[Story] Valentine Shorts

Sorelle pinned the lace edging into place, making sure that it lay flat against the seam. There were only a few days until the ball, so she’d had to take a few shortcuts to finish her new dress in time. Salenicus was the one who’d told her about the ball, though she’d seen the paper hearts and ribbons being hung, she hadn’t paid it much mind. A relatively new custom adopt from the goblins, it was meant to be a day to celebrate love, but in truth was probably just a ruse to sell candy and flowers. Obviously, Sorelle had never had anyone to go with before, but this year she did. Salenicus had asked her, and she wanted a new dress that would match the ruffly pink decorations in the ballroom. She’d given Tik a list of what sort of fabric and supplies she needed, and he’d returned with a length of beautiful soft pink cloth, like rose petals. For a butler, he was fortunately good at picking out cloth that she would like. Or perhaps everything in Silvermoon was nice, and it was impossible to pick something bad. She’d never been to the shops there herself, though she desperately wanted to. The Headmaster assured her that the arcane guards could see through magical disguises, and they might ask her to leave.

Though it wasn’t especially complex, the lines were soft and flattering, and Sorelle was pleased with how it was turning out. There was enough fabric left for some matching bows — she made one for herself, and one for Xarola. Of all the students, she was the one who had been the most like a friend to her, talking to her and loaning her books. Sorelle thought Xarola probably wasn’t very fond of pink, but maybe she’d wear it just for the ball. The last little piece she made into a handkerchief for Salenicus. Of course, he couldn’t really use it, but she thought it might look nice tucked into his coat or armor.

“Lin! You’re a woman, can you help me?”

Linarelle lowered her bow and looked at the Captain, puzzled.

“What?”

Sath’alor held a sheet of paper. From what Linarelle could see, there were a lot of things scratched out and rewritten. “I want to know if this is a good poem for Nessna.”

“Shouldn’t you ask her that?”

“Okay, yes,” Sath’alor explained. “But if she hates it, then it’s not a good gift, is it?”

Linarelle bit her lip. “Is that the only thing you got her?”

“No, of course not. I got flowers and some chocolates, a bottle of wine… oh, and a book. From that one shop. Forget I said that.”

Linarelle nodded. At least if the poem was terrible, he had a backup plan. She laid her bow against the bench and sat down. “Let’s hear it.”

The Captain read from the paper. “An ode to Nessna. My dearest Nessna, you are the best-na ranger I’ve ever known. I’d be a mess-na if you don’t say yes-na to being mine. You’ll never guess-na how much you mean to me. I’m truly blessed-na.”

“Um,” said Linarelle. “Do you want me to be honest?”

Sath’alor nodded.

“It’s pretty bad.”

“How can it be bad?” Sath’alor protested. “It rhymes and everything. I mean, kind of.”

Still, as awful as it was, he’d clearly gone to a lot of effort. And he probably meant every awkward line. Would Nessna at least be amused by it? Probably. Linarelle had her own share of odd gifts from Sunashe, but that didn’t mean she loved him any less. “It might not be the best poem ever, but she’ll like it.”

Sath’alor brightened. “You think so?”

“I’m sure of it.”

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[Story] Fairsong Academy – Sorelle’s Diary

Dear Diary,

Maybe Xarola was right after all… I can’t tell her that though, or she’ll want me to follow her advice on everything. I think most of her advice she gets out of those books, and I hardly think it would work in real life, especially with Salenicus because he’s not like the guys in them. But she was right about going to visit him there, it seems. I didn’t think it would make any difference, but he did seem a lot more talkative and less nervous there. I went along with Magister Firewind when he was going to refresh the wards. When we got there, he just sat down and started eating some cookies in the sitting room. I mean, I don’t blame him, they looked like good cookies. But I guess he’ll look at the wards after he’s not hungry anymore. Or maybe he was just giving me extra time to talk, that was thoughtful of him. Salenicus said that sometimes he talks to his father as well. That makes sense, though from what I’ve heard Magister Firewind say, he doesn’t get along with him well at all, so I’m not sure why he’d spend a lot of time talking to him. Salenicus said it’s sad that they don’t get along, and one day they will regret fighting so much. I think he’s right, but it’s hard for alive people to remember that I think. They don’t see the other side of things like we do, and of course they aren’t going to want an undead person telling them what to do. So I didn’t say anything about it, not there or on the way home. He’s smart enough to figure it out on his own.

