I step into the Twilight Grove, wearing my holiday sweater, comfy pants, and one of my green headbands. Nothing fancy, just what's easiest to travel and relax in. In my hands, a box, wrapped neatly in purple wrapping paper and topped with a silver bow. I glance around, but see not a soul. Good, that means some level of privacy. My previous visit was so long ago, and I never really got to explore the place fully, so I explore briefly. Only briefly, of course, because I came here with a purpose, and it doesn't involve marvelling at the trees and the flowers. Soon I find myself beside my intended destination- the moonwell. I look up at the sky and all around once more, a hopeful smile on my face, and then I begin to speak.
"Hey, Wennie. I uh... brought you a present! I don't really know if you're around, though..." I hold the gift aloft for a moment before gently setting it down next to the luminescent pool of blue. After a moment's hesitation, I lower myself to the ground, crossing my legs and relaxing, back against the stone. "Sevastien says you'll be at the party in Steelhaven, but... I don't know how many visitors you've gotten out here for the holiday, and no one should be alone so much during Winter Veil, Auntie. It's just not right." I fall silent, contemplative. My hands twiddle with the grass around and beneath me and I think about what to tell her.
"Most of my students passed their finals with flying colors. I hope that means I'm doing a good job, and not that I'm going too easy on them... perhaps I'll make it a little more difficult next semester, just in case." My hand brushes over a small flower, and I pluck it, beginning to to pick at the petals idly. "I've been trying to pick really good music for them. Risri- I don't know if you've ever met her, apparently she used to work for the university- suggested that I should arrange a recital, and I think I have to agree with her. Definitely something that was missing this go around."
I roll up my sleeves and look at the cuffs curiously. They feel cold, but as per usual, it's a nice kind of cold. "Sevastien and I are well, by the way. Still trying to sort out the whole moving in together bit. Hopefully, we'll be taking a step in the right direction when we head out for Steelhaven this weekend but... oh, light above, Auntie." I scowl and shake my head, keeping my eyes trained on the ground. "I can't stop worrying. What if... what if they don't like me? He keeps reassuring me that they will, and that he would love me even if they didn't, but I'm still anxious. Still afraid. My track record with nobility tends to add up to making wives unfaithful, and that isn't a great reputation to have in any case, let alone this."
Sighing, I lean back against the side of the pool. I toss the flower aside and hum softly for a moment, trying to think of what else I'd like to tell her. Suddenly, I perk, smiling. "Oh, of course! I had my first experience with Illthanyn, Auntie! The Silver Circle held an event on Sunday, and it was so interesting. Truth be told... I still don't know how I feel about the whole thing. Religion and all that wasn't a big part of life with Mama and Papa. I didn't hate it, though my Elune stone did take some time to light up... Was that because I don't usually pray to Elune? Anyway, at least it went better than the first event of theirs I attended. That one was horrible."
My locket feels heavy around my neck, and my throat suddenly feels tight and dry. I gulp down some air as my hand flies to the thing, grasping it tightly. On an odd whim, I take it off. Normally I keep it on at all times, but... just this once, it feels okay. My fingers fumble, but before long, I get it open. A guitar string, coiled up nice and tight, and a picture of the three of us all together: Mama, Papa, and me. "I get worried, Auntie, that I'm never going to move on from it. It's been thirteen... fourteen?... years. I was grieving for so long and... this is going to sound silly. I don't even remember my own birthday anymore, Auntie. I've just been celebrating at the end of the year, keeping track of my age. Even then, I'm not so sure. I could be twenty-seven, or twenty-nine. I just don't know." I pause, a small grin forming on my face as I let out a chuckle. "But, hey, with that being said... birthday is coming up. A visit from you and Evandre is definitely on the list, y'know. Even if I'll see you both this weekend, it's not the same thing."
