[Story] Story a Week 33 – Monkey

“Hey Xyliah,” Berwick called across the clearing. “Come and take a look at this.”

They were enclosed on all sides by lush jungle, very like those in Stranglethorn, except the trunks were not wood at all, but a sort of tough reed. It was not nearly so warm here either, even now in the height of summer, the nights got chilly enough that they needed extra blankets. But it did rain more here, as they had learned on their first few nights. After their entire camp, including their bedrolls, got soaked, they relocated atop a rock outcropping. There were wild animals too, porcupines that waddled around the camp in search of food, and enormous moths, which were startling but harmless. Berwick had even seen a tiger once, at dusk, its eyes alight with the last remnants of the sunset. They were both armed in case of such dangers, but it hadn’t caused them any trouble. It was a unique place, somehow both familiar and foreign. Several years ago, right after his escape from Dalaran, they had lived here, but it was along the beach, and felt like an entirely different place than this. Berwick had finally agreed to return to the Ghostlands, but camping at the school wasn’t really what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to get back to hunting treasure, the one thing he’d ever really been good at. But it had been a lot more difficult than he’d imagined, and he worried that he’d lost his knack for it.

None of his old spots had produced much of interest, and while they’d found a few scrolls and pieces of pottery that were interesting, nothing yet in Pandaria held the promise of real money. Berwick was hoping that changed soon. They had enough to get by, but he wanted the feeling of permanence that their own house would provide, whether it was in the Ghostlands or somewhere else. Xyliah always said she didn’t need one, but he thought she should have one anyway. Besides, he was sure she’d like it once she got used to the idea.

Beneath the carpet of moss and vines, he’d found stone — that wasn’t so unusual in itself, but it had obviously been carved and shaped. The surface was smooth and rounded, and he could see some carved lines though he wasn’t yet sure what they were.

Xyliah brushed the dirt from her hands onto her pants and hopped down from where she had been digging. She’d already discovered a small stone chest — unfortunately broken, but the latch could easily be replaced — and some small jade statues. These were very common and not especially valuable, but people back home would probably pay well for ones with pleasing subjects or that were particularly well carved. “What is that?” she asked, pulling away some of the moss.

“Looks like it might be a statue,” Berwick said, scratching his chin. “Or at least part of one.” They both worked to loose the carved stone from its bed of vegetation, untangling the roots and vines from the cracks. Before too long, they found themselves staring at five long, carved stone toes.

“It’s a foot?” Xyliah said doubtfully. “Who would want a statue of a foot?”

No one, that’s who. And it was an odd foot, at that — the toes were extremely long, and one stuck out at an odd angle. Studying it, Berwich reasoned that it was meant to depict a hozen, one of the monkey-like people that inhabited these jungles. They’d not had much contact with them, thankfully, but he’d seen them swinging through the tops of the trees, their spears slung over their shoulders. They hooted and whooped, making their presence known to the entire forest.

“I think it’s been broken,” Berwick said, peering around the far end. The entire thing was massive, almost six feet in length. If it was only part of a statue, the whole thing must have been impressively large. “Maybe the rest of it’s here too–” he gestured around the clearing, to the other small hills. It would take hours to find and uncover them all, but Berwick’s heart raced at the prospect of it — a mystery statue, perhaps from a temple? And where there was one statue, there were usually others. He did not know if it would be valuable, but at least it was exciting.

[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.

[Story] Story a Week 29 – Ship

[[ A story from Vellira’s privateer days, before she joined up with the rangers. ]]

“Vellira,” said Captain Redblade from the deck below. “I’ve a surprise for you when we return to port.”

