Grinthey Skystider hopped off of Gully and stroked his beak, smiling. “Good boy, it’s alright. We’re home now.” She reached into her bag and offered the bird a treat, which he happily gobbled down. Then, the young woman began unloading her packs from him. There wasn’t a ton to bring along, this time. Having a dorm room meant she didn’t have to tote everything around 24/7, which was great for Gully, because his back could only handle so much, even as big and strong as he was. The bird cawed and squawked, shaking and ruffling his feathers. Grinthey giggled and shook her head. Silly bird.
The girl slung her bags over her shoulders and began to walk towards the house, Gully right at her side. It had been a while since she visited home, but everything looked about the same. An’da had furs from his hunts on the rack outside, and there were dwindling embers where a fire had been earlier in the day. He always liked cooking over an open fire rather than the stove, when it was practical- which was rarely, if everyone was home and hungry. But with his daughter and her bird out in the world, it seemed he indulged a little more often.
MIn’da’s shed looked as good as ever from the outside. She always prided herself on keeping her workspace tidy… even if she tended in the other direction when she was relaxed. Grinthey wondered for a moment what projects her Min’da had been working on in the recent months. Some part of her was excited about the idea of new experimental inventions and tinkering alongside Min’da, but the half-elf was quick to shove it down. No, she wouldn’t consider the possibility.
Grinthey reached the door, and she reached for the handle, but… she hesitated. She still hadn’t figured out what to do about An’da’s disapproval of her choice in career path. Despite thinking it over all this time, it just… never clicked. What was he going to say? How angry would he be with her? What if he asked her to come home again, when she has just began to explore the world and everything it had to offer?
She opened the door. “…An’da? Min’da? I’m home!” Gully waddled in behind her and went off somewhere into the abode, likely to rest a while. The lights were on- Min’da had ditched the idea of lighting the house with candles and fire long ago, hooking everything up with gnomish wiring and electric lights- so someone was certainly home, though it wasn’t obvious who, immediately. Yet… Grinthey sniffed the air a bit, a grin slowly forming across her expression. She lugged her bags with her to the kitchen to see… “An’da.”
Nydalor Skystrider had been slaving away in the kitchen, very clearly. The glorious scent was wafting throughout the house, filling every square inch with delicious sensory goodness. There were spider kabobs, rice cakes, lunar pear pie, and sweet potato casserole- Grinthey’s favorite! The elven man was just taking a tray of homemade rolls out of the oven as his daughter entered the room. He set them gently on top of the stove to rest and cool, and turned around. He had his apron on , of course, with the “#1 An’da” that Grinthey had painted onto it when she was little. He slipped off his oven mitts and smiled softly.
Her An’da opened his arms instinctively, and Grinthey shrugged off her bags, running into them and embracing him tightly. Nydalor returned the gesture, holding his daughter tightly. The man towered above her, of course, at a generous seven-foot-four, but the likeness between them was undeniable. She may have inherited her mother’s eye color, but the kindness in those eyes was all An’da’s doing. “My dear girl…” He chuckled softly. “Must you always stay away so long?”
The two stood there like that for several minutes, just enjoying each other’s presence. It was their way. Then, finally, Grinthey was the one to pull back. She eyed the food with a hungry expression, and her stomach growled. “An’da… you must’ve been working in here for hours!” She blinked up at him. “You didn’t have to do all this just for me…” But the man just laughed and ruffled her hair.
“I didn’t have to… but I wanted to, and that is more important, I think. Help me set the table.” He reached into a cabinet and retrieved three plates from the highest shelf, handing them to Grinthey, who nodded and did as she was told. “Where is Gully?”
Grinthey set the plates in their usual places, then retrieved the utensils as she spoke. “He ran off towards my room as soon as we got here. Probably ready to rest, after the trip up. We got a portal to go as far as Arathi, and we came the rest of the way on our own.” Next, glasses for drinks.
