Tag Archives: Stormwind

[Raw Draft] NaNoWriMo 2011 – Chapter 5: Mundane Chores

3 Dec

I participated in NaNoWriMo, and here is the continued story I wrote this year.

This chapter is back to Brulee’s point of view. It’s been a few weeks since Brulee has been assigned to Creme. She muses on the work they’ve done, and then they head over to Northshire Abbey to collect a book. And then, of course, they start to go to Redridge Mountains to get some ore for ink for copying the book.

When they first leave Stormwind, they grab some horses to ride for the day. Cue hilarious scenes of falling off horses. 

Chapter 5: Mundane Chores

Brulee supposed she may have been a bit rough on Creme. The girl had obviously had some troubles, given the lengthy history that the Warden William Wilshire had given her. She had perused the record at her quarters before she got to packing; while it was long, the crimes seemed mostly minor, even though they were very numerous. Certainly no self-respecting Draenei child would steal so much food, no need to steal that much food. Those who wanted were kept well, and even though the Warden assured her that Stormwind’s orphans were indeed well fed, she wasn’t convinced. From her few short visits she had gone on, they seemed hungrier than they should, and starved for meaningful attention.

But she did agree with the Warden’s assessment of Creme; her crimes had gotten much more violent and costly as she got older. No doubt to her improper training. Indeed, Magister Smith had expressed her concern about it when she had gone to visit about it earlier. If the girl did not learn control, she would never get far. And apparently a well trained mage could earn a sizeable wage. Apparently this had never interested Creme, or perhaps she would have taken more interest in her studies. Obviously the girl had a passing interest in earning money; otherwise she would not have stolen jewelry.

“Cracking a rib may have been a bit out of line,” Brulee worried to herself. Sure, the girl had threatened her with bodily force, but Brulee had seen her hesitation. “She was just scared. Unsure of what to do with herself. I have seen it with prisoners before, unsure of their new situation. Corner her and she will lash out, much like a wild animal. But she knows better now.”

Indeed, the human’s attitude had adjusted marvelously after the little knife incident. After she had woke (with rib healed to the best of Brulee’s ability, of course), Brulee was given a similar amount of respect that the Magister and Warden seemed to afford. No doubt because she proved herself in the girl’s eye, lashing out with a similar violence that Creme obviously didn’t think she was capable of. But who would have heard of a Paladin being taken down by a mere knife-wielding thief? It was true that she was not in her armor, but hand-to-hand combat was one of her areas of expertise.

Brulee was confident that her ward would not lash out in such a fashion again. But her attitude while working with the community service they were scheduled to do was definitely lacking.

Just the other day at the shipyards, Creme was entirely lackadaisical about doing any sort of manual labor. They were there to deal with a rat infestation and the girl nearly set fire to all the shipments with her carelessness while casting spells, trying to burn out the unwanted creatures. Brulee had to force her to stop doing it the so called ‘easy way’ and put down the traps like the foreman had wanted in the first place.

“Her poor attitude is reflecting poorly on both me and her and the system itself,” Brulee worried to herself. The Warden had been clear to her that this was a pilot program, helping trouble youths and allowing novices of other disciplines such as guards or paladins, etc, to practice their own training (he was quick to assure her that they wanted a more experience person to be one of the first for this program. Apparently her disdain for the word ‘novice’ was evident on her face).

But perhaps today’s task would be different. It was utterly simple. Just travel to the abbey outside of Stormwind to fetch a book borrowed from the Cathedral. It would take them only an hour or two by Elekk, ah, no, horse. They rode horses here. Brulee could not afford to bring an Elekk with her at any rate, and the Order of Paladins here had graciously lent her an older warsteed. Riding one of their horses was similar enough to riding an Elekk, and the horse, ‘Morning Star’, responded wonderfully to her touch.

“I am sure that they will provide Creme with a steed of her own,” Brulee thought to herself. “If not the girl could certainly ride with me, though I’m sure if she enjoys riding on her own it could get awkward. Well, more awkward than it would be otherwise.” She was absolutely right in thinking that their relationship, as it were, had gotten off to a really rocky start.

“No matter,” she thought to herself as she slipped on the last piece of large armor (cause she had been getting dressed this whole time; should probably go back and mention this maybe), her chestpiece. The gloves and helm could be put on later, after they had a quick breakfast. “Rocky or not, I am responsible for her future well being, so I may as well be tougher now.”

She couldn’t wait to tell Shamundi about all of this. Brulee was sure that her sister would get a kick out of the fact her brave, bold paladin sister almost got knifed by a young mage (even though she obviously had everything under control). In fact, the whole situation seemed like a comedy of errors, or quite strange considering Brulee’s previous work. Shamundi never thought Brulee to be the best teacher, yet her she was, in a role that was effectively teaching someone how to live a proper life.

But Brulee had barely found the time to write her sister, with everything being so chaotic since she had been there. Her first letter was tucked away in her personal chest, waiting to be handed to her sister in person. Hopefully after their little book returning adventure she could find the time to write without Creme glaring at her neck.

Speaking of, the human girl had yet to wake that morning, even though the sun was already well past the horizon. Brulee glared at the lump in the bed, hidden under covers. Here she was, dressed and ready to go before their days ride and her ward had yet to stir – just like every other morning so far. Brulee had let the girl sleep in as late as possible the first few days, out of compassion, but now it was clear that the human was not a morning person.

And there was a much more fun way to deal with someone who slept in.

“Time to wake up, Creme!” she called out sharply with great volume. It elicited no movement from the bed.

She called out again. “Time to awake, Creme!” There was a small groan and the lump under the covers shifted into a new position, followed by absolutely no movement again.

Brulee frowned. “I said, it is time to get up!” She marched over to the other bed (her own already made up again, no wrinkles) where Creme lay, and pulled off the covers with a sharp yank. There was a groggy yelp of protest.

Creme’s hands started moving about, most likely in an attempt to find the covers again.

“Hey!” the girl groggily said. “Gimmee those back. I was sleeping…”

“And now you are not sleeping. It is time to get up. We have a half-day journey ahead of us, and I am wishing to get back before the afternoon so we may be attending the services.”

Creme groaned. The girl was certainly a complainer. Brulee wondered how anyone had ever put up with all of her whining about this and that.

And who wouldn’t want to go see a most beautiful service in the honor of the Light after a pleasant morning’s ride through the countryside? Brulee was looking forward to seeing the forest surrounding Stormwind; she had not seen it yet but had heard it was the must luscious of greens. Really, the girl would complain if she was given the key to the castle (this phrase isn’t very draenei like).

“You knew this was on the schedule for today,” Brulee admonished. “And see, I am already dressed and ready to break fast. If you would not want to be shocked I would suggest you get dressed immediately.”

Creme stopped lying about the bed in denial and sat up, shooting daggers at Brulee. Brulee just stared right back. A young whippersnapper such as Creme was not going to intimidate her.

“Fine,” snapped Creme. She got up and started tossing clothes onto the bed to wear.

“Would you not prefer to be wearing your mage robes if you are to be on official business?” Brulee asked. The girl had picked out her usual outfit. It was plain and a bit worn, but obviously she preferred it to the robes, which she kept complaining bitterly about.

“If we’re gonna be ridin’ on some horses, ‘m not gonna be ridin’ with no dress on.”

“Ah. That is a good point. Sitting to the side is uncomfortable…”

“Wearing dresses is uncomfortable. I have no clue why you wear ’em,” Creme shot back. She had started to take off her pajamas so Brulee turned around as they continued their conversation.

“I think they are very comfortable for every day wear. Certainly easier to put on than armor.”

“Then why don’t you just wear a shirt and pants?”

