[Story] Character of the Week – Lomaha

[[ Lomaha is my Tauren monk. She has no RP or background really, but I enjoy writing monk stuff so maybe someday! ]]

Lomaha breathed deeply of the cool, misty air that clung to the mountain’s flanks. Though blossoms were starting to bloom down in the valley below, the mountain would remain cold for a few more weeks yet. Within the Crane shrine, she was sheltered from the springtime rains that often came with little warning, blowing up from the dark clouds in a matter of minutes. She sat with her legs crossed beneath her, regarding the carved statue of Chi-Ji. It was worked of a translucent stone, in shades of white banded with red, just like the real crane spirit. Though it was stone, the carving was so lifelike and graceful that at times, Lomaha really believed that it was watching her.

She hoped that he wasn’t doing so today. Frustrated, she pushed her practice book away, and her quill fell with a plop into the meditating pool. “I’ll never get this,” she muttered, accidentally smudging her page of writing. Learning the different stances and moves was one thing, but Lomaha had never been very good with books and writing. Those were simple, if you practiced them enough, you’d eventually get the hang of it. Ji Su said the same was true of writing, but Lomaha hadn’t found it any easier yet. She wasn’t even sure what the point of the lesson was; she already knew the song of Chi-Ji, why did she have to copy it down? Her letters at first were neat and careful, but the longer she wrote, the more impatient she got and the more her hand grew cramped and sore. By the page she was on now, the letters were a smudgy mess. Lomaha sighed and fished her quill out of the water. Ink was now spreading in the meditating pool, and someone was sure to notice it. Not that she’d be able to do any more writing until the pen dried out, either.

Through the wide doorway of the temple, Lomaha could see the craggy mountain peaks, still blanketed with snow. There, the temple of the tiger stood, where the students were no doubt practicing exciting things like kicks and jabs, not writing in books. Had she made the wrong choice? Ji Su said that it was important to learn lessons from all of the spirits, but it was important to master one fully. At the time, it had made sense, but now Lomaha wondered if that was really true. She felt a little guilty having such thoughts while the crane statue watched her. “I’m just not good at — being patient,” Lomaha sighed.

Does a Tiger not need patience? Lomaha’s ears perked forward as the crane statue seemed to speak. But that was impossible, wasn’t it? She glanced around the temple, but she saw and heard no one else. Maybe someone was playing a trick. She reached a hand cautiously toward the stone statue, and its surface felt warm, alive.

“Well–” Lomaha hesitated. She felt silly speaking to no one, yet the crane’s presence felt as real as anyone else’s. And had his head moved, just a little, or was that only her imagination?

He needs patience to catch his prey, to wait for the right moment to strike. So too does the Serpent, to find the perfect breeze to ride upon. And the Ox, who endures for centuries if he must.

“So it doesn’t matter, I’ll just be bad at whatever I do?” Lomaha looked at her smudged and soggy page and frowned.

Of course not. But one does not become a master all at once. It takes work, and yes, patience.

“You sound like Ji Su,” muttered Lomaha. Maybe it was she making the statue talk, but it didn’t sound like her. It sounded — well, as she’d always imagined Chi-Ji would sound: wise, comforting, and gentle.

The crane statue seemed amused by that, if a statue could be said to be amused. I have faith in you, Lomaha. Now you must have it in yourself.

She blinked, staring. How did it know her name? Was it really Chi-Ji? Her hand shaking slightly, she turned to a fresh page and began again.

Advertisements

[Screenshots] BfA Alpha Screenshots

Behind a cut for spoilers. (Though really, I don’t think there’s anything spoilery in here.)

Read more of this post

[Story] Character of the Week – An’shula Skyseer

[[ An’shula is one of my oldest characters. She used to live in Thousand Needles, until the floods from the Cataclysm destroyed her home.  No art this week as I’m busy with sewing!]]

An’shula had lived in Feralas for several years now, but it still didn’t really feel like home. The dense forest and still lakes were familiar to her now, she recognized the landmarks and all the tents of the town, but she longed for the village she could no longer return to. Most of all she missed the view when she climbed to the top of a rocky ridge, the sky painted in the palest blue, the clouds galloping across like a herd of white kodos. An’shula could still smell it too, the dusty smell of the rocks, the tough green scraggly plants that clung to the canyon walls, the fresh clear river below. As time passed, she worried that the memory would fade, that one day she wouldn’t be able to remember her old home at all. She had nothing tangible to hold onto, it had all been swept away in the floods. Down at the water’s edge, she’d walked many mornings looking for something that could have been washed up — some beads or a hatchet, perhaps a feather. But she never found any. Her village, her entire life, had been swept away somewhere and disappeared, just like that.

