Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Together for Winter Veil


Florinn the draenei slowly opened his glowing blue eyes while he felt warm water droplets hit his ear while the scent of smelled wet hair and rabbit meat filled his nose. When he saw his gray-haired wolf Lanseril, inches away from his face, he rolled out of bed and wiped the wolf's saliva off of his ear.

"Thank you for the greeting old friend," the draenei said in his deep voice. He quickly tossed the covers, then put on his leather pants and white shirt. "Merry Winter veil to you too."

Smiling, Florinn walked into the living room, finding his young roommate Kelevmor Van Cleef at his oak desk next to their decorated Winter veil tree, bent over what appeared to be a long piece of parchment. "I thought you were going to spend the morning at the office before you left for Ironforge"

Kelevmor who worked as a reporter for the Gadgetzhan Times, scratched his head of gray hair which he had shortened to ear length just two days before. "I just had to proofread these two articles before I turn them in."

Florinn walked over and glanced at the two stories. He knew of the profile piece Kelevmor had written about a fighting group of female warriors who had opened a gladiator circle in Shattrath City. Seeing another piece of parchment underneath the one he was looking at, he asked "What is this other story about?" He saw the title at the top that read. "Nefarian returns to Azeroth? You are actually writing about that encounter we had with him and those orcs in Blackrock Spire when you covered the group I was with while we were rescuing Metzen?"

The reporter smiled up at his roommate. "Nefarius has thought to be dead for some time and his return is big news. I did write some details about the rest of us fighting, specifically your little scuffle with Rend Blackhand."

The draenei looked at the article, noting how Kelevmor had referred to himself as 'the reporter' while referring to the others by name. His eyes read over one paragraph, then looked at Kelevmor. "You wrote that I lost control in my fight with Blackhand and you actually quoted some of the derogatory words he said about me and the draenei."

The human shrugged his shoulders. "They are in orcish tongue, and you hearing them got you upset about that, causing you to go into a rage." Kelevmor grabbed the article then walked over to a window, that overlooked Shattrath's Lower City streets that were sparsely covered in snow. He watched a small human boy building a snowman with an orc girl and said," I was going to edit out those comments."

The draenei shrugged his shoulders. "Do what you will. I also see that Aleese's name is on the byline."

Kelevmor smiled at the mention of Aleese Silvermantle, a purple haired night elf, who held the position of Managing Editor of the Gadgetzhan Times. "She was about to get some conformation about Nefarius' return. I was also able to have one of the Knights sketch a picture of you fighting Blackhand."

"I will have to see the issue when it comes out," Florinn commented as he walked over to Kelevmor. "I take it Taffy will be ready for our arrival."

The human nodded and grabbed the Fighter article. "Yes she will. She stressed to me that your little friend Dornaa will be sleeping in her room while us 'men', as she puts it, will sleep in her living room. Are you going to meet her at the Exodar and then bring her Ironforge?"

Florinn watched him walk over to the fireplace and grab the letter Dornaa had written, which was sitting on the mantle. "I am excited to meet this little friend of yours. She sounds adoreable."

"She is," the draenei commented in a soft voice. His thoughts went back two Summers before, where he had met Dornaa at the orphanage just down the street. From there, they visited different ruins on both Outland and Azeroth, met new friends, and even stood face to face with ancient dragons. In the end he had taken her to the draenei city of the Exodar where she had discovered her shaman abilities.

"Not too long after we parted, Dornaa left for the Exodar where she currently stays with the Farseer Nobundo," added Florinn. "Perhaps while I get her, you can ask Aleese if she would like to come to Ironforge. After all, you two were both very tender at office party you invited me to."

Kelevmor blushed and shook his head. "You know you are perhaps the eighth person that has told me this-"

"And everyone cheered, until Aleese vomited in the punch bowl," the draenei finished with a laugh as Lanseril came to join them. "No worries Kelevmor, everyone knows it was because of her allergic reaction to Mikel's undercooked roast."

Kelevmor walked over to the coat rack, grabbing his cloak and brown fedora. "Well I am off. I will meet you in Ironforge."

Florinn nodded. "I will see you there my friend. Give my love to Aleese for me."

The reporter responded to his roommate's jest with a slam of the door. Florinn scratched Lanseril's ears and asked. "Well my friend, are you ready for a trip to the Exodar."


Florinn and Lanseril arrived at the Exodar through the one of the portals located in Shattrath City's center. The city's crystalline and cracked stone walls were decorated with Winter Veil wreaths, tinsel, and strings of tiny lights. Draenei of all ages and shades of blue were running through the streets, preparing to travel to visit friends and family who were either scattered across Azeroth, or still living in Draenor.

