Friday, August 28, 2009

Retro RP: A Square Peg

Weeee. I've written up a few new Lamis posts, but they are depressing and besides, there's continuity to consider. Once I've posted more of Ysani's unplanned vacation and the events stemming from it, I'll put up more of that stuff. Today though, you get a piece from Ysani's days as a fledgling with the Prophecy of Light, training her ass off out in the scourge-ridden plaguelands. Most of what makes her a good paladin came from what she learned there. Funny what working for a noble cause can do for you... finally a square peg finds a square hole.

"Uuuuugghhh." Ysani dropped her heavy pack at the front door. Normally she'd begin to shed her armor on the way down the hall- boots here, gauntlets there, a noisy molting of her dirty, heavy plate skin- but she was home late tonight and didn't want to wake her guildmates. The door of her cluttered little room clicked shut behind her. The heavy sword on her back was first to go, hung on a small rack she'd installed directly into the wall behind the door, much to Fabrio's chagrin. (The small holes from her misplaced screws were neatly patched, a task that Fabrio insisted on, and supervised, in spite of Ysani's protestations that she could manage just fine without him looking over her shoulder.)

Next came her plates, unbuckled with cold, fumbling fingers and set down neatly on a low bench. Her arms were tired, so tired that they shook under the weight of each piece and the effort of setting them down quietly. The light, soft woven shirt and pants she wore under her armor went last, crumpled in an undignified (and decidedly dirty) heap at the end of the bench. Hands in the small of her back, she stretched and twisted, eliciting a series of dry pops up her spine.
Time for a soak.

The private bathroom adjacent to her room made up for the tiny living quarters. She had the smallest bedroom in the guildhouse, she knew, but the bathtub was positively enormous. Most of the grime and death of the day's work rinsed off easily, but it was beginning to feel like the musty, dank decay of the plaguelands was settling deep into her skin and muscle, leaving its grit in her mouth, its ache in her bones. She scrubbed herself raw, then filled the tub with hot water and sunk in up to her chin, the ends of her wet hair floating on the surface like strands of blood.

The note in her mailbox was brief, but it allayed the fear that her guildmates might have hurt each other after Dorri confronted them on the cathedral steps and ordered Ysani to leave. It was hard to focus on her work afterward, but she threw herself into every last menial errand the Argent Dawn would give her until she was too busy to think about anything else. "Feel free to come knock on my door if you want to talk," he'd written, and of course she did. The night was nearly half-over by now, though, and she thought with no small amount of regret that it would be better to let him sleep.

Then again...

A quick towel-dry later she squirmed into a pair of warm, clean pajamas and crept across the hall. One long ear pressed to the heavy door, perfectly still, she listened. No rustle of paper, no clearing of the throat to indicate he might be awake, and certainly there was little to no light showing under the door. Still, she didn't hear any snoring, either.

The softest knock she could manage still sounded loud to her ears in the sleeping house. Her stomach was a bitter knot and she suddenly felt very foolish trying to wake Keilos at 2 in the morning for small talk. She herself was running on fumes and had nearly fallen asleep on her feet walking home. Turning quickly, she padded back to her own room and was turning the knob when she heard his door swing open behind her.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

RP just 'cause: Libby <3 Fenn

Libby is my tauren druid. She met Fenniel the other night in Dalaran and asked him to have a drink with her. He said yes! Wow. So they talked and Libby just loved how cute and clueless he was. Problem was, she ended up pretty lost herself. This is a story of what happens when nerds collide.


Fenniel was adorable. Tall, thin, gangly almost. He was possibly the cutest geek she'd ever seen, with his long, silky brown hair tied back and softly whirring goggles fastened around the back of his head. He smiled cautiously at her as she opened the door to her room on the top floor of the Legerdemain. "Everybody in," she said.

Cuddles managed to fit through the door, ducking her head a little. The main room was large and mostly empty, with huge vaulted ceilings. The devilsaur picked a spot on the fur rug by the fire and rumbled contentedly. Libby watched Fenn walk hesitantly into the middle of the room. "It really is big."

