[Story] Winter Veil Postcards 2017

[[ I know it’s Thursday but I’m still doing Winter Veil stories instead! ]]

Terellion carried the brightly wrapped packages as they made their way through the Silvermoon market. Ordinarily he would have held Malwen’s hand, but his were both full — and hers were both sticky from the candy cane she was happily eating. He was sure to keep an extra close eye on her as they made their way among the stalls and crowds. They’d already bought some gifts for the students — lavish hawkstrider feather quills and inkwells — and some blankets and clothes for Galandil as well as Tik’s baby. Malwen had insisted that Narise get a doll of her own, and they’d settled on a soft cloth one with button eyes, in addition to a cuddly toy lynx. Terellion was sure that Narise already had one at home, but Malwen said that this one could be a big sister to the other, and watch after her. It was impossible to argue with that.

He set the packages down on one of the chairs and helped Malwen into hers. A morning of shopping and looking around built up quite an appetite. “We still need a gift for Arcan’da,” said Terellion, looking over the menu. “What do you think we should get for him?”

She was old enough now that Terellion thought she might be able to keep a gift a surprise, but even if not, Hethurin would like anything she picked out, even if it was strange. “Snails?” she suggested, over her sandwich.

The last thing that Terellion wanted were more snails in the house. Shelley and her enormous brood grew larger by the day, and they’d be indoors until the weather warmed in the spring. Even then, he wasn’t sure Malwen would be so willing to let them all go. “Um, well he already has Mittens,” he pointed out. “He might be jealous of another pet.”

“Oh,” Malwen said. “What about a dragon then?”

“A real dragon?”

Malwen giggled. “No, don’t be silly! Like a — statue dragon.”

Hethurin already had the enormous bronze dragon that stood at the entrance of the school grounds, but Terellion knew of a shop that sold small statues suitable for a shelf or desk. After he’d ensured that Malwen’s fingers were clean, they went in to look around.

“I like this one,” Malwen gasped, going immediately to a dragon cast in metal. Its pose was rearing up, a translucent orb of either glass or carved stone was set between its front paws. The orb had been enchanted to glow with a faint light, giving the statue a more lively appearance. “He could put it on his desk, because he’s a teacher.”

Terellion wasn’t sure if he’d really like it, but neither did he have any ideas for a present. He paid and added the very heavy package to the stack that he was carrying.

“What do you want for Winter Veil?” Terellion asked, once they’d left the store and stood in the square again.

He expected that Malwen would say dolls, or something for the snails, but she hesitated. “Well…”

Terellion looked at her curiously.

“It might cost a lot.”

“You can still tell me,” Terellion said. “It might not be that much.” Besides, they’d not even spent all the gold that Hethurin had sent them with, and if there was one thing he didn’t mind, it was buying gifts — especially for the children.

“The kids in the orphanage, I don’t think they’re going to get any presents,” said Malwen. “Could we take some to them? I know they’d really, really like some presents.”

Terellion set his boxes down and gave Malwen a hug. “Of course we can. That’s a wonderful idea. I need your help picking things out though.”

“Okay!”

He knew Hethurin would want to go along as well, not to mention he’d need the help moving that many gifts at once. They could go when Hethurin came to make their return portal, and he could already imagine how excited he would be — maybe even more so than the orphans.

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[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] Winter Veil Postcards 2017

[[ Sorry it’s been quiet… I have unexpected guests over this weekend. Here are two Winter Veil shorts, I’ll do more later! ]]

“Just get him dumplings,” Zhyra said over breakfast. The night was chilly, fog had rolled in over the small lake around the town, and a steady rain dripped from the eaves. “He likes them, doesn’t he?”

Of course he did. And while she’d been doing her best to learn to make them herself, Risarra felt they weren’t special enough for a gift. Bear got dumplings just about every day, he had for all the time they’d been checking on him at his camp — which counted in years now.

Avanniel made a face. “I don’t know why you want to follow a dwarf holiday anyway.”

Risarra frowned and stirred her oatmeal, mixing the berries in for flavor. “It doesn’t have to be for that,” she argued. “It could just be a gift.” The other two sentinels exchanged a look, but said nothing else on the subject.

There would be a market in Darnassus today. She’d have to hurry, but Risarra thought she could make it there and back in time before her patrol if she could borrow a hippogryph. Surely there she could find something that would make a good gift — something for his house perhaps, or to keep him warm when she was away at patrol. A scarf or a cloak, something like that. Risarra hurried to finish her breakfast and dug her bag of coins out from under her bunk.

