WoW – Lunch hour at Fairsong Academy

Arancon Firewind arrived at the school where his son was teaching just a little afternoon. Classes were done for the morning, and it would be another hour or so before the afternoon classes started. He wandered through the hall in the direction he thought the fire classes were supposed to be when someone called for him behind.

“Arancon, wait!”

He turned to see Isturon. “Hi. Have you seen Aeramin?”

Isturon shook his head as he approached. “I haven’t. You’re here for him. Do you have a moment to talk, or is it urgent to find him?”

“I guess I could spare a few minutes.” Arancon looked back down the hall hoping Aeramin hadn’t already teleported away.

“Good. Okay, so I got her flowers and a card, but then nothing happened.”

Arancon blinked at him, “Well, did you try anything?”

“Like what? I thought the flowers were something to try.”

Arancon shook his head, “You should have kissed her.”

“I kissed her cheek. I’m not sure the flowers worked enough for more than that. Maybe she hates roses.” Isturon frowned slightly.

“Weren’t you married before? How are you so clueless?” Arancon asked. He immediately thought that maybe it sounded a bit rude, but then he also thought it was true enough to be said. He raised his eyebrow to accent that it was indeed a question and not just a rude statement.

It still made Isturon pause and look at him. “Uh, well, I didn’t exactly have to do anything to get married. It was arranged, and anyone else I saw, they initiated it. Anyway, that’s how it was. They were already interested in more, and yes, I bought flowers and took them places, and, well, that got results. It’s not working this time.”

“I still think you need to kiss her,” Arancon said, adding quickly, “on the lips.”

“I’m not getting any signals that she wants to be kissed on the lips, and kissing a woman on the lips who doesn’t want to be kissed on the lips just isn’t something I’ll do.”

“Have you talked to her about what she wants?” Arancon asked.

“I think I made it clear what I want, and that I’m willing to wait. I don’t want to push her into it.”

“Maybe you should find out if she’s waiting then.”

“I suppose I should, probably before Keyalenn’s father visits again.”

“Oh? Is there competition now?”

“No. It’s not a contest.” Isturon frowned. He opened one of the doors to what looked to be a practice room. “There’s something else I wanted to ask, but I don’t want anyone to hear. Come here.”

Arancon followed him into the room, and Isturon closed the door.

“Okay, when I was married, I had a few other relationships outside the marriage. I usually don’t think too much about them because it was just something that happened when I was in a very loveless marriage.”

“You cheated on your wife?”

“Yes.”

“What? How?”

“My wife was a heartless harpy, and most of my energy spent on her was just to make the marriage work until the kids were done with all of their schooling.”

“Well, I mean, you have seven kids so it couldn’t have been too bad.”

“I really tried to make it work for the first four decades. I gave up after that and just tried to make it tolerable. She already hated me so there wasn’t much else to do.” Isturon shook his head with a sigh. “Eventually, well, it kind of just happened. I was at a place and this woman started talking to me. I told her I was married and she said she didn’t care. Then I realized I didn’t either. I thought I’d at least get to-”

“Does Braedra know you cheated on your ex-wife?” Arancon interrupted, folding his arms.

“Um, no, but that’s why I wanted to talk to you. Do you think I should tell her?”

“If you really like her as much as you say you do, yes. She deserves to know. There’s no point in hiding your past. You can’t hide your dirty laundry under the bed and expect it not to stink. What kind of man do you want to be to her? If you rely on her never finding out your past, does that make you any better today? Tell her. Be honest. She deserves to know who you were, and the way she finds out about who you used to be tells her a lot about who you are now.”

Isturon blinked, “Well, she might not want to see me anymore if I tell her.”

Arancon sighed, “And you think it would be any better if she found out later on her own?”

“Hmm, another good point. I’ll have to consider it further. How are things going with Anorelle?”

“Great! We’re getting married.”

Isturon stared at him. “Already?”

