Monthly Archives: March 2016

Hethurin’s Notes

  • A lot has happened since I last wrote in my notes, but nothing that could really be considered out of the ordinary. The school is doing very well, and everything has been going smoothly. Even the holiday party that the boys held in their building went well, even though there was only Asharen there to watch them. The boys building is almost full. I think there’s still one room left. The girls building still has a few rooms left. A couple of the female students opted to stay in rooms here at the school so that’s probably why. Even if we get more boys, there’s still plenty of rooms here at the school. It actually feels a bit empty at night when they all go to their buildings. Tik has fewer rooms to check for light’s out, and Terellion has to keep fewer of the practice rooms stocked with reagents. Soon, Des will be moving out into her own house with Perothis. I don’t know if I can ever let anyone else use her room. Maybe I can keep it as a guest room. That might be okay. It’s good to have a few guest rooms. Most of the rooms were taken before the extra buildings were finished. Now we have a little more space to expand, and that’s good, considering I do have plans to expand and take more students.
  • I spoke to Aeramin about helping the kids on the Row. My original idea was to take a week during the summer and find 15-20 kids from the Row who want to go camping. I thought it would be a good experience for them and a break from being in a place where I’m sure they don’t get many good experiences. Aeramin had so many other good ideas though! I still want to do the camping thing, but I’m also going to donate to the priests at the Spire who work with people in the Row. He encouraged me to talk to my father about donating half of one day each week to taking cases from the Row, free of charge. In addition to that, he said he would have cried if a magic academy had offered him a full scholarship while he was still on the Row. So I’m going to make a few appointments and see what I can do about that too. I already need to speak with the teachers at the school there, and determine which kids would benefit most from camping. I’m not sure they would know any older students who would be ready for magic studies, but I think it’s worth asking. Aeramin said that most kids on the Row stop going to school before the age of 30, which is sad because a lot of student’s don’t come into their magic until they’re 40 or 50. Aeramin said a lot of other things about the school not being very good, and the teachers not staying very long. I guess there might be less students now than there were before the Scourge, so things might have changed, but I doubt it. I’m likely going to have to go to the Row myself, not just to the school, but actually out in the street and put up signs. Maybe I could arrange a magic testing and a general studies testing at the school. That way I can choose a candidate or two for free tuition at the school. If I do have to go there to put up signs, I’m taking Terellion with me, and maybe Aeramin too. Terellion will protect me if anything happens and Aeramin is known there so maybe he can prevent anything from happening just by being with us. Luckily, the school that serves the Row is on the outskirts so I won’t have to go into the middle of it to meet with the teachers there.
  • I first got the idea to try to help while we were discussing what to do for our first anniversary of Children’s Week, which is when we first met Malwen. I can’t believe it’s almost been a year already! Both Malwen and Narise were abandoned on Murder Row, and I remarked how glad I was that someone found them, and how fortunate we are to have them. That’s when I started thinking of all the kids who aren’t as fortunate, and decided something needed to be done for them.
  • For the anniversary, which comes just before our anniversary of adopting them, and our wedding anniversary, we’ve decided to get a riding hawkstrider for Narise. It’ll be something she can sit on and rock and pretend she’s riding in a race or something. I think she’ll like it, but it’s so hard to buy things for a baby. Everything she likes is so simple. She’s teething so she likes cloth dolls to chew, but I don’t think that’s a good gift. She likes to chew hair too, but that would be a really weird gift. The hawkstrider idea is the best we could come up with. Malwen is a bit easier. She has so many dolls, but no dollhouse yet. I went to see Thavron Amberlight this week to see if he would be able to make things like that. He said he could, and that he had plenty of time to get them to us before the date I said I needed them by. It’s still another month away, so I’m glad I went early to ask him!
  • On the same trip, I also sent letters to the school in the Row, and stopped by to see my father. I managed to catch him just before his lunch hour, but because he was running late with his appointments, it was more like his lunch half-hour. I saved him time by making a portal for us to the sandwich shop. We talked there about him opening up half a day each week for helping patients on the Row. He was a bit resistant to the idea at first, claiming that the priests at the Spire are supposed to take care of them, but I pointed out that there aren’t enough priests at the Spire who work with people in the Row. These people genuinely can’t afford care that could make them productive members of society again. I brought up the example of Aeramin’s father, and how he became a ranger after Lani treated him, and also the lizard ranger guy with one leg. All he needed was a new prosthetic that fit him better and he was able to walk again without pain. I don’t think he’s actually from the Row, but I left that part off. Anyway, he finally agreed to it, but it’s going to be another month before his schedule opens up for it.
  • After that,I stopped by to see the priests at the Spire. I know one of them because he’s my father’s friend, and he also helped marry Terellion and I ahead of the wedding so we could adopt the girls. He works with the orphanage and the people on the Row, and is a big advocate for assisting them. I talked to him a bit about what can be done to help. He thinks the camp is a good idea, especially if we repeat it each year, as it would give them something to look forward to. I told him I plan to have them checked at the clinic in town to make sure they’re healthy and everything. I’d also provide everything needed for camping, including clothing that they could take home at the end. He loved that idea. He was concerned that I wasn’t aware of what I was taking on. A lot of kids on the Row are messed up. I know that. I plan to keep the camp groups small, and ask the rangers for assistance. I think the more the adults outnumber the kids, the more the kids will behave and not try to set the forest on fire or stab anyone. Of course, we have the Confessor if needed too.
  • I guess I was sort of inspired by watching Aeramin slowly help people off the Row. I hadn’t really noticed before. He started with his father, then he helped Julan find work, and now he has another staying at the inn in town! Aeramin came to me a few days ago about the last one. He wants to hire him to help Imralion. I’ve agreed to pay his salary, which wasn’t much, but Aeramin said it’s fair because I’m also paying his room at the inn. He also said it was more than he was making. He seemed sure of that. I did offer to let him stay here, but Aeramin said that was a bad idea, so I guess the inn better be good enough. I guess it must be an improvement over the Row. He’ll be able to save up while he’s staying there, and get a place of his own out here. At least, that’s the hope.

