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Ah'Lam Creekwhisper
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 ((The entry opens briefly to pacing footfalls. The sound stops after a few seconds, a faint echo in the small space the recording evidently is being done in, before the speaker begins to fill the gap with curt, spoken Darnassian.))

 

It worked? Is--yes. Good. I'll have to mind not to lose this one if I end up scooping candy into a hollowed out pumpkin again next year. The process of configuring and encrypting these things is--

Anyway.

It is now...December, the fourteenth. Two months after I swore I'd never come within a spell's range of these death magnets again, and yet I've officially procured a room for myself here in the Keep. It really is quite spartan--there is little else but a thin bed and a nightstand, and two of my arm spans fully extended could almost touch the walls on either side simultaneously. 

I suppose that is fine. It is not as though what meager possessions I own are taking up any real amount of space in here as it is, and it seems a bit silly to complain when most of it is dismissed for storage into a small pocket dimension already. Someday I have got to see about replacing the bedding to something more tasteful, though.

 

 ((Pause. The sound of something heavy being set down, rummaging.))

 

I'm not unaccustomed to being at a loss for how to keep myself busy. What I'm less certain with is being at a loss when it is possible something is being expected of me in the meantime, rather than when I am merely passing time between commissions. A fine thing it would be if I were to lose my new status as apprentice not even a week after obtaining it, because it turned out there was some unspoken but common knowledge bit of study or work that I was suppose to be doing in the meantime after figuring out what I intend to focus my studies on.  It wouldn't be the first time my stellar logic has failed to grasp something so stupidly obvious that I've clearly just not tried hard enough to read minds at every second of the day.

Apprentice. I'm still not entirely sure what I was thinking. Aside from the obvious 'I just had it rubbed in my face that I am not the prestigious magister-to-be that I've worked most my life to become and there are things I don't know because one of the wizards I asked to tutor me wanted to prove a point and I exploded two runes by mistake--'

Ugh. That probably answers my question there.

Still. What would Moth--

...Well. With any luck, Mother won't know--ah. Rambling. Stop.

 

 ((Pause.))

 

Moving on. Unrelated.

Nobody's made any meaningful allusions to Mad Azshara yet upon spotting me. That is...heartening. Even if it's bound to come sooner or later. 

Actually, one of the dwarves here. Brienlyn, I believe is her name. She's taken to plying me with various treats and baked goods almost as soon as I showed up to move in. Seems to think I appear sorely underfed or some such. I find no great inclination to disagree with the conclusion. Between her and the apparently open pantry in the mess hall, I've been able to accrue a satisfactory beginning to a personal food stockpile. 

...Just in case.

 

 ((Silence. End recording.))

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January the fourteenth. Evening. Still in the Keep. 

I had assumed I knew all that needed to be known about the situation with One-Eye. People thought she died stuck to a reaver with a blade through her heart, she showed up again months later still "alive" and people believed it was really her and not a dreadlord. I had considered maybe my dispelling had failed somehow and she was just a notably strong illusion, but given that mental checks were apparently performed already I was not particularly inclined to push the subject and draw more ire. I was ready to leave it at that.

((Pause))

I knew so little.

I don't recall if Demon-Blood was with us through the incursion, but that's...probably beside the point. If I had ever observed a connection between himself and One-Eye, I had already forgotten about it until tonight. This was not...a good way to find out.

I don't wish to continue thinking of this. Emotions are uncomfortable enough without having to hear them from other people too. I am not certain I will continue to eavesdrop like this, either, if that is what it takes to avoid getting involved.

((Sigh))

Moving on. Kal'nor Fallah. Only another four pages into Mother's codex, and once again, none of it in any way alludes to this thing's history or construction. You'd think Mother would  have encountered some scrap of information regarding it during her line of work, but maybe she just glossed right past that during one of her fixations with the Crystal of Zin-Malor or some other trinket.

Or maybe she thought it more important to pile on even more layers of secrecy and befuddlement onto this thing and make an already frustrating task just downright insufferable.

