Roleplaying – Petoholics Anonymous Because you can never have too many pets Sat, 16 Nov 2013 15:57:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 1574202 Tabletopping: Meet Evaline James Fri, 09 Dec 2011 20:43:09 +0000 This post doesn’t have anything to do with WoW, just to warn you. However, if you love Serenity/Firefly, stick around!

I’m going to visit Kazi for the holidays in less than 2 weeks and he’s been itching to play a tabletop game with me during that time. When I mentioned the possibility of a Serenity/Firefly one, he immediately took to the idea (we both love the show). We’ve been talking about it quite a bit lately and the one thing that he keeps asking me is who my character will be. I’m not terribly good at making up new characters without knowing the exact setting or being able to make it up myself. So my answer have been vague and I’m sure rather useless so far. I knew I wanted a female mechanic…but no details beyond that. I just couldn’t seem to form anything more distinct.

That is, until last night when an idea popped into my head. I realized that my problem was that I didn’t know my character’s voice. And the way that I figure that out is by thinking of them as part of a story, rather than a character sheet to be filled out. I remembered the sort of “twang” that Kaylee had in her speech and from that, my character began to rapidly form. I simply knew that her story had to be from her point of view, rather than the third-person view that I’m most familiar writing in.

So without further ado, I present Evaline James, in her own words.

Name’s Evaline James, but only my ma calls me that, and that’s only when I went and done something real bad. Everyone else calls me Eve, unless they’s want a bullet in their back in which case they call me Eva.

James is my ma’s last name, ’cause no one knows who my da was, and I did like to keep it that way. I got no time for old men that be runnin’ around knocking up whores.

I was 7 years old and knee-high to a grasshopper when my ma caught me messin’ around with old junkyard parts for the fifth time. This time instead of yellin’ at me, she just looked me straight in the eye and said, “Eve, you’re more stubborn than old Sam down the street and you know how he won’t take no bull even from them drop sellers. You also have a good head on your shoulders and being a mite pretty don’t hurt either. And since in you don’t mind my words anyways, I’m gonna tell you this: You want something in this world, I know that you’re not gonna let anyone get in your way. So I want you to take it and do yourself right. Just remember what’s good and bad and don’t push anyone that done nothing to hurt you.”

Now, I think my ma musta thought that I’d get a good education and such many years down the line. But for once, I took her words to heart right away. The next time her john came around sniffing for creds and started hitting her again, I pulled out the pistol I’d been working on and shot him in the leg. Now that gun probably couldn’t kill a man if it tried and couldn’t shoot straight worth a damn, I was lucky to even hit him. But it made her john bleed real good and I guess the sight of a little brown haired girl pointing a gun at you and tell you the next bullet is gonna be in your skull is enough to make a cowardly woman-beater run out there like a bat out of hell.

My ma took all the creds that her john had left behind and bought us one-way tickets off of Persephone that night. I could see that she was as proud as a peacock for what I’d done, even if she was scared white that her john would come back for us.  The ship, a good old Trans-U,  took us all the way to Beylix and being true to my nature, I stuck to the mechanic like a leech and pestered him to show me every nook and cranny of the old clunker. I ain’t never seen a man so happy to see us land.

We squatted in an abandoned shack near Blueport, a small town next to a damn big junkyard. I spent most of my time wanderin’ around there, creating all sort of little machines from scraps I done found. Sometimes my ma would find old repair manuals and use them to teach me my letters and numbers, ’cause I’d only be interested in any book that had a schematic in it. She always tried to teach me how to speak all proper like and not much of that stuck, but I can use it when it’s useful. When she wasn’t teaching me, my ma was working as a cook at a factory nearby. Who would of known that an old hooker can make a mean grilled cheese?

Around when I was 14, I started lurking around the shipyards in town, bullying the mechanics into showing me what they’s be working on and by the time I was 22, I was the one telling them what’s right and what’s not. A bear of a man named Rex finally offered me a job at his shipyard to shut me up, figuring that I’d be better served actually fixin’ his ships instead of telling everyone else how to do it.

I was still working there when the Alliance came sniffing around, looking for some bodies to come fix their ships in some war they were fighting. I didn’t like their beady little eyes and the way those men looked at me from the get-go, so I snuck out while they was busy arguing with Rex.

Damn rats had the gall to come to my home to “talk” to me that very evening but I wouldn’t have none of it. So there I was arguing with them and my ma was trying to be all civil, even offering them our expensive tea in this nice china my ma bought with a whole month’s wages. Then one of them got to his feet and knocked her hand aside, causing the hot tea to spill all over her nice dress and causing her to scream in pain. Now, I promised myself when we left Persephone that no body would ever hurt my ma again. Well before those rats even knew what’s what, I got my handy shotgun pointed on them, telling them to get the hell out of my house. And unlike my old pistol, I made damn sure that this one shoots nice and straight and packs one hell of a punch. Right about then, them Alliance decide that I’m more trouble than I’m worth and rightly so. I make sure they get all the way out of sight before helping my ma clean up the broken china.