“That would mean I would need to put on two things instead of one,” Brulee said with a grin, looking back. She could see Creme stare at her blankly, no doubt trying to guess if that was a joke coming from ‘the Draenei’ or not. The human shook her head.

“They’re too hard to run in. And-” she said with a finger shake “- don’t get me started on how all the mages say you need to wear them or else people won’t take you seriously. They only put the best enchants on the stupid robes so you have to wear them if you want to do your best, they say.”

Brulee raised an eyebrow. “But I am sure that those enchants can be added to other types of clothing. And I have seen great mages from our people wear pants and shirts and I assure you that they looked very mage like and threatening.”

“Huh. Really?”

“Yes. I am sure we could try to find something similar for you if robes are really such a problem.”

“That would be-” Creme started, sounding excited, before Brulee heard her clear her throat. “I mean, that would be alright, I guess. Not that I need you to do any favors for me.

Darn. So close to making a connection with the girl. At least she had an angle to do so now.

“Very well. Are you ready to get some food?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m dressed.”

Brulee turned to eye her ward. Her hair seemed to be flying away again, as usual.

“Hm, very well. Let us go.” Brulee moved for the door.

“What’re we having?”

“Just some apples, and then we will have them pack us something to eat for lunch.”

“Apples? I hate apples!”

Brulee looked skyward, asking the Light for strength to deal with the endless complaints.

***

After breakfast, they made their way to the Cathedral of Light. There were stables there where her mount was taken care of by the stablehand, Peter.

“Paladin Brulee, it’s good to see you again,” he said cheerfully as the two of them entered, Brulee walking with confidence and Creme looking around, seeming a bit out of place.

Brulee nodded to the young man. “And it is good to be seeing you again, Mister Peter, yes?”

Peter beamed. “I knew you’d remember, Ma’am. What brings ya here today?”

“I am needing my steed for the day. That is alright, yes?”

“Yup, no problems there, Ma’am. I’ll get the boys on gettin’ her all ready for ya right away.” Peter turned and whistled sharply; a couple of young boys popped their head out of a couple of different stalls.

“Get the Paladin’s horse tack all ready and get ‘er saddled, lads,” he yelled to them, causing the boys to stop whatever stable chore they were doing to run about collecting the tack and grooming the horse. “An’ anything else ya need?” he asked, turning once again towards Brulee and Creme.

“Ah yes. Is it possible we could borrow a horse for my ward for her to be riding?” Brulee asked, gestruing at Creme. Peter opened his mouth to respond by Creme cut him off.

“Wait wait wait – you want -me- to ride a horse?” Creme asked incredulously.

Brulee looked down at the human, blinking in surprise. “But of course, how else you would ride if not on a horse?”

“I, um, I thought I was gonna be riding with you.”

“If Peter has a horse for you to use, you can be using that instead of riding with me.”

Peter interjected. “An’ I do have a right lovely one for you to use. Willow’s an old gel, but she’s nice and easy goin'”

Brulee smiled at Creme. “See? Problem solved! You can ride on your own.”

“Um… I don’t actually know how to ride,” Creme mumbled.

Brulee looked taken aback. “What?”

“I said I don’t know how to ride a damn horse,” Creme repeated, glaring at Brulee. “Is that a problem?”

“Hm… I do not believe so.”

“So I’ll just ride with -”

Brulee waved off the rest of Creme’s sentence. “This ‘Willow’ horse, is she good with newer riders?”

“Oh yes,” Peter said happily. “We use her for practice all the time with the new recruits.”

“Excellent. Would you not be minding if an unseasoned rider such as my ward would to be riding her? I would not want to cause you any trouble if that were a problem, but I am sure that I would be able to keep on eye on both Creme and your horse.”

“That’ll be fine,” Pete answered reassuringly. “Willow knows how to treat a new rider, and she’d be back here if she ended up getting lost for some reason, so there’s no need to worry. I’ll get her saddled up for ya.”

Peter moved off to find more helping hands to help get the second horse set.

“I can’t believe your making me ride a horse,” Creme mumbled.

“It will be good practice for the future! I am sure we will be having much fun!”

***

<cut to less fun>

“How do you stop this thiiiing AHHH!” Creme fell off her horse, for the third time, as it gently cantered past Brulee’s steed. The girl fell right onto her bum, rolling down one of the grassy hills before landing on her back.

Willow, the mage’s horse who was now riderless, slowed down and came to a halt a few dozen yards ahead and started to eat something that looked interesting. Brulee figured the horse would stay there.

She pulled on the reins of her own horse to slow her down to a walk, turning around to head over to where her ward lay.

“Are you alright?” she asked, trying to hide the amusement in her voice as she dismounted.

“I am going to kill that damn horse,” Creme groaned, slowly propping herself up on her elbow. Her face contorted slightly; Brulee could only guess that the girl had hurt her bottom during the fall.

She led her horse closer and tucked the reins over nearby bush.

“You will not be killing any horse. It is not yours, and I would not stand for such a thing anyway. It did nothing to you.” The Draenei leaned over to the girl and used some healing Light to ease her pain, evident as the girl’s expression looked less pained and more annoyed.

“Yes it did,” Creme responded, sitting up. “It threw me off!”

Brulee snorted. “No, you fell off. Did I not tell you to sit up straight? To keep your hoov- feet firmly in the stirrups?”

“Well yeah. I was totally doing that.”

“No, you were not. Your feet were dangling about and you were slouching in your seat like a sack of berries. And-” Brulee continued quickly when the girl was opening her mouth in attempt to defend herself, “- you did not even bother to remember how to slow or stop your horse with the reins. Flopping them about would make the horse only want to move faster.”

They both stood up. Creme looked incredibly frustrated.

“Well I told you I didn’t know how to ride, and I don’t see no reason why I should ever bother learning! It’s not like I’d ever get a horse of my own to frolic around the countryside with.”

“If you were to become a full fledged mage I am sure they would be needing to send you around the countryside somehow and riding is a very convenient way to do such a thing.”

Creme rolled her eyes. “That’s what portals are for. And they wouldn’t want me to be a mage anyway, let alone one that goes around doing whatever mage business mages do.”

“And here I was thinking we were going out on ‘mage business’ right now,” Brulee said lightly.

“What?”

“You are a mage; you are out on business. Therefore it is mage business, yes?”

Creme looked a little disturbed. “You mean this is the kind of stuff that mages do anyway?”

“At least apprentice ones who have not studied enough magic. I am sure that more skilled mages deal with issues of greater magical importance.”

“Oh, so you’re teamin’ up with them, tryin’ to get me to throw away my life studyin’ magic that I don’t care about?”

“I am just trying to steer you in a beneficial direction. But enough talk. We are being very late for the appointment that we are going to.” Brulee decided not to add that they were late because Creme kept on falling off her horse and was having issues steering it. “Let us go find your horse; I do not see it right now but I am sure she is nearby.”

“I’m not riding that thing no more,” Creme spat, though she did start trudging in the direction her horse was last seen.

“Then you may either lead your horse or ride with me,” Brulee said. She led her horse back onto the dirt road and mounted up.

“And I’d rather walk than ride with you!” Creme called back, before running off to find her horse.

***

An hour later, the two of them rode up to the Northshire Abbey, Creme sitting in front of Brulee on Morning Star. Willow had been tied behind them, and was quite content to follow.

“They girl just couldn’t keep up with the pace I had set with the horse,” Brulee thought to herself. She finally hauled the girl up to ride with her in awkward silence for the rest of the trip.

A guard approached their small caravan. “Welcome, travelers. What brings you to the Abbey?” he asked cordially.

“We are hear to be speaking with a Brother Paxton?” Brulee asked.

“Ah yes, Brother Paxton. You can find him in the Abbey’s library.” The guard gestured unhelpfully to the Abbey’s building, where apparently the library was. “I can watch your horses while you visit.”