Tugging on one of the long braids that hung over her shoulder, Libby was glad her dark skin and inky black fur prevented people from noticing her blush. She was really great at flirting! It was undeniable. She had lots of practice. The problem was, she'd never gotten past the flirting part. She would say "care to come up to my place?" and they would smile or frown and say "uh no thanks" or "oh dear me no" or "I'd love to but I'm afraid my hatchling is on fire". Fenniel didn't say any of those things. Fenn said "Okay." And now she didn't know what to do. Oh, but wasn't he pretty.

"Um. The bedroom's over there. It's just got the one bed, but it's big."

"Oh, uh, okay. Um, I can sleep on the floor?" He tilted his head a little, his pinchable cheeks pink as roses.

"Oh no no, that's okay. I um..." Her poor braid was starting to unravel, but she couldn't stop pulling on it. It was hard to tell if he was looking right at her or not. She looked down at her hooves. "You go ahead and get settled, I'm going to tidy up a little before I sleep."

"Um, sure." He smiled shyly at her, and her knees wobbled a little. Then he was in the room, door shut behind him, and she guessed he was taking off his goggles, slipping out of his boots, setting all his armor on the floor. She dropped an empty vial on the floor at the thought, and it shattered.

"Is everything okay..?" The bedroom door opened a crack.

"Yes! Fine! Just dropped something, nothing big," she said, frantically sweeping up the shards of glass and tossing them in a wastebin. She'd feel awful if Cuddles got one stuck in her huge foot. She puttered aimlessly with her dried herbs, organizing them by color, then alphabetically by name, listening to the sounds of her elven guest getting ready for bed. At last the sounds stopped and she realized she was holding her breath. She exhaled, a warm, shaky whoosh, and crept to the bedroom. "Everything okay?" she whispered.

"Yeah! I'm good. It's very comfortable, thank you." She pulled the door open a little more and peered in. It was pretty dark. The light from the window only lit up part of his arm. She gulped.

"That's good. Uh." WHAT NOW? EARTHMOTHER HELP ME! WHAT DO I DO?! I'd really, REALLY like some of my confidence back, please. Now would be good. There was no answer, and she nearly bolted for the door. Instead, she called on the spirits and pleaded with them to help, if the Earthmother wouldn't. The feline answered, and Libby shifted quickly, nuzzling the door the rest of the way open with her nose, padding lightly across the floor on her soft cat's paws. Nosing up over the edge of the bed, she looked at Fenn. She could see very well now. He was looking at her, squinting a little without the goggles on, a few marks still visible across the bridge of his nose and across his forehead from where they once sat. He smiled warmly. He didn't look nervous at all! She envied him.

"Did--did you want to sleep here?"

She leaped lightly into the bed next to him in answer, stretching and turning twice before curling up at his side. He patted her head, then scratched the back of her neck. Purring loudly, she covered her nose with her paws and closed her eyes.

"Goodnight, Libby."


Monday, August 24, 2009

Retro RP: Ysani and the Orphan

Children's Week is celebrated in WoW with an orphan-sponsoring event. You pick up a small orc or elf child from the orphanage for the week and run around the world doing different things they want to do. Ysani's orc really wanted to eat ice cream.


The small orc stared at her from across the glass-topped table where they sat, kicking his short legs absently in the air. They made an odd couple in the Legerdemain's dining area. It seemed that ice cream had emboldened the little fellow, and he finally spoke the first full sentence she'd heard him utter since she'd had him thrust upon her in Orgrimmar, smears of strawberry courage painting much of his mouth and jaw. "What happened to your face?" Ysani blinked. Usually people were too polite to ask. Poor little guy hasn't got parents OR manners...

She coughed. "A bird tried to eat it."

"Neat." She grimaced as the tyke (how old IS he anyway? I hope he doesn't need diapers. Please, Light help me if he wets the bed) lowered his head to the dish of melted pink soup at his elbow and tipped it up to his mouth, slurping it loudly down. It was her turn to stare, and she tossed her hair forward a bit to hide more of her face from the matter-of-fact little beast.

