~A Letter Home~
There’s nothing quite like springtime in Steelhaven City. On the outer rings and the outskirts, the farming folk had begun planting their seeds for late spring & summer crops. Now that Winter’s frost was behind them, citizens all throughout the city could see flowers beginning to pop back up from their beds- alive, and awake after months of hibernation beneath snow and ice. There was rain, it’s true, but it was a welcome sight- children, especially, enjoyed the refreshing feeling of a good rain while playing in the puddles after school… much to the chagrin of the parents who would later have to clean their muddy clothes.
This was one of those rainy days- though just a light sprinkling, at best- and being a weekend, most of the denizens of the city were staying inside- this included, of course, the Skystriders. Nydalor Skystrider sat at the kitchen table, reading through the mail with a pair of spectacles on. While he did his best not to let on to his dear daughter, he was getting older, and some of his senses had begun to wane- sight chief among them. But, times had been kind, and with one less mouth to feed in the house for now, it hadn’t been hard to invest in a pair of glasses. Lunch was heating up on their stove, filling the space with the delicious scent of a home-cooked meal, mildly distracting the elder Kaldorei. He set the current letter aside, and picked up the next. A smile tinged his lips.
“Grinthey has sent another letter” He called out to his wife, who was… presumably somewhere in the house. Nydalor paused and waited, listening for a response, or perhaps the gnomish woman’s quick footsteps, and they did come. Round the corner came Celxi Skystrider, her curly blue locks pulled back into a bun, and having donned her work clothes with toolbox in hand, she looked ever the image of a gnomish tinker you might expect in the depths of Ironforge. She put a hand on her hip. “Well… I’m supposed to go to the inner city for some repair work today, but--” She walked further into the kitchen and pulled herself into a seat beside her husband, smiling. “They can wait a moment longer. How’s our girl?”
Nydalor smiled gently to Celxi, admiring her as he often did- but, not for more than a moment! She had work obligations, so they had to read through their letter! He opened the envelope and pulled the paper from within. It was lined notebook paper, rather than traditional parchment, which the pair were quite used to seeing from their child by now. His eyes scan across the page, trying his best to read her scrawled handwriting. Celxi regarded him quietly as he did his best to make sense of it. Soon, he groaned and handed the letter to his wife. Putting his face in his hands. “Maybe we should talk to the Lady about someone teaching her to write more… legibly.” Celxi hummed and chuckled, humoring the idea for a second before turning her own keen eyes to the paper.
The woman cleared her throat. “Let’s see… ‘Dear An’da and Min’da, things are going great so far! I’ve been working hard with all of my courses, getting good grades just like I promised.. My professors have all been nice enough to give me extra credit to make up for the occasional struggle I have with homework assignments, too! KT--’” Celxi pauses, squinting at the page. “It looks like she crossed out KT, and then started to write Khrystylandris, and then… ah, here we are! ‘Lady Khrystylandris has been a friend ever since we both started here, and she’s helped me adjust and learn things like how to study and take notes better! Sometimes we just hang around campus, though- and she helps make sure I’m eating enough!’”
Nydalor breathes a sigh of relief. “So, she’s alright? And befriended one of the nobility, no less…. Good, good. After hearing about that… Scourge incident from the fall, I wasn’t sure I wanted her to go back for the spring, you know?”
Celxi nodded, patting his arm. “I know, my love. But surely you must be proud of her for trying to protect her fellow classmates and the refugees, right?” Nydalor, however, was stone faced at such a question. His wife simply sighed and shook her head. “Our daughter is a courageous girl, trying to make us and her nation proud… and you’re hung up on what happened all those years ago.”
“Aeris was a brave protector, too.”
The pair sat there in silence for some time- it was likely only minutes, but it felt an eternity to them both. They both looked to the table, consumed by their own emotions. For Nydalor- sorrow and grief he had never quite gotten off his shoulders, for the family he once had, and fear that something might happen to the one he had now. For Celxi, it was a sour mixture of compassion and frustration, pulling her mind back and forth as she attempted to work her way through.
At long last, she reached a hand over and squeezed Nydalor’s. He looked back to her, and she smiled. “I’m sorry. Just… we promised each other, alright? Grinthey is on her own path, and we’re going to support her, no matter what.” The elderly elf nodded his assent, squeezing her hand right back. Celxi tucked a stray hair behind her ear, and then returned to reading the letter aloud. “‘Lord Declain seems to have taken interest in my work, which is just wicked, you know? I can’t believe I almost passed on his class before-- thank you for talking sense into me, Min’da! It’s been such an awesome opportunity. I’ve caught him and Lady Isbeth speaking about me once or twice, now, but they always stop when they notice me. I guess I’m not very stealthy! But that’s okay, I guess. I’ve got a lot to learn on that front, too!’' The mother arches an eyebrow at the page. “‘Professor Velmora- oh, you’d like him a lot, I think! He’s a Worgen, An’da, but when I’ve spoken to him outside of class he seems like a real gentle soul, just like you!”
Nydalor slowly blinked. “Gentle… soul?”
“She means you’re a big ol’ teddy bear.” Celxi commented matter-of-factly.
The elderly elf hummed thoughtfully at that, as his wife continued reading the letter. “Oh! And I went to this party… I think it was a party… it was like, this Tauren celebration of the changing seasons! Aww, An’da, the food was so good! I bet you’ve never had authentic Tauren food before!”
“She’d be wrong,” He interjected.
“There was this wrestling tournament, too, and I got second place! Er… well, I tied for first, but they gave her the win because she beat me in a much earlier round, I think. I dunno, but it was super cool! I had loads of fun, and getting to practice hand-to-hand like that was wicked cool! I think I really impressed some of the people there, fighting so well at my size. I used some of the prize money to invest in some new gear! It’s more troll-like thematically, but it looks great on me, I’m told!”
“Anyway, I really miss you both. I can’t wait to come home when this term is over! We’re about halfway through, now- midterms started this week! I know Gully really hasn’t been enjoying the rain recently, and I’m sure he misses you just as much as I do. I hope you both are okay, and we’ll see you again before you know it. Love… Grinthey.” Celxi set the letter on the table, smiling up at her husband. “See, dear? Nothing worth worrying about.”
Nydalor heaved a great sigh, and nodded. “Right. Of course.” He drummed his fingers on the table a moment. “...it sounds like she’s doing really well, doesn’t it?” He reached for the next piece of mail in the stack, chuckling softly.
The gnomish woman winked up at him. “Just as I knew she would. Now… what’s the plan for dinner tonight? I could swing by the market if you need anything.” She hopped off of her chair, picking up her tool box once again. “Shouldn’t be a long job. Someone’s lights are being fidgety, someone else got a new gnomish oven but it wasn’t installed right… the usual.”
“Hm… well, I traded some meat with one of the farmer’s on the outskirts, so we’ve got plenty of produce. If they’ve got any fish in, though… that could work. Beef as a back-up…. Don’t overspend on anything, though, we’ve got bills coming up soon.” Nydalor waved the current envelope to emphasize his point, before setting it down and moving on to the next. Celxi watched her husband silently, admiring him for a moment…. And then, she turned on her heels, and was off to work.