I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again this year and I thought I’d share my progress with you.
Back to Creme! She goes to mage class (for better learning not to set things on fire) and learns who her guardian is — surprise, it’s Brulee! Turns out she’s not really on board with the magical necklace thing, and tries to make Brulee undo the magic. Brulee has none of it.
This is the first time I did a scene gap. It seemed a little boring to write about Creme’s plans to force Brulee to get rid of the necklaces (probably because she’s spending most of her time pouting and glaring), so I skipped right to the conflict. I’ll probably be redoing most of this section anyway, to establish more of Creme’s life and mage training before the thieving incident. This would probably require multiple chapters dedicated to one of them, which would also work out in the end. Right now I’m keeping it back and forth though.
There’s more northern accent fail in here. Then I mostly forgot about it.
Also, I get to use the term “space-goat” in this chapter. It makes me giggle.
And have I mentioned I’m bad at coming up with chapter titles?
Chapter 4: An Uneasy Match
A tingling sensation around her neck caused her to itch at her neck. There was something there…
A shock that coursed through her system caused Creme to bolt upright in bed with a yelp a pain.
She brought her hands to her throat. The necklace! The probation! It all came flooding back to her.
Nearby a few of the other older orphans were stirring. They would appreciate Creme making a big fuss and waking all of THEM up. They had a great time last night mocking her for having to watch the little ones and put them to bed while they had a night on the town lasting for hours, all because SHE took the blame for them. At least Harvey and a couple others had thanked her when she got back, and she played it completely cool, saying the Warden let her off just almost like every other time but had told her not to do that ever again or it was the Stocks. That scared them well enough. They probably wouldn’t get into trouble like that again any time soon, and there was no need for them to know that the Stocks were a viable threat this time.
The necklace shocked her again, stronger this time. She jumped but held her voice in; didn’t want to wake anyone else up.
She had gone to bed dressed, so there was no need to change clothes. All she really needed to do was to get to the Mage Quarters and fast. There was no telling if the necklace was going to do anything worse than shocking her, and she was pretty sure the first shock was weaker than the second.
Creme bounded down the tunnel of their little headquarters and up the stairs into the orphanage proper. There was no time to quietness or subtlty as she left this time; it would take a good five to ten minutes running down to the mage quarters as it was, depending on the traffic.
Bounding down the hall to the exit, Creme dodge a few kids who were wandering the halls. She heard the Matron say, then yell, something in her direction but she ignored it.
The streets were bustling already with traffic for the day before it got too hot at the noon hour, when many businesses would close down for lunch anyway. The Cathedral square seemed to have some outdoor training going on that Creme dodged through, though not before stumbling due to an even greater shock from the necklace.
Her entire route to the Mage Quarter was filled with people who stared as she ran by – was she a theif? Or just late? Not to mention the shocks on her neck kept getting worse and worse.
It was a quarter after nine by the time she got to the bottom of the Mage Tower where she usually met her teacher… who was there, waiting for her. Creme bent over panting as she teacher raised an eyebrow at her, getting up off the bench that she was waiting at.
“Did nae Warden Wilshire tell ye ta get here at nine o’clock sharp?” Magister Smith asked. She was from the North as well; even trained in Dalaran. Though spending time with all those hodie todie mages did nothing to remove her accent.
“I … overslept…” Creme managed between huge gasps of air. Sweat ran down her face and she was pretty sure her hair was a giant mess, not to mention her clothes. The necklace seemed to have stopped shocking her, which was a plus.
“Hm. Well if I were given a wee necklace an’ was told it’ll do ‘orrible things to ye if ye do nae get tae ye destination at a certain time, I would’ve gotten up early.”
Creme shot her teacher a glare, still bent over, hands on her knees. “I’m not used to gettin’ up early.”
“Lass, nine in the morn is nae early. I’ll give ye a second tae catch your breath afore we begin.”
Creme nodded her thanks and slowly regained her breath, eventually straightening up to an upright position.
“Ye alright nae?”
“Good. Nae we need tae go up tae the top o’ the tower here fer some ferther instruction.”
Creme groaned. More walking!
Magister Smith grinned. “I’ll see ya at the top!” she said, before disappearing in a puff of arcane.
“Stupid high-level mages with their teleportation…” Creme grumbled to herself as she trudged up the steep, curving ramp that led to the up section of the tower.