She was perched high up in the rigging, polishing and replacing the metal fittings that held the ropes in place. It wasn’t usually the kind of job she should be doing, but she enjoyed being up high — it seemed that she could see the entire ocean from there. And she was one of the few crew members small enough to navigate the narrow spaces between the sails, ropes, and beams. Vellira was puzzled by what the Captain said, but she couldn’t ask him, he’d already moved up toward the bow to speak to the crew working there. She had a feeling he wouldn’t have answered anyway, if it was supposed to be a surprise it would ruin it if he told her. But it wasn’t her birthday, nor any other special day she could think of. If it was for everyone, he would have told the whole crew, but he’d said it was for her. That was the intriguing part. It surely wasn’t fancy dresses, or shoes, or hair ribbons. She’d never been interested in things like that, even as they sometimes plundered them from the holds of ships they’d intercepted. When she’d been very young, the Captain had offered them to her, but she made a face. Knives were much more interesting, maybe even a pistol. Vellira had never had one of those, they already carried powder for the cannons, so she’d been hoping to get one. Still, why would he make her wait until port for that? It didn’t make sense.

Vellira finished polishing the last brass fitting and gathered up her little can of polish, and rag. There was a lot of work to be done, there always was. They were due back in port soon to repair the major damage; some planks cracked in the bow from a close call with some rocks, a few of the little round windows had got loose and needed replaced, and the whole ship needed re-tarring. Most everything else could be done while they were out, and as no ships had been sighted yet, now was the time to do it. Vellira felt that she knew every board of the ship, worn and shiny with decades of wear, and perhaps she did. She’d been living and working there since she was six years old, and her mother’s family sought her father out to raise her. She did wonder, at times, why they preferred that a tiny child live at sea with privateers, but she wouldn’t complain. It was certainly much more exciting than an ordinary land-bound life. She’d have had to sit in lessons all day, and probably wear gowns and learn to eat with the proper fork and how to hold her teacup the correct way. The Captain had taught her to read and do numbers, but she also learned how to navigate by the stars, how to know if the weather was changing, how to tie knots and throw knives. She’d also seen more of the world than she ever knew existed. But there was more out there, and she was excited to see it.

They pulled into the busy Quel’danas port as the sun was going down, the water blazing red and orange like fire. Vellira thought the ocean never looked so beautiful as it did then. She stood at the bow, eager to see what surprise awaited her. The docks were crowded with ships and boats of all shapes and sizes; fishing boats and cargo ships and little sailing ships with fancy sails for the rich people to take around the bay. There was one that stood out among them, though — a fine three-masted ship, sleek and narrow. She was large, but due to her shape, Vellira was sure that she was quick and agile in the water. And she looked brand new, too. The wood still gleamed with sap, the sails bright and clean white.

“Do you like her?” the Captain asked, coming to lean on the railing beside her. “The Crimson Dawn.”

Vellira nodded. “She’s beautiful. Do you know who she belongs to?”

“You,” said the Captain. “Well — one day. Not just yet. I have to die first.”

She blinked at him. “You mean it’s ours?”

“Mine at the moment, until you sign your own contract with Silvermoon. Or I die. Either way.”

“Don’t say that,” Vellira said, nudging him. “You aren’t going to die for a long time.”

Though it would be a little sad to leave their old ship behind, the place she’d lived for so long, it was exciting to have a brand new ship and learn all of its little secrets.

 

[Story] Story a Week 26

[[ Halfway! I decided to do the actual “rabbit” story! ]]

The tavern had closed up for the night, though Blackbrew still talked at a back table with a few of his friends. Or “associates”, that’s what he always called them. Sorias thought that sounded more professional, and there weren’t any messy feelings involved. The dwarves often stayed up into the early hours of the morning — they might be surprised to learn how well they’d fit in among the elves. Sorias himself took some time to adjust to the different schedule, but as they rose late and stayed up late, it wasn’t too far off. In addition, being far under the mountain, the sun, moon and stars weren’t around to remind him that he really should be sleeping. There was a sameness to the city inside the mountain, the lanterns burned the same no matter the hour.

Sorias gathered the mugs and dishes onto his tray, dumping them into the sink behind the bar. He’d have to get to them before he slept, otherwise the mice would come in and start sniffing around. Blackbrew had a dog; a giant wrinkled drooling thing, but it had no interest at all in chasing the mice, so Sorias had to be on guard against them. He wiped up the spills and crumbs with a wet cloth, straightening the chairs and benches. Handfuls of sawdust from the barrel covered up the spills and drips on the floor. Sorias kept a curious ear toward the conversation as he tidied up, he didn’t exactly mean to eavesdrop, but it was hard not to overhear when the dwarves were being drunk and loud.