Arancon nodded, “I know people are going to say it’s too soon, but I just want to be with her. I love her so much. I feel like it’s just supposed to be this way.”

“Well, congratulations. Will the wedding be this summer?”

“A couple of weeks from now. We’re going to the island for a trip and there’s a chapel there.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

Isturon shook his head, “You’re right. It does seem really fast to me, but if you’re both happy, then it doesn’t matter what I think.”

“You should worry about making Braedra happy,” Arancon said as he inched towards the door. “I still need to find my son, so if you’ll excuse me. I just hope he hasn’t left the school grounds.”

Isturon nodded, “I think he usually stays around the—”

Arancon barely touched the door handle when it opened.

“— Well, there he is.”

“Tik said you were looking for me. I heard voices in here so I thought it might be you. If you two are discussing something private I can leave.”

Isturon replied, “I was just going. I haven’t eaten yet.” He slipped out past the two of them as he spoke.

Arancon looked at Aeramin. “Let’s take a walk.”

Aeramin frowned and let out a short sigh, “What did you do that requires that we take a walk before you tell me?”

“Nothing bad. Come on, the garden is nice. All the flowers are blooming. A little sun will be good for you.”

Aeramin looked at him doubtfully before twitching an ear and muttering, “Fine.”

Arancon waited until they were outside and a ways down one of the garden paths before speaking again. “I know you’ve been having a rough time lately, and I’m worried that what I have to say will make it worse.”

Aeramin’s ear twitched. “You never worried about making things worse before. Just say it, Arancon.”

“Okay.” He took a deep breath before continuing. “I asked Anorelle to marry me and she said yes.”

Aeramin’s ear twitched again, but he said nothing.

“Um, it’s going to be at the chapel on the island when we go for our trip. You’re invited if you want to go, but I’ll also understand if you don’t want to be there.”

Aeramin stopped walking as he regarded one of the flowering bushes. “I’ll try.”

Arancon turned to look at him, “You’ll try?”

“I’ll try to be there. Look, right now I just want to be left alone.” Aeramin disappeared with a quick spell.

Arancon frowned at the spot where his son had been. “I’ll let you be for a bit then.” He started wandering back to the school. He had promised Anorelle he’d bring food back so that they could have a fancy lunch at the ranger building. He smiled as he thought of her while heading back.

 

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WoW – My Week by Vaildor Lightmist

I had a good week. First of all, I have cards now and a nice box for them. I was able to trade some duplicates with Kiandris and he gave me some of his. I got both Lor’themar and Lady Liadrin! I don’t think that happens very often in the same pack! I’m really excited to start my collection, but I can’t talk about it around Minn’da because she doesn’t understand. She thinks they’re just paper, and well, they are, but they’re collectible, so that’s not all they are.

We’ve been working hard on our play at school. I’m going to be an orc, and I get to yell, but Miss Lali doesn’t want me to yell until the actual play because she says I might disturb the other classes. Besides practicing our lines, we’ve been working on the props and backgrounds. Miss Lali put me in charge of that and I get to tell the others what needs to be done and suggest ways to do it. It’s mostly just painting the backdrops and making fake trees and rocks and stuff.

Yesterday, Ann’da went to Silvermoon to meet a boy called Lukian at the orphanage. Minn’da was supposed to go too, but some guy from one of the other estates was bitten by a spider. She had to stay behind to treat him. Ann’da wound up bringing the boy back with him! It’s a good thing we had already prepared and moved the spare bed into my room and everything. My paints and easel are in the spare room now, and it’s going to be my art studio.

Lukian seems okay. He’s really quiet which is a little weird. I told him that I’m adopted too kind of. I am, but I still have family, so I guess I can only kind of sort of relate. Ann’da got him a pack of cards to trade too, and got me another pack. He has an Aethas! He’s like an important archmage or something. I bet he’s a better mage than even Hethurin is, and that must be really good because Hethurin keeps a ward up around the school all the time and still manages to cast other spells and stuff for his classes. I think. I’m not in his classes so I don’t really know, but if he teaches, he must be able to show stuff.