Magister Smith was waiting for her at the top, with a small bundle of items in her arms. Creme’s belongings.
“‘ere are ya things, luv. Nae go change intae your robes fer some trainin’ afore your day really begins.”
Creme groaned. “The stupid stuffy robes? I don’t really have to, do I?”
The Magister tsked her. “Tsk tsk. Ye want ta make a good impression on your company, and robe are really the only way tae go for that. Mages always wear robes.”
“It’s just a stupid dress.”
“A magically stupid dress. Nae git goin’ and changed,” her teacher said, steering her off to the nearby room for her to do so. “An’ bring the rest of your stuff out wit’ ye once you’ve finished!”
Ten minutes later a rather rumply looking Creme emerged in a rather ill fitting blue and purple robe, cinched high around her waist. Somehow it already seemed to contain wrinkle; she was good at that. Wrinkling clothes on demand.
Smith looked her over and sighed; she obviously was not surprised. She waved her hands in front of her towards Creme and her pupils ensemble smoothed out and even seemed to fit slightly better.
“Stupid high level mages and their wardrobe fixing spells,” Creme grumbeld to herself yet again.
“I fixed your hair too,” Magister Smith said with a grin. “Yeh really should learn tae take better care of yaeself.”
Creme ignored that comment. “So what am I gonna do with the rest of my stuff? Why’d ya take it out?”
Magister Smith blinked at her in suprrise. “Why, because you’re moving, of course! Did nae the Warden tell ye?”
“No. He neglected to mention that fact…” Creme said.
“Ye and your new guardian so tae speak will be movin’ in taegether down at the inn over here.”
“Ew!” Creme’s face twisted in disgust. “You mean I have to share a room with some crudy old guy like the Warden?” Her mind was working overtime to block out the mental images, not to mention the fact there would probably be problems with that set up anyway. Old men were always trying to grab things, those creeps. Well, the Warden didn’t, nor did the other really old nice fellows, but they all pretty much smelled. All guys, in fact, smelled. Growing up with them kind of put that fact to a head, especially while she was sharing the basement room with the gang. Lots of stinky, stinky guys.
Magister Smith was containing her laughter, but didn’t succeed very well at doing that at all. “Or … that would not be an issue because your guardian is a woman.”
“Indeed. So take your things with you for now to the training grounds. We have some time to kill.”
They had just finished with a particularly grueling session (Magister Smith was not pleased that the ice orbs Creme was supposed to summon kept on turning into boiling water and flame. “You must learn to control the arcane with greater precision!” she would exclaim. “There will come a time where you will NEEd to channel the icy or more arcane aspects of magic and then it will fail you if it starts bursting into flame!” Creme didn’t very much well care, as she didn’t mind teh heat and it was sometimes amsuing to see her teacher try to dodge the fireballs and get her hair and clothing singed (which Magister Smith did not appreciate, since she always seemed to like her appearance to be neat and tidy, which is why she had invested in learning spells to keep her and others’ hair and clothing itdy and wrinkle free)). Both seemed irritable and sweaty from all the practice, when another apprentice entered the room (fortunately after the training ended, because otheriwse they might have gotten a face full of water-fire ball).
“Um, excuse me, Magister Smith! But um, you have, like a, vistor here for you, and um, her?” squeaked the younger boy.
“Finally!” Magister Smith buttered in an still very audible way. Louder, she said, “Very good. Please tell the Paladin we will be down in a few minutes.”
The boy scurried out.
“A paladin?” Creme asked, accusingly. She hated talking with Paladins. They were always so righteous and ‘holier than thou’, talking about their special connection to the Light. Some even hated mages using the arcane, which would make it even worse.
“Yes, a paladin. I’m sure she will be an excellent fit. Paladins can help neutralize the damage from any of your wayward and accidental spells.”
Creme humphed, but slowly stood up from her meditation position. Magister Smith flourished her arms some more to fix up their appearances some (hers more than Creme’s, Creme noted).
They headed down to the base of the Mage Tower, Creme’s arms still full of her things. Down at the base stood the young messenger they had seen before, next to a…
“Draenei?” Creme exclaimed. She had seen them around the city before, but they weren’t too many of them around.
“What’s she doing here? Where’s the paladin?” asked Creme, to Magister Smith.
“She is the paladin, ye silly. She’s the one who’s going tae be your guardian.”
Creme stopped in her tracks. “What?! You want me to be led around by… by a space-goat? What the hell?”