From the colorful language he could hear, Sorias guessed they were talking about politics. Dwarves had all sorts of councils and boards, and they were always having elections to elect people to them. Blackbrew often put up flyers for those he supported — usually business associates, Sorias noted — in the tavern. Sometimes they had special nights where all the money raised went to a candidate’s fund. Or, more likely, to his pockets. But Sorias found it all very interesting; back home there was no such system. Someone higher up always decided who would do what. He thought he rather preferred the dwarves’ way, where you could come from nothing and still end up on a council. Sure, it helped to have a good family and money, as with most things, but it wasn’t required.

Sorias squeezed past the table with the last tray of empty mugs. He wanted to take a break and join in the conversation, but he hadn’t been invited, and he felt too self-conscious just sitting down among them. Some of the dwarves he recognized, but not all of them, and who knows how they felt about elves. It had surprised Sorias to learn that some of them disliked elves, often a great deal. Some had never even met one in person, but they’d heard things from other dwarves and made up their minds without any evidence. The things they said seemed outlandish to Sorias, but he could only imagine what the elves in Astranaar would have said about dwarves. So probably it was just something that people did, no matter what race they were. Still, he did his best to be polite and friendly, even when a dwarf called him a tree-licking nutter or something similar.

There was a rabbit sitting on the table. Well, it was the size of a rabbit, and it looked like a rabbit, but it was made entirely of metal. Forgetting his shyness, Sorias drew closer to the thing. It paused, raised its head and turned its ears, with a quiet humming noise coming from within. Without realizing what he was doing, he reached a hand across to touch it.

“Ey, careful with that, lad,” said one of the dwarves. He had a very long brown beard, woven into two thick braids. He scooped up the rabbit and flipped it over. The underside was a tangle of gears and intricate metal parts, as well as a key for winding. The dwarf gave the key another few turns, and set the rabbit back down again. This time it sprang forward in a jaunty hop, and Sorias gasped in amazement.

“But it’s metal,” he said. “How–?”

The dwarf seemed pleased by Sorias’s interest, leaning back in his chair and smiling broadly. “That’s all clockwork, no magic at all. Jus’ a hobby of mine.”

Looking more closely, Sorias could see the hammer marks in the metal that covered the rabbit. Though they had been rubbed and polished, they were still visible beneath the shine. Sorias couldn’t imagine how much work it must have taken to make something like that. He’d seen dwarven smithing before, of course, fine swords and shields and armor, but nothing like this. This was magical.

“Do you think you could teach me?” Sorias asked. Blackbrew’s brow raised, but he didn’t argue.

The braided dwarf let out a braying laugh. “You?”

“Yes, I want to learn. It’s okay, right?” He glanced to Blackbrew again. “In my time off, of course.”

“Bout time you learned a proper trade anyway,” Blackbrew sniffed. “Can’t be a barmaid forever.”

The dwarf with the braided beard shook his head. “All right, kid. Come by my shop tomorrow. It’s ‘round the corner, with the clock on the sign.”

[Story] Story a Week 25 – Harrier’s Journal

[[ This started with the word “rabbit” but it’s not actually about rabbits so I’m not sure if I should really count it or not… ]]

Nash has really taken a liking to that rabbit. I have to admit I’m surprised, it just doesn’t seem like the kind of thing he’d really be interested in. But he’s made it a little house to live in, and wrote his ridiculous name over the door. He even went to the library to get a book about how to care for them — and used a fake name to get the library card. That’s a lot of trouble to go to for a pet rabbit. I suggested he could go to the market around closing time, they throw out the bruised vegetables or the greens and he could take some for the rabbit. No one would mind since it’s just trash anyway, it’s not even stealing. I think it’s made him gentler somehow, having someone else to take care of.

