[Story] Valentine Shorts 2.5

[[ Still not feeling 100%, and everyone’s home right now… but here’s another Valentine short to go with the other one. ]]

The way Terellion had explained it, Braedra expected the ball to be no different from most of the others — an opportunity to eat food, drink wine, and for the students to stand around nervously and not ask each other to dance. The ballroom was draped in red and pink ribbons, with paper hearts affixed to everything in sight. Terellion’s cake held the spotlight on the largest table, white with delicate pink flowers made of icing, and topped with sugar swans. He’d been working on those for days now, bringing her several failed attempts in the process — the girls were happy to eat them no matter how odd they looked. They’d both insisted on new dresses, too, in order to better match the theme.

Braedra just wore her red and black gown, it was comfortable and close enough that it wouldn’t stand out. She also liked it because it was forgiving of stains — those were a very real risk when looking after babies. The nursery was busy, as it always was for parties. In addition to the usual teachers’ children, the rangers brought theirs along as well. She loved having them, but she was glad of Isturon’s help when it got so busy — she only had so many hands. She slipped out to fetch some food while some of the babies had settled down for naps.

As she piled her plate up with food, a new student lingered nearby. As it turns out, he wasn’t a student, but he’d been hired to help Lilithel in the stables. He suggested that Hethurin build a pond in the gardens for fish, and he was quite knowledgeable about them, having kept them in the past. They could be relaxing, Braedra agreed, like a living painting. It was all a perfectly normal conversation as far as she was concerned, which was partly why his offer was so surprising. The other reason was that he was barely older than Terellion. Stunned, but not wanting to hurt his feelings, Braedra explained that she wasn’t really looking for anything like that right now. It was true, wasn’t it? Going to lunch and dancing once didn’t necessarily mean anything.

But when she returned to the nursery with a plate of food for Isturon, he’d gotten her a gift too. It wasn’t an expensive gift, thankfully, but she still felt awkward for not having got him one. Terellion said it was just an excuse for goblins to sell things to people, so she hadn’t felt that it was required. He’d also invited her to dinner in the city, and perhaps a play. She insisted that he didn’t need to go to all that trouble, but he said he wanted to. Perhaps it was a good idea to visit the Confessor in town after all.

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[Story] Valentine Shorts 2

[[ Really having difficulty concentrating today due to a bad toothache, I can’t get it looked at until tomorrow though. So this is shorter than I wanted, might try to do more after it’s fixed. ]]

Leinath glanced up and down the street before stepping out of the shop, his packages tucked safely under his arm. Anyone familiar with that particular shop would surely be able to guess at the nature of his purchases, wrapped in long boxes. He ducked quickly down another street, ears burning even though he was sure no one had seen him. The gifts hadn’t been his idea, Orledin had asked for them in a round-about way, and since he couldn’t go himself, Leinath had offered to buy them. He thought he’d picked out a good variety, though he hadn’t wanted to spend too much time staring at the display on the wall. Hopefully Orledin would like what he’d chosen, but it wasn’t really the kind of gift Leinath would have picked out.

The problem was that he couldn’t use most usual gifts — wine or chocolates, he didn’t even need a scarf to keep warm on their patrol. He thought about buying something for the kitchen, but they already had everything that Leinath could imagine. What about his other — admittedly strange — hobby? Other than wire and clay, Orledin didn’t need much for that. There weren’t any bones for sale in the marketplace, either. Leinath walked out into the main market, bustling with shoppers, in hopes that he would see something that inspired him.

Most of the merchants were goblins, their stalls decorated with bright ribbons and heart shapes cut out of paper. Leinath stopped to look over them, but he couldn’t imagine either of them wearing the sort of things they had for sale. At least, not yet. A dusty booth near the back of the market caught his eye, piled with all manner of strange items. The elf behind the counter claimed they were artifacts, dug up from far-off lands. Leinath was no expert, but they certainly looked exotic — there were jade carvings from Pandaria, a drinking horn from Northrend, miniature statues and clay tablets from Uldum.

The bright paint and feathers of the troll artifacts stood out from the others. Leinath leaned in closer to look at them. Maybe Orledin would appreciate something to decorate his hut? He could leave it there, and they could stop by after their patrol again. He was drawn to a carved wooden puppet in the shape of a raptor, strings attached to a pair of crossed sticks overhead. The elf showed him how the sticks could be moved to bring the raptor to life, seeming to bob its head and lift its legs in a lifelike manner. It was painted in bright green and blue, and even had feathers attached. It wasn’t a practical gift at all, but Leinath liked it. He hoped that Orledin would too.

[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.”