"So... is it your bedtime now?"

The boy shook his head. "Matron lets me stay up late late, long as I want."

Oh c'mon, he's being sly. Don't fall for that. "You need your sleep, you're a growing young soldier of the Horde." Now she had his attention.

"I can't wait to get big and strong! I want my very own axe and a wolf to ride and I wanna chop off a.. a... a MILLION elf heads!" Is he frothing at the mouth....? Oh, it's just ice cream... ugh...

"Well, if you don't sleep plenty growing up, you won't get the big strong muscles you need to swing a big axe like this." She lifted the huge battleaxe off her back and held it beside her, the solid ironwood handle slipping through her loose fist until the lightly-weighted end banged against the floor, the faintly glowing, razor-sharp blade showcased proudly next to her face. The look of awe on his green-pink countenance was almost overwhelmingly funny, and she grinned, pushing back a laugh as he gawked at her weapon.

"So, think you can be a sport and get to bed now? I'll even let you sleep on the floor. It'll be like camping, but with nicer blankets."

"Well.... okay. But tomorrow, can you show me where I can find elfs to kill? I wanna know where I can start choppin'!"

"I dunno... what's the magic word?"

A brief pause, his face contorted with a mighty effort. "...Please, ma'am."

I suppose that'll do. Even an orc can learn please, thank you and how d'ye do.



"I gotta piss."

... this is going to be a very long week.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Autopsy of a memory: When Haydren Met Lamis

I'm working on some plot-forwarding Lamis fiction this morning, and I got stuck just a paragraph in. Then I realized that I was listening to the Temptations. It's pretty much impossible to stay inside her fucked-up head when "My Girl" is on the radio. I've switched to something much darker and it seems to be helping.

A few days ago I wondered how exactly Lamis got tangled up with a guy like Haydren. This story was the result, and I liked how it helped to flesh out both characters. Lamis was an odd one long before her undeath threw what remained of her balance out of whack, and Haydren, for all his psychotic tendencies, can come off as a very charming fellow. I might even like him if he wasn't trying to hunt down one of my favorite characters and do terrible things to her.


She walked past the Farstrider compound every morning at exactly 7:34. You could set your watch by it. A sober little thing, she wore the same plain, spotlessly white shift and carried the same linen shoulderbag every single day, a bundle of books tucked neatly under one arm. She ignored catcalls, although some of the more suggestive ones would bring a blush to her cheeks and she'd walk just a little bit faster on her way past the archery range. Unlikely, perhaps, that such a reserved soul would catch his eye, but her rigid schedule amused him, and he began to choose good vantage points along her path to observe the blonde woman when she came by.

After a while he caught himself waiting for her, planning his mornings around those few minutes. He took breakfast alone to be sure he wasn't late; he went to the range early and practiced tirelessly, if distractedly, while he waited. It was a long time before he really began to understand what drew him to her--before he would even admit that she had any effect on him whatsoever. Sure, he got a kick out of her unfailing punctuality, her always sameness, but that was certainly not a reason for him to admire her. It dawned on him one evening as he waited for sleep, so often long in coming, that it was the delicacy of her features and her intensity of expression that pulled him to her. She reminded him of someone he knew. Someone special. It was only a matter of time, then, before he approached her, stepping into her path at precisely 7:35 with a short, stiff bow and a charming smile.

"Good morning," he said.

She stopped short and looked over her shoulder, then back at the curly-haired Farstrider. "Hello?"

High and sweet, her voice belied her age. His grin widened. "I'm Haydren."


Haydren offered a large, warm hand, and she took it hesitantly. He closed it around her fingers. They were scalded pink, and the trace of roughness on the pads of her palm and the tips of her fingers betrayed a working woman. "I've noticed you coming through. Where are you off to, pretty lady?" Her ears reddened.


"Not primary school, though."

She humored the obvious question and shook her blonde head, ponytail wagging behind her. "First aid, mostly. Triage. Sometimes I assist with surgeries."

