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Winter’s Veil 3

Arancon Firewind remained asleep on the lumpy, inn bed late into the morning.  The light shining on his face through a small window finally woke him.  It was that holiday again.  Everywhere he went, there were reminders.  There was mistletoe in doorways.  The inn had a tree put up in the dining area, and they had put colorful bulbs around the outside of the inn.  Arancon rolled over and reached for the drink he had left on the bedside table.  There was still a little left.  He tipped his head back to get the last drops out.  The boy had found a new way to irritate him.  He had spoken with the innkeeper and the barmaid about just how much Arancon was allowed to charge to the room.  He had a limit of barely enough to have meals and a couple of drinks.  He had thought about skipping a meal or two, but the innkeeper had brought him his food whether he wanted it or not.  That boy had put limits on him, and who was he to do such a thing?  The boy was the reason he couldn’t walk well in the first place.  If he hadn’t been selling himself to that violent and dangerous mage, Arancon’s leg would have never been burned by a bolt of intense arcane energy.

Arancon pulled himself to his feet and started getting dressed, sniffing his clothes as he took them off a pile near the bottom of the bed.  He threw a couple aside before finding a tunic that wasn’t too bad.  The boy was also the reason he was alone for this holiday.  He’d thought last year was bad, but it was worse with all the reminders this year.  The boy had taken her.  Worse, he’d taken her away, and let her die alone in a strange land.  If that wasn’t enough, he hadn’t even bothered to tell Arancon until weeks afterwards.  Supposedly, it was all because Arancon couldn’t take care of her.  That rotten kid took her, and said he was going to provide all she needed.  A lot of good that did.  She died.

Alone, and in a strange land.

Arancon promised himself to make the boy’s day especially miserable as he started looking for a relatively clean pair of pants.

***

They were here.  Keyalenn Goldbrand jumped up from his seat he had chosen to watch from in the library.  There was an excellent view of the front gate from the library windows, and he didn’t want to miss his parents’ arrival at the school.  He ran to the doorway, and watched as they handed over the reins of their hawkstriders to Tik.  Tik temporarily tied them to the fence as he showed the guests to the front door.  Keyalenn hugged them both as soon as they were inside.  He was happy with his studies here in the Ghostlands, but he wouldn’t lie that he was homesick at times.  He took their cloaks and placed them on the rack which had been put in the front room, as Tik headed back outside to take the hawkstriders to the stable.

“How was the trip?” Keyalenn asked as he started leading them on a tour of the school.

His father answered, “It was good.  The way your mother talked, I thought we were going to run into all sorts of nasty things.”

“Well, I was told there were some awful things in the woods in the letters I received.” his mother replied, looking at Keyalenn as he lead them through the dining room.

“There are!  There just aren’t as many now.  The spiders aren’t so active in the winter.  It’s too cold.”  Keyalenn lead them past the stairs.  “My room is up there, but over here first.  See, this is the main classroom.  There’s another on the other side of the house, but this is where Magister Fairsong teaches us.”

“Speaking of the school,” his father said as he looked around the room, “Did you want to spend the rest of the year here?  I know you weren’t sure when we first sent you out here.  Fortunately, one of your mother’s patients in Kalimdor actually works at your old school.  He was so grateful for your mother’s healing that he offered to help get you back in there.  Your disciplinary record would be cleared, and you would have a second chance.”

Keyalenn blinked, unsure he was hearing his father right, “Back in Silvermoon?”

Both of his parents nodded.  His mother added, “There wouldn’t be any spiders outside, or ghouls, or whatever else may be here.  You’d be able to stay at home again and see all of your friends too.”

Keyalenn frowned in thought.  He would be able to see his friends, but they were the same friends who had dared him to pull the pranks that got him expelled in the first place.  They were the same friends who encouraged him to join their parties instead of study.  He looked at his parents.  While it would be nice to live at home again, there was a certain freedom being at the school.  Though the Magister did have rules, he wasn’t watching over them constantly.  “I think I want to stay here.”

“Are you sure?” his father asked.

“I’ve learned more here than I did in Silvermoon.  I’ll still be home for breaks though.  Oh, come this way.  I’ll show you my practice room.” Keyalenn smiled as he led his parents down the hall.

***

Gaelardrim unbuckled his armor and dropped it on the lumpy bed in his room at the inn.  He wasn’t sure what to expect here, but he didn’t think he really needed it in town.  Especially not if there were women wearing fancy dresses in the dining room.  She had seemed so familiar.  He paused again, wondering if he should go back down to try to talk to her once more.  He was sure he knew her from somewhere.  Perhaps they had met at one of the parties he had attended in Silvermoon last summer.  He thought that was it, but she had made no indication that she recognized him.  Could he be imagining it?  He couldn’t go back down now.  He’d look like an idiot, or worse, a creep, trying to convince her that she had to know who he was, when clearly, she didn’t.

