[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.

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[Story] Story a Week 34 – Crane

[[ Little backstory for my new cow monk, it worked out well because she’s a Mistweaver! ]]

Lomaha stared glumly into the depths of the pool.

“Try again,” Ji Su said gently.

“It’s no use,” sighed Lomaha. “I can’t.” The pools at the peak were crisp and clear, reflecting the bright blue of the sky. She could see the rocks resting at the bottom, even a small insect paddling its way across the surface — but nothing else.

The pandaren nodded thoughtfully. “Let’s take a break, then. Perhaps things will seem more clear later.” She gave the tauren’s arm a little pat before descending the path back toward the buildings. Of course, she was probably right. Lomaha was trying so hard to move ahead in her studies that it got in the way of everything else. Her own worries about being good enough were the one thing keeping her back. So Ji Su had told her before, and Lomaha knew in her heart that it was true. It wasn’t easy, learning all of these things. Before she’d come to the peak, Lomaha hadn’t known anything at all about monks. She knew about spirits, of course, and even seen one herself once. They were similar, Ji Su said, but not exactly the same. And to see one intentionally, the way shamans did, that took a great deal of effort and concentration, sometimes even a special ceremony. So it wasn’t too unexpected that the spirits of Pandaria were just as fickle sometimes.

She felt lucky that Ji Su was so patient. It wasn’t easy being here, in this strange place. Almost everyone here was a pandaren, but not all. Lomaha had seen just about every race she could think of here — familiar ones like orcs and trolls and kaldorei, but unusual ones like gnomes and draenei too. It was exciting and interesting to talk to them, they were usually friendly, feeling a bit isolated as she was and eager to learn. It was encouraging to her that there didn’t seem to be any limit to who could learn, either. Your past or your size didn’t matter at all. But there were very few other tauren, and sometimes Lomaha felt a bit homesick. Making food from home helped a little, but it never turned out exactly right because she couldn’t get all the same ingredients and spices. They were on top of a snowy mountain, not in the warm, sunny plains. She wrote to her mother and father back home, and they dutifully replied, telling her the news of what was happening back in the village. Usually, it wasn’t much at all, but it was nice to hear from them all the same, see her mother’s careful writing and picture her reading the letters aloud to her father. It had to be difficult for them, too, though it was expected for a young tauren of her age to leave home. Usually it wasn’t so far away, though.

Ji Su had passed through their village looking to trade. Lomaha had thought at first that she must have been lost, but now she doubted that was the case. Ji Su never did anything by accident, always seemed to have planned three steps ahead for any outcome. She gave them some beautiful jade beads, which Lomaha’s mother tried not to accept, but Ji Su insisted that she keep them as a gift. They all ate around the fire, and of course the tauren were curious about this strange traveller. Ji Su told them of Pandaria, and the place that she trained — which of course drew more questions until she set down her plate and showed them. Lomaha was incredulous at how the little pandaren could easily best even the biggest tauren in their village, with agility and speed and the way she darted on her feet like a cougar. Lomaha asked if she could learn too, and Ji Su studied her thoughtfully and said that yes, she thought that she could. It wouldn’t be easy, and Lomaha would have to go stay for a time until her training was completed. Her parents were hesitant, but Ji Su insisted that they could send letters and the monastery was safe from danger.

She had been here all of the summer, and Ji Su said the snows would begin before too long. There was still snow left over from last winter on some of the higher peaks. It really was beautiful here, and peaceful. It was easy to center your mind, as the pandaren said. In the large building they met in the mornings to meditate. Lomaha found it difficult to sit the right way at first — her hooves were too big and she wasn’t sure her legs could bend the right way, but once she managed she got accustomed to it quickly. She felt as though she could actually sense the mountain breathing sometimes, feel the energy that flowed through it. But she hadn’t yet seen a glimpse of the crane spirit, despite all her efforts. It would happen, Ji Su insisted. She was certain that Lomaha had the right temperament for studying with him, it was just a matter of being patient and allowing him to show himself. Sometimes it took years for a student to choose a spirit to train with.

Chi-Ji the crane, was a spirit of soothing water and healing. With his techniques, Lomaha could ease troubled minds and heal wounds of the body. It sounded very much like something she would be interested in; she’d always found the water calming. There weren’t any cranes in Mulgore, but she’d seen a drawing of him in one of the books they had here. He was impossibly slender and graceful, like a squiggle on a page come to life. Lomaha had some doubts that she could emulate him, but Ji Su did not. She insisted that anyone — even a tauren — could follow the way of the crane.

She exhaled a long breath, turning to mist in the cool air. Lomaha sat beside the pool, her legs crossed, and tried to clear her mind. She pictured the crane in her mind, his neck and legs outstretched, as he flew across a misty lake. His broad wings left trails across the glassy surface of the water. She imagined his cry echoing in the hills. When he appeared, she would be ready to learn.

I got my order from AcornPress, and they are now available in my Etsy shop! They’re a little more expensive than I had hoped, but that is because they are printed front and back. I am really impressed with the quality as well as the turn-around time to get these done. They also have clear instructions on how to set up your files. I would definitely recommend them!