Anyway, I got the feeling that I was more excited about his Aethas card than he was. Maybe he just doesn’t know it’s rarer.

He does like my paintings. I didn’t show him the ones with boobs because he’s only twelve, and Minn’da would probably get mad at me if I showed him.

My other Ann’da will be spending the evening with us one night next week because it’ll be theater night. I was worried that I would have to babysit Telinda that night, but if he’s going to be here, then it’ll be fine. Lukian will either be back at the orphanage or a real part of our family by then. I kind of hope he’s still here.

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WoW – Isturon’s Notes

  • Nessna and Sath’alor had their date for the theater play come up. I arrived at their place to watch the boys for them while they went. Rylad spent most of the time wanting to be a cat. I don’t know where the actual cats were, but I’m kind of glad I didn’t have to deal with them.
  • Zeran also spent some time being a cat. He’s starting to speak full sentences. They’re short, but his vocabulary is growing. He does know ‘rawr’. I’m kind of glad Hethurin never did that. I think Nessna would have if she fell in with the wrong pre-school crowd, but thankfully, she didn’t.
  • They left early enough to get supper before the theater. I didn’t see it, but Sath’alor claims that Nessna wore a dress. She must have slipped that on while I was distracted by the boys, the slipped back into pants right after getting back. I’ll admit I fell asleep on the sofa, but not until after the boys were asleep. It’s hard work being a grandfather. I’d earned a little nap, but I did miss the dress!
  • I wound up staying at the ranger building last night. Nessna said it was too far to walk to my place in the dark, and maybe she was right. They have a couple of spare beds in the men’s quarters, so both she and Sath’alor thought it would be better if I stayed there.
  • They also said there were donuts in the morning, which honestly, was all they needed to say.
  • It also came with the added bonus that I got to speak with Arancon. I think everyone’s heard that his girlfriend stayed the night at his place. I heard it from Hethurin who had heard it from Aeramin. I guess Aeramin is upset about it or something. I don’t know what’s wrong with these kids not wanting their parents to be happy.
  • It was pretty late, but he was still awake. He’s still adamant that I should just try inviting Braedra over for supper. I’m not sure that’s a good idea, and the fact is, I have. It was supposed to be for lunch, but I think it’s going to be supper. I’m worried that things will progress too far, too quickly. I’m going to make sandwiches, which I guess isn’t the fanciest meal, but it was supposed to be lunch.
  • I told him that and he asked me what I’m afraid of. I don’t think I’m afraid. I haven’t really wondered if I am. I like her. I want to get to know her better. I don’t want to rush her. I’m afraid of rushing her. So that’s it, right? I’m afraid of rushing her.
  • I may also be afraid that she’ll break it off with me eventually. I fell asleep thinking about that.
  • That’s probably why Sath’alor was able to get it from me so easily in the morning. Luckily, Nessna knows about what I told Sath’alor, and she knows not to tell Esladra or Vallindra. I know that both of them still have contact with their mother, and I don’t want it getting back to her, though I suppose it doesn’t matter now.
  • I’ve always hoped that my children would be able to find love on their own. I’ve hated having to stand by and watch as Verisna tried to find matches for them, and that’s because I was never really very happy with her. I made the decision to study to be a priest when I was young, and my parents found a way to make that happen with an arranged marriage. My decision was to study and not inherit the farm. I didn’t choose Verisna.
  • I thought love for her would come in time, but it didn’t. She wanted children. Specifically, she wanted sons. Vaildor’s death put even more strain on the relationship, and by the time Sanimir was born things were pretty much already over.
  • Of course, at that point, I was already forty years in. I didn’t want to lose my children so I stayed.
  • Another factor was the prenuptial agreement. I’d get nothing, not even what I had earned if the marriage didn’t last a certain amount of time, so I worked to make sure it lasted that long, which was, perhaps, not very nice, but then Verisna was never very nice either. Now I get a comfortable amount from her each month, and I don’t have to see her again.
  • I had a point.
  • Oh yes, I remember now. I spoke with Sath’alor and let it out that I had seen other women while I was married, and my point to telling him that was to let him know that they always left me. Even though I let them know I was married right at the start, they still left me. I think every single one of them set out with the idea they were going to make me leave Verisna or something. At some point ,it always came to that. They wanted more, some sort of commitment.
  • Verisna was cheating on me too. I bet she’s cheating on Bailas, and that’s why she hasn’t come out to fetch him yet.
  • All I wanted was a woman who loved me.
    Maybe it’s just not meant to be.
  • Sometimes I think I should bring it up with the confessor, but I don’t want Lani to know. She knows about one but not the rest. Luckily, Nessna does know about more than one, so if Sath’alor tells her, she knows better than to spread the news around.
  • Sath’alor thinks I should tell Braedra.
  • Braedra has already asked me to stop spending money on her. She may not be ready for a relationship. I’m willing to wait, but that’s assuming she might think she’d be interested later.
  • I’m going to get her flowers anyway. Sath’alor suggested I get a card and write my feelings in it. I’m not sure what I’m allowed to feel for her. I thought getting a card with something already written in it would be better, but he said those aren’t personal. I think if I’m personally picking it out, then it’s personal. I’ll buy both and paraphrase the one that’s already written.
  • We’re also going to see the orchestra. I think as friends, unless the card is really good.
  • I’m taking myself to see a jazz band later this week.
  • Also, Sath’alor told me that Nessna is going to have another baby. I don’t know why Nessna didn’t tell me. While I’m happy, I can’t help but feel older with each grandchild.

