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The Reception

The wedding turned out well. Orledin Bloodlance tried to stay back and out of the way after people started arriving for it. He had helped decorate and had done most of the food, including the cake which he was exceptionally proud of. It was certainly one of his best ever. Now he just watched to make sure everyone had what they needed. He stood in the kitchen most of the time, glancing out to the common room at the festivities. He pretended to look busy anytime anyone came into the kitchen, but in reality, he had everything done ahead of time. He wasn’t sure all of the guests would be as accepting as the rangers were of his condition, so he preferred to stay where they wouldn’t see him.

He was able to see almost everything though. He watched as the rangers’ newest recruit, Julan, walked around. He had wandered outside, and from the window Orledin saw him approach another wedding guest who seemed to be staying out of the way. Orledin knew the bride, Linarelle, did not like Aeramin, but as he was her brother’s boyfriend, he was invited all the same. The feeling must have been mutual, as far as Orledin could tell, as the mage had spent most of the reception sitting on the bench outside near the practice area.

Of course, Julan was there with him now. Orledin could see he was clearly flirting. He sat close, a touch of the shoulder here, a touch on the knee there, and a whisper in his ear.  Orledin could also tell that Aeramin was rejecting his every move. He pushed away Julan’s hand each time he tried to touch him, he shook his head, and he scooted further away more than once. Each time Julan scooted closer, until Aeramin was on the edge of the bench.

It was right after that last scoot, that both of them turned to look one way. Orledin couldn’t see why at first, but Julan’s ears drooped, and he scooted away from Aeramin. Orledin saw why a few seconds later as Arancon walked to the bench and sat between them. Aeramin appeared to be rather surprised and relieved at the same time. Julan suddenly seemed bored as well as disappointed. After a few minutes of ear-twitching and fidgeting, he said something while getting up, and made his way back towards the door.

Aeramin and Arancon continued to sit on the bench and appeared to be speaking to each other civilly, so Orledin turned his attention back to the wedding reception inside. After checking that there were enough things out on the tables, he retreated again to the kitchen, this time watching out the door to the common area. He spotted Julan getting another glass of apple juice. He watched as the other elf took a small flask out of his pocket and poured a little into his own drink. Orledin shook his head, and watched some of the couples dancing.

Only a short time later, his attention switched back to Julan. He had taken a seat near Imralion this time, and although Kavia sat close by, he was very obviously flirting again. Orledin noticed he had refilled his drink again. He had no doubt he had spiked this one as well, and it seemed the more spiked drinks Julan had, the more boldly he flirted. Orledin watched as he left Imralion with Kavia and wandered around the room, winking at Tylenthis, and later staring inconspicuously at Sunashe’s rear.

Orledin took a few minutes to restock the food at the tables, and refill the cider bowl. He was heading back to the kitchen when he felt a hand on his shoulder.

“Eww, you are cold. I can feel it through your clothes.”

Orledin twitched an ear, “What do you want, Julan?” He continued towards the kitchen.

Julan followed, “More fun than this party is offering. Say, you wouldn’t want to help me liven things up, would you?”

Orledin’s ear twitched again. He was unsure what to make of that statement. He put his food tray on the countertop and turned around to see Julan striking one of his poses. He raised a brow and asked, “Are you flirting with me?”

“I don’t see anyone else here.”

“But you said…” Orledin didn’t want to repeat what he had said. He remembered.

Julan shrugged and gave a wink, “I’m desperate.”

“Oh, thanks.” Orledin turned back around and pretended to be busy by moving things from one tray to another.

“Oh no, I didn’t mean it like that. I mean, I am, but you are too, aren’t you? I don’t see any other guys out here. I just thought we could have some fun.”

Orledin’s ear continued twitching as he turned back around. “And what of love?”

“I want you to make love to me under the starlit sky.” Julan reached and touched his cheek, flinching to the coldness only a little as he first touched.

Orledin felt the heat from the other elf’s fingers. It was a gentle caress of warm fingers that he had been yearning for so long. He wasn’t sure if Julan really knew anything about love, but the touch broke him down. “Have another glass of cider while I take care of a few things.”

Julan’s expression changed to something between relieved and fearful, “We won’t be able to do anything here, of course.”