He carefully picked up the armor and set it on the table in the room.  Old, dented armor wasn’t any way to impress a girl anyway, though he hadn’t meant to meet any tonight.  He frowned as he sat on the bed.  Tomorrow, he’d start looking for the ranger captain to see if there was any work to be done.  Maybe the next time he saw her, she’d remember him.

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Filed under Arancon, Gaelardrim, Keyalenn, Story, World of Warcraft

Winter’s Veil 2

Theronil Whitemorn double-checked the crib once more.  In truth, it was more than a double-check.  It was more like his 100th-check.  Isandri was due any day now, and he wanted everything to be perfect for the baby.  He knew the crib had been joined perfectly, but checking made him feel like he wasn’t missing a small flaw somewhere.

In preparing for his son or daughter’s arrival, he’d almost forgotten about Winter’s Veil.  It wasn’t until he went out to get food to bring back to Isandri and saw the decorations that he remembered.  Finding the time to shop for gifts had proved difficult, as he was too busy making sure everything was perfect for the baby’s arrival.  He had no idea what to get Isandri this year either.  It was while he was putting up a shelf in the baby’s room that he remembered the books he used to have as a child.  They came in a set, but were all about different things.  One was about a boy who got a tree for his birthday.  Another was about twins who always did things different.  He couldn’t remember the rest, or even the titles.  He checked at the library, and one of the people there was able to tell him the name of the set, but they didn’t have any copies there.  He checked in the lower city and found nothing there as well.  He then started writing to bookshops in Silvermoon, asking if they had the set there.  Slowly, the replies came back.  None of them had it.  One of them mentioned they hadn’t seen that set for decades.  Theronil thought it was possible he wouldn’t find the books.  He bought a beautiful shawl with intricately woven designs of leaves and flowers on it for Isandri.  She would like that, even though he still hoped to find the books.

Theronil had almost given up when he got a letter from a bookshop in a town in Eversong.  They had the set!  It was old, but the books were mostly in good condition, with the exception of one that had lost its cover.  The shop offered to re-bind it for him.  Theronil had quickly wrote back and arranged to pick up the set.

He smiled to himself as he checked the crib over once more.  Hopefully she would like both the books and the shawl.

***

Aranae Lightmist sat on the stairs at the Peak of Serenity watching the monks train below.  She knew what time of the year it was.  The pandaren seemed to pick up on the holiday fast and had erected a tree inside one of the buildings.  She could do without the reminders.

Of course she hadn’t heard from -them-.  She didn’t want to, and the more she knew they weren’t even trying, the less she wanted to do with them.  They could all stay in Silvermoon and pamper their favorites this year without her in the way.

She hadn’t seen Tsi Ku since coming back, and often wondered where she could be.  The guy with the cat hadn’t been around either, but there was one person she knew here.  Unfortunately, he was the one who couldn’t take a hint.  Even when she specified for him to get lost, Cadellus still didn’t get it.  He’d better not be planning to get her anything for Winter’s Veil.  She wouldn’t accept it if he did.  It was tempting to go somewhere else just to get away from him.  She smiled to herself.  Maybe it would be best to visit one of the towns for the rest of the holidays.

***

Rohau felt the wind lift up under his wings as he circled the valley below.  He carried a small burlap sack in his talons, though it was small enough that it did not impede his flight.  He watched carefully as he passed over the trees below.  He let out a quick caw when he finally saw the smaller white bird hidden in the branches of one of the trees.  The other bird looked up, and watched as Rohau landed on the branch next to him.  The other bird started preening as Rohau pulled the burlap bag up on the wide branch.  This one was always preening.  Rohau stuck his head in the bag and pulled out a box with his beak.  He placed it on the limb and pushed it towards the white bird.  The white bird pushed a different package towards Rohau.  Of course he had gotten a gift too.  Rohau carefully pulled the wrapping off, letting the colorful paper drop to the earth below, as the other bird did the same with his present.  Using both his talons and beak, he opened the box.  Inside, was a small jar of perfume.  Using one of his talons, he pressed the top and sprayed just a little bit onto the other talon. He smelled it and cawed happily.  The other bird also cawed happily as he pulled a beaded necklace out of his gift box.  Rohau helped him put it over his head, certain that it would stay in place around the other bird while in flight.  They both cawed happily as they took off with their presents in opposite directions.

***

Orledin looked up at the sky.  It was still dark.  Not even a hint of light at the horizon told him he still had plenty of time before another day of work started.  He looked down at the small piece of birch wood in his hands.  It was beginning to take shape.  It was a hobby he took up a few years ago.  It was something to do while the world slept.  Most of his projects he had just left wherever he had finished them, none of them meaning that much to him.  However, this one he was doing as a gift, as a way to say thank you to one of the few people who had not judged him for being what he was.  He was pretty sure the captain would like the gift as he resumed whittling the details into the cat-shaped piece of wood.

