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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:19 pm 
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The notebook this is found in is carefully chosen in size to match a plain brown book, and appears to be stitched to it's back cover with a careful hand. Inside it, the words are written with the characteristic blockiness of the Dwarven alphabet, but is a strange hodgepodge of that and High Elven characters. The paper it is made from is clearly secondhand, stained and imperfect for proper use but suitable for a castoff's journal.

This book will make a difference to the life of someone else after I am gone, so I leave my story with it. I will not slip quietly into the shadows of history, I want to leave a mark. And when some other poor soul finds this book, then let the truth be separated from the legends.

My name is Ailynn Goldbraid. Like you, I'm an orphan of the wars. My parents were our clan's Caravan Masters running a trade route between Ironforge and Silvermoon City. We'd purchase fine silks and spices, mageweave and magic in Quel'Thalas. We'd travel to the human lands and trade some of it for wood crafts and foodstuffs. And then we'd return home and sell it for fine metalwork and gold and gems, and start over. It was an exciting life, and I grew up loving it.

The road wasn't always easy, but I was always good with a gun and bow. I took after my father in that, as he had earned the nickname of "Hawkeyes" from the rangers of Quel'Thalas. More than a few times I brought back dinner for the caravan, and even once put down a bandit when they were attacking the caravan. I'd have gotten two, but the recoil knocked me teakettle over head and I couldn't find the bullets to reload after I'd rearranged the crates.

All told, they were the best years of my life.

And then the trolls came.

The Second War was raging, and we were riding a perilous thin line staying away from the battle lines while trying to get supplies to the kingdom of Stromgarde from the elven lands. We had struck as good a bargain as we could, and were leaving Quel'Thalas, keeping a watch out. The orcs were a threat, but their allies in the trolls were what hit us.

Everything burned, everyone I knew either dead or now a slave. Like I was. In human terms, I was about thirteen, maybe a bit older. I think, it's hard to tell since then. I'm young, but by Dwarven standards I'm now an adult.

My father was killed in the attack, my mother taken as a slave. The Chief of that tribe took me as a personal slave, and marked me as his own with a spell-forged ring of silver through my nose. If I displeased him, it burned with a vile curse. As far as slavery went, it could have been worse. As long as I kept his crude hut clean and had food ready when I was supposed to, I wasn't beaten much. And despite the leers and occasional fondling, *that* never happened. Despite the Shaman wanting to. Some weren't so lucky. My mother was one of them. She was taken by the Shaman, and after unspeakable horrors was sacrificed to their dark and evil animal gods. I was forced to watch them tear her heart out, and that day I swore an oath on our Clan Founder's Beard to avenge their spirits.

Often, like you, I would wake in the night screaming. What I could never force through my lips was that it wasn't MY screams and tears, but those of my mother. From that day forth, I vowed to be silent and strong, and never cry. I have not always kept that vow as well as I want, but out here in the wilds no-one but the wolves are disturbed by the occasional nightmare.

Despite my clan's ancient ties to the people of Quel'Thalas, their rangers didn't lift a finger to help us. I knew what to watch for, and at least twice I caught subtle signs of their rangers watching us. But nothing was ever done, even when it became clear that we were being brutally sacrificed one by one.

To whoever reads this, that should be a lesson to take to heart. The Horde they have founded is twisted and corrupt, and only the peace of the grave will be lasting. Either them or us, there can be no quarter given. The orcs have not directly wounded me or mine, but they've clasped to their chests the elves that abandoned us and the trolls that butchered us.

I was finally rescued, not by the elves, but by humans. The Horde had sent men to the village to woo the Amani fully into their fold, and by then I knew enough of their crude language to see the shaman was impressed by the warlocks of the orcs and the chief was impressed by their warriors. And then the hero Uther Lightbringer rode in at the head of the Knights of the Silver Hand and caused enough chaos that I was able to escape. I managed to find their camp, and was taken back with them. I stayed in Stormwind for a time, and then went back to Ironforge. The Goldbraid clan was a roaming one, and there were none who could take me in properly. I traveled between Stormwind and Ironforge, and eventually became comfortable in both the human lands as well as our own. But it was never really "home" for me.

I made a few friends in both places, and was given the Brown Book this journal is attached to in Stormwind.

