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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:52 am 
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I haven't heard from Father since the great Cataclysm, and I don't care what Mother says, I am not going to sit idly by taking harp lessons and embroidering handkerchiefs and sitting on my dowry while I wait to hear news of his fate. And so I have taken his old crossbow and the wolf pup he gave me last Winter Veil (not so much a pup anymore) and gone to Northshire Abbey so that I might train there to follow in his footsteps - literally! His last letter was from the Nesingwary camp in Stranglethorn Vale, and so that is my first goal. I have a ways to go before it is safe for me to travel to the jungle, however - I nearly got myself lost in Fargodeep Mine of all places, and if not for Bolt's ability to sniff out fresh air I would probably still be down there.

Now that I am out in the world though, I find that Father's wanderlust breeds as true as his golden hair. Elwynn Forest is captivating, and I feel more at home sitting at the edge of Crystal Lake and catching smallfish than I ever felt at the Blake manor. I'll admit to feeilng a touch of guilt, but if my mother didn't want to be lonely, perhaps she should have married and got children off of lazy Uncle Ralph instead, whose worst habit apparently is the smoking of cigars. I hear he was the one she was supposed to marry anyhow. A curse upon women who fall in love with wild men with hopes of "taming" them - may they look to my mother as an example of what they have to look forward to.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:42 pm 
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So I've had my first "adventure," chasing a recipe of all things. While I was cooking up some of the smallfish I caught I remembered that my father had once told me that mackerel were just as easy to catch, and even tastier. Since they can't be found in Elwynn Forest, I took a boat to Rut'theran Village in the hopes of catching a few and running into the night elf Nessa Shadowsong, an old supplier of my father's. Perhaps she might even know something of his whereabouts!

Well, as it turns out, Rut'theran Village was hit very hard by the recent upheavals, and was more or less in fragments. I saw no trace of Nessa and thought it would be rude to ask about her, as it might be a tragic subject to raise among people I did not know very well. I did ask around in Darnassus proper about secrets to cooking mackerel, and no one seemed to know. So I stopped on the dock just long enough to catch a few, then headed back to Stormwind and took the tram to Ironforge, where I hoped to find another fish-cooking expert, the gnome Tansy Puddlefizz. I had to ask around, but apparently Tansy's shop is in the darkest, dreariest, spookiest section of Ironforge. I felt a little nervous going in, as I'd left Bolt in the stables at Goldshire, and it seemed like the sort of place where a girl might get robbed or worse. I suppose the sword at my hip discouraged that sort of behavior. Good thing they don't know how terrible I am at using it.

At last I found the recipe I sought - after traveling halfway around the world and back for such a simple thing - and in the process I saw two major cities of the Alliance. I can't help but think I am getting sidetracked a bit from my primary quest, but it is all a part of my education, yes?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:27 am 
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Elwynn Forest is beautiful, with its shady green expanses of great thick oaks, but it is also dangerous: full of bears, packs of wolves, wild boars, great furry spiders, human bandits and rogue wizards, as well as some semi-intelligent and hostile humanoid races such as gnolls, kobolds, and murlocs. I've been doing my best to assist the Marshals in the area with various threats, and I've impressed them enough that they are sending me along to Westfall, where the situation is a bit more dire. Before heading out there, however, I wanted to take a moment to visit Greatfather Winter in Ironforge, which used to be something my mother and I did together, but she has vowed never to speak to me again until I swear to return home and give up this hunting nonsense.

My visit to Ironforge brought me to look deeper into the history of the holiday, and to begin to understand that there is more to dwarves than just mining and mortar teams. They have a deep appreciation, almost worship, for the things of the ancient past, and they are wonderful resources for anyone curious about history. I also saw a sign advertising "Goldfury's Hunting Supplies" and of course could not help but go in. It's run by a lovely old couple, Skolmin and Bretta, and they were both aghast to see that I called myself a hunter but had never even held a gun. The fast-talking Mrs. Goldfury soon had me purchasing one, and she urged me to learn from "proper hunters" how to use it. She suggested I head to Anvilmar where the dwarves send their "younguns" so that I could learn the "correct" way to shoot beasties and nevermind all that Johnny-come-lately stuff they were teaching humans at the Abbey. I took it as a compliment that she thought me worthy of dwarven technique, and so I headed to Anvilmar immediately.

Dun Morogh is a lovely place to spend Winter Veil, as it reminds one of the true meaning of the season. Bolt is very much at home in the frosty climate, though I myself find it a bit uncomfortable. Learning to withstand extremes of temperature is all part of becoming a true wilderness survivor though, yes? And so I've begun my dwarven education in shooting and tracking and warming frostbitten fingers. I've also picked up an absolutely mouthwatering recipe for beer-basted boar ribs. I should bring some home to Mother; perhaps she'll forgive me for my wanderings. Most likely not. No one holds a grudge better than Mother.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 7:57 am 
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I learned such a great deal from my new dwarven friends that I almost hate to leave them. Grif Wildheart in Kharanos was surprisingly willing to take me under his wing despite my tallness and lack of beard, and with his help I've become a decent gunswoman. I learned something even more surprising though - all that old "junk" the dwarves are digging up is... genuinely fascinating! I was sent out as an extra pair of hands to recover some artifacts that had been shaken loose by all the recent upheaval, and I was quite surprised by my reaction to them. Holding some broken tablet or bit of tableware in my hand and realizing that it was quite possibly a thousand years old sent a pleasant shiver down my spine. It's a whole different kind of exploring... not just through space but through time. It made the world suddenly seem even larger: layers upon layers upon layers beneath the large expanse that I already find so fascinating.