Nydalor frowned, his brows furrowing. “You should avoid that area, Grinthey. The Fourth War may be over, or at least at a stand-still, but it’s still a dangerous place right now. So many ogres…” He began to place food on the table as Grinthey dealt with the dishes. “You didn’t run into any trouble, did you? No Scarlets or thieves lurking about on the roads home?”
The half-elf giggled and sighed softly. “I’m fine, An’da. You know they patrol the area regularly enough, and I took the safest path I knew. I promise.” With the table set, Grinthey looked around curiously. “Where’s Min’da? Her workshop was dark, so I thought…”
“She’s fixing up the neighbor’s lights, right now. She shouldn’t be too much longer… but, why don’t you see if she needs a hand? Might make things go more quickly. We aren’t going to eat until she’s back, after all.” Nydalor Skystrider undid his apron, hanging it on a hook nearby. “I’ll take your bags to your room. Go on, now.” That was all the prodding Grinthey needed, and she was off again.
Steelhaven was so wonderful at nighttime- with minimal light pollution, you could see al the stars in the sky clearly. Every constellation, every planet… it was a beautiful sight. Something you didn’t get to enjoy from within Stormwind’s walls. Grinthey skipped a bit on her way to the neighbor’s house, in a particularly good mood. This was home, a safe space! As much as she loved going out of her comfort zone and exploring freely, it was nice to have something familiar to return to at the end of it all. Not to mention, she loved her homeland dearly. In all her exploring so far, she’d not found a place she preferred.
She knocked on the neighbor’s door a bit, and they opened it rather soon after. They were a lovely orcish couple- Grinthey could recall playing with their son in the space between their houses growing up, though not much more detail than that. They recognized her immediately, though, and invited her in. The wife went off to their own kitchen to offer a snack, despite Grinthey’s protest, and the husband showed her to where Celxi was working. She stood there in silence a moment, watching her Min’da work. The girl always admired her mother’s attention to detail, and her focus on ever project. Right now, she was replacing a dead wire in their electrical system.
“Are you going to stand there and gawk, or are you going to help your mother?” Celxi’s voice sounded suddenly, never looking up from her task. Grinthey jumped a bit in surprise before rushing to her side. “In my toolbox, there’s a spool of tinned bare copper wire. Get it for me, please.” The girl abided by the request, digging around until she found the requested item. “There should be wire cutters. Cut off… oh, I don’t know. Just about six inches or so. Not a ton needing fixed here…” Grinthey nodded, pulling out the wire cutters and cutting the specified length, just by eye-balling it. She passed it to her Min’da, who attached it at both ends swiftly.
Grinthey watched silently as she continued to work, handing her tools and materials as they were requested. Celxi was about average height for a gnomish woman, standing at about three-foot-two. She had electric blue hair when she was younger, though it was more stormy now that she had aged, with flecks of silvery grey hiding here and there. Her eyes, though, had maintained their arcane blue shimmer, just like Grinthey’s were, and they were quite intense when she worked like this. She ditched her mage robes and traded them for simple workman’s clothes, usually in browns and tans.
Celxi began to pack her tools away, raising her voice to speak to the orcish couple. “Alright, that should do it! No more sparks. Let me write up a receipt for you folks, and we’ll be done with all this. Grinthey, dear? Fetch my purse from the front room, please.” Grinthey nodded and rushed off to find the purse, which didn’t take very long, and came back to her mother’s continued talking. “…quite proud of her, making the decision to go to school all on her own.”
“Yeah, but how is Nydalor taking it? You know he’s-“ The orcish man began, but Celxi cut him off.
“Nydalor will have to get over it. He’s over-protective enough already.”
The couple looked at each other, a bit dubious. The woman chimed in. “Well, you know it’s only because-“
“Grinthey, there you are. Come, now, I’m sure your An’da is waiting for us. Let’s not waste time.” The gnomish woman shot the two orcs a look, and they shut their mouths, not wanting to incur the anger of their favorite neighbor. Celxi scaled Grinthey’s back and settled on her shoulders- this had always been their favorite way to travel together, ever since the half-elf girl had been tall and strong enough to carry her Min’da. The pair made off towards home in the night.