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Vaildor’s Contest

(( I took two prompts this week and mashed them together. One prompt was to write a story about an artist, and the other was to write a story about a contest. I already have an artist OC, so I decided to give him a contest to participate in. ))

Dragons. Beautiful bronze dragons. That’s what filled Vaildor’s canvas. Three of them were in the painting he was working on. It wasn’t just any painting either. It was for a contest at his art school. He paid attention to the reflects in the scales, from multiple light sources in the picture adding hues of blue and gold where appropriate. They were fighting a lone mage who stood in front of a sunset casting spells. One of the dragons had already fallen, the other two were in the process of dodging the mage’s glowing arcane bolts.

It was a scene done from memory, a greatly elaborated memory, but a memory all the same. It wasn’t something he could speak about with many people, not without being looked at like he was crazy. Those he could talk to seemed happier when it seemed he was forgetting what had happened to him in the past. He was allowed to paint whatever he wanted without having to talk about it- most of the time. There were a couple of questionable paintings he had done of dead dragons that the Confessor had taken him into his office to talk about.

Vaildor did like dragons, but the mage he used to live with was, in a way, at war with them. He had seen him slay dragons numerous times. Usually, he had stayed hidden away to be safe, but that didn’t mean he didn’t peek. Vaildor wished it hadn’t happened, but he also realized the mage had kept him safe for all of the years he had been with him. In fact, he wouldn’t even be alive if it weren’t for the mage taking him in the first place. He painted dragons the same way he had seen them for years, as the enemy, though he knew that wasn’t true now. Dragons were allies unless you pissed them off.

The mage had pissed them off.

Vaildor painted a thin light line down the middle of the arcane bolt. It almost looked as though it was glowing on the canvas. He stepped back to look at it. He was quite proud of his work, and felt it at least had a chance of winning the contest. He bent forward and signed his name in the bottom corner, then hurried to the kitchen to work on starting supper before his adoptive parents finished with their work.

#

A week later, Vaildor stood in the hall of the school. Many of the students had entered the contest. The top three prizes were scholarships to the school after all, and Vaildor knew how much it cost to send him here, even part-time. Paintings lined the hall on both sides. A few of the classroom doors were open to rooms where sculptures had been put on display. Vaildor was glad he didn’t mess with sculpting. He already got yelled at enough for leaving his paints out where his baby sister could reach.

He had been able to convince Lani, his minn’da, to come with him, even if it was a weekday. Normally, she would be in the office at the clinic in the front of their house, but she had taken the day off and left Isandri and Esladra to fill in for her. She stood nearby looking at some of the other pieces of art hanging in the hall. He had already seen the judges walk by his some time ago. Had they finished looking at the others yet? He looked up and down the hallway. He didn’t see them anywhere.

“Relax. You know yours is wonderful. That won’t change whether it wins a prize or not.” Minn’da said, putting her hand on his shoulder.

He was going to reply that if he wanted to make a living doing paintings, then he had to be better than other people who wanted to do the same thing. He was sure the answer would be that he had lots of time to improve yet. He wanted to be better at it now. However, as soon as he opened his mouth to speak, he saw the contest judges walking down the hallway. He merely twitched an ear instead, and watched as the judges stopped at one of the paintings. One of them placed a blue ribbon on the frame as another shook the hand of the student who had painted it. Vaildor frowned slightly as he clapped. It was nice for the other student, but he wished he had gotten first.

The judges moved on to another painting, placing a red ribbon on it, and shaking another student’s hand. He didn’t get second either. Third was also out of reach as the judges walked all the way to the other end of the hall to put the yellow ribbon on the frame of a painting there.

Vaildor’s ears drooped.

“Vaildor, your painting is great. I’m sure the winners are more senior students who have been painting for decades. You’ll get plenty more chances to win. I promise.”

One of Vaildor’s drooped ears twitched a little. “I know.” He mumbled.

Minn’da pulled him in for a hug. Vaildor glanced around at the other students hoping they weren’t looking at him. He loved his minn’da, but he didn’t want hugs from her in front of everyone! Then he saw the judges walking back their direction in the hall. They stopped at a painting nearby and placed a white ribbon on it. They shook hands with the student who had painted the scene of a bridge over a small stream, and continued on, stopping at Vaildor’s painting. Vaildor broke away from Minn’da, and approached the judges. He watched as one of them put a white ribbon on it.

“Vaildor Lightmist?”

The headmaster of the school was also the head judge. Vaildor had only seen him a few times. He stepped forward and nodded, “That’s me.”

The headmaster shook his hand, “Your painting is being recognized for excellence in our class of part-time students. Congratulations, and keep painting. You’re fast on your way to becoming a master painter. This is one of the best from someone your age that I’ve seen in years.”

Vaildor beamed with pride. “Thank you.”

