[Story] Risarra’s Journal

I wonder if all men are as clueless as Bear is. Avanniel says they are, but that really makes me worry for the future. How is our society going to move ahead if half of them don’t even understand anything at all? I don’t know anyone who has one, otherwise I’d ask them. I would guess they probably would say they aren’t, otherwise they wouldn’t be with them in the first place. Unless they got lonely enough to ignore it, which I suppose is possible.

I thought I might take him some of my extra candy, I hadn’t eaten it all and I know it came from Sorias, but once he gave it to me, it became mine so it wouldn’t really be from him. Except I don’t think Bear understood when I explained it at all. He thought you were supposed to buy candy for the goblins. Why would anyone do that? I told him you bought it from them, and then gave it to someone else, but I still don’t think he got it. I also told him we’d had chocolate in Astranaar. The goblins had been selling it at a discount because it was the last day of the festival, so some of the sentinels bought some and brought it back for us. He could have had some if he hadn’t been so stubborn. I still haven’t eaten it all yet. Maybe I’ll try again, but maybe not.

He didn’t notice the perfume, either. Or maybe he did, because one of his bears got up and left when I got there. I thought it smelled nice. Definitely not enough to scare bears away. They should be used to my smell by now, I come by every few days at most. And of course, Bear didn’t notice at all. He said he wanted to give me some fish to take back. That’s good, I guess? We can always use fish. But I’d think he needs them to feed to the bears. We did talk a little though, which is more than usual. Most of the time he just stares off when I’m there. He talked about the places he used to live, and the sentinels there. I’ve heard about Feralas, but never been. I know there’s a large sentinel outpost there, you’d think he would like it, but he says they’re scary. I never heard anything so silly. I’m not scary, but I didn’t ask if he thought that. He probably would say yes, but he just puts up with me because I bring dumplings. He also asked what I like to do after patrol. Usually I just read books, or fish or something relaxing like that. He said that he likes fishing too, but he falls asleep during. That’s so strange. I told him he shouldn’t fish so close to dawn if that was the case.

I’ll have to ask Zhyra about the other one, or maybe go look for him myself. But he’s more used to Zhyra so he’d be less likely to hide from her. I should warn her not to use any perfume either.

[Story] Story a Week 7

[[ Another weird prompt this week… not happy about having so many I don’t like. So I wrote a little Valentine’s thing instead. ]]

It was the first time Risarra had even heard of the goblin holiday. She’d only been to Darnassus a handful of times, and never further than that. So she didn’t know what to make of the package from Stormwind; a small heart-shaped box of chocolates, a bag of hard candies, and a tiny vial of perfume. Sorias had sent it, along with a small note, but it didn’t explain what the things were or why he’d sent them. Avanniel made a face when she saw them sitting on the table at first-meal time.

“I wish they’d send those filthy goblins out of Darnassus,” she muttered. “But the people in Darnassus never did have much sense.”

According to Avanniel, the treats were all some sort of holiday invented by the goblins to sell candy and other things. You were supposed to buy gifts for people — so it was similar to what the dwarves did, except it was closer to spring and everything was pink. Also, there was meant to be some romantic connotation to the gift — the little hard candies had words printed on them in Common. Things like “Be Mine” and “Kiss Me”. Risarra wasn’t sure what to make of that. She had no intention of kissing Sorias, especially across the sea in Stormwind. She assured herself that he probably just didn’t know much about the holiday either, and had just sent them to be nice. The chocolates were very nice, after all. They were enrobed in a shell of chocolate that cracked when you bit into it, and the middle was filled with a creamy, sweet center. There were different flavors inside, some vanilla, others chocolate, and others some sort of berry. Risarra wanted to make them last as long as possible, but they were just so delicious she ended up eating most of them straight away. She did share a few with the other sentinels first.