“I know a place. It is safe and private. I’ll meet you out front in ten minutes.”

Julan simply nodded and went to get another glass of cider before heading outside to wait.

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Julan’s Log

I’ve done it. I’ve left Murder Row. Of course, I have more reason now than ever before. Not that I didn’t have good reasons before, it’s just more relevant to my continued survival now. There have been some murders there recently that seem to be targeted towards the male workers there. At least, that’s what the others and myself were able to put together. Unfortunately, there’s rarely any investigation into these things in the Row. They just send someone to pick up the body, then it’s over. A lot of times they’re slow about coming to get the body, so more than enough people see the evidence. This time, there was enough to put together that the murders are connected.

I was lucky because an old friend, Aeramin, hired me to dance for a party. He used to work the Row as well, so I knew he would understand, and with him not on the Row now, and a mage on top of that, I figured he might have some ideas about where I could work. I explained everything to him when he came to make the portal to the party location, and he said he would see what he could do.

He found a job for me with the rangers! I couldn’t believe it when he told me I had to meet the ranger captain. I’ve never held a bow before in my life! I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity, but there’s a lot of training to do. I met with the captain, and I was able to start staying there immediately.

There are two other guys staying in the men’s quarters. Well, three, but one doesn’t really count because he’s a death knight and doesn’t sleep. I’m doing my best to make friends here, but I guess they don’t like it when I flirt with them. I find it really difficult to not flirt with guys. It’s just what I’ve always done, and it worked out well for me before. But yet, here, it’s different. I didn’t even mean anything by it, but the one ranger instructor does have a nice butt. I guess he didn’t like me looking because now they have a woman training me.

She’s nice. Her name is Linarelle. All the girls are nice. I think I get along okay with them. It’s the guys who don’t like me. One of the guys who stays here is Aeramin’s father, and I accidentally flirted with him. Then he said something about catching me in bed with his son once. I don’t even want to talk to him again. I’m so embarrassed. I do kind of remember that, but I wish he didn’t! Then the other one who stays here has a girlfriend. He had to tell me a couple times before I decided it was a bad idea to try to talk to him again.

Then the death knight wanted to know why I didn’t flirt with him. Umm, because he’s dead and that’s just a little gross, maybe? That’s what I said to him because it’s the truth. He actually seemed to be mad that I wasn’t flirting with him. Maybe that’s just the way he is. Death knights must be mad a lot of the time.

I’ve accidentally flirted with Aeramin too. He doesn’t get mad at me. He just says it’s nice, but he has a boyfriend. I’ve met his boyfriend, and wow! No, I don’t expect Aeramin would be interested in anything with me right now. That guy has a really nice body. His boyfriend didn’t seem interested in me either. It’s almost like no one does anything out here!

Anyway, his boyfriend is actually trying to investigate the murders. I don’t know if anything will come from it, but I told him all I could remember about what I heard. While I may be safely away from the Row, I have many friends who are still there. They are still in danger.  I really hope he can find the guy.

I hope to visit my friends soon, but I have to ask Aeramin for a portal there. I don’t want it to be a portal where I go through and then I’m stuck there either. I need him to go with me so that I can get back! I’m not sure how keen he is on going there and seeing some of the other guys. Hopefully, he won’t mind. I’d like to see them to find out if there’s any new information.

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Nessna’s Log

I guess I’ve known for about a month or so. I mean the biggest clue was missing the monthly visitor, but I wanted to wait until I was sure before going to see my sisters in town to confirm. I’ve no doubt they’ve already written to father about it, probably as soon as I left to go back to the ranger building. Anyway, I’m pregnant. Sath is going to be a father, and Rylad is going to be a big brother.

My first clue was being tired all the time. That’s been going on for a few weeks now. There were a few times I wanted to nap on our short break during patrol! We stop by the school for lunch fairly often as Perothis wants to eat there with Desdeyliri. Normally, I talk to my brother a bit, but he’s been busy with his wedding plans so I just eat then go to sit in the garden for a bit. More than once, I caught myself with my eyes closed. As I remember with Rylad, this part does eventually go away, so I’ll be glad when it does!

