[Story] Fairsong Academy – Terellion’s Journal

It’s getting a little colder around the school, Malwen is helping me to get the shrubs covered before it freezes. Of course, she also wanted to cut some branches for Shelly and her children to climb on. There are so many of them, that I guess they do need some extra room to climb around. Do snails even climb? I guess they must, it’ll make the tank look more interesting at any rate. We also had to take down all the decorations from the fall ball, before long we’ll need to start making them for the winter ball. I think that one’s my favorite, I love the evergreen branches and sugar snowflakes and everything. We piled all of the gourds and leaves into the wheelbarrow and took them out to the forest. There we left them for the animals to eat, I let Malwen keep one of the tiny gourds to put into Shelly’s tank too. I know for a fact that they like squash because she gave them some from her dinner not too long ago. Hethurin said I should have made her eat it, but I know that he didn’t eat his, so I can look the other way once in a while. Squash was never my favorite either.

The workers are trying to get Isturon’s house done before the winter. I hope they do, so he’ll have his own place to go and won’t be in the school so much. I mean, it’s not that I don’t like him. He’s okay, at least he doesn’t think I’m trying to steal Hethurin’s money anymore. But I don’t like that he’s showing his clavicle so much. I think it’s not proper for someone of his age. The other night he was wearing pants and a shirt that was unlaced way too far. He said it’s the newest fashion, maybe it is, I don’t keep up with things like that. I know Hethurin wears pants sometimes, but usually it’s just when he wants me to notice his butt. Isturon better not be wanting people to notice his butt. Especially certain people, like my mother. Hethurin was convinced that something was going on, so I had a little talk with Isturon. I told him that he should look in the city for someone, like maybe when he was there getting lunch or shopping or something. I still think he’s too old, but he said he was seeing someone before he left for the islands. He was convinced she wouldn’t take him back, but I think he’s just not trying hard enough. I haven’t asked my mother about it, first of all because it would be too weird, and second because she’d just say I’m letting my imagination get away from me. It wasn’t my idea, it’s terrible and I don’t want to think about it. Besides, my father hasn’t been gone long enough for her to be looking for someone else. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t like it if she went around kissing other guys.

I guess Isturon also wanted to talk to Hethurin about what happened before I came here, when he was silenced at the ranch. I guess that’s why he made him come move branches off his lot instead of me and Tik, because that’s something we should be doing. Hethurin was really upset about it, I wish I could make him feel better, but there’s really nothing you can say to make up for your family betraying you. I guess it’s good that he’s still talking to his father, but he should never have gone along with it in the first place. Hopefully he’s trying to make amends. I wish I would have known so I could have helped him, or at least tried. None of his friends or family even did, well I think Xyliah’s husband did but not for a while. I would have gone there right away and figured out a plan to rescue him, just like in the books. Hethurin mentioned making one of the time portals, but I know it would make Renner upset, and he says it wouldn’t work anyway because I still wouldn’t know him. But I would if I traveled to a different time, right? I guess it’s better not to mess around with time portals. They made a big mess last time.

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[Story] Story a Week – Snail

Terellion and Malwen gathered burlap bags of fallen leaves and dead twigs, bundling and tying them up to be burned later. The grounds and gardens needed to be cleared of debris before the masked ball, and it also made for less work next spring — otherwise all of that old vegetation would rot beneath the winter snows. Terellion clipped the errand branches of the hedge maze with his clippers, and Malwen followed behind gathering up the sticks. She’d finished her schoolwork for the day and eagerly ran outside to help with “outside stuff”. She had a pair of overalls and her own little work boots so she wouldn’t get any of her dresses muddy. He thought before long, she might be able to help in the greenhouse with some of the older students, she would probably learn a lot about plants.

They finished trimming the hedge maze, removing the dead flowers from around the fountain, and put all of the fallen leaves into bags. No doubt there would be more soon, but it looked tidy for the time being. Terellion checked the greenhouse for leaks or breaks in the glass, and then it was time to clean out the garden. This late in the season, there were no edible vegetables or herbs left, they had all either flowered to seed or withered in the late summer heat. The only thing still growing was the row of plump orange pumpkins, which would soon be carved and cut up for pies. He started at one end and set Malwen at the other, pulling up the droopy greens and half-eaten roots. It was a little sad to see the garden end, but they would re-plant it again in the spring, and the vegetables would grow anew. They might even need to expand, given how many staff and students were living here now — not to mention those that brought food home. He knew some of them did that, Aeramin for one, sometimes others as well. Tik encouraged the growing of fresh produce here at the school, not only did it cost less, but they were fresher as well. Terellion left the little wooden markers in place, though he had a chart drawn inside showing where to put everything. They might need something different, or more space for one crop.

