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Lirriel
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(This is the story thread for October Strangewayes, played by Cerwis. All her writing.)

Bearskin


The little girl tugged hard on the skirts of the tall, dark haired woman looking over the ripe fruits being sold by a vendor in the merchant's district. October Olivia Strangewayes glanced down and smiled at the child before crouching down to be on the girl's level and spoke to her in a gentle voice, the accent unmistakably Gilnean, “Pardon me, my dear, I didn't see you. Did you need something?”

The small child sniffled and shook her head, “I thought you were Mama. Sorry.”

“Ah! Did you get separated from her? Here, I'll sit with you until she comes looking for you, come now, let's move out of the way of the rest of these people,” she stood at offered a pale hand to the little girl before guiding the child off to the side of the merchant booths and to the base of the small tree. 

“My name is Rebecca. Your voice is pretty, are you one of the new people in town?” 

October laughed lightly and had a seat next to Rebecca, “Yes, yes, I am one of the new people in town, you're a very smart little girl Rebecca. My name is October, it's my pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

The little brunette girl brightened up instantly, “Oh! Like the month! That is a very weird name, Miss October.”

“My sisters were May and April and my brother was August if you would believe it, darling! My Mum and Da were fairly unoriginal. If you wish, you can call me Toby,” she smiled before brushing a dark lock of hair out of her face and behind her ear.

“But Toby is a boy's name! Can you turn into a wolf like some of the other new people, Miss October? I've seen them in the streets and I think they're neat, but Mama doesn't like them very much,” she looked up at October with blue eyes, bright with curiosity. 

“I can actually turn into many things, young Rebecca. Wolf, cat, bear was only the start you know... The elves have begun teaching me how to take on the form of an owlbear and occasionally a tree! It's all very fascinating.”

Rebecca gasped, “No! All those things! I bet you know a lot of good stories, Miss October. Mama never tells me stories anymore, she says she'll tell me stories again when Daddy comes home from the North, but I don't want to wait. It's been two years! Will you tell me a story, Miss October? Pleeeeease?”

October tilted her head slightly; The Paladin from the other night, Dolraan, had said the war in the north was over. It was likely that the girl's father had died somewhere along the way. She smiled sadly, willing to indulge the little girl, “Of course, darling. What would you like to hear?”

“Something that your Papa told you when you were a little girl, Miss October!”

“Ah-ha! Well lets see what I can remember... I believe my favorite was the Princess and the Bearskin. A long time ago, longer now than it seems, there was a very beautiful young Princess that lived in a castle with her Governess high up on the cliffs in Gilneas. Her father, the King, was in no hurry to marry her off as he wanted the best for his only child and wished for a good heir to the nation. However, one of the Ogres saw how pretty she was one day while she was combing out her long, red hair on the balcony that overlooked the sea. The Ogre decided that he wanted her for his own and disguised himself as a courier before slipping into the castle and spiriting away with the Princess one night--”

“Aren't Ogres supposed to be really stupid?” Rebecca interjected.

October laughed, “Well, yes, but this is a very old tale from my country. Perhaps they were smarter back then? It is only a story after all.”

Rebecca nodded, satisfied, “Okay. Go on! What happened to the Princess?”

“Well, when the Princess woke up the next morning, she was in the Ogre's hovel on a bed of furs. There were other women there as well, but none were as pretty as she. The Ogre stormed in and declared that he was going to go hunting and that there was magic in the hovel to prevent humans from leaving, which crushed the Princess' hopes of fleeing while he was away. One of the other girls there, a hex witch, knew who the Princess was and what she meant to the Kingdom. She said to the Princess, “The only way to escape is to hide in a bearskin! I will stitch you into one and pray that the Gods see you to safety!”  And so, the hex witch--”

“What's a hex witch?” 

October blinked, remembering that the South lacked many of the things she felt were common knowledge, “A hex witch is... Oh, I suppose it's like one of your Mages, only the magic is a bit more coarse and unrefined. They can write curses and wield spiteful magic as well as beneficial magic.”

“Oh! That sounds neat... What happens next?”

“The hex witch stitched the Princess into the bearskin with magic, and through the magic, the Princess turned into a great she bear and fled the cave. She loped through the forest, feeling the earth under her claws. She was lost, though, and didn't know where to turn. Suddenly, a shot rang out and she cowered, unsure what to do as a hunter entered the clearing. The Princess recognized the handsome young Lord from the Solstice festival that had been held at the castle weeks before--”

“He's not going to kill the Princess is he!?”

October chuckled, “I'm getting there, darling. Let me finish?”

Rebecca nodded and frowned, not liking where this was going at all, “Sorry.”

“In an attempt to get the young Lord to realize that she wasn't harmful, the she bear rolled onto her back. The young Lord was quite taken with this behavior and decided to take the she bear back to his manor to keep as a pet. As the days drifted on, the Princess, still stuck in the form of a she bear, began to fall in love with the kind and gentle Lord. At midnight on the day where the fae realm becomes the closest to ours, the hex witch's enchantment wore off. There, in front of the young Lord, she once again became the beautiful Princess, clad in only a bearskin to hide her bare skin from his eyes. Recognizing her, he had one of his servants fetch one of his sister's dresses and away they sped to the castle on the cliffs where the Queen and King had been mourning the loss of their daughter for months. So pleased were they with the return of their daughter in good health, they offered the young Lord the Princess' hand in marriage. They were wed there on the cliffs and lived happily ever after,” October smiled, not wanting to end the story as it truly ended.

“That was a very good story, Miss October, but that seemed very quick to get married, don't you think?” Rebecca tilted her head, still frowning a little.

The Gilnean woman couldn't help but let out laugh, “Perhaps for you all here, but I suppose it might have taken longer than that. It is just a story, after all.”

“I suppose! Hey, Miss October, if you can turn into a bear like you said earlier, were you cursed by a hex witch too?”

October shook her head, smiling, “No, my abilities are a blessing from the Gods of the Old Ways, child--” a shriek from near by cut her off.

A thin, spindly woman grabbed Rebecca by the arm and dragged the little girl behind her skirts, her voice shrill and harsh, “Stay away from my child you monster.”

“And how is it you have come to the conclusion that I am a monster, Madam?” October kept her tone, and temper, even while pulling a thin pair of spectacles out of a small, velvet pouch before settling them on the bridge of her nose so she could get a better look at her accuser.

The black haired woman looked down at the foreigner with hate generally reserved for shambling, undead horrors, “The merchant said one of you filthy, cursed Gilneans had taken my daughter. He was right! How dare you.”

October laughed, truly amused, “Ah! I should correct you then, Madam. Not all Gilneans were cursed, some escaped that fate. Furthermore, your daughter came to me thinking that I was you. I merely took her out of the crowd until you could come to your senses enough to realize that your child was missing and retrace your steps to find her.” 

This only enraged Rebecca's mother even more, “How dare you. Come on, Rebecca, we're going home,” she all but dragged the little girl behind her as she stormed off.

Rebecca glanced back over her shoulder and waved as much as she could, “Bye Miss October! Thank you for the story!”

She called after the little girl, “You're very welcome, little one!” October stood gracefully then, smiling at the small crowd that had formed to watch the spectacle, “Well that was quite enough excitement for my day I think! Gods bless you all.” She curtsied then before turning on her heel and walking towards the path that would take her to the little cottage at the pond behind the Dwarven district.

( originally posted December 18, 2010 )

Lirriel
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It's Just a Silly Rhyme

It used to be an old nursery rhyme, one my Mother would sing at my siblings and I to attempt to keep us from disobeying she and Father’s words. Being the youngest, it worked the best for me.

The Shankill Butchers run tonight, you better shut your windows tight, they're sharpening their cleavers and their knives and taking all their whiskey by the pint.