She liked the little vial of perfume best, though. According to the writing on the bottle, it was called “Forever”, and it was like nothing she’d smelled before. Risarra thought she could recognize some of the scents in it, but then it would change and she couldn’t be sure. She dabbed a little on her wrist, and it seemed to shift as it dried, becoming deeper and more complex. It really was lovely. It was rare for the sentinels to wear perfume; it made them more noticeable to both animals and orcs, but sometimes for special occasions. There weren’t any of those coming up, though, besides the kite festival but that wasn’t for a month or so yet.

Zhyra suggested that she should wear it when she brought the dumplings to Bear’s camp. Risarra thought that was a bad idea — who knows how the animals might react to a strange scent. They were not normally aggressive, but maybe it had some sort of effect on bears that she didn’t know about. She certainly had no expectation that Bear, the elf, would notice it. He didn’t seem to notice anything at all, other than whether she had a basket of food with her. Maybe they ought to make dumpling-scented perfume. Still, she dabbed a few more drops onto her wrist, and added a touch behind each ear. It seemed a shame not to use it, if nothing else, she could enjoy the scent.

[Story] Risarra’s Journal

I’ve been taking dumplings to Bear at his camp before my patrols. I’m not sure why, he’s perfectly able to hunt for himself, and it’s always strange. I always tell him he should move in closer to the town, where it’s safer and people would be able to look out for him, but I suppose he’d rather be in danger than be around other people. Or sentinels, at least. He and the other one both have a strange aversion that I can’t figure out. I’ve never seen them be rude or cruel to anyone, strict yes, but not rude. Though I guess others might see it differently. I know Sorias dislikes them, and I suppose they weren’t very fair to him. He replied to my letter, saying that they were safe in the city behind the walls. I wonder if Bear and the other man might like it better there? Bear said that people yelled at him where he used to live, I asked where but he only said “up north”. That could be a lot of places. Maybe Feralas, I know there’s the sentinel stronghold there. But I really doubt anyone yelled at him. He can exaggerate sometimes. He also said they’d stare. That’s just because they are curious, I don’t think you can be upset at people for that. He does look a bit unusual, but not so strange that I think they would stare. I suspect there might be another reason, he just doesn’t want to say it. Usually he doesn’t want to say much of anything at all.

There have been a few more sightings, but still not a huge number. It’s discouraging that they are not decreasing, they must be coming from somewhere. A portal is the most likely, but we’ve not found one yet. I wonder if mages could sense that sort of thing? I should ask, though it’s not likely to be a popular idea. Still, if it could help us get rid of the demons for good, I think it’s worth trying. There have been some druids here trying to cleanse the river and the places where the demons were. It’s taking time, but it seems to be working. It would go faster if we had more, but they have all been called away to fight the Legion in other places. We need them here too! Our home is just as important as those other places. I would say even more so.

I was going to mention my strange dream, but in the end I decided not to. I thought it was too odd and he’d probably think I was mad or something. At least he wasn’t in it. I have had a dream about the fletcher but that was a while ago, and nothing happened, I just remember that he was in it. Bear asked if I could show him how to make dumplings. I guess so he doesn’t need me to bring them anymore. I explained that it would be difficult to make them in a camp, because you need a flat surface to roll out the dough and put the filling in. But it might be possible, I guess. I had a roasted quail with me too, because I thought he might get tired of eating the same food every day, but then I guess he eats fish all the time when I’m not there.

He hasn’t heard from the old man either. I’m beginning to think that the blood elves captured him after all. I’ve heard that they keep people as captives and drain out their magic. I don’t know if we have much magic to drain out, but they could have tried. I hope he’s not dead. I would feel partly responsible, because I was the one who helped convince Avanniel to let him go. I thought it was the best thing to do, but maybe it wasn’t?