Few days later, I hear another knock at the door and I get my gun ready, thinking the rats are back for me. Turns out instead to be one of them Browncoats, a serious looking woman who looks down the barrel of my gun like it’s an every day thing for her. Seems she heard about my run in with the Alliance and gives me a counter-offer: work with them instead to make sure them rats can’t hold us under their thumb. She treats both my ma and me all respectful like so I took a shine to her right away, and since I want to help teach those rats a lesson, I sign up that night. My ma’s scared for me, I can tell, but she doesn’t try to stop me, just like how she hasn’t tried to stop me for the last 18 years.

The Browncoats give me a new pistol and show me how to shoot it proper like, ’cause I left the shotgun for my ma to protect herself and made Rex promise to look after her. They also show me how to fix someone up a little bit if they done got shot or blown up. Turns out that I’m not as good as fixin’ folks as I am at fixin’ ships but now I know enough to keep them alive until a real doc gets around to them. I then spend the next 3 years fixing up the ships that have been riddled full of bullet holes or blown half to pieces. After a while everyone comes to know that I’m so good at it that they all want me working on their ship. The rats even try to raid one of my workshops and I take a few down before one of them gets me in the shoulder and I’m down and out for a while. I’ll be damned if I didn’t ignore my doc and was back at work just a week later. Tore my wound open a couple times for my troubles.

Before I know it, it’s all over and the rat bastards gone and won anyways. I come back to Blueport to find my ma and Rex have gotten all cozy together, but he’s taken good care of her so I don’t mind. He offers me my old job back but now that my ma’s all looked after and I got a taste of excitement, I turn him down. I got some creds saved up so I buy myself a ticket to Beaumonde after being restless before the month’s out. I’ve been travelling from place to place ever since, looking for a ship that talks to me just right and can keep me from getting bored again.

Jumpstarting RP Mon, 28 Feb 2011 13:51:10 +0000 I know it’s been too long since I’ve written up a post here…I’ve had my fingers in too many projects and work gave me a bit of a slam lately, but I am still breathing and so forth. No worries there, at least. What I want to write about (and really, ask about, since this is not a subject on which I have any answers) is help with a situation we have in our guild: an odd inability to hit critical mass, as it might be. First, though, a little background.

Bloodriver is a small-to-medium guild; on a good day we have enough people to do a pick-up raid, if it’s in the cards, and almost all the time we have at least one member on.  There is no huge shortage of people. The guild originated as a pure RP guild, way back years ago, as a splitoff guild from another involving things I won’t go into. The important thing is that in the time since, it has evolved considerably, becoming lower and lower in the roleplaying department as our pure social status waxed, then coming into the last half of Wrath, we started raiding with something approaching seriousness. We made progress (slow and painful as it might be), culminating in our first Lich King kill sometime shortly after the pre-Cata patch hit. Not terribly impressive, I know, but we have our fun. 🙂

At that time we were pretty much devoting our guild’s prime time to raiding, and we were pretty driven. We planned for Cata raiding, and then, well…life happened. In the first few months, our elected raidleader, two of our primary healers, and one of our maintanks dropped their subscriptions (one each of the healers and tanks has returned since, and good thing—they’re our guildmaster and his soon-to-be bride!), while our other maintank swapped specs, our devastatingly erudite mage got his computer fried, and one of our very best DPS has been swamped with schoolwork. This means raiding, in short, has not happened at all.This, however, is not the real problem, but something I feel might contribute to it.

Our issue, brought into sharp focus by our recent guild meeting, is that we have a whole bunch of people who are adrift, and they long for the good old days of the high-RP guild, yet spontaneous RP beyond a few isolated social niceties seems vanishingly rare. RP events have been planned but sparsely attended, and in short, it seems we’re stuck below some critical forwardness threshold for there to be lots of juicy, story-based RP, with no clue as to making the jump. It’s not like we have bad RPers, or that they don’t enjoy it, just that it seems like everyone is wanting more RP without much actually happening.

My personal theory on the matter is that we have somehow gotten into a culture where it’s easy and natural to ask “Anyone for a random?”, but people find it awkward to ask “Anyone want to RP?” or think that no one will want to join them. Making a change to that…that’s going to need some more thought. Has anyone else ever found themselves in this sort of place, or have any ideas how to get past it?

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Tauren followers of the Light revisited Thu, 27 Jan 2011 18:40:14 +0000 Far too many times I have heard the one comment or another essentially proclaiming that tauren paladins and/or priests are a perversion of WoW lore, or those characters are going against the tauren culture/religion.

Now I’ve talked about this before but for whatever reason, people still seem to clamor about it left and right. This irks me, a lot. Mostly likely because it seems to stem from resistance to change and misconceptions. So this is going to be my attempt to identify and dissolve these misconceptions once and for all.

1. WoW Religions are analogous to Real World Religions

Let me just lay it all out on the table first.