Once again, silence. A comfortable, relaxed silence. It feels nice to be getting it all out there. Ysildwen probably isn't listening, but even if she is... I feel okay sharing anyway. There's just something about her that I know I can trust, with practically anything, somehow. I stare at the picture in this comfortable silence, back to my own thoughts again. Eventually, I manage to speak again. "...do you think they're proud of me, Wennie? I'm not really sure. This whole settling down thing is still so foreign to me, and certainly it would be for them, too. I just hope... well, Amara did bring up the possibility of helping me talk to them. I might take her up on that, but I'm also worried about what I'm going to find when I do. What they're going to say. I miss them terribly, you know. No matter how big and wonderful the family I choose gets..." I release a ragged sigh, closing the locket and returning it to it's proper place around my neck. "The family I had and loved is gone."
My right hand twitches. Instead of trying to hide it, I take my gloves off, letting the void energy flow freely across my fingers. "I've been practicing everything Evandre taught me every chance I get. He did teach me some meditation stuff, to help supress it when I need to. Still... sometimes it feels nice to just let it be. To not hide." The tendrils don't advance up my arm, today, but seem rather content as they pulsate around my hand. "I've stopped considering it some sort of curse or negativity in my life. Definitely not to Alice's level- I'd never want to do it the way she does. But... if it can help me protect the people I care about, why should I think of it like something bad?" And, for once, I believe what I'm saying. It isn't some sort of inherently evil magic. I don't think that even exists, Wennie."
I look up to the sky and sigh softly. "I should get going soon. I left Morji with Sevastien, and one of them is bound to get antsy if I disappear for too long. Your guess on which." As I begin to stand, I brush any dirt or grass off myself. "But, hey, I hope you like your present. It was hard to decide what to get you, but... Well, you'll see. And if you were listening, somehow... thanks. I needed it." With that, I pick up her own bag, leaving the present behind, and start to head for the exit, humming a soft Winter Veil song on my way. I pause, though, on my way out, something occurring to me. I raise my voice a bit and smile. "Happy Winter Veil, Auntie. I love you."
Friday, January 24th, 2019
The air is chill. It usually is, this time of year, but especially so tonight. Normally, I'd be on campus right about now, wandering the grounds with Morji. Keeping an eye out for... her. But, when I looked up at the night sky tonight, the moon's absence stirred something inside of me. It made me think. So... I began my walk to Duskwood. Morji whined about me leaving her behind, but I don't know if Auntie likes wolves yet. It would be rude to just bring her without asking first.
I mean, sure, I'm showing up without any warning, but it's Auntie Wennie. She loves me!
Walking all the way from campus to the Twilight Grove is... well, a bit of a trip. I could have borrowed a horse from the stables, I'm sure, but something about going on foot just feels right. So, that's what I do. There's a few paths you can take, but I just follow the same one as I did for Winter Veil- across Elwynn to the Three Corners. Passing from the forest to the mountains, thinking about when Mama and Papa and I left Lakeshire so many years ago. I smile at the little memories, but then I move on, from Redridge across that bridge to Duskwood.
The change in the lighting around me is almost instantaneous- the trees are so tall, they cover the sky and shroud the path in darkness. The stars aren't bright enough to provide much light at all, and with a new moon... I just have to trust myself to know the way. It makes me chuckle, even, as I continue, practically blind. If this had been a year ago, the trip would've simply been out of the question. The dreary dark, the creepy sounds... the feral worgen which hide somewhere out beyond the eye... It's still frightening, really, to pass through without being able to see past the end of my nose. Something's changed, though, and I can't quite say what it is. It could be that I've gotten braver, or that being in Ysildwen's domain makes me feel more at ease. As I hum on my way, I'm just grateful for it.
Eventually, I reach the grove, and as I enter, I breathe a small sigh of relief. It never seems quite as dark here, somehow. Just like before, I make my way over to the moonwell and lower myself to the ground, with my back against the stone. I dig into my bag for a moment, pulling out two containers. "Hey, Auntie. Don't know if you're around or listening, but I decided to drop by tonight. I brought spicy rabbit stew! Er..." I look at my container, and then at the second. "I'll just leave yours here for when you want it, I guess." With that, I dig into my own food, simply enjoying the peaceful quiet that tends to cover this place. I've got quite the appetite, especially after walking so far, so it's scarfed down without so much as a thought.