Magister Smith glared at her. “Watch yer tongue, lass. A paladin is a paladin, and she’ll school yer ass as much as any other one would. Don’t cross her, fer she’ll be the one who can dole out punishes through that new little piece ye got ’round yer neck.nb vcccccccf sorry about that a cat stepped on the keyboard. Ye understand?”
Creme stayed silent, glaring off to the side as she started once again down the spiraling ramp.
“I said, do. ye. understand?” Smith said, reaching out and pulling Creme to face her by the shoulder.
“Yes, ma’am,” Creme said in her most ‘it sounds sincere but it’s not really sincere but close enough that people won’t get mad at me’ voice.
The Magister sternly stared at her for a moment longer before allowing them to continue.
At the base awaited the appretince and the Draenei, as mentioned above.
The Draenei dwarfed all three of them. At least a foot and a half taller than Creme, a foot taller than her teacher, for sure. The young boy who had fetched them barely came up to the woman’s waist!
The Draenei’s skin was blue, sort of like the Night Elves. Her eyes glowed like the Night Elves too. But her ears were short; at least Creme shot they were short ’cause she couldn’t see them sticking out anywhere in the lady’s short, dark blue hair that stuck out all over the place in little wavy curls. And also the fact the draenei had some horns sticking out the side of her head; Night Elves didn’t have those. This particular draenei’s horns were smaller, curving around the side of her head. It sort of matched what her hair was doing; Creme supposed it looked nice. For her being not a human with blue skin.
She was also wearing some armor. It was silver and gray, with little bits of blue-grey trim. Most of it seemed to be plate, though some of the areas like around the arms were covered in a sturdy chainmail. She was carrying a helmet on her hip; across her back there was a large broadsword, tucked over the knee-length cape she wore. Well, relatively knee-lenght. Draenei knees looked funny, all backwards ish.
“Creme, this is Paladin Brulee,” Magister Smith said cordially. “Paladin Brulee, this is Miss Creme Stonemason, a mage trainee.”
Brulee gave a short bow while Creme herself made a half-assed attempt at a curtsy.
“I am pleased to be meeting your acquaintence, Miss Stonemason,” Brulee said in accented common. It was phrased oddly.
“And it’s good to meet you too, your Paladiness,” Creme said, barely holding back her sarcasm. She could see Magister Smith glare at her in the corner of her eye.
Apparently the sarcasm was lost on Brulee. “I am glad. It will be good for us to be spending this time together, for the keeping you out of the trouble, yes?” she said happily.
Creme tried to keep her face neutral. How could anyone say that a punishment like this could be ‘fun’, as if they were just getting together and hanging out like friends?
Magister Smith intervened in the silence as Creme stared. “I bet it will be. But first we must set up the spell for you.”
“Oh, yes,” Brulee said.
Creme watched quietly as the Magister put a similar necklace to hers onto the draenei, only this one was purple. Magister Smith whispered some words and twiddled her fingers in a mage like way and both necklaces glowed for a moment.
“There, yer all set,” Magister Smith said as Brulee examined the necklace now looped around her neck. “Ye remember the instructions given tae yae, right?”
Brulee stared blankly for a sec, and then answered, “Oh yes, of course! I am understanding how this will be working. They are linked, yes? And I can give commands to it to stop any, what did he say… ‘tomfoolery’?
Magister Smith grinned. “Ha, yes, that’s exactly right. Ye can give it a go nae, Creme here’s already gotten a taste of the punishment already.”
Brulee looked mildly concerned. “Are you sure?”
Magister Smith nodded and grinned. “Oh, absolutely.”
“Hey, wait a minute here-” Creme started but was cut off with a small jolt when Brulee whispered a foreign word to her. “Ouch!”
“Oh my, was that too painful? Perhaps I should not have said it…” Brulee said, still concerned.
Magister Smith waved her off. “Do nae worry. She deserves the punishment she’s gettin’. Got herself into it with her theivery. We’re jus tyring to puta stop tae it and if it invovles a little shock here an’ there, she’s no one to blame but herself.”
“IT is a strange system you have here, but if you think it is best for the girl…”
“Well I don’t think it’s best for me,” Creme said grumpily.
“Nobody asked you,” Magister Sarah said. “Now you two get today to get aquainted and to get you settled into your new quarters. But then Brulee has a list of tasks from various citizens of Stormwind you will need tae complete.”