Julius acted out all the time, tracking mud all through the carpeting of the house, smashing windows, mirrors, vases, anything that could shatter. I remember, one particularly balmy July evening when he was fifteen, he “accidentally” broke one of Mother’s nice plates. A few months later, Mother found Julius’ body hung up on some driftwood in the river that ran past our home.

She and Father buried his body in the nearby glade.

And everybody knows if you don't mind your mother's words, a wicked wind will blow your ribbons from your curls. Everybody moan, everybody shake, The Shankill Butchers want to catch you awake.

April behaved more often than not. She and father got into a particularly explosive fight one evening and she took the sheep shears and cut her hair as short as she could, bound her chest, and borrowed our late brother Julius’ breaches and tunic. Out she went for a night on the town as Augustus, not April. 

As it so happens, one of the taverns she visited was notorious for being unclean. She came down with Typhoid shortly after her spree and none of us were versed enough in natural medicine to treat her, nor were we wealthy enough to afford a doctor. In caring for April, Mother took ill as well and nearly joined her in death.

Father buried April in the glade next to Julius.

They used to be just like me and you, they used to be sweet little boys, but something went horribly askew. Now killing is their only source of joy.

January was a sweet girl, older than myself by only a year. By her sixteenth birthday she’d grown up to look just like our aunt Margaret, all rosy cheeked with blonde curls. She had a real penchant for flirting with the workmen by the docks, something Mother found horribly untoward. One spring day, January failed to come home from market. Later that evening a guardsman came to our door; A merchant found January in a back alley, pale and glassy eyed. The only clothing she had on were her innards, which had been put provocatively on display.

The guardsman said she had been strangled first, as if that would bring us comfort. She was brought up from the town in a simple cedar box and the Guardsman buried her in the glade, right next to April.

And everybody knows if you don't mind your mother's words, a wicked wind will blow your ribbons from your curls. Everybody moan, everybody shake. The Shankill Butchers want to catch you awake.

My twin brother, Octavius, older than I by twenty minutes, was fairly froward. He would wander off for long walks and no one would know where he would vanish off to for days.  Often times he’d return with fish or meat from hunting. Mother would fuss and fuss at him to keep him near, as he and I were her only children left.

I imagine he visited the swamp on his last trip out. Three days after he had been out he stumbled back to our home around dusk, his skin jaundiced and his fever high enough to make him delirious. It’s still a wonder he even managed to get home at all, but such was his strength. He died a week later after his organs corrupted and began to bleed. 

Father buried him in the glade next to January.

The Shankill Butchers run tonight, they're waiting until the dead of the night. They're picking at their fingers with their knives and wiping off their cleavers on their thighs.

I’m the only one left now. Mother and Father joined Julius, April, January, and Octavius in the glade shortly after I was married to my fourth cousin from my father’s side, Cedric Strangewayes. Our marriage did not last long. 

Cedric was a good man, he had a certain strength of character that all Strangewayes men have, but this made him astoundingly prideful. After a particularly nasty fall from a horse that snapped his neck on one of our rides he asked, rather than be shamed by others seeing him in such a helpless state, that I take his pistol and finish him. I was a dutiful wife and, after the deed had been done, while the tang of gunpowder still hung in the air I fled to the wilds to find other practitioners of the Old Ways my father had begun to teach me.

Now, with all this talk amongst the Dragoons of Gilneans butchering their cursed brothers, I have to wonder if it’s a sign that my past is coming back to find me. It’s just a silly rhyme, that’s what I keep telling myself, it’s just a song mother would sing to keep you from ending up like everyone else.

And everybody knows if you don't mind your mother's words, a wicked wind will blow your ribbons from your curls. Everybody moan, everybody shake. The Shankill Butchers want to catch you awake. 

It’s just a silly rhyme.

( Lyrics from The Shankill Butchers by The Decemberists. Originally posted February 16, 2011 )

Lirriel
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Heat

October straddled... John? William? Chandler?... Oh Fel what was his name?

In the scheme of things, it did not matter. Her chances of seeing him again after this were fairly slim in a city this large.

Calloused hands ran up and down her bare thighs, thumbs never 
quite reaching where she wanted them to as she shared a heated kiss with her partner. He growled as she fumbled with the buckle of his belt and flipped her onto her back, the old wood of her bed frame creaked in protest as her robe opened, exposing flawless pale flesh to the light of the waning moon.

And there it was. The familiar fire that raced down her spine and through her limbs, into every toe, every finger. The passionate, feline temperament clashing against the cursed, lupine nature that 
always fought to be in control. October fought to push them both back.

She could feel her nails and teeth already sharpening, the acute pain nearly overshadowed by the sheer pleasure of his lips and teeth on her collar bone. Dexterous fingers began working to remove her simple undergarments and she shoved him back, her strength already more than it was a moment ago. October stood up and slid off the bed, but he followed and pulled her to him again. Her back met the rough wood of the wall as he sealed his mouth to hers once more, his knee coming to rest solidly between her legs, eliciting a quiet gasp from her, as he attempted to hike her higher up for a better angle.

Her hand groped for the brass knob of the door that sat slightly off it’s hinges. She felt terrible for doing this as she could feel how badly he wanted her, but she 
had to regain control of herself before she did something unforgivable.  
 
October flung the door open and grabbed the front of his shirt before pushing off the wall and turning, pulling him along so that she could shove him out the threshold. She shouted an apology as he landed in the grass before slamming the door and throwing the bolt into place. Her chest heaved as she dug her toes into the packed dirt floor. She was in control. She had to be in control. She was born human, she had adopted other forms along the way, but they would not rule her. 

Her muscles quivered, wanting to change, to run, to 
hunt and chase down the man whose scent still lingered. She drew her robe back around her, nails catching the silk and causing it to run in places as she turned and made her way to sit, crossing her legs on the dirty rug in front of the small hearth. October took a deep breath and exhaled slowly in an attempt to calm her body and quell the still rising heat. Regaining composure was the main goal, and slowly her nails and teeth returned to their natural states.

‘Gods, give me strength...’
 

( Originally posted May 4, 2011 )

Lirriel
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Support

Rainwater dripped from the ceiling into the many pans that littered the dirt floor of the small shack, embellishing the off-key piano sonata that tinkled out from a weathered Gilnean victrola. October sat at the small, off-kilter table as the fire burned low in the hearth, a quill in her hand as she looked over her most recently penned letter.

Dear Charlotte, 

I hope you are doing well in Darnassus and the Howling Oak. I cannot believe it has been nearly five months since we last saw one another. Life in Stormwind is about as I expected it to be; Not many know of the Old Ways and I only have a few clients, mostly counseling but a few that I scribe for. 

I write to ask a favor of you, Beatrice, and Avery. Recently, one of our own has begun having issues maintaining his human guise. He is employed by the Crown and is understandably worried about this turn of events. If you would not mind, seek out Alfonse Weimar when he arrives in Darnassus and take him under your care. I have composed a similar letter, asking him to seek the three of you. It would be a great comfort to myself and his Commander to know that he is in capable hands.

Warmest regards,
Toby S.


Deeming this letter acceptable, she folded it into thirds and slipped it into an envelope and lit the wick on her sealing wax, letting it melt properly before pouring just enough to not overly spill out as she pressed her wooden seal with her initials into the still liquid wax to bind the flap to the rest of the paper. She picked it up and set it on top of a stack of many similarly sealed envelopes to dry. October retrieved another sheet of parchment and settled it in front of herself. She dipped the nib of her black feather quill into the dark ink and let a bit run off before pressing it to the parchment, elegant scroll work flowing like the south river. 

