Vallindra Lightmist frowned, “What do you mean, you can’t tell who they’re from?”
“I’m just an imp, Mistress. I don’t know how to find out who sent them. Did you ask the postman?” Volnar cowered behind one of the boxes.
“Useless” Vallindra scowled. She looked over the gifts again. Who would send things like this? Why didn’t they send them before she condemned herself to solitude by summoning? She kicked Volnar out of the way as she picked up the gifts. Hopefully her admirer wouldn’t take too long to reveal himself to her parents so that she could stop him before he got too hung up on her. She gave the imp one last hateful glance before taking the gifts to the other room.
She had no choice but to be alone now.
Sorrahn Dawnstrike sat on the ledge overlooking the Lower City. He knew the holiday had come again. That dwarf holiday, or was it goblins? He wasn’t sure. Either way, the decorated trees and lights had been put up. Then again, there were so many refugees in the lower city, it was hard to tell what was a decoration and what was normal there. He had seen the decorations up in the rest of the city though, so he was certain it was the gift giving holiday.
He had no one to give gifts to. Well, he had a wife somewhere in Silvermoon, but he wasn’t planning to go home to see her any time soon. He had a brother somewhere in Dalaran, but if what he had heard about Dalaran was true, then he might not have a brother in Dalaran. His parents were in Silvermoon. He had received a letter from his mother asking if he had heard the same things about Dalaran. He’d have to write back, but it could wait a few days. There were the trainees. They were here in Shattrath.
Maybe he’d treat them to a round at the tavern after their training exercises. Maybe the tavern would be having a holiday special so he wouldn’t have to spend much on them.
Thalien never returned. Xyliah Amberlight had sent the dragonhawk back for Berwick. That had been a few days ago. She had taken Ember and went to search the ground along the route Thalien would have taken. Of course, she couldn’t get too close to Dalaran. Even the forest below was too close for her comfort, but she had to check as far as she could. She had seen no trace of the dragonhawk or Berwick. She had returned to the spot where Thalien would know to go and waited, but now, two days later, she knew something had happened.
She tried not to think about it as she climbed down from her hiding spot. If something had happened to just Thalien, then maybe Berwick was somewhere else waiting for her. Maybe he was looking for her.
Or something had happened to him too.
Had help been sent? She cradled the corehound pup in her arms. Ember was almost too big to carry anymore, but she managed. She had to find the nearest outpost for help. She couldn’t wait any longer. She prayed there was someone left to help.
Alinash Brightblaze pushed aside the curtain and peeked outside. Snow. There was a light dusting of it now, covering the cobblestone streets below. He had never seen so much of it before. He wasn’t sure what to think of it yet. It was cold, but it was, in a way, calming to watch.
He had been going most nights to pick up the things the others had left for him near the window. He especially liked it when they could find the meat pies he liked. He had been puzzled when he received the note from the other elf. He would have joined him but he had no guarantees that he would be able to get back into the city. I hate no guarantees.
He got up from his chair and put another log on the fire. It was warm inside. He was safe inside. Outside was neither. After Theramore, and people were saying something happened in Dalaran now too, tensions were higher than ever before. Still, he felt safer in Stormwind than in Silvermoon. He grabbed his blanket and wrapped up in the chair next to the fireplace.
Ithorel stuck his pitchfork into the dirty hay pile. Someday he wouldn’t have to muck out the hawkstrider stalls. He was saving up. He’d get to the city soon.
The family he worked for had lost the kid they were supposed to be watching a couple of weeks ago. He supposed if he hadn’t been returned to the farm yet, they still hadn’t found him. Ithorel hoped they wouldn’t. They treated the hawkstriders better than they had that boy. He wasn’t sure what the kid had done, but it must have been something horrible. Even then, Ithorel didn’t think he deserved his punishment. No one should be treated like that. There hadn’t been anything he could do, but the theory was the new farm hand had helped the kid escape. They both had disappeared at the same time.
He looked up, and out the door of the barn. He hoped that wherever they had gone, they were happier where they were now.
I know it may be too soon. You may not want to read this. You may not read it at all. You may burn it without second thought, but if there’s a chance that you may pause and open this letter, then I must try. My son, I am sorry. I am sorry I didn’t listen to you. I should have heard you. I should have done something. I fear I am too late. I have spoken with Lanthiriel, and Isandri, and I realize now how bad it was for you, and I am second guessing what I saw. I believe you now when you say it didn’t happen.