“Ouch!” Sath’alor pulled his hand back from the hawkstrider’s sharp beak. He’d like to think it had simply mistaken his fingers for a snack, but he couldn’t be sure. They were probably just nervous, he reasoned, being led away from their farm to their new home. Sath’alor had specifically asked for birds with good temperaments and steady nerves to face the rigors of patrol. He didn’t care what they looked like or what their bloodlines were — though they looked fancy and colorful to him, at least.  There were six in total, four males and two female, their feathers varying shades of blue and black. One had a slightly greenish tint if you looked at it in the right light. The seller said that Sath’alor could name them, but he wasn’t terribly good with names, he thought he’d leave that to the rangers, and perhaps Rylad.

The stable was warm and dry, fresh straw spread over the floor and the bins filled with greens and vegetables. Each stall had a bucket of water and a blank nameplate on the door waiting to be filled in. Sath’alor hadn’t yet figured out a schedule for which hawkstriders would patrol when, but they couldn’t be worked all day, they would need to rotate. And not everyone would need or want to ride anyway, ideally only one pair would be out at any time. He hoped that at least one of them would be gentle enough to give rides to Rylad, and the other children if they were big enough. He could even bring them to Hethurin’s parties if he so wished, decked out in matching saddles. For now, he just had the plain leather saddles and bridles from the breeder, along with detailed instructions for their care. Sath’alor knew a lot about cats, but practically nothing about hawkstriders, so he hoped to hire someone to look after them. For the time being though, it was his job.

[Story] Imralion’s Journal

Aeramin was at the ball. Of course he was. I swear, he has this sense about when I’m about to try to talk to Kavia. Most of the night he spent with his father, which I thought was a little unusual. Normally he tries to avoid him completely. They were probably talking about Lyorri. I kept accidentally bumping into them, like when I went to get wine or when we were going to go out to the garden. Like I said, “accidentally”. If I didn’t know better I’d think Aeramin had one of his imps spying for him, though I know Hethurin would never allow that in the school. I managed to mess up that too. I just suggested that Lyorri might like the play room better than the ballroom, because there are a lot of toys and usually other babies there. Aeramin took that to mean that he should go hide her away because I don’t want to see her. That’s not what I meant at all. I was trying to think of what she would like. He always thinks I’m not trying, but I am. He’ll probably sleep in the basement anyway, no matter what I say. And then he calls Hethurin stubborn…

I think things went okay with Kavia, though. For once. We had some food, I showed her the fish rolls and the other things, and the cake. I really liked that cake. I bet Terellion could do really well making cakes for parties and stuff, not that I think Hethurin would allow him to go work in the city. But maybe he could deliver them with portals or something. Anyway, Kavia and I had wine, as I mentioned, I was surprised that Aeramin was drinking it right in front of Arancon. I guess he must be pretty confident about not drinking if he can go to parties now. Later on we went out to the garden, it was really pretty with the branches and ribbons hung up, cold but it wasn’t snowing. I let her use my cloak and I was going to be subtle and put my arm around her but then she asked me to, so it wasn’t very subtle. But it was nice. I said that I wanted to spend more time together and she said it was difficult because of her patrols, and because of Aeramin. I know it is. I wish I knew an easy solution. I keep thinking that he’s going to get annoyed with me one day and ask me to leave. I really don’t want that, but at the same time I really want to spend time with her too. I wish everyone could just get along. She did agree to go to an inn though, I will have to make the arrangements. I said Eversong, because it’s close and there are a lot of inns there, but I’m thinking maybe the island would be better. It’ll be quiet this time of year and we could get a really fancy room, and walk on the beach. I haven’t told Aeramin about it yet. He was asleep when I got home, in the basement just as I expected. Some of his imps were around him and one was messing with his hair. I sure wouldn’t let any demons mess with my hair, but I guess he trusts them. I was a little annoyed because I had to walk home alone in the dark; he’d gone ahead without me. Arancon said he hadn’t felt well, but I’m not sure if that’s true. That guy doesn’t like me anyway.

[Art] Rendeer

Renner helps Hethurin deliver toys to all the orphans. (But probably half of the toys are dolls for the girls.)

rendeer

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Loralinde’s Diary

 

I still feel like I’m dreaming. It’s one of those really good dreams that goes on for a very long time and you can remember everything, but still a dream. I feel like I’ll wake up tomorrow and it will just be a regular day and Keyalenn didn’t give me the most beautiful ring ever. He must have been planning it for a while. I mean, if it’s not a dream. This was my first winter at the school so I didn’t know what to expect, the other parties have been lovely but this one was extra fancy. I think there’s just something about all of the lights and snowflakes that makes it more special. And mistletoe. Terellion put that everywhere, wasn’t that thoughtful of him? Keyalenn’s parents were there though, as well as everyone else, so I couldn’t kiss him too much, but enough. I saw them at the party but we didn’t talk really. I hope they like me and don’t think we’re too poor to marry him or something. We aren’t poor really, but I have so many sisters and that many weddings adds up. Luckily the actual wedding won’t be for a few years yet, so we have time to save up. And plan! I want it to be perfect just like him. His ears are so nice. I can’t wait to touch them whenever I feel like it. He said that in the spring he’ll get his own house, because he’ll be helping Magister Raleth with the frost classes, and I can live there too. I am not sure if Magister Fairsong would allow it, but I guess he has to if we’re engaged. I guess that’s probably part of the reason he asked. I don’t mind though. I know Des has done some of those things, and I’ve read about it in books, but I bet it’s even nicer to try yourself.

