[Story] Winter Veil Postcards 2017

Leinath wandered between the market stalls, certain to keep hold of his coin purse at all times. He’d heard stories about pickpockets in the city, and if someone was going to pick pockets, it would be a perfect opportunity to do so. Everyone was distracted by the stalls full of gifts, the cheery music and decorations. Most of the stalls were staffed by goblins, at least in the front. It seemed anywhere things were being sold, goblins were there.

“Happy Winter Veil, friend,” one of them called. She wore a huge floppy red hat with a bell on the end, perched on one ear. “What can I help you find today? A nice sweater, perhaps?”

In truth, Leinath wasn’t really sure what to buy. He’d thought looking at the market might give him some ideas, but he just felt more confused. What were you supposed to get someone who couldn’t use most things? And he still wasn’t sure where things stood between them, so there was a balancing act of not getting anything too expensive or sentimental. The goblin hopped down and went around to the other side of the stall. “Some chocolates?”

Orledin couldn’t eat chocolates, but of course he didn’t want to tell everyone in the market that. “He’s uh, he’s a ranger, so something practical.”

The goblin nodded, her bell jingling. “Say no more!” she said, and disappeared behind the counter again. “What about these fine boots, crafted of the finest crocolisk leather?”

Orledin probably could use new boots, while his were still in decent condition, these were really nice. And practical. But it didn’t really seem very personal. He already had all the baking equipment he could ever need, and Pancat had a nice bed and collar. Leinath had thought about a pocket watch, because he didn’t think Orledin had one, but he didn’t want to give the idea that Orledin was always late or something. He definitely couldn’t go back without anything at all, though.

“I’ll take the boots,” said Leinath.

The library in Shattrath had an abundance of books about its native plants, and Sorelle had brought several back to her room to copy the drawings. They weren’t allowed to go too far out of the city, so she’d only been able to find some terocones and felweed, which grew practically everywhere. She’d carefully shaken the seeds out of the terocones and saved them in a little paper pouch, labelled with the name. For Felweed, a cutting was necessary, and this she kept moist in her fruit bowl, once she’d removed all of the fruit.

They would be going to the market today, and she hoped she’d find someone selling more seeds there. In Dalaran there had always been people selling flowers and herbs, so she guessed there would be something similar here as well. Even if they didn’t have seeds for sale, they would better know where to find some. She might have to get special permission from the Headmaster, but Sorelle thought he’d probably allow it so long as she went with a teacher.

As they weren’t allowed in the market alone, she asked Xarola to go with her. Aside from being her best friend at the school, she knew a lot about plants — at least Azeroth ones. She was interested in learning more about Outland plants as well, and was eager to visit the market with Sorelle. The fellow at the flower stand was one of what Xarola called fungus people, short and tiny with mushrooms sprouting from their body. Sorelle was fascinated by these — she’d seen some Forsaken who grew fungi, but that was more because of poor care than anything else. Were these people some kind of hybrid, or were they fully fungi? She would have to do more research when they got back to the library. He — or it — Sorelle didn’t think fungi had genders in the way that people do — had an array of very small potted trees lined up on the table. They were evergreens, similar to the ones that had surrounded Dalaran when Sorelle was a student there initially, but these were an Outland variety, probably the same that composed the forest around Shattrath. The bristles were dark green in color, clustered together into little branches that alternated up the trunk. The pots were wrapped in brightly colored foil, and the little fungus person gestured excitedly to Xarola and Sorelle as they approached. “Winter Veil,” it kept saying, and pointing to the trees. “Ten silver.” She thought that might be the extent of all the Common that it spoke.

The tree was alive, fully rooted in its pot, not cut. If cared for, Sorelle thought it could be kept in the greenhouse until the spring. It would look festive in her room as well, lit with magical lights and hung with ribbons and maybe some cookies from the party. Of course, she’d need to ask permission from the Headmaster, but since small pets were allowed, she didn’t see how he could object to a tree. She took the coins from her pouch and gave them to the mushroom person, picking one with a red foil pot.