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If you would like some druid charms of your own, please check it out! You can get them individually, or the set of all five. They measure 1 inch (3 cm) high.

[Art] Custom FunkoPOP – Tauren

This guy used “Andre the Giant” as a base, but he had a LOT of sculpting work added. I think he’s either a shaman or a druid, not really sure. He’s not intended to be any specific character, I just wanted to practice doing something I hadn’t done before!

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[Art] Valentine Roundup

I tried to draw today but it just wasn’t a good art day, hopefully tomorrow will be! I have a lot of ideas for things to do but my fingers aren’t cooperating. In the meantime here are all of the valentines I’ve drawn for past years. These should be able to be printed out and used, though I haven’t tried it personally.

Draenei Valentines

Druid (Night Elf) Valentines

SWTOR (Imperial) Valentines

SWTOR (Republic) Valentines

Tauren Valentines

Warlock Valentines

 

[Story] Fishing

It was the first really warm day, though it wasn’t quite yet spring, the snow had melted and the sun shone cheerily overhead. They didn’t even need to wear their cloaks as they hiked the trail to the pond, where Ahali was certain that all of the fish would emerge from their long, hungry winter. So far none had bitten, that was perhaps because Makota had not put any bait on her hook. She was lost in thought, watching the ripples and reflections on the pond’s surface. Ahali dozed nearby, against a fallen log. It seemed silly to come all this way just to have a nap, he could have done that back at the camp. But then perhaps the walk had tired him; he was very old and there were times that Makota was more starkly reminded of that fact. That was only one of the thoughts that chased through her head on this sunny afternoon — what might happen to her once Ahali was gone.

She could always go back to the Bluff, she supposed, though she didn’t really know anyone there, and it was a bit too busy for her taste. Makota remembered all too well how awkward it felt when she had gone to visit her friend there, and she’d not heard from him since the incident with the orc. The little camp in the hills wasn’t really hers, and she thought it might be too difficult to stay there, with all the lingering memories. The same was true of Stonetalon, where she’d grown up. Ahali thought it too dangerous to go near the kaldorei still, uncertain of how they might react to them. Though Makota could speak a little of their language, it would no good if an arrow had already reached her from afar. They had every right to be cautious, after all that had happened. Makota supposed that she could just start walking, and see where she ended up. She had never been much further than the plains and the mountains that surrounded them for her entire life. There had to be other places to see. She supposed that Dalaran didn’t count, because she hadn’t walked there, and the whole thing had seemed like a very strange dream.

That was the other thing. Makota tugged her line up out of the water and looked at the still-bare hook before she dropped it back again with a plunk. More than anyone else, Makota missed her elf friend Latahlali. She’d written a few times, and Makota had received the letters at the nearest orc outpost. Lali had her elf now, and her own baby, and she lived at a magic school where she taught children history and reading and things like that. She couldn’t help but feel a little jealous, it all sounded a lot more interesting than fishing with boring old Ahali. But a magic school was no place for someone like Makota, she knew that well enough. For one thing, all of the doors and chairs would be too small. And she’d always be afraid that she’d break something by accident, or step on something she shouldn’t. She did want to visit of course, to see her friend again, but maybe too much time had passed. Maybe their lives were too different now. She’d said so before, to Ahali, and he said that it didn’t matter if friends were different. Sometimes it was those differences that made the friendship all that much more special. He always said things like that.

But it was possible, it would just take some doing. Makota knew that the magic school was near the elf city in the Eastern Kingdoms. They would have to find someone who could make a portal there, but cities always had mages. Hadn’t Makota seen some in Thunder Bluff? Talking to them was scary though, and she didn’t know their language. She’d have to speak Orcish and she didn’t like it, and neither did they judging from the faces they made. She rather doubted that Ahali would want to go along, and she didn’t think she could leave him all alone. She glanced over and he snorted a little, but didn’t wake up. Makota decided that she would ask him about it when he awoke. But she guessed the conversation would go a bit smoother if he wasn’t hungry. She nudged over one of the fallen logs with a hoof, picking up a fat white grub. This time, the hook would be sure to attract a hungry fish.

[Art] OC-tober – Day 7

I am not going to draw all my WoW characters (because there are way more than 30), but I am going to draw a few really important ones. I’d say my first one is really important! I didn’t know anything about WoW lore going in, I’d never played WarCraft, only StarCraft. I knew I wanted to be a druid, because the class sounded really neat to me, and I ended up picking a Tauren because I thought the idea of being a huge cow was hilarious.

Tahanah was a peace-loving cow and never embraced the Horde’s bloodthirsty mentality. She lived on the border of Ashenvale with her kaldorei neighbors. In-game, she was faction changed into Tathariel, Ornasse’s daughter, several years back. In-character, she is the mother of Makota, my sunwalker, but was killed by orcs who mistook her for a bear.

She was the character who I first experienced WoW with, so she will always have a special spot in my heart. She did all of the druid quests including the seal form and the level 51 poison quest. She even attended the opening of the gates of Ahn’qiraj!

Bonus sketch of the janky old Horde cat form!

tahanah