The girl walked a bit slower than she usually would, wanting a moment alone with her mother. “…Min’da, An’da isn’t really angry, is he?”
Celxi hummed a moment, then shook her head. “I don’t think so. He’s just worried about you. He always is.”
“I wish he wouldn’t. I can handle myself just fine.”
“Mm. How’s that allowance been treating you?” Her mother remarked, and this shut the girl up. Min’da got her point across- Grinthey has not really been out adventuring alone. “Or that bow? Gully? You’ve got a lot of gall, trying to say you’re all independent how that you think you’re grown. No, dear, you’re not nearly as mature as you think you are.”
Grinthey’s ears drooped, stopping in her tracks. “I didn’t mean-“
Celxi patted the half-elf’s hair and sighed. “I know you didn’t. But think more before you speak. You know full well why he worries.” They spent the rest of their walk in silence, the gears in both their heads turning as they processed the conversation. When they reached the house, Nydalor opened the door, smiling gently and giving a little bow, moving aside for the two women. “Ladies, dinner is on the table. Make sure you wash up first, please.”
Min’da hopped down from Grinthey and nodded, smiling up to her husband. “Thank you, my love.” And off towards the kitchen she went. Grinthey regarded her An’da a moment, thinking. The truth is, she knew why he was so over-protective of her, she had simply not thought about it in quite some time. He walked to the kitchen, leaving the half-elf alone with her thoughts. She shook it off quickly, though, and followed the scent of dinner.
The food was all wonderful, of course. Gully eventually poked his head out of Grinthey’s room and came to the dinner table, begging and cawing for scraps… which he got, naturally. The family spent most of their meal chatting about the city, their neighbors, pretty much everything Grinthey had missed during her travels. The neighbor’s son had went to Orgrimmar to apprentice under a blacksmith, they missed him dearly. The economy was thriving, because of course it was, and Scarlet sightings were down. There was more, but Grinthey had too much on her mind to really focus.
Finally, after dessert was done, Grinthey looked to her father. “An’da… can we talk about Aeris?” For a moment, the tension in the room was palpable. You could cut it with a knife. Nydalor froze a moment, sipping his water. “It’s just… I know he was your son, An’da, but I don’t know anything about him.”
Nydalor released a slow, ragged breath and set down his glass. “Grinthey… it was a long time ago. Before I ever met your Min’da, even.” The attempt to wave off the question, however, was met with a hard stare from Celxi. The elven man gulped.
Celxi hopped down from her seat. “I’ll give you two a little privacy. C’mon Gully.” The bird squawked and followed his old mistress to another part of the house, and Grinthey was quite suddenly alone with her An’da again. He pinched the bridge of his nose and huffed in frustration before turning to his daughter and smiling- a smile that did not quite reach his eyes.
“You’ve got to understand that I’m quite an old elf now, Grinthey. Your Min’da and I… we didn’t know if we could have a child together, when we got together. And you came along, and it was like our own little miracle.” He drummed his fingers on the table. “Things were not always like that, though. I had… a different mate, before your Min’da. One I loved dearly, just as I love her now. She was a sentinel. I served a similar role for her that I do here and now, keeping the hearth and home.”
Grinthey interrupted. “And then you had Aeris?”
Her An’da nodded. “And then we had Aeris. He was a bright boy, growing up. He saw the strength and power behind his Min’da, and he wanted to be just like her- which… wasn’t entirely acceptable. See, Grinthey, the idea of male warriors and female druids is a fairly new one in Night Elf culture. It used to be a very strict separation between the genders and their roles in society, with the women becoming worriors and the men, druids, or in my case…” He chuckled and shook his head. “In my case, the calling was never there, and I learned how to handle the domestic things. But Aeris wanted desperately to be a warrior, like you want to be a soldier.”