The draenei hunter and his wolf companion walked through the Crystal Hall, noticing that few shamans were out and about. After going up two very steep ramps, they found themselves standing in front of a young black haired draenei girl, wearing a long sky blue robe.

Before Florinn spoke one word, Lanseril dashed forward and jumped on the girl, licking her face.

The little girl giggled as she gently pushed the wolf away. "It is good to see you too Lanseril." Once the wolf stood down, the girl's glowing blue eyes turned to the wolf's master. "It is good to see you too Florinn."

Florinn smiled and braced himself as Dornaa charged him with the same speed as Lanseril did her, and wrapped her arms tightly around him. "I missed you too Dornaa," the elder draenei said as he felt her hug soften.

"I missed you too," Dornaa said. "I am so glad that Farseer Nobundo allowed me to come visit you for Winter Veil. Let me just go and get my things."

"As am I," Florinn said as he watched Dornaa run into the small house where he guessed Dornaa was staying. Although it had been a little over a year, the hunter noticed little change in the girl. Other than growing a few inches in height and her hair growing to the point where it covered her entire head, Dornaa still looked like the small child he had met at the Lower City orphanage years ago.

Dornaa emerged from the house carrying a simple crooked staff while her brown backpack was slung over her left shoulder. "I am all ready," she said with a big smile on her face.

As the three companions began walking through the Exodar, Dornaa looked at Florinn and asked," How are we getting to Ironforge?"

Florinn bit his lip and admitted, "I had not really thought of that Dornaa. Perhaps we could take the safe route and order a portal to Ironforge."

The girl swayed her head back and forth, which told Florinn that she had other thoughts. "I was thinking we could take a boat to Auberdine and then get take a gryphon ride to Ironforge. Like when we traveled from the Booty Bay to the Caverns of Time."

Florinn glanced down at Lanseril, who looked back at him with a worried look on his face. "I think you should ask Lanseril."

Dornaa scratched the back of the wolf's ears and faced him with her eyes. "Please Lanseril. If I am to be a great shaman, I must be attuned to the elements. And water is an element."

While Lanseril may or may not have understood all of Dornaa's words as she spoke to him, he did understand the pleading look in her eyes, along with the sensation he felt of seeing her for the first time since what seemed like an eternity.

Lanseril let out an enthusiastic bark as they made their way out of the Crystal Hall and into the Seat of the Naaru section of the city. "I think that was a yes," Dornaa remarked as she looked up at Florinn.

The hunter smiled at his pet, silently promising him a feast worth of meats when they reached the dwarven city.


The two draenei and the wolf reached the gates of Ironforge just as the sun was setting. Just like they planned, Florinn, Dornaa, and Lanseril had taken a ship from the port of Valaar's Berth to the port city of Auberdine. From Auberdine, they sailed on a crowded vessel to Stormwind Harbor.

Noticing the way Dornaa was staring at Stormwind's white and blue stone walls, Florinn asked her," I take it you have not been here before?"

The draenei girl shook her head as Lanseril sniffed around a large statue of a lion. "I have seen paintings of it around the Exodar. I hear the king's son is around my age."

Florinn nodded at Dornaa's words. "Anduin was king for a time until his father's recent return."

"I hear they also their Deeprun Tram can take us to Ironforge without flying," she added.

The elder draenei nodded and said," Yes, but we have to reach that through the Dwarven District. Let us get to Ironforge. We must not keep our friends waiting."

With that, the three companions walks through Stormwind Harbor, through Cathedral Square and through the smoky streets of the Dwarven District.

"I have seen dwarves and gnomes bring those machines into the Exodar," Dornaa commented as she, Florinn, and Lanseril entered the Tram's station where they were greeted by a blue haired gnome. The trio quickly boarded one of metal wagons that was suspended up by a cable. "Florinn, how does this work?"

Before the hunter could answer, the wagon shot forward through a tall, but narrow tunnel. Dornaa's eyes lit up in wonder as she stared at the tunnel's steel walls and the sea behind what she guessed was a plate of thick glass. "I think I just a sunken ship," she said as the tram continued smoothly through the tunnel. Seconds later it arrived at a small station similar to the in Stormwind City.

"Florinn, are we in Ironforge?" Dornaa asked as they left the wagon and walked through an opening that was shaped like a giant kog.

"Yes Dornaa we are," the elder draenei responded as they entered the small section of Tinker Town.

"Wow," she said as they walked left, quickly walking through Ironforge's Military Ward and entered the Commons.

