As promised, here is the other piece I wrote.
A quick background:
When asked to write a second piece, since recipient #1 disappeared I turned to some great friends of mine – both for inspiration and to kidnap them into this piece.
For the record, I am blown away by “cross-over” story pieces, and I had a great deal of fun including some ladies I respect and value into this piece. So despite everything, I enjoyed writing this and I am very glad to have a chance to post it!
Despite circumstances, I had a wonderful time participating in this year’s Furtive Father Winter. And I hope everyone enjoyed the gift posts as much as I am sure we all did writing them!
P.S. = Just in case any of my cameos are unknown to some, I will be sure to point them out as I go! :) I also apologize that I am not as well versed in WoW Model Viewer and photo editing as some, but I was quite pleased with how the pic with my lady friends turned out! I hope they forgive me for any liberties I have taken with this piece! <3 you all!
A Very Death Knight Winter Veil
Between prowling through forgotten crypts with Loremaster Cho, chasing down Sha, and working her fingers to the bone to get on the good sides of all of the peoples of Pandaria, it seemed like Effraeti only returned to the Shrine of Seven Stars these days to sleep. And when she did, she slept like the dead.
Somehow Effy had managed to chisel out a small piece of time for a girl’s get together. She was quite excited, as she could not remember the last time she had seen any of her girlfriends, let alone all together.
She was rushing through the Shrine, attending to some last minute items before heading off to Shattrath when the small item caught her eye.
It was per happenstance that she would be in the right place at the right time to come upon the smudged, partially crumpled envelope caught between the stone claws of one of the sculpted dragons guarding the Shrine. Probably having blown there from elsewhere, the sad looking paper seemed to have seen a rough journey between its making and now.
Effy gave in to her curiosity, picking it up.
The envelope was addressed to Greatfather Winter, in a sharp but feminine script. The return address was an Elizabella. Effy did not know who she might be, but she certainly did not know all of the members of the Alliance.
After looking the envelope over for several moments, Effraeti put it in her pocket. She told herself she would drop it in a mailbox on her way to Shattrath. With some effort, she turned her thoughts back to her business.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Ohh, Effy’s here!”
Effraeti recognized Navimie’s voice right away, and hurried over to where she, Catwynn, and Aesadonna were already seated and chatting over drinks. Waving and breaking into a big smile, Effy quickly closed the distance and embraced Navi who was already standing.
Despite how tall Effy was, Navi stood another head taller. However, despite her imposing stature, the Tauren Druid was one of the kindest, gentlest people she knew.
“Hi, Effy!” Cat added. The Night Elf Druid was dressed in her usual comfortable and simple attire, looking happy but always seeming like she would rather be somewhere less crowded. At that thought, Effy glanced around and had to wonder, since the World’s End Tavern was never very busy these days.
“I hope you brought your Orb of Deception and your dancing shoes, lady, because there will be much Blood Elf dancing today!” Aesa said with a wink of one of her depthless blue eyes. She was the most atypical Death Knight Effy had ever met, seeming to retain all of the emotion and energy of her previous life – much the opposite of other Death Knights she knew.
“Aesa, Draenei don’t wear shoes,” Navi giggled.
Aesa let out a echoey laugh. “True! It’s just a figure of speech, though. At for those of us who don’t have hooves.”
“Where’s Matty?” Effy asked the rest.
“Going on her own brand of time as usual, I imagine,” Cat quipped.
“I heard that!” Mataoka sang over the snickers that followed Cat’s comment. She continued in her most sarcastic tone, “Well, the rejoicing can officially begin now, because I have made my entrance and at my own pace even.” At that, Matty shot Cat a dirty look, a grin tugging at her lips.
Matty was also a Draenei Shaman, but of quite a different flavor than Effy. Where Effy was introverted, Matty was outgoing. Effy was more of one to hang back, observe, and heal, whereas Matty liked to rush in and be more hands on.
The women all sat around the worn wooden table and wasted no time catching up. It was not until Effraeti was digging through her pack for some gold for the next round of drinks that she rediscovered the crumpled letter.
“Oh, drat!” she exhaled.
“What’s that, Effy?” Navi asked, the curiosity shining in her big brown eyes.
“It appears to be a letter that missed the mailbox. I found it in the Shrine, and I meant to drop it off. I will have to remember before I leave Shatt.”
“Ohh, a mysterious letter!?” Aesa cooed. “Maybe a love letter? Lost! And now the person who should have received it is all broken hearted and sad?” Her eyes crinkled and a frown tugged at her lips as her exuberance morphed immediately into empathy. She reached for the letter and held it delicately, as if it might break.
Effraeti snickered softly. “It is made out to Greatfather Winter. I doubt that makes it a love letter. Though, if it does, that would be most interesting, eh?” She raised her eyebrows and smirked.
“Greatfather Winter’s secret admirer, hmm?” Matty purred. Effy could tell there were all kinds of thoughts churning in her mind over that.
“Scandalous!” Cat giggled.
“Wait,” Navi broke in. “Winter’s Veil is over. That means that letter never made it to Greatfather Winter.”
A hush descended as the women all pondered the implications of this.
“Open it!” Cat urged Aesa.
Effy would have spoken up against the privacies they were invading, but Aesadonna did not hesitate and split the top of the envelope with her finger before anything else could be said. Then, she slowly removed the contents and unfolded them. The attention of the others was intense, all leaning forward with curiosity. The group was once more quiet.