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Terellion’s Journal

Last night the pool boy showed up on our doorstep. He’s just about the last person I ever wanted to see again. I thought he might be here to spy on Hethurin, so I had him wait in the sitting room until we talked about it. The pool boy said that he had come to get a note saying that Hethurin forgave him, and he wasn’t to return until he had one. He claims that he was the one who put something in Hethurin’s tea and left him in the dirty inn with a healer who didn’t know what he was doing. While that might be true, I think it’s more likely that Verisna did something, and now that she’s caught, she is making someone else take the blame for it. Since when has she ever worried about her relationship with Hethurin? Especially if she thinks our kids aren’t even real grandchildren. I just feel like she’s up to something. I told Hethurin that maybe he’s here to spy on us, but he didn’t seem worried. He said we don’t have anything to hide. That’s true, but that doesn’t mean I want someone reporting back everything I say or do, either. Hethurin pointed out that we could keep him as long as we wanted, although I don’t actually want him to stay here. I had the idea of having him help Lilithel in the stable, that way he’d have to shovel hawkstrider poop, and she’d have more time to spend with her baby. Maybe she and Tik could even work something out.

Hethurin said he could stay in the builders’ house with Ithorel and Ethirdir. There’s a spare room there, though there are plenty in the students’ building. This way I suppose he could help with building too, in the spring. Provided he knows how to use a hammer, that is, but I guess it can’t be that difficult. Nothing we said seemed to upset the pool boy at all, and he insisted he wanted to do this to go back to Verisna. I don’t understand how he doesn’t see how evil she is, and how she’s using him. It’s not impossible that he really loves her, I guess, but it just seems unlikely to me. He’s younger than I am! I also don’t really know if I like the idea of keeping him here and making him do terrible things. We’re not like that. I guess it’s true that he could leave whenever he wanted — we aren’t the one making him do this, she is. And he could always refuse. I still have a bad feeling about all of it. I let him have some cake and told him about the ball. At first Hethurin didn’t want to allow him, but I thought maybe he’d see how much better our parties are and he could report back to Verisna. And we always have plenty of food.

Tomorrow I’m going to bake some test versions of the party cake for Hethurin to try. It’s going to have white layers with chocolate and manaberry jam for filling. I’ve also been practicing making sugar swans to put on the top. I was worried for a minute because Hethurin said he didn’t like swans, but I think he was actually confusing them with geese. It would have been bad to change the theme just a few days before the ball! I’m also going to bake some of those little candies inside with messages in them, so everyone should get one in their piece. I think that will be fun. I have to make sure Hethurin gets a good one.

[Story] Risarra’s Journal

It’s still hard to believe I have my own hippogryph. I keep going to the stable to look at her. As soon as I saw her in the paddock, I knew that’s the one I wanted. Not only is she the most beautiful hippogryph I’ve ever seen, she’s gentle and affectionate. Her feathers are white and silver and blue, like the snowy hills in Winterspring. I decided to name her Frostwing. I like to think that she likes me too, whenever I come to the stable I bring her a little treat, and she nudges my hand with her beak to get at it. I haven’t really had an animal friend since Magnolia — there was the bear that I helped back to health, but it wasn’t really the same. With Frostwing I feel that same connection, but at the same time, the fear that something will happen and we’ll be separated. But the breeder assured me that she’s a strong and confident flyer, well-trained and we shouldn’t have any problems at all. She said that Frostwing had obviously bonded with me. I haven’t tried riding her yet. I will soon, once she’d had a chance to settle into the stable. I want to take her somewhere quiet, away from distractions so she won’t be startled. Near the camp might be good, so she can get used to being there — she’ll be staying there when I do. There is a lake and plenty of soft grass for her to rest on there, though I might see about building a fence to keep animals away from her. Not the bears, but wild sabers and things like that.

The trip was nice. Feathermoon has so many people, and many different buildings. Their barracks are enormous! We stayed in a fancy room in a fancy inn. I was worried there might be druids there, but we didn’t see any. We ate in the restaurant, and they had a sampler plate will all different kinds of dumplings. Some of them I’ve never even tried before, so I tried to figure out what the ingredients might be. I’ll have to write down all my recipes so I don’t forget them. They also had a very nice sauce for dipping, just the hint of spice, Bear seemed to like it a great deal. We drank sparkling wine and had a berry cake. I brought him a book of poems, I thought he might like to read them while I’m away, or we could read them together. I think that would be even nicer. He got me a bracelet with a little bear charm and a hippogryph charm. I like the idea of carrying a tiny bear around with me all the time. There was also a candle that smelled like fresh spring flowers, Bear said he’d bought it at a shop here. I thought it might be a good idea to get more, because we can always use candles for the house, and it smelled so lovely. The shop was run by a strange looking woman, Bear said she was a draenei and she’d seen them in Northrend. No one else seemed to find her presence strange, so I thought little of it, but she had horns and a tail! To her credit, she spoke enough Darnassian to ask us what sort of scents we wanted, and soon I’d forgotten about the strange woman as I smelled all of the different perfumes and soaps. They were lovely. We ended up getting quite a few candles, as well as some soaps — I had a little money left over from buying Frostwing.

Once she’s accustomed to the route, I’ll be able to ride Frostwing back to the camp even when Avanniel is away. That means I can spend more time there, and I do like that idea. Bear talked about making the house larger, adding a kitchen and I suggested a little reading area like the cabins had in Winterspring. I feel happy and hopeful for the future, though I don’t know what it will hold I feel safer with Bear there.

