Rose for a Thorn, Part 3

Keelath’s military service is maybe a detour from the main story here, but I thought it important to include, since it establishes his becoming a knight as well as the family’s keeping of coursers.

I also keep the old convention I started in The Second War, calling Keelath’s courser, Rosen, an “it” instead of a “he”. This made it easier to differentiate between several he’s in the original post, though it’s maybe not so needed now. Regardless, Rosen is still very much an uncut stallion, and “it” identifies as so, thank you very much.

Finally, a warning for sex mentioned on the last page. It’s quickly passed over, but I thought I’d best say something.

Author’s Note

He hadn’t made it in time to see her. The thought tormented him, even as he lay in a field of other torments: the cold mud under his elbows, the pain in his wounded sword arm, his fear of the trolls making birdcalls across the valley. His sergeant had allowed them a brief rest before they were to march across the ford at the bottom of the valley, and Keelath’s thoughts had turned, as they always did, to Mirium in the lull.

Tyrric had passed the message for him, of course, and passed back the return message of Mirium’s profound joy and gratitude. His euphoria had not even been dampened when his father had found out the true identity of their charity case. Light’s luck was instead with him, as Keelon told his son how proud he was for his compassion shown to the truly needy regardless of their station.

That luck seemed to have run out now, unfortunately.

The sergeant was calling them to attention, and Keelath raised himself out of the mud with a groan. With just a hand signal, the line began marching down the steep rocky slope.

As they drew closer to the hidden Shadowpine trolls, arrows shot between the branches of the evergreen trees. They pinged off Keelath’s mail harmlessly, though he kept his head down and raised his shield to protect his face. The metal surface was tiring to hold up in that position, and naturally the elven soldiers began to rotate who led the charge across the stony brook and then up the mountain to their enemies, giving each other a rest.

Keelath’s voice was hoarse as he cried his battle chant, and he winced as he used his hurt arm to plunge his sword into the trolls they found, over and over again. They were outnumbered, and Keelath couldn’t afford a rest or slip. As it was, one of the trolls’ spears pierced his defenses and caught him in the throat. His runed armor once again defended him, its wards flaring into light and turning the spear so it only left a scratch, though he had to duck a few seconds later as arrows swarmed after him like moths drawn to a candle at night.

The other soldiers closed around him swiftly, offering their own armored sides to defend him until his mail’s enchantment could recharge. The night went on like that, pushing and pulling back across the slope, and Keelath could barely lift his shield by the end of it, and his sword arm began to ache and sting without his even raising it.

The Shadowpine were finally beaten back to yet another hill, and the sergeant called a rest. Keelath sat down amidst the grumbles of the other men. How long could this go on? they groused. The mountains were endless, and so, too, seemed the forest trolls.

Keelath listened to them, but he didn’t join in the unhappy talk. He felt sorry for them, as they didn’t have what he had to fight for: a beautiful fiance waiting for him at home. Thoughts of Mirium sustained him as he closed his eyes to snatch a swift nap.

Rose for a Thorn, Part 2

We’ve known for a while that Tyrric had once had the hots for Mirium. I was never quite sure how that played out, until now.

As another note, Keelath’s father is unfortunately named Keelon, and I had some difficulty writing it so a reader’s eye wouldn’t skip over it and confuse the two characters. I’m not sure if I managed that, but I like Keelon’s name too much to drop it, especially since it continues the Sunwalker tradition of sharing syllables across generations.

I haven’t yet named the mother.

Author’s Note

The next few days were very busy for Mirium, the usual flurry of packing up the deck and the costumes and Antem’s stage contraptions. In the rush, Tarineth’s headaches — which had kept him from finishing the Hre’lod role, he claimed, though Mirium suspected otherwise — seemed to only get worse, and there was much worrying about how to fill his parts once they moved on from Thalas’talah. It was that thought that finally reminded Mirium of Keelath’s offer, the afternoon before they were due to leave. Continue reading “Rose for a Thorn, Part 2”

Rose for a Thorn, Part 1

This scene has been rolling around in my head for a while now. I particularly like Tyrric’s presentation here.

For references’ sake, this story takes place nearly 3,000 years ago, shortly after the Troll Wars in the World of Warcraft setting. Tyrric and Mirium are maybe 16 or 17 years of age in this scene, while Keelath is approaching his late 20’s. As elves, this means they are all young adults just barely into their maturity, though Keelath has a bit of a gap on the others.

Author’s Note

The moonlight lit the paths leading away from the village square, silvering the hair and hoods of the quel’dorei streaming into it. Its light was overpowered by the lanterns in the square itself however, shining blue and violet, green and gold, from the branches of the trees. Keelath took a sniff of the air, scented with herbs and exotic perfumes and all kinds of food. The Lunar holiday was in full swing.

He had been to the midwinter celebration a few times since their family had moved to Thalas’talah, but his younger brother, Tyrric, had not. Keelath grinned to himself as Tyrric dashed from one vendor to the next, giddy as a boy half his age, and the young quel’dorei didn’t seem to know what to pay the most attention to first: the food, the girls, the drink, the crafts, or all of them at once. It was a haphazard version of the latter he chose, as far as Keelath could tell. He glided along behind his brother, making sure Tyrric didn’t get into any trouble while also sharing the experience with him.

A train of wagons was pulled into the center of the square, though they looked like cheery little houses on wheels more than wagons, painted in reds and greens and yellows. Four of them were pulled into a half-square — two on either side and two forming the back — with their awnings stretched out to create a sheltered space between them. A crowd was forming outside it, waiting with a tense air like they were forming lines for tickets to see an exotic beast. Then someone began to sing, clear and piercingly beautiful.