Grinthey nodded slowly as she listened. “What was he like?”
“He was… bold. Reckless. Intensely loyal to Teldrassil… I did a good job with him, I think. Not as good as I have with you, but… he was a good boy.” Nydalor shifted in his seat. “So, when Aeris got the chance to serve his people and train as one of the earliest men in the forces, he pounced at it, like a nightsaber at it’s prey. I was reluctant, but I hardly coddled him, and so, he chased his dream. There was… an attack, one day, while he was on a patrol. He rescued the civilians, he gave them a chance to escape, but…”
He sighed. “He never came back to town after the attack. We went looking, but all we found was his blade, abandoned in the dirt.” Nydalor’s hand shook a bit as he spoke, and his smile cracked. “We looked for years. But we never found anything else. I lost my son that day. My dear child… that is why I am so protective, Grinthey. I don’t want to lose you too.”
Grinthey’s ears wilted a bit as this sunk in. She had been so selfish, seeking out this path. How much it had to be hurting her An’da to see her going down this same path..! She took his hand in hers, squeezing tightly. “I know you’re afraid, An’da. But… I have to. It feels so right. Like I was meant to do this.” Her eyes were determined as she spoke, looking right into his. “And I need you to support me. I need my An’da.”
Nydalor rose from his seat, turning away. Grinthey could swear she heard him sob. “It is late. Go to bed. We’ll talk tomorrow.” And with that, she was completely alone. Grinthey clicked her fork against her plate rhythmically as she thought, playing the entire conversation back in her head. She had upset him. But… it was inevitable, wasn’t it? She was determined to become a soldier, and he didn’t want her to. Conflict was just… part of the equation. But that was her An’da, and she just wanted to make him proud, so…
The girl groaned and rubbed her eyes. He was right. It was late. Better to sleep on it.
Grinthey Skystrider awoke in the morning with a loud yawn and a grumbling stomach. The scent of maple wafted through the air and into her room, invading her senses and bringing a smile to her face. Mmm… pancakes. Gully was nowhere to be seen, though one could only imagine he was in the kitchen with An’da when such an alluring smell was filling the house. The girl arose quickly, throwing on clothes and slipping out of her bedroom, making for the kitchen and the delightful food that surely awaited her there.
As she entered the room, she was greeted by exactly what you’d expect- Nydalor, #1 An’da apron and all, tossing Gully a pancake and chuckling at him. He muttered something in Darnassian- it was quiet, but Grinthey was pretty sure it amounted to calling Gully a greedy bastard. The old kaldorei noticed Grinthey shortly after, though, and cleared his throat, grinning sheepishly. “Breakfast is almost ready, go ahead and set the table.” And just like the night before, she did so, but this time, in silence. Thoughts of the previous evening began to resurface in her mind. An’da surely was still upset with her… “Your Min’da is already out working for the day. She had a request from someone in… well, one of the other districts. I don’t remember which.” Nydalor made both plates up with pancakes and bacon. “And after breakfast, we’re going to go on a little hunt.”
Grinthey smiled broadly. Hunting with An’da was one of her favorite things! It was one of the few times she got to show him how capable she was. Not to mention that she was a better shot than him… The thought made her smirk. “Thank you for making breakfast, An’da. I’m sorry I didn’t wake up early enough to help!” She munched on her bacon eagerly. Notably, her plate was more filled than his was, and this was for good reason. They learned very early in Grinthey’s life that her metabolism was very high- much more like that of a gnomish individual than an elvish one. Combined with her higher stature compared to her gnomish mother, that meant she had to eat a LOT to maintain her weight, and forget about putting anything on.
Nydalor chuckled yet again and nodded. “Of course, my child. I would’ve woken you up, but I didn’t think we wanted charcoal this morning.~” He teased her gently, as fathers do, and the girl huffed, though her smile never wavered. “One of these days I’ll have to steal you back to Steelhaven and teach you how to cook properly. It’s an important skill, you know.”