[Story] Story a Week 43

[[ Prompt: A retelling of a recent Hollywood movie

I hardly ever watch movies, so I ended up choosing not a recent one, but a famous one all the same. I think you’ll be able to figure it out! ]]

Risarra awoke in a place she didn’t recognize. She wasn’t in her cot in the sentinel quarters, inside their barracks. She was in the center of a lush field sprinkled with flowers, the grass soft as fur beneath her. “That’s odd,” she said to herself, looking around for her bow. She couldn’t find that either. “I don’t remember being here before.” Without her bow, she was anxious and vulnerable, but at the same time, this place didn’t seem to hold any danger. It was so vibrant, so beautiful, while at the same time strange to her. Could it be the Dream? Risarra was no druid, so how was that possible? A spiraling pattern grew among the grass, starting from where she was now sitting. It continued into a path that led into some trees.

“I might as well follow it,” Risarra told herself, “And see where it goes.”

If it was the Dream, she saw no other elves here, no druids or even sisters. There were ordinary animals, though. Rabbits nibbled at the tender grass, and she could hear the chorus of birds overhead. As she approached the treeline, a deer watched her warily. Then, as she stepped into the cool shadows of the forest, she heard the rustle of leaves. There was no breeze; perhaps it had been another animal moving nearby.

“Hello,” said a voice, and Risarra blinked in surprise. She could still see no one around. She felt a twig brush her shoulder.

It was a treant — a very small one, but a treant all the same. It looked like the ones she’d seen when she went to Darnassus.

“Oh, pardon me,” Risarra said, flustered. “I didn’t see you — wait, you can talk?”

The treant’s stick arms moved in something like a shrug. “I suppose I can,” it said. “I’m talking now.”

Having never spoken with a treant before, Risarra wasn’t sure what to say. “I’m Risarra,” she offered.

“I’m Treant.”

“That isn’t a name,” Risarra pointed out.

“Yes it is,” the Treant replied indignantly. Well, she wasn’t going to argue. If it wanted to be called Treant, that was fine with her. “Where are you going?”

Risarra frowned, glancing around at the forest. “I’m not sure exactly. I’m trying to get back home. Do you know where this path leads?”

“No,” said Treant, far too enthusiastically she thought. “But I’ll go with you, if you want.”

She looked down at its roots. Sure enough, they were free from the ground. “Sure,” Risarra said. Some company couldn’t hurt.

She wasn’t sure how far they walked. The forest was new to her, so she didn’t know the landmarks, but she followed the path that wound through. It had to lead somewhere, if someone had made it. She just hoped it would be back to Ashenvale. The Treant didn’t know much about the forest, or much of anything really. But it was cheerful, and Risarra supposed it was better than being alone if she should run into any danger. Most treants were able to heal with druidic magic.

“Hey, what’s this?” Treant said, shaking its branch arm at something beside the path.

Risarra came to see. Sunlight glinted from something metal, obscured by the long grass. Carefully, she stepped off the trail to see what it was. She pulled back the grass and tugged loose some vines and leaves.

“Oh!” she gasped, as she heard something whir inside the metal thing. “What is that?”

It was shaped like a person, except not really — it was far too round and far too short, and of course it was entirely made of metal, every bit of it. It had huge eyes that were some kind of lamps, and Risarra could see a faint light within them. Was this thing… alive?

With Treant’s help, she hauled the metal thing up onto the path, where the grass was shorter. Dirt and rust had seized many of the thing’s joints. From helping with the glaives, she knew water would only make it worse. They needed some sort of oil — but of course she didn’t have any here in the middle of this strange forest. Treant shuffled over to the spot where the metal person had lay. Sure enough, there was a small can of oil hidden in the grass. If it had been right there, why hadn’t it used it on itself? Risarra didn’t know, but she poured the oil carefully into the joints and rubbed some of the dirt away with a corner of her shirt.

A series of loud beeps and whirs startled her, and Risarra backed away from it. Maybe it was broken?

“Activation complete,” said the small metal person. “Unit B10 operational.”

Risarra glanced at Treant, but it didn’t seem to have any idea either.

The metal person stared intently at Treant. “Beginning bio-scan.”

She — nor any of the sentinels — had ever seen anything like this in the forest before. The orc and goblin machines were huge, sharp, and loud. This seemed more like gnome technology, though she’d never seen it firsthand herself. She didn’t have any idea how to talk to a metal person any more than she did a Treant.