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Naren – It was all Stupid

Stupid. It was all stupid. She had agreed! Sorias grumbled under his breath as he made his way along the rocky terrain. Isehari had departed while he slept. This was following an argument they had. She had changed her mind and wanted to see the human settlements whereas he was still set on traveling to the dwarven lands. She had agreed!

He didn’t know why it surprised him so much. Neither of them had felt very accepted in Glimarin elf society. He had been an orphan left on the steps of the guard’s headquarters in Fleronvale, and she was the daughter of a prostitute who gave her up when she was a toddler. Neither of them had the best start in life. Both of them were raised by the town, sleeping in the guard’s barracks instead of a home. No one acted to take them in, but at least she had known her mother at least a little.

And it was a stupid thing to start a fight over. It was easy to see that now that she was gone. He had mentioned it, as he often did just to prove he was worse off than she was. It had quickly moved onto who was always making the decisions and maybe she didn’t want to go to the dwarves. Maybe she wanted to go to the humans. Maybe he couldn’t stop her. She slept on the opposite side of the camp, but when he woke, she was gone.

She’ll show up again. Maybe. He had to admit that there was a possibility that she wouldn’t, but he wasn’t going to go look for her either. He was going to stick to the plan.

It was something he had wanted to do since he was a boy. One of the guards was a little more motherly than the rest of them and took it upon herself to tell the two orphans tales of her service along the northern borders, a border shared with the dwarves. Most lived in holes in the ground, though some could be found in stone hovels above ground. They were short and hairy things. She claimed that the tallest among them would only come to her hip! As Sorias was on the short side for a Glimarin elf, even now fully grown, he thought that sounded pretty neat to be taller than everyone else.

Of course, that was not the only reason. Dwarves had inventions— things that worked with heat and steam, things that worked by winding, things that a typical mage would tire from maintaining. She had told them of many of the things she had seen, and Sorias’s imagination took it from there. He needed to go there. He wanted to learn those things.