I may have to hand this thing off onto LaMonty after all if I hope to make any further, substantial progress with this wretched thing's secrets. I'm no longer certain that it will have anything that will help me to restore this staff, but better to exhaust that possibility first than consider delving back into the Aethenaeum for information. Even then, I'd still much rather take my chances with the Nightborne or the wizards of the Kirin Tor than go back there again. 

...We shall see, I guess. Not much else I can really do about it for now.

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March the Eighteenth. Evening. Wildhammer Keep, still, in spite of my expectations otherwise. It appears five years of age and a hood were sufficient disguise against any suspicious eyes in Darnassus, given that I don't seem to have been recognized or tracked down since the fourteenth. 

Ironic, considering they still had my eleven-year-old likeness and name right there on the corner of the notice board. I don't think it shall be missed--it was half hidden under plenty more current requests, and from the fading I'd say this iteration's been neglected for probably as long as I've been gone. 

 

((Pause))

 

It's so odd to suddenly be Amillaeth again after all this time. I've gotten so used to the Advisor's voicebox butchering my alias into something regarding eels. 

Rambling again. This was not the intention of this recording. 

So, the staff does still carry some latent energy after all. I am still intent on tracking down the rest of the original components, if they are yet salvageable, but should that prove to not be an option then it's good to know that I can still continue to feed magic back into this thing, and simply craft a replacement focus to bring it back to its former power. On the arcanist's suggestion I've fashioned a minimal temporary setting for the interim crystal, if only to begin providing the staff some source of power until it expires or a more suitable reagent is acquired. 

There was a second, just last night, where I thought I received the smallest shock from laying hands on it. I have not been able to recreate the event since--I'm inclined to say it was most likely a fluke, or a trick of wishful imagination. And yet, it still...

Come back to that later. Focus. Winterspring is still looking likely. Less certain hints point to the Felwood or Quel'thalas as possible places to search. It couldn't hurt to have a plan for setting out alone, either. Whether it's a result of Wednesday's nightmare, or the Advisor's commentary, I feel far less in the mood than ever to chance stepping wrong in Sparkles' sight. If I do have to flee, I expect it shall be easier if I can simply make sure not to be in his range in the first place.

 

((A long silence, and then a sigh))

 

By the Light, I hope I'm wrong. Mother was bad enough, I don't need a second one to be afraid of.

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((Speech is notably more halting, sometimes close to inarticulate at points for tired mumbling.))

 

March the twenty-first. Or...twenty-second? I might have missed midnight bell. 

Everything's catching up hard now, so I'll keep this one short before I fall asleep in the middle of transcribing. Or fall onto my shoulder and tear it open again.

Winterspring, with La Monty. Didn't like going back. Shields and wards went alright, but I can't scry without just opening smaller portals. Need to work on that. But he didn't even raise his voice, though. Still...still not used to that. I keep expecting to suddenly be turned into a moth again.

No furbolg this time. Just the one spirit. I'm trying not to be too bothered by its last words--it must have been out of its mind after thousands of years of being dead. And--the, guardian, if that's what it was. Found the tower the staff used to be in, except--like my bag's pocket dimension, but bigger, much bigger. And--failing. Not just physical matter, but even the magic in there, everything was collapsing on itself--nonmatter. Entropy. If we'd--

Don't. Don't think about the void. Just don't. Stop. Enough.

 

((Quiet. A long pause marked with the distant sound of slow, measured breaths. Speech resuming flatly.))

 

...The staff. Recovered some container from its pedestal--followed echoes of the staff's power, there it was. Still sealed, but no more arcanic entities are erupting from it. I...don't recognize the runes powering it, but...

Ugh. Later. It'll be safe in the bag until tomorrow. Too tired to think anymore. But I have it. That's what's important. 

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April the First, back in the Keep. I just got to be a battle-mage for the evening, and Goddess help me, I can’t promise I won’t do it again.