“I know, An’da. Might save me a bit in the long run, too! Even with Lady Steele giving me spending money for now… down the line, I’ll need to manage funds on my own.”
The rest of breakfast went by just fine, with plenty of small talk between the pair. An’da went on about clearing the table while Grinthey went off to put on her hunting gear. She looked in the mirror and smiled softly. An’da and Min’da had gotten her this set for her eighteenth birthday, after listening to her beg and plead for ages about wanting to go out and adventure. It fit just right, too. Grinthey used to be certain that it had been Min’da’s doing, but nowadays, she paid a little more attention, and the armor certainly looked more elven in make than anything else. Could that just be a coincidence?
The girl topped off her quiver with more arrows and slung it over her shoulder, picking up her bow and stepping back out of her room and into the main part of the house Gully was relaxing in the corner of the front room with…a chew toy. Grinthey giggled. Min’da always made toys for Gully to play with, she was simply a sucker for that silly bird. He wouldn’t be coming on their hunt, it seemed. It wasn’t long before An’da joined Grinthey, and they were off. They trudged out of the main gates of Steelhaven and off towards a more wooded area they preferred for hunting.
While they walked, Grinthey looked up at her An’da and thought. An’da’s age showed more and more these days- probably from stressing about her. HIs hair, once a lighter green tone, was now almost entirely white. HIs face was not wrinkled as much as it was creased with worry lines, and laughter ones, too. His skin was far less peachy than Grinthey’s, falling in a much more pink-purple area. He was not an incredibly muscular man, more leanly built. His posture was impeccable, with his head always held high. Nydalor was not an intimidating man, not by looks nor demeanor, but his true strength was in his intelligence, and in his loyalty. The same loyalty which Grinthey had aspired to match, and likely passed without ever realizing it.
Grinthey heard a twig snap behind them. She pivoted around to look… but there was nothing there. The young woman tried to shrug it off, continuing on her path with An’da… but she heard it again. She did not turn this time, electing to alert her An’da instead. She spoke to him in Darnassian, in hopes whoever, or whatever, it was would not understand. “I think we’re being followed.”
He looked at her quizzically, eyebrow raised, and glanced back before responding in kind. “I heard nothing. There’s no one there, my child. Let’s move on, now.” He began to walk again, but suddenly, an arrow whizzed past his head, just barely missing him. Grinthey had an arrow drawn and ready to fly before Nydalor could react. Surely enough, there had been bandits trailing them, waiting for the chance to strike far from the gates of the city. The half-elf took aim at the first she spotted, and there was suddenly an arrow sprouting from their thigh. She went to pull a second arrow from her quiver, searching for the second half of this robbing duo.
Grinthey heard her An’da groan, and she turned to face him again. The bandit had their knife to his neck, watching the half-elven girl with a malicious glare. “Toss your bow over, or I’ll slice his throat.” Grinthey chewed her lip a moment, watching An’da anxiously. The old man was frozen, entirely panicked and unsure what to do. With a sigh, the girl tossed her bow over. The stranger nodded. “And now your bag.” She did as told, watching the bandit carefully. He inched the bag closer to him, and once it was close enough to grab, he shoved Nydalor to the ground, leaning to scoop the bag off the dirt.
But, Grinthey was faster. She pulled her dagger from where it hid in her boot and launched it at the bandit’s neck. She missed it, just barely, hitting his shoulder blade instead. It was enough to knock him off balance. She pounced on him, wrath in her eyes. He rolled his eyes and taunted, “What are you going to do, little girl? Kill me?” Grinthey’s face was deadly serious, though. She kept him pinned, retrieving the rope she usually used for setting up camp out of her bag. She tied his wrists tight behind his back and forced him to stand. She scooped her bow up.