I'm beginning to feel, though, that I am too easily sidetracked. A chance encounter with a Night Elf gave me an entirely new perspective on hunting. She had heard the echoes of my musket from quite a way off and came to lecture me on the "disrespect" I was showing to the local wildlife. A true hunter, she said, slips up silently, taking down her prey with only the soft whistle of an arrow sailing through the air. It was such a lovely image that I felt compelled, now that I'd mastered the basics of the dwarven style, to travel to the great tree Teldrassil and live among the Night Elves for a while. I did take a souvenir from Dun Morogh though... a beautiful white male snow leopard that I named Bullet, in honor of my new gun proficiency.

The Kal'Dorei were quite chilly to me at first, giving me only the most harmless tasks to perform. I didn't help matters by unwittingly assisting a satyr who has apparently been skulking about Teldrassil for years annoying the citzens. How was I to know they would suffer an enemy to live so close to one of their little towns? Why haven't they tossed him into the ocean by now? At any rate, they were quite annoyed, and I had to spend a great deal of time doing odd jobs and little tasks for them before they warmed up to me enough to start telling me a bit of their history (fascinating!) and teaching me the traditions of their huntresses.

I am absolutely enchanted by Teldrassil and Darnassus - the violet-tinged beauty that surrounds me is hypnotic, and could almost lull me into forgetting why I am taking such trouble to learn these skills in the first place. But I haven't truly forgotten Father, of course. He would be proud to see me taking such an interest in other cultures. In truth, I fear he no longer lives, and perhaps a large part of this journey's purpose is to allow him to live on through me, even if I never see him again in the flesh.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:26 pm 
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My time with the Night Elves was rewarding: I feel at ease now with the elegant skill of archery, and I have learned a great deal about respect for my natural environment. I will never again move through a forest without hearing the whisper of wind-touched leaves as the inhale and exhale of a living being. Much as I did in Dun Morogh, I took a living souvenir: a lovely gray owl whom I have named Arrow. But my wanderlust struck me again, and I decided to complete my education in the cultures of the Alliance by spending some time with the Draenei.

It is highly possible that I will never feel fully at home with the Draenei. Though they are warmer and more welcoming than the Kal'Dorei, there is a strangeness about them that goes deeper than any other race I have encountered. Their technology is as advanced as any complex gnomish devices I have seen, and yet there is an almost organic simplicity about it, as well as an elegant arcane beauty. Unlike the Night Elves, they have used their millennia of existence to continually advance their knowledge... and it shows. I gave up on understanding the intricacies of their society and began to spend most of my time among their hunters, a simpler class of people.

From Acteon in Azure Watch I learned not only the ancient traditions of the talbuk hunt - the Draenei people invented crossbows long before humans even existed, and still favor them over other ranged weapons - but also was introduced to the beauty of fine leatherwork. This became my new addiction. Azuremyst Isle, where their ship crashed and where they have now made their home, is replete with animals whose hides make beautiful armor, belts and shoes. Moongraze deer, nightstalkers, timberstriders, even the unfortunate ravagers of Draenor who crashed along with them and have now worked their way into the local ecology despite the Draenei's best efforts to clean up the mess.

I found the ravagers in particular so fascinating that I studied them for days. So alien, so savage, and yet with a kind of intelligence and a simple social structure. I was able to tempt a young ravager to imprint upon me, and I named him Quarrel, which is the term the Draenei tend to use for their ammunition. It is an especially apt name, as he is rather... bickersome. Is that a word? It should be.

I suppose I have tarried in foreign lands long enough, and should take my new skills with me to Westfall and see what I can do to aid my own people.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:41 pm 
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The situation in Westfall is bleak. Apparently it has become the dumping ground for all of Stormwind's unwanted: unemployed, homeless, widowed, orphaned, destitute. I tried having sympathy for them, but when I saw the depths to which they had sunk, my heart hardened. I like to think that no matter what hardships I endure, I shall never stoop to theft, bullying, even murder, as these degenerates have done. I have never been so ashamed of the human race as when I saw how universally deplorable we become when denied our creature comforts.

Were we always so? Were the tribes of the highlands nothing better than squabbling murlocs before Arathor united them under his banner? I honestly see little difference between the humans of Westfall and the gnolls that live a stone's throw away... other than cosmetically, of course. I did what I could for the wretches, but I will not squander my youth and energy chasing lost causes. Let someone else waste her life throwing pearls before that swine.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:11 pm 
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I am certain that many wondrous discoveries and awe-inspiring lands await me in the near and distant future, but it is hard for me to imagine feeling as much at home anywhere as I have these past days in Loch Modan.

The Farstrider Lodge has been my home away from home since my arrival in these lands. The people who inhabit the Lodge are kindred spirits: adventurous, courageous, and very much interested in my tales and news of faraway lands. I have found no prejudice among these dwarves and gnomes, and even the lone high elf who clings to ancient traditions and loyalties did not make me feel inferior or unwelcome.

The lands themselves are breathtaking. Even the tragic draining of the Loch, and the rotting threshadon corpses that lie in clouds of flies on the muddy slope that was once its bottom, can do nothing to mar the rolling beauty of the land's rocky hills and majestic pines. If one simply rides around the remains of the Loch, as one did when there was water there, the journey is quite pleasant, and just dangerous enough to keep it exciting. What remains of the Loch is positively crowded with sagefish. (An aside: I have always wondered how they got their name. Do they taste of sage? Does one become smarter by eating them? They are certainly no wiser than other fish, judging by the quantities in which I managed to catch them.)

Best of all, I have now found my favorite of all my companions. I feel bad that he has eclipsed Bolt in my affections, but I do still love Bolt as well as all of my other dear animal friends. But who can compare to the cunning blue-gray fox, unique among his many red brethren, who after much patience on my part finally succumbed to my efforts to win him over? I call him Dart, and he is now never far from my side.

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