere to really make it taste right. In the past few years, it’s expanded to have all kinds of other ales too — ogre (yuck), troll (weird), and Pandaren (pretty good actually). It’s fun to try the different ones, they’re definitely different and unusual, but I always go back to the dwarven ones. I will say the Pandaren ale is interesting though, I think it’s made with a different kind of grain, and it’s quite strong. They have food stands too, the cheese and sausage are my favorite but there’s bread too. It’s good to have something to eat to help balance all that ale.

We all went, I think Pup is old enough to go with Nash and I, but Rose said differently. Maybe next year. I think it’s so they can keep an eye on him, as if she thinks I won’t? I’m not that irresponsible. I hope she at least lets him try some, he’s definitely old enough. Maybe cursed Gilneans react differently? Though I’ve seen her drink wine plenty of times with no problem, maybe it’s something you have to learn to control though. Either way, he was really excited about the ram racing when I told him about it. I hope Rose lets him ride one, watching is fun but actually racing is the whole point of it. Even when you end up landing on your behind in the snow. I thought Nash would be happy now that he’s got his dumb necklace back, but he seemed really quiet. I know part of it is that he’s worried someone’s going to notice that he’s not a human. It’s true that dwarves (and gnomes) are short and could see his eyes easier, but I guarantee they’re not looking at people’s eyes during Brewfest. Coin purses, maybe. But most everyone is just focused on trying the ales and watching rams and having a good time. There could be something else, there usually is, but it’s not as if he’s going to tell me about it.

I tried asking about how his visits were going. I don’t think he likes them, I figured he’d at least like the company of another elf. I wouldn’t want to visit some other elf just because they’re an elf, but he seems to want that connection to his past. And she seems nice enough. She’s interesting to talk to, that’s for sure. I wish I knew how she was able to keep everyone happy like that, it would sure make things easier. I’m pretty sure Nash wouldn’t be okay with everyone being all together like that, and I know for a fact that Rose wouldn’t. Even besides that, she must have some interesting stories about hiding in Stormwind too. Maybe she even has some tips for Nash — although he can’t do illusions. Which is why he hopefully keeps going for his visits, even though he says he hates tea. What has he got against tea? It’s all right.

[Story] Brambles – New Opportunities

[[ Set in the past, when Harrier first arrived in Stormwind. ]]

Sorias crouched between two narrow buildings, hidden by the evening’s long shadows. He was cold, sore, and starving — exactly as Blackbrew had told him he would be. The elf had parted with his former boss on good terms; Blackbrew had opted to retire and get out of the business at least for a time. He’d offered Sorias the tavern, but the tales of the city to the south intrigued him. Not that Ironforge was some back country village, but Sorias knew its buildings back to front, and in some cases top to bottom. Dwarves weren’t very good at climbing, but he still was, and it had proven useful plenty of times. He loved Ironforge, but he knew there was more out there, and he’d told Blackbrew of his plans. He’d warned Sorias that it wouldn’t be easy, that it was much bigger and more dangerous, and the gangs that ruled the streets there were even more bold. Stormwind wasn’t enclosed, and there were a lot more places to hide. Some of them had connections with the crown, and while that was also true in Ironforge, that carried much more weight in Stormwind. Still, Blackbrew wished Sorias well and told him he could always return if things got too difficult there. Sorias was certain he could make it, he’d survived everything else, hadn’t he?

But he’d seen immediately what Blackbrew had meant. The buildings themselves were oppressive, gleaming white marble reaching high into the sky, metal spires and iron gates in front of the expensive houses. And there were guards everywhere — until you got away from the center, at least. Sorias had intended to ask for a job, but as soon as he turned into one of the dark streets away from the guards, he’d been set upon. When he didn’t have any gold for them to steal, they beat him instead. It all happened so quickly, he hardly had time to react, and he’d always thought himself a decent scrapper. He limped back into the shadows to rest and make a plan. He couldn’t give up, not yet. Part of it was that he didn’t want to let Blackbrew be right, but he also knew he could do this. He just had to learn the rules — and learn the city. As night fell, he took to the rooftops and began to learn the layout; the routes he could take and the dangerous spots where he could be seen or could slip and fall. He didn’t dare yet enter a house, not until he knew the guard’s patrols and the good places to hide. There were also mages, something he hadn’t encountered in Ironforge, but he’d heard about. Blackbrew warned him they could have all sorts of spells guarding their houses; magical traps and alarms, or even worse. He soon learned that most of them preferred to live in the expensive houses near the mage tower, but not all of them. It was difficult to tell a mage’s house just from looking at it, some surveillance was required.

He stole from the market to eat, that was easy enough. Though he stood out in Stormwind just as much as he had in Ironforge, his sleight of hand was enough to grab something and disappear into the crowd. He didn’t take chances and took only what he needed, the merchants were just trying to make a living like he was. Besides, there were easier prey, he just needed to study them. Blackbrew would have scoffed at him, a common robber, lifting people’s purses as they walked home. It was important not to be seen, as the guards would surely catch on to a tall white-haired elf here among the humans. It was just temporary, enough to get on his feet, and there were plenty of people in Stormwind with heavy purses. He frequented the auctions, where customers had plenty of gold and were distracted by the barkers. It was good money, but too dangerous to do for long. He needed something more regular, more reliable and less likely to raise the attention of the guards. In the meantime, he rented a dusty little room near the cathedral, above a scribe’s shop. It was drafty and the roof leaked, but it was cheap — and safe.