I’ve not felt sick much this time, only very occasionally, so that’s different from what I experienced with Rylad. I was sick all the time then!

I wanted to do something special to let Sath know so I’ve bought a toy tiger cub, and put it in a box. I left a note with it, telling him that it was his cub to hold until the real one arrives. I plan to give it to him tonight. I can’t wait! I’ll tell Rylad too, but I’m not sure he’s old enough to really understand.

I did speak with my brother for a very short time at lunch once earlier this week. He’s talking about adopting a little girl at an orphanage in Silvermoon, and keeps talking about buying her dolls and everything. Hopefully, he knows there’s more to raising a child than just buying toys. I think he knows. He does run a school after all.

I didn’t tell him that I’m having another. Only five people know right now; my sisters, Isandri, and two of the other rangers. I’m sure Lani’s told her husband, but I did ask her to keep it quiet until I’ve had the chance to tell Sath. He’s going to be so happy!

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A Letter to Linarelle

(( Carefully placed in her lunch before patrol. ))

Dear Linarelle,

I’ve been getting your letters so I thought I would leave you one. Maybe you don’t think about me on patrol, but I think about you a lot, and I think maybe you do too, so I hope you like this letter.

I didn’t tell this to you last night because I thought you might like a letter about it, so here it is. I went to the school to ask for a few things. Magister Fairsong has agreed to let us stay there for a night. It won’t be the same room as last time because he has a new student in that room, but he said the room we’ll have is really nice and the largest guest room. He said it has a nice view of the trees in the forest next to the garden. There’s a large bathroom across the hall. He said Tik would make us a special room and bring it up to us, as there is a small table and two chairs in the room, so it’ll be a private dinner. He said he could put candles all over too because he bought too many candles. I think that will be nice and romantic.

I keep thinking about you, and how special you are to me. It hurt so much when I thought you wouldn’t want to marry me and didn’t want to be with me. I never want to feel that way again! I can’t wait until we have our own cabin. I want to wake up next to you every morning without having to worry about packing up the tent and taking it back, or how much it rained, or anything like that. I want to nibble your ears in the morning light coming through the window, and not worry that there’s anyone outside listening. I want it to be just you and me. I can’t wait.

Oh, and your brother stopped by the other evening while you were still out on patrol. He wanted to let you know that he loves you, and that he’s still watching out for you even if you have me too.

I have to go so I can get ready for patrol!

Love,

Sunashe

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Diving

“Are you sure you won’t help?” Sunashe asked as he pulled himself up on the muddy bank of the river.

“I am helping.” Arancon looked up from his book he was reading under a nearby tree. He knew his friend wasn’t the best swimmer, but he had been in luck that the rains hadn’t been too heavy over the past few days. While there had been a drizzle now and then, the river was lazy and calm which meant for much easier swimming. Still, Sunashe only had one and a half legs. He shouldn’t swim alone. “I’m making sure you don’t drown.”

Sunashe pulled himself up onto a rock and wiped his face with the towel he had left there. “I’m hungry. Did you bring the sandwiches?”

Arancon nodded as he grabbed the bag sitting on the ground next to him. He opened it, and took out one of the sandwiches. He took it over to where Sunashe sat while wiping the mud off his hands.

“Thanks.” he said while taking the sandwich. He started to unwrap it as Arancon sat next to him.

“Do you really think you’ll be able to find the ring?”

“I threw it right here. It should be around here somewhere.”

“It might have been washed downstream or maybe the mud covered it.”

Sunashe shot a glance at Arancon, “I’ve been looking through the mud. The current isn’t very strong. I don’t think it was washed downstream.

“We have to leave for patrol in about an hour, less than an hour if you consider that we have to go back for Kavia first, and it looks like it’s going to rain more.”

“I know, but I can keep looking until then. I have to find it!”

Arancon sighed, “It wasn’t very smart to throw it in the river in the first place.”

Sunashe twitched an ear as he took a bite of his sandwich.

“You’re going to get a cold if you keep this up. The water is freezing.”

“The air is worse. It doesn’t matter. I have to get the ring back.”

“Why? You’re not going to ask her to marry you tonight.”