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[Story] Fairsong Academy – Sorelle’s Diary

Shattrath has been really interesting so far. I’ve been before, but this was the first time that I got to go and see the dragons. In Dalaran, we’d see blue dragons flying overhead sometimes, but they were always very far away. Still, I remember sitting and watching them in the sky and thinking how beautiful they were. The ones here are beautiful too, in their own way. Their heads are pointed like a shark, and they have crystal spines on them. Hethurin said that they’re dangerous and not to get too close. That’s probably true of all dragons, but these ones especially look ferocious. The place where they live is dark and barren, the ground is just hard rock and there are no plants or trees anywhere. Green stuff comes up through the ground and I guess it must be lava, because I don’t think the people from Undercity brought it here. Crystals grow in large clumps all over and they are beautiful, these humanoid things with big claws scrape at them and eat the little pieces that flake off. Hethurin put us into pairs and we had to fill out a sheet with our observations. My partner was someone I’ve never even really seen before, his name was Amor-something. I just remember Amor because that’s what he wrote on his paper.

He probably wasn’t too excited about getting me for his partner, but he said he’s been here about six months and still doesn’t know anyone. After class he just goes straight to his room and doesn’t go to the parties or anything. I felt bad for him, I’m sure others would talk to him if he tried. He seems nice, he’s not undead or a human or anything that would make others dislike him, he just gets nervous. So maybe I could be his friend, kind of for practice, though that might make others think he’s weird too. I don’t know. We worked hard on our sheet, I tried to think of anything else we could add on for extra credit. He’s studying frost mainly, but he thought it would count toward our Arcane grade. Maybe it does, if so I hope we got good points on it. We even got a little piece of the crystal that one of the things chipped off while it was eating. I thought for a minute that Amor was going to eat it! That probably would have been really bad, aside from eating rocks, it was very sharp and who knows what kind of magic is in them. The dragons are almost transparent in places, as if they are fading out of existence. That might happen if he ate it! Anyway, I hope he didn’t mind being my work partner too much, and I told him he should go to the parties even if there are a lot of people. At least to eat the food, I would if I could. Normally he said he waits until everyone’s already left.

I told him about the greenhouse too, and he seemed kind of interested, though he didn’t want to be there when someone else was. Usually it’s just Xarola and Vyn, once in a while Tik goes in to get cooking herbs and things. I found a library in Shattrath about different plants here, and I’m going to try to get some seeds to take back to the school so I can try to grow them. I’m not sure if it will work, but hopefully at least some will sprout. I still don’t really know what’s going on with Salenicus, but at least I have something to keep me occupied at night.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Sorelle’s Diary

Dear Diary,

I ended up wearing the purple mask. That one wasn’t in the last entry, but I made it to go along with the purple dress that I made. It looks really fancy and had all sorts of embroidery; I didn’t do that because I didn’t have time, but the cloth had some on it already so I cut it so it looked nice. It’s a good way to sort of cheat if you are busy, or also if you aren’t that good at embroidery, which I’m not. Either way, I thought it looked really nice and I made a mask to match with it, purple with black feathers and some little glass gems. I had shoes that weren’t too high so it would be easy to dance, and I put on some of the perfume that Xarola made for me. I think it had violets in it, which I thought would go well with the purple dress. I thought everything was perfect, so it was kind of disappointing. Maybe I should have worn a different mask? Or no perfume? I wish I knew what to do differently.

The party itself was lovely. I saw the ballroom when I went through. There were decorations in every corner and on every post, even hanging from the ceiling. There were autumn leaves made out of paper, and bats, and spiders. Tik and Terellion had put gourds everywhere too, some were carved and had candles inside like a lantern, the smaller ones were just for decoration. There was food in some of them too, like some sort of soup I think. I couldn’t believe how much food there was! It all looked wonderful and I so wish I could have tried it, but I know I would regret it after. Besides that, there was a warm spiced wine that smelled lovely. I miss being able to taste things. I think it’s probably the worst part about being undead. I stayed inside for a little, but I went outside to the garden to wait for Salenicus because that’s where he usually comes to visit. He said he came with Orledin, and one of the alive rangers. I guess none of the other undead wanted to come. I can’t really blame them, there isn’t much to do if you aren’t going to dance. He also said that Orledin was going to dance with the alive ranger. I wonder if that is true. It doesn’t seem fair.

We talked for a while, just about normal things like we do when he usually comes to visit. It was a little too far away to hear the music from inside, so we just had to imagine it. He was a better dancer than I expected, but not good enough that I had to remember any fancy dances, which was a relief.  I remember some, but it’s been so long I’m afraid I would have got the steps wrong. He did say my dress was nice, but that’s all. I guess after everything Xarola said I expected more, or he might have changed his mind and decided he didn’t really want to dance after all, and just went along with it because it’d be rude otherwise. He had his armor and sword, it was quite big and looked very heavy. I don’t know how he can carry it around every day. He said he takes it on his patrol, but the trainer makes him learn to use a bow, but not Orledin. That doesn’t seem fair, they should get the same treatment. And we can’t do certain things because our bodies don’t work the same way. Like we can’t make our muscles bigger, for instance. So it might always be difficult for him to use a bow. I said he should tell the captain about it, and hopefully he will understand. I know that some people don’t, because they don’t have much experience dealing with undead people, but from what I’ve heard he is fair to everyone. So much for romantic conversations though, talking about bows wasn’t in the dragon books.