Nydalor, who was back on his feet by now, watched with wide eyes and shocked silence. Grinthey brought the bandit to her An’da and spoke to the fiend as she did. “No, I’m not a degenerate like you two are.” She found the other, still incapacitated, and did much the same, bringing them over. “You two are in violation of Steelhaven’s laws. As such, your fate is in the hands of the government. I hope you learn your lesson.” She looked to her An’da and smiled sheepishly, reverting to Darnassian. “We… may have to take a rain check on the hunt, An’da.”
Her An’da followed along as they marched the criminals back towards Steelhaven’s gates, but he was mostly silent, regarding his daughter curiously. That… was a new side to her. One he hadn’t seen, until now. So he just watched her, thinking to himself.
As they reached the gates, Grinthey handed her own bandit to An’da, approaching the guards and explaining the situation calmly and carefully. The pair were taken into custody right away, and Grinthey seemed pleased enough with the outcome. At this point, they settled on going back home for now, for Grinthey had a meeting with Lady Isbeth Steele very soon for lunch, and it would hardly be proper to keep her waiting, now would it?
As Sunday afternoon arrived, Grinthey began to pack her things once again. She intended to take a portal back to campus this time, transferring many of her things from home to her dorm room… the thought caused her to smile. Her dorm room. She still needed to see if she was getting a roommate for the fall semester. She’d love to have someone to share the space besides Gully. As great as he was, he didn’t quite make good roommate material, and he was terrible at small talk. Although… she chewed her lip anxiously. What if she got a mean roommate? What if they didn’t want to be friends? …no, no! She’d make friends with them! Definitely!
Grinthey would often wear her hair up for travel, but between the decision to use a portal and… well, hiding her neck from An’da… she decided to leave it down. She glanced in a mirror and hummed thoughtfully, twirling a strand of her dark blue locks around her finger. Maybe it was time for a change. After all, everything else was changing in her life! And she did miss having lighter hair, like she did as a little kid… well, she’d just have to take a trip down into Stormwind and see what could be done about it! Surely there was somewhere to get her hair colored in a place so big. She could ask someone on campus. For the time being, she just ran a brush through it, making sure it was parted properly and neat-looking.
There half-elf scooped up her bags and stepped out of her bedroom and into the main section of the house. Min’da and An’da were waiting for her, sitting and sipping their tea in the front room. Nydalor was the first to notice her, his ears pinning back as he noticed the sheer amount his daughter had packed. Still, he smiled softly, beckoning her over. “Come, my child. Have some tea before you go.” And, of course, Grinthey set her bags by the front door, obliging her An’da. Celxi smiled to her daughter as well, setting her tea cup down for a moment. She adjusted herself, sitting now on the arm of Grinthey’s chair.
“Grinthey… your An’da and I have both had our reservations about your… choice of career path.” She sighed, shaking her head. “You are the product of a lot of love and care, and we feel like we’ve done a good job with you. At the same time, you’ve got certain disadvantages you’re going to have to face compared to most Kaldorei. You are smaller, and you’re going to have a harder time building up the muscles you may require. That all aside…” She set a hand gently on her daughter’s shoulder. “We could not be more proud of you, and we’re going to support you in this. Both of us.” She nodded, seemingly finished speaking, and turned to look at Nydalor. He shifted awkwardly in his seat, but nodded in agreement.
“I’ve told you why I’m worried, my child. And no amount of reassuring words could have changed that. I am your An’da, after all, and in my mind, you’re always going to be the adorable little girl who would fall asleep watching her Min’da tinker at night.” He teased gently, though Grinthey knew it was only half a joke. She nodded in understanding. “…actions, however, have a heavier effect on the mind. And when we encountered those bandits outside the main gates of the city, you showed me… you’re not a young child, you’re a capable young woman. Someone who can defend herself, and desires to defend others.” He chuckled and sipped his tea, shaking his head. “You have just as strong a sense of loyalty as Aeris did, and for that, I am incredibly thankful.” He reached beside his chair, retrieving a sheathed sword.