I would like to talk to you if you will let me. Please write to me at this box. Your mother doesn’t know I have it.
Light watch over you,
Haani sat on the overlook on the Aldor Rise. There had been a large number of blood elves entering the city again in the past few days. She frowned, glancing towards the Scryer’s Tier a level lower. The majority of them had moved there.
The large hands tickling from behind interrupted her thoughts. “Jamos!” she yelled. She knew it was her brother. No one else would dare. “I thought you were still in the forest?”
“I missed my sister. You know I like coming back for the different holidays. What do you think about this one?”
Haani shrugged, “I’m not too concerned with it. The lights are pretty.”
“Oh, that’s too bad. I got you a present.”
She turned and looked at him, raising a brow. “You did?”
He handed a small wrapped box to her. She took it and began to open it. Inside was a small statue of a priestess praying. She smiled.
“I thought of you when I saw it.”
“It’s lovely. Thank you.” she kissed him on the cheek and went inside to put it away.
Aeramin Firewind retched as he leaned over the side of the couch, instantly thankful that he had the presence of mind to place a bucket beside it before passing out last night.
He hated being drunk. He hated hangovers too, but not as much as he hated himself for drinking that much in the first place. Of course, it had its desired effect at the time. It numbed the pain. His lover had left him. His mother had died. All in the same morning. Now the hangover served as a distraction from the pain.
He would have to make more arrangements later. His mother was to be cremated and he needed to be able to take her ashes home. Home to Eversong. It was where she had grown up. It was where Aeramin had been born, although he remembered very little of the time he had lived there. He remembered where it was.
He glanced at the table where the gifts that Sanimir had bought for their friends still sat. He’d have to deliver them now. He hoped he wouldn’t have to talk to them too long about where Sanimir had gone. He could think of nothing worse than having to tell everyone one at a time that Sanimir had left him again.
Then there was the present left for him. Aeramin wasn’t sure he’d be able to open it without the mage. Maybe Kestrae was right and he would come back. Aeramin hoped that she was.
Bear unhooked the fish from his line and tossed the still flopping fish to Norr. The bear could catch his own, but Bear didn’t mind sharing, and it wasn’t like he had much else to do. He was still in the town, or more accurately, at the edge of town. He could see the inn from here. The colored lights at the entrances showed brightly through the light fog. He wasn’t quite sure what they were there for, other than it was some holiday or another. As long as it didn’t disturb the biting fish, it didn’t concern him.
He wondered if the fishing was half as good in Darnassus or Winterspring. Of course, it was a lot less exciting to run away when you were allowed to. The old man had insisted they could leave if they wanted to. The sentinels just didn’t want them alone in Ashenvale. They were free to run off and be alone somewhere else.
Bear’s home was Ashenvale. He wanted to stay here. He baited his hook and recast his line.
Magister Hethurin Fairsong scrunched up his nose as he worked the hook through the worm. He couldn’t help but empathize with the worm. It had no control over its fate. It writhed as Hethurin slid the hook into it further.
Hethurin was free for now. When he returned, his sisters, his parents, his lover and his friends would all take turns telling him what he had to do. He wondered if they would choose for him another time. They would silence him and give him no other choice. He would be the worm once more. He would be Sanimir again.
He cast out his line while glancing back at the seaside home he had purchased just yesterday. He had a really good price on it. It was apparently haunted, but it came with its own grounds keeper. The old elf had a deal with the previous owner that Hethurin decided to honor. There was no need to displace the older elf, especially if Hethurin decided to make frequent trips or have long absences from the residence.
He wasn’t sure about that. He didn’t like being the worm.
Jaeyn Summerleaf drew his bow back and aimed for the orc’s ankle. He had found the outpost a few days ago, and thought it would be the perfect place to find orcs to populate the islands. Vassanta had went to Shattrath for something. Shoes, did she even wear shoes? It was fine. It gave him the chance to get an orc, and he thought that would be a good surprise if he could disable it and get it to the island for her to hunt. He was pretty sure Sketch would like it too.
The work on the islands was coming along a lot slower than he thought it would. No one would be able to visit them at this rate. Maybe that was okay though. He rather liked sharing them alone with Vassanta.
And Sketch. And Dog. And Tumbles.
He smiled and let loose the arrow.