When we got there I didn’t see Salenicus anywhere so I sort of stood around feeling foolish until one of the other rangers told me where to find him. I guessed it was Sunashe because he had a sweater with lizards on it. I did what he said, following the little path out the east end of the building into the forest and following it around the little pond. It was a pretty far walk, next time I’ll need to bring boots I think so my shoes don’t get all muddy. There are a lot of pine trees, and some stone ruins. They had to be troll ruins, at least, they didn’t look like any elf ruins I’ve ever seen. And there were symbols and things carved into them. I found Salenicus sitting on a ledge, working on carving things. I was afraid to startle him and make him cut himself or something, so I just stood there for a minute. He was working on carving some little figures for Rylad’s birthday, some rangers and animals. He should definitely make sure some of them are tigers, he likes those. They looked pretty good, though I know they weren’t finished yet. He’s getting pretty good at carving.

I brought two shirts that I made. They’re quicker than dresses but he was still surprised that I’d finished them so soon. I have a lot of extra time at night. I’m not sure if they fit properly though, so I told him I could change the pattern if they’re not right. I made them with nice fabric, so he probably shouldn’t wear them under his armor because I think they might get smudged or dirty if he did that. Though I guess I could make some white ones, he said he had some for that though. Next time Tik goes into the city, I’ll have to ask if he can find some nice fabric for men’s shirts. Maybe something with patterns on it.

I wonder if there are any troll ghosts here? I should ask Loralinde, she’s the one who knows a lot about ghosts. Salenicus said he hadn’t seen any, I would guess he would have by now if there were any. I think a troll ghost would be scary. He also said that Orledin liked to go to the other little troll village, because he collects bones there. That’s an odd hobby. I think carving is much better. I told Salenicus I could help him plant some things in the greenhouse if he wanted, and he seemed interested in that. Maybe the rangers could even get a greenhouse, to have vegetables in the winter. It wouldn’t be a bad idea.

~ Sorelle

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Sorelle’s Diary

Dear Diary,

The party was really nice. I think it’s the longest I’ve stayed at one of them. I still get the feeling that everyone’s staring, even though I know they’re probably busy talking to everyone and dancing and doing party things. I know it’s silly to think they’re all going to look at me instead, but I can’t help it. It’s also kind of awful looking at all the food and not being able to eat any of it. I so wish I could have had some cake… just a little. I know it’s a bad idea though. Orledin drank some wine. I hope he’s not going to regret it too much later.

I wore a very fancy red gown, it took ages to finish. Salenicus didn’t say anything about it. I wore one of those little hats too, the red ones with the white fur on them. I think it’s a thing you’re supposed to do for Winter Veil, because a lot of other people had them on, and they asked if I wanted one. It might have been a little too silly, but it matched my dress anyway. He brought me two gifts, which is good because that’s how many gifts I got. There was a little flower pot carved out of wood and he’d planted real miniature roses inside. That’s really pretty, I’m going to keep them in my room, there’s a little table I can move next to the window so they should get enough light. I could always put them in the greenhouse if they aren’t doing well, but inside the house should be warm enough. The other thing was a book holder, with bunnies carved on it. That’s going to be really useful! I can use it to hold books while I’m sewing, or it can hold my spell book while I’m practicing. I feel a little guilty that my gifts weren’t as good. The trouble is there are only so many books about carving, eventually there won’t be any more to get. Xarola was the one who actually picked it out, because I can’t go into the city. Salenicus seemed to like it though, so I guess that’s good. Xarola also got him one of those books that she likes, because she insisted he would like it. I told her that I didn’t think he’d be interested in those, but she showed it to me and it’s about a mage and a ranger. So maybe? I warned him what was in it but he said he wanted to read it. Who knows. His other gift was also with Xarola’s help, I asked her to make some perfume for him that would smell like the forest. It’s not to say he smells bad or anything, luckily I don’t think he thought that. Salenicus seemed to like it a lot too, so that’s good. I agree that it smells really nice, like a cool breeze through the forest.

I brought up the idea of making him some shirts, because I don’t think he has any nice ones. He’s always wearing armor. I thought they would be nicer and more comfortable, and also more colorful. It was strange, he said he needed to look a certain way because that’s what the other death knights expect of him. But he hardly ever sees them, and I don’t think Orledin cares about what the other death knights think. I just feel it’s a little strange to feel you have to follow a group that would make you give up your own preferences. I’m going to make him some shirts anyway, once I get his measurements. He said he likes yellow, but I think green would look lovely with his hair. If he likes them (which I hope he does), I’ll make some more.