As they arrived at Taffy's house, Florinn saw a nervous look cross Dornaa's face. Just as he stepped over to her, the door flew open and out stepped a gnome maiden with short brown hair, donned in wine red robes. Her round eyes looked at both draenei as she said," Florinn, you're here! And this must be Dornaa, it is very lovely to meet you."

Dornaa smiled at the gnome, who was only inches taller than she was. "It is nice to meet you madame."

From inside the house stepped Florinn's roommate Kelevmor. "I'm glad you made it my friend. Taffy just baked cookies if you would like some. I would be careful, they are a little burned."

The gnome scowled at the human as she led Dornaa up the small flight of stairs and into the house. Kelevmor walked down and met his roommate with a smile. "If I didn't know you that well, I would say she was your daughter."

"More like a little sister," Florinn said as he watched Lanseril follow Dornaa and Taffy into the house. "So, were you able to convince Aleese to come?"

The human titled his head. "She will be able to make it tomorrow evening for dinner."

Florinn smiled and patted his roommate's shoulder. "Nicely done my friend."

Kelevmor nodded as he walked up the stairs and into the house, leaving the draenei outside. Florinn looked into the streets, watching everyone line up to see Greatfather Winter.

Just as he was about to get lost in thought, Florinn heard the sound of Lanseril's barking fill the air. When he looked over at the door, Dornaa stood there, her arms crossed. "Florinn, come on. Taffy wants to play games."

Smiling, the hunter walked up the steps to join his family.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


This is a short story I will be submitting to the Wire Harp

It was in the middle of a winter's morning when the ranger Sawyer Jander quietly walked out of his house. He slender, but well toned body was covered in thick wools and leathers that protected him from the cold temperatures and the snow that fell from the sky and blanketed the town of Bellroose. Walking down the path in front of his home, he brushed the dozens of snowflakes that were already forming on top of his head.

Sawyer stared down the road, his green eyes spotting his friend Virgo Cloveer, who was recently appointed a deputy of the law in the small town. Virgo appeared to be scolding a group of gnomes and dwarves who had started a snowball fight. She had her flaming red hair tied up in a bun and wore a shining coat of mail over her wool tunic.

Sawyer’s eyes lit up as his mind conceived a mischievously plot. Picking up a handful of snow, he began moving silently towards his friend, his hands firmly packing the snow into a tight ball.

Sawyer moved to the right, in hopes of avoiding her sight, and when he was close enough, he threw the snowball as hard as fast as he could, then watched as it flew in a straight line and struck the deputy in the back of her head.

Deputy Virgo Cloveer let out a scream as cold trails of melting ice flowed through her clothes and down her back. She drew her magical sword Redcrosse and turned to face the culprit that hit her When she spotted her friend, she sheathed her sword, noticing the grin on his face, but failed to see the small round white object in his hands. "You son of a-" her words were ceased as the ranger had already released another snowball, this one hitting her in the face. Quickly brushing aside the snow, Virgo charged her friend and speared him.

Sawyer let out a grunt as his back struck the ground. He tried lifting his body, but Virgo's strength body mass-her weight combined with the weight of the chain mail armor she wore on her person- kept him pinned to the ground while her hands picked up piles of snow and dirt and shoved it in his face.

"Whose laughing now?" Virgo said as she stood up and helped her friend to his feet.

As the tingling sensation covered his face, Sawyer shook her head. "I'd...I wasn't laughing. Sometimes I forget how strong you are."

"So do some of the fools down at Turpsy‘s Tavern," the deputy said with a smile. "Are we still planning to light the Yule Log together tonight?"

"I was on my way to get the log right now," Sawyer answered as he and Virgo began walking down the road. For a moment, his thoughts turned to his friends. Virgo’s brother Val and their friend Roland were in Shyremire, visiting Roland’s mother Lorlei. Both Virgo and Sawyer had been invited to go along with Roxi and Timber, but Virgo was busy with her duties as deputy while Sawyer was busy with his duties cooking at the Fillfar Inn down the street from his house.

"Remember, Laura would like up to stop by the Inn tomorrow morning," Virgo broke in, turning the ranger away from his thoughts and back to reality. Sawyer turned the blond haired woman, about to say something, when the cries of "Thief!" echoed from at the end of the block.

"Duty calls," Virgo said, shaking her head. "I will see you tonight." After giving her friend a kiss on the cheek, the deputy walked away.

The ranger felt a warmth in the place on his cheek that had just been touched by the lips of a woman. Smiling once more, he continued to walk, his mind now on the task at hand.

* * * *

For the remainder of the morning and the early part of the afternoon, Sawyer continued down an invisible trail that had led him the base of Violet Hill. His eyes searched all directions, seeing several trees and bushes in every direction. He found the midsection of large oak tree, much of it already cut into pieces.