The headmaster nodded as the other judges shook Vaildor’s hand and congratulated him before moving further down the hall to hand out the next white ribbon.

Vaildor turned back to his Minn’da, this time he was the one who hugged her. “Did you hear what they said?”

“I did. I’m so proud of you. We should head home and let the Confessor know the good news.”

Vaildor nodded, “Can we stop by that really good bakery first?”

His minn’da smiled, “We’re supposed to meet up with Hethurin for our portal back home. Why don’t we go there and ask if Terellion will make a cake for the occasion instead?”

“I love cake!” Vaildor hurried ahead of her out of the art school. He was content to have recognition and cake after all.

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Winter Name Day (Part 2)

(( This week’s weekly prompt is a story set at a full moon. I decided to continue last week’s story about Malwen, as she exists in Naren. This is part of her backstory. ))

Sayda Daijou had fallen asleep fairly quickly in the rocking transport wagon. She opened her eyes to find it was still dark. Malwen had woke and was lightly fussing. She was hungry. Sayda already knew her baby had different cries for different things. Those mages couldn’t have possibly taken care of her properly. She loosened the strings on the front of her blouse enough to expose one nipple to the baby’s eager mouth. She looked towards the seat at the front of the wagon. The man who had taken her silver for passage to Westerfair was still up front. He had told her as they set off that his name was Boyd. His friend and workmate, called Stig, slept on a hard cushion just behind the seat. Sayda had hoped he would offer it to her, but he hadn’t so she had to make herself a place to sit on the wooden crates full of goods that they were transporting; fruits and vegetables, as she had been told. They were an express transport. It was winter, so it was less likely that the goods would go bad, but the northern areas often supplemented their stored goods with fresh goods from the south. Boyd had been talking about how busy they had been this winter when Sayda had first dozed off.

The man was silent now, the full moon outlined his silhouette at the front of the wagon. The only sounds were the horses’ hooves and the creaking of the wagon wheels as they turned over the road to the next town. Sayda looked down at her baby, the moonlight giving her just enough light to see her daughter with. Her little Malwen had magical ability, a rare feat in a family with no mages. Neither her nor her husband’s family had any that they knew of. Sayda frowned as she thought that maybe there had been, but since they were taken away to Thril Gandir, they had been forgotten about. Well, they couldn’t take Malwen. Sayda wasn’t allowing that to happen.

She felt the wagon halt and looked towards the front again to see Boyd speaking to someone. Stig had woken as well, and was turned around on his cushion to face whomever it was they were talking to. She felt the wagon lurch forward again, but then slowed to a stop a few seconds later. Boyd climbed down to the ground, and Stig turned towards her. “We’re just changing the horses. Boyd and I can take turns resting, but the horses can’t. Our next stop won’t be until daylight. We’ll also be stopping for breakfast then.”

Sayda nodded feeling the baby’s mouth slip off her breast. She pulled her blouse back up and put the baby against her shoulder, lightly tapping her back. “Do we have time now to leave the wagon? Also is there an outhouse nearby?”

“It’ll take a while to change the horses. You should have time. There’s an outhouse just the other side of the barn.”

Sayda looked down at Malwen, “Would you mind holding her for a few minutes? I won’t be gone long.”

Stig shifted uncomfortably for a couple of seconds before holding out his hands. “I guess I can hold her for a bit. No sense taking her into that smelly, small building.”

“Thank you, Stig” She said, handing over the baby. She crawled out and down off the wagon. The night air was chill and she wasn’t dressed very well for it, so she hurried around to the other side of the barn to find the outhouse.

On her walk back, she heard voices shouting out. They didn’t sound like Stig or Boyd. Perhaps, the owner of the barn was upset about something. She walked around the corner, stopping as soon as she saw who it was. One of the mages from the night before, and his adahi were questioning Boyd, and rather loudly. She didn’t get a chance to hear what they were saying before she felt a tug on her sleeve. She looked back around the corner to see Stig, still holding Malwen.

He whispered, “Ma’am, I think they’ve come for her.”

She glanced back at the mage. He was looking straight at her.

She whispered without looking back at Stig and moving her lips as little as possible, “Please, run the other way.” Then she pretended to be holding something and ran away from where Stig was. She didn’t look back, but prayed he had listened to her.

“Seize her! That’s the woman who stole the baby!” she heard the mage cry out. She heard a horse whinny back where the others were, but she kept running. She pulled up her skirt with one hand so that she wouldn’t trip as she ran up an incline. Then she stopped, just in time, knocking a few rocks off the cliff to the river below. She looked back to see the adahi, the mage’s protector and controller, on the horse getting closer, though he had slowed to a trot. He must have realized she was trapped. She turned back looking at the drop. If they caught her a mage could read her mind. They could do that. She was sure. What else could they do? Why hadn’t this one done any of that translocation thing she heard they did? He could just move her to him or him to her. Was he reading her mind now? She hoped not, but she knew it would happen if she was caught, and then they’d know who had Malwen.

The adahi was close enough now that he stopped his horse and dismounted. He began walking towards her. She still pretended that she was holding something, though in reality, it was just bunched fabric from her light cloak. Malwen would be safe if they thought she died. She could pretend to throw something over the cliff, but they would still take her in, and it wouldn’t be for murder. They’d still read her mind, and then they’d know that Malwen still lived. The adahi was too close.

“You can’t have her.” Sayda growled pulling her bundle of bunched fabric closer to her. She glared at the adahi before whipping around and throwing herself off the cliff, all the while acting as if she was cradling a baby close to her.