[Story] Character of the Week – Imralion Sunsorrow

[[ Imralion is a blood knight and the brother of Linarelle. He met Aeramin while training in Shattrath and they have been together since. Here he’s spending some time with his nephew. ]]

Imralion looked at his nephew as soon as Linarelle closed the door. She and Sunashe would be staying overnight at a winery in Eversong, and they needed someone to watch Tialan for them. That someone turned out to be Imralion, though his sister made it clear that it hadn’t been her idea. Sunashe had insisted it would be better for Tialan to stay with someone he knew — though Imralion had doubts that the baby knew him at all. He’d seen him before, sure, but never spent much time together. They’d dropped him off complete with a bag full of his things, and — thankfully — written instructions. It was only one night, Imralion reassured himself. How bad could it be? And he could always ask Aeramin, though his experience with babies was barely more than his own. He had taken care of Lyorri for a little while, though.

Right now, Tialan was sitting in the middle of his blanket on the floor, chewing on some of his toys. Lin said that he’d be teething, which meant he’d be chewing on a lot. A long string of drool ran out of his mouth. That was kind of gross, but Imralion wasn’t sure if he should wipe it up or not. Maybe drool was good for teething. He consulted the sheet of paper and it didn’t say anything about drooling, only that he might like to eat cool things if his gums hurt. He was also talking, at least, he was making baby sounds that sort of sounded like words. He was kind of cute, Imralion had to admit. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.

Aeramin came up from his workroom and blinked in surprise. “We’re babysitting,” Imralion explained. “It wasn’t my idea.” He knew babies weren’t exactly Aeramin’s favorite topic, but thankfully he didn’t seem upset by the idea. Arancon was always nagging Aeramin to spend more time with Lyorri, but this wasn’t Lyorri so maybe he wouldn’t mind. After sitting with Tialan a few minutes, Aeramin got up to start cooking supper.

Tialan started to cry. No, it was more of a shriek. Who knew such a loud sound could come out of such a tiny thing? Imralion didn’t know what to do. He consulted the list. Aeramin poked his head out of the kitchen. “What do I do?” Imralion asked.

“Is he wet?”

Imralion blinked. How was he supposed to know? “Uh…” Aeramin came over and felt the baby’s bottom.

“I don’t think he is.”

“Maybe he’s hungry,” suggested Imralion. “What does he eat?”

The sheet did have that on it, but Aeramin knew the answer too. “Soft things, he can’t really chew yet. He’ll have to wait a little bit while it cooks though.”

Tialan continued wailing. “What do I do until then?”

Aeramin shrugged. “Maybe he wants to be held.”

Imralion looked at the crying baby, uncertainly. “How do I do that?”

“Just pick him up. He’s old enough to hold up his head.” Aeramin disappeared back into the kitchen again. How did he know so much about babies, anyway?

“Okay, here goes,” Imralion said under his breath, reaching out and picking up his nephew, his face red from crying. He hiccuped but then stopped, reaching for Imralion’s hair. “Hey,” he called into the other room. “I think it worked.”

“See, you’re a natural.”

 

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Seline’s Diary

Dear Diary,

There’s so much homework here! I heard some of the other students saying there’s actually not that much compared to their old schools. I can’t even imagine how they had time to eat or sleep before, then. I suppose it would go faster if I understood it better. Magical theory is really complicated and magical history seems like it all runs together and I can’t keep everything straight. I tried making cards to try to remember things better, that works for a while but then it seems I forget it all again. It’s also difficult to do all my fire and arcane foundation homework when I really want to just work on my frost. It’s not the teachers’ fault, they seem nice and everything, but I just would rather work on frost. I know it’s important to understand all schools, because they interact with each other, and also it’ll be on the final exams. But it seems like my fire and arcane homework always take twice as long.

I have my own room, and we have a sheet for times on the shower so I don’t really see the other girls in the bathroom often either. Sometimes I think about trying to talk to them, but I don’t know what we’d talk about. They’re probably doing advanced fire spells while I’m still in baby foundation and history classes. Anything I said would probably sound dumb. I write to my father every week and he always asks if I have made any friends, as if that was the reason I came here. Except I know that’s part of it, he said a smaller school would be better for me because it wouldn’t be as many people. But how am I supposed to know who would be a good friend just by looking? It seems like a poor way of choosing. The other boy who started at the same time as me seems to have made friends already though. So maybe I’m just really bad at it (but who didn’t know that).

That boy did come to study with me. Except I feel bad about it now, because I really didn’t feel like it. I don’t think it was on purpose, but I was hungry and I went to the main house to get something to eat while I read. I think it’s easier to focus if your stomach isn’t growling. Anyway he was really upset with me and kept doing other things like looking at books and getting wine. I don’t think he’s much older than me, he shouldn’t be drinking wine. I don’t want to have too much and do something foolish, but maybe he doesn’t care. Finally we worked on our worksheet, but it was weird the whole time. I don’t know if he’ll want to study again. It does help to have someone to compare answers with, but it’s also bad because I feel silly if I get too many wrong and he doesn’t. He talked about the ball coming up, they’re having one for the fake goblin holiday. The one about love, where you’re supposed to go with your date and kiss and stuff. I definitely don’t want to hang around for that, I told him I’ll take some food and go back to my room. He did say there would be chocolates too.

~Seline