Shamanism in WoWShamanism in Real Life
Druidism in WoWDruidism in Real Life
Following the Light (paladins and priests)Christianity

Really, it’s as simple as that. For whatever reason, people appear to think that because there are a few similarities here and there, they must be equal to each other. If you don’t believe me, I highly recommend visiting each of those links and reading those words with your own eyes. What I will do though is point out some key differences.

Shamanism in Azeroth is the closest to the real world equivalent out of the three. While shamanism IRL varies greatly from culture to culture, the majority of the focus is on the spiritual aspect, not the elemental connection. Shamans were also spiritual leaders and healers, never fighters or warriors. In addition, only a select few cultures used totems at all.

Very little is known of the ancient druids of Great Britain but there is speculation of animal sacrifices, if not human ones. Such acts seem a far cry from the peaceful Cenarion druids that we all know, yes?

And last but not least, the assumption that the Light and Christianity are somehow equivalent is the one that always throws me the most. One of the key beliefs in all the Christian sects is that there is a single God. Yet the very first thing that is said on the Wowpedia article on the Light is:

The Light, referred to as the Holy Light by some cultures, is a non-theistic religious form of philosophy

Non-theistic. Which means:

The followers of the Holy Light do not worship any gods. Instead, it is a philosophy, training its followers to seek perfection within themselves.

There are no deities in the philosophy of the Light. None.

The article goes on to note that “most followers of the Holy Light do not worship any gods”, and from that comment we can certainly say that some followers do in fact worship some god. Like perhaps…the Earth Mother that the tauren so reverently honor.

This leads me to the second misconception I have found…

2. Following the Light is against tauren culture/religion OR tauren paladins/priests are rejecting their old culture

As stated above, the idea of the Light is a philosophy, a way of life. Perhaps to some it is kin to a religion but it is not equal to one. Just as a warrior or hunter has their own way of life, so does a paladin or priest. Tauren paladins and priest don’t give up their beliefs of the Earth Mother and ancestor worship for the Light, instead all of them are part of their lives.

The tauren culture has always included shamans and druids, two “walks of life” that rely on different principles. Yet they have been able to have both peacefully in their society for who knows how many decades. There is no conflict or strife between these two ideals. So why is it that people have such a hard time accepting that the tauren could accept a third way of life into their culture?

In The Shattering novel, there is a moment when Auduin Wrynn gives Baine Bloodhoof Fearbreaker, a mace that has some connection to the Light. Baine then goes on to talk about the sun An’she and how it could be analogous to the Light. The high chieftain of all tauren is certainly not abject to the idea.

Of all the races, taurens are the ones I would single out as the least likely to resist change. They have been able to have shamans and druids coexist peacefully together, and they have gone from being a collection of small nomadic tribes to a single society that comfortably settled in Mulgore. They have always prided themselves in being close to the earth and nature, and if there is a single thing they have learned is that there is always change. Seasons change, all life is born then dies to provide the substance to new life. None of their core beliefs have changed by letting followers of the Light into their ranks. There is no reason for them not to adapt to their new world, and so they embrace it fully, the Light included.

Players who sneer at tauren paladins and priests need to stop thinking like humans and put themselves in the shoes (or hooves) of a Shu’halo. Humans in the real world may wage wars over religions but the tauren are not human in the least. Perhaps we can all take a page from their book for once.

Any comments, questions, or ideas are always welcome!

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Home Tue, 23 Nov 2010 21:12:11 +0000

This is my home.

This was not where I was born, or where I live now.

Here is where I grew from a child to a woman.

Where I honed my skills as a hunter and befriended my first beast.

Where I learnt what it meant to be a warrior for my tribe, a protector.

I  have splashed around with my younger sister on a hot day, wearing no more than leather breech clothes and chest bands.

I have rough-housed with other hunter’s beasts, my fur becoming as dun-coloured as the earth beneath us.

I have napped in the shade of a thorntree, my father snoring softly with my mother curled up at his side.

I have spilled blood here, that of my own, my enemies, and my kills.

This land has seen my joy, my sorrow, my fury, my excitement.

This is the land I hold close to my heart.

It enraptures me, ensnares me, refuses to let me truly go.

Wherever I may wander, here is where I always find myself.

I can feel its rhythm from hoof to horn tip, creeping through my blood.

The center of the Earth Mother is in this place for me.

Now the ground shakes with violence, rousing me from my rest in Thunder Bluff.

I cannot explain to my parents why I must go, nor can I to my son Tuyok.

I trust that they understand nonetheless.

But for all my sharp eyes and sensitive ears, I cannot find the source, only the effects.

