I’ve been debating when it would be appropriate to switch to the new journal. For something so beautiful, I can’t help but feel like I should only be putting truly important things in there.
Then again, I am trying to shed everything that’s happened this year and start a new life. Isn’t that important, in its own way? I suppose this’ll be the last time I open this thing, then.
((Ink dots the paper where the quill tapped a few times, as if the author was struggling to form her thoughts.))
Apprenticeship under someone else still feels...wrong, somehow. Taldin isn’t here, and it could easily be ages before I find out if he’s even still alive partly alive? partly dead? whatever he is that isn’t truly and permanently dead, but in a way it still feels like I’m abandoning my obligations with him and just shuffling someone else into his place. Fel, I don’t even know what I’m going to do about Kal’nor Fallah at this rate, or even if I have it in me to keep trying to put it back together. It’s like this staff’s all that I have left of that time--I’m scared to finish it and then risk it being lost again if it gets ruined again in battle or some freak accident.
To try and be more practical, though...I don’t think I can afford to just sit around and wait for him any longer. Not with the war going on, and not with the Horde out there. I need to get up and at least try to keep learning.
The next question is then, to whom will I be apprenticed? I suppose considering my aptitudes, it would be more logical to pursue the magical sciences under Anklaris--it makes the most sense from the perspective of being able to protect myself and make better use of my magic in the future. But--I don’t know. I guess I’m still partially in Blackleaf mode, feeling wary about flashing spells out in the open again like I used to. And, if I have to be honest, Anklaris scares me. Just, the way she looked at me during her questions--I practically felt like an insect. I don’t know if she’d be anything like Beurghes or Mother, or if she could get away with all of that in the first place, but the idea of putting myself in her authority makes me want to slither away and hide in a hole somewhere.
Maybe I should just go with what seems most comfortable and let Clarke teach me. Bookbinding and inscription are probably soft options compared to more combat oriented magic, true, but it’s familiar work, and most importantly, Clarke feels like she’ll be less dangerous if I make a mistake. Can’t I be justified in wanting a soft, safe option, after all that’s happened before now?
Elune, have I digressed.
I’ve thought about what to do with this journal, and with the pages concerning this whole mess. I considered just dropping them in a chest in that cave up in Northrend, or in that room in the kennels back at Dire Maul, but there’s the chance it could be discovered again--and if they were Horde, they’d have access to all my notes on the morrowgrain. Can’t just burn the morrowgrain notes, either, or the research on growing that arcan’dor--I might end up needing the reference for a thesis or some other work someday, and then where would I be? Could just hide those and then burn everything else that deals with the captivity itself, but...
I don’t know. I suppose, for now, I’ll just have to let them disappear into the bag and do my best to forget about them. Let it be over. It’s all horrible.
((Ilyssae’s new journal is--put simply--a drastic change from the prior cheap notebooks she’d relied on. The dark cover glitters and shifts in the most uncanny way, almost like the stars of the night sky, and the ink used inside is of a similar scintillating nature--not that it’s apparent, as once again, a few layers of concealing spells render the pages blank to an unauthorized snoop.))
A surprisingly busy evening, considering I just planned to get another stiletto.
Found another smuggler with those Silvermoon mana-wines. Admittedly not sure why I’m still buying those--maybe I’m still convinced I might run into Myth someday, or maybe I’m just thinking ahead in case it turns out all that siphoning got me addicted too. Worked out something with the wine-smuggler to try and put out feelers, find out if Myth’s still alive, maybe get some closure with just knowing if he did escape the fires. Got the knife I was after, plus a backup blade I can hide in case I lose the old one still in my boot. Made a new...well. I hesitate to use the term “friend”, in this case, after arguing for as long as I did that yes, I really do know Mel, and yes, Mel really is my friend, and no, he is not bothering me, and for pity’s sake please put him down already before this becomes a whole entire thing and I have to polymorph you to protect my friend.
He did, thankfully. But I still should not have had to repeat myself a third time.