She stood no chance. The fifty foot drop was deadly, and although she landed in the water, it was shallow. She died on impact. The adahi and the mage searched around the river, only finding Sayda’s body. Boyd’s mind was read, but having seen the same things the mage had seen, he didn’t know anything, but he could confirm that the woman was Sayda and the baby’s name was Malwen. They discovered he had been lied to and told that she was fleeing abuse, and so they let him go.

They didn’t find Stig, who had found a spot out behind the outhouse that was fairly sheltered from the wind and cold. He whispered lullabies to the baby, holding her close to keep her warm, as he waited for the visitors to leave.

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A Portal at the Rangers

They heard a thud. “Ow! Shit!”

Arancon and Julan turned towards the source of the noise. They had been the only ones to linger in the dining area this evening. An elf stumbled to his feet holding his wrist.

“Mmm, men appearing out of thin air. This is my night!” Julan got up to help the other elf. “Aeramin, you really need to be more careful. Are you hurt?”

“I’m fine.” Aeramin still held his wrist despite his claim of being fine. He answered Julan without looking at him. His gaze rested on Arancon. His words slurred, and he took a crooked step forward, “You. I need to talk with you.”

“You’re drunk.” Arancon picked up his water and took a sip.

“This isn’t about me. This is about you preventing Lyorri from having the family she should have.” He plopped down into a chair at the table across from Arancon. Julan took an awkward step back.

“Aeramin, go home and get some rest. We’ll discuss this when you’re sober.”

“No. We’re discussing this now. I saw Kes and Ordinicus tonight. They said you were threatening them.”

“Did you take your medication today?”

Aeramin leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. “I’m not going anywhere until we talk about this.”

“I’ll see you in the morning. You might be sober then.” Arancon replied as he started to stand. He caught Julan sneaking into the kitchen out of the corner of his eye.

Aeramin wasn’t getting the hint. “You’ve been stubborn and horrible the past few weeks. First you’re telling Im to leave me while I’m at the clinic, and then—”

“And here we are with him leaving you while you’re not at the clinic, and look at you. You’re the one being stubborn and horrible, Aeramin.” He sat back down in the chair, and leaned forward, “You want to discuss this now? We’ll discuss it then. You’re obviously drunk, you’ve come here to tell me to let my granddaughter go, yet I know in the same breath, you’re able to tell me I was a horrible father to you. At least I didn’t abandon you. I had plenty of reason to. You brought strange men home all the time. You put your mother in danger so that you could make a few silver. That one boyfriend you had once came over to threaten us all the time for at least five years. Even with all you put us through, I never kicked you out. I never made you leave. You are worse than me. Now go home. Get sober, and we’ll discuss this tomorrow. Stop by after my patrol.”

Aeramin sat in silence for a moment. His eyes watered. He shook his head. “No. That’s not the way it was. You were drunk all the time. I had no choice but to sell myself to pay the rent because you spent all we had on alcohol. I dreamed of what it would have been like if you weren’t in my life. Do you know the difference you could have made to me if you had given me up? But this isn’t about me. It’s not about you. It’s about her. I want her to have a good family, and I can’t give her that. I hate that she exists, but I love her enough to want what’s right for her. You’re just being a jerk about her name. They’d sign your stupid papers if that wasn’t part of it.”

“I’m the jerk? You’re the one sitting here saying you wish she didn’t exist. She’s still going to be your daughter even if you give her up. You work at the school that she will attend in a few years. She’s going to know. They were worried that she would be picked on about her name being different from her parents, but I don’t think there will be any hiding that she isn’t their child by birth. The other children going to look at her and they’re going to look at you, and if anything they’ll tease her about her father abandoning her.”

“Lali doesn’t allow bullying in her class.” His speech was still slightly slurred.

“What about outside of class, Aeramin. Stop being selfish and think about what you’re doing to her by doing this.”

“I’ve already thought about it!” Aeramin raised his voice.

Arancon remained calm, noticing the kitchen door was slightly ajar, “Then why are you doing it?”

“Because she has a family, and it’s Kes and Ordinicus. It’s not me.”

“Why? Because Im doesn’t want her? I’ll remind you he’s with Kavia right now. You may not matter to him for much longer.”

Aeramin shrugged, “It’s not like that.”

Arancon raised a brow, “I think it is. She kisses him. Put aside how Imralion feels about Lyorri, and think about it. Do you really want to do this to her?”

“I don’t want her. I don’t care what happens with her name. I just want her with people who love her. Why are you so bent on stopping that?”

“Because I love her too. She’s my grandchild and will probably be my only one if you keep messing up the way you have been.”

Aeramin twitched an ear, “So she can still be your grandchild with a different name. Like I said, they agree to the rest of your stupid paper. It’s just the name thing. They want to adopt her. She belongs in their family. Don’t take that from her.” He stood, almost tripping on his robe, but catching hold of the chair in time to steady himself. “I’m going home.”

“Are you sure you can make it? I’m sure the others would be fine with you crashing here for the night if you need. I saw the portal you came through when you arrived. It might be safer if you stayed.”

Aeramin paused, thinking it over.

“There are spare beds in the men’s quarters. I’ll explain to the Captain in the morning. It’ll be fine. Come on. It’s this way.”

Julan pushed the kitchen door open and took Aeramin’s arm. “He’s right. You shouldn’t teleport right now.” He and Arancon led Aeramin to the men’s quarters and to an empty bed. He was asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow.

