[Story] Story a Week – Beer

[[ My prompt was beer but it ended up being more about food… now I’m hungry! ]]

Tsi Ku stared glumly into her bowl of noodles. Normally the sight would lift her spirits; the thick noodles swam in a bath of hot, steaming broth, decorated with chopped vegetables and a sprig of herbs. They had even added in an egg today since the day was so cold, soft-cooked in the hot broth, the yellow center still rich and runny. She dipped her spoon in to taste the broth, and it was perfect, salty and oily and hot, but it just wasn’t the same. Her friend Aranae, the elf, had been gone for a very long time. She’d told Tsi Ku that she was going to visit her brother’s school in the Ghostlands, the same one they had visited for a wedding some time ago. She’d expected her friend to be gone a week, perhaps two, but it had been far longer than that. So long that Tsi Ku thought that perhaps Aranae had decided to stay, surrounded by familiar faces and not pandaren ones. Many times, she’d told Tsi Ku how they didn’t understand her, how her mother shunned her in favor of her brother, how upset she’d been there. So it didn’t make sense that she’d stay so long. Tsi Ku had written a few letters, but she might have got the address wrong — the Ghostlands were very far away and perhaps they didn’t have anyone to carry mail there. Or maybe Aranae had simply been too busy to answer. She’d said that she planned to continue training there, though Tsi Ku was uncertain how well she’d do on her own, without the supervision of the masters. Or — and this was the possibility that had caused Tsi Ku to lose her normally considerable appetite — she just didn’t want to come back. Something had happened and she’d changed her mind and not told anyone. She could at least tell her if that was the case.

The innkeeper’s wife approached her table, her paws wringing worriedly. “Is there something wrong with the soup?” she asked, looking over Tsi Ku’s still full bowl. “I can get you something else–”

Tsi Ku forced a smile. “No, the soup is good. It’s just — a little hot still, that’s all.”

The older pandaren nodded, though Tsi Ku thought she seemed unconvinced. Sure enough, a few minutes later she emerged from the kitchen again, this time with a plate of hot steamed dumplings, and a mug of ale. “Here,” she said, setting them down on the table. “You look like you need these too.”

Tsi Ku took one of the dumplings, still steaming, and bit into it. The soft white dough surrounded a center of hearty mushrooms and chicken, and she had to admit that it was the perfect companion to her soup. She gave the beer a sniff to determine its general flavor — just about every little inn had their own unique recipe, and tasted of the local ingredients that they used. Some were more harsh and strong, others light and fruity, usually they fell somewhere in between. Tsi Ku was no brewing expert, but like most pandaren had sampled many different brews and could identify the main notes. It had a rice base, like most — but not all — pandaren ale, and a slightly sweet fruit — winter peach, Tsi Ku thought. It smelled delicious, and in spite of her worries she felt her appetite begin to return. The innkeeper’s wife looked on approvingly as she picked up her spoon again to eat her soup.

Difficult decisions were always easier on a full stomach. Tomorrow, Tsi Ku would make the trip up the mountain to the monastery and ask there if anyone had heard from Aranae. If she was safe and not in danger, surely she must have at least told them of her plans.

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[Story] Homecoming

Makota let out a small gasp as she crested the ridge that overlooked their old home. Ahali said nothing, though he was still making his way up behind her. He couldn’t move as fast as he used to. But he’d warned Makota what they might see, and he had been right. The ground was charred and black in places, with deep grooves like enormous claw marks scratched into the earth. Trees stood askew and splintered, their pale wood exposed by the orcs’ blades. They were long gone now, Makota wasn’t sure to where. How could they return to Orgrimmar? Perhaps they, like she and Ahali, had gone into hiding. In the time since the machines had stopped running, the earth had fought back. Fresh green grass grew up in the cracks, and creeping vines had begun to cling to the enormous metal machines. One day, Makota thought, you wouldn’t be able to see them anymore. But today, she still could, and seeing her home like this made her heart hurt. How could they destroy it so easily? The orcs would probably say that they needed the wood, and they preferred to take it from the elves. Frankly, Makota would rather have stayed with them — they had always been polite and willing to trade in the past. The war had changed that though, too. Now she and Ahali would be met with the tips of arrows should they go deeper into Ashenvale. It wasn’t fair, she’d lived there her whole life, just as the elves had. But now they thought of the tauren as enemies, and fiercely defended their land. Makota could understand that, but she wished they knew that they had nothing to do with all of this. Their home was being destroyed just as the elves’ was.