But maybe not. He’s getting restless without any jobs to do. I told him I’d ask around, but I’m a little out of the loop right now to be honest. The shop is keeping me busy enough with making watches and clocks that I don’t really need to find other work. I still keep up with my business at the harbor, but not much else. Nash says the watches are too complicated, but I think he could learn if he tried to. I knew absolutely nothing about how to make those things when I arrived in Ironforge, but it interested me so I learned it. I think that’s the key. He just needs to find that thing that he’s really interested in. He said he didn’t think it was rabbits though. I told him he could do a show with the rabbit, do tricks and stuff like have it jump out of a hat. I think people would pay to see that, but he’s worried that people would stare too much and he’d be discovered. So then I said he could wear a mask, as part of the act, but I don’t think he cared too much for that idea either. Maybe magic isn’t his area of interest either.

I don’t remember how, but we got onto the subject of what I would do if something happened here like in Dalaran, and elves weren’t allowed in Stormwind anymore. Obviously, that’s probably not ever going to, but I doubt the elves in Dalaran expected it either. Humans have definitely got weird ideas about elves and other races before, it’s not so odd to think that they’d do it again, especially if there was some big bad thing that happened to cause them to blame us. I’d want to go back to Ironforge if I could, dwarves aren’t usually as jumpy, but they are allied with the humans so maybe they wouldn’t let us in either. Nash said we ought to go somewhere neutral, like Shattrath (too weird) or the Darkmoon Faire (even more weird). Of all the places I could live, I think the middle of dark woods with mud and animal poop is probably on the bottom of my list. Nash seemed really excited about it though, he was saying I could sell my clockwork animals there. He’s probably right about that — they also have those tonk things that always need repairs — but where would I get supplies in a musty old tent? I wouldn’t even have a proper work area or lamp, either. But I went along with it. Doesn’t hurt to think about it, right? Nash said it’s important to have a plan. I don’t think it’s much of a plan, but he’s not wrong. I said he should do a show where he’s blindfolded and throws knives. I’ve seen some guys swallow knives, but I don’t think he should do that, I am not sure how safe it would be. Not that throwing knives blindfolded is really safe either, but at least he’s not the one getting stabbed if he misses.

And what if cursed Gilneans were thrown out too? I can’t imagine Rose ever leaving the city otherwise. I think she’d stay until they made her leave, or maybe fight them. Still, I went along with it. I said she could do acrobatics on her horse, something like that. She used to ride a lot, back in Gilneas. I’m not sure if Blackjack would be too interested in doing tricks, but it’s all imaginary anyway.

Nash is right, though. I should have a plan, I mean a real plan, if something were to happen. I have money saved up, but that’s not enough.

 

[OOC/Screenshots] Class Mounts – Done!

I decided to give the Warrior quest another try, this time I upgraded some of his gear with Nethershard stuff, I also bought a flask and some buff food. While that helped, it was still definitely the toughest scenario and took quite a few deaths.

This is how my health bar looked after the last challenger…

squeaky

I really feel like I earned this one compared to the others! The Prot coloration is a lovely purple. They’re all pretty nice though.

purpledrag

Then tonight, my friend very generously offered to CRZ my rogue to a quieter server. On Wyrmrest, Silvermoon is always packed and would have made his quest close to impossible. I am sure I wouldn’t have been able to get it done otherwise, so I’m very grateful! This quest is pretty awful for people who don’t like PVP, I wouldn’t have bothered either except it’s one of the few mounts I really liked.

They even served as a distraction in the busy Orgrimmar auction house so I could kill my target! Thanks Jairoes!

ichooseyou

shadowbirb

With those done, I now have all 11 base mounts! Still working on the other colorations, they mostly require Concordance so it’s a way off. Some of them I’ll never get (cough cough Beast Mastery) but I’ll work toward the ones I can get. I also got Uldred his voidwalker-colored horse off the rare on the Broken Shores. I kept checking for it to be up over several days, it’s really nice so I’m glad I took the time to get it.

burple