“That would be most kind of you, sir,” Brulee said. She allowed Creme to awkwardly dismount before gracefully getting off the horse herself. “We should not be taking too long.”

The guard nodded and started to lead their horses to a nearby field. Brulee and Creme entered the library, Creme walking with a funny gait from not being used to riding on horseback for a period of time. Brulee smiled briefly, before remembering that finding amusement in the misfortune of others was not very appropriate for a follower of the Light. Even if the person only had a mild discomfort and was frustratingly annoying as well.

After a few misturns within the Abbey, they finally made it into the library. There was only one person there, a human man with long light brown hair. He was sitting at a table, pouring over a book. Brulee felt an itch to join him and read. But now was not the time for that.

“Brother Paxton?” she asked. He looked up and around, startled. He had been reading intently enough that he apparently had not heard them come in.

“Yes! Yes, that is me. What can I do for you?” he said quickly. He had a strong tenor voice. He stood up, pushing his chair back, and made his way over to them.

Brulee looked to Creme. It was her duty, after all, to retrieve the book. But she said nothing. Brulee coughed and pushed her forward a bit.

The girl obviously was trying to hide her annoyance at this but managed to muster out a few vaguely polite words. “We’re here for a book.”

“A book?” Brother Paxton asked. “Which one are you interested in? We have many of them here, obviously, with this being a library.”

“Yeah, a book. It was, uh…” Creme started patting her pockets, and then searching them.

“It is called ‘The Stresses of Iron’,” Brulee supplied, and handed over the note Creme was no doubt looking for. It had fallen out of the human’s pocket during one of her falls and Brulee has picked it up for safekeeping.

“Uh, yeah, that,” Creme supplied. “They want it back at the Stormwind library. Someone wanted to reference it or something like that.”

“Ah, yes. I have it right here. But I am afraid I haven’t finished copying it for our Abbey’s records,” Brother Paxton said. “I’ve run out of the ink I need. I make my own, you know. It’s very high quality stuff; the pages look as new for years and years. Very good for creating archival copies.”

“Annnnd… are you going to make more ink?” Creme asked.

“I would if I could but I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I am missing a key component for my ink, Rethban Iron Ore.”

Both Brulee and Creme stared expectantly at him, and he stared back for a moment before realizing he apparently needed to continue his explanation.

“Rethban Iron Ore is a type of iron ore that is found in the Redridge Mountains.”

“Can’t you go get some more?” Creme asked. It was a rather obvious question if Brulee could say so herself; it seemed as if Brother Paxton had merely been lazy or forgetful in fetching more ore for his ink.

But he shook his head. “My usual supplier, Foreman Oslow, over in Lakeshire, hasn’t been responding to my order requests. In fact, one of my older letters has been returned.” Brother Paxton stepped away from them and rummaged in a nearby desk. After a moment he produced a very worn envelope.

“See, here it is. I opened it to retrieve my gold – payment for the ore, which was never received.”

Brulee took the letter before Creme handled it, lest the girl ‘accidentally’ burned it. The outer envelope and letter within did indeed look rumpled from it’s travel. The contents of the letter was exactly as Brother Paxton had said; a brief inquiry of health followed by a request for a shipment of ore, along with payment (now no longer attached).

“Were you present when the messenger came to return the letter?”

Brother Paxton shook his head again. “No, I’m afraid I was helping out in the fields when the letter arrived again. No one had thought to ask about why it was returning. I hope that the reason for the letters return is a mundane one… I know that Redridge can be a dangerous place. There has been rumors of nearby groups of Gnolls organizing…”

“Gnoll?” Brulee asked.

“They are a rather violent race of hyena or dog-like humanoids,” Brother Paxton explained. “They often are more of a threat to each other, fighting within their tribes, but if they organize sometimes they turn against our settlements. They are not very common around the area of Elwynn Forest, but they do gather in the Redridge mountains.

“I see. So you are saying that you are unable to return this book to us without more ink, and you will require more of this special Rethban Iron Ore to make this ink to finish copying the book?” Brulee asked.

“Yes, that is correct.”

“Then I think we best return to the city to inform the librarian that the return of the book is delayed. Thank you very much for your time, Brother Paxton.”

“It was my pleasure-” Brother Paxton started before Creme interrupted.

“Hey – how about we go to Lakeshire and the ore for him?” she asked in a oddly helpful and cheerful tone, considering her usual demeanor.

“Would you do that for me?” Brother Paxton asked, sounding pleasantly surprised.

“Of course. We live to serve, after all,” Creme said.

“But we were not preparing for more than a day’s journey,” Brulee cautioned. “And this Lakeshire, it is further than a day’s ride, yes?”

“Oh yes, it would probably take a full day’s ride to get there,” supplied Brother Paxton. “Maybe a little more, a little less, depending on how fast you go and the weather.”

“I am sure the kind Brothers and Sisters here could provide us with some more supplies,” Creme said helpfully. “A little more food and water”

Brother Paxton nodded enthusiastically. “Oh yes, we have plenty to spare, especially if you were going to do this favor for me.”

“And I’m sure you would provide us with the payment for the ore…”

“Of course! And a little extra for your traveling expenses.”

Brulee was a little uneasy about where this was going. “I am sure we would be able to pay for our own traveling expenses, Brother. If we were to be going. But I had thought that Creme and I would be going back to the Stormwind to be attending the afternoon service…”

“But Mister – I mean Brother Paxton here is countin’ on us to get his ore now! You wouldn’t want to let him down, would you? And if we just pop on over to Lakeshire and pop back nice and quick, we can get the book back to Stormwind even quicker and no one will have to go out on a second trip to go get the ore – or worse, force poor Paxton here to return the book afore he’s finished copying it.”

Darn. She had a point about sending everyone on the second trip. Though Brulee was pretty sure her alterior motive was to get out of going to the service (or does Brulee not notice this and we figure that out later).

She ran her hand down the length of her horn and then sighed. “Fine, fine. If you would be so kind as to provide us with supplies for two or three days of travel we will be going to get the ore you need for your ink.”

Both Brother Paxton and Creme started to smile widely.

“I’ll go send the novices to fetch those things for you right away, Paladin Brulee! And in the meantime, won’t you please join us for lunch?”

“We would be delighted,” Brulee responded, trying to match the enthusiasm that both of them displayed as she prepared herself for an afternoon of aggravating impromptu riding lessons.

[Raw Draft] NaNoWriMo 2011 – Chapter 4: An Uneasy Match

23 Nov

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

The bells sounded in the background. Creme rolled over, trying to sleep through them yet again.”One… two… three,” she counted in her head. “Four… five.. six… seven… eight… nine… Nine o’clock. That’s important for some reason. Why is nine o’clock important…”

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?”

Creme nodded.

“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.”

“Oh.”

“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!

***

<lunch time?>

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.

“Not really.”

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.

[Raw Draft] NaNoWriMo 2011 – Chapter 2: The Problem With Authority

21 Nov

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again this year and I thought I’d share my progress with you.

The second chapter switches back to Creme. Time has passed, and she’s now 17 years old… and in trouble with the law! This is not an uncommon occurrence for her, for the Warden William Wilshire (one of the sillier names I’ve come up with, I know) seems quite familiar with her.

Her crime? Stealing expensive goods and accidentally lighting things on fire. The punishment? A magical necklace that will keep her close to a guardian who will then do community service with her (read: questing). I wonder who that guardian will be…

At any rate, Creme gets to roam free that evening, choosing to go to her squatting grounds at the Orphanage, where she talks with the Matron.

Creme is ridiculously sulky; I probably need to adjust her character to have more depth instead of just scowling at authority figures all the time. I may also need to later write a scene with her ‘gang’ and flesh them out a little. It also may make more sense that a private individual would ‘sponsor’ her and make her travel with a guardian rather than having a member of the guards do it.