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Winter’s Veil

Lanthiriel Lightmist frowned at her sister.  “I can’t show you.  What if you tell?”

Her sister tilted her head and looked at her with a brow raised.  “Lani, I hardly even know him.  I’m not going to tell.  Besides, you told father and he’s more likely to tell than I am.”

“He didn’t tell you.”

“No, but father did tell me you like someone.”

Lani frowned again.  He had told Nessna that much.  She had been worried it would upset her if she knew.  Nessna had just lost her husband, and Lani didn’t want her to feel as though she was alone now.  Of course, she hadn’t told father not to tell her, so she could hardly blame him, and Nessna seemed to be taking it okay anyway.

“Well, what did you get him?”

A little too okay.

“I can’t tell you, Ness.  You’ll find out when he opens his gift.”  She turned to go back to the kitchen, missing her sister sticking her tongue out at her as she passed through the doorway.

She checked the stew.  She wasn’t the best cook, but it was hard to mess up stew.  Father had been with her on the quick trip to Silvermoon.  They had found a shop that didn’t really specialize in any one thing.  Clothing hung in one corner of the shop, while pots and pans hung on the walls.  There were three narrow aisles with shelves full of all sorts of objects.  Her father had commented that there was probably something for everyone, just in that one small shop.  She wasn’t sure, but she did find something for the Confessor.  She knew that he must keep notes on his patients.  She also knew how much nicer that was to do with a nice pen set.  She had found the boxed sets on one of the lower shelves near the back of one of the aisles.  It wasn’t necessarily a work-related gift either.  He could write whatever he wanted with it.  Her father had made her ears turn dark red when he told her to think of all of the love poems the Confessor could write with such a nice set.  She had gotten it and now it stayed hidden in her closet until she could give it to him.  She wasn’t about to tell Nessna.

She stirred the stew and placed the cover back on the pot. It was almost ready, and it was time to start preparing to eat.

***

Aeramin Firewind sunk into the bath and started scrubbing the paint off his skin with a soapy cloth.  He’d be glad when they were finally done fixing the house.  Luckily, it did seem like it would be soon, if his father could refrain from finding fault with everything they had done.

The work had gone much quicker with Imralion back from Kalimdor, even though he was distracting.  He was also a lot stronger and was able to move away the bigger pieces of rubble from the side of the house that had collapsed and was able to carry more supplies at once.  Aeramin shuddered when he thought of how much longer he’d be in the Ghostlands if it wasn’t for Imralion’s help.

However, having Imralion here with him did make it difficult to shop for a gift for him for Winter’s Veil.  He was able to fit in some holiday shopping during a recent trip for supplies.  He stopped at one of the jewelers near the Royal Exchange and found what he was looking for there.  It was a gold ring, inset with a red and black twisting design.  It cost him almost all he had on him at the time, but he knew it was the perfect ring for a blood knight.  He’d gotten away with only coming back with half of the supplies by saying they had been out of what they needed and he would have to go back the next day.

He stood up and got out of the bath.  He planned to give Imralion the ring after the ball.  He couldn’t wait to go.

***

Gaelardrim stood on the inn’s terrace overlooking the harbor one last time.  He’d be going soon.  Most of the rebuilding on the island was done, but there was work to find elsewhere.  He’d heard some talk of builders being needed in the Ghostlands, now that people were moving back there.  Apparently, there had been a recent surge of people moving back to the area, and there was more work than there was workers.  It sounded like the perfect place to settle, at least for the next few years.

***

Perothis pulled in his stomach and looked in the mirror once more.  He held one arm up and flexed.  He frowned slightly.  He had been invited to a ball.  It was in the Ghostlands, but he was eager to go all the same.  If his sister would shut up, he’d stop having doubts about going.  He glanced to the door.  Of course she was peeking.

“Idriel, I told you to leave me alone!”

“Pero has a girlfriend.  Pero has a girlfriend.”  Idriel laughed.

“I do not!  Not yet anyway.”

“You don’t have one because it looks like your face caught fire and someone tried to put it out with a pitchfork.  She only invited you so they’d have something to laugh at.”

“That’s not true.  Minn’da says I’m a handsome young man.”

Idriel laughed again.  “It’s a mage school, dummy.  Even if you were twice as smart, you’d still be dumb to all of them.”  She giggled as she darted away from the door.  Perothis could hear her run down the hallway.  He pulled the door shut and continued looking for the right outfit to wear.

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Filed under Aeramin, Gaelardrim, Lanthiriel, Perothis