Then, in her echoey but pleasant tone, Aesa read it aloud:
“Dear Greatfather Winter,
“I find myself unsure how to start this letter, as I have not written to you since I was very young and still believed I could grow up to be anything I wanted – like a princess and other silly things little girls dream about.
“I am not even sure if you answer letters like mine, for I am not a little girl nor even one to be considered living anymore. I am a Death Knight. Twisted by the Lich King and the Scourge to be something less than human. Difficult was the path to gaining my independence and my very soul and sanity, but here I am.
“I do not really know what it is that I ask for. No one can give me my former life back, but I think what I really search for is meaning. Defeating the Lich King was empowering, but left me empty and without direction. Destroying Deathwing was a boon to the world, but did not fill the hole. Even Pandaria does not seem to contain the answer yet.
“I am not sure if you answer the wishes of Death Knights, but if you do, I seek only some meaning in this life and a reason to continue on.
Aesa’s voice was breaking by the time she finished. Her face was a map of lines all pinching towards the center, and Effraeti knew if she were capable, she would be crying. Effy hugged her friend.
The others were quiet, and it was not broken until Aesa spoke up again, her voice muffled in Effy’s shoulder. “We have to do something! She will think Greatfather Winter forgot her!” Aesa looked up, her whole face a massive frown, and sniffled. It was so out of place with her menacing eyes that it was almost comical were the situation different.
“But what?” asked Navi quietly, shrugging her wide shoulders.
“Maybe she just needs a dog,” Cat blurted. She blinked, and flushed crimson when the eyes of all the others fell on her. She stammered to explain herself. “What? Dogs are great companions! They’re loyal and friendly and they never fail to get your butt out of bed in the morning!”
“Ohhh, yes! Something fluffy!” Aesa squealed in delight. “That is just the thing to cheer a person up!”
Matty laughed aloud. “I never really thought Death Knights the type for ‘fluffy’ things. Don’t you spend most of your time with ghouls and such?”
Aesa scrunched her face up. “Yah, but I have pets too, you know.” She whistled.
On silent paws, an aloof looking grey and brown colored cat strolled in.
“However, I am more of a cat person, personally,” Aesa continued as the cat measured them all in its condescending way and leapt to curl up in her lap. Instead of green or yellow eyes, though, they were of a disturbing shade similar to Aesa’s, but far less friendly looking and they never closed, just scanned the room and the women. Even more disturbing, the cat’s whiskers seemed to glow and twinkle with some kind of magical frost.
“Aww,” Cat cooed, leaning forward and stretching out her hand.
“You might not want to pet him, though,” Aesa warned. “Mr. Bigglesworth is not really big on strangers.” To accent her point, the cat lifted its head and hissed. When it did, the whole room seemed to drop in temperature by several degrees, and Effy shivered. Aesa just smiled and petted the strange cat.
“Creepiest cat ever,” Matty said as she scooted her chair a little further away.
“I don’t know,” Effy murmured. “I think it does give me an idea.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Since Effy had found the letter, she felt a personal obligation to answer it. She did not believe in coincidence, and so this letter had made it to her for a reason. She discussed her idea with the others, and though they offered her assistance she assured them she could handle the details.
She traveled to Stormwind, and steered Xarzith toward Blackrock Mountain.
Ever since the crazed black dragon, Nefarion, had set up operations in Blackrock, he had experimented on many living creatures, but mostly other dragons. His ultimate goal was to continue his father’s work and create the “perfect” dragon, with all of the strengths and none of the weaknesses of the other dragonflights. Some of his twisted creations were horrid abominations, and many did not survive his tortuous testing. But some of the poor creatures proved useful, and Nefarion had kept them around. Since his demise – not once, but twice at the hands of heroes of Azeroth – those creations had made home in the various corners of Blackrock Mountain.
One such creature was the chromatic hounds that hunted the corridors and walkways.
Effraeti had no interest in meeting face to face with one of the beasts. She only wished to find out if there was a possibility of younger hounds.
Her luck stayed with her; soon after beginning her search, Effy came across not pups, but eggs! She could hardly believe it, but she was certain they belonged to one of the chromatic hounds. The only other denizens, with the black dragons gone, were the Dark Iron Dwarves and the mostly scattered Blackrock Orcs.
Effy tucked the precious egg into her pack, making sure to protect it with the tatters of an old adventuring blanket. As she secured her pack’s straps and went to stand back up she heard an ominous growl.
Uh oh! Momma had not been very far away!
The chromatic hound howled and Effy ran for all she was worth until she reached an open enough area to call Xarzith back to her. Then, they flew to Stormwind like the very wind as Effy counted her blessings for Xarzith. She patted the drake’s neck affectionately.
Since Effy did not know how to find Elizabella personally, she let the magical mail system do it for her…
I am sorry to say that your letter to Greatfather Winter never made it to him. I came across it purely by chance, and could not ignore it. Through the assistance of some great friends of mine we came up with something we hope will make your (late) Winter Veil a happy one.
May he give you some form of happiness, companionship, and meaning.
Then, Effraeti slipped the note inside the envelope, attached it to the box she had carefully wrapped the chromatic hound egg inside of, and shipped it off to Elizabella.
Merry Winter Veil!