Dragoon Weimar,

I have penned a message to three of my former compatriots, asking them to house and keep you while you are on leave in Darnassus. I implore you to seek out Charlotte Knopp as well as Avery and Beatrice Wallace. They usually stick fairly close to one another (Charlotte and Beatrice are siblings) and were quite good company to me while I was still wandering the Gilnean countryside. 

If it is not too much of a bother to you, I would love to informed of your progress when you have the time to write.  

Sincerely,
October O. Strangewayes

She folded and sealed this letter the same as the previous, taking a moment once finished to flex her fingers as the warm spring rain came down harder, a new leak forming just over her small table. Flustered, she blew a few loose strands of ebon hair out of her face and glared at the offending hole in the roof, both of her hands up in surrender, “Fine, fine. I suppose this is my sign that I am finished for the evening.” 

October took her glasses off and folded the temples closed before slipping them back into the velveteen pouch that kept them safe. She placed a stopper in her ink pot and cleaned the nib of her quill before putting them back into their mahogany box. With everything tucked safely away, she stood and weaved her way through the pots and bowls on the floor to retrieve a porcelain bowl from the low cabinets to place under the newest leak. 

Satisfied, she extended her arms towards the sky and stretched to let the tension of hours remaining in one position release. Tomorrow morning as the sun rose, she would deposit that stack of letters into the mail box and figure out what information to tell Harrigan regarding whose hands she had entrusted one of his people to. For now, she wanted to do nothing but rest.
 

( Originally posted May 12, 2011 )

Lirriel
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Moving Ever Forward

Something was coming.

The wind whispered stories and songs in languages she did not know as it came down through the mountains and danced with the leaves on the trees. No birds sang, no locusts hummed, no crickets chirped, but the fire in her hearth crackled with a ferocity she had not seen in a while. The flames played and writhed, entwining with one another like passionate lovers in a confined space while the air burning out of the wood cheered them on.

However, the message was not something she was supposed to understand, she was not practiced in the Shamanistic ways. They could be singing about good tidings and great fortune or warning of impending disaster and misery. 

October drew her knitted shawl tighter around her shoulders as she watched, trying to glean what she could although she knew better. She would have to wait and watch, all that patience she had built up put to the test. Looking back, nothing much had changed. Routine had been as normal...

...Except for the moment where she told Corporal Revan-- Cassion. She told Cassion that he could use her middle name, Olivia, to address her after they had spent some time and several evenings talking about their homeland. Perhaps that was the catalyst, being too forward for her own good, or perhaps she was just looking far too much into this and whatever it was that was coming had nothing to do with her at all.

Time would only tell and she still had yet to hear Cassion's stories from Gilneas. Surely fate could wait.


( Originally posted May 24, 2011 )

Lirriel
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The Valley

“It’s rather fortunate that you weren’t in your home early this morning, Ma’am,” the young guard’s voice snapped her out of her reverie. 

Her eyes travelled the dark, black swath of charred earth that extended down through the mountains and past where the small hunting cabin she called home used to stand. Her words caught in her throat for a moment before she was able to speak them, “Lightning strike?” 

The young man nodded, if he’d said his name earlier she hadn’t heard it, “Aye, Ma’am. The same fire claimed another two cabins a bit higher up in the hills as well,” he smiled sympathetically at her and placed a hand on her shoulder, “I have to go back to helping the others put out the rest of the hot spots before they flare up again and attempt to claim one of the farmsteads here. If you need to petition for aid, there will likely be a session this evening in the Keep. Do take care, Ma’am.” 

As he turned to walk away she sank down to sit in the grass, mentally taking inventory of what hadn’t been in the cabin at the time. Both of her armor sets were being repaired in a shop in the older part of town. That was good. She had one dress, a shirt, pants, and underclothes that had been on her person last night. She had money being stored in the bank, not a lot, but enough to get her a few new dresses to wear.

That was it. All she had left. Less than she'd ever had before. With the armor she could at least lend herself to mercenary missions and make some coin off of her skills, enough to buy a new violin and ink set. Once that was done she could go back to giving lessons and scribing for people on the side. If worst came to worst, she could always ask to become a reservist for the Dragoons. She would have a steady income and a place to stay at the very least, but that was only if she became absolutely desperate. She wasn’t a soldier and she knew it and she did not wish to lose whatever it was she had with Cassion. 

He was going to be worried when he heard and there really was no way to keep him from finding out. He would probably have other ideas about the situation and it was always just nice to talk to him, especially when she wasn't feeling at her best. She knew that this had happened for some reason, as everything did. Something was coming and this was a stepping stone to lead her there. October sighed and stood, dusting off the pants Cass had loaned for her to use for the day before using her magic to shift into a large crow. She flapped her wings and flew east, up above the trees and into the mountains. There was a small, lush, secluded valley that she knew of that sat just above Northshire. It was bordered by waterfalls and the high, steep mountain walls made it difficult to get into if you weren’t capable of flying.

Until she could figure everything else out, it would be a safe place to rest. 

( Originally posted June 1, 2011 )

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Intentions as Paving Stones

Being shot at was not exactly a new thing. In Gilneas, paranoid farmers would often take up arms to keep her off their land, usually firing wide but occasionally missing only by a margin. She never liked the sound the guns made either, that sharp, loud crack that some equated to thunder.

She never expected to be shot at in Stormwind, least of all inside the Keep itself by someone who knew 
exactly who she was. 

Someone had been lurking on the roof directly above where she and Cassion were talking. Someone up on the roof after the Chamberlain’s complaints about such behavior. Someone up on the roof after the Judiciary’s speech given earlier in the evening about how people needed to be on their guard because the reach of the villain that plagued them had no boundaries. It might have been nothing, it probably was nothing, but she conjured up a weak, localized lightning storm to merely frighten off whoever, whatever, was up there anyway for safety’s sake.

She certainly had not expected Corporal Kaltrone of all people to swing down and fire a shot off at her, snarling all the way. October could not really remember much past that, other than the fact that Cassion had been very upset. Her energy reserves had already been fairly low, using more of it to work up that small storm nearly exhausted her. 

October sighed and ran a hand through her hair trying to figure out 
why Kaltrone hated her so much. So far as she knew, she had not done anything to the other girl except for offer help for her anger issues, but the Corporal had instead turned to advice that the Major had given her about bark from a certain tree that worked on calming beasts. It did not seem to be working, Kaltrone had been throwing her annoyed and irritated looks for days for whatever reason and now she was being shot at. As much as she wanted to help, she could not when someone did not want it.

Maybe she was jealous? That would make a bit of sense, after all, Kaltrone had a fling with Cassion before. Kaltrone did not seem like the jealous type, though, and even encouraged her to court the Sergeant the night that Tayrn had gone “feral”.

The Witch bit her lip and buried her face in her hands, she certainly had 
not intended to upset the balance of the unit when she had offered to help the Dragoons, but it rather seemed that was the result as of late. Perhaps it was time to withdraw that offer to preserve whatever integrity she had left. The road to ruin was often paved with good intentions. It would take a bit to earn up enough money to put the payment down on an apartment in town, but Cassion had offered to help her pay for it. As much as she disliked that idea, it was his earned money. What he decided to do with it was entirely up to him.

She would stick around, for now. Others would likely want to talk to her about this most recent mess and she would have to look presentable while speaking with them. That meant a shower and a fresh dress. October took a deep breath and crawled out of bed before stretching and murmuring to no one, “One day, the Gods will stop testing me.”
 

( Originally posted June 16, 2011 )

Lirriel
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Burning Memories

“Mama says you’re a Witch.”

“She’s correct.”

“Are you a good Witch or a bad Witch?”

“That is up for you to decide.”

“Did you make my papa ill and make our crops dry up and our cows die?”