"A nurse, then." He looked both immensely pleased and endlessly amused, the spark of humor in his eyes encouraging and intimidating at the same time.

"Yes." She grinned in spite of herself, proud of her studies and compelled to reflect some of his gaiety. He was unprepared; he had never seen her smile in all the months he'd been watching her, and it wrought a breathtaking change in her pale, serious face. She was actually rather lovely, showing a row of good, even teeth and a soft crease under her eyes. A fleeting urge to kiss her was quickly repressed. Instead, he put his hand over his heart and swooned dramatically while she flushed and shot a furtive glance toward the range and its lazy audience of smirking bowyers.

"Radiant creature, I must have more of your company. Will you let me buy you a drink? Or perhaps breakfast. A trip to the stars? Anything, just name it and it's yours."

"I can't. I'm going to be late."

His face fell comically, and he clutched her hand to his chest this time, entreating her to feel the broken pieces of his heart. "Please, dear lady, don't leave me this way. After class, are you spoken for? Say no, or you'll tromp what remains of my shredded heart."

"I'm not busy."

A triumphant grin threatened to split his handsome face, and again Lamis found it impossible not to smile back, in spite of the fact that he was making her late. He put his other hand over hers, enveloping it, effectively caging her small fingers. "When shall I meet you?"

"Class is over at 3 o'clock on the dot. I'll be at the Walk of Elders at five after, if you like."

"Oh, I like; never has a truer word been spoken, Lady Lamis."

"Now please excuse me, I have to go." She pulled her hand out of his and walked around the corner at a brisk pace just shy of a run. He watched her until she was out of sight, then chuckled and wandered back to his post.

"Getting desperate, are we?"

"You could have picked one with tits. Or money."

"I heard she's a third cousin of someone who actually matters."

"Ooo, an almost-somebody."

"Shut up, Selron."

"He'll get sick of her in a month."

"Ha! No doubt. She'll be wishing she'd taken Murder Row instead."

Haydren notched an arrow, ignoring the smug commentary of his companions and beaming inwardly. He had a good feeling about this. She was the promise of sunshine, and he was tired of living under a cloud.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bizwhack's Tattoo Parlor

Ysani found an earring in Serpentshrine Caverns a week ago and she just could not get it out of her head... or her hand. Ayren never let her get her ears pierced growing up, and it was such a pretty, cunning little loop. Questioning the nearest tattooed freak, she got the name of one of the more respected goblins in the business. This is how she ended up in the desert, waiting.


Three gold ringlets twirled endlessly around the tip of her forefinger, spun by a thumb full of nervous tension. Ysani sat in a small goblin shop in Gadgetzan, watching the aging penguin-dotted paper peel off the walls. It's so dirty in here. This can't be sanitary, can it? No, no. Everything in Tanaris looks dirty. It's all the... dirt. Yeah. I'm sure it's fine. Ooo. What a pretty tattoo. A display of drawings caught her eye, colorful renditions of animals, weapons, flowers, and dark, monochrome tribal patterns lined up on the heavy paper. She had a few seconds to contemplate where she would put a tattoo of a muffin before the dark-skinned, scrawny proprieter came back from his lunch.

The goblin had to look up at her even though she sat on one of the diminutive stools in the room. His ears and face positively bristled with studs, rings and barbells. A particularly cruel-looking, tooled titanium ring sunk into the bridge of his enormous, hawkish nose caught the desert sunlight and reflected it in her eye. She squinted. He issued a dry, barking cough of a laugh and pulled a pipe out of his vest. What she had thought to be exceptionally dark goblin skin was actually a series of close-packed tribal designs in deep green ink. Up close, the patterns were more visible, swirling up, down and around each small, sinewy arm and over his exposed belly and chest. He grinned at her curious gaze and gave her a little wink as he lit his pipe. "Yar, sweet'un. They do go all the way down. I can show yer if y'want."

"N-no thanks, sir. I just uh..." She dropped the gold rings into her palm and held them out to the goblin, too flustered to articulate what she wanted. He scooped them delicately out of her hand. His skin was dry.