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Aeramin’s Notes

  • I guess I have a few things to write about. The first thing is the mess with my father. He’s being a big ass lately. It’s kind of typical for him, but he hasn’t been this bad since he stopped drinking. It makes me wonder if he’s started again. I haven’t heard that he has, but maybe he’s hiding it.
  • The first thing was when he told Imralion to leave me, while I was still being watched at the clinic in town. Then he thought I was going to want to see him after that? Like hell. I’m still mad that he’d tell Imralion something like that.
  • While I was at the clinic, I decided that I needed to let go of this whole idea of being a father to Lyorri. I mean, I don’t even have a good example to go by. He should be able to see that, but then he got his panties all up in a bunch and said that if I sign papers so that Kes and Ordinicus can adopt her, he’s going to intervene. He thinks he can raise her at the ranger building. I guess he could probably try to fight it. I know I’d have to point out that he wasn’t a good father to me, and go into all the details.
  • I honestly wouldn’t know where to start with all the details. There’s so many.
  • Anyway, in an attempt to keep some kind of peace, I’ve asked Julan to do my dirty work. I can’t talk to him right now because I’m still very angry, but Julan can. Of course, Julan says he doesn’t like him, but still, they’re sharing the same living space, so he must talk to him some. I also reminded him that my father might like talking to him more if he didn’t hit on him.
  • Of course I’m paying him. When Julan isn’t whoring out his body, he’s whoring out his diplomacy, I guess. I don’t care as long as he gets results. He has made some progress. I go to see him when he’s back from patrol, but my father is still out. I don’t have to have any unpleasant conversations that way. Well not too unpleasant anyway. I mean, sometimes Julan makes me uncomfortable, but I know it’s just the way he is. Other times, I know Orledin is peeking outside at us. That’s just weird.
  • Anyway, yes, he has made progress. He said he’s convinced my father to get a contract drawn up at the Spire to detail his visiting rights, then if Kes and Ordinicus agree to it, they can sign it. Then I can sign the papers and they’ll be free to adopt her. I hope he goes soon.
  • I’ve also been talking to Julan about other things. I almost told Kes the other night, but I didn’t. I always make sure to visit her after Lyorri’s bedtime. I don’t want to see her now, and the reasons for that are what I’ve been discussing with Julan. He understands some of it and can empathize a bit better, but if I talk about Lyorri much, I think I lose him. He does agree with me that I should let Ordinicus and Kes adopt her. He also agrees that I shouldn’t have to see her all the time if seeing her is only going to remind me of how she came to be in the first place. He doesn’t understand when I say I feel conflicted about her. I don’t know how to explain it to him. I don’t think there’s anyone I know who can understand that part.
  • I’m not even going to try telling the Confessor. He has a happy home with kids he wants. I don’t know why I’m being forced to see him every week if he can’t even relate to half of what I want to say. I guess that’s why I haven’t said it.
  • Imralion is off on his trip with Kavia. So I’m kind of home alone, which is weird, and boring. Very boring. I forgot what it’s like to be alone all the time. I don’t like it.
  • So I’ve been going to see Julan more. He thinks it’s a sign. I told him not to get his hopes up.
  • I’ve also been staying later at the school and talking to Hethurin and Terellion. Mostly Hethurin, as I’m usually gone by the time Terellion’s done cleaning up in the kitchen with Tik. Hethurin keeps asking if I’m okay, and reminds me that I need to take my medicine and asks if I’ve gone to see the Confessor. It’s true, I haven’t gone this week, but there’s still a couple of days left.
  • I also took one evening to change the decor in the spare room. I took the dolls and the frilly stuff out, and put in more gender neutral things. Hopefully, Kavia will like it too. I figure sleeping arrangements may be something we need to talk about soon, especially if their trip goes well, so it would be a good idea to have the spare room ready. I don’t know. I guess we’ll alternate or something, but that will make every other night and morning boring for me. I don’t know what to do about that. I wouldn’t be opposed to all of us being in the same room together, but I think after what happened with Cyannah, he would mind. Especially if anything happened between me and Kavia. Again, I’d be fine with it, and in fact, it would probably be easier on all three of us to just be together, but I don’t think he’s interested in all of us sharing a bed so we’ll do it his way.
  • I do wonder if we might need to have a third bedroom anyway. It’ll be like Kavia and I are sharing a room but only one of us would be in it at a time while the other is with Im. It might be better if we just each had our own rooms, then I could keep my stuff in mine and she could keep her stuff in hers, and I wouldn’t have to worry about accidentally opening her underwear drawer, or her accidentally opening mine.
  • I have a surprise planned for when he gets back. I bought a bunch of new candles for the bathroom, some new soaps, and some new interesting pillows for the bed. I also picked out some red satin lingerie to wear, and a very light, transparent robe to wear over it. I got some expensive wine from Silvermoon, and the day he comes back, I plan to buy some flowers to decorate the bathroom and bedroom. I still have my ward up around the house, so I’ll know when he’s approaching the door. I’ll definitely be ready for him.
  • I hope he’s not too tired from his week.