I’m also ignoring the fact that Stockades would be under seige. My guess is that the common civilian wouldn’t be aware of that so they could still hang it over people’s heads.

Formatting from my original document doesn’t copy/paste over into the wordpress blog, so please be reassured that various emphases and thoughts are actually italicized.

Also, there is a rant against The SA in there because he was reading aloud what I was typing. I don’t like it when he does that. >.>

Chapter 2: The Problem With Authority

“Here goes the Warden again, always with his lectures,” Creme thought grumpily to herself, leaning on her chair in a most casual fashion. The teen, almost full into womanhood, wore a rumpled brown vest with a small white undershirt with no sleeves. It was usually warm enough in Stormwind to go without them. Her pants were also rumpled, a slightly heavier fabric in blue. Sandals were on her feet. Her orange-blond hair was cut short around her ears, the ends of it turning out from her head.The room itself was the same as always; a cramped wood paneled space with a single dirty window to one side. One crappy wooden desk, two crappy wood-back chairs, one wooden door, and one wooden guy.”-And were you not, Miss Stonemason, supposed to be working at The Gilded Rose at this period of time?” came Warden William Wilshire’s sharp question that demanded an answer.”I ‘spose,” she mumbled, disinterested.

“You “‘spose”,” the Warden repeated flatly.

“Yup. ‘Spose I was.”

“And why do you suppose when you should have been there?” he asked with great emphasis.

“‘Cause I didn’t wanna work there, man.”

“Sir,” he corrected.

“Sir,” she repeated, rolling her eyes.

“And because-” he continued, “you did not wish to be working at your honest job, you decided to go stealing?!” The Warden slammed his palms down on his crappy wooden desk, causing it to shake. Creme sat up in her seat; it seemed the Warden meant business this time.

“S’not like I haven’t done it before, Mister Warden Sir,” she said with an innocent feel. The Warden was not amused.

“When they’ve brought you in to me before it was because you were stealing food to share with the orphans. Not jewelry!”

“What’s the big deal?”

“What’s the BIG DEAL?” he roared, jumping out of his seat. Creme leaned away from him in her chair, taken aback. “You ask me what the big DEAL is about this? Here I am, with my young ward, who I have said to the force I will take under my wing and stop her stealing rampage in the city. Here I stand, taking the heat for you and keeping you out of the prisons because she is too young, it’s only food, the orphanage can barely afford to feed and keep their children, she’ll grow out of it. I find you job after job after job, and you get dragged back in here for stealing at your workplace, for stealing even more food than anyone could eat, and now for stealing Light-forsaken JEWELRY!” The last statement was punctuated by another fist against the desk. Creme was speechless.

“You know how much that shit cost, Creme? Do you know how much?”

Creme shook her head.

“Five. Five hundred. Five hundred gold pieces. FIVE. HUNDRED. That’s more than I make in a year. More than you’ll likely see in your life.”

“Not if I had gotten away,” Creme muttered.

Warden William shot her a glare. “Funny thing about running away from the scene of a crime. It’s a lot easier if you don’t leave a TRAIL OF FIRE!”

“Well I didn’t mean to set the house on fire.”

“Of course you didn’t mean to. You never mean to. And yet things around you just keep catching on fire. And have you been going to your lessons?”

“A few of-”

“Not enough of them, apparently. I spoke with your teach, Magister Smith. She hasn’t seen you for weeks.”

“Well I’ve been busy.”

“Busy stealing! Busy getting into trouble! Busy causing trouble for me, for everyone in Stormwind!” The Warden threw up his arms in apparent defeat, falling back into his seat.

They were silent for a moment; the Warden obviously trying to contain his anger, Creme stewing with her own anger and guilt. The Warden was the first to speak again.

“I know you’re not a bad kid, Creme,” he sighed. “I know you’ve had it rough.

<explaination of why he doesn’t like this, why the others want her in Stocks, and what the eventual deal is. She has to go to her mage trainer.>

Your mom, she was a good lady. I said I’d watch out for all you kids from the riots, and I’m doing my best. But your mom wouldn’t want this-”

“Don’t talk to me about what my mom would’ve wanted,” interrupted Creme. She glared at the warden, fists clenched.

He put his hands up defensively. “Fine, fine. I don’t want this for you, Creme. But you’ve pushed it too far this time.” He leaned forward, hands now on the desk in front of him, clenched together. “Do you know how much this latest fire has cost our great city, Creme?”

She avoided his gaze, causing him to repeat himself.

“Do you know how much it cost?”

“I dunno, like fifty gold or something?”

“One thousand. One thousand gold. Twice the cost of the necklace you stole. And on top of your theft charges, you are charged with intentional arson.”

“Intentional?” Creme squawked indignantly. “I told you it was an accident.”

“Shooting fireballs at someone and missing is still intentional harm!”

“I was just trying to light my way to see!”

“Then obviously you need more training!” the Warden spat. They glared at each other again.

“Do you know what happens when someone is charged with theft of this degree and arson?” he asked, calmly again. Creme shook her head.

“You go to the Stocks.”

Creme’s eyes widened in surprise. “The stocks? You – you can’t send me there! I’m not a real criminal!”

“According to the law you are. That’s what most everyone else in the guard wants me to do. Send you to simmer and stew in the Stocks with the rest of the thieves and murders of the kingdom for a few years or more.”

“So you’re just going to abandon me then,” Creme said in a defeated tone.

“That’s what they want me to do. But I’ve talked them down to a final solution. One last chance, Creme,” he said, waving a single finger in her direction. “This will be your last time getting help from me. Any more slip ups with the law and you will be in the Stockades and there will be nothing I can say to keep you out of there. Do you understand?”

Creme nodded, still looking a tad angry. She knew the Warden wasn’t messing around this time. From all their many, many talks in the past, he had never brought up the Stockades as a possibility for her. She had obviously been too young to throw in there in the past; only adult criminals went there. And stealing food was something all the street urchins ended up doing on the streets of Stormwind; it wasn’t too big of a deal. Maybe she did push it too far; it wasn’t the first time she burned something down; maybe that’s what made this a much bigger deal.

“What’s the ‘solution’ then?” she asked.

“A strict probation along with community service,” the Warden said succinctly.

Creme stared at him. “And what does that mean, exactly?”

The Warden sighed. “It means these things. Listen closely. First, you will be assigned a Guardian who will be spending their time with you. All of their time.”

Creme rolled her eyes with a disgusted sigh. “It’s not you, is it?”

“No, it is not. I’ve arranged for an experienced Paladin to be your guardian. She will be performing acts of service along side you.”

“She in trouble too?”

“No, she is not. Turns out some folks like to help people out just because they are kind. Fancy that. She gets to help out you AND others at the same time. At any rate, you and your Guardian will be linked so that you may not run away from her, so she can keep tabs on you.”

“Linked?” Creme asked, puzzled.

“Yes, through a spell some mages whipped up from us. I guess if you actually went to your classes you would know about things like this. Let’s see, I have it here somewhere…” The Warden rummaged around in one of the drawers of his desk and pulled out a thin blue necklace. It looks like a simple string, except it had a metallic hint to it and a small clasp at one end.

“Put this on,” he said, waving the necklace at her. She grabbed it suspiciously and played with it in her hands.

“Do I have to?”

“Unless you would rather like a trip to the Stocks, yes.”

Creme frowned, but complied. She fiddled with the clasp to undo it and slipped it around her neck. She then spent a long time trying to reclasp it around her neck, prompting the Warden to leave his desk. He walked around behind her chair and latched it himself. A light blue glow emitted from the area where the clasp was; it hummed softly too, vibrating slightly on Creme’s neck.