 

I should rephrase–I don’t mean that I ended up suddenly engaged in fierce combat in the middle of Stormwind. I’m fairly certain that Sparkles or perhaps even the Advisor might find it in themselves to take issue if I were suddenly leaping into spontaneous magic duels after being allowed to roam unsupervised into the night when I please. But, fortunately, some humans remain dismally imperceptive of elven age and so are apparently ready to believe that I am old enough to have actually done half the rubbish I’ve appropriated from the Servitors.

 

I certainly didn’t plan it that way, but it did keep poor Sam around long enough that I could get my fill of baked sweets from her. 

 

I suppose a more cautious mind would be wary that I could not pull this off against someone of sharper intellect, but I’m also curious now to see what else these little performances could help me get away with. Fortunate for me that I live next to a gang of mercenaries–at the very least, I’ll have plenty of tales and source material to adopt. 

 

A pastry mage. My word. I’d almost gotten used to Sparkles’ respectable understanding of the arcane. It’s almost cute how proud humans can be of their food conjury and housekeeping magics. 

 

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April the Eleventh--I believe it should be fifth bell soon, if the paling horizon is any indication. It was't exactly my intention to stay up this early, but really, nobody needs to know my portal back from Darkshore was off by...let's just say a two-mile walk. Let them think I've flawlessly attuned to the Keep's entrance by now.

By the moon, I'm bored. In the time since the Lions left, I've travelled to two potential leads and discovered nothing of use for Kal'nor Fallah, unintentionally startled a bat rider while attempting to chart a ley line just short of Tirisfal, indulged myself buying a nicer throw blanket for the bed, dampened my floor opening another scry-portal into a lake, witnessed two Gilneans having a near-violent posturing match in the Old Town district and thwarted an intoxicated assailant by way of masterful stairway ascension, and it's still been dull. Titans, I've even been tempted to try that stupid little book that's been in my bag forever.

I didn't expect I'd miss poking into the business of people who don't reek of dwarf. I'd even tolerate one of the fel halfbreeds right now if it meant something interesting was going on.

((Sigh))

Well. At this point, short of braving the Athenaeum, that mostly leaves three other places to look into for the rest of the ritual. Given current world affairs I doubt it would be sound logic to venture to either the Isles or the Felwood, so that just leaves Eldre'thar. At the very least, it's the one place of the three that hasn't been reported to be crawling with fel or demons.

I suppose that should be more manageable after some more practice with my wards.

I do wonder what the Servitors have been doing?

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I--what did they--by what curse of Azhara's tit--

No. Language.

((Deep breath))

I do speak often of the Hallow's End disaster and that nightmare in the sewers, but did Silverwright seriously just drop into the Nether again? With a reaver of all things this time? What in the name of the moon are those people even doing anymore?!

And they wonder that I want nothing to do with their missions! I--can't, UGH--

((A noisy clatter--then silence.))

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May Tenth. My room, much sooner than preferred.

I am not quite sure how long I expected the Servitors to be out on the Isles. Nearly two months later, it is becoming apparent that I had underestimated. I held back from pursuing the rest of the ritual partly due to how things went in Winterspring, but at this rate it may be more productive to delve alone into the ruins of Eldre'thar after all. Kal'nor Fallah isn't getting any closer to restoration the longer I stay here, and I can only polish so much.

((Pause))

That...was my plan, initially. I did not account for arriving to find the Legion setting up crystals in the ruins, and a band of Horde also charging into the place. I do not think I am so desperate to finish my weapon as to get stuck in the middle of that kind of mess. Perhaps I could have shrouded myself and snuck around the conflict, somehow. Perhaps I might have been bold enough to try, a year or two ago. I am uncertain if my reluctance to do so now could be considered to be some shred of new wisdom, or my nerve starting to fail me after all this time. 

Considering all that's happened, I should prefer it be the former. With any luck, both forces will have taken care of each other before I attempt a second journey there.

((Another pause; the sound of a chair scraping over stone, and a faintly metallic click.))