Creme rolled her eyes. “Bunch of stupid things, that is.” (( what is this I don’t even))
“Ah, it will be good to be doing service for the communities,” Brulee beamed happily. “Thank you very much for the introductions, Magister Smith. I shall be off now with my ward. Come along, Creme. Let us go to our place of sleeping together.”
The Draenei turned smartly and began to walk off. Creme shot an annoyed and helpless look at her teacher, who did nothing but shrugged as if to say it was Creme’s problem now, before she followed her new ‘guardian’ and tried to devise a way to break the magic and get out of her sight!
Creme started her reign of sabotaging their relationship by avoiding all of Brulee’s attempts at small talk. Such questions as “How are you today?”, “Where do you live?”, “Have you been in Stormwind many years?” were met with single syllable answers or non replies. The Draenei’s annoyance started to become more apparent as they walked to the nearby inn where they would be staying now.
The Draenei cordially greeted the innkeeper, who seemed to know what was going on, and she led them up some stairs and down the hall to the farthest room on the left.
“We will be staying here while we are in the city,” Brulee said as she fumbled with a key to open the door. “Most other long-term guests stay on the upper floors that are further away from the exit, he had told me.”
“Obviously my silence ahsn’t stopped her from trying to keep the conversation going. Rather stubborn of her, I guess. Sooner or later she’ll “be shutting up”,” Creme thought to herself as the Draenei opened the door. “But this room,” she thought with some surprise, “isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”
It was a spacious suite, considering some of her other accommodations that she had had in the past. Two double-sized beds rested on opposite sides of the room against the wall, with room for end tables on the inner sides. There was room in the center of the room for a table with a couple chairs around them, and a small half-sized closet thing, which Creme supposed housed some chamber pots. As she walked in she could see a couple of wardrobes were lined up on the same side of the room as the door, which was to the far right of the room. A couple of mage globes provided a steady glow of warm light around the room. There were also a few decorative tapestries on the empty sections of the wall; fairly innocuous images of various animals and plants found in the forests outside the city.
“Well this ain’t half-bad,” Creme said aloud.
“Yes; it is much bigger than my first rooms here. I am very much enjoying the space, even through I am the moving in for the second time on my trip,” Brulee chimed in, eyeing Creme with slightly amusement on her face. Creme looked away, surprised and then annoyed. She had spoken without prompting! Bah!
To correct for this, Creme immediately turned away from the Draenei, heading for the closests to store her things.
“I am using the one with the chest in front of it,” Brulee helpfully added.
Creme pretended not to notice that she said that, moving directly for the one without the chest, further down the wall. She then busied herself stashing her her items haphasardly in the wardrobe. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the Draenei removing some armor and putting it almost reverently away.
Creme tossed her regular clothes out onto the bed behind her. No way was she going to keep wearing this robe if the Draenei was changing out of her armor.
Several minutes later both of them were dressed in what was apparently their clothing of choice; Creme in sensible, comfortable, easy to move in pants and vest and shirt; the Draenei in a different stupid stuffy dress, just like mages. Creme coould hardly believe it, yet here it was – a paladin who wanted to dress like a mage! Ridiculous. No one wanted to dress like a mage.
“Would you like to go to have some midday food?” Brulee asked.
Brulee frowned. “I am supposing I am not phrasing this right. I am going to get something to eat at the tavern below, and you are to be coming with me.”
“Oh, it’s going to be like that then? You’re just gonna flex your muscle and make me?”
“I believe that is my job to do so, Miss Stonemason,” Brulee said sternly.
“Whatever. I’ll go. Just don’t expect me to eat nothing.”
Brulee’s face turned to surprise. “Ah! You are not hungry?”
“Can’t eat if you don’t got no money,” Creme shrugged. She was lying, of course. She did have some money stashed away, but Brulee didn’t need to know that; better make her feel guilty for starving her ward.
“Ah, yes, money. It is no problem. I have a, how you say, stipend? Yes, some stipend money to be spending on food and other things for you on me.”
Creme perked up a bit. “What, so you can buy other things for me? Like what?”
“The things that are required for living. The food, the water, the clothing, the room,” the Dreanei said. “I am allowed to pay for these things with coin from the Crusader and the Warden.”
“So… nothing interesting, you’re saying?”
“I am sure those things are quite interesting. Now come, let us be going,” Brulee said, and downstairs they went.