“No, but the longer I wait, the more likely I’ll never see it again. Like you said, it could get buried in the mud or washed downstream. I spent every copper I had on it, and I’d like to find it in case I do decide I’d like to ask her.” Sunashe stood up, unsteady on one foot in the mud, and handed the other half of his sandwich to Arancon. “Can you put this back for me?”

Arancon sighed, “Sure.” He headed back to his spot under the tree while his friend hopped carefully in the mud back to the freezing water. As he was placing the remaining half of the sandwich back into the bag, he noticed an envelope. He took it out just far enough to see Sunashe’s name was written on it. He glanced towards the river in time to see his friend take a deep breath and disappear beneath the water’s surface. It was too late to tell him now. He placed the letter back into the bag and picked up his book. Hopefully, Sunashe would find the ring soon, and they wouldn’t be late getting back for patrol.

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Sunashe’s Log

Things aren’t going so well. Lin didn’t know if she wants to be with me or not anymore. I asked her because she seemed so unhappy with me, and thought she’d laugh and say no, but she said she didn’t know instead. I’m kind of glad she told me before the ball. It would have been much worse, and very embarrassing, to find out with all those people around.

She hates Blinky. I guess she’s jealous of him or something. I thought she understood that I needed to train him. I do spend a lot of time on that. He’s not like a cat or a dragonhawk. He needs more time to learn a command. If I don’t train him, I’ll just have a useless lizard. I offered to get rid of him and get a pre-trained dragonhawk like most rangers do when they want an animal companion. She said no. I thought it was special because we went together to get the lizard and the moth. I guess it wasn’t so great for her.

I tried talking to the others about it. I even told the Captain and Ty about the ring. I had gone into the city yesterday morning to cancel the order, but they had it done already. Since I had paid in advance to have it ready on the day of the ball, and it was already done, I just wound up taking it back to the Ghostlands. I carried it around while cleaning out the spider cave. It only made me feel worse.

I spoke with Arancon about it first. Even though he’s about 100 years older than me, we’ve become good friends. He told me that women say crazy things sometimes, and I should just forget about it. He thought I should have went camping with her when she asked. From what he’s said about his Maena, I think she might have actually been crazy. Well, I guess she was for sure towards the end, but I think she might have been earlier too. Anyway, I’ve already tried to forget it, but her words keep echoing in my head. I don’t know.

Over and over.

I couldn’t keep the ring. Every time I thought about it being in my pocket, I just heard her say she didn’t know again. I showed it to the Captain and Ty, then I threw it in the river near the ranger building. I didn’t want it around me anymore to remind me that everything was definitely not as great as I had thought it was.

It seems no one understands how I feel. I kept trying to talk about it with Ty and the Captain, but they only seemed concerned that I try to make Linarelle happy. As if I haven’t been trying the past half year. I thought things were going great, and that was shattered when she said she didn’t know. Anything I said about me being upset seemed to be ignored.

She didn’t try to talk to me all day yesterday, not even to help train Blinky. She’ll be happy without me.

I left early this morning. There’s really no point in waiting for her to decide she doesn’t want me. She was there before me, and I figured I should go before things get awkward. I asked the Captain to put in a transfer request for me to Eversong, but I’m pretty sure that request wouldn’t have ever been sent, so I threw my stuff in my bag while it was still dark out, and went to the school. I waited outside for a bit while it got lighter. It was nice watching the sunrise at the sea. I knocked when I was sure someone was awake to answer the door. The butler answered and took me to the mage who was eating breakfast in the kitchen. I asked for a portal to Shattrath, and told him I didn’t need a portal back. He asked if I was sure, so I told him I had things to do, and didn’t know when I’d be ready to come back. He told me I’d probably be able to find a mage for a portal home at the library. I nodded. He made the portal and now I’m here.

I had Blinky with me so my first concern was finding him a new home. He probably wouldn’t be able to survive on his own now. I wasn’t sure where to start looking for an animal caretaker so I just wandered around the Lower City for a bit. I didn’t see anything there so I started heading back to the Scryer’s Tier to inquire about getting a room at the inn for the night. I hadn’t reached the elevator when a draenei with a large moth walked by me. The moth fluttered beside him, evenly matching his moving speed. I approached him and asked him about the moth in my poorly spoken common. I was lucky he understood. He said he trained it on his own, and that he has a stable of animals at his home. I asked him if he had ever trained a warpstalker, and showed him Blinky. He was impressed how I had taught him to follow without a leash at his age. Then I told him I needed to find a new home for him, and he agreed to take him.