Isehari had only agreed to go along because she wanted to leave and see the world. He supposed that if she had changed her mind and didn’t want to see the dwarves with him, then that was her loss.

But it was still all stupid.

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Naren – Karuna Firewind

Carl Foxrun was furious. “What do you mean we’re not going back?”

“To the tower?”

Carl rolled his eyes. The ‘tower’ was a small home with a tiny room built on a second floor. It was anything but a tower, but Karuna Firewind refused to call it anything else. “Yes, the tower,” Carl replied through his teeth.

“Right, we’re not going back. I met with one of the guy’s leading the rebellion against Kingsfall, and they need my sort of power.”

“Might I remind you that Thril Gandir has not assigned us to any city. We do not need to get involved in this fight, Karuna. We should go back to the ‘tower’ and wait it out. You have the staff now. Isn’t that enough?”

“Exactly! I have the staff, and they need help.” Karuna held his staff up as if to affirm that, yes, he did indeed have it.

Carl wished he’d be more careful with that thing. Karuna had tested it before leaving the mountains, and the sheer power he had with it was, indeed, formidable. Carl was unsure he could fulfill his duty as an adahi should Karuna decide to run rampant with it. He was aware that mages were assigned both to Kingsfall and the towns that were rebelling. Thril Gandir did not pick sides in these matters, but that also meant that if Karuna wanted to use his free-travel assignment to join up with the rebels, he was allowed to do so.

Still, he saw it as his duty to try to convince him otherwise. After all, part of his job description involved keeping his mage safe.

“What about Shandaryl?” He hated bringing her up, but he couldn’t think of anything that could be more convincing. She was a beautiful elven woman who lived about half of a mile away from the ‘tower’. Carl had been seeing her until Karuna convinced him to call it off with her. Love between a human and an elf was frowned upon. Offspring from such unions were always infertile and often made fun of for not quite being human and not quite being an elf either. Karuna’s advice made sense, but when Karuna started seeing her himself not even a week later, it became all too clear his true intentions. Two months after that, Karuna decided it was time to finish the enchantment of his staff and off they went to the south. It was a strong enchantment and involved much more than Carl had been ready to deal with, but it was over now. He had been looking forward to going home.

“We broke up.”

Carl blinked. Did he hear right? Hadn’t Shandaryl told him? “What do you mean? I talked to her a few days before we left. Didn’t she tell you?”

“She told me she was pregnant, and I told her I didn’t need any loud kid running around. I have research to do, and right now, I have a war to join. Let’s go. They have a camp just on the other side of town.”

Carl sighed as he watched Karuna turn and start walking. Karuna didn’t look back. After a moment of debate, Carl picked up the bags and followed after him. As Karuna’s adahi, he didn’t have a choice after all.