“Excuse me, hello?” she asked it. Treant was trying to push it away with its branches. The metal person stopped and looked toward Risarra.

“Voice identification failed,” said the metal person.

“Do you know the way out of this forest?” Risarra asked.

“Invalid command,” said the metal person.

She sighed. “Come on, Treant. I don’t think it’s going to help us.”

But when they began to walk away, they heard the clanking of the metal person following closely behind. It was very loud. If there was anything dangerous here, it was going to hear them now for sure. Still, maybe it could be useful if there was a problem. At the very least, she could take its arm off to use for a club.

They walked for a very long time. Risarra kept looking up to guess the hour, but it seemed that the sun wasn’t moving at all in the sky. Everything about this place felt strange, and that didn’t help. She was hungry, too. She couldn’t remember when she’d last eaten. They were probably serving the afternoon snack now for those who were already awake. Maybe dumplings. Tallstrider and vegetable and spider dumplings, her very favorite. She heard her stomach growl in protest.

Treant had stopped abruptly in front of her. Its branch extended shakily to point at something.

Risarra heard the growl again, but this time she knew it wasn’t her stomach. The path before them was blocked by a very large furbolg.

Ordinarily, furbolgs weren’t dangerous, but this one was much larger than she’d ever seen. It stood at least a head taller than herself — as tall as an elf man — and at least as wide. Its teeth were bared in a snarl.

“Is this your land? We didn’t know,” Risarra explained. Most furbolgs could at least understand, if not speak themselves.

The furbolg roared, spittle dripping from its jaws.

“There’s no need to be rude,” Risarra said. “Just tell us the way out, and we’ll leave.”

It dropped to all fours and made a swipe of its paws toward Treant.

“Stop that!” Risarra said, and smacked the furbolg’s nose. It gave a pitiful yelp and sat down on all fours.

“Well,” she said, checking Treant’s bark. “You didn’t need to do that.” If those claws had connected, Treant would have deep gashes that might not heal. She wasn’t really sure how wounds worked with treants.

The furbolg rubbed its eyes, still whimpering. She hadn’t hit it that hard. “You’re fine,” Risarra said, feeling guilty now. “Let me see it. Oh, you’re not bleeding at all. See?” It sniffled and continued to wail. Maybe the poor thing was hungry too. Risarra hadn’t seen any food at all the whole time they’d been walking. “If you show me the way out, I’ll bring you some dumplings.” It worked for the elves, maybe it would work for a furbolg too.

It perked up its ears and began to lumber quickly down the path. Risarra smiled and hurried after. They were finally getting somewhere!

Deeper in the forest, the light grew dimmer and Risarra no longer saw any animals or heard any birds. Even the trees seemed more ominous, bent and twisted. The ground beneath them looked black and charred, as if a fire had passed through, or — no, not a fire. Demons. She could smell them now, the stink of fel hanging in the air. Her traveling companions were reluctant to follow her, and she could not blame them for being afraid, but she had to get back. Beautiful though this place was, it wasn’t her home.

“Come on,” she urged them. “I need your help.” If there was a demon here, she didn’t want to face it alone and unarmed.

Risarra entered another clearing, charred black and twisted. In the very center stood the demon, each of its four arms holding a sharp blade. The smile on its horrid face widened when it saw Risarra. How was she supposed to fight it? She had no weapon — but she did have the furbolg. And the metal person. And the Treant.

“Will you help me?” she whispered to them.

The furbolg rumbled.

“Yes!” said Treant.

“Combat protocol activated,” said the metal person.

“Get one of the knives,” she urged the furbolg, as the metal person clattered over toward the demon. With one on either side of her, she was distracted, and the furbolg sunk its teeth into one of the arms. Risarra grabbed the knife. She wasn’t well trained in close combat, but she’d watched Sorias a few times, and he’d given her a few tips. Hopefully it would be enough. While she and the furbolg alternated attacks, the metal person assaulted the demon’s legs. Treant mostly ran back and forth at first, but it proved useful when it held the demon in place with roots that sprung up from the ground.