I think I shall rest here for the night, and hope that tomorrow will make things clearer…

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New developments Wed, 17 Nov 2010 11:01:01 +0000 [This letter has been stained with a few dark spatters, which on closer inspection smell strongly of hops. The writing is a bit looser that normal]

My beloved, we are victorious!
The unholy king is dead, his sword shattered and his power broken. Such a savage battle I have never seen…It will be many days until my wounds fully close, but I will not heal them…I shall bear these scars as proudly as any orc may. Of what happened after he was slain…I do not know. I trust you enough to tell you, but I must in person—I fear spreading rumors if this letter is read. Suffice to say there is a still a little caution in my mind, even as I celebrate with my warband. And quite the celebration we have! Feasting and drinks and stories, and salutes to those who have died honorable deaths as we fought to the spire. I will have an aching head tomorrow, I’m sure, but I will not be stingy with my toasts on such a day! Even the ground itself shakes and quakes in awe at our deeds.

No, I’m not drinking the caraway stuff again. I do remember what happened last time. Well. What you told me of it, at least.

I have heard that once our celebration is done we will pack up and disband, taking the zeppelins to our homelands again. I should be in Orgrimmar soon, beloved, and then we can be together again…I have missed you so much, and in so many ways. May your work be done swiftly!



[This letter is written and packaged plainly, with no extraordinary markings or scents]

Beloved, I have returned to Orgrimmar. It is good to be out of that armor, but the happenings here are ominous, and I fear I cannot journey south as planned. You’re certain you cannot make the trip north?

The earth rumbles here as well, and I can more plainly sense the unease amongst the spirits. The Warchief travels to Outlands to seek counsel from the Earthen Ring, and names Garrosh his successor in his absence. He has problems already to solve…there are strange people in the city now, preaching of doom and destruction to Azeroth. Normally, they’d be scoffed at, but with the quakes coming so often and strongly (as I’ve no doubt you’ve noticed), there are many growing worried…and some going missing. There’s rumors that these doomsayers are part of some cult or another…the Warchief should just round them up and deal with them. I’ve had enough cultists to last me until doomsday.

I am to assist the Earthen Ring and the Blood Guards in these matters. Hopefully, it’ll all be over quickly and we can have peaceful days together soon.

Be safe, Zulrea.


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Catching up Mon, 08 Nov 2010 09:44:22 +0000 [A letter sent to Sen’jin Village, written in a careful, steady hand. The postmark is from Dalaran, and there’s evidence of quite a journey on the battered envelope]

Dear beloved,
May this letter find you well, and the work in the Isles progressing steadily. I still recall the day we took them back…it is ever an honor to fight at your side. Or…I suppose more accurately, fight a bit ahead of you while dodging lightning and lava. Good thing you’ve a steady hand with them! The heat of Durotar was so welcome after so long in the cold…and the companionship even more so. My heart was more than a little heavy to leave, but there is work to be done yet.

The campaign in the Citadel goes well. We have breached the last of the Blood Queen’s defenses, and with the spirits willing, we will end her this eve.  No fretting, little one…my armor is sturdy and my soul is strong. We will be victorious! Once she is ended, we go to fight the broodmother of these bone dragons, and then…the Lich King himself lies beyond.  These have been great battles, and I am glad indeed to be in the vanguard…though it will be a happy day when I no longer must wear this armor. Though the Ashen Verdict swears it’s been purified, I sometimes think I can still hear the Old God’s whispers from all this saronite, calling me, telling me half-remembered secrets…but I will be strong, as I was at the Scarab Wall.

No more time tonight, beloved. The horn has sounded and I must go. Spirits ever guide you, little one!


[This letter is written in a more hurried version of the same hand, and there are more than a few smudges of dark dried blood on it]

My beloved,
We have won the last of the halls inside the spire! Sindragosa herself rests in peace again, for our blades and magic have ended her torment. Such a battle it was…I feel I will never be warm again. With luck and the grace of the spirits, I will soon be back in bright Durotar again, to warm up in the sun with you. I’ve thought of you so often in the nights here, camped in this evil, frigid citadel…

[There are a few words here that have been hurriedly scratched into oblivion, as if the author had a sudden change of heart]

Still, we rest again tonight, make our preparations, for above us lies the lair of the Lich King himself. It will be a great honor to fight him with our other champions…I fear not death this morning, beloved, save that it will grieve you in a way it would not an orc. If I die, it will be as the bold young Saurfang, in battle against a legend. And victory against such a foe, even shared with others…such thoughts give me fire and lightning in my blood. Perhaps when he is dead, the spirits here will be less restless…the ground itself shakes in torment, it seems.

Be well, my little one…I hear your work goes well in the Isles. Perhaps we shall be reunited soon!