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WoW – Aeramin’s Notes

  • I guess I haven’t been feeling great lately. I’m really glad today is a weekend day and not a weekday. I don’t have to be anywhere.
  • I spent most of the morning in bed. I got up once to go to the bathroom, but that was it. Imralion brought up breakfast, but I wasn’t really that hungry. His eggs looked a little weird, but that wasn’t the problem at all.
  • Then around noon, he coaxed me downstairs. He was polishing his armor in the sitting room. Our sitting room is kinda nice because it has a lot of windows. There’s a fireplace in one corner, and windows all around. So I took up residence on the sofa and watched him polish armor while huddled in a blanket. It’s raining today, a lot. It was kind of soothing. I’m still upset though. He’s gone to get food from the school now.
  • It’s just hard seeing Arancon with someone. I AM glad he’s happy. I want him to be happy. I think that’s good. I like her enough, though I don’t really know her. Im’s grossed out by the idea of them kissing, but I don’t really care if they do.
  • When we left last night, he asked us to close the door when we left. I believe he and Anorelle probably stayed at the house last night. Otherwise, he would have closed the door when they left.
  • I don’t know how to explain it. I see him with Anorelle, and I think of Maena. I remember bits and pieces of things that happened when I was a kid and we lived in Eversong. Not a lot. I was only six when we moved, but I remember him being happy then. I remember Maena was so happy then too. I think I was happy. Then we moved and things went to shit.
  • I think about that sometimes. What would have happened if we hadn’t moved? I guess it would have been possible that I’d have been eaten by a troll, but I think it would have been more likely that we’d have all died in the Scourge attacks along with my father’s mother and aunts and uncles and cousins, as well as my mother’s family.
  • So I guess being in the Row saved us. Or maybe that really depends on the way you look at it.
  • Anyway, during my appointment with the confessor this week, I tried to talk a little about what I’ve been feeling, but I don’t know if I made very much sense. I mean, I try to talk to my father about it, but he’s just in such a good mood. I don’t want to ruin it. I did try a little harder last night.
  • He had invited us and Anorelle over for supper, and this was just after he asked for some of Maena’s paintings for his house. I’m bothered by that too, but I went and picked some out for him. He had wanted to go with me to Shattrath, but I’ve decided I’m not ready to take him there, so I skirted around the question, and just brought him the paintings the next day.
  • Anyway, supper.
  • We arrived there and he was still cooking. Im and I sat and talked to Anorelle for a bit after she came out, then I went to check on Arancon. I told him a bit about how I feel. I didn’t want to make it into a big confrontation, so I talked to him while helping. I adjusted the heat with a spell, and checked the rice. I told him that it wasn’t him, and it wasn’t Anorelle, but I’d been feeling a bit down lately because their relationship reminds me that Maena isn’t here.
  • I went on to say that it also reminds me that Maena never got to see him well again, and that makes me sad. I would have added that I miss her, but whenever I say that recently, I start crying. It’s just bringing it all back. Anyway, he just stood there and agreed with me that he had been a shit head in the past. Luckily, the food was ready then because I don’t think I could have said much else and still kept it together.
  • He made his spicy chicken recipe. It’s been years since I’ve had it. I don’t remember it being quite so spicy. It tasted great, but I thought I was going to die. I didn’t finish mine. I couldn’t. I was sweating. My eyes were watering. My throat felt like it was on fire. I just couldn’t.
  • Imralion ate mine so it didn’t go to waste.
  • It came up that he used to cook in restaurants. I guess he did off and on. He wasn’t very good at keeping jobs. I didn’t say anything about how long he usually kept jobs.
  • The cake was good. It wasn’t spicy either. Orledin made it, I guess.
  • Then he had some tree on his porch that needed to be moved, so he borrowed my husband to do it, which left me with Anorelle. Again, she’s okay. She thought I was testing her, which was actually kind of amusing considering I just had a conversation with Hethurin earlier that afternoon about how useless tests are. Well, he doesn’t think so, but I do. Anyway, she probably thinks she failed or something, which again, I think she’s okay, but I’ve just been thinking about Maena a lot.
  • I miss her.

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WoW – A Rainy Patrol

Arancon stepped over the raised roots in the path. “Be careful. It’s eroded a bit here.” He walked ahead just enough to pass the roots and looked back as Sunashe stepped over them.

It had been a few days since they had this route, but Arancon was certain that the eroded roots were a new thing that had happened this morning. Where the roots weren’t showing, there were puddles of water, often covering thick mud. The rain did not seem to be letting it up either. It pelted them, and the gusts of wind chilled them.

Sunashe was usually not a pleasant patrol partner on days like these. He had more difficulty in the thicker mud with his prosthetic leg, and Arancon had a feeling his brain had difficulty in the weather.

But today was different. Perhaps Sunashe was just as grumpy about the weather as he had always been, and he was sure the rain was more miserable than usual, but Arancon’s good mood couldn’t be swayed.

Anorelle had stayed the night.

He’d admit to hoping she would. He thought the evening had gone fairly well. He had invited her, his son and his son’s husband to supper at his place. Luckily, she arrived first and had helped a little in the kitchen.