With a final shriek, the demon dissipated into the Nether. In the place she had stood, already small sprouts had begun to grow, covering the burned and ruined ground. There had to be a portal nearby…

When Risarra woke again, it was back in her cot in the sentinel quarters. It was dusk, and the others were preparing for patrol.

“Get up, sleepyhead,” Zhyra teased. “You’re going to miss breakfast.”

Had it all been a dream? She’d never had a dream so intense, so real. But maybe that’s all it was. She began putting on her armor for her patrol.

[Story] Risarra’s Journal

Captain Avanniel let the old man leave. I honestly wasn’t sure that she would, given what he’s told me. He mentioned before about her shooting him, I’m not sure how much of that story is true, I never asked Avanniel about it. But maybe she’s had a change of heart, because she agreed that he could go. It occurs to me that we’ll probably never see him again. He’s going deep into sin’dorei lands, where he could easily be discovered and killed. Or if he does succeed, I doubt very much that he’d return here, even though he said he would. He and the others hate the town so much that even dumplings won’t coax them in. He’ll probably find a quiet place where they can live and we’ll never know what happened. I’ll miss him, in a way. Or at least I’ll wonder what became of him. Maybe that’s not the same thing.

Zhyra and I took a big basket of dumplings to Bear’s camp. It’s the only way we can convince them to talk at all. He said the old man had come by and left some food for the bears. That worried me a little, because if he was giving away his food, what was he eating for the trip? It’s a very long way, he’s going to need something. Apparently he didn’t say anything else. Bear didn’t seem worried at all. He said that if something happened, there was nothing he could do about it so there was no sense worrying. Which I suppose is true, but it’s an awfully heartless thing to say. I wonder if he forgets about everyone who disappears like that. He said the old man sometimes stopped to check on him, but they didn’t talk much. I guess that’s probably true, because he didn’t have any dumplings. The other elf came for a short time, he said that he smelled the dumplings. He didn’t say much besides “hello” and ate a lot of them. He was worried that Zhyra was upset when she left to return to her patrol. If he was so worried, why didn’t he say anything before she left? It’s good that he’s not hurt, too, but it would still be safer for them in town.
Bear said that he didn’t forget about going to Feralas, he just thought I hadn’t been by. Which I had, I always stopped by on my patrol but most of the time he was away, fishing or something. He’s worried that the water in the stream might be unsafe due to the demons, I have to ask the druids to come and look at it. They’re always very busy but I think it’s important. I would have thought the bears would have found my scent or something. We can’t go now anyway, so I guess it doesn’t matter. We’re too busy with our patrols and making sure the demons don’t get worse. I guess it’s good he didn’t totally forget though. I left the basket, so he could finish the dumplings. I’ll have to go back and get it the next time I am by there.

[Story] Ashenvale – Risarra’s Report

“Report, Risarra?” Avanniel glanced up from her map only briefly. As Captain Rainshadow had taken a unit of Sentinels north to hunt demons, Avanniel had been named the temporary captain in her absence. She took to the task as an otter takes to the river, and was crisp and efficient.

“I patrolled the south-eastern ridge,” Risarra said. “Three imps, I was able to shoot all of them.” She paused, unsure if she should reveal what else she saw. Bear was right — if Avanniel knew he was in the area, she’d want them to come into town. It was safer to be together, protected by the structures and the sentinels. She’d tried at length to convince him, but it hadn’t done any good. He’d rather be eaten by demons than be near them. “Two others reported, also killed.”

Avanniel looked up again at that. “Reported by whom?”

“One of the men who stayed here before. The one with the bears. He claimed to have killed two imps in his camp.”

“It’s not safe for them to be alone out there,” Avanniel said. “I trust you told him that.”

Risarra nodded, frowning faintly. “I tried. He’s stubborn.”