Grabbing a large log that was smoothly cut, the ranger felt a little heartbroken. As a man who spent much of his time in the forest, Sawyer was attuned to many of the trees that grew around the town. Yet he knew that the parts of this tree that had been harvested, would be used by the townsfolk to light their Yule fires. He also knew that these trees would grow again.

Holding the log in his right arm, Sawyer began walking back to town, when he noticed a trail of bloody paw prints embedded in the snow, heading in the northeastern direction.

Sawyer quietly followed the trail of prints, until he came across the body of a large white wolf. The animal appeared to by laying in its side, breathing heavily from exhaustion.

Sawyer moved quickly and scooped the wolf in his arms, gently tossing it over his left shoulder. A shiver went down the ranger's spine as the wolf let out a whimper that echoed through his eardrums.

"Better get you back to town my friend," Sawyer whispered as he raced home.

* * * *

The stars were shining when Sawyer had arrived back at his house. Wasting no time, he placed the wolf on the small rug in front of the fireplace, then placed the smoothly cut log inside. As he went to his bedroom to get a blanket from his bed, Virgo entered the house, her eyes filled with irritation and relief.

Sawyer looked at Virgo as her eyes found the animal near the fireplace. "I found him after I found our Yule Log," he said as he placed the blanket on top of the wolf's body, who was shaking as the deputy's fingers stroked his fur.

Virgo shook her head as she stood up and grabbed the flint and steel from the ledge on the fireplace. "I take it you were going to start the Lighting early then?" she asked as she struck the flint and steel together, which then caught the log on fire.

"Of course," Sawyer said as he brushed the wolf's smooth white coat. It was then he noticed the animal's black eyes look up at him. The ranger smiled politely at his new friend, then turned his attention back to the fireplace, where the log he had selected from the forest, was now burning brightly and beautifully.

"Good," Virgo said as she sat next to Sawyer. She placed her head on his shoulder as her eyes went back and forth between the white wolf and the burning log. "You know Sawyer, I am starting to wonder if was fate that led you to this beautiful creature. Are you going to keep him?"

The ranger nodded. “I think so. You could take him with you while you’re on duty.

"If a scary wolf doesn‘t keep the criminals of this town under line, I don‘t know what will?" asked Virgo. “So what shall we call our new friend?”

Sawyer thought about it for a moment, then looked into the wolf's eyes. "Dasher," he finally declared in a calm voice. "His name will be Dasher."

Virgo patted Sawyer's arm as she looked back into the fire. "Dasher is a good name."

Sawyer continued to look down into the white wolf's eyes, sensing that the animal agreed with the woman.

The Accident

The first thing I heard when I opened the door was Fleetwood Mac's Rhiannon echoing from the kitchen where I had set my phone to charge. I quickly placed the grocery bags on the dining table, then dashed over to the phone and picked it up. "What's up Billy?"

Forrest we've got a collision down here on Second," Billy answered as the sirens blared in the background. "We've got six dead here. I know it's your day off bro, but I need you down here. They need you here."

I gritted my teeth and suppressed my urge to hang up. "Nancy has the car so it's going to take me ten minutes to get down there/"

My ears picked up the sigh of relief that escaped Billy's lips. "Thanks man. I'll buy you a beer later."

"Don't bother," I said while heading out the door. "Just get me out of there before seven. It's our anniversary."


I arrived at the collision and it was exactly as Billy described it to me before I had hung up.
Three feet away from a fire engine and police car, a red sports car was tipped upside down with the front end smashed up against a street sign. Another car similar in design was caught between a Chevy Silverado and a black Honda jeep that was now sporting a shattered windshield, a result from its passenger flying through it. I looked in front of the jeep and saw a dry red-brown sport where the passenger's blood must have pooled up.

I looked over at the other side of the street, seeing a blue Thunderbird that had been T-boned by another Silverado.

"Thank God you are here," I heard Billy shut as he ran towards me. My eyes looked at his black blazer and mocha colored khakis that were a shade darker than his skin. "Billy Blemmers, is that a new sports car?"

"The wife bought it for me," he replied as he ran his fingers through his curly black hair. "You aren't the only one with plans. I'm playing with the city orchestra this evening."

I was suddenly less mad at Billy. He has a bachelors degree in Music and he is a really good saxophone player. Him playing with the city has always been a dream of his.

"What do you and Nancy have planned for tonight?" he asked as we walk through a think layer of smoke coming from the Jeep's engine. Her name came to my mind. Sylvia Field.