That didn’t stop Aeramin from coming into the kitchen later to see how the cooking was coming. Or had that just been an excuse? He had helped keep an eye on the rice, but did little more. He had seemed to come more to talk than to cook.

At first, he asked more mundane questions How was patrol? Did he have everything he needed at the ranger building? Was Orledin going to make those donut holes again? Those were the same questions he had been asking during the mornings when he came to see him, but then the conversation shifted. Aeramin was starting to open up and actually talk to him.

Arancon had been careful to listen and not out right dismiss his son’s thoughts on the matter. He did have the same thoughts after all, but that was years ago, around the time he finally sobered up and joined the rangers. Yes, he should have stopped drinking sooner, and it would have been great for Maena if he had, but he didn’t. If there was anything he had learned from visiting the confessor once a week was that he shouldn’t dwell on the past. Learning from it was good, but there was no way to change it. Today was happening now, and it was time to make a better future.

He had refrained from telling Aeramin that. He went to the confessor too, and Arancon was sure he’d hear the same advice eventually. Instead, he simply agreed that, yes, it would have been better if he had quit drinking years ago. It seemed to satisfy Aeramin for the time, and, as the supper was ready, he helped take the plates to the table.

A clap of thunder brought Arancon’s mind back to patrol. He stepped over another root sticking up as they neared the Dead Scar. He paused to make sure Sunashe saw it, then stepped around a large puddle in the path.

His mind wandered back to the previous night again. Aeramin seemingly couldn’t handle spicy chicken anymore, though he was sure he had it before and was fine. That had been an unpleasant surprise, but even more of a surprise was the word Aeramin had used when he asked if there was any milk. Ann’da. When was the last time he had heard him say that word? Arancon couldn’t remember.

Worse, he couldn’t figure out why. Was it something good? Was something wrong? With Aeramin it was hard to tell, but Arancon had gladly fetched him a glass of milk.

Aeramin did eat some of the cake, so at least he didn’t starve, but Arancon still felt badly that he wound up unable to eat the supper.

Besides that incident, things hadn’t gotten too awkward.

Arancon stopped as he stepped in some deeper, thicker mud. “You’ll want to go around this,” he said to Sunashe as he found slightly drier ground on the higher side of the path.
Sunashe nodded and followed. They had to pass around a fallen tree as well. It reminded Arancon of the tree that had fallen behind his house. It had been a close call for the back porch, and the upper limbs had blocked the way out. He was lucky it hadn’t been a few feet taller. He had done his best to chop it with an axe, but with the cast, it was slow going. He did get it down to manageable pieces if he had help, and luckily, Imralion agreed to it. That also gave him the opportunity to talk to Imralion.

He had already apologized to Aeramin, but he felt Imralion deserved one too. His behavior before he sobered up, and right after, hadn’t been very pleasant. Part of making the future better was making sure others knew that what was done in the past was wrong.

Imralion hadn’t said he forgave him, but that was okay. Arancon wasn’t looking for forgiveness. He only wanted those he had wronged to know that he regretted what he said and did.

“We should break for lunch soon. Maybe on the other side of the Scar,” Sunashe said. “We can take cover from the storm for a bit in that one ziggurat.”

Arancon nodded. The ziggurat wasn’t his idea of a nice place to hang out, but it would give them a dry place to eat their lunches. He smiled as he thought about where he’d rather be. He remembered tracing the edges of her ears with his fingers as she lay close to him last night. She was so beautiful. The night had been wonderful, and he was sure she would agree on that. She had helped him do the dishes after supper, and that’s when she had agreed to stay. What started in the kitchen ended in the bedroom. Morning came too soon, and he walked back with her for her early patrol. It hadn’t started raining until later that morning.

Another loud clap of thunder crackled through the air. The sooner they got the ziggurat, the better.

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