I will have to ask Xarola about it tomorrow. She might have an idea what I did wrong. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s evening tonight though.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Sorelle’s Diary

Dear Diary,

I haven’t picked a mask for the ball yet. It’s not that I don’t have one, I have five. I’ve been making them at night after my sewing is finished. I know I should be working on my plants in the greenhouse, but they can wait for a week or so. I can’t decide which mask looks the best, it doesn’t help that I don’t know what kind Salenicus will have either. Shouldn’t they match? Or would that be too weird? It might make him nervous or something. Or he might want to match and he’ll be upset if they don’t. I don’t know how elves think. One is kind of like a raven, it’s black and has feathers and a long nose, there’s curly things for decoration too. There’s some silver glitter to make it sparkle a bit. One is just green, it’s not really supposed to be anything. One is some kind of flower, I don’t remember the name but Xarola helped me make it. She told me what color to make all the petals and how they should be shaped. It’s really pretty but I doubt Salenicus will have a flower mask. Then there’s a harlequin with different colored diamonds and gold trim, and the last one is a horse. I couldn’t think of any animals from Dalaran, except a cat and I know at least two people will probably already have a cat mask. So I did a horse instead. I guess we could do one of those costumes where one person is the head and the other is the rear, but that would be weird, and also very difficult to dance.

I’m nervous about that too. I had lessons when I was a student, and I’ve been practicing so I remember most of them. But what if I mess up and step on his foot? What if I trip over my hem and fall? Or what if he doesn’t even want to dance at all? He might decide that, or they might not even show up at all. Hethurin could decide they’re not allowed again. I haven’t danced since dying, at least, not with another person. There’s all the usual worry about your dress tearing or getting dirty, along with the added worries about being undead. I’ve been trying to practice a little with Xarola, so I’ll be less nervous, but it’s not really the same. If I accidentally step on her foot or miss a step, I won’t be too embarrassed. I haven’t yet, or at least she hasn’t said that I did, sometimes it’s hard for me to tell.

She loaned me one of her dragon books to read, she said it was to give me ideas for things to say. There’s no way I’m saying any of that! First of all, Salenicus isn’t a dragon. At least I’m pretty sure not, because he would have gone back to his dragon form when he died. Unless it’s an illusion, but who would pretend to be undead? And his hands aren’t warm, so I don’t know how you would fake that. I’m pretty sure no one really says things like that, I know I certainly don’t. Plus, I don’t think we could do half of those things even if it wasn’t in the middle of a ball. If we were both alive, that might be a different story. But I asked her if she’d said them to Vynlorin and she said no, not exactly. Maybe she just thought I’d like to read them, they’re not bad for that at least. She said there’s a whole series if I want to read more of them. That might be something good for if I don’t have any sewing to do. I’ve finished up the ones that Xarola wanted, and also made myself one for the ball. But it also depends on which mask I pick, so I should probably sew one to match with each, so I’ll be prepared. I’ll need to ask Tik for more fabric though.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Sorelle’s Diary

Dear Diary,

Xarola and I went to visit the rangers. She had Terellion bake some cupcakes, I don’t really think they needed them because Orledin always makes them cookies, but she insisted. I guess it’s different enough that they won’t be too bored to eat them. Now that I think of it, though, I think it was just so she had an excuse to go talk to the alive rangers. We brought the soaps and perfumes too. I was worried that Salenicus might think it’s because he smells bad, I mean why else would you give someone soap for a gift? And he did say that. But I told him that it was because Xarola makes perfumes with Vynlorin, and she wanted to give me something in exchange for making the dresses. She said it wouldn’t be fair to take them for free. I like my perfume, I told her to try to make it kind of strong because I can’t smell things very well. It’s still kind of faint, like they were stored away in an attic for a long time or something, but it’s still nice. It’s like just a little hint of them as you walk past. Of course, other people can probably smell it a lot more, so I’m careful to just use a tiny bit. I don’t want anyone to complain or get a headache because of my perfume. And I won’t wear it in class, only for dances and things like that. The one they made for Salenicus smells a bit like trees, and a bit like leather. I don’t know how you can make a perfume smell like leather, but they did. I hope he likes it. There are some soaps too, and she cut them in the shape of leaves, I thought that was cute.