“Ann’da!” Malwen cried, crouched over a leaf. “What is this? Is it a snail?”

Terellion put down his rake and went over to look.

“That’s a snail, all right. He’s eating the leaves, see the little holes where he’s already been?” Malwen nodded. “We should probably move him off, since there won’t be any food here soon.”

She stared at him. “So he’s just going to starve to death?”

“Well, he’s a wild animal. He has to find his own food.”

Malwen frowned thoughtfully. “What does he eat in the winter then?”

Terellion shook his head. “I don’t know.”

The little girl dropped her little shovel and ran out to the greenhouse, emerging a short time later with a glass jar and lid. She plucked a few of the leaves from the plant and put them into the jar. Then, carefully, she picked the snail up by its shell and set it inside as well.

Hethurin wouldn’t like a snail inside at all, but he knew better than to try to argue with Malwen when her mind was made up. “He’ll need some holes in the lid, so he can breathe. Let’s go do that, we need a hammer and nail.”

At dinner, Malwen set the jar with the snail on the table, until Terellion encouraged her to set it beneath her chair. If Hethurin didn’t have a fit about it, Tik surely would. From time to time, Malwen would pick up the jar and drop a piece of vegetable into it. He wasn’t sure that snails would eat cooked vegetables, but admittedly he didn’t know much about snails. Later that evening, she marched into Hethurin’s library and demanded a book. About snails. He didn’t have one specifically, but he lent her a book on the native wildlife of the region, and that seemed to satisfy her request.

The next afternoon, they were tying up the bushes to prepare them for wintering. They would be covered with a layer of burlap to help insulate them from the cold and snow. “How is your snail?” Terellion asked.

“Good.”

“Does he have a name yet?” Malwen named every single one of her dolls, her soft animals, and sometimes even furniture. Surely the snail would have earned one.

“She,” Malwen corrected him. “Her name is Shelley.”

“Oh? It’s a lady snail?”

Malwen nodded. “She has eggs, that’s how I know.” She held up the jar for him to see, and sure enough, there were dozens of perfectly round, translucent eggs hidden beneath one of the leaves. How was he going to explain a baby snail invasion?

 

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Terellion’s Journal

The builders finished making the little chicken house and pen. I hope this means the end of the stupid chicken jokes, but I kind of doubt it. I just worry he’s going to forget and talk about cocks in front of Malwen or something. He also thinks it’s hilarious to talk about picking up chicks, like baby chickens. But I do hope the chickens like their house and start living in it and laying a lot of eggs, we use a lot for baking and for breakfast, so it would be a big help to have them right here. Maybe I could talk Hethurin into getting a cow, too? But I think parents might not be too excited about seeing a cow on the lawn of their childrens’ school.

Hethurin wants to make more practice rooms, with more students they’re getting a bit crowded now and sometimes students have to wait to use them. He doesn’t want to cut down too many trees, nor does he want to ruin the view, which I agree with. We could make new buildings further back, but they’d be a pretty far distance from the main school which wouldn’t be very good for practice rooms. It’s okay for housing, or storage or something. I suppose we could add another floor on, but then we’d have to redo the whole tower including Malwen’s room. I thought maybe we could expand the basement into practice rooms. It’s not used right now, and I think it would be easy to expand — easier than moving the whole tower, anyway. Of course Tik and I will need to go through and figure out what’s down there, and make sure it’s warm enough and not leaking. I don’t think it’s been used for a very long time so there might be rats and things down there too. Oh, Hethurin also wants Narise to get her own room. I agree with that, but I’m not sure where it’s going to go. And eventually Galandil will need one. I don’t know if he intends to have a separate room for every child, if he does we’re going to run out of rooms really fast.