“No.”

“Then why are you in our barn?”

“Have you been outside recently?”

“To walk here to bring you some bread, yeah. It’s cold. Oh. Right. You probably shouldn’t stay long. Mama’s not happy and keeps sending for people. You can run, right?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I lost my shoes.”

“Oh. Well. I’ll... get you some shoes, but only because you didn’t do anything Mama said you did.”

“Thank you.”

Unfortunately, shortly after the young boy had left, the angry villagers his mother had roused cornered her in the barn. Her head lolled forward as the cloying smoke from the smouldering rushes billowed around her, making her lungs burn and her thoughts muddled. They were not catching fire like they should, the earlier rains made it hard for the flames to catch. She could not say she was terribly surprised that her end would be met atop a pyre in the center of a small farming town. She had only spent the last few months running, it was only fair that this be her penance for taking the life of a good man.

The ropes binding her wrists came loose and a hand tugged her sideways, off the mound that was finally starting to burn. The shock of the cold mud brought her back as she rolled onto her side, coughing and wheezing. The young boy kicked at her sides, urging her to get up as he shoved a pair of deerskin boots into her hands, “There. I don’t care if your feet are bruised, run.

October woke up, sweat dotting her skin from the nightmare. She climbed over the sleeping Sergeant at her side, very likely waking him in the process, before dashing for the washroom. The Witch made sure the door was closed firmly behind her before hitting the cold tap on the sink, gathering the cool water in her cupped palms before soaking her face. This damned holiday was making her remember things she rather would not, it was yet another thing to endure. 

She reached for a dry washcloth and pressed it to her pale forehead and cheeks, removing the water there, then straightened up and stared defiantly back at the dark grey Wolf in the mirror. 

( Originally posted June 25, 2011 )

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The Flames of War

The letter had been written hastily. In truth, it deserved more time than she had been able to give it. He deserved more time than she had been able to give, but she could not ignore the summons that had come in for her. Hyjal was all it said, written in the delicate script that belonged to one of the elder practitioners, that was her destination. The new war front.

It was simple, left on his desk in the office of their new room.

letter

She had been fighting for hours by the time she had thought about the letter again. Her hair was plastered to the sides of her face and the back of her neck from the constant heat and humidity that came from fighting the fire elementals there among the rain that almost seemed to do nothing. It was her first time seeing open war, and she was scared out of her wits. She had heard stories about the Northgate Rebellion and the Forsaken invasion, but she had never
seen it with her own eyes and It felt absolutely futile, the terrors and destroyers just kept coming. Killing them here did nothing but send them back to their own plane to recharge and spring right back through and into the fray. The defenders had to fight, though, or they would be overrun. Occasionally, fortune would smile on them and send an enemy to fight that would not come back. Druids of the Flame, they were called. She had met, and killed, her first this morning. Everything about them was wrong, horribly wrong, from the magic in them to the way they looked and spoke. She was glad when she no longer had to sink fang and claw into their flesh.

The Witch dropped to the ground by her bag, her leather armor sticking to her skin uncomfortably, while taking a long drink from her waterskin. The other Druids had pulled her back, tired fighters would only make mistakes and become casualties. There were too many of those already... She had watched as a Night Elven woman, a Druid of the Claw, was consumed by flames in front of her. The smell of burning meat and hair stuck around in the back of her throat even now, threatening the loss of the meager lunch that had been eaten earlier. The idea of heading over to the area of camp designated for the injured was not one she relished, but she would have to go eventually to give support to the other healers. They needed moments of rest as much as she did.

This war was the event that had been hovering on the horizon, this she knew. It had been fire that had consumed her home and fire that had sent her first nightmare in years. Now it was fire that threatened to consume the world and everything good in it. Somewhere, in the back of her mind, a little voice nagged that she would not come out of this conflict unscathed.

(Originally posted Jul 02, 2011)

Lirriel
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Sacrifices

The wheels of the carriage struck a dip in the packed dirt of the road. She stilled the hand she had been running through her husband’s short, straw colored hair so that she would not pull any of it on accident, but he woke anyway, his head turning against the powder blue silk of the high-necked, corseted, monstrosity she had been forced to wear to the horse auction and luncheon that his mother had arranged.

Cedric sleepily reached a hand up and took hold of the base of one of the ringlet curls that spilled over her shoulder, pulling it down and releasing it so that the dark lock of twisted hair sprung back up and bounced a little. October gave the man a peeved look, reaching back with her free hand to make sure the tight tie keeping it all up in the back had not come loose, wincing as she jostled the matching powder blue fascinator that had been cemented against her head with a myriad of different hair-pins. 

He laughed as his blue eyes slipped closed again, “Liv, Liv, Liv... What am I going to do with you? You need to learn to have fun! I ought to take you and Ashleigh out on the town sometime, we could hit the pub and I could try to sell the automatic ale dispenser that I have been working on for the past month and a half!”

She arched a black eyebrow and resumed working her hand through his hair, “I thought I asked you not to call me that. Olivia or October, pick one or the other. You can take Ashleigh anywhere you wish, I do not go out to pubs but do let me know if you make any business dealings and make sure you write them down this time. ”

“I have been calling you Liv for two years now, one would think you would have gotten tired of asking me to stop. One day, you will. Besides, Ashleigh likes you, she may be the mistress, but you are nice to her anyway even though you are technically my wife. You even let her live in the estate! Not many women would do that, you know, Olivia,” he murmured, his eyes half lidded. 

She frowned a little, bringing a hand up to fiddle with one of the infernal rings that had been placed through the lobe of her ear for the sake of fashion, “I see no reason to get in the way of you and your woman, Cedric. You love her, at least she thinks that you do. Merideth and Elizabeth also thought that as well and they are just serving staff. You ought to spend more time with Ashleigh, especially if you do love her, after how your mother treated her today. I warned you about bringing her along and you did not listen to me.”

Cedric sighed heavily, running a worn hand down his face, “I know you did, but Ashleigh is fun. Funner than I knew that event would be. Mother is stuffy and so are her friends.”

“You spoilt boy, if your mother ever heard you say that she would-”

“She would frown and do nothing. I am her only child, Liv. The great wall has been up for two years now and my father is never coming back from Lordaeron. Everyone has become absolutely droll, except for you and Ashleigh. You do the most delightful magic when you think no one is watching. Did uncle Joe teach you that?”

Her face flushed as the realization that she had been caught washed over her. The Witch sat a little straighter on the plush upholstery of the interior seats, “Yes, he did, my father knew it as well and taught me... He never liked being called Joe, you know. Always preferred Joseph.” Hazel eyes stared down at him, studying the contours of his face and his expression, “How did you know?”

A lazy smirk crept onto the man’s clean shaven face, “You may run the estate, October Olivia Goldwell, but I’m still the master of it. All of my mates thought I was daft to let you run the place, especially giving it to you when turned eighteen, but mother said that you had a head for figures and so you do. You are a brilliant woman, Olivia. You can play with your magic all you want. You could even divorce me, if you wanted. Mother may disown me and keep you were that the case! You could have the estate, I do not want it. I have my loom patents, I have my money. I could make a living, just like that.”

Dark brows furrowed, “This is about Ashleigh, is it not? You know I cannot divorce you, it would ruin us both. What have you done now, Cedric? What fool thing have you gotten yourself into?”

There was hesitation in his voice, “I brought Ashleigh along tonight because... She is pregnant. With my child. I do love her, Olivia. I want to be with her, I want to raise my child with her. I know my Mother wanted us, you and I, to produce a son but...” He pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to find the proper words but failing, waiting for her to fill the silence with something.