The ranger building is nice. I guess I expected it to be dirty or just a bunch of tents, but it’s not. The building is new, and they take good care of it. There’s a stable for animals and some smaller cabins along one side,  that’s where some of the rangers live. Most of them still come inside to eat in the main building though, and that’s also where they visit and talk. There were some around when we arrived, because it was close to dinner time. Orledin and the alive ranger were working in the kitchen making the bread. I am not even sure that he noticed I was there at all, but then he told me I should look outside for Salenicus. That’s all though. Xarola stayed inside and gave the alive rangers the cupcakes.

I didn’t see Hernester. I’m not sure if he was hiding or maybe they let him leave. I hope he’s doing okay though. I had to walk out a little ways into the trees, to some troll ruins. It’s easy to forget with all the new buildings, but there used to be trolls living here in the forest. I’m glad they aren’t here anymore, but the ruins are still here. I’m not sure why Salenicus likes to go there, he said it was because he could be alone, but there are other places to be alone. He was working on carving and I was afraid to say anything because I didn’t want to startle him, after all he wasn’t expecting me to be there. It was supposed to be a rabbit, but he said the ear was messed up. I don’t know, it looked okay to me. I said it could still be a bear or something like that. He’s getting better at carving, I think.

He wanted to know about my classes, and I said they start next week. Also he asked if we should meet inside since it’ll get colder soon. I don’t really mind the cold until it starts to freeze, but I said we could use the greenhouse if he wanted to see the plants. It’s warmer in there, and it’s not busy at night. During the daytime, a lot of people want to use it. I’m always worried they won’t want me in there with them, like the heat causes me to smell more or something. Or they’ll bump into me and think it’s gross. So I just try to work on my plants at night. Salenicus said the rangers are more accepting. I’m not sure, but he might be right. I don’t think I could be a ranger though, could you imagine? Running around in the woods with a bow. Maybe it’s because they can’t see each other as well in the dark, so it doesn’t matter so much what you look like.

I mentioned the dances, and he said he wanted to go. And he wants to dance. I hadn’t even really planned to go — it’s not very much fun if you can’t eat anything and no one talks to you. So I don’t have any ideas for a mask at all, and now I have to think of one. Or two. He asked if we should match. I don’t know, should we? Are we even a thing? Would that be too much? I should ask Xarola. A lot of people do birds or animals, but it could also just be a color with lots of feathers and decorations. As long as it looks nice. It’s been ages since I went to a mask party. I don’t know if I even remember how to dance. I should practice, but I don’t know who would agree to help me with that. I guess one good thing about being dead is that my hands won’t get too sweaty.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Sorelle’s Diary

I’m making some dresses for Xarola. I like making them for myself, but it’s exciting to make them for someone else sometimes, too. I get to use fabric and styles that I might not use for myself. I really hope someone will buy some really fancy fabric so I can use that, but it hasn’t happened yet. I guess because most students don’t have a lot of money to buy things like fabric. I keep thinking about doing it for a business, and I don’t think it’s a bad idea, except that I can’t get any of the things myself. It’s not the same being able to see and touch the fabric yourself when you pick it out. Also I don’t know if Tik knows all of the different kinds — he might, because he does seem to know a lot about house things, but he might not too. Usually I don’t ask for any money from people at the school, because it feels weird to, but Xarola insisted so I told her I’d like some of that perfume that she and Vynlorin make. I still have some sense of smell and I think it would be nice, even if no one else notices it. I guess I kind of hope that Salenicus does, but I’m not sure if he will. Sometimes it’s a long time between when he stops by, and Xarola said that’s because the rangers are really busy. But I don’t think they are, I mean, Salenicus always tells me what happens on his patrol and usually it’s the same thing — which is to say, not very much most nights. Then she said maybe Orledin and Sorrowmoss are impatient and don’t want to wait for him. That might be true, but it also doesn’t seem like they’re in a big hurry to get back. If they’re being impatient, that’s not very nice of them.