"Just dinner and a movie, nothing to fancy," I said with a smile. We stopped in front of the upside down sports car. When I crouched down, I immediately spotted the body of a small red haired girl wearing a blue softball jersey. Her torso was twisted in the middle so I couldn't see what number she was, or for that matter what team she played for.

"Her team had just won the District Championship," Billy informed me in a soft voice. "They were hit by a drunk driver in a Prius."

I also knew the driver's name. Ryan Lambert, Regional Vice President of a financial company. "Don't worry Billy, someone will break into his house and he'll bite the bullet, literally. Sylvia's family should be around here."

Billy shook his head. "The mother is talking with police but we can't find her baby sister."

"I know where she is," a high pitched voice said from behind the two of us. Billy and I turned to find the little girl standing there, her jersey layered with spots of blood and a rip on her shoulder.

I was somewhat surprised by the girl's calm nature. "Sylvia, do you know where your baby sister is?"

Sylvia nodded, but then noticed her corpse's arm danging from the seat. "I was just in that car..."

"I'm afraid you still are," I answered as I walked over to her. Sylvia stepped back, shocked by the sight of her body. She let out a shiver as a burly police officer passed right through her and continued walking along the crime scene. "That man..."

"He can't see you dear," I said quickly, putting my arm around her. "Only a select few of us, like myself and Mr. Blemmers, the man walking around the scene."

"What is he doing?" she asked.

"He's making sure that the souls of the people who died do not go wandering off," I replied. We watched Billy speak with the young couple who had been in the Thunderbird. I glanced at the word Knights embossed on the lower left part of her jersey. Below it was the number 23.

"What position do you play Sylvia?" I asked her, trying to make it easier on her.

"Catcher," she answered, looking at her mother whose face was covered in tears and scratches.

"Let's see if we can find your baby sister," I said to Sylvia as I led her away.

"But my mother..."

"We will go to her after we find your baby sister," I said quickly, knowing that is must have pained her not to be able to interact with her mother.

We walked about a half a block where we heard the wailing of a baby fill the air.

"That's her," Sylvia said as we followed the sound. We ended up stopping at a bush where a pale skinned blond haired woman in a long silk nightgown, was holding a baby girl in her arms.

"Don't cry little one," the woman said as we approached her. It took me a moment to realize the woman was Jewell. "Forrest, I didn't know you would be here."

I shrugged my shoulders. "Billy called me in." I stretched out my arms as Jewell handed me the baby. "Thank you Jewell."

Jewell told me to say hello to Nancy for her, then walked away, singing a Temptations tune that matched the rhythm of her walking. As we began walking, Sylvia looked up at me and asked," How do you know her?"

"We are colleagues together, as is Mr. Blemmers," I began while bouncing Bethany gently in my arms. When I saw the look on her face, I added," Jewell and I are Grim Reapers. Our duty is to make sure that people who die, their souls don't wander and get lost, but also to make sure that the people who aren't suppose to die, stay alive."

"Is Mr. Blemmers also a Grim Reaper?" she asked.

I shook my head. "Mr. Blemmers has a similar job. He has to escort souls to the after life."

"So if a soul gets lost, then do they become ghosts?" she asked.

Before I could answer, her mother ran towards me, arms stretched out, thanking God she was safe and asking me where I had found her. Pretending to be a police officer, I said one of the officers found her. She thanked me and walked away. I glanced down at Sylvia's face and could tell her she had tried touching her mother, but only passed through.

I bent down and patted her shoulder. "You'll be with them soon, provided you don't decide that you want to go through reincarnation."

I was glad she ignored the last part of that sentence for I think it would have brought on more questions. Instead, she pointed to the gold ring on my right hand. "Are you married?"

"Today is our sixth year anniversary," I said with a prideful smile.

She gave me a surprised stare. "But I thought the Grim Reaper was a skeleton in a black cloak, like on Halloween."

I smiled once again, tempted to make a bad joke about how I left my cloak at home. "Sylvia, some reapers and angels are dead spirits, but sometimes the Boss lets us live a mortal life. I think he does this to teach us to appreciate mortality and to understand what it is like like human beings. Does this make any sense?"

I would never know Sylvia's answer, for Billy had just walked over to us and told Sylvia that it was time for her to move on. I think she had just reached the part of death where she was ready to go. A look of curiosity washed over her face as she gave me a hug, then took Billy by the hand and followed him.

After watching Billy and Sylvia leave, I wandered around the turbulence some more and found no more souls that needed to be escorted.

When the police assured me they had things under control, I headed home, ready to tell Nancy what happened.

Nancy is a Grim Reaper too. She probably would have been here at the scene, but she started her maternity leave a week ago.