Grinthey recognized it immediately, and her heart panged. “An’da…” She wiped at her eyes, giggling softly. Nydalor shook his head at her.
“No tears, Grinthey. This… is yours now. It’s not doing me any good, only letting me hold onto memories that are… best forgotten. I need to move on.” He held it out to her, that same soft smile ever-present on his expression. “And Aeris would want his blade to be doing something good for the world.” Grinthey took the sword, albeit hesitantly. It meant a lot to An’da, after all. Slowly, carefully, she unsheathed the elven blade and looked it over in silent awe. Nydalor watched, his heart saying goodbye to his long lost son and opening up to a new world, where one day, his little girl would be protecting him- not just him, but all of Steelhaven! Goodbye to a dark time long past, and hello to a new, brighter future.
Celxi regarded her husband with a smile, hopping down from her perch next to Grinthey and moving to his side. Though much smaller than his, she took his hand in her own, squeezing tightly to reassure him. She was there, and she would support him through this. Even within the bounds of Steelhaven, some found the union of this particular pair to be an odd one. A kaldorei man- a man from a society with deep ties to nature and it’s doings- in love with a gnomish woman- a woman from a place where mechanics and technology were the end-all-be-all. Yet, to their closest friends and neighbors, it was ever so clear that Nydalor and Celxi were deeply in love, and very willing to learn from each other’s cultures. Celxi had worked long nights to find more environmentally safe methods for her tinkering and inventions, and Nydalor had done his best to help her in the workshop, when she needed it- though, honestly, he wasn’t very good at it, and he counted himself lucky that she didn’t need assistance often! But most importantly, they were there when the other needed them, no questions asked.
Grinthey sheathed the blade once again, looking up to her parents and smiling, tears in her eyes. She didn’t say thank you- she didn’t have to. It was written all over her face. Nydalor sipped his tea and glanced to the corner, where Gully was enjoying his chew toy. “…make sure you visit us often, alright? Your old An’da and Min’da miss you, believe it or not. It’s not just the bird.” He tossed Gully a cracker, and the bird gobbled it up before noticing Grinthey. He thudded his feet against the floor, waddling his way over to his mistress and nuzzling her, sensing her heightened nerves and anxiety. She reached up to pet him idly, listening to her An’da. “You’d best get going if you want to get settled back in, my child. Go on. I expect to hear how classes are going when they start, understood?”
The half-elf girl nodded, shooting up with a start. “Yes, An’da! I’ll write every week, I promise!” She grinned, still holding the sheathed blade preciously to her body as she began to move for the door, then swerved around on her heels, running face-first into Gully, who squawked in irritation. She looked to Celxi. “Min’da… I think I’m going to dye my hair to be more like yours. It’s really pretty…” And with that, she scooped her bags back up and hurried out the door.
Celxi looked up to her husband and squeezed his hand once again. “You did just fine, darling. And I’m sure she’s going to be alright. It’s a good place to learn.”
Nydalor pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. “Yes, I know, but… she’s so much like him.”
The gnomish woman sighed softly, leaning into the elven man. “I know. I know.”
It didn’t take long for Grinthey to settle back into her dorm room when she arrived, arranging her things neatly around the space. Gully chewed on his chew toy and curled up in the corner, as per usual. Once again, Grinthey was faced with her reflection in the mirror. She pulled back her dark blue hair, examining the pair of small holes in her neck with a level of morbid curiosity. Once they healed more, maybe she’d invest in some makeup to cover it up…
The half-elf girl glanced back at her bird. “Gully, I’m gonna go down into the city. You stay here and relax, alright? Watch our stuff.” The bird squawked and went back to his toy. Hopefully he understood. Grinthey scooped up her traveling bag and left her room, and her bird. As she walked the campus grounds, there was a little pep to her step. She didn’t think An’da was ever going to relent, but… Aeris’s sword! Wow! It hadn’t fully sunk in just yet, but… that was a big deal. Even not knowing the details about his disappearance until this weekend, she had always known it was of extreme importance to An’da.