Her hands reached back to try and find the clasp herself as the Warden walked back to his desk. The entire necklace felt smooth, a fact she confirmed as she turned it around.

“What just happened to this?” she asked, puzzled.

“It’s magic. Don’t you know? Or have you not gone to class.”

“Even if I did go to class I wouldn’t be learning about magical objects yet,” Creme replied sharply.

The Warden shrugged. “I’m not too familiar with the details myself. But this will be the object that keeps you near your Guardian. You’ll suffer some very… unpleasant consequences if you’re not near her.”

“But I’m not near her right now. Isn’t this a problem?”

“It hadn’t been attuned to her yet. Right now it’s scheduled to activate if you do not report to your teacher at the usual place by 9:00am tomorrow morning.”

“Oh. That’s kinda early, isn’t it?”

“I guess you will just have to wake with the rest of us then,” the Warden huffed. “Now, onto further rules of your probation. Your Guardian will be with you at all times-”

“You mentioned that already.”

“I was just recapping. Besides her being ever present at your side, you both will have to perform community service. This will be tasks both in and out of the city.”

“You mean I have to leave Stormwind?”

“Yes. You will have to, at some point, leave the city and attend to the Alliance’s needs elsewhere. We have need for skilled mages on the field-”

“But I’m not a skilled mage!” Creme protested. “I can barely handle most of my spells-”

“All the more reason for you to get some hands on practice, especially when it comes to not burning things.”

Creme ignored his quip. “And you expect me to fight for the people who ruined my life? Who killed my mother?” she asked, her voice dropping. She knew better than to exclaim these things loudly in the house of guards.

The Warden frowned with concern. “I understand your feelings on the matter.” His face grew more stern as he continued to speak. “But you must put aside these differences for the time being. Instead of thinking it as aiding Stormwind’s royalty, consider it helping your fellow man. And woman. People out there need your help, not just the city.”

Creme frowned; she wasn’t convinced. “And is that all there is to this strict probation?”

“Ah; you will have to report to Magister Smith for lessons when you are available. Every day at 9:00 am until she or your Guardian sees fit to have you leave, unless you are out of the city on business.”

“Nine in the morning again?” Creme asked. “Can’t you guys pick a better time than that? A time when normal people get up, for example?”

“That is a normal time, Miss Stonemason. I believe that is all the important information you need to know for now. Remember to report to the Mage’s Tower at 9:00 am sharp to see Magister Smith and your Guardian. In the meantime, you are free to go and tidy up your affairs.”

Creme stood and gave a quick bow to the Warden. She headed for the door.

“And Miss Stonemason – if you get into trouble between now and then, I will escort you to the Stocks myself.”

“Understood, Warden,” Creme called out behind her as she stepped through the door… which she slammed for good measure as she marched out of the guard hall.

***

It was early afternoon as Creme wandered the streets of Stormwind aimlessly. The streets were bustling with people running their afternoon errands, businesses still open and doing all sorts of business, no doubt.

“This,” Creme thought to herself, “is probably the worst amount of trouble I’ve ever gotten into. Even worse than the cart crash incident. Or the exploding watermelons. He at least thought that was funny too.”

She ambled down the familiar cobblestones in the Trade District, fiddling with the blue necklace which seemed to now be a permanent fixture to her attire. She couldn’t see it looking down, just feel it. It was definitely too small to slip over her head; she had tried that already to no avail. A nearby store window, while small, let her give it another look. It was just like a shiny string of metal, but it felt soft and very light against her skin. She tilted her chin from side to side. It actually looked like a fancy piece of jewelry, not unlike the jewelry she had tried taking just the other night.

The Warden was right about one thing; it was a pretty stupid idea to steal some jewelry. She didn’t need the money; if she really wanted to she could’ve kept that job at the inn. It was mundane work though. Folding linens, taking orders for ridiculous amounts of food and drink and then serving that food and drink, keeping the fires going, cleaning up disgusting messes. And then there were the accidents; fires becoming too large because she fed them too much magic and it consumed all of the wood in an instant. Burning guests who touched her in the wrong places. Crisping the laundry in an attempt to get it to dry faster. Candles that became melted wax. Sometimes she didn’t even intended to use her magic to do these things; it just came to her. One of her teachers said it was because she had an ‘innate talent for contacted the arcane’, whatever that meant. But apparently she only liked arcane that was on fire. Her teachers had tried working her to learn other spells, but it was a lot harder and seemed like a pain. ‘If you learn other schools, you can control your outbursts’ they had said but that just didn’t seem to be happening.

The store owner started to give her dirty looks for staring at the window for so long. She gave a little wave to her and began to meander again.

“Yup, pretty dumb move for us to go steal something that wasn’t food,” she thought to herself. Her little gang of orphans who she hung out with came up with the idea. Harvey said it would get them enough cash to feed themselves for years without needing to do another thing ever. And why not try it? They had stole food before with marginal success, they reckonned this wouldn’t be much different.

They obviously did not do the needed research. Jewerly stands had guards, sometimes in plainclothes nearby. They had magical alarms. They had city guards watching out for them. If she hadn’t set the cart on fire, the guards would’ve gotten her friends too. It was just an unfortunate accident that the nearby building caught on fire too.

She fiddled with the necklace some more as she walked. “I wonder how much this cost. Mage trinkets are expensive as it is… how did the Warden convince everyone not to just lock me up.” He really did care about her. He meant well. He had always been good to their group. Hell, he was good to all the orphans from the wars, but especially them who had lost their parents during Stormwind’s reconstruction. He had been friends with her mom and her dad, and even Mister Jordan. The Warden really did understand.

<note that she hasn’t seen necklaces like this before, so it might be an original punishment plan. her meanderings eventually bring her to the orphanage>

And she never had heard of anyone getting a punishment like this before. What kind of cop let their criminal go after a single night in the slammer on apparently strict, magical probation? Not any she had heard about before. She had been expecting some time in the slammer or something else unpleasant; the building did burn down and all, even if they recovered all the things they had taken. There were usually consequences for burning things.

Not that she was complaining about not being dragged down to the Stocks. The Stockades were a nasty place; once you went in, you pretty much never went out. A few of her gang still had parents down there ’cause of their involvement with with Defias. The place was guarded up the wazoo, and she did not doubt that it would be a rough place for a woman to be.

“But a mage made necklace? He couldn’t’ve just through of that in one night. Maybe he was preparing for it. As if he expected this from me.” Creme kicked a nearby pebble. She had let the Warden down, it was obvious. But it didn’t bother her none. He didn’t control her life. She did. So what he got her a special necklace that would apparently try to keep her out of trouble and did so specially for her to keep her from ending up in jail? He probably did that for all the orphan kids anyway.

<tangent>

She made her way over to The SA to kill him because he was reading what was written. Slowly she crept behind him, sharpening her knife on her whetstone that she carried for just such occasions as this. (Aka for MURDER). She made nary a sound as she slunk across the living room, footsteps muffled by the thick carpet. Soon she was at the futon, knife at the ready. Her victim was unsuspecting, as he kept reading the words. AND THEN SHE STABBED HIM AND KILLED HIM. AND THERE WAS NO ICE CREAM.

</tangent>

She made her way over one of the many canals in Stormwind, stopping at the top of the bridge to look down at the water. It was barely murky; she could see to the bottom. They said there was a team of mages who’s job it was to purify the water in the city so people could drink from it whenever they wanted. It always seemed clean enough to she and her friends did, but there were those who would still snub it. They were probably right to do so, given the number of drunkards who would pee in it each night. But it was good enough for a drink or a swim when you were board, as long as you avoided the fishers or the heavily trafficked canal channels, where the merchant goods would come into the city from the port to be loaded into carts to be taken around the city. /longsentence.