Of course, there's only so long I can stand sitting in silence, so it only lasted as long as the food did. "Things have been so hectic on campus recently, Auntie. I mean, the new semester started, but it feels like it's dragging. Maybe because my focus is in so many other places..." My voice trails off, and the words are almost stuck in my throat as I continue. "I've been doing everything I can to slow her down, to distract her. I don't know how well it's working, really. It's driving me mad." I growl and slam my fist into the ground beside me. "I've got Violetta teaching these self-defense classes, and Li is working on those distress signals... Elvae is watching Jessica more closely for me, so I can focus on my own part in this... game." The word came out like poison on my tongue.
"It's all just a game to her. I know it is, and I know I should just help security hunt her down, damnit, but I can't bring myself to. She's... family. As horrible as she's being, it's true, and I'll be damned if I'm the reason someone I care about that much gets hurt. But... I also promised Elvae I'd find a way to make these attacks stop, and I can't keep him from doing anything if I don't manage it." I shake my head, gripping the grass and dirt tightly. "I... don't want to talk about it anymore."
I release a ragged sigh, scooting myself away from the moonwell and laying on my back, looking up to the sky above- or the trees, rather. "...I was telling a few of the others about some ethical dilemma Silloria told me about, the other day. Where you're stuck between letting several people get hurt or being the cause of one person being hurt. Elvae brought up a different option, though... He'd rather sacrifice himself to save the people in the way. And I have to agree with him. It's the only true solution, if it's an option at all." My right hand creeps up and touches my neck, right above the pulse. "...ain't that a bitch?"
I pull off the gloves from my hands, looking them over as they're quickly engulfed in void energy. "...Someone pointed out to me, the other day, that people who have a stronger connection to the void are being affected more, right now, because of everything with... Well. You know. It shouldn't be affecting me as much as it is, then, should it?" There's a pause, as if I'm waiting for some sort of answer, but it never comes. "Well... if it's affecting me this much, I can't imagine what you're going through, Auntie."
"I... I know it's going to sound silly, but the real reason I came out tonight is to keep you company. I mean, I don't imagine that many come out to visit as much as they should. Even Elune is hiding from us tonight... and if you're suffering like so many of the others I know are, or even worse, I don't want you to feel like you have to deal with it all by yourself." My hand finds its way to my neck once again, this time toying with the necklace there, just under my locket. Shortly after, I removed it, setting it on top of the second container of stew. "This has helped me with the whispers a lot, Auntie, but... I know you need it more than I do, if everything I've heart is true. Even really powerful people struggle, right?"
As the crescent moon necklace leaves my hand, I can feel the whispers begin to rise in my mind. So many at once... I slip my gloves back on as quickly as possible. I can't let Wennie see the flare-up in my energy. I CAN keep myself in check. I have to. I force a tense smile and look up to the sky. "Everything is gonna be okay. I know it will, Auntie. Just because things are bad right now doesn't mean they'll stay that way. Azeroth has been through a lot of horrible things... we always seem to survive. Like cockroaches. We just won't go away." It manages to get a laugh out of me, though it's plenty tense.
I start to rise, grabbing my bag and sighing. "I need to get back to campus, I have more work to do... Tell Evandre hi for me, will you? I love you both. Don't be strangers, you know where my office is, and you're welcome any time you please." As I start to head towards the entrance, I hum quietly, that same tune in the music box I gave her for Winter Veil. That soft lullaby... "Goodnight, Auntie. Sweet dreams." And, with that, I make my way back to Darkshire. I just catch a gryphon ride back to Stormwind from there- it's a long walk one way, you think I'm REALLY going to back that way?- and once I'm back at the university, I make my way to my office. Quickly, before I can back down from my plan. I set the water to boil for the tea and begin to pace impatiently.
Light help me, this better work.