I wanted to like Berrist Berries, book, I really did. I might have been about to, after a while, until he started on this whole business with Darkshore and some Night Warrior ritual, and how hey, girl I just met, I don’t know what you’re doing these days or if you’re going to be a student sometime soon, but you should completely just forget those and come to Darkshore and get blessed and fight the Horde. What do you mean you have business here, girl I just met? What can possibly be more important than getting revenge on the Horde? You do care about your people, don’t you?
Ah, yes. Nevermind my fresh commitments to the University. Nevermind that I am still practically a child, untrained for war, and that the Horde would likely tear me to ribbons the second a skirmish started. Nevermind that Windsong is far too gentle to be a reliable mount in combat, or that I promised literally just yesterday that I would keep him out of war zones. Nevermind that I’m still extremely suspicious of older elves trying to get me to go places with them and convince me I’m more useful elsewhere, after everything with Beurghes--Elune forbid I learn from making that mistake once. Honestly, thank goodness Clarke’s pretense came when it did; it gave me a conveniently immediate excuse to be anywhere but there.
I wish I could close this off with hope that things can start off on a better foot if we run across each other again, but I'm afraid I know better. Berries seems more like he’d just pick right back up again and not take a hint. Now excuse me while I go bury my face in a cat and take solace in the relative safety of my dormitory, book--I could desperately use the comfort right now. My goodness, but why is it I can only feel more like myself again when I'm irate?
((Undated, scratched in a frantic and careless hand.))
Berries was nice after all but then he was a Duskwhisper and I don’t know if it’s the same Duskwhisper but did I just make friends with one of Beurghes’ family what do I do does he know what if he finds out—
((The writing streaks off suddenly into a line veering off the page, and the ink is smudged as if the book was slammed shut while it was still wet. It’s possible the book was yanked out of Ily’s hands mid sentence. She picks back up again further down, in a tinier but more composed script.))
Surely there must be another Duskwhisper family. Duplicate surnames aren’t unheard of. There’s no guarantee his is actually the same family. Surely they can’t be related.
Calm down, Shrub. Breathe. Keep your damned head on for once. Maybe he’s not one of Beurghes’ and there’s no actual danger in keeping contact.
I feel sick.
Anklaris’ summons tomorrow. Will have to wait to ask Mel’s thoughts until this Twilight cult business is done. I don’t really feel like Berries is as horrible, but I don’t think my intuition counts for shit anymore after how easily I fell before for pretty words and silks.
Well. It was, in a way, both a success and a bloody disaster.
We got the book Anklaris (who I guess is an elf after all?) was so adamant about. It was actually my idea to scoop it into the satchel, after seeing what it did on contact with Vikkari’s hand, and seeing as it stopped spitting out spells once it was in the bag it seems to have been clever after all. So at least I got to be useful in the end, even if most of my spells missed. How hard is it to hit one bulky, stinking ogre?
It was rough, though. People kept falling left and right, and having to be healed back onto their feet—I’m fairly sure I saw that Highwind fellow crumple at least twice—and by Elune, the drakes. Couldn’t get my shields up in time, and now I’m paying for it with bandages and salves all up my left side and arm, and potions for the pain.
Worse, we came back without Anklaris. That ascendant got to the base camp before us—it was a slaughterhouse, all those drakonid lying dead, and Anklaris being dangled by her neck over that cliff—
And then she sent us all back. To campus. Without her. I still haven’t heard any word on her status as of this morning.
I considered chucking the stupid book into the ocean, but they already had me hand it over to Nadradina ages ago. So now I’m stuck here in the medical bay, trying not to move too fast so I don’t jostle the burns or end up collapsing into a dizzy heap, warily side-eyeing the same ogre who clocked me on the head and is now just sitting placidly on the bunk he crushed down into a single bed under his weight.
Maybe Berries had the right idea about this Night Warrior business, after all. I’m sick of being so spineless, so damned weak and ineffective. Whether it’s fighting the Horde, or just being able to protect myself and the people around me, something needs to change.