There was her reflection again, clear in the oddly still waters. Creme tried tucking a wayward hair away behind her ear but it just popped out again, like it always did. Nightingale always did say her hair would look lovely if she grew it out, that it would be nice and wavy, but her Mom had always like her with short hair, so she left it short.

“Still as stubborn as ever, Mom.” she thought wistfully before moving on to wander the city streets.

Evening had fallen by the time her feet had carried her to a familiar location; Stormwind’s Cathedral. It had just started to toll it’s bells for the hour. Creme counted them to herself; one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Reliable as always those bells. Loud, filling nearly every crook and cranny of the city until ten o’clock, where they stopped chiming for the sake of the sleeping populace, only to start again at 6 the next morning. Every hour, on the hour. There were a few other bells for special occasions, but there was only the one big one that rang for the time.

It was familiar, like everything else in the city. Creme remembered the times she fell asleep to the gentle peals of the bells at night, or the elated feeling she held when they would go off for the last time in the evening while she was still awake, even though she wasn’t supposed to be. That feeling never left even as she got older, and left her home in Stormwind’s orphanage to go off to better ‘opportunities’ that would ‘further her in the world’ but only left her feeling dissatisfied.

Maybe that’s why she was back here, at the Cathedral. The orphanage was not far from the Church’s tall spires, it’s ever present gaze upon them. It still was one of the best maintained buildings in the city, though it’s white stones did not gleam as bright as they did when new, Creme thought. But even the resentful workers who stayed in their city would pay their respects to those who followed the Light, who healed and guided them, and would provide repairs to the stone and woodwork of the church.

Creme stopped standing around in the square and headed to the east, to where the orphanage sat in less glory than the church, though for many like her it was not that much less important. It was what had saved them from starving on the streets, from becoming another casualty to ‘war’, as it were. Everything was due to the wars. Men and women were needed to fight – never mind the children they left behind.

She approached the doors to the Orphanage cautiously. Creme technically didn’t live there anymore. She was supposed to be living at the Inn, where she had been employed. Well, they pretty much had fired her, or if they hadn’t fired her they weren’t expecting her back. None of her belongings were there anyway; she kept most of her non-essentials at the Mage school. Things like the few extra clothes she had (and the ones provided by the mage school itself; no way was she going to wear a freakin’ robe if she didn’t have to), that silly mage staff they insisted that she use. Important things she left at her group’s hideout… which was, ironically, in the back of the orphanage.

Nightingale knew about it, of course. She knew about everything they did. Creme still maintained that the lady had eyes on the back of her head, to keep track of so many kids like she did without too much help. Or maybe she was a mage type too, leaving little spells and things around to alert her when a kid was about to do something bad.

But she let them stay in the dusty old back basement, a room from the Stormwind that had been here before the new one. They had built right on top of some places, leaving spooky rooms beneath. That’s where the older orphens stayed, when they could not find steady employment or someone to marry (as if that was ever an option she would consider, even IF she had a sweetheart who was in a position to ‘provide’ for her) once the state stopped caring for them at sixteen.

Sixteen was the magic number after all, where they could stop being considered children and start being considered adults on the records. No one cared if some adult was found dead in the street.

And while she legally could not provide them the food, the room was one never intended to be used by the orphanage at all. In fact, Creme was pretty sure that it moved over some as you wandered down the rickity stairs and the small tunnel, so their little underground room was actually underneath some shop on the other side of the street. So Nightingale let them stay there, as long as they didn’t get into trouble.

Which was exactly what Creme was in. Nightingale usually didn’t like a fresh jailbird hanging around the property. She always knew when you got into trouble too. Her and the guards were in cahoots. ‘It’s in your best interest,’ she would say, before giving you the spanking of a lifetime. Creme’s behind ached just thinking about it.

“Ah, but the seven bell just went out. That means it’s bedtime for the little ones, and dinner time for everyone else. She should be plenty busy. Busy enough for me to slip right in.”

With those comforting thoughts, Creme quietly crept into the Orphanage’s front door. Her feet carefully set themselves upon certain wood boards of the flooring; years of practice told her which ones would squeak and which ones would not. Creme’s awkward gait lead her down the one of the hallways that circled the central common area, where the kitchen, dining hall, and learning area were. She could hear the sounds of the older kids chowing down. From the smell of it, it was some fresh cooked bread and … fish? So a fancy meal!

Her nose betrayed her, as it alerted her stomach as to how hungry she was, exactly. She hadn’t eaten since the morning guardhouse meal of oatmeal, with no honey or any other frills (obviously, since it was jail food). It growled loudly, just as she was crossing a door frame to get to the other side.

A few more observant eyes saw her small dash, eliciting giggles from those near the door. And one pair of those eyes Matron Nightingale.

Creme knew she was caught but kept going, just in case Nightingale was feeling lenient.

“Creme Stonemason! What a delightful surprise to have you here this evening! I wasn’t expecting you!” the Matron called out from the dining hall with a fake cheerful voice she saved for when her children got in trouble (or when she was pretending to be quite pleased at the fact the Orphanage was getting even less money from the Crown than usual and would therefore have to pull lots of strings to get all of her children fed, a task she looked forward to with GREAT cheer, it’s no trouble at ALL.)

There was no escaping getting called out in front of everyone. It was much worse if you ran, she knew from experience. Nightingale was much faster than you would think for someone so old. Creme slowly shuffled to the doorway, leaning against it casually as if that was her plan all along.

“Oh. Hey, Miss N. Thought I’d just drop by for a bit…” Creme began, hoping that she could just slink off somewhere – anywhere – else real soon.

The Matron’s eyebrow raised slightly at being called Miss N. Creme knew that she wasn’t fond of that nickname, but most everyone around there who knew her well enough could call her that without fear of retribution.

“I’m so glad you could find the time to visit!” exclaimed the Matron, bubbling with an eery pleasantness. She moved over to the doorway from her position at the head table, where it looked like she was about to enjoy her meal. The rest of the dining room, satisfied that the Matron was about to chew out Creme as she always did, settled into their food with gusto. The fishy smell from earlier turned out to be some sort of chowder.

Matron Nightingale quickly appraised Creme, looking her from head to toe. “Why, is that a new necklace?” she pleasantly hummed.

“She never misses a damn thing,” Creme thought to herself sourly. “Oh, this? It was uh… just a gift. Got it just today.”

“Is that so.”

“Oh, yeah. Totally. Probably could get you one if you’d like it,” continued Creme nonchalantly.

“I don’t think I’d be in the market for something as… interesting as that,” the Matron demurred. “Strange that such a gift given to you would be blue; anyone who would give you such a nice trinket would, or should, know that you do enjoy red. It would look much nicer with your outfit at your employment or one of those nice robes they made for you for your lessons.”

“Oh for Light’s sake, she knows everything I did. Did Harvey tell? Probably had his ass covered with soot, no doubt. No guessing on her part where that came from.” Creme had always been one of Nightingale’s more challenging charges. Not too many others had a tendency to light stuff on fire all of the time.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” was what Creme said out loud. “I think blue is a very nice color.”

“Is that so…” the Matron mused again, starting at Creme long enough for the teen to break eye contact.

“At any rate,” Nightingale continued, “since you are here for the evening, it would be ever so helpful if you could volunteer some of your time for the children. There’s a set waiting for a bedtime story that would be so very excited to hear you read to them.”

Ah, the Matron had taken pity on poor old Creme. She had probably heard about the incident the night prior and the punishment thereafter. If Nightingale wanted her only to help out for the evening, she would with gusto, for Nightingale would not force her to leave after getting in trouble if she had helped in the evening. She would not be sleeping out on the streets tonight!

“Yeah, I can go read some stories,” Creme said. She turned to head down the hallway where the little ones slept.

“And if you could help with the dishes, it would be most kind,” Nightingale added.