“You do not love me, Cedric. I know. At most, we have been business partners this entire time. I will not divorce you, for my own reasons, but I will not come between you, Ashleigh, and your child. Does your mother know?” she asked as she smoothed her thumb over his brow, trying to run the worry lines from his face.

He chuckled darkly, “Of course she does. I told her. Why do you think her expression was so sour for the last half of the luncheon? Why do you think Ashleigh took her carriage back earlier? She was fleeing from the vulture’s wrath. Olivia, I.. am happy you are taking this well. You always take everything so well. I admit I was worried that you would be upset about this, I know you wanted-”

“I wanted a child because that is my purpose here. I traded my wishes and dreams for a better life for my parents. I have made my peace with that, I made my peace with that years ago, and I am happy because my parents were wealthy as they deserved to be for the last few weeks of their lives. We tried for children, but it was not to be. Ashleigh is good for you, Cedric, I am glad you found her. She lets you be the boy you so want to be with your mad inventions and your play time. I cannot give you that and you know it as well as I do,” she squeezed his shoulder as the carriage rolled to a halt and helped him sit up, brushing his hair back into order with her fingers.

Cedric watched her, worried, trying to figure out and give her what she wanted to and what she wanted to hear all at the same time, “Olivia, we can still try if you want, you are only nineteen, you have time, ability-”

She interrupted him before he could continue, “No, Cedric. No. Just... No. I had a good time out with you today, thank you.” The porter opened the door and she slipped both of her lace gloves back on before taking the hand offered, climbing down out of the inner cabin with ease, powder blue silk shoes clicking on the cobblestone as the hard leather soles kept the chill from reaching her toes. He called after her, but she ignored him, making for her room and shutting the door behind her. The attendants would be by in a moment to help her out of her dress, but the scant few moments alone in the silence were enough and silent tears rolled down her pale cheeks. This, she reasoned, must be heartbreak.

(Originally posted Jul 15, 2011)

Lirriel
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Tempest

Lighting cracked as the rain pelted the window. Summer storms off the sea were common, the cliffs did little to dissuade them. The wind was fierce, bending the rose bushes in unnatural ways and scattering the bright, delicate petals around the yard.

October paced back and forth in front of the empty hearth, the wooden floor creaking under her weight. Cedric snapped at her from the chair he was sitting in, “Would you 
stop that? Just stop. Sit down at least.”

“I know you are worried, Cedric, but you do not have to take it out on me. I had a very long day, no thanks to you. Ashleigh will be all right, so will the baby. The midwife and the doctor know what they are doing,” a loud crack of thunder shook the house, punctuating her speech.

He frowned, sullen, as his voice rumbled, “Yes, I know. You picked up a contract for a warehouse and shop in Duskhaven as well as another in Gilneas proper. You own a good quarter of the garment district in the city now, 
congratulations,Madam Goldwell. You do my mother proud, you are the responsible child that she never had. Do not patronize me, Olivia. I know she will be alright, that does not change the fact that I am terrified that something will go wrong.” 

One of the serving girls burst into the parlour then, her hands shaking a little and her face ashen, “M-master Goldwell, you have a daughter!”

Cedric sat up straight in the plush chair, “What about Ashleigh, is Ashleigh alright?”

The younger girl nodded, jumping a little as lightning flashed outside the windows, “She’s fine, at least th’ doctor said so, Master Goldwell.”

“Can I see her? Both of them, I mean? Does she have a name? I need to know her name before I see her, Emily,” he stood up, all previous frustration gone with the news, and walked toward the girl.

“A-amelia, sir. Amelia Seymour. Mistress Seymour wished for her surname to be used. A-and yes, I th-think that would be alright Sir..” Emily nodded and stood aside, looking down at her shoes as he hurried past.

October sighed a little as the parlour door closed behind her husband, “Do have a seat, Emily. You look like you have seen a ghost.”

The girl idly brushed her frizzy brown hair back and made her way to one of the large chairs in front of the hearth, “Yes M-ma’am Goldwell. There was just... so much blood, and this storm is very loud. Are you... alright, with this, Ma’am? You and Master Goldwell have been.... distant. More than you used to be. Not that it’s any of my business or anything!”

She laughed darkly, the sound echoing off the walls of the room, “Of course I am not okay with it, I am far from okay with this, would you be? My 
husband had a child with another woman.”

Emily thought a moment, worrying the hem of her apron between her hands, “I.. yes, I suppose I would be upset. Why don’t you leave? I am more than certain Widow Goldwell would let you stay at her estate, you are making her money, lots of it. I mean, we’d all be sad if you left, but...”

“No, I cannot leave. The City and I would disagree. After that business with the Rebellion and the lack of decent greenery... I will stay here, or at the estate that is being built in Duskhaven to oversee the newer factory and shop,” she shook her head and had a seat in the other chair, chuckling mirthlessly, “I will endure.”

“Well, if it makes you feel any better... The baby doesn’t look anything like Master Goldwell. In fact, the rest of the girls and I all think she looks a bit more like Ronald, the stable hand,” she smiled a little mischievously.

October smiled back, “Thank you, Emily. If 
only that were the case.”

(Posted Sep 08, 2011)

Lirriel
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Mercy

The cliffs were beautiful. They always were in late autumn, the grass had just begun to die and the waves were always white capped as they crashed into the rocks at the very bottom. She trotted alongside Cedric and his dapple grey gelding, taking in the scenery from the back of her bay mare. She could feel the seasons turn, not that she would ever say that to anyone lest they think her strange.

“Thank you for coming out to ride with me, Olivia. I did want to see how that dress fit on you, and it does look good. I know things have been... strained, since Ashleigh and Amelia moved in, since we ran out of cheap fiber... since the Wall. We have figured out how to weave spider silk, you know! From the great ones out in the Blackwald. Buisness will pick up again before you know it, once we get it, and the shipment of wool from Northgate, in,” said he, trying to be amicable. 

October nodded a little, the riding habit he had bought her did fit incredibly well. The man knew his styles and the deep emerald velvet brought out what little green her hazel eyes held and accented the glossy black locks that she kept pinned in a tight bun, “That is the theory, Cedric, but if the sheep take ill like they did six months ago, we will not have any wool. If the men sent to gather the spider silk are eaten, as the ones before that were, we will not have any of that either,” she paused, taking a deep breath of the salt scented air, “What are you getting Amelia for her third birthday? Hopefully not another doll, the girl already has near two score of them. You spoil her, Cedric.”

He laughed, raking a hand through his loose blonde hair, “I was hoping you would have an idea, Olivia. What does a three year old girl fancy? I was honestly thinking a story book, or a small calligraphy set. Perhaps even a piano. Do you think she is too young to start learning?”

“I think she may be too small for the piano yet, but introducing her to one would not be a terrible idea. Ink pots in the hands of a toddler is something that I do not wish to think about, Cedric, and I fear Ashleigh will feel quite the same. Perhaps you should just have a new set of clothing made for her, she keeps out-growing everything else. It would not be a terrible idea and you know it,” she said, smiling. The little girl was growing rapidly, and as much as October disliked her mother, she could not help but adore the child.

“Yes, yes... I do think that would be good. I think I shall also get her a pony. The Ashcombe’s dam threw a well tempered colt, I hear,” he smiled back. 

She brought a lambskin-gloved hand up to rub at her forehead as she steered her mount around, pointing the mare back towards home, “Do what you will, Cedric. She is your daughter, after all... Just... Remember that we do not have all the money that you assume we do. We cannot sustain ourselves like this, our country is alone... It has been five years since that damned Wall went up, Cedric. Nothing has gotten any better. But... we will have to make due with what we have.”

He scoffed, “We 
will make due, Olivia. We are Gilnean! What do we care for produce from Lordaeron? Ours will be better, heartier. Without the cloth from Stormwind, we will prosper! Just wait, you will see.” He threw her a rakish smirk, “Race you back to the estate!”