—Bother a healer to fix whatever is making me dizzy. (Concussion? Don’t know enough about symptoms.) Can deal with the burns a while longer, but need to be mobile again.
—New field garb before it’s time to go rescue Anklaris. The plate and leather components may be salvageable; the robes themselves are half ash and beyond repair.
—Start reading up on personnel records. Need to know things about the other staff like who’s secretly elves or the like.
—Find out more about the Night Warrior: lore, ritual, what is happening now on Darkshore.
—Help Nymaeria finish packing and moving in.
—Find some sweet pastry snack for Nymaeria to thank her in advance for putting up with my panicking ass and nightmares.
—Find Mel and bother him for his opinion on Berries.
—Find something to show Berries if Mel thinks he’s okay. Maybe Kal’nor Fallah; it’s effectively just a stick, but it’s all I own that I’m technically trying to put back together. It has a bit of story, anyways.
Found Mel. The air is a little clearer now.
He knew. He was sent to Berries (not a child or grandchild, it turns out–a nephew) through Beurghes, but hasn’t said anything about the captivity. Nor has Berries mentioned anything in kind. Not sure I fully understand this Watcher business, but he seems for the most part to be a simple, blunt, straightforward soldier. Possibly estranged or willingly separated from his family if the different surname is to be counted as any indication. No indication or hint of being the sort to get involved in more morally dubious pursuits like abductions or experimentation on people.
This is not so bad, I guess. In hindsight, it was as ridiculous to blindly put him on the same level as his uncle as it is to say my given surname makes me alike to my mother (and Elune willing, if I ever do become, someone will have the sense to come find me and end me before I can ever spawn offspring.) Now I just need to never mention anything about said uncle or let on that I know as much as I do now, and things should be fine.
Mel goes off on the weirdest tangents sometimes and I still feel like I am missing some kind of hidden joke about all this “most innocent between the two of us” rubbish. I’m pretty sure it at least merits a Gross, if there is one.
Next: get these bandages off. Wait for letter about Ironforge. Then ask again about Darkshore. I promised Mel I would make my decision after finding out more. I never said I was any less intent on trying.
December 19 - Morning
The bruising on my face has receded to dull green, and the burns are scarring over shiny and pink. I can use the arm with some tenderness, but I think I will keep the bandages out of vanity until the blemishes vanish proper. I’ve also stopped wearing my hair back and gone heavy on eyeliner and shadows in an attempt to veil and draw attention away from the bruise.
It’s not very heartening to realize I’m still self conscious of scars and visible injuries. I’m pretty much doomed once Ny and I move on to practicing contact sparring.
Snuck out to the stables before dawn to stretch my legs and clear my nostrils of ogre stench. Windsong makes for an excellent pillow; he does not purr so much as rumble, and the tip of his tongue juts out ever so slightly when he is dozing.
It occurs to me that I might have died long ago if I had attempted to prod Duskwhisper’s paw pads as this frostsaber allows. Strange that I’d even think about something like that.
Growing restless again. Mayhap I’ll grab my gear and pop over to the sparring rings, see if I can work out my nerves on the pells. If my superiors don’t like it then they can drag me back to the infirmary.
The most honest answer didn’t occur to me until after we parted ways.
I’m pushing so hard out to branch out of my strengths because my magic doesn’t seem good enough anymore. I feel like I need to do more because I’m scared of being made helpless again, and trying to learn the blade provided a balm a distraction from the true root of that fear.
Bloody warriors and their giant swords.
Last edited by Ilyssae Starspire on 2018-12-21 10:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
Right, yesterday was humiliating and tongue-tied and I just proved to a veteran that I still have no idea what I’m doing with a blade and can’t decide what I want to be. Time to hide on campus for a while and never show my face in town again, moving on.
He was right, though. Just popping over to Darkshore for a day or two a week doesn’t exactly give off the impression of someone who’s serious about this war. Better to just pick one and commit:
—Do what’s probably the smarter thing, give up on Darkshore and the Night Warrior blessing, stay weak but safe and keep studying and further prove myself a fickle washout after expressing a desire to get stronger and fight, feel stupid, or
—Give up on studies, abandon Nymaeria right after convincing her to leave home, go to Darkshore to avoid further losing face and pursue that blessing at the risk of death, or worse, proving myself more clueless and inept than I already have, feel stupider if it all goes awry.