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Winter Name Day

(( This week’s prompt is a story featuring a countdown. I decided to do a countdown to a holiday set in Naren. There are four major holidays each year, and all of them are Name Day holidays. There is one for each season. The second purpose of this story is to kind of introduce Malwen as she exists in Naren and give a bit of her backstory. ))

Sayda Daijou held her bundled baby girl closely with her cloak wrapped around both of them. Kiril stood next to her in the largest square in Kingsfall. It was time for one of the four Naming Day Festivals that was held each year, and it was their baby girl’s first. She had been born just a week before, a couple of weeks early, but she was healthy. Sayda was glad that she wouldn’t have to wait three months to have her name. The festivities were all set to begin at midnight, though many people were already singing and dancing. Colored lights lined the square, and the falling snow drifted lightly around them.

Sayda had chosen a spot near the main stage, where many of the other parents with babies born in the last quarter had also chosen to wait. The clock at the top of the Lord’s Council Building towered over the square.

“There’s only five minutes left. The Lord should be coming out on the balcony to give his speech soon.” Kiril said, putting his arm around her.

As if on cue, Lord Curran Levander stepped out onto the balcony. The crowd cheered. Sayda was momentarily worried that it would bother her little girl, but the baby remained silent and peaceful underneath Sayda’s cloak. The crowd quieted as the Lord put up his arms in a call for silence.

“Dear people of Kingsfall, we gather again to celebrate our Winter Nameday Festival! As you know, those of you with baby’s to name should line up of to the side of the center stage. Our clerks will take care of recording your baby’s name into the town records. It is a very special day for our youngest citizens. Having their names given and recorded marks their first place in the world. We come together for them as a community, as an extended family to wish them health and happiness throughout their lives. We are also here to celebrate those who were named on Winter Name Day’s in the past, whether this is your first or 200th, it marks the momentous day of your naming. The festivities will start at midnight and continue on into the night. There will be a short break after 2 a.m. so that those who live near the square can get their rest, but make sure you come back during the day for the remaining Name Day Celebrations! We have music and dancers planned as well as some mages from Thril Gandir whom have come to entertain us!”

A roar went up through the crowd as the Lord paused to look at the clock. Sayda was excited to hear the music and see the dancers, but the mages scared her. Kiril gave her a quick squeeze as if he had read her mind. Perhaps he was just as scared. She knew the probability of her baby being taken by the mages was statistically low. No one in her or Kiril’s families had ever tested for any magic ability.

The crowd went silent again as the Lord held out his hands. “The time is upon us!” He watched the clock’s large second hand as it passed the nine and neared the ten. Then he started counting down, “Ten! Nine!” The crowd counted with him. “Eight! Seven! Six!” Sayda smiled at Kiril as he joined in as well. “Five! Four! Three! Two!”

The one slurred into an eruption of cheers. Anything else the Lord said after was drowned out by the noise of the revelers. He went back inside the building, and Sayda and Kiril found their place in the line which was forming. There weren’t a lot of people ahead of them, and Kiril started swaying his shoulders to match the lively music that had started on the main stage. They could have waited until morning. There would have likely been no line at all then, but they weren’t the type of parents who would let their baby go nameless a few extra hours.

Soon, they were inside the building and speaking to one of the clerks. She took their names first, then wrote down that they were elven, and asked for their address. Then she asked for the girl’s name.

Sayda looked at Kiril and smiled. They had spoken about it, but they couldn’t call the baby by the name they had chosen until today. Kiril smiled back and answered, “Malwen.”
The clerk wrote the name down and stamped it with the lord’s seal. “Before you go, you need to go to the room across the hall to see the mages.”

Sayda nodded. It was the scary part. Kiril put his arm around her and led her back to the hall. One of the mages stood out in the hall ready to usher them into the next room.

Kiril whispered, “It’ll be fine. Neither of us have magic in our families.”

Sayda tried to nod, but she was petrified. Her sweet darling Malwen had only just received her name, and now she had to be handed over to be tested for magical ability.

One of the mages thrust his hands out, waiting impatiently as she passed over the bundled, sleeping baby. He took her and put her on the table behind him. Another mage cast a spell and his hands glowed. He held them over Malwen’s bundle.

A third mage spoke, “Unwrap her. I need to see her better.” The first mage undid the blanket, waking Malwen in the process. She started to fuss. The second mage’s hands still glowed over her. Malwen’s hands glowed in response.

“Your baby needs to go to Thril Gandir with—”

“No!” Sayda cried. “You can’t take her!”

Kiril was a little more composed and tried to calm her while reasoning with the mages, “There must be some mistake.”

“There’s no mistake. It’s a test of reflection. Any being with any magical power is going to reflect the spell whether they know it or not. She needs to go for training.”

“But she’s just a baby.” Kiril tried to reason. He had little hope of it working. Five years ago, the laws were changed. Before that, babies who tested with magic stayed with their families until they were of school age. The new law sent them as soon as they were discovered. Thril Gandir had dealt with too many who had tested positive only to ‘die’ before their fifth Name Day, or be ‘kidnapped’. Of course it was the parents hiding them, and that always resulted in rogue mages. In order for control to be kept, proper training needed to be given, as well as proper supervision.

“You are allowed to visit.” The mage said stiffly. “Now please, we have other infants to test. You must leave now.”

Sayda wailed, “No, you can’t take my baby!” She began to rush the mage, but Kiril grabbed her and held her back.

“Sayda, no. We can’t fight their law. You know what they do. Please, Sayda, don’t do this. We’ll save up our coins and go see her when we can.”

She broke down into tears, allowing her husband to steer her out of the room, and out of the building. He was right. Fighting there would have been a horrible mistake that would have likely ended in getting her or both of them imprisoned or worse.