It's getting harder to justify even slipping out to Stormwind these days. I've been slack on looking for earning opportunities--it's been a while since I've had the coin for much more than a quick snack from the carts. But I did find a travelling reagents merchant over by the pond--even obtained a perfectly vibrant heart of fire, and free of charge, much to my surprise. "Complimentary gift to a student of the craft," or so he claimed. I don't know yet what I shall do with the thing, but I imagine its effects shall be quite potent when I do come across a use for it. Perhaps I'll use it to imbue a cloak or ring or the like to ward fire. Who knows, one of Sparkles' less magically inclined folk may even be interested if they happen to stop by in the near future.

...There is not much else to speak of. One-Eye departed back to the Isles yesterday, I think. Good. I was quite sick of coming back to find something of mine tampered with. The...card, however, was a rather unexpected surprise, I'll admit, though certainly it is the extent of what I can expect. I'm still trying to push all thoughts of my birthday out of my--

How did she find out? Surely she wouldn't be capable of working the memory crystal, and for the life of me I can't remember once mentioning or even writing--

((An abrupt squeal of a chair being shoved violently across a floor.))

WHERE IS THE FLYER?

((Loud clattering, then silence. End transcription.))



Last edited by Ah'Lam Creekwhisper on May. 13th, 2017 10:43 am; edited 1 time in total
Ah'Lam Creekwhisper
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Still in my bag. Wrong pocket.

I've gone and incinerated the blasted thing now, though a fat load of good that shall do if One-Eye's already gone and ratted me out. I'm getting my things packed.

Why, why did I keep that stupid thing and not chuck it right into the hearth?

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((Ilyssae's tone is dull and blunt.))

June thirteenth. The rest of the ritual wasn't there.

Correction--it must have been there prior to my arrival. The chamber had the same kind of pedestal that we found at Kel'theril's tower. There was simply nothing atop this one. No chest, not even a guardian. Nothing but a freshly scorched floor and lingering arcane residue. 

This is what I get for playing at caution and letting it rest this long. Someone is after my blasted staff. 

((A low, booming crackle; the crystal briefly blasts an earsplitting audio of stone shattering.))

Blast this, I'm learning to scry proper. When I find that little degenerate--

Home first. Have to find a healer. Then I'm packing up the rest of my research and leaving for the Isles. I'll be damned if I let that thief get Kal'nor Fallah's focus, too.

 

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((There is a long silence; were it not for the dull thrum of rain pelting stone and foliage, it might seem the crystal failed to activate. At last, Ilyssae speaks, but her voice is uncharacteristically small.))

 

This…this invasion business was so much easier with other people around.

 

((Ilyssae sighs shakily.))

 

I could have been more prepared.

 

Maybe I was just foolish to expect I could saunter onto the Broken Isles in the middle of a war and…not run into any trouble with the Burning Legion. I barely even made it out alive when it came to the other things living–nnh. 

 

It’s taken two days for my head to stop feeling full of nettles and my hands to stop shaking. I haven’t even been able to scrounge together a portal yet. By Elune’s grace, I didn’t think having my mana torn away like that would be so terrible. These…Withered–they’re so much more savage than I’d assumed. Maybe if it had just been one or two–and if I’d gotten them from afar, and not the whole pack after having already just barely escaped the Legion–

 

Focus, Starspire. 

 

Date, June…twenty-third. Current location, Azsuna, some cave somewhere hidden away behind a screen of ivy and bracken. Arrived from Dalaran three days ago, had the Legion come crashing down almost onto my head not long after. Escaped, barely, after a band of Illidari decided to show up and engage. Stumbled into the Withered, froze two before the others drained my mana. Made it here, been hiding and recovering ever since. 

 

There are whelplings in here, too. Of all things, this place also has blue dragons. And yet–in a way, they don’t seem quite a threat, in the same way as those of Northrend, or Winterspring. Then again, they are in such a state after the Withered, I doubt there is much they could do to me or anything else right now. Three seem to have passed on already, these last couple of days. There is but one left who still shows any sign of movement, and it’s barely recovered much strength to move as it is. It’s…just stayed curled up next to the crystal cluster in the corner, there. 