Creme turned, walking down the hallways backward. “Yeah, I can help with that too.”

“And there’s some laundry to be done.”

“Okay,” Creme replied, scooting back faster.

“And if you could wipe off the tables and stoke the fire and-”

“Gotta read the stories now! Bye!” shouted Creme as she escaped into the younger children’s room. “Maybe I didn’t get off so easy after all!”

[Raw Draft] NaNoWriMo 2011 – Prologue

11 Nov

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again this year and I thought I’d share my progress with you.

This year’s story, as yet untitled, is about my two World of Warcraft Alliance characters I made some time ago, Creme and Brulee. (I’m ignoring the accent marks while writing for now, so I can actually type their names). It is (in theory) about their past, and how they eventually become fast friends after a rough start (as mentioned in the previous NaNoWriMo post). There’s probably some adventuring in there, too.

Since I’m barely finding time to get my word count in during the month yet wish to keep posting content here, I’m posting the raw draft, one chapter at a time. It’s exactly what I wrote for NaNo, no editing whatsoever (aka it’s proof of why I usually edit my work before posting). I’ll keep labeling raw draft posts clearly (as seen above), since I don’t expect you to actually read it (and to let you know that I know it needs to be reworked). In addition, I’ll post a synopsis of what happens in that chapter so you can keep up with the plot without having to muddle through all those pesky words!

A human mage with short orange hair in a brown dress.

Creme - A human mage who becomes an orphan in just the first section! D:

The first ‘chapter’ is called the Prologue (which means it isn’t actually a ‘chapter’ but whatever). It takes place back in the day when Stormwind had just finished being rebuilt (which I say happened in Year 20. Nothing seems to be entirely clear on that). Creme is a young girl, around 5 or so, and her mother, Elise, is taking her to Stormwind to the planned celebration/collection of payment for the workers (Elise is collecting her late-husband’s wages). However, things end up badly when the workers learn there is no payment and riots begin. Elise is killed in these riots, leading off to a very depressing start.

Things to change: I’m horrible at starting stories; this whole section may not be needed at all, depending on where the end plot actually goes. Creme’s history could definitely be worked in elsewhere. I also would start the story with the two of them waking up at home, not with the riots, because that way more backstory can be added. I also would need to work on how close the narrator stays to either character (having the narrator view things from Creme’s perspective as a young child is hard). Also, I’m pretty sure I messed up completely at one point and just rewrote a paragraph without deleting the previous one. That happens sometimes, I’m sure you’ll forgive me.

Prologue

“Run, Creme!” her mother shouted, and so she did. It apparently wasn’t fast enough, as her mom soon stopped pulling her by the arm and scooped her up against her chest. Not a moment too soon – a broken bottle shattered upon teh ground where she used to be.

Chaos was all around them. All Creme could hear was shouts of anger, panicky screams. The cobblestones of Stormwind bounced in her vision and her mother continued to fight through the running throngs.

Creme didn’t understand why everyone was so angry, or why they were now dodging stampedes of people and flying rocks. Today was supposed to be a happy day, the day they went to the city because of daddy.

Just that morning, Creme woke up to the smell of bread being cooked. She had gotten out of bed she shared with her mother, though her mom had already gotten up, just like she always did to make breakfast in the morning to go to work. But it was today that they were going to go do the special thing. At least she thought it was today.

“Is t’day the day, mama?” she asked while entering the other room of their home. Her mother, Elise, was at the wood stove, warming some toast for breakfast.

“Today’s the day!” Elise responded happily, giving her daughter a glance before returning her attention to breakfast. “We’re going to the city!”

Creme giggled and jumped up and down. She loved going to the city. It took FOREVER to walk each way (her mom claimed it was merely an hour but it was soooo long) but there were so many buildings and people there! Her mom even said that her dad – Light bless his soul – had been helping to build the city again.

“We get to see it all done, right?” Creme asked. She had patted down her short hair and pulled up a chair to their table, all ready for breakfast.

“Yup. They’ve finished building everything. Now we can go look at it and go collect dada’s reward for helping.”

Creme nodded, happily. Her mama had told her all about dada, since the other kids would sometimes tease her because he wasn’t there. But mama had told her all about how he was one of the loyal workers building the new Stormwind, and that he had died while on the job. But Mister Jordan had made sure mama had a little set by so they could live on it, even though mama still needed to get a job. And Mister Jordan said that mama could collect his wages once all the work was done, with the other workers and their families.

“Food’s ready!” Elise chimed. The toast she had cooked was flipped onto a couple of plates, along with a slice of cheese and an apple. Creme knew it was a special day if they were having cheese AND apples with breakfast Her eyes lit up with excitement.

“Eat up,” her mom said with a wink, setting the plate in front of her. “We’re in for a long walk so you’ll need your strength.”

Creme needed no encouragement. She aimed to start eating the toast right away but it was too hot; she settled for the cheese instead.

“What will you be wearing today?” Elise asked her daughter.

“I dunno which one,” Creme said with a full mouth. “Da wed one o’ da-” She swallowed “- the white n’ blue one.”

“Blue is always a good choice. It does match Stormwind’s seal.”

“But red is my favoritest color ever!”

“Then you should wear that dress then.”

“But you just said that the blue matched so maybe I should wear the blue one instead so I can match too.”

“But if you like red…”

“No! I wanna match!”

“The red does match your hair, darlin’.” Elise reached over and tossled her daughter’s strawberry-blong hair.

Creme wiggled under her mother’s hand. “No mama, my hair isn’t red at all! It’s too light to be red!” She batted the offending hand away.

“If you say so,” Elise responded in a sing-song tone, amused at her child’s indignant nature. “Now finish eating up – we have a long day ahead of us.”

***

A few hours later – possibly due to a few last minute wardrobe changes that left Creme wearing a rumpled blue and white checkered dress – the pair had finally reached the gates of Stormwind. Creme slowed as they approached, mouth agape as she took in the sight.

And what a sight it was. The white stone of them main gate seemed to glisten in the morning sun, reflecting back at them. It stretched tall, taller than anything Creme had seen before, even the Abbey where they would sometimes go and Creme had thought that was super tall.

Giant chains, metal black and dull, held up a massive drawbridge, made of a deep, dark, thickly-planked wood, with nary a gap in between each plank. All ready in the morning there was heavy foot and cart traffic, with merchants coming into town with their wares.

“It’s amazing, isn’t it?” Elise said quietly to her daughter. Creme could only nod.

“Come on, love, we best be moving. There’s a lot of people coming into town today for the celebration, and I don’t want you to miss to much.”

Creme grinned and nodded yet again before grabbing her mother’s hand to run off though the gates into Stormwind City.

She slowed down some once they were in the gate, walking over the main bridge over a lake to get into the city proper. Huge statues, even taller than the gate, stood on both sides of the path.

“Who’re these people, mama?” she asked, slowing down to stare at them. They were wearing armor and wielding various weapons; sword and shields, bows and arrows. One of them looked like a mage with a staff.

“They’re great heroes, Creme.”

“Why’re they heroes?”

“They went to go stop the Orcs, where the Orcs came from.”

Creme gave a little nod, eyes wide. Her mom had told her about Orcs before. Long before she was born, her mom used to live in Stormwind but then the Orcs had come from the south with a great army. It was too big for the humans to stop them and they destroyed all the towns and cities they came across, including the biggest city, the capital of Stormwind. Her mom and her family had to run away, way up North to the kingdom of Loderan. A lot of people from the Southern kingdoms had to go there to avoid the Orcs, her mom had said. That’s where she had met dad. And when all the humans worked together to build an new army, they beat the Orc horde. That’s when they went to rebuild Stormwind, and her mom and dad also came down to help build the city.