I hope it snows, we were talking about that before he asked. It never snows in the city, but Keyalenn said it does out here sometimes, because it’s colder and wetter. I’ve only seen it in paintings, but it looks so beautiful and peaceful. He said we could go for a walk in the woods, which sounds so nice. He also said the snow crunches when you walk on it, I didn’t expect that. It looks like soft puffy clouds. I believe him though, he’s a frost mage after all so I’m sure he knows all about snow and ice things. Then we could sit in front of the fire and watch it snow and drink hot drinks and I could look at his ears. It sounds so perfect. I didn’t know what to say at first, I was too surprised. At first I thought he meant right now, which would be nice but I want to finish my classes, especially after my parents went to all the trouble to get me transferred here. I know we’re kind of young too, but a lot of people get married when they are young, even Mae is married and she just graduated last year. It is a little strange that he asked someone else before me. He said it was a mistake but then why would he ask? I’m not jealous exactly, besides she’s got someone else and I’m not worried that she’s going to change her mind. Though really she should, I’d much rather have an archmage than a smelly old ranger. Well I shouldn’t say that because Pero is very nice. But anyway. I was just more curious what she was like, if she was more pretty than me or whatever. If she hadn’t said no they might be engaged right now and I would have never met him at that party or come to this school. That makes me sad to think about.

After he went to tell his parents and I showed the ring to everyone. They all thought it was really nice. Then Des told me Pero had just asked too! I bet they planned that. Hers will probably be before mine, because she’s closer to graduating. I think it will be really fun to have someone to plan with. That way everyone else won’t get sick of us talking about it all the time. I think Xarola might have been already. I told her I’m sure that Vyn will ask her soon, they’ve been together for a long time.

I have to write to my parents if his family hasn’t already. They will want to meet him of course but they’re going to be impressed, I’m not worried about that. I feel like the luckiest girl ever!

[Story] The Winter Veil Ball – Ordinicus

There were never any parties in Shadowmoon. I think I’m still getting used to the idea, though we’re far removed from the city still, it’s a lot different than how I lived before. I imagine if I’d never left for Outland, I’d be an expert at these sort of things by now. I don’t regret anything though, I enjoy the work we’re doing and I like the other guys I work with. Hethurin is all right to work for too, he’s a bit picky sometimes but he doesn’t treat us badly like the guests used to. I think about how they are doing back at the inn sometimes, whether it’s even still running. I’d guess it’s probably not; we were barely holding on even back then. And that was before they discovered the new portal. Kestrae says a lot of people have gone through that one. Does the same inn exist there? Are there still holes in the roof? I don’t know. I think she’d like to go and find out, some day. I’d like to go with her, but there’s still so much to do here. It seems the more we finish, the more people want to hire us. Which isn’t a bad problem to have, really. I’ll be able to save up more than enough if we decide to move somewhere else.

There are still several houses on the Academy grounds to fix up, then I overheard the ranger captain talking to Hethurin about having some cabins added on to the ranger site. Even if he were to wait until spring, we’ll likely still be busy then as that’s when everyone wants to start building. I thought about going over but I didn’t, mostly because I don’t want to cause any problems between him and Kestrae. I think things are mostly smoothed over, and he seems like a reasonable enough guy, but it’s probably better that I don’t interfere. Anyway, he said he might have them work on it themselves if we’re not available. I wonder what Kestrae would think if I was working on the rangers’ site. They must be getting a lot of new people if they are needing to add on already. That got Kes to talking about children again. It doesn’t help that seemingly every woman around here is expecting. I never know what to say about it, I mean, I still don’t feel we’re secure enough to be ready for something like that. Being here still feels a little temporary, and I admit that I still have a few doubts about her research. I think as long as she took precautions it would be okay but it does worry me a bit. I haven’t the first clue how to take care of one, either. I’m not sure if I’m prepared for that, but then again maybe no one is. Thankfully she didn’t press the subject too much but I know it’ll come up again, probably sooner than later.

We took home a whole plate of food. I hope Tik made a lot of extra, because I think everyone else did too. They sure went all out for this party. I hope they at least had some time to enjoy it.