He did not give her an option before he spurred his horse into a brisk canter, easing into a steady gallop as he went. She sighed in frustration and nudged her own horse forward aiming to catch up with the dreamer turned father that she had married. She knew the land better than he did, what the mare under her would tolerate, what she would not, and caught up to Cedric rather quickly. He threw her a competitive smirk before hollering like a school boy from the rush the speed gave him. October leaned forward in her saddle, bracing for the jump over the ravine that separated their land from that of the free property. He was behind her now, she was going to win. Her laugh echoed out as she and the bay flew over gap.

The dapple grey gelding balked at the edge and Cedric was not ready to compensate. She heard the fall, the horrible cracking of bones as his body met the rocks scattered about the bottom of the ditch, and her breath caught in her throat as she wheeled her horse around, reining the mare to a stop before dismounting and gathering her skirts to run to, and over, the edge of the ravine. He lay there among the dead grass and stones like someone’s discarded plaything. She scrambled to where he lay, her skirts catching and tearing on a gnarled bed of thorny roots before she fell to her knees next to him, lightly resting a hand on his chest, using her magic to bring the extent of his injuries to light.

Cedric was not dead, but he might as well have been. There was nothing she could do, no spell she could weave, to fix this. She drew her knees to her chest as the wolves howled in the distance. Leaving him alone was 
not an option.

The day was fading into twilight when he finally opened his eyes again. He wheezed out a quiet cry, her name, and she leaned forward to acknowledge as the tears continued to roll down her pale cheeks, “I am here, Cedric. Right here. You... You need help, Cedric, your neck... I need to go get help. I cannot--”

“No.”

She frowned and knit her brow, his voice was so pained. She 
needed to get someone to take him home, “Cedric--”

“Liv,” his breath rattled, “No. C... Can’t move. Don’t... want every... to... to see me,” he had to stop.

Her own voice shook, “Do not be 
foolish Cedric.”

No. Bag. Side bag. Saddle. Can’t move fingers, toes. Go.”

She wiped her tears away quickly as she stood, staring down at the handsome face of a scared boy. She knew what he kept in that bag. “Cedric, I... I do not want to do this, Cedric. I 
cannot. Do not make me do this,” she whispered, loud enough for him to hear.

Go, Liv.”

October squeezed her eyes shut tightly, clenching her hands into fists before turning and climbing up the other side of the ravine. The dappled grey gelding shifted nervously on his hooves, his ears flicking in every direction, trying to listen to everything at once, nostrils wide as he sensed her fear. She lay a hand on the beast’s neck, untying the leather strip that held the saddlebag shut before reaching inside and withdrawing a small, silver revolver. She moved back to the edge of the ditch, looking down at him from the lip, “Cedric... Please, I can send the horses back--”

He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, “No, Olivia. I... am your husband, you will... You will do what I tell you. Do it.”

She exhaled, her breath catching in her throat. There would not be a life for him back at the estate; he would be confined to a bed, unable to hold his daughter, for the rest of his life. This was a mercy. That is what it had to be. She drew the hammer back and straightened her arm, bracing for the recoil as she aimed. A laugh escaped her and flew away on the breeze, the sound manic and nervous as she squeezed her eyes shut once more. October took a deep breath and steeled herself, “I love you, Cedric. I’ve always loved you.”

She pulled the trigger.

(Posted Sep 08, 2011)

Lirriel
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Flight in the Forest

They had been trailing her since lunch. Two, seemingly normal, men. One was young, the other was older, his hair and beard peppered with grey. They were both lightly armed and that was not amiss in the city. It was not a coincidence. 

Amelia, Cedric’s daughter, had survived the curse and the exodus and wanted revenge on the woman who killed her father. She could not blame the girl, Amelia was young and hot blooded. It made her stupid and reckless, an advantage October could benefit from. 

These were her men. She had alluded to the fact that she had hired a few earlier in the week and the Witch was not surprised in the least. Rather than turn and make for the safety of crowds and the Keep, she headed out the Valley and into the forest, walking slow enough so that her pursuers could see her.

The hunt was always thrilling, and this choice was reckless; that she knew. Far enough into the woods, she heard the subtle sounds of daggers unsheathing and a shotgun being loaded and cocked. She ran, ducking and weaving around trees, leaping over thick roots and holes and snares in the underbrush as easily as a deer. This was her realm and they were out of their depth.

The wind sang as she flew, urging her on with every whisper in her ear and caress on her face until she reached the clearing with the great Father Tree who’s seed spread far throughout Elwynn and even beyond into Duskwood. She scaled his great trunk and perched in his boughs as easily as a squirrel and waited, watching.

They were heavy footed, she felt them coming before she heard them. Wildly they both looked about, but could not find her. The Father Tree’s leaves hid her well enough from sight and the snarl of roots below the earth belonging to he and his circle of wives drew deep and vast, but they were not greedy.

Two would be too much, so she would have to choose one. Amelia did not have the money to hire sell-swords for their skill. The older man had to be one who survived this long by being slightly craven and doing whatever he could to survive, even if it meant breaking a contract. The younger was likely just as rash and full of hubris as Amelia herself. Easy choice.

A thick tangle of dirty roots burst from the ground and ensnared the younger man, causing him to thrash and scream. The elder man re-sheathed his daggers and fled back the way he came, never throwing his comrade a backward glance. The boy shouted after him and clawed at the roots as they drug him down beneath the earth, far enough to not be found. The Father Tree and his wives would, in time, sup well from the fertile soil. 

October slid down the great trunk and made her way to the disturbed patch of dirt, eyeing it critically before whispering sweet words and promises of life to the grasses and weeds. They grew quickly and thoroughly masked any indication of what had happened.  She smiled at that and sang her blessing to the great circle of standing sentinels, promising to return to hear them sing as they began to turn their colors and shed their livelihoods as the winter came.

The Witch picked up the rifle that the boy dropped and strapped it to her back before spreading her arms and shifting into a raven; Cassion had wanted to work on his shooting.

(Posted Sep 08, 2011)

Lirriel
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Siblings

Toby ran her thumb across the faded, old drawing. It was one of her Mother’s, the only one she had left. Every year, Margaret Strangewayes would do a single sketch for each child on their birthday. October and Octavius always sat together, they shared a day.

This one was from their sixteenth, the year Tavi took ill and died. They would have been forty this year, and as the day grew closer, she missed him more and more. He would always fuss at her to go into town with him, she would always refuse, and she regretted that now.

She remembered herding the sheep back into the barn one morning and finding him curled up with the Butcher’s daughter and she laughed a little before folding the picture back up and tucking it back into a pocket on the inside of her dress so it would not be ruined by the tears. Besides, it was getting late, Cassion's rounds would be over soon and supper would not make itself. Sitting around crying was not going to getting her anywhere.

Siblings

(Posted Oct 16, 2011)

Lirriel
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A Hallow's End Eve

The Jack-o-Lantern sat, flickering on top of the soil in the flower pot she had set it on. It had been a long night, pleasantly so, but long. Lieutenant Forrester had presided over her interview and inducted her in as a full Dragoon. Her uniform was being delivered to Cassion’s quarters, dress included. She would likely have to get it tailored, but she could ask the Judiciary for that easily enough.

The witch smiled as she plucked a white rose off of the bush growing to the side of an old table in the small apartment and twirled a bit before tucking it behind her ear, smiling brightly. It was not a grand space, not at all, but it was 
hers. Hers and it was on the ground, wooden floors between her and the grass, not meters of mortar and stone. She reached up and trailed her hands through he ivy growing on the ceiling, remembering the speech she’d given at the Wickerman.