The festive music seemed out of place as they walked away from the square. People were laughing and dancing as Kiril guided her through the crowd. It wasn’t fair, and she vowed to find a way to get her baby back before the mages left for Thril Gandir.

*****

Snow continued to fall through out the next day. Family members had stopped by in the morning with gifts for Malwen’s Name Day only to find Malwen had been taken by the mages. Sayda was miserable, and Kiril had stayed with her most of the day. Sometime after what was normally considered lunch time, he tried to get Sayda to eat. While they were in the kitchen, a knock came at the door. He left her there, and she took the opportunity to sneak out the kitchen door into the back alley.

She hurried around the garbage and debris that had piled up in the alley and took the street it came out on in the direction of the main city square. She knew that her husband must have discovered her missing by now, and that only made her rush more. He could not be involved in any of this. She would put her own life at risk, but not his.

She came to the square and slowed as she reached the door where they had went in last night. It was unlocked. There was a sign to the door to register names. Sayda glanced at the door across the hall from it. The door was open. She crept up to it and peeked inside. One of the mages from the night before sat in a chair reading a book. The others were nowhere to be seen, perhaps they were getting ready for their entertaining magical display that they did every Name Day. Malwen was not there either. Her heart sank for not thinking this through. Perhaps the performance was done, and they had already left with her. However, they must know that there was possibility of having more babies to test today. Maybe they were just in another room.

Sayda slipped past the open door unnoticed and around the sign pointing to the clerk’s door. She’d check every door for her daughter if she had to.

The next two doors were shut and locked. She decided it would be best to move on since she had no idea how to pick a lock and she had no desire to be found trying to learn here. She went to the next door and opened it, immediately smiling at her luck.

“Who are you?” A woman holding a small baby to her breast asked.

“I’m the other wet nurse. I was told to come relieve you so that you can go for supper.”

“They brought lunch to me here.”

“They want you to be able to go out and enjoy the festival too. Now please, everything will be fine. I’ll take over from here.”

The woman hesitated, but eventually stood and handed over the baby. “She’ll need to be burped yet, but she shouldn’t need to be fed again for a couple of hours.”

Sayda nodded as she gently took the baby from the woman. Her baby. She wanted to cry with joy right there, but she knew that wouldn’t look right to the other woman. She put the burp cloth over her shoulder and gently tapped Malwen’s back with her hand. The woman finally left.

Sayda waited a few minutes before slipping out the door herself. She made sure Malwen was wrapped warmly, and tucked her under her cloak before stepping out of the building. She had no doubt they’d be guarding this place better on following Name Days, but that was not her concern. Right now, she was only worried about getting Malwen to safety with family.

She couldn’t take her home. She hated how much it would hurt Kiril, but there was no other option. She hoped he would figure it out himself and follow after he was sure he wasn’t being watched.

She went to one of the areas in the city where there were a lot of warehouses, as well as transport wagons and such. Most of the workers there had the day off, but even on Name Day holidays some goods needed to be transported. She finally found a human who was heading north.

“Do you go all the way to Westerfair?”

“Yes ma’am. Westerfair is my last stop. Do you need something taken there?”

“I need to go there.”

“I can’t do that. You’ll need to hire a passenger wagon.”

“Sir, please, I can’t afford it.”

He seemed to consider it, “Well, you don’t look like a criminal. That’s why I’m not supposed to take you, you know? Too many people want transportation without having to get a ticket with their name on it. Tell you what, I’ll take you for one whole gold piece.”

She frowned, “Oh please, I only have a few silver. I need to get my baby to safety from my abusive family.” It was a lie. She hated telling it, but she couldn’t tell the truth, and it was for the baby’s safety.

The man sighed, “How much do you have then?”

“40 silver, sir. Please sir, I have family in the north if I can just get to them.”

The man sighed again, “Hop in.”

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Orledin’s Ranger Log

(( This is last week’s weekly prompt for writing a creepy story. I don’t think I’m particularly good at creepy stories, but I did try. It was written last week, but it was on paper in one of my notebooks. I’ve only now had the time to finally type it up. I worked in a second weekly prompt from another source this week, write something in first-person. I think the two prompts worked well together! ))

I usually don’t write in my ranger log. Ordinarily, nothing significant happens while on patrol so there’s not much to write about. I suppose there are some things worth mentioning about last night.

Patrol started as usual. Sorrowmoss and I decided to cover the southern route as we had covered the northwest and the northeast routes on the previous two nights. We usually patrol the southern route every other day. It needs more attention as there are still random Scourge wandering about, and most of them are in the southwestern areas. I guess it was out of the unusual that we patrolled the northern routes two nights in a row, but one of the day patrols had reported some possibly rabid bats along the northeast route. While they had taken care of the two they had seen, we were asked to pass by the same route that night, and check for them. Bats are nocturnal, so even rabid, it would be more likely to see them at night. We saw nothing, and the day patrols after us reported no further bat activity. So we decided tonight to go on the south route.

As usual, Sorrowmoss led in silence as I followed behind. Sometimes I try to talk to her, but I think it usually ends with just me talking, and probably saying too much. She knows way more about me than she needs to know. I’m sure of that.

So it was, I had started talking and was running my mouth about Pancat’s latest antics, baking, how cute Julan is, how much of a slut Julan is, how Aeramin’s boyfriend is mistreating him by seeing Kavia, how jealous I am, how much I miss being alive, how much I miss a lot of things, etc., and definitely not paying attention to where I was going. Well, I wasn’t paying attention until I almost knocked her over. She had stopped right in front of me, and I hadn’t noticed. The look she gave me made me almost glad I’m undead because I’m pretty sure she would have killed me otherwise. She might have tried anyway if she hadn’t already been thinking about something else. She put one finger up in front of her mouth, telling me to be quiet without saying a thing. She looked off into the forest. I strained to hear anything, but there were only regular night noises. I couldn’t see anything either.