Blackbrew might just be wrong after all, he thought.

[Story] Risarra’s Journal

The nights are getting cooler, and tonight we started baking sweet cakes for the ghosts. Sorias says that in Stormwind, the humans put on masks around the fall time. He said he’s never seen anyone leave out ghosts cakes. I wonder if he does. Probably not. He also wrote that if I see any more demons, I should go there. If I see any demons, I’m just going to kill them. It’s not necessary to go anywhere, and I wouldn’t want to leave people here with no one to look after them. Like Bear and Nim. I guess Bear would probably be okay, but there are plenty of people who need us to keep the forest safe.

I packed up some ghost cakes and a lot of dumplings and went to see Bear. Avanniel said that I should just tell him what I want, that men don’t understand hints and things like that. I guess she would know, and it makes sense. I also wore a dress, it’s the one I wear when I need to go into the temple.  It’s pretty but I don’t think it matches my hair very well, but it’s the only one I have and I got it secondhand anyway. Maybe one day I’ll make it to the market in Darnassus, but I have a lot of things I need to buy before dresses, like new boots and bow-strings.

He wasn’t there when I first arrived and I thought maybe he was asleep or something, but then he came up the trail. He said he’d been trapping down in the valley, but there were no rabbits anywhere. Something must have spooked them, I know goblins run machines down there and they’re very loud, or there could have been orcs. But I think orcs are usually too dumb to trap rabbits. I’m glad I brought a lot of dumplings, so he wasn’t hungry. They were making a lot for the ghost holiday, so there were four different kinds. We both like spider the best, but so do a lot of people, so I had to take some of the others too. There were chicken, vegetable, and fish ones. I also brought a little jar of the sauce, they’re not quite as good without the sauce.

Bear said he never left out ghost cakes before. I wasn’t sure if he was teasing me or not? But maybe they don’t do that in Feathermoon. They didn’t live in the town, but surely they had the same holidays? So I had to explain it to him, which was very strange. He asked if there would be any ghosts at the camp, and I said I didn’t know. Ghosts can go anywhere they want, I suppose. I said that if the ghosts didn’t take them, then his bears would surely want to eat them. It’s more just a way to show that we remember and honor them, as ghosts don’t really get hungry anyway. He seemed to like them though, he ate a lot. I remembered Avanniel’s advice and I just asked if I could stay, and he said I could. I think he might have been a bit surprised, but I can never really tell what he’s thinking. He hardly talks at all. I’m not used to that, and maybe that’s why I became uncertain again.

Because what if he doesn’t actually want me to stay, or what if I do — do I stay out here at his camp and go back every night? I’m not sure if I want to give up living in town with the other sentinels, I think I’d be awfully lonely. And what if it’s not what I expected it to be, or what if either of us change our minds after? I know it happens, but I think it would still be painful. But he’s worked very hard on his house — he even built little shelfs to put things on, and he’s been fixing it up for the winter. I still think it would be quite cold there, even with a fire inside. It did feel warm and safe with him there, and he does have very nice ears. I might have touched them a little. I just wish I knew how to be certain.

[Story] The Tea Party

Nash has been keeping secrets. Well, just the one secret that I know about, if there’s more I don’t know about them yet. And it’s not as if he did a very good job about keeping this one, either – I asked go with him last time and he took me. Because really, it’s not a big deal. So why wasn’t he telling anyone? That’s the part I don’t understand. Of course I don’t expect him to tell me every little detail, but meeting with another sin’dorei living in the city? I don’t know, it just seemed like something people might want to know.

At first I didn’t know she was, because she had an illusion that made her look human. She must be a mage of some kind to be able to do that. We went over the wall of her house and into the courtyard and just walked into the sitting room like it was nothing. I can assure you I was confused by that point. She’s sitting there expecting us, and sipping tea. Well, she expected him. But then she said she knew who I was, because Nash told her who I was. He didn’t mention that before, either. I didn’t like it, I smelled a trap. She’d caught him breaking in after his necklace, and rather than attack him or turn him in, she decided she wanted him to come pay her social visits. I assumed of course that she meant something else by that, which again isn’t my business. Nash is free to do whatever he wants with whoever he wants, I just would have liked to know, is all. He said it wasn’t like that, but I think it would have been, if she had her way.

She made us tea and gave us cookies to eat. It was bizarre. She was really nosy and wanted to know a lot of things about me. She started out talking about how I was an elf, which is always my favorite subject. Like did I live in the forest, and why did I come here? None of your damned business, lady. And how I could seek out other elves here and talk to them if I ever felt lonely or something. Those elves aren’t my friends, I don’t have anything in common with them. Whatever their reasons for leaving are their own and they don’t need to talk to me about it. I’d rather not have to speak Darnassian, anyway. That part of my life is done, thankfully.