 

((Ilyssae draws a few shaky breaths, steeling her voice.))

 

I cannot let this hole be the last place I see. One way or another, I need to get myself someplace safe. I’ll wait until I can reliably cast the invisibility spell again, and slip out under cover of night, find a way back to Dalaran and see if I can’t somehow find LaMaunte for help getting into that temple. I won’t make the mistake again of assuming I have the power or cleverness to do this al–

 

…The whelp is staring at me. What–

 

Are you using your last, dying strength to strike me down, dragon? Now, that would be silly.

 

...Oh. I see. You want to be babied. Hmm. Seeing as how I seem stuck here for a while yet, I suppose I can oblige. At least you can stumble a little farther, now. Did you have a long journey, too?

 

((Ilyssae stops. Her voice is softer when she speaks again.))

 

Poor wyrm. It hurts to be alone. Worse to be lost and hunted. I’ll be lucky if I can do as well as you when all this is done, just a bit out of breath, a bit battered and scratched, a bit tougher and smarter for it all.

 

((Ily’s voice lowers.))

 

Perhaps I can still help this one small thing, somehow, before I go.

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August the thirteenth. Argus has been overhead for six days and we are not yet heaps of smoldering green ash. Regardless of how hopeful others may feel for this, I for one have no such intentions of lowering my guard. But on the bright side, at least the threat of imminent annihilation has proven an effective way to spur me back into my studies.

((A pause, tapering off into an audible yawn.))

The...nightmares have worsened. I've started seeing glimpses again, of the collapsing rift, and Immol'thar, and woke up rolled over onto my floor just two days ago. Perhaps I could have been able to afford a few potions by now, if I hadn't been putting most of my recent coin towards preparing for the cat. All I can do for now is to try to carry on as I have been, and hope it doesn't become apparent while I'm working. 

And by Elune's teat, I'm warding my door like I should have done ages ago. I've had it with One-Eye breaking into my room and leaving it smelling of rotten fish and littered with foliage. Truth be told, I'm approaching my wit's end with One-Eye herself, and with more of LaMaunte's former comrades as time goes on--it's gotten to be so unpleasant, I was all too happy for a spot of civil conversation with a demon eater, of all people. 

For pity's sake. How did I become so lonely as for that to happen?

((Sigh.))

Regardless, there it is. One person who doesn't turn belligerent as soon as I enter a room. Thistledown's even convinced me to return for another visit to the Isles in the future, though in hindsight I suppose I'm not sure how I expect venturing there with one person will make much more difference compared to the first disaster. 

...I suppose we will see. Perhaps at the very least, I can make it back to Azsuna again, as Serendigos requested when last we parted ways. A part of me does hope to confirm the whelp's re...cov--

((Another yawn.))

...Recovery. Mmh. The hour is late, with little hope of a restful sleep. Back to studying, then.

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((A low sigh, a dull tone.))

August the Eighteenth. I've long exhausted any plausible ideas on how to get the rest of the ritual back from Mother and unseal Kal'nor Fallah's potential. I--fel, it's too stupid to even begin to conceive. I'd surely be polymorphed back into that moth and locked away from ever seeing daylight again the moment I began to try or showed my face. I'm just going to look into some other suitable process for imbuing the thing and fix it with a spare focus until I can find something better.

It...still won't be the same as it was. Were Sparkles still here, I'm sure I'd be able to taste that disappointment heavy on the air at such a halfhearted acquiescence. 

...Then again, that would require him to actually be here. And that's not looking very likely anymore, is it? It seems he had better things to do after all.

((Something is muttered inaudibly, out of which a bitter 'stupid' can just be made out.))