I wanted to know about how Xarola and Vynlorin started seeing each other, like if something happened suddenly or if it was just gradual. She said they just talked first and went on walks to pick flowers, which isn’t very interesting. I guess I thought it was more like the books more often, but she made it sound kind of boring. He is handsome though, and they like a lot of the same things. They don’t live together yet either. I thought it might be nice to have my own little house, just so I can keep the lights on at night and not disturb anyone else who is sleeping. I always worry that I’m going to wake someone walking around or while I’m sewing. Part of it is just wanting my own space too, not that my room isn’t nice, it’s lovely. Xarola said I could ask the headmaster, but I don’t think I will. It wouldn’t seem fair to have my own if nobody else does. She also said her mother might move out here. That will be a lot of older people in one place! I said they should have little gatherings for them to meet and talk and drink tea or whatever. We could teach a class about flowers in the greenhouse, though I expect Xarola’s mother already knows a ton about flowers and plants, since she sells them for her job. But I think it would be good for them to be able to meet like that. If my parents were alive, I bet they would like it.

I don’t remember why, but I mentioned that Orledin was interested in one of the alive rangers and likes to bake with him. Xarola suddenly got very interested in that and wanted to know all about it, if they’re together and things like that. I said I didn’t know, because I don’t — everything I know is just things that Salenicus has told me. Xarola said she wanted to go and watch them bake together which feels a little weird to me, like they’re some kind of performers or something. I wouldn’t want someone just watching me sew, well I guess I wouldn’t mind but it still seems strange to me. But I don’t think there’s any talking her out of it, she was already making plans to bring the rangers some soap and perfume. I do think they would like that. And maybe I could give some to Salencius, but I don’t want him to think that it’s because he smells bad. It would be nice to see the ranger building, too. Maybe I could even see how Hernester is doing.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Sorelle’s Diary

Dear Diary,

I waited outside in the garden for the rangers to come. Normally, students aren’t allowed out of their room that late, but the Headmaster makes an exception for me because I don’t need to sleep and thankfully he understands that it’s too boring to stay in bed for all that time. I like to think that it means he trusts me, too. It’s not that I’m doing anything bad, I’m either studying, or sewing, or in the greenhouse usually. I might practice spells, but nothing with fire. Even though the practice rooms are warded, I think it’s too dangerous without a teacher present. Lately I’ve been trying to work on my frost magic, it doesn’t come easily to me at all so it’s less embarrassing to practice when no one else is around.

Salenicus said the other two rangers wait out on the road while he’s here. I think they probably peek in and watch, I don’t really like that but I can’t blame them I guess. Just standing around would be boring. Salenicus says that Sorrowmoss doesn’t like talking, or taking breaks for that matter, so it’s probably just Orledin who is peeking. Anyway, I told him about the frost magic and he was asking about it. He could probably tell from my answers that I don’t even understand frost theory very well. He said they saw big spiders and bats on their patrol, and Orledin got scared of the bats and ran away. I said he should see the big ones they have in Undercity, you can ride on them. Not that I would, I am pretty sure they have diseases, though I suppose it doesn’t matter now. They’re still creepy, but I wouldn’t run away from them I don’t think. Maybe I would, if it was flying right at me.

He gave me a little bunny that he carved out of wood. It’s very nice, I’m going to paint it later. I said it would be cute to have a whole herd of them all painted different colors, but then I realized that wasn’t very nice to say because it sounded like I didn’t appreciate it enough or something. But if he’s like me, he probably needs something to do when he’s not on patrol anyway. I’m also going to get some little beads for the eyes, I think that would make it look realistic. He told me about his family that he lost back in the attacks. He had two sons, I didn’t know he was that old. I think it’s hard to tell with elves. I’m not sure how I should feel about that, it’s a big thing to get over. But then, I think everyone here must have lost something, some (like us) just lost more than the others. I told him I think it would be easier if we were still alive, we’d still have lost family and friends, but at least we’d have that. I don’t know. I try not to get sad about it, but sometimes it’s hard.

Like I said that I wanted to go swim, because it’s summer, but all of the swimming clothes don’t cover your arms and legs. I don’t want anyone seeing those, because they don’t look that great. You can see bones in some places even though I’m careful. There’s just nothing I can do about it. Salenicus suggested that I should get one that covers them, but that’s sort of the purpose of swimming clothes, right? Something so simple, alive people don’t even have to think about it. I wish I could just wear a cute swimming dress and go lay on the beach and splash in the water and look at boys without having to worry about all of that.

He told me about Silvermoon, too. I think he was trying to make it sound less interesting so I wouldn’t feel bad that I can’t go. I said I used to live in Dalaran, and he said it’s not as nice as that. But I bet it is. I’ve seen it from far away, the towers are so beautiful. I do miss Dalaran, I mean before. We used to stop after class at the baker’s cart and get little treats and walk to the park to eat them. On spring and summer days you could smell the flowers on the breeze. I think Silvermoon must be at least that nice.