There will be more letters to follow, and they might be to YOU! Send Kazimierz your in-character mail at, and if it piques his interest, he’ll respond as a shaman, a loremaster, and a proud member of the Horde. Alliance letters are welcome, but use of a goblin messanger is strongly advised. T

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Grace Thu, 04 Nov 2010 18:22:31 +0000 At one time, the Shu’halo warrior would have had little trouble dispatching the two centaurs that loomed in the doorway of the kodo-hide tent. Had she not been heavy with child, she would have been able to twist around and block the incoming slice behind her after she had smashed her shield into the face of the stormcaller. But she had not been so fast and the sword raked down her back and sent her crashing to the ground. She had enough sense to bring her axe down on the stumbling stormcaller as they both fell, the caster dead before they even hit the dusty ground. The remaining centaur let out a roar of rage and stabbed his sword down through the warrior’s shoulder, pinning her down as she screamed out in pain and then suddenly went limp. Growling his satisfaction, the centaur whirled around to face his true prey, a small group of young Shu’halo huddled in terror in the corner of the tent. At the front of them stood a lanky black-furred Shu’halo that was older than the rest but still a child, blue eyes steadily meeting the centaur’s despite her shaking legs betraying her fear. However, the centaur had been too preoccupied with the pregnant warrior to notice that this young one had snatched up a gun from nearby. The first bullet pierced through his shoulder and sprayed the tent wall behind him dark with blood. Too late he reached for his sword as a dune-coloured mass of claws and teeth leapt onto his back and dug his fangs deep into his side. Twisting sideways to try and rid himself of the lion, the second bullet cut through his rear flank and he went down, swiftly being finished off by a powerful rake across the throat.

The black Shu’halo dropped the gun as if it were a glowing red coal and scrambled past the centaur corpses to the fallen warrior. She cried out with all her might for help as her hands fluttered around in an attempt to stem the bleeding. But the wounds were too long and deep and the sword was still impaled in the warrior’s body, blood bubbling up around its edges with each wheezed breath the adult Shu’halo took. The young one’s body trembled as she screamed out again for aid, praying and hoping with every drop of her essence that someone, anyone, would hear her.

Niqora watched the Lich King’s body clatter to the ground with feeling nothing really more than surprise and a sense of finality. The world around her seemed to fade to mere background noise as her clanmates cheered, ghosts of those fallen spoke, and the ice crackled into being around Bolvar on the throne. In this numbness she vaguely heard herself reassure everyone that she was all right and simply needed some time to herself, Blacky circling around her in agitation the entire time to drive the point home. Suddenly her clanmates were gone and the only living souls remaining on the platform were the hunter, her pet, and Tirion. Both humanoids were lost int their own thoughts and might as well have been on different planets for all they acknowledged each other’s presences.

The wind was still vilely cold this high up but its edge had since disappeared, leaving it feeling almost empty. Niqora’s hoofs felt heavy and rung sharply against the stone as she took the few steps towards the center of her platform. All that remained was the shattered blade of Frostmourne, Arthas’s body having been removed sometime when the Shu’halo had been trapped in her own world. Weariness overcame her and she fell to one knee before the sword, not even daring to touch it. Blacky slowly inched forward to her side, stretching her neck out to sniff the air around the sword tentatively and then pull herself back with a whimper. Niqora’s hand automatically reached out to soothingly stroke the wolf’s fur. Frostmourne shone dully as her own memories of her friends and family slain by the Lich King spilled forth unbiddingly…and it was then that the tears came.

The warrior had lived only long enough to bear her child, a healthy little boy with the largest brown eyes. Niqora had overheard her mother talking with another druid later, telling her how the warrior had used all her strength and will to keep herself alive so her child could survive. Upon seeing and hearing the crying baby, she had let herself go knowing she had accomplished her final task, falling still and quiet with a gentle smile on her face.

It was many moons later that Niqora sat with her father before a small fire that snapped in response to the silence of the night. Cain had offered to watch the baby that night and after feeding it some zhera milk, it was now snoring softly in a bundle next to another baby, Niqora’s new sister Anuniaq. Niqora, unable to sleep from nightmares involving the flash of centaur blades, was watching the fire even more quietly, hugging her long legs to her chest.

“Each death diminishes us, Niqo,” her father’s deep voice said softly and smoothly as not to wake the babies. They had been sitting in silence so long that him speaking had surprised Niqora and she whipped her head around to look at him. It was in his eyes that saw sympathy and worry for her and she quickly lowered her gaze.

“That is why we can not live forever, why it is unnatural to,” he continued. “We must kill to eat, we must kill to survive, and we cannot stop others around us from dying as well. Death ages us. It makes our bones weary and our minds addled. But where there is death, there is also life. The beasts of the land feed on the plants and we in turn feed on them. And then one day, we shall grow old or be wounded and join with the Earth Mother, our bodies turning to earth and birthing new plants. The cycle then begins anew, and we can rest peacefully knowing that we will provide for our descendants.”

Niqora could feel his eyes follow her expression as she turned to watch the two sleeping babies. “So the more death we experience, the sooner we will die?” Her words surprised her with their weariness as soon as she spoke them.