Every year, during Hallows End, we would think up all of the issues that had been burdening us for the year past. For those that could make it to the actual Wickerman, some would write these down and tie them to sticks, then burn them. Some would just burn sticks, the thought being more than enough.
 

There had not been a Wickerman for them last year. Some may have had little ones, but with the chaos of the invasion and the Exodus, that was doubtful.

Once this was burnt, all the worries and issues that had plagued us for the rest of the year were nothing to worry about any longer.

It was a time to let go, a time to be free of the burdens of the rest of the world, just for a little while. She leaned forward and laughed a little while humming, working a bit of magic to open up a small twilight jasmine bloom, casting a purple glow on everything nearby. 

It reminded us all that worries are not something to dwell on. It is far, far to easy to become lost within ones self and the stresses that those worries cause. It is, and was, a time to be happy.


She had never been good at giving speeches to large crowds. They were not words that would rouse hundreds, as the King’s speech had done at Rememberance Day, but they were enough to cheer the small band that she ventured into battle with. 

October paused her twirling for a moment, hand to her chest as she let out a nasty cough. It hurt, it always hurt... But this was the price she paid for going and fighting in the Firelands. The smoke and the ash choked and clogged. It would probably make her sick, someday. It probably already had. She was not exactly the spry youth that most of the rest of the party were... There was cough suppressant in the drawer, though. Enough small vials to last a while.

She withdrew one from the desk and popped the cork before drinking it down. Coughing a little again as it settled in her stomach. Cassion already worried enough... This was not something he needed to know about, not yet. Toby smiled again as the familiar warmth from the liquid spread through her chest and limbs and took up her twirling again, twining magic in amongst the other plants and leaves that crowded in and made her feel at home.

She stopped as a pot rattled and turned. The Jack-o-Lantern was crackling brighter than it had been before... Then a root burst from the soil below, and a second followed. Slowly the Jack pulled itself up and hopped out of the pot, leering up at her with it’s grim smile as it followed her around. Cassion would be over soon. This... This was going to be difficult to explain.

(Posted Oct 24, 2011)

Lirriel
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Ever Learning

Ichabod.

The giver of life had named him Ichabod. She used the pronoun ‘he’ to refer to him.

There was a written measure of an Ichabod in one of her books. The human male was a glutton, a coward, and a failure. The magic had helped give him life, he was not a failure. Cowardice, feelings, mortal constraints... He was a custodian. Feelings did not exist. To be a coward, one would need to feel fear. The giver of life had denied him this.

Gluttony: 
1.) excess in eating or drinking

2.) greedy or excessive indulgence

He did not eat in excess. The magic in the area had seeped into the very homes of the Humans, Elves, Gnomes, Dwarves, Draenei, and Worgen living in the Mage’s district, a borough within the city of Stormwind. The Human Capitol. It was only natural for him to absorb it when he began to lack energy.

Excessive indulgence was easy when it came to residing within the residence of the giver of life. She liked books. He organized books. The magic had denied him feelings, but had allowed him to perceive and understand written and spoken language. He could 
read. He could observe. He could listen. 

By definition, he indulged in learning.

He had learned that the giver of life was named October. The last harvest month in the country of Gilneas. The last promise of warmth before the long winter. 

He had learned that her relationship with the Sergeant Cassion Revant was not considered moral based upon the book 
Lady Ashcombe’s Guide to Managing a Gilnean HouseholdCoital relationships before marriage were shameful. Often had he filed notes with his vines where her name had been joined with the Sergeant’s surname in moments of idle mindedness, but this was not the same. 

His carved gourd bobbled on it’s stalk. It was up to him, Ichabod, to keep October, the giver of life, from bringing any more shame down upon herself

(Posted Oct 30, 2011)

Lirriel
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The Tower

This tower was cold. Cold and full of ghosts and other worlds. One step would be in Azeroth, the other... Somewhere else. Somewhere terrifying.

She was trapped, trapped here with the cold and the ghosts and the other. Ichabod had been the one to slam the door. The little creation had become her own gaoler.

(Posted Nov 17, 2011)

Lirriel
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Hope

Cassion was asleep. He needed the rest, likely almost as much as she did. 
Five days she had been gone. She thought it had been two weeks or more. 

It was good that he was asleep; she found it hard to look him in the eye. 
Trapped in that tower, she had given up hope.

(Posted Nov 22, 2011)

Lirriel
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Seas and Streams

Staying out of the Hall until the last possible moment she could had become routine. It was not the same stone, not the same windows or doorways, but the feeling of entrapment was still palpable. 

Going to the other apartment was out of the question; seeing what had become of it, how she would react, worried her. It was something that happened to combatants returning from the field most often, they would avoid things that could trigger potentially terrible memories and actions. The problem was a stream, ever moving, ever changing. It was deeper in some parts and swifter in others. Complicated.

It was, she supposed, a good thing that with recent events, her listening skills were needed more than ever.

With the revelation that the Archbishop was a traitor and part of the Twilight Crusade, there had been a swift shock of disbelief and loss of trust from many of the pious followers of the philosophy of the Light. It was, of course, understandable. How could such a benevolent and kind father figure for many of the people who attended prayer and services within the Cathedral be part of an organization bound to destroy the world? 

People were losing faith, and all they needed, all they wanted, was someone to talk to. Someone to guide them over this problem that was a deep and vast sea. The problem with seas was that you needed more than a crew of one to cross safely.

A mother of one of the boys that she instructed in violin had asked what she should do; What small ability she had in healing her child’s scrapes and bruises had vanished with that single announcement. How was she going to care for her son if he was injured? Could she risk taking him to the cathedral? How could this happen? 
Why?

October could only answer, “The Light is not one man. Men are fallible, mortal, and capable of making mistakes. What the Light is, is for you to decide. For you, and your son. There are so many others in the Cathedral asking the same questions you are, wondering the same things you are. It is not going to be fixed by the King, or the Prince, or someone swooping in on a winged steed. I wish I could answer all of your questions, but I cannot. The whys, the hows, I can only speculate on. You are here now, though, alive and with your son. You can use this to teach him that one man does not make a single organization.”

Lirriel
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Winter Veil Cometh

The skill of the southern metalworkers had astounded her ever since she had come to Stormwind. The amount of detail they could get into a piece with inlaid niello and granulation was quite lovely and incredibly interesting to look at. 

October still, however, approved of the Gilnean metalwork more. 

The intricacies of the knot work, while seemingly simple by Stormwind standards, was something she found more aesthetically pleasing. It was why she had decided to track down one of the elder metal-smiths that had survived the Exodus. 

She commissioned the man back in late September, understanding that he was busy creating pieces for the war effort as well. It had come in the mail today, in a simple wooden box, four days before the start of Winter Veil. Inside was a flat, golden hoop with the iconic Gilnean braiding and a straight pin topped with a polished, golden stag. It was one of the older styles of cloak pins that she had always been partial to; the hoop would rest against the fabric, the pin would pierce the layers and trap them, keeping heavier cloaks in place with minimal stress on the fabric.

The decision of what to top the straight pin with had been difficult. Her original idea had been a wolf, but given the circumstances of their people’s curse and Cassion’s resistance at anything hinting that he would make a good “alpha” she had decided against it. The second idea had been a Stormcrow, but that was far too unoriginal as it was a form she took nearly every day. Gilnean stags, though, were an animal that everyone from the home country knew. The venison was delicious and they had been part of hunting sport for generations. Her own father had many shirt toggles made out of carved antlers and knives made from Stag bone. 