The other thing he wanted to talk about was really weird. His father has been staying here, I thought it would be just until he recovered but it’s been longer than that, too. And now Hethurin says he’s talking about retiring. Which wouldn’t be too weird, he’s old and we have enough healers in the town. But Hethurin thinks he’s trying to impress someone here because he’s wearing his shirts unbuttoned. Personally, I think it’s just because he’s trying to get cool because it’s summer and sometimes the rooms in the school get hot. Especially if people are working on fire magic nearby. But then he said he’s trying to impress my mother and I don’t like that idea at all. She’s too busy helping with the school and watching after babies to be looking at people’s clavicles… right? I was going to ask her but then I got too embarrassed, because either way it’s going to be really awkward. If she isn’t I’ll just look like some kind of weirdo, and if she is… well, I don’t even want to imagine that. My father hasn’t even been gone very long, it wouldn’t seem right to be thinking about that with someone else. I’m sure that if something happened to Hethurin I wouldn’t be interested in anyone else.

It could be the dragon, too. There’s a girl dragon here, and she likes to learn stuff about the Light. So maybe he’s just trying to impress her, and not my mother. That would still be weird, but a lot less weird.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Terellion’s Journal

Classes are out for the summer, which means Hethurin has more time to spend with the kids. Malwen has still been helping me outside, the garden is in full bloom and it smells wonderful when the afternoon sun warms all of the flowers. She’s taken quite an interest in them; she knows all of their names and can tell you the parts of the plant and some of its uses. She’s really very smart, maybe that’s a side effect of living at a school. I made her own little section in the greenhouse that she can use to plant things, I think next spring we’ll do a vegetable garden too. I think she’d really like that, because then we could use them at dinner time.

Speaking of vegetables, my mother has been onto me about Hethurin eating his again. I’m pretty sure it’s because Hethurin’s father has been staying here, and he’s always telling Hethurin that he needs to eat something other than cake. So I think that’s my mother’s way of gently reminding me to try to talk him into it. Believe me, I’ve tried. And it’s not that I disagree with her, I do wish he’d eat a little better, and it is setting a bad example for the children if he doesn’t. But he does try, although I think sometimes he hides it in his sleeve, he at least pretends to eat them. Malwen is smart though, I think she’ll figure it out if she hasn’t already. Maybe he’d eat vegetables if she was the one who grew them? That might work. I already do my best to sneak them in where he won’t notice, like mixing them into other things or using vegetables where you wouldn’t expect them to be. Luckily the kids eat them all right so far. I’ve been helping Tik make soft food for Galandil and Tik’s baby, since they are pretty much the same age it’s easier to just make one big batch. Though I expect they’ll like different things and we’ll figure that out eventually. So far he’ll eat pretty much everything, I hope he stays like that because that makes things a lot easier.

Since classes are out, my mother doesn’t have much to do now that we don’t need her help as often. She used to do paperwork at the Spire, but there isn’t a lot of that in the summer either. She’s asked if she can help Lali with the younger class once school starts up again, I think she just wants to be able to hold all the babies, but she’d be good at it. We still haven’t found a proper teacher, but if they’re just little babies she could probably teach them. I mean, all you have to teach babies is the letters and colors and things like that. I’m not sure if Hethurin’s father is staying either. He was staying until he got better, but I don’t think that will be too much longer. We already have the clinic in town, but maybe he could help if students got small injuries or things like that? I don’t know. The builders are already booked up through the whole summer. I don’t dare ask them if we can add any more houses onto their list.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Terellion’s Journal

Orledin is still bringing bread every day or so. I hate to say it, but I think it might almost be too much bread. Some days, we can hardly finish it all. There’s a big basket in the kitchen of bread that’s stale. Normally we’d use it for crumbs, but it’s overflowing and there’s no way we can eat that many crumbs unless we put it on everything. And then maybe not even then. Orledin suggested we could feed it to the birds. That might be a good idea, but we don’t really have that many birds here, most of the ones that come to the garden eat bugs and seeds, I think. I’ve tried putting some crumbs out on a plate and they pick at it a little, but not that much. I think maybe he should feed it to Julan’s seagull. I don’t want to tell him not to make it anymore, because everyone does like it. But maybe just slightly less.