She could sense Cain shake his head even though she could not see it. “The Shu’halo are long lived for a reason, my little Niqo, even with all the death we see.” He paused, the snap of burning wood the only sound to fill the gap. When he began to speak again, his voice was so soft, it was almost a whisper. “Honor your ancestors and friends since passed, keep them alive and happy in your memories. Make each kill as quick and as clean as possible, with respect for the life you have taken. Learn to forgive those who have wronged you, and learn to forgive yourself when you must slay to ensure your survival and the survival of your tribe. And then pass these words onto your children, and your children’s children when you are old and frail. It is in these ways that you will walk in the Grace of the Earth Mother. And while death may diminish our bodies still, her Grace will forever keep your spirit alive.”

Cain fell silent as he watched his eldest daughter simply stare at the two bundles beside them. The little boy suddenly yawned and squirmed a little before falling back into peaceful sleep again.

“His name Halruum, what does it mean?” she finally asked in a quiet voice.

Her father smiles softly and reached out to squeeze her shoulder gently. “His mother chose it herself. It means ‘life given’.”

Seeing Niqora blink quickly and hastily turn back to the fire with bright eyes, her father very carefully gathered the two sleeping bundles in his arms as not to wake them and carry them back to their tent. In the morning he would find his daughter sleeping peacefully before a dying fire, not a single nightmare haunting her dreams.

These many years later, her father’s words still echoed in Niqora’s head, just as they did now as she swiped her hand across her eyes. Memories of her husband, of other lives cut short at the hands of the Lich king flashed before her, and though they did hurt and weigh down upon her, she could now feel that the load was not as heavy. Only time would help soften the ache of the wounds now but there were other things to consider now. She could recall the dying words of Arthas, the last words of the ghosts, and the exchange between Tirion and Bolvar. She stood slowly without her eyes leaving the broken Frostmourne, though when she spoke, she was not speaking to it at all.

“I forgive you. May you walk now with the Earth Mother.” She closed her eyes and let her head fall a little lower as she whispered, “And I am sorry for what I had to do.”

It was in silence she ascended the stairs to the Lich King’s throne and stood uncontested before Bolvar seated upon it. Blacky tilted her head back and let forth a soulful howl, but Niqora had already said all the words she needed to.

Only the wind blew after that, and not even in response to what had been said. So the hunter and her companion simply left, never once looking back over the frozen platform.

It was so much warmer back in Mulgore that Niqora had to remove many of her fur layers from her armor and cram them into her packs. Blacky’s pink tongue lolled out the side of her mouth, partially from not being used to mild weather and partially from the rather pleasant mood she was in. Together they watched the windmills of Thunderbluff slowly turn in the lazy wind, merely the span of a small valley separating them from the structures. The hunter absentmindedly patted Brakk’s shoulder in thanks, her worg mount jostling a little under her happily.

Somewhere inside the Shu’halo city were Niqora’s mother, father, and younger sister, all of them keeping a watchful eye on her adopted son Tuyok. It was there that her family waited (our family she corrected herself as she glanced down at Blacky and Brakk), anxious for news of her clan’s raid into Icecrown Citadel. A sharp pain in the center of her chest reminded her that her husaband, Mysthowl, would not be there waiting with her and her hands involuntarily clenched Brakk’s reins. Blacky perked her ears towards the Shu’halo and whimpered softly, to which Niqora quietly murmured that she would be all right. She then realized that she truly believed she would be all right.

Keep them alive and happy in your memories. She knew she could never forget him, forget any of them, for as long as she lived. And she would never forget a warrior who had given so much to try and save a group of children not her own, and then give everything for one little baby. But she also knew she had ones who cared for her in Thunderbluff, in her clan, and standing with her at that very moment. Life and death were mere parts of a cycle, arms of a great turning windmill.

“We are home,” she said with a soft smile. “Let’s walk into it with Grace.”

Congratulations to Bloodriver for taking down the Lich King!

We all worked really hard on every fight in there, especially on the Lich King. It was tough sometimes but in the end, we did it! I am particularly thankful for those of you who helped us through the other bosses but couldn’t be there for the LK kill. Don’t worry, we’ll get him again for you guys too. 😉

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Your end is nigh Mon, 18 Oct 2010 16:59:03 +0000 A wet black nose poked among the bones of Sindragosa as the sound of hoofsteps approached the bony corpse. The marrow having long since decayed within the bones, Blacky decided that it was not worth the effort to chew them open, especially considering they reeked of dark magic and disease. Instead she began to help Niqora retrieve her stray arrows, holding them delicately in her white teeth as she trotted each one over to the hunter. The Shu’halo accepted each arrow with a small smile between stooping to pick up more. She passed over the ones that were deeply embedded in the bones, as well as any with broken shafts or bent arrow heads. Refletching was quick and easy enough but she had no time to mend any others.

She straightened up and her muscles ached in retaliation. Despite being still in her prime, the events of the past few weeks had taken their toll on her, physically and emotionally. Too long they had been in this retched citadel and all the while her heart pressed against the inside of her chest, wistfully remembering open plains and dense forests. Still, she did not leave to wander the countryside. Part of it was the promise she had made to Towateke, that she would aid him and their clan in their raids on the citadel. But the other part was to see a certain blight wiped from the face of Azeroth.