She smiled as she wrapped the wooden box up in a simple silk fabric and tucked it under the potted blackberry bush that she had grown from a clipping that one of the other Witches had saved from the Blackwald. If everything went correctly with her tending, the plant would yield fruit in a week, just in time to trade gifts. Where an evergreen would wither and die, that blackberry bush would flourish and continue to grow. It was something she could keep well into the summer and for the rest of the year and she considered it a gift to herself. 

As the fire died in the hearth, she turned and made her way back into the bedroom so that she could get some rest. It was entirely possible that Cassion was going to be out overnight making sure that the city was well prepared to defend against the Horde over the holiday season and she wanted to wake early so that she could have breakfast ready for him when he returned in the morning.

(Posted Dec 14, 2011)

Lirriel
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Restoring the Balance

Her mind wandered, as it always did, as she swung the heft of her great scythe around in one of the training rooms. It was not a weapon she used often, as much as she enjoyed the symbolism of it. It was heavy and unwieldy, but easy to move through practice motions with.  

The technical definition of home was a dwelling that kept one safe from the elements. A shelter. Technically, the Keep was just that. A large, stone shelter. One built to protect the people inside from the elements, from war, from anything. 

It was not her home, though. It never gave her that feeling that home was supposed to give you. The relief that stepping through the door at the end of a long day, the warmth, the joy of it. The walls here were harsh, cut stone that cut her off from feeling the life of the trees and the grass just outside. Even with a fire roaring in the hearth it was... cold. 

Cassion lived here, though, and staying with him was important. More important than finding a place that merely felt like home. She liked being there for him after his nightmares, running her fingers through his hair as his head rested on her breast. They never said much. He had already aired out many of the cobwebs in his cupboard to her. If he wanted to share more, he would. She knew his real name and guarded it like a precious treasure, even though she wanted to say it more. He seemed uncomfortable with it.

He would probably scold her for having rambling thoughts as she swung a great scythe around, too, but he was not here to see that. She had picked one of the less used training rooms for this purpose because she knew she would not be focused. The mats on the floor were cracked and worn from use, the wooden dummies here were not the magic ones that eventually sealed back up where they had been cut; what armor racks were once in use had been removed long ago. It was tucked away -- distant.

She had been distant, recently. The growing rift between herself and her lover had been entirely her fault. They needed to talk. She needed to talk. Since June she had always encouraged him to lay his burdens out on the table and she really had not done anything to reciprocate. She needed to change that. It was all a two-way thoroughfare, and she had not been trying nearly hard enough. They could work through her issues together and -- 

The top half of the training dummy to her side clattered to the floor with a puff of dust, instantly breaking her train of thought. The curved blade of the large scythe had gone through the wood like a warm, dull knife through cold butter. The witch pinched the bridge of her nose briefly before slinging the weapon back into it’s holster on her back and walked over to pick up the old, dead wood that was now on the floor. Most of it was half rotted, and she was not surprised. The whole room was likely going to be scuttled soon, if anyone else had noticed it at all. She set the top half of the poor thing behind it’s bottom half and wiped her hands clean on the supple leathers of her combat gear before heading out. 

It was time to find the right words to say.

(Posted Dec 24, 2011)

Lirriel
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The Start of a New Year

 

The house was... nice. Quaint and much larger than the apartments that she had been living in. Bigger than the resident quarters that she shared with Cassion in the Dragoon’s hall. It was much more open than the resident quarters, and easier to relax in. October was very glad that she had purchased it. However, it’s age showed. 


The previous owner had passed recently, and he had been an older gentleman. The roof was a little leaky, and, as a result some of the floor boards had warped and were dangerous to walk on. Most of the windows had a thin film of dirt on them and would not bother to budge when she tried to open them. Everything in the kitchen needed a thorough cleaning. 

She could hear the muted explosions and cheers from the city as the populace rang in the start of their new year; the sounds bounced easily enough between the mountains, filtering down to the little dwelling. Not being there certainly did not bother her. There were too many people crowded together, drinking and revelling. Half of the Dragoons would be up all night just trying to keep the peace. 

The Witch paused in her renovation work and adjusted the simple, linen rag she had tied about her head to keep her hair back. Everything was coming together smoothly and had a simple solution. She hoped that would carry on to everything that this new year would bring.

(Posted Jan 02, 2012)

Lirriel
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Vacations

“Let’s go to Feralas, there are hot springs!”

Winterspring had hot springs too, and snow, but Cassion had the right mindset. It was a vacation, you were supposed to go somewhere opposite of where you were now. Feralas was... Green, and balmy. It had faerie dragons and hulking yetis built for the clime, gorillas, those odd hyena dogs, and ogres. It was near to every fantasy land she had ever read about in a book as a child, and every fantasy land he had not had the time to read about. 

She needed the break, he knew it. She knew it, as much as she hated to admit it. It had not been a good few weeks. The results of her physical had come back with an abnormality, it was not one that would endanger her health at any point, but she had asked what it was. Sterility. Likely since birth, the younger healer had said, because of a defect with the organ. 

October still did not know how to feel about it. She was older now, even if she wanted to reproduce it would be ill advised. It explained why she had never had a child with Cedric, why he had turned to a mistress, why she had always been irregular with her cycles. There was no reason to be upset about it now. She knew that. But she was; Angry, depressed, and bitter all at the same time. Cassion reassured her that they could adopt, if they ever wanted a child. He did not want children, she could not blame him with his background, and their lifestyle was not one to raise a child into. He did not want her to feel like she was less of a woman, or broken, and he was adamant about it. 

Feralas

She really wanted to take him to Moonglade. Moonglade was peaceful, not nearly as sticky or warm. It was easy to relax there, to forget what troubles you had. Between the traitor-mailwoman-spy showing up in the Keep after warning her against it and her pet Troll-Elf showing up to threaten the Dragoons for being opposed to Victorine’s fence-hopping in a time of open warfare, Toby was very close to losing her temper and tearing out a throat or two. She needed space. She wanted Moonglade. Cassion had just seemed so... happy when she had agreed to Feralas. She liked seeing him happy. It was nice, being able to be with him all day. She was looking forward to spending the rest of their time off at their house, together. Maybe he would let her teach him how to properly plant a garden. 

She needed time, Cassion knew it. He knew she needed him around, even if she did not outright say it. 

He would take care of her.

(Posted Jan 14, 2012)

Lirriel
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All For Love

 

As of late, it seemed like everyone absolutely detested the current holiday. October could understand why someone might have an intense dislike of the state of things with the perfumes and colognes, but the point of the thing was to remind the people who you cared about that you did care about them. That was the important thing and last year she had not had anyone in particular to care for.

This year, she did and she made every effort to to do something nice for Cassion every day. Little things, usually, in the vein of what she already did; A bit of rum in his coffee in the morning or laying his undershirt and breeches out on a flat, hot iron plate to warm them up before he put them on. In the afternoons she would bring him lunch, for dinner she would always cook his favorites, no matter the difficulty, and she would keep the meal warm until he returned home. Before bed, with nimble fingers, she would work out the knots and tight spots that his muscles had gained over the day.

Tonight was the piece de resistance. She had seen the silken dresses put up in the storefronts in a range of colors, and rather than wear it right out of the box as it was, she had found a tailor to make an extra piece that would accompany and accentuate the ruby red dress that she had purchased. The bolero jacket that had been made had fine, red silken sleeves that puffed at the bicep and tightened at the elbow and forearm, in the more recent Gilnean style. It had a high, stiff collar that was ringed with same fine, white lace that also spilled out of the sleeve cuffs. 

It left a little more to the imagination that way and was more elegant than trashy, even if the dress still looked like it had been painted on. The witch left her hair down rather than style it up, Cassion liked it down, and remained barefoot as she always did at the house. She lit all the candles she could and made sure the proper glasses for brandy were out and on the table. 

Then, she waited.

(Posted Feb 11, 2012)