Me and my damned mouth. Of course I had to go and make this a whole situation.
My word, I’ve been getting so many surprises for Winter’s Veil this year! I’m honestly a little scared to find out what’s next: will Nimbus learn how to speak Common? Shall I find out Mother has become a genuinely caring parent? Perhaps I will come into a ridiculously rich inheritance from some long-lost great grandsomething who was in Quel’thalas all these centuries!
On second thought, I don’t think I should press my luck by being cheeky about it. Most of the surprises have been rather nice:
—Presents! Suddenly I’m getting actual presents! Silver cuff links and a new cloak from Mel, cookies from Lyenna, and the cats even ferreted up a couple of tiny boxes of chocolates or ornaments in our room! Where did they come from? Who knows? Somehow I don’t find this as alarming as I probably should. The headboard of my bed now boasts a little bird painted in golds and jewel tones, and a tiny glass nightsaber.
—I have no idea what Skybrooke Shadewhisper was doing on university campus, but I guess we’ve mended bridges? Or at least agreed to wipe the slate and start anew. She didn’t laugh at my apology, at least, so that’s something.
—Anger Cat will curl up on my lap now, provided she comes up on her own accord. She likes to knead thighs and stomachs when she is getting comfortable. Ouch, but progress!
—Berries: apparently attracted to me? How?? Why?? And I was so oblivious to this I needed Mel to tell me?? Well, even if Mel warning him off before wasn’t enough to put an end to that, then I’d bet my remaining coppers that my idiocy and stuttering will have done by now. Danger gone. Alright.
—It turns out that Nymaeria and I are, in fact, capable of bingeing ourselves sick on desserts without adult supervision. Never before have I thought I’d start to crave vegetables when I had sweeter options available.
I’m still worried about Skybrooke’s mention of a gift, and I could do without the embarrassments or questioning my usefulness, but in a general sense, I’m...happy. I’m actually hopeful for next year. How strange and new this is.
I have determined, after staying up all night to clean the room, the cats and myself, that I much prefer glitter based pranks when I am the one dispensing the trick.
Merciful Elune, I’m still finding it everywhere! This stuff better be safe for pets, because I’m fairly certain they’ve already licked some off themselves. Alright, Shadewhisper, the war’s on again—happy Winter’s Veil.
I digress. I’d intended to write of yesterday before the glitter bomb happened.
Lyenna, Mel and Shadewhisper both validated the reasoning I’d given Berries, and convinced me to stick with weapons training a bit longer. On that note I am still surprised at myself for making the choice that I did, but Anklaris’ response to my request for apprenticeship was more amenable than I had steeled myself for. Come January I will be formally studying in the schools of evocation and abjuration, as well as furthering my knowledge of ley lines. It wouldn’t hurt to add a semester of Phys Ed to my curriculum, either—I can use that as a prerequisite to further combat training down the road, and let’s face it, my health probably needs improving anyways after years of living off bread and conjured pastries. Throw in improving my Thalassian and catching up on the general education I’m lacking, and it’s looking more likely that I’ll have to put off enchantments, astronomy, inscription and musical lessons until I can settle into a routine that allows time to pursue one as an extracurricular. I can’t complain too much—right now I’m finding comfort in becoming more dangerous first so that I can defend my freedom to catch up on those more leisurely things later.