Turned out of Ashenvale, they had decided to go southeast into the swamp. Makota hated it there; even when it hadn’t rained, her hooves would sink into the mud and it smelled awful. There were snakes that lived in the water, and insects everywhere. There wasn’t much to eat, either. Most of the time they caught fish from the muddy water, but they had an odd unpleasant taste to their flesh. Sometimes they dug for roots, which were all right when roasted in the fire, but they didn’t have much flavor. At the outpost, Makota had tried to send a letter to her friend Lali in Dalaran, but she didn’t know if it had arrived. The magical city had seemed so strange to Makota then, but it sounded so much better than a swamp. Was her friend even there anymore? She had heard rumors about Dalaran, but she didn’t know what — if any — of it was true. Did Lali hate her now too? She hoped that wasn’t the case, but the possibility troubled her. Every letter that went unanswered worried Makota more. She and Ahali had to cross the vast flooded canyon to reach Feralas on the other side. There, at least, were other Tauren, and they felt a bit more at home. It comforted Makota to hear familiar words and eat food that she was used to. She even made a new friend there, a young female about her age. She had lived in the canyon, in one of the towns atop the stone pillars, before it had flooded. They often went walking in the forest together, to show Makota the way around, and just to talk. An’shula was amazed at how far Makota had traveled, and wanted to know everything about the elves. Some lived in Feralas, she said, but very far away, on the coast. She had never seen them, but she did tell Makota about the ogres and gnolls. Makota forgot her troubles, for a time. But as the years passed, she wondered what had become of their home, and she missed it. Feralas was lovely, but it wasn’t the same. She asked Ahali if he wanted to go or not. The swamp had not been easy on him, either. Makota thought he might just want to stay here, and she could make the trip back on her own. But he surprised her by agreeing, and they set out for Mulgore, better prepared this time and with no danger at their backs.

Some of the villages were gone, burned down or simply abandoned, but there were new ones too. It felt strange having to re-discover her old home, and to meet the people who lived there now. Some remembered her, which made Makota feel a bit better, though others did not. They had fled from other places and decided to stay. She built two tents in one of the settlements to the north, near to the Ashenvale border, but not across it. The others said it was still dangerous to enter while the elves were patrolling. Makota felt glad of the safety and companionship of a village, it also meant that they could share what food they found. It wouldn’t be so easy as it was before, but there were enough people here that proved it was possible. And they liked Ahali, too. He told stories around the fire every night, and the others tended to him to be sure he was comfortable. It was nice to see him be pampered a little, after all, he deserved it. Makota wrote another letter to her friend, Lali. They had a little mail box here that went out whenever someone went into Thunder Bluff. She hoped this one would reach her friend.

[Art] Ghost Wolf

The eclipse wasn’t very exciting here, too far away to get much of the sun covered. I saw some in my pinhole box and then went back to work, haha.

Here is a ghost wolf shaman (in both blue and brown), if you’d like you can buy items with the design from my RedBubble shop. If there’s any particular layout you’d like but don’t see please let me know, and I can edit it for you.

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[Screenshots] Class Mounts

I’ve been keeping up with my weekly chores on the alts, so I was able to start working on getting class mounts Tuesday. I haven’t finished them all yet (more about that in a second), but I thought I’d post the ones I have so far. I do like the little cut-scenes you get at the end where you actually get the mount, some of them are pretty cool.

Like the class campaigns, though, they vary widely in difficulty. Most of my alts are around 850 ilevel, so they’re not especially well geared. Monk was really easy, and didn’t even have an elite to kill. The only one that’s really given me trouble so far is Warrior, even at 862 in Prot spec I’ve been unable to kill even the first challenger. I need to wait for a nerf or for him to get more gear, I guess. Warlock had to get an item from a Legion invasion, so I had to wait 7 hours for that. He also had to buy expensive crafted things from the Auction House. But hands down the worst is Rogue. They have to assassinate a target in each of the enemy faction cities. Which would be okay if they were scenarios, but nope, they’re on live. From what I’ve read, the Silvermoon target (the first one for Alliance rogues) also has a super long respawn time. I’m hoping for a nerf, otherwise it’s going to be a very long time before I get the rogue mount, which is disappointing because it’s one of the ones I actually liked.

Druid is very underwhelming, too. Not only do I find it incredibly ugly, it’s not actually a proper mount, it’s just a change to flight form. If you bought the very expensive Glyph of the Sentinel, you have to pay to switch back and forth between them. It also lacks an idle pose, a perch pose, a walking/ground pose, uses the old form sounds, and cannot be used in no-fly areas.

All the mounts (that are proper mounts, not druid form) can be used by other alts of the same class, however. I’ve read that druids can use the new owl if they have flying learned, in Moonglade. I haven’t gone to test it though, because in all honesty I don’t want to use it.