I think part of the reason he likes to bake so much is because of the other ranger there who helps him. The more time he bakes, the more time he gets to spend with the other ranger. Orledin was asking me for advice about that. I don’t know why, because I’m probably the worst person to ask about anything like that. Hethurin would be a lot better. For the longest time, I thought he hated me, and it was all just really awkward all around. I don’t suggest it at all. Things are good now, but I sure wish I could have done things differently way back then. So I just tried to tell him things that I thought would work, like talking to him about things he likes and doing things together besides baking. That way he could show that he wants to get to know him better, because I think that’s the most important thing. The problem is that the other ranger is alive. No matter how nice Orledin is, there’s a pretty big chance that will stop anything from happening. I didn’t want to say that of course, because I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but it is true. Then again, if Hethurin was a death knight I don’t think I would mind. As long as he was still the same person as he is now, not trying to kill anyone or anything. So maybe it would be possible. I just think it would be kind of weird to get used to, especially being cold all the time.

Tik and I are finishing the preparations for the spring ball. Malwen helped me decorate, there are ribbons and little bouquets of flowers everywhere, she helped me put those up. Tik spends some time out of the kitchen to visit his baby, but it still seems like he’s able to make the same amount of food. I don’t know how he does it. We did have some help from Ara and Menissa, too, so we should have plenty of food for this party. My spring cake has a tree covered with icing flowers and sugar birds perched on it. Then I also made little cakes with nests and candy eggs inside. They look pretty good if I may say so.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Terellion’s Journal

It’s the goblin holiday, but neither of us are feeling very festive. I’m still really worried about Galandil. I took him in to see Lani, because she’s telling Hethurin she’s too busy to see him every day (sometimes more than once a day) so I brought him instead. Hethurin said she’s more likely to listen to me. She asked him all the same questions: is he eating, is he sleeping, is he going okay. He does, but it seems like most of the time he’s too busy crying. She did have an idea, though — she said he might not like the goat milk we’ve been giving him. If he’s not able to digest it then it would make him feel upset all the time. She suggested that I ask Lin or Lilithel if they have any extra milk, because they just had babies too. While she’s right, that’s a really weird and personal question to ask them. I barely even know either of them! But I have to do it for Galandil, so I will. I did ask Lani to bring it up with them first so I won’t look like some sort of weirdo when I ask. I really hope it helps. If not, Lani said he might have problems from his mother not taking good care of him before he was born. I am scared that he’ll be sad his whole life. Why would his mother bother taking him to the orphanage if she wasn’t going to take care of him right? But then maybe she didn’t even know she was having a baby, or have money to afford good food. That’s true for a lot of people on the Row, too. Lani said Galandil might be addicted to some herbs that his mother was taking, too. If that’s the case, he should eventually get better, but he’ll have to suffer until then. I really hope Lin and Lilithel agree to help, and it works.
I did make little miniature cakes for all of the students, and Tik and Lilithel and my mother and sisters. They’re all different colors with flowers made of icing. Hethurin got his own special one, and I am not sure what else to do. I thought we could go fishing or somewhere we could go swimming together, even though he doesn’t really like swimming he could sit on the beach while I do or something. But we’d have to find someone to watch Galandil and the girls for a little bit. If it’s a time portal, it could be a really short amount of time, but I think we’d both worry the whole time about them anyway. I bet my mother would do it though. It’s really hard to get gifts for Hethurin, because he already has pretty much everything he could want. But he does still like cake. I got some nice oils and salts for the bath, too, and some flowers to decorate our room. Hopefully he likes that. But mostly I wish Galandil would be better.

Last night Orledin was asking me for advice. I’m just about the worst person in the world to ask for advice in that area. I was sure that Hethurin hated me. Plus, I don’t know anything about being undead or what that’s like, or what it would be like for the other person. Would I still be with Hethurin if he was undead? Yes, but I don’t know about if he was undead first. It would be a lot to think about. Orledin wanted to get a card and cupcake, but I told him he shouldn’t be too obvious if he’s not sure about the other person’s feelings yet. You don’t want to scare them off. I think you should get to be friends first and then that other stuff should come naturally. At least, I think that’s how it’s supposed to work. Like I said, I’m not the right person to give advice there.

[Story] A Story a Week 12

[[ Prompt: A story about a contest or competition. ]]

“What’re you doing, ann’da?” Malwen asked, peeking over the counter. “Making a cake?”

It was a bit of a silly question, Terellion always baked at this time of day. But it’s true he was usually finished by now, and one was already safely in the oven. Now he was mixing the ingredients for a second. “Yep,” he said. “Do you want to help?”