Niqora was not the vindictive sort. Even in the years she has spent battling the centaur in the Barrens for her and her family’s very survival, she never hated them. Of the countless foes she had cut down, it had never been out of hatred or revenge, but a sense of duty or simple perseverance. Now though, the deaths of friends and family weighed down on her shoulders and she felt a heat glowing like an ember deep inside her, growing hotter the further her clan traveled into Icecrown.

Blacky whined softly, her quivering ears cupped in the direction the other members had went. So Niqora gathered her packs and together the pair ascended the last set of stairs in the citadel. With each step the Shu’halo would gain speed until she was striding up them two or three at a time. Picking up on the hunter’s tension and anticipation, Blacky darted back and forth, whining and barking her enthusiasm.

Then suddenly there were no more stairs and a platform stretched out before them. The wing howled and bit into layers of fur and hide but neither of the pair took notice of it. Blacky’s hackles rose like a warning flag and a deep growl started in her chest and squeezed out between her bared teeth. Niqora grimly fell into position with her clanmates, her hands having already notched an arrow in her bow out of complete instinct. If she had not been reliving the pains of all her loved ones’ deaths, she would have been surprised at the low gruff voice that came from her mouth.

“I will allow but one more death for me to bear, Arthas,” she growled at the Lich King looming before them on his throne. “And by the Earth Mother, it will be yours.”

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Niqora – A geas Fri, 17 Sep 2010 18:01:36 +0000

It’s been a long while since I’ve written any stories about Niqora and since she just had a dramatic turn in her in-character life, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to revisit her again. I’ll let the story speak for itself now.

The air was thick with moisture despite being rather cool, gathering in soft mists in basins and shallow dips in the ground. The clouds may have closed themselves up again but the droplets of rain were still filtering down through the many layers of leaves and branches that composed the canopy. One large drop slipped down a broad waxy leaf and plopped wetly onto a furred black ear. Niqora flicked her ear instinctively, not truly irritated by the dampness.

Moss and a few sprigs of hardy grass softened her hoofsteps rather gracefully, springing back into place as soon as she took her next stride. Here far below the canopy, a soft breeze wound its way between the massive tree trunks and brought with it the scent of damp soil and the fresh rain. Occasionally Blacky would pick up the scent of some beast or another and would wander off with her nose glued to the ground. As soon as she would be about to leave her hunter’s sight, she would conveniently become disinterested and trot back to the Shu’halo’s side.

Niqora’s packs bulged on her back now that they contained the many layers of fur and leather that she had been wearing underneath her armor in Northrend. Feralas was noticeably warmer than the slopes of Icecrown so the hunter had opted to wear a single layer of water-proofed hide under her mail. Her crossbow and halberd were fastened securely to her back as well as evidence that she was not worried about being ambushed in such a place. The creatures here knew well enough to keep a safe distance from the dark-furred pair as they wandered aimlessly among the trees.

The sun was still a couple of hours away from setting when they stumbled across a small stream. Evidently it was usually little more than a trickle but now the rain had fed it and the water gurgled pleasantly as it made its way towards the nearest river.

It was with automatic motions that Niqora gather dry bits of wood, built a fire, cooked a pot full of stew for herself and her beastly companion, and laid out her bedroll. And it was by habit that she kept on her armor as she sat before the small fire, staring into the flames but not truly seeing them. She saw instead her son Tuyok smashing a chair against a stone wall after she told him of Mysthowl’s death. And she saw the bold lines of anger and grief that now formed his back and shoulders as he stormed from the apartment, intent on finding something more useful to unleash his rage upon. She had not followed, for she had recognized the same look in his eyes that she knew was in her own…the need to be alone with only his thoughts, to work his own way through the pain he felt. There were no words she could think of to comfort him either, for she did not take comfort in them herself. And who was she to say she knew what he was going through anyways? She had lost her husband; he had not only spent most of his life in an orphanage, knowing that his family was dead, but now one of only two parents he had ever known was gone as well.

A twig snapping brought her out of her thoughts and caused Blacky to raise her head from where it had been resting on her paws. Both the wolf and the Shu’halo realized who their follower was so Blacky laid her head back down with a sigh while Niqora rekindled the dying fire.

“You look famished,” the hunter said to a hazelnut bush, raising the half-full stew pot to it in offering. Blue flashed over green eyes as a sheepish-looking Saraku pushed his way through the bush and accepted the food with a grateful nod. He settled on the free side of the fire in his plate armor, the three of them forming a triangle with the warm flames at its center.

The dragonling ate the stew in silence as Niqora watched him thoughtfully. His armor appeared as unkempted as her own, making it all the more apparent that he had been trailing her since she had set off from Thunderbluff many days ago. The light of the fire only highlighted the dark circles under his glowing eyes and the deep lines of strain around his usually smiling lips. The Shu’halo only shook her head as she stirred the fire; only Saraku would take her misery so hard.