All of that still is less intimidating than the other outcome of last night. Clarke says I’ll never be able to move past what’s happened if i don’t properly talk about it with someone, but I still find myself wanting to lock this year away into a forgotten corner and keep my mouth shut. Haven’t I been getting enough of a handle on dealing with it? I found a solution to keep me from destroying my room during my nightmares. I’ve gotten outside again and stopped hiding behind a false identity. I can function and go about my business—for gods’ sake, I can even laugh again in company. Do I really need to subject myself to breaking down in front of someone I barely know about how I still blame myself for walking into my own abduction, or practically being complicit in murders and a framing, or why I haven’t been able to look at myself in a mirror or wear fine clothing again without feeling sick to my stomach in months
Not yet. Not until I can actually believe none of this was my fault. Not until I can trace the root of what he saw and excise the disgust from myself. Not until I can reclaim my grief for those who deserve it. I need to believe that I’m doing better, not to send people running when they see what a horrible mess is at my core.
I can fix myself. And I am. I will. I just need to keep moving.
Been quiet but productive these last few days:
—Roamed around campus, climbed some walls, got onto some rooftops. I now have a pretty good idea of the lay of the land, if I can just find the bloody library to finish it off.
—Got classes registered.
—Got my hands on a matchbox, shiny wrapping paper, and a pouch of extremely fine chalk dust that is bound to shift about in the matchbox and spill out in a horrible mess when opened. Now I just need to find out where to post Shadewhisper’s mail to.
—Presents from Ny! Chocolates, a very fine stuffed hippogryph doll to join the nightsaber and bird on my end table, and earrings to match the necklace (this is about as good an excuse as any to finally get them pierced.) Immediately made the resulting hug awkward by blurting out how soft Ny is. Good job, Shrub! That makes two friends a friend and a would-be friend you’ve embarrassed yourself around and probably turned away with your bumbling! Maybe someday you can be promoted to Professor in the field of being a monumentally daft bint with no filter between her brain and her mouth! Honestly.
And yet…and yet, she stayed. That must count for something. Right?
There was a moment, just before the hug, where my chest got all fluttery and tight Nope. Nope nope nope stop making this weird again Shrub. Stoooop.
((The book has been promptly slammed shut before the ink could dry. It bleeds onto the preceding page before it.))
It’s stil hard to believe it’s all really over. I’m looking at the start of a new year as a free woman, and I still don’t know how it makes me feel.
But I survived, didn’t I? I stayed alive and made it home despite the danger I was in. That’s more than can be said for too many others. I’ve been given the chance at a new start, and for that I must be pretty damn blessed.
I could also do a hell of a lot better than I have done.
I will make the most of what I have been given, and see my education through.
I’ll not stand by again when I see suffering or wrongdoing and can do something to alleviate it—but neither can I continue to take on risks beyond my capability.
None shall ever use me again. I will be the ruin of those who seek to make me another tool, an accessory, a means to an end.
I have a home, a new purpose, a new people. I will make this count for something. I will be better.
Starting the year with jitters, that irritating itch in my arms and palms again, and a hunger than food would not satiate, nor that tea could calm. Wonderful. I shall simply have to grit my teeth through it and hope for it to subside on its own, as the alternative possibility is too condemning to even consider.
Unrelated, I may need a mentalist to sort out my brain after all, because I am starting to think I have been bewitched into obsessing over my best friend. This is way too much to just be a normal fondness for someone I enjoy being around—I don’t suddenly lose my focus on anything else when Mel or Berries show up, for example, or get those stupid flutters when I get nudged by Mel. Maybe the latter around Berries, after the motorcycle, but that’s just to be expected with his family ties and still being wary of the man and his interests, and I can write off tripping over my words at him to just me being a skittish little idiot. It’s so much WORSE than that with Nymaeria, it’s like my brain just melts entirely and I end up staring at her face and babbling hideous, barely coherent rubbish about feeling safe around her and her making my life better and pretty braids and soft hands and— ((A chunk of the paragraph has been heavily scratched out, rendered illegible under the mess of black lines.))
If this curse or hex or whatever it is is someone’s idea of a practical joke, it is not bleeding funny and it needs to stop before I end up doing something monumentally stupid and permanently ruin my friendship with my roommate-to-be. It’s a wonder she’s not running away at the sight of me as it is! Stars hide me, I definitely do NOT need this disruption once the semester officially starts.
Oh, look at that. Suddenly the hunger and itches don’t feel so bad by comparison. Hurrah.