“Aren’t they all,” the captain muttered, twitching an ear.

Risarra watched her for a moment to see if she might say anything else. Avanniel didn’t.

“Are you going to let the old man go? I think he–”

Avanniel sighed heavily. “I shouldn’t. But I suppose you’re right, he’s not much danger to anyone, and if something were to happen to her, I don’t think I could live with the regret.”

“Maybe the blood elf,” suggested Risarra. She almost wanted to go look for him herself. To have the audacity to steal someone right out of their own forest. It was insulting. That would never happen to me, Risarra assured herself. I’d have fought him. “I’ll go tell him. He’ll be pleased.”

In truth, she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to find him easily. Old though he was, it’s true he was good at hiding. Risarra wanted to find him to give him the letter before he left. The old man had got the wrong idea, it wasn’t that sort of letter. She told him he was free to read it if he wished. She didn’t feel that way about Sorias, if she had then she could have acted upon it. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t worried about him. The sentinels said that demons had been seen near Stormwind, too, and while it was probably safe, Risarra just had to be certain. Maybe he would be happy to hear that she was safe too.

She wasn’t even sure she felt that way about anyone. She thought she might have, but Bear had completely forgotten about his promise to go to Feralas with her. Of course, that had been before the demons started appearing, but he hadn’t even mentioned it. Worse, he didn’t even remember her name. She felt foolish sitting there as he tried to remember it. All he’d really wanted was the dumplings, but even those weren’t enough to convince him to return to the safety of the town. She’d have to go search for the other one soon. She remembered the cave where he’d stayed before, perhaps he was still there.

[Story] Feathermoon

Risarra walked among the stalls in the Feathermoon market, her little bag slung over her shoulder carrying the things she’d bought already today. It was the biggest market she’d ever been to, larger even than the one in Darnassus, and certainly bigger than Astranaar’s. The newly constructed Feathermoon was perched right on the ocean, and traders could more easily come from faraway places to sell their goods. On top of that, there were lots of sentinels ready to spend their coins here. Risarra had already visited the barracks, which were enormous and had two floors, and the training areas, which had targets for shooting arrows, in addition to wooden dummies and even un-bladed glaives to practice firing. She desperately wanted to try one of those, but had been too shy to ask. All of the stories she’d heard about the place paled in comparison to actually seeing it. She couldn’t wait to tell Avanniel and Zhyra back home. She hadn’t completely given up the idea of asking for a transfer here, though she’d have to leave her friends behind. It was something she would have to think on.

She paused to look over an assortment of knives and daggers, gleaming brilliantly in the evening light. They were beautiful, but Risarra didn’t have enough money left to buy one of them. She rarely used the dagger she owned now anyway, but that didn’t keep her from wanting one of these. Tucked within the sack over her shoulder were her other purchases of the day: two books, a vial of perfume, a paper bag of candies, and a pair of earrings set with green gems. She wasn’t sure exactly what kind of stone they were, but she liked the way that they caught the color of her hair. She’d almost bought a little bear statue, cast in metal, but had finally passed by the table. Bear hadn’t been interested in the market at all. He said he could have just made everything there, which obviously wasn’t true, but Risarra wasn’t going to force the issue. He had some strange aversion to towns — even towns as small as Astranaar. Risarra wondered if maybe he really was a criminal, and he avoided them for fear of being recognized. If that was true, he hadn’t tried to rob or kill her yet. In fact he hadn’t tried to do anything at all. Right now he was probably back at the camp, doing who knows what, or perhaps he’d gone out to look for bears. She wasn’t sure what would be different about the bears here versus the bears back at home, but Bear wanted to see them anyway. It was confusing. Back at his camp by the lake he’d seemed eager to go, but maybe she’d misread him. It had certainly happened before. She would tell Avanniel and Zhyra exactly what had happened – nothing at all.

Maybe he would be more interested in seeing the ruins, there wouldn’t be any alive people at those, at any rate.