I think I am going to be done with teachers for the foreseeable future. If I am to be left behind, then it's hardly worth another few months of patching up just a few holes in my arcane knowledge. I managed to teach myself some things before--surely I can continue to do the same if I work hard enough at it. And besides, what is the alternative--test and possibly fail to earn apprenticeship to Thistledown's Highborne who, surprise, may or may not recognize me as the Lorekeeper's little runaway and pass me back off to fretful Mother dearest? I'd sooner continue burning soup and scrubbing floors among dwarves than take that risk, thank you.

I...

Titans, I'm tired of turning this over and over in my mind. Distraction, Starspire. Think about getting the kitten from Silverwright, or a better spell to keep Shadewhisper out. Or, or finding some alternative to banishing the nightmares that spares any awkward questions Thistledown's proposed method could bring. Or--

Fel. Why don't I just go and meander around Stormwind some more. Maybe there'll be another plague attack, or a bar fight, or canal robbers, or...well, something more exciting than sitting here and wallowing.

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August the twentieth. En route to the Keep from Tel'anor, Suramar. 

I think I was close to eleven, the last time I attended any elven ceremony bigger than a Lunar Festival. It was a somber, reverent occasion being overseen by the Darnassus sisterhood, and it was after at least my first scare from the Sentinel, I remember that much--but what I remember most strongly is trying to observe from the gathering's outskirts for barely any time at all before people began to notice. I was still small and fearful, then, and only just learning the depths of their hate for my ilk, and to say the least the hissing and glares seemed sufficient reason to flee for home right then and not try again.

I am not entirely sure what possessed me to go back on that tonight, but the remembrance ceremony was...different. Softer, somehow, by comparison. Something has changed, but I can't trace it to its root. People barely seemed concerned by my presence after I was caught sneaking on the edges. I was even coaxed into coming back to mingle and be a part of things by an Illidari, of all things, when I started to make a run for it. It feels ironic, really, that so far a few dragons and those with demonic blood coursing in their veins have been better people than most Kal'dorei I've met. 

Ironic, yet...sad, maybe. It feels like it has been an age since I gave much thought to just how cut off I've been from my race, Highborne or otherwise. I seem to know so little of anything, and I'm not sure I enjoy suddenly feeling so small and uprooted.

...Tonight was needed, I think. It was a nice change to be fooled into feeling like a part of something, even if only for a few hours.

I didn't even think to pray for Theledron until after the lantern had gone. 

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Serendigos has been deeply affected by what happened at the cavern, I think. He is friendly enough, and curious to ask questions about many things, but there is something in his careful vigilance and the quiet moments he has when regarding the other whelplings that makes me think there is more under the surface than he lets on. 

I now believe the less fortunate whelps were his clutch siblings. I shan't press the matter unless he first broaches it, but from what I gather it would seem he is the last survivor of that clutch--perhaps one of the last clutches the dragonflight will see in their remaining time. How lonely must that be, the last of the last?

For now, we speak of more inane things instead. For all that he is clearly a wild animal, he yet expresses an uncanny intelligence and a curiosity for seemingly anything under the sun, and so I oblige as much as I can offer when he asks where I came from, or about the "strange smelling mud" I paint onto my face to hide the scar, or of lands beyond this small brood's refuge. Today I made the mistake of offering him a nibble from the strudel I'd conjured; he mulled that bite over for a while, then suddenly the entire thing somehow found itself almost entirely down his gullet where it then lodged his jaws firmly open. I'll admit I panicked then, thinking I was about to be responsible for choking a small dragon to his death, but no--he admitted after I'd prized the remains loose that he'd still been able to breathe around it, he'd just gotten carried away upon tasting the sugary pastry and misjudged how easily it could be swallowed. Apparently he eats most of his prey whole, or nearly so, though his appetite is usually for things smaller than my magic snacks.

It is a shame that travel is still a danger from all this war business. I'm dying of curiosity to bring him to Stormwind and see how Sam would take him being set loose on her confections.

I will try and visit Serendigos again, I think. Though strange, and at times alarming, he certainly makes for better company than Fish or Truk.

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