It is late, and I need to bank the coals so that I won't freeze to death during the night. I will write more later.

_________________
"My first real field assignment. Over the course of the evening, I've been chewed on and been the subject of romantic advances by our client, whom we also shot. I crossed state lines wedged between a lion and a pair of assassins. I had a tea party with homicidal robots, and I ruined my nylons. Judging by some of the reports I've had to file, it could've been much worse."

~Tip, from "Skin Horse"http://www.webcomicsnation.com/shaenongarrity/skinhorse/series.php


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:48 pm 
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This entry is dated several months after the last one. The elven runes predominate on this one.


I changed my hair today, let it flow mostly loose with one thick braid in the back.

I'm not sure why I did that, but I did.

I'm also wearing a fancy dress. It's unarmored and impractical and kinda gets in the way a bit if I have to run.

I'm not sure why I'm wearing it, but I am.

I've met a draenei woman named Ishovan. She's also an orphan, but only first heard of Sam from my friend Adorietha. She's a RIGHT powerful warrior, with strong magic and enchanted armor that puts anything I've ever seen to shame. And she's turned her back on her people and spent time away from home. She hasn't explained why yet, though. Says that she's a disappointment to her family. I don't know why, but her family is stupid if that's the case.

We had dinner together last night, and I ended up cooking. I had a bit of a solid nest egg to draw on, keep myself going for awhile. I spent most of it gathering supplies and a recipe for Jungle Stew.

I've never really felt like this before. Lyds, that was a bit of a crush. Kara, the same sort of thing. I mean, I'd beggar myself in a heartbeat if either one needed it, and may the Light help anyone who hurts either of them because I won't. But this? This is a bit more intense than I've expected. She's got so much pain locked away, I can tell. I can see echoes of myself there in her, and frankly if I hadn't gotten the Brown Book I'd have been the same way. Especially after that bastard pimp started hassling me.

I just want to help take that pain away. To remind her that she's not alone in this world, that she hasn't forgotten friendship, hasn't forgotten love...

The writing on that sentence trails off, and there is a couple of ink splotches at the bottom of the page as if a pen was shut in the book and then pulled out carefully. It continues below.

Light above, I cannot believe I just wrote that. And yet, the script is staring me in the face. Everything I was taught about what it means to be a dwarf, what it means to be a good member of your clan, what it means to be the LAST member of your clan...

I should be finding someone of either wealth and status to have a passel of kids with and rebuilding the core of the Goldbraid Clan, and not mooning about over another woman. And the fact that she's a Draenei? Even more outrageous, according to the matrons at the Ironforge Trade Schools for the Indigent Children. Centuries of tradition insists that I should set aside what I'm feeling and focus on the needs of the clan.

But I can't. The look in her eyes, the feel of her holding me that one night, the silken twists of her hair... I don't know what I feel, but I can no more ignore it than I could fly without a gryphon. At the least, she's a friend equal to any of the Friends of Sam. At most... I don't know. Fel, I don't even know if she... well, likes ANYONE that way. Whatever "that way" is.

I'll have to think about this and write more later.

_________________
"My first real field assignment. Over the course of the evening, I've been chewed on and been the subject of romantic advances by our client, whom we also shot. I crossed state lines wedged between a lion and a pair of assassins. I had a tea party with homicidal robots, and I ruined my nylons. Judging by some of the reports I've had to file, it could've been much worse."

~Tip, from "Skin Horse"http://www.webcomicsnation.com/shaenongarrity/skinhorse/series.php


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:22 pm 
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The writing on this is by turns shaky and confident. It's written almost entirely in High Elven script, and the shakiness is mostly due to how well the script is remembered. Except for the last third of the entry... That just starts shaky and gets worse.

I write this by the light of a pair of candles from the hall. Good thing Darkshire's afraid of the dark that makes up it's namesake. Of course, given what I remember seeing my one pass through here, it's quite understandable. Also good that dwarves see well in the dark.

The reason I'm all but hiding this is that I need the time to get my head straight before trying to sleep again. It's been several years since this particular nightmare woke me, and I'm glad that it let me do so silently, as I don't want to disturb Ishovan.

There's a blotch on the next line as if the pen was laid down and the ink bled a bit before starting to write again.

