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
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.”
“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.
“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.”
“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.