I showed him around my practice room, because we thought it would be a good place to dance. It’s large enough and you can still sort of hear the music there. I showed him my cabinet full of reagents and he was really curious about what they were and what it’s used for, I even did a simple butterfly illusion and he was amazed. It’s easy to forget what regular people think about magic when you go to a mage school.

The dancing was nice, it was a slow song and I’m glad I can’t blush or sweat because I certainly would have done a lot of both. He’s the first person I’ve kissed since everything happened and it was really nice. He also was doing something with my ears, I don’t know what. He explained it’s a thing that elves do, but when I asked Xarola she acted really shocked and couldn’t believe that I did that. Well I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to! Salenicus said that he can probably visit more often because there’s a living person on their patrol now. But he also suggested that I could go with Professor Firewind when he goes to check the wards. I’m not good enough at portals to make my own, so I think that’s the best idea. He said it was fine if I came with, he usually goes after dinner so it wouldn’t be during Salenicus’s patrol.

I asked why he hadn’t written, he said he was worried that Orledin would read it. I don’t think he would. I wonder if maybe he’s not very good at writing and that’s the real reason why, I didn’t pry though. If he wants I could try to help him, though I’ve never taught anyone to read before so I’m not sure if I can. He said he likes me a lot, too. I didn’t know what to say to that. I feel like I should have, but I also feel I don’t know him well enough yet. He hardly knows me either, so how could he be sure? Maybe he’ll feel more relaxed away from the school, and we can talk about things that ordinary people talk about.

~ Sorelle

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Sorelle’s Diary

Salenicus showed up in the greenhouse last night. I hadn’t been expecting him so it was a bit of a surprise. Honestly, I thought he’d forgotten about me — I know we were away in Shattrath, but they still have mail there. Then he said he’d thought about sending a letter, but was worried that Tik would read it. First of all, Tik doesn’t read anyone’s mail, I’m sure the Headmaster wouldn’t keep him around if he did. Second, Tik didn’t go to Shattrath, he stayed here to look after the school. The only person who might read it would be the innkeeper, and maybe they would have. But I doubt there would have been anything too scandalous other than “How are you” in it anyway. I really thought I wouldn’t see him after the dance, now I don’t know what to think. He said the reason he hadn’t been to visit is because they had an extra house to check on their patrol. That makes sense, but I still don’t see why he couldn’t send a letter. Unless he can’t write very well, I suppose that’s possible and he might be embarrassed to say that’s the reason.

But now they have a new ranger from Shattrath on the night patrol, and he’s alive so Salenicus says they’ll have to stop because he’ll need to rest. Sorrowmoss says undead people don’t need to rest and I guess that’s true, but it’s still good to rest your mind sometimes. I like to do things like sewing or gardening because they don’t really take a lot of thinking, unlike lessons and homework. Salenicus wants to go to the winter ball, at first he said he wanted to be in the greenhouse, which I thought was a little weird. We wouldn’t be able to hear the music at all, and it would be dirty — I certainly don’t want my nice ballgown to get dirty if I’m wearing one. Then he asked about sitting in a classroom or a corner or something. I mean, I guess we could but it would be a little weird. What exactly does he have in mind? I don’t understand him at all. If we’re going to be inside, the main ballroom is the nicest, it’s always got beautiful decorations and candles and mistletoe. But I am worried about everyone staring. At the masked ball it would have been okay, because my face was covered, but I don’t want everyone to stare and snicker or something.

I also didn’t get him a gift yet. I asked him what he wanted and he just said a book about carving wood. Which I guess means he can read after all, unless he’s just looking at the drawings. Except I got him that before, and I can’t exactly go into the city to get another one, I’d have to ask Tik or something and he’s very busy. Plus, I don’t know which ones he already has. Then I asked if he wanted anything else and he said yes, but when I asked what he just said a book. He’s so confusing! I asked Xarola what I should do and she said I should get something that he’s interested in. That’s a good idea, but I realized that I really don’t know besides woodcarving. Whenever we talk, I’m usually the one talking about school and my lessons and things. I should ask him more about what he likes. Maerista said I should get him a sweater though. I guess if I don’t get any other ideas, I can do that.

I put the little tree in my room. It’s really beautiful.

[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.

[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.