Visually, I think I like the Death Knight one best so far. Their movie was really cool too. (Though the actual quest I didn’t like! You’ll see why if you do it. I corpse ran rather than follow orders.) I also really like the Monk cat because he talks to you!

[Screenshots] Kor’kron Dark Shaman

Got a cool surprise tonight in raid! This Kor’kron Shaman’s Treasure Cache dropped for my panda. It contains an entire cosmetic set of armor — how cool is that? They definitely need to do more stuff like this. I think I was more excited about this than I would have been for loot!

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[Story] Tsi Ku’s Reflections

I’m not studying here, but maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea. That elf really got me annoyed, and Master Cheng suggested that I write about my feelings. He also let me use the steam room, which was really nice. I wonder if Aranae has ever been to it, I bet she has. Anyway, I ought to be used to elves and their rude questions by now, I certainly saw a lot of them on the island. I don’t know how they can be so ignorant when they work with those yaungol-looking Tauren already. No, I don’t have fleas, I keep myself clean just like you do — maybe even more because I go in the water almost every day at home. Yes, I can speak like an elf, and probably better because I can actually say their names, or at least I try. It’s so annoying to have your name pronounced wrong all the time! My name isn’t even difficult, they should see some of the other ones pandaren have. But like I said before, that wasn’t so unusual. Probably half of the elves that came to the island were like that, either they asked rude and inappropriate questions or they just ignored us completely like we were stupid yaks or something.

It was worse because he was bothering Aranae, and I could tell she didn’t want them there. I’d got a letter from her saying that she’d be at the temple, so I made sure to be there when she’d arrive. My parents thought it was pretty strange that I wanted to go meet an elf there, but I explained that she was my friend and I was worried about her coming back from Kalimdor safely. I’d heard stories about some of the pandaren who went there. It scares me when I think about it, because I could have very easily been sent; I know how to speak orcish and I’ve worked with Horde people before. I guess it was for the best that I went back home instead of staying on the island. Aranae didn’t want to talk about it too much, she did say that she injured her foot but it was okay now. I hope she wore boots there, I’ve heard the ground is so hot it can burn the pads of your feet. She came back here to the temple because she wants to keep studying, instead of going back to the elf city. That means we can see each other more often, which is good! I am kind of curious about the elf city though. Maybe someday I’ll go, in a few years when elves have had more of a chance to get used to us and won’t give me a dirty look for getting fur on their clothes or something. I can’t believe he said that! His hair is way longer than mine, he’s probably the one shedding all over! It turns out the elf was her brother, and he’d brought a girl elf with him, he said she was his apprentice. They do magic stuff, like making portals. He said “you people” ought to know about portals, and I know there are some pandaren who do that stuff, but I personally don’t know anything about it. I just thought it was rude the way he said that. But anyway, he said he wanted to apologize for putting itchy leaves into Aranae’s underthings when he was a kid. What a brat! I wouldn’t blame Aranae if she wanted to kick him right then. Oh, he also turned her into a sheep once, but he wasn’t sorry for that. I didn’t really believe Aranae when she said her family was annoying, but now I’m kind of starting to believe her. He kept wanting her to go back with him, which I think is a really bad idea. I know she doesn’t want to, plus they might try to make her stay and then she’d have no way to get back to the temple. Her brother and the apprentice stayed to eat dinner, but then they left afterward, through a portal. That must be weird.

But afterward I talked about how I don’t think she should go, thankfully she agreed with me. It just seems strange that he’d want her to go there so badly, especially when she said she didn’t want to. He ought to listen to what she wants. Oh, she also said that I was her best friend. That was pretty nice. I don’t think I’ve ever been anyone’s best friend before… well maybe once, but not anymore I guess. I don’t know.

[Screenshots] Adventures in Totem Town

Now that RaF is over, I finally got my Horde shaman to 90. Of the available shaman races, I really only like Tauren and I already have like a million of those, so I picked a panda. Reluctantly. Because I really really don’t like pandas, they’re kinda doofy and I really can’t think of a single panda NPC that I like (or can even stand).

But I really wanted to learn resto so I did random dungeons with her from level 15, I’m still really a noob (and forget I have abilities like Stormlash Totem and Ascendance). She hit 90 yesterday so I took her around the Isle and got up to Throne level, I took her to part one and part two tonight. She actually was able to keep up decently well, she was third overall but struggled a lot with mana regen — which figures since she’s just a hair over 4k. By comparison my druid’s over 16k, I guess I really should reforge some of that off 😛

It’s a pleasant surprise that I like her so much, it’ll be nice to have a healer red-side (other than my priest which confuses me). Isn’t she cute?! Yes of course she is.

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