Malwen nodded eagerly and set her doll up in one of the chairs so she could watch. She raced over to the sink to wash her hands without even being asked to. Terellion set the bowl of manaberries in front of her. “Can you squish those up for me? Get them nice and smashed.” He probably should have given her an apron, too, but he figured her dress was dark enough that any stains wouldn’t show too much.

Terellion read the flyer again. Tik had brought it back from one of his supply trips to the city; it advertised a baking competition to be held this afternoon. He hadn’t thought very much of it at first, but Hethurin urged him to enter — with the manaberry cake. It’s true that everyone at the school liked it, but Terellion wasn’t sure it was good enough to compete with the bakers in Silvermoon. He suspected that Hethurin might just want him to make manaberry cake so he could eat it, which wasn’t a bad idea in itself. There weren’t many rules. The recipe had to be original, it must be three layers high, and baked in a standard round pan. No dragon-shaped cakes this time around, not that he had time for one of those today anyway.

He sprinkled a dash of sugar into Malwen’s bowl, and she stirred it into the mashed berries. They looked just about ready to add to the mix. “Is your schoolwork all done for today?” He asked, sifting together the flour and other dry ingredients.

“Yes, ann’da,” replied Malwen. “I’m learning about plants.”

“Oh? What about them?”

“The parts and things,” Malwen explained. “Like the stem and roots and leaves. I had to draw a picture.”

As she watched, Terellion added the dry ingredients to the eggs and milk, stirring often. If they were added too quickly, there was a chance it wouldn’t mix properly. Everything had to be perfect. “Do you want to go to the city with me this afternoon?” He asked.

Of course she did, even if there hadn’t been cake involved, Malwen loved looking at all the shops. Maybe they’d even have time to visit her friends at the orphanage.

Malwen held open the oven door as he carefully slid the three round pans inside to bake.

~*~

“Ooh, look at them all!” Malwen exclaimed, pointing to the table full of cakes. Terellion saw them. They were all different colors, and they all looked perfect. Some were dusted with sugar crystals to make them shimmer, others sported delicate flowers made of sugar that looked exactly like the real thing. Terellion had added manaberries to the icing, too, so his cake was a subtle pastel purple, and he’d decorated it with purple swirls and flourishes. There was a layer of manaberry jam between each layer, accented with the fresh cream of the icing. He knew it would taste good, but now he wasn’t so sure that entering the contest was such a good idea. Carefully, Terellion set the plate down beside the other cakes and filled out the little card with his name and what type of cake he’d made. He was sure to add “Fairsong Academy” so everyone knew about the school.

They walked around the tables, admiring every one, and pointing out which ones they’d like to taste. There would be a chance later, after the judges had their slices. Right now his stomach felt too tied in knots to eat much of anything, but maybe he’d feel differently later.

The judges wore little ribbons to identify themselves, and carried plates and little silver cake knives. Terellion wondered how one got to be a cake judge. Hethurin would surely like that position, but would he ever be able to choose one winner? Terellion wasn’t so sure. He held his breath when the judges got to his cake and cut a thin sliver out to taste it. He couldn’t tell from their expressions whether they liked it or not, but he thought he saw one of their eyebrows go up. Was that good or bad? Malwen held his hand so it wouldn’t get too sweaty.

While the judges met to discuss, the guests were free to sample the cakes. A lot of people tried Terellion’s, but a lot of people tried other cakes, too. “Don’t worry, ann’da,” Malwen whispered. “Our cake is going to win.”

Terellion wasn’t so sure. Every cake that he tried was delicious in its own way. There were cakes with chocolate and coffee, cakes with lemon, cakes with swirls, and everything in between. He did get a lot of ideas for new flavors to try — he especially liked the one made with oranges. The judges finally emerged, holding ribbons in their hands. He held his breath as they stalked among the tables, placing ribbons beside the cakes. The first prize went to a chocolate and coffee cake, the second to a fluffy peach cake, and the third to a bright minty chocolate cake. The judges paused near Terellion’s cake, and he held his breath. They placed a yellow fourth place ribbon beside it and Malwen squeaked excitedly.

“You won!” She jumped up and down.

Sure, it wasn’t first — or second, or third — but Terellion was thrilled all the same. All of those fancy Silvermoon bakers, and he’d got a ribbon. He couldn’t wait to tell Hethurin, and let everyone try some of his prize-winning manaberry cake.