She's been mentioned in earlier entries, although I've been too busy to write much about recent developments. And have there ever been those... I ended up getting a house in Ironforge. As you cross into the Hall of Explorers from the Great Forge's central path, hang a left and go all the way to the walls and up the stairs there. I'm renting it from a disreputable gnome who has an obsession with things nautical. I don't mind, as there's plenty of room. Even if I did clean out the cannon pointed at the bed before I slept for the first time there...

But this sort of thing isn't cheap. So, I go looking for work that pays better than normal, and found some members of the Rebel Camp that are still loyal to Stormwind. Their commander had gone insane, and they were trying to enlist the help of adventurers against him. But instead of acting directly, they asked me to use my talents in the wilderness to hide and spy for them. Dangerous work, being right against enemy lines like that... But I found a tree that would hold me safely and spent four days alternating between that and a bush near a cave entrance. I finally got some use out of that bloody raptor, too. He hates it when I use the charm I know to look through his eyes... But my will is stronger than his. I got the numbers and information that the Rebel Camp needed, and paid for a couple of month's lease on the house.

And then I was cleaning up from the jungle funk, and Ishovan came over, catching me in the bath. She joined me, and I blessed my foresight in getting a REALLY big tub. Nothing untoward happened there, but it'd have been a tight fit otherwise. I washed her hair, she washed mine, and then we were both tired and went to sleep. After I taught her how to kiss, that is. It was... very good, but I somehow felt like I was missing something.

The next day I was meeting my friend Lyds in Darkshire, where I am now. She was going to try and get ahold of her succubus. Unfortunately, she didn't feel well and went to sleep before we could do anything about it. Probably wise, as any weakness with these bloody things will cause problems.

Ish didn't want to fly all the way back to Ironforge, so we took a room here as well. Once there... Well, it started a bit panic-making as she was a wee bit insistent... But turned into the sweetest thing I've ever known. And that's why I was awoke by this particular nightmare.

It's been years since I've thought much about Brother Dalrynd in Stormwind. He was kind of fat, kind of pasty, and was obsessively nice to his favorites and a right terror to anyone else. I had been out and about during Noblegarden, and had managed to find a drunk Lord to run errands for. He thought I was cute, and kept me out past our curfew running errands. He promised me silver, actually paid me copper, but was to besotted to notice I made off with gold from his pouch.

Brother Dalrynd caught me coming back in, took me to his offices "for a lecture", and then proceeded to whip and rape me.

The fat bastard tried to keep me ignorant, claiming that the pain was "the punishment of the Light". I called it what it was and threatened to go to the Matron in charge. Given my state, he'd have found it hard to deny. But I was holding stolen gold, so I had to keep my mouth shut. He let me keep the gold, though.

He ended up in the Stockades about six months later, when one of his "favorites" ended up with child. Last I heard he died in a riot.

But... That wasn't the last time I've been used like that, and I just can't stop thinking about what those bastards took from me. And now that I know what love SHOULD be... I'm shaking so bad I can barely write, and it's all I can do to keep from grabbing my weapons and hopping a gryphon to Stormwind to try and find some of the nastier fellow orphans to feed their tripes to Snowblade while they watch.

I can't, though. Because of the lady sleeping peacefully behind me. I'm too angry to be subtle about it, and after all this time there's no proof of anything. I'd find MYSELF in the Stockades before dawn for murder. And while I have no doubt that Ishovan would come and get me out, she'd be hurt worse by me not being here in the morning. And that... That keeps me here, helps me keep the anger in check.

I know that I've fallen for her badly, and I think she loves me back. She just hasn't got anything to compare it to. It's hard, not being able to hear her say it, but... It's better than empty promises that leave you sorry and sore afterward. I'll wait, though. She needs me, and I need her. I'll try and get some more sleep and see if I can talk to Lyds in the morning.

_________________
"My first real field assignment. Over the course of the evening, I've been chewed on and been the subject of romantic advances by our client, whom we also shot. I crossed state lines wedged between a lion and a pair of assassins. I had a tea party with homicidal robots, and I ruined my nylons. Judging by some of the reports I've had to file, it could've been much worse."

~Tip, from "Skin Horse"http://www.webcomicsnation.com/shaenongarrity/skinhorse/series.php


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