Her mom had mentioned that the Orcs had come through a magic portal that led to their world. To stop them from ever going back for more Orcs, the human army sent some of their people to go stop the Orcish horde. The portal had been closed, but that army was never heard from again.

“So they went into the portal?” Creme asked, staring at the statues again. “Did they fit? They are big.”

“They were our size, love. They just wanted to honor them for their noble sacrifice for the rest of us, so we could build this city in peace.”

“Oh.” was Creme’s reply. She was hoping that they were actually giants. That would be way cooler.

Hands still tightly gripped, so Creme could drag her mother around at her will (or more likely, her mother would not lose her daughter in the crowds) they wandered. Vendors were selling various food; cheeses, fruits, pickles, hot sausages, cold sausages, meat pies, pastries. It was a great festival today, and there was much cause for it; the unveiling of the Keep, the last building to be completed in Stormwind was that day, calling the city officially rebuilt. And for the workers, it would be the long awaited day that they would receive their pay.

Creme, wandering from vendor to vendor, entranced by the smells and colors, finally managed to get her mom to buy her a few things. A small doll, who was also wearing a blue vest. Some roasted chestnuts, because lunch was still a little ways off and they still needed to tour the city together before heading over the the Keep with the rest of the crowds, for the unvieling after lunch.

They spent their lunch together in the Park, a beautiful area, full of green. Elise had to remind her daughter several times not to stare so at the Night Elves.

“They’re our allies, love; you shouldn’t stare. No wait, Night Elves wouldn’t here yet, so stop imagining things and eat your lunch!”

So actually…

They spent their lunch together in the Park, a beautiful area, full of greenery and flowers. A large number of people were eating there, sitting in the grass or on nearby benches, making small-talk over the sounds of birds. Laughter and music filtered out from the door of a pub across the way. Bees buzzed around as they ate their sausages on the grass, dripping with grease and generally making a mess of things, such as dresses and dolls who got in the drip line.

Elise wiped Creme’s mouth with the corner of her apron once the girl had finished eating. Creme squirmed some; she was sure her mouth was just fine!

“Are you ready to go to main event?” Elise asked.

“Yes! Let’s go!” Creme hastily stood up and started to run off, but Elise caught her arm and managed to tag along on their way to the Keep.

There was quite the crowd there. A few people were wearing fancy clothing; probably some of the lesser nobles. The Lords and Ladies of the Stormwind people remained on the upper levels of the Keep, in their own party. They were a small number compared to the partiers down below. And the commoners of Stormwind certainly knew how to throw a celebration. Kegs lined the canal streets up to the keep itself, with throngs of people laughing and dancing.

Most of the people there in the streets before the Keep appeared to be an average citizen of the newly rebuilt Stormwind. Tradesmen and women who would sell their goods, or people who provided food and drink to the workers, room and board to the travelers from afar. Indeed, nothing seemed to out of the ordinary except for the fact that a good portion of the people there wore red ribbons. On their arms, in their hair, around their head; this was the mark of the workers, the members of the Stonesomething guild who had crafted and shaped much of Stormwind to make it even more glorious than it was in the past. Today was as much their celebration of triumph as it was the people of the Stormwind’s kingdom all together.

The mother and daughter danced and feasted with the rest of the assembled, until from up high came the time for the unveiling of the new Stormwind Keep. A hush drew over the crowed as the stirring speech ((that I am far too lazy to write right now because, come on, speeches are pretty boring like most of the start of this)) from the king (( regent? Who is in charge of Stormwind right now? )) himself. There was much applause and cheering from the speech.

The cloth covering the last of the structures was torn down, revealing the glisetening stone beneath, freshly polished just earlier that week. Blue stone tiles lay across the tops of the keep’s towers and structures, a deep blue that represented their own colors.

But then the King left the dias upon which he spoke, and the cheering of the crowd lessened slightly. After all, they workers were expecting an announcement of their pay, and at least some of it to be distributed later in the day. Is that not what this celebration was partly about?

The Stonesomething guild leader, Van Cleef, was one of those who were up with the rest on the Keep. Down below they could see him move up, to address the king. He was intercepted by several other of the lords at the party. Words were exchanged, unpleasant ones. Words that caused Van Cleef to storm off to the edge of the Keep, to address the crowd himself.

“Brothers and sisters – we have been lied to! Cheated! These noblemen and women-” he spat the words out, with as much spitting of words one could do while shouting- “do not wish to pay us for our services!” There was a pause here as the crowd began to murmur, surprised. Above the nobles bustled, unsure if they should stop Van Cleef from speaking.

Van Cleef continued. “They claim that we have done this out of the goodness of our hearts and the love of this kingdom. And while we love our kingdom and it’s people, did they ask us to starve ourselves and our families for years to build them this, this palace?!”

Angry shouts of agreement started.

“And did they not show through their actions, implied through their words that they would take care of us? Take care of their people? Pay for the blood, the sweat, yea, even the very lives that have been lost here?”

The crowd shouted in agreement, focused on Van Cleef’s words. The nobles had apparently decided to take action; guards were starting to swarm the upper platform towards Van Cleef’s position, and around the gathered crowd below. The king was nowhere to be seen, taken away to the safety of his new home.

“We do not ask for much,” Van Cleef continued. “Just enough to feed our families, to take care of our loved ones who saw so little of us while we labored – no, SLAVED away for our dear King and his lords and ladies. If they would just take care of this by paying us the money we deserve-”

“We promised no gold!” interrupted one of the Lords. “We said nothing of the sort, that you would receive compensation for your labors. Was it not clear that we believed you did this out of love for you country? Was it not clear that our pockets could never afford to pay for the labor of so many?”

Van Cleef barked out a laugh. “That you,” he said, making a wide, sweeping gesture, “you who live in opulence and do not even realize the plights of your so-called people cannot ‘afford’ to pay for your own city and living quarters? Do not make me laugh.”

“You have little understanding of the situation, sir!” was the Lord’s sharp reply. “What we have to support with our finances is much more than you could ever fathom!”

“Little understanding? You think I do not understand that you wish to keep the money sent from our sister country Loderan for yourselves? You do not wish to use it to pay your workers for the rebuilding work already done?”

Van Cleef opened his mouth to continue, but was knocked down by a blow to the head. He crumpled out of site behind the parapet’s wall.

The crowd, who at this point had been listening intently in various stages of disbelief and anger, exploded into action. Outraged cries filled the air at seeing their leader knocked down, presumably killed. Many began to pick up loose rocks and pebbles or otherwise arm themselves.

The guards, who had been passively surrounding the crowd, now surged forward in reaction toe the violence. Soon much of the crowd, the workers, began to fight them.

Above, the guards seized Van Cleef and dragged him away as the nobles themselves who had not already removed themselves from the area quickly ran to the inner sanctum of the Keep, who’s sturdy walls would protect them.

Of course, not all of the crowd was attacking the armed guards; many who were not vested in the interests of the Stonesomething guild – and even some who were – were trying to get out of the area. It was harder said than done. Guards wer trying to arrest as many citizens as they could. Apparently some arrest wagons had been pulled around during the speeches, where the unruly were being detained.

As soon as the fighting started, Elise grabbed her daughter to her chest and started to run with the crowd. They were jostled by many, and had to keep dodging minor fights and stampedes of others trying to flee.

They had run far enough that Elise could see a gap, an alley where the streets were clearer, even as the fighting raged all around them. Elise mad eher way towards it, but before she could get there a club hit her upon the head, seemingly out of nowhere. She fell limp to the ground, dropping Creme, stunning the girl.

Feet raced about her head as she struggled to sit up, to wake up her mother so they could keep going. But her mother wasn’t moving at all. The last thing she remembered seeing before a foot slammed into her head was her mother’s still face, covered with blood.

/depressing