The meal that Creme ordered was one of the best ones she had had in a long time. A simple stew, well spiced, with meat and potatoes and carrots. It was tasty. Brulee had ordered some too, after she had pried a suggestion out of Creme. The young mage had hoped the Draenei wouldn’t have like the meat or something, but Brulee thought it was tasty too.
“Stupid Draenei, liking meat and things. You’d think they wouldn’t like all this stuff,”
<there should be more smalltalk here, but we’ll move right along to where Creme tries to make a mess of things. Setting: hallway by the bathrooms?? Or by their room; Creme is trying to threaten Brulee to turn off the necklace (though she really wouldn’t kill the Draenei!)>
The dinner knife Creme had smuggled into her sleeve (why would she need a knife with stew?) came out in a flash. She charged Brulee, in an instant winding the Draenei with a swift knee to the stomach. Creme followed it up by using her left hand to push the Draenei’s head back to the wall, while the knife in her right hand moved up to threaten the Draenei’s throat.
“Obviously this Paladin’s never seen real street combat,” Creme thought rather smuggly to herself. She growled quietly out loud, keeping it quiet in case anyone had heard something funny. “I told you I was not gonna be hangin’ around you no more. You break the necklace’s spell and I leave you alone, no funny business. I just hightail it out of town. I’m not gonna be nobody’s pet.”
She felt Brulee squirm some, trying to get her hand off her mouth or to bite her hand. Creme pressed the knife a little closer to the Draenei’s neck, depressing the skin but not enough to cut it. She hoped the Draenei couldn’t feel how much her hand was shaking. She never had to kill no one before, and really hoped the Draenei wasn’t going to push her luck.
Luckily, the Draenei stopped moving when the knife got closer, though her eyes were hardened into a very intense glare. Creme tried to keep her cool.
“I’m gonna let you talk a bit to answer me, but no funny business with the magic words. Any shocks might cause my knife to slip. Nod if you understand.”
Brulee gave the slightest of nods, and Creme slid her left hand off her mouth, though kept it on the Draenei’s chin, in case she did something funny.
“Would running away solve your problems?” Brulee asked sharply, though not with full mobility of her mouth. Her head was tilted back, away from teh knife, glaring down at Creme.
“It would be better than following you around. My whole life I’ve been kept dwn from people like you, people who don’t understand how life works for those without money, without privleged. Been coddled by cops who think they’re doing me a favor when…” she faltered for a moment, but then pressed on with both her speech and her free hand. “… when I woudl have been better left off alone!” Her voice was still little more than a whisper, though it spoke volumes on it’s own.
“Would killing me solve your problems?” Brulee asked coldly.
Creme tried to hide her surprise and the uneasiness in her own voice. “Kill you? Not if I don’t have to. Just undo the spells of the necklace.”
“And what if I said I could not do such a thing?”
Creme blinked. This wasn’t going according to plan at all. “What? No, you have to know. They wouldn’t put a thing on you if you couldn’t undo it.”
“It is not my duty to ‘undo’ anything about these trinkets. IT is my duty to escort you and keep you out of trouble.” The unspoken words “such as this” hung in the air between them.
“Liar!” Creme spat, pressing the knife again. It bit into the Draenei’s skin, causing a thin line of blood to be drawn. It eased down the knife’s blade.
“I do not lie about such things,” Brulee said coldly again, disdain clear in her voice. “I cannot break these necklaces. You cannot leave my presence until the punishment is over. And I think you-” The draenei quickly brought her hands up, surprising Creme as she moved the knife out of range of her throat “-have made-” Brulee twisted Cremes wrists with enough force to cause the knife to drop and Creme to cry out-“-your point.” On the last syallable, the draenei delivered a sharp elbow to Creme’s gut, causing the girl to be the one who was winded, and this time knocked to the floor, stomach and chest flaring with pain.
Creme gasped and coughed as the Draenei, still in her silly robes, no less, moved cloiser to lok down at her.
“And I am not needing a necklace to keep a girl like you in line.”
There was silence for a moment. Maye the Draenei was trying to give her time to talk back, but Creme could only hold hold her sides as she tried to recover from that elbow.
“Hm. It is time for you to sleep. We can discuss this more in the morning,” Brulee said.
“Wh.. but,” tried to ask, but Brulee whispered some other words. The necklaces began to glow and Creme drifted off into unconsciousness.