She paused, looking up at the Training Center… er, Med Center… and Administrative Officers… gosh, that place had a lot of purposes! The girl wondered about having a roommate once again. Maybe she should talk to someone in there about that! In the administrative offices, anyway… Yeah! What could go wrong? Surely it wasn’t an uncommon inquiry around here. Though, whoever would want to room with her and Gully… they’d better be careful about their snacks. She giggled and made her way up to the Administrative Offices. Just a quick pit-stop before going down to the city!
Seeing that, at least right now, there was only one office door actually open, Grinthey went up to it and knocked, peeking her head inside. At the desk, there was a burgundy-haired woman, looking over some paperwork. Her head shot up and she smiled to the young half-elf, beckoning her in. “…Miss Skystrider, I presume?”
Grinthey blinked a couple times. “W-well, yes! How did you…?”
The woman grinned sheepishly. “Ah, right. Forgive me. You’re one of the only elves-“
“Half-elf.” Grinthey corrected, puffing up a bit in pride.
“Yes… half-elf, sorry, that’s so… short. I suppose that’s due to your unique set of genes, aye?” Her lips curled into a more amused grin. “Well, I’m Professor Goodwin. Head of Humanoid Resources. Come in, have a seat. What do you need?” Maureen Goodwin closed the binder and set it aside, leaning back, hands behind her head, and kicking her feet up on her desk. Grinthey found this a little odd, for someone in Professor Goodwin’s position, but chose not to question it. She certainly didn’t mind the relaxed feeling in the office!
Grinthey sat, as told, and folded her hands in her lap. “I was uhm… wondering who to talk to about getting a roommate.” She shifted a bit in the seat, watching the department head curiously. Maureen blinked, and then, she laughed softly.
“Right, of course! I’m sure being all alone has to be a little lonely… well, let me see, who’s in charge of dorm assignments…?” She pulls out a small notebook and flips through it, scanning through the pages. “…is it me? Wooh boy, it better not be me, or we are going to have a very CONFUSING first week or two this fall…” Maureen shakes her head and chuckles softly, talking quietly to herself. “Light help us, Amara, we might be in trouble…!”
Grinthey soon felt her own small grin forming. Watching someone who’s supposed to be in charge flail a bit… it was kind of funny! She tucked her hair behind her ears and giggled. “Professor Goodwin, you’re kind of odd.”
The woman looked up again, grinning widely. “You think I’m odd? Have you met the other faculty members? I-“ She cuts herself off, squinting at Grinthey a moment, seeming to have noticed… something. Her expression changed rapidly, from surprise, to rage, and then back to her previous jovial smile. “…Grinthey, dear. You went to Steelhaven for the weekend, yes? I meant to swing by your dorm when you got back, but…” The bardess stands and moves, closing her office door.
Grinthey tilted her head curiously at Maureen, confused. “Professor Goodwin…?”
Maureen pulled some keys from her pocket, unlocking a series of locks and pulling out a box. “Let’s chat about that roommate, alright? I’ll make us some tea.” And the woman set about making the tea, which smelled rather strong, and wafted out from the room, despite the closed door. Grinthey recalled it smelled similarly to something Min’da drank on the rare occasion… but she couldn’t recall what. Soon, there was a cup sitting in front of her, hot liquid still steaming.
Grinthey blew on the tea and took a sip. She didn’t care for the taste. “…I’m sorry, Professor, but I don’t think I can drink this.”
Maureen peered at her searchingly a moment. “…now, that’s no way to talk. It’s an acquired taste, but I promise you’ll get used to it. It’s good for you. Didn’t your An’da and Min’da tell you that you have to eat or drink some things just because they’re good for you, even if you don’t like them?” Grinthey sighed and nodded, taking another sip. Maureen was right- An’da and Min’da DID say that. Then again, they also said it would help her grow taller…
“Now… about that roommate. I have a few students in mind. Let’s see what we can do, shall we?”