There was one thing in Feralas that tied her to home — the windserpents that dwelled in the dark corners of the forest. In the canyon, these had nested on the cliffsides, and An’shula would see them silhouetted against the bright sky, their bright scales shimmering. Most were shades of blue, the color of the sky in all its moods, but a few were clean, bright white. Sometimes she’d see a green one, vivid as the canyon trees against the dull, dusty rock. As soon as she heard that they lived here in the forest as well, An’shula sought them out. It could have been a trick, she realized, but she didn’t think that was the case. The people here were not her villagers, but they were good, and decent. They had been kind, offered her food and allowed her to stay, but she’d not grown close to any of them. How could she, when her heart still longed for those she had lost?

An’shula ventured deep along the tangled branches and heavy brush. How could the windserpents fly in such a place? She imagined their wings must get caught often, or were there sinuous bodies agile enough to weave through the dense growth? When she saw them, she let out a little gasp of delight. A pair with their nest of hatchlings, one of the parents had brought a small bird and dropped it into the waiting babies’ mouths. They seized and tore eagerly at the meal. Their scales were a bright, vivid scarlet, not at all what An’shula expected in the forest. Smaller scales of yellow and blue lined their bodies and the underside of their wings. They were bold and fearless, unafraid to be seen and unwilling to hide. The other adult sensed An’shula’s presence, pulling its head back into a striking posture and emitting a warning hiss. An’shula crouched further down in the brush to hide herself, and show that she was no threat. She was thrilled to see them, this echo of her old home, yet new and exciting as well. Had they too been pushed out of the canyon by the flood? It was impossible to say, but they had made their new home here, and now looked as if they belonged. If they could do it, couldn’t she? An’shula would have to adapt, of course, as they had. She would need to get used to living here in the dark and green forest instead of the wide, bright canyons. But as she watched the windserpents and their family, she was encouraged.

 

[Story/Art] Character of the Week – Makota Riversong

[[ Makota is a young Sunwalker whose best friend is a kaldorei. ]]

weekly_makota

Makota sat atop one of the rocky hills, so high she thought she might be able to touch the clouds. Below, the tents of their new village clustered together like mushrooms, and she could see the people going to and fro on their business. A hunter scraped and hung hides to prepare them for making into leather, while a fisherman cleaned and hung his catch to dry. Mothers mended clothes while they watched their children playing in the grass, and smoke rose from cooking fires, carrying delicious scents with it. From here, everything looked peaceful, but Makota couldn’t help but worry. How long would it last? Their old life, their old village had been changed in only moments, and she worried that it might happen again. While a few of the hunters had weapons, most of the village wasn’t armed. And what good would weapons do against orcs, who already placed themselves in charge? No matter how peaceful it looked, Makota’s heart couldn’t let her worry rest.

She turned an ear to the sound of hooves scraping the rock behind her. “Ahali!” she cried, standing to greet the old man. “You shouldn’t have climbed all the way up here,” Makota scolded him. “It’s too high.”

Ahali let out a little snort of amusement. “I’m here, aren’t I?” he asked. “Therefore it wasn’t too high.” Makota frowned. She knew how his old legs bothered him most days, and he shouldn’t be climbing hills, he should be resting by the fire or on a riverbank. She noticed something paper in his hands.

“What’s that?” asked Makota, gesturing to the paper.

“Oh, this?” Ahali looked as if he’d just now noticed it, which Makota guessed was teasing, but she couldn’t really be sure. Old people sometimes did forget things. “A letter came for you–”

Makota took it from him eagerly, before he’d even had a chance to finish. The paper was dirty and water-stained, as if it had taken a very long time to reach the village, but Makota recognized the handwriting right away. Her eyes moved quickly over the words.

“It’s from Lali!” she exclaimed, and Ahali smiled. He’d probably figured that out on his own, who else would be sending her a letter? “It says she’s — this can’t be right. She’s in Eversong Woods, isn’t that in the Eastern Kingdoms?”

“Mmhmm,” said Ahali, looking down over the village as well. “That’s where the sin’dorei live, isn’t it?”

That sounded right. Lali’s letter explained that she was at a magic school there, that she was well and missed her friend. Most exciting of all, Makota was invited to visit — she could come through a magical portal that her blood elf made, so it wouldn’t take hardly any time at all. “Ahali,” she said, holding the letter tightly. “You’ll go with me, won’t you?” He’d gone along to Dalaran, and the swamp, he’d been at her side ever since her mother had been killed. She wasn’t sure what to do if he wasn’t there.

“You go ahead,” Ahali said at last. “Tell me all about it when you return.”

It would only be for a little while, Makota assured herself. And he probably wouldn’t be interested in a magic school anyway. He’d be happier here, and she’d tell him about all of the exciting things she saw when she got back. “Don’t go climbing any hills,” she said.

“We do have to get back down,” he pointed out.

Makota took his arm and helped him down the steep trail. She had some paper in her tent, and she’d write a reply as soon as they returned to the village.

 

[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.

[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!

etsy_charm_group

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.