I don’t know what’s next. I’m staying here for the night, then I’ll probably go off and explore or something. Hopefully I’ll find something that can occupy my mind so that I can let her go. Something to make me forget what she said, and what I thought I had.

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Arancon’s Log

Things have been going fairly well. The winters here in the Ghostlands are much colder than they are in Silvermoon. Luckily, the ranger building was built with that in mind. I only freeze while on patrol. The scar hurts more in the cold, so that slowed me down a bit, but then there were some days where everything was covered in ice, which slowed Sunashe down more with his prosthetic leg, so it evened out. I think both of us are happy that it’s starting to warm up a bit.

I’m keeping busy most days. It’s kind of funny. Sunashe and I are good friends, and when he started pursuing a relationship with Linarelle, I was worried I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to, no one to distract me when I needed it most. I was worried that I’d be alone and I know there’s wine here. I feared that I’d start drinking again. Then a miracle happened. I became a grandfather. My granddaughter has stolen my heart and that’s helped my resolve not to drink. Of course things are complicated. They usually are when they involve my son. He blames me for everything that’s ever gone wrong for him, and maybe there’s a little truth in it. I wasn’t a very good father, but then again, so far, neither is he. I wish I could go back and do things differently, but then I wonder if it really would have helped. Maybe things would be worse. I can’t let myself dwell on it though. There’s nothing to do to change it now. I can only move forward.

I’m going to do my best for Lyorri, and I’m going to try to do my best for Aeramin. I’m not sure there’s much left to salvage to build a relationship on with him, but I know that he cares, even if he’ll never say it. He came to check on me now and then, and he helped me move out here, which is something I’m extremely grateful for. I met the rangers, and found support to quit drinking. Without his help, I’d still be drunk in Silvermoon. He’s also come to see me a few times, though usually it is to yell at me. I let him yell. He’s angry, and I don’t blame him. If he needs to yell, then he can yell. I’m here for him now whether he realizes it or not.

Last night, Orledin had made extra bread. I get along well with him now too. I think he was scared of me at first because he knew me before, and I knew him before as he was seeing my son. I didn’t like him so much back then as he showed up right after Aeramin and a really nice girl broke off an engagement. It was pretty easy to figure out what had happened.

Anyway, there was extra bread and he gave it to me to give to the people raising Lyorri. I took it when I visited. She’s growing so fast. It makes me want to visit more often so I don’t miss anything! She’s smiling now, and rolling over. It won’t be long before she’s able to sit up on her own. The people raising her are good people, and I can tell they love her. Kestrae is very protective of her, and watches me constantly while I’m there. Ordinicus is a little more relaxed. I gave them a couple of the loaves of bread.

I decided to take the last loaf to Aeramin. I usually avoid visiting him. I don’t want to force it. At this point, I think it’s better if he comes to me. However, Orledin makes some really good bread, so I thought he might like it, as long as I didn’t mention where it was from. Perhaps it was fortunate that he wasn’t there when I arrived. Imralion was though. He let me in. I gave him the bread and we talked a bit. I haven’t really spoken much to Linarelle about what’s going on with them, but I have heard through Sunashe. I guess they’ve sent someone to research the records and find out who their parents are. Their father was a noble who had an affair, and they’re the result of that affair. Their mother was paid to keep quiet, and they were placed with the Matron. Their father died, but they don’t know about their mother as she stopped appearing in the records after that, most likely she changed her name. Aeramin needs to get better at talking with Im, as I got the feeling that they hadn’t discussed it very much. Of course, he wasn’t there, so I listened and talked to him.

Kestrae showed up shortly after me, which was odd because we thought he might be visiting Lyorri. He did come home eventually, but I don’t know where he was. He asked me to leave almost as soon as he was in the door. I imagine he told Imralion and Kestrae, but he wanted me to leave, so I left.

I hope Imralion and Linarelle have news about their mother soon. It must be awful not knowing.

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