Tyrric paused in his sampling of a wine older than he was, but Keelath walked around the wagons, craning his neck. On this side, under the awnings, someone had draped curtains, painted and sewn in fanciful colors: a backdrop to a stage. A silver-haired woman stood on a hastily constructed deck, singing older hymns of Elune interspersed with newer songs celebrating the Sun and the quel’dorei’s journey into the Light. This singer was better than many of the priestesses Keelath had heard, though she struggled with some of the pronunciations: not a true believer, or so Keelath took it to mean. She was singing instead for the benefit of her audience, as the dwellers of Thalas’talah were known to be especially devout. Keelath folded his arms and listened appreciatively.

“You know, they’d get more attention if they hired someone younger to take the role,” said Tyrric, suddenly appearing at Keelath’s side with half a pastry in his mouth.

“You’re spitting crumbs all over me,” said Keelath.

“It’s an improvement,” said Tyrric, then seemed to make his best attempt of choking himself by shoving the rest of the pastry in his mouth at once.

Keelath smiled, putting a hand on Tyrric’s back in readiness for having to knock his throat clear, then turned his attention back to the stage. The woman had ended her performance and was taking her bows, and other elves were filing out on stage, preparing it and themselves for a play. It seemed they had taken Tyrric’s advice, as one of them was a young woman, taking the center in a gown that showed off her slenderness without quite being inappropriate.

Then she began to sing, and it was Keelath who needed the help to keep from choking, as his breath caught in his throat.

Child of Light

digital art portrait of Mirum, blood elf paladin, holding Aubraan, her infant son, upfront of a light-filled window

Here is Mirium and her infant son, Aubraan. This image was inspired by my writing a scene in which Aubraan was nomming on Mirium’s pauldron. Someone said I should draw it, so I did!

Getting the color balance on this one correct made me want to pull out my hair. The background started out as blue, then green, and now purple. I also had to over-saturate the characters’ skin tones so they would pop out properly among the rest of the busy picture.

This is one of the first pictures I attempted adding sun glow and reverse shadows to, too. If you see purple shadows on an object instead of a darker shadow of its normal color, that’s the reverse shadow effect.

If the future, I should probably remind myself to smooth out the shading.

Art-Making Streams!

I have finally figured out how to use OBS Studio! Prepare to see more art streams making their way to the Locals and YouTube FoxFireFiction communities in the near future!

For now, have a partial stream of the clean-up phase of the Mirium Sketch (better title to be determined). Fuller-length streams I plan to include on Locals in the future, for the price of $2 a month. You will also get access to an exclusive fans-and-devs community besides just supporting me to continue more work like this. I hope to see you there!

Locals link: https://foxfirefiction.locals.com/post/1139119/lines-clean-up-mirium-sketch

YouTube link: https://youtu.be/lre60dMZxBA

Tyrric’s Madness, Part Five

“So, you don’t love her,” said Keelath, putting his hands on his hips, “but then you love her enough to go and do that to her. The whole manor could have heard you, you know, if the whole manor had been full.”

“Shut up,” snapped Tyrric. Continue reading “Tyrric’s Madness, Part Five”

Tyrric’s Madness, Part Three

When writing for a character who’s very “out of it”, you run the risk of making the writing an indecipherable muddle for the reader, as well. I can’t quite tell with this one.

Author’s Note

Keelath let him up — it had been he whom Tyrric had been grappling with. Alelsa had hurried inside, perhaps to get more medicine, and Tyrric was left outside, alone with his brother and his sister-in-law. It didn’t make him feel any better.

Though the lies he had told them had been lesser than what he’d told Alelsa, the pain he had inflicted wasn’t. Mirium sat beside him and held his hand, but he couldn’t look at her. Continue reading “Tyrric’s Madness, Part Three”

Tyrric’s Madness, Part Two

More and more, as days went by, hunger kept Tyrric from slipping off into that private realm of peace that he maintained somewhere between consciousness and sleep. Instead of day-dreaming of a land far away, where no monster of the Void could ever reach, he found himself dragged back into reality by hunger pains. Continue reading “Tyrric’s Madness, Part Two”

Tyrric’s Madness

Inspired by a roleplay scene, as what was going through Tyrric’s head while the Sunwalker crew discussed how to cure him of his Void corruption. This would take place shortly after Tyrric was rescued from Ny’alotha, the Black City of N’Zoth.

Author’s Note

Alelsa poked him in the ribs. At first he was merely annoyed: he wanted to sleep. Then, as she continued to poke, talked over him, he came more alert. Memories about who and where he was started to coalesce.

The expedition into the Black City had ended poorly. Everything had made sense until then. Now, nothing did, and the danger was — seemed? — constant. Continue reading “Tyrric’s Madness”

A Knight’s Purpose

“Are we just both naive?” asked Keelath, a note of forlornity in his voice.
“I suppose you have to be, to want to keep living,” said Mirium. “When we stop striving for something, for anything at all, we die.”

Yes, I looked it up. Forlornity is indeed a word.

Author’s Note

“Sylvanas was sighted in Ardenweald.”

Mirium looked up slowly at his words. Keelath stood in the doorway. There was something about his stance that in a living man would have suggested having run a marathon. A living man would be panting however, holding onto the doorframe like it was the only thing holding him up. Keelath, being undead, didn’t tire, and he didn’t breathe. Still, she could imagine him gripping the doorframe so tight he would have ripped it from the wall if he took a step forwards. Continue reading “A Knight’s Purpose”