Blacky’s ears pricked up and her tail thumped against the ground as she sensed the blood elf in diguise had finished eating his fill. He passed the pot to Blacky out of habit more than anything, the wolf happily licking it clean.

The two humanoids did not speak, Niqora because she was not the one to pour out her feelings in such a way, Saraku because he knew her well enough to know that sympathy and pity would ring hollow on her ears. So distant howls of wolves and hooting of gorillas were the only backdrop noises for the soft murmurings of the stream nearby and the snaps of the flames. It was in this silence that Niqora took a little bit of comfort in being with her two closest friends.

Blacky was the first to drift off, sleeping with the half-alertness that only beasts seem capable of. Saraku followed shortly after, curling up on the hard ground without caring to remove his bulky armor first. Niqora only slept in fits where she was sitting, her bedroll laying untouched beside her. Her dreams were dark and empty so it was with many starts that she opened her eyes during the night, relaxing again at the sight of the wolf’s ears twitch in her own dreams and the gentle rising and falling of the netherdrake’s chest.

The sky was just tinged with the pink of dawn’s twilight when the Shu’halo began to quietly clean up the camp. Blacky rose with her, gently bumping her head against Niqora’s hand on occassion and drawing a small smile to the hunter’s lips as she softly petted the wolf’s coal-black fur. Saraku slept through the entire process and Niqora did not mind at all, relieved to see food and sleep had softened his features and returned a little colour to his cheeks.

All her belongings slung onto her back, she looked down at the still ashes left by the fire and unbiddingly was reminded of the small apartment in Dalaran that belonged to Mysthowl and her. How the fireplace must be sitting cold and empty after she had gathered her packs and left shortly after Tuyok had. Blinking rapidly, she forced the thought from her mind and took fierce hold of her need to travel, to wander, to impress self-exile on herself once again.

She couldn’t help but pause and stoop down to lightly brush Saraku’s black hair, fully aware that he would be on her trail again as soon as he woke. She was like his own personal geas, never letting himself rest while she was so restless herself. She closed her eyes briefly and shook her head again as she straightened. Inclining her head slightly towards Blacky, the pair set off as quietly as the breezeless trees around them, leaving the sleeping dragonling to wake with the coming of the dawn.

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Of Death and Rebirth Sun, 12 Sep 2010 01:24:55 +0000 It is often easy to forget about the impact of death, permanent death, in a world filled with resurrection magic and spirit healers. For players, an untimely demise at the hands (or claws, teeth, spells, what have you) of another is merely a brief, annoying setback in the quest for xp or loot, not the final ending it would be in the real world. But unless you’re named Kael’thas, death in the world of Warcraft is still something permanent, to a point. Despite a number of retcons, there are major lore characters, with access to all the magic and spiritual prowess their allies could bring, who have suffered deaths as irreversible as any in the real world. Thus, with no real official word on the subject, it is up to us as players to determine exactly how mechanics and story interact.

Resurrection magic is available to four of the ten classes in Warcraft in a ready manner, with no cooldown or other limitation beyond mana and cast time (and combat). Dismissing this as pure game mechanics is impossible; the Scarlet Crusade (and later Onslaught) have frequent references to to resurrection in quests related to them. However, the aforementioned permanent deaths in-canon mean that there must be some sort of limitation on the use of revives, else there would be no such permanent losses. Though clearly open to interpretation, my personal take is this: reviving spells combine a potent healing effect with a re-anchoring of the soul to the body. Thus, at least /some/ of the deceased’s body must be intact and present, and the spell must be cast relatively soon after the soul leaves the body, before it can find its way to the Twisting Nether and whatever afterlife awaits. Without a body, there is nowhere to house the recalled soul; without a soul, the body is lifeless.

This view of resurrection has support in both mechanics and lore: in-game, you can only stay ‘attached’ to your corpse for a few minutes before the game kicks you out to the spirit healer, and you need to be close to a player’s body to cast the res in any case. In lore, meanwhile, bodies are often burned or otherwise destroyed (by voracious rats in the Forsaken’s case) to prevent such revivification. However, these still provide no compelling case for armies to leave their dead as corpses; many battles would be finished or calmed enough to resurrect before time was up, and there are certainly enough spiritualists around to do so. As such, I would offer this explanation: resurrection demands a heavy toll, either to be channeled (as most holy users might) or bargained for (as a shaman might), which relegates it to something used in extreme circumstances only. The Scarlet’s love of ressing could then be explained by the dreadlord who leads them; it’s entirely possible that his influence can supply the necessary strength to revive soldiers as a matter of course, rather than something extraordinary.

Of course, as I said, this is mostly conjecture on my part, and anything that works for you and those you RP with is fair game. The most important thing is to have an idea of the assumed limitations of such things before someone deflates a dramatic death with an offhand “Why don’t you res them?” or the like. The relative rarity of a player ICly killing off one of their characters makes it potentially an extremely powerful event, worthy of plenty of consideration to make sure it’s an event to remember.

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