Then she wanted to talk about herself. That was okay, and I have to admit it was kind of interesting just because it was so weird. She ran away from home because her father wanted her to marry some guy, I can’t blame her for that. I’m glad that custom never caught on among kaldorei, though I can see them being all for that. The guy she ran off with was a worgen who was there studying dirt in the Dead Scar. Because he’s a researcher, she said. Okay. That’s pretty weird, though I know I can’t say anything because Rose is a worgen too. I’m just glad she doesn’t go around sniffing dirt clods. I wonder if Rose knows him? I mean it’s dumb to assume that every worgen knows each other — I don’t know every kaldorei. But it is possible. This lady must have spent some time in Ironforge too, because she was asking about my time there. And she has a girlfriend who is a dwarf. Again, unusual but it’s not like I didn’t spend some time with dwarf women while I lived there. Can’t really blame her. She also likes dwarven ale and Gilnean wine. So her taste isn’t that bad.

Nash said he hated going, and I don’t understand why he did. Just tell her he didn’t want to. Sure, there was a risk she’d turn him in, but I doubt she would take it given that it would put her at risk too. But I asked if she’d be able to do an illusion for Nash, like she had. Just enough that he could go without a hat. At first she said she couldn’t because she’d need to maintain eye contact with the subject, but  I asked if the necklace could be enchanted to do that and she said it could. Nash insists he doesn’t need it, and maybe he doesn’t, but it couldn’t hurt anything. The only thing she said was to avoid the mage district, because they’d know it was there. I think it’d be worth it, but she said she’d need to redo the spell every week or so. Which means Nash would still need to visit her, and I’m not sure if he wants to. Maybe he deserves having to sit and listen to her talk every week for not being honest with people. I don’t know why it bothers me, but it does. I’ve never lied to him, or to anyone I cared about.

He also told the lady that Rose is my girlfriend. I don’t know why he’d do that, unless it was just because he didn’t feel like explaining it. He knows well enough that she’s not. Do I wish she was? Yeah, of course, but that’s not going to make it happen. Believe me, I’ve thought about it a lot. If I thought I could change her mind after all this time, I would have tried it. Though maybe that lady has some ideas. It sounds like her two are fine with everything, so maybe she knows something that I don’t.

[Story] Story a Week 31 – Dull

The Harrier frowned at his knife as he went to cut the twine from the package of parts on his work-desk. It had taken some sawing to get through, and the ends of the twine looked frazzled and frayed. Though it wasn’t his best knife, it was still a good one — he didn’t own any that weren’t — and it held an edge well. It must have just been too long since he’d remembered to sharpen it. That, he realized, or someone else had been using it in the meantime. That was possible, Pup was the most likely culprit, though he had a blade (or two) of his own. Or Rose or Josie could have just grabbed it off his desk for quick jobs, they sometimes carried their own, but not always. What reason was there for them to carry a knife around the shop? Going through town was one thing, but not here.

The shop was safe. He frowned at that word, too. Safe was boring, safe was predictable, safe was — like his knife, dull. The Harrier fetched his sharpening stone before putting it away, so he wouldn’t be surprised by it being dull when he next reached for it. Nash had pointed it out before, but he’d dismissed the idea then. He was still juggling shipments at the docks, still smuggling and re-selling. He hadn’t gotten dull. But like a knife, you could never really be sure until tested — and he had to admit that he did feel dull. The shop had meant to only be a cover for their other activities, but it had been profitable enough to take up most of his time. Especially around the winter holidays — which would be coming up soon enough — he had to work on clocks and watches full time to keep up with the demand. The money was decent, not as lucrative as other ventures, but it was steady.

He drew the blade along the wet stone, hearing the satisfying rasp of it against the metal. But what was he supposed to do about it, exactly? He’d been away from the game long enough that he couldn’t be sure of his street contacts. Things like straight up robbery or blackmail were out, they were just too dangerous and too easily tracked back to him. More importantly, any risk he took would also come back to everyone else — to the shop, to Pup, to Rose. And to Nash. Being a sin’dorei in Silvermoon was dangerous enough. To thumb his nose at fate by committing illegal acts was something else. He couldn’t be the one responsible for Nash being discovered, and for the rest of them being arrested for hiding him. Nash always swore he was never caught, but if he found trouble himself, Harrier was certain that he wouldn’t turn the rest of them in.

But didn’t he miss it, just a little? He had to admit that he did. He missed the danger and uncertainty, his heart racing with anticipation in the moments before they moved. He missed his talks on the rooftops with Josie and Nash. He missed sneaking Pup out past his bedtime. It was a risk that had brought him to all of this, his failed attempt to rob Rose. He’d found something much more valuable, but what was he doing with it? Nothing, that’s what.

Nash still went out most nights, sometimes he came back and sometimes he didn’t. The Harrier never asked questions. But tonight, he’d ask to go along. Maybe an opportunity would present itself.