We stood that way, silent and unmoving, for at least five minutes. It felt like an eternity. I keep listening and watching, though I didn’t know what for. I dared not move or talk until Sorrowmoss did.

At last, she finally moved. Slowly, she readied her bow and took a step forward. When an undead ranger moves slowly, it’s so slow, you begin to question whether she moved or not at all. At some point, I was definitely aware that her bow wasn’t in the same place it had been a minute before. I still didn’t see anything, so I decided it was best if I stayed put. I continued standing silently in the same place as she slowly took a step forward.

I stared off towards the section of the forest that she was slowly creeping towards, still unable to see or hear whatever it was that caused her to stop in the first place. I was beginning to think that perhaps she was messing with me, when she bolted off into the woods.

I struggled to keep up. I don’t know how she can move so quickly, but I kept getting my hair caught on twigs, and the underbrush was too thick in some places so I had to find a way around. Whatever she was after, she seemed to remember that I was there, and that I’m her patrol partner, and that we’re not supposed to split up. I saw her waiting for me a couple times, making sure I saw her before she left in another direction.

I was about to beg her to stop the next time I caught sight of her, but when I did she stood in one place with her finger up to her mouth again. Did she know I was about to yell? Maybe she was playing some sort of trick on me after all. Was she fed up with all my talking on patrol? She didn’t say. I didn’t ask. I did catch up to her though, and then we were back to moving slowly until we came into a clearing.

She stopped, so I did too. There was a man in the middle of the clearing. Though it was dark, there was enough moonlight to tell that he looked to be undead. Sorrowmoss was the first to call out, her bow ready in her hand. “Hello! We are rangers. What is your business in this section of the woods?” It was protocol when dealing with any possible Scourge, and an important question when dealing with any undead. The Scourge still wandered, but there were undead in the area too. Undead who were more like Sorrowmoss and myself, who weren’t under Scourge control anymore. We always had to make sure we were not killing a Ghostland’s citizen, though usually, it was pretty obvious.

No answer came. That was the usual sign that they didn’t have their mind. Sorrowmoss exchanged a glance with me, and started to raise her bow, but I thought it was better to investigate further. I wasn’t sure why. I quickly rationalized that he could be deaf, so I stepped out closer. Sorrowmoss lowered her bow a bit as I began to towards the figure.

She will say I wasn’t being very cautious, but I was. Each step, I knew I was getting closer, and I was calculating the distance from the middle of the clearing to the forest edge. I was very aware of how closely behind Sorrowmoss was, or in this instance, wasn’t. She had moved only a few feet further in and stood there with her bow ready. I trust her aim so I walked up to the figure and stood about five feet away.

That was when I recognized him. His long dark hair had mostly fallen away and his bare skull showed in places with his scalp only held by thin grotesque strips of skin. His once long ears were now no more than tattered nubs. His lifeless sockets glowed yellow, and rotted skin hung from his face. His bare teeth showed, a dull, rusted metal jaw reinforced what was left of his own. Even most of his clothing had rotted away, and he would have been unrecognizable except for one feature. His cloak clasp still held the tattered remains of a cloak he had been buried in. It was gold with sapphires that used to match the blue in his eyes, and sparkled just the same as well. Dirt was caked in the clasp now, but there was no mistaking it. I looked closer at the undead. The recognition stopped there. His hair might have been the same, but then many people had black hair. Perhaps he had stolen the clasp.

But then he spoke, “Orledin.”

I stepped back, unsure if I wanted to acknowledge his recognition.

His head flopped to the side as he stepped towards me. “Orledin.”

An arrow zipped through the clearing and into the undead’s throat, hitting it’s mark and severing the spinal cord, or what was left of it. I took another step back as his head toppled off his shoulders, having lost the only thing that was left holding it in place. The body continued to stand for a few seconds later, until it too crumbled to the ground.

I stood staring at what was left, unaware that Sorrowmoss had made her way to me until she spoke.

“What were you thinking? It was either Scourge or had completely succumbed to brain rot. Neither one should be approached like that.”

“You killed him.” I said, still a bit stunned as I knelt to look for the cloak clasp in the remains.

“You’re lucky I did. He was too close to you. Or he’s lucky I did if he was suffering brain rot.”

I found the clasp and squeezed it in my hand. “I’m sorry.” I was saying it to him. Sorrowmoss thought I meant it for her. I didn’t correct her.

“You’re forgiven. Let’s go on the rest of the patrol. I have no desire to stand out here while you play bone collector.”

“I’m not— “ I didn’t finish the sentence as it would be useless to argue with her. I stood, putting the clasp in my cloak pocket. As I let it go, I heard my name said again.

Orledin.

I looked down at the body, but it hadn’t moved. I looked at Sorrowmoss, who was already on her way to leave the clearing. “Did you hear that?”

“I only hear the wind. Let’s get back on the path so we can finish patrol before dawn.”

I trusted she was right, but as I left the clearing, I heard it again, though fainter this time.

Orledin.

I turned back for one last glance at the crumpled body. It hadn’t moved. I turned back around and rushed to catch up with Sorrowmoss.

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