"Yer loss, sweet'un. That's all right then. Just a few holes for yer today, lemme guess. One each in those pretty titties," --these he eyed unabashed-- "and one fer yer--"

Alarmed, she cut him off. "No sir! Ears, please."

Was that a pout? "Yar. Wastin' m'talents here, sweets. Can I talk yer into a little extry bit a'somethin' shiny fer a discount?" He flicked a surprisingly well-shaped green finger at one of her nipples and she kicked him in the shin, her entire face gone red as watermelon. He winced and barked another one of those strange, smoke-ruined laughs. "A'right, no titties then. Yer breakin' m'heart. Go on and sit in that chair."

A large mirror opposite the cracked leather seat reflected the paladin and the goblin perched on a stack of crates behind her. He was all business now. "Where yer wantin' 'em?" He used his slim, dry fingers to plot out suitable points along her long, slender ears. She pinched her earlobes dubiously, and he shook his head at her in the mirror. "Yer gonna like 'em better up here, doll. Looks good and yer not gonna be hidin' 'em under all that hair." He batted at a crimson lock and smiled at her.

She opened her mouth to protest, then shut it. He's the expert. And he's right, nobody could see them there. He chuckled at her silent nod and pulled a felt-tipped marker out of his pocket.

"Three, eh? All on one side or split?"

"Two on the left, close together. And the other on the right." One for Mother, one for Father, one for Keilos. She smiled to herself, swallowing the lump in her throat. He patted her shoulder and dotted her ears with three swift, graceful flicks of the wrist. He gestured for her to approve of his placement. She nodded. "That looks good."

Ysani was more than a little surprised when he healed the freshly-pierced holes, cupping his clever hands around the tips of her ears and their slim golden rings to mutter a rust-throated prayer. "You're a priest?"

"Yer could say that. Do what yer love, and do what makes a livin'. Sometimes yer lucky and y'can do both, eh?" He patted the top of her head. "All done. That's thirty." She counted out her coins, and he grinned broadly as he pocketed her generous tip and waved her out the door. "Now don't forget what I said, yer good fer a discount on that pretty busum anytime yer change y'mind."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

RP time: Ysani at the Argent Tournament

Keilos and Keltyr have decided that Ysani should enter the Argent Crusade's jousting tournament to keep her busy, so she doesn't sit around the city all day stewing and jumping at shadows.

I should note that Ysani has little to no affinity for animals, and harbors a phobia for bird-like creatures since a dragonhawk tried to eat her face in a bit of a wrangling accident years ago. She has permanent scars and a blind eye from it, but it isn't a good enough excuse to get her out of the standard rules for the tournament. She must use the chosen mount of her faction until they permit her to move on. This means she will have to suck it up and deal.

Fortunately for her, Keilos is happy to help.


"Okay, I think that's enough jousting for me," said the redhead, turning abruptly and walking away from the arena. A hand grabbed the back of her tabard and she stopped short with a strangled

"You haven't even started yet, love." Keilos put his arms around her reassuringly and she pressed her face into his chest. His tabard was freezing cold on her cheek and smelled like their room at the Legerdemain. She picked a cat hair off of it. Keilos cleared his throat. "Ysani, you're stalling."

"But Kei..."
Light help me, I'm whining. What a baby! Just go over there! ... oh no no NO, they want me to ride that? A squire holding the reins to an exceedingly large, black hawkstrider was closing in on them. Ysani watched him approach with saucer eyes and whimpered, clinging more tightly to Keilos. She made no move to extricate herself, and pretty soon both squire and elf were looking at her. Waiting. "Ummmm... see, I kinda feel sick to my stomach. I think I have the flu. Maybe I should start this another day."


"Yes, Kei?"

"If you really can't do this today, I'm not going to force you to get on that bird. But are you
sure you can't? Look at me. Are you really ready to give up so soon?"

Ysani pouted into his white mageweave front. "Well... noooo."
Yeeessss. She clung to him. He reached out his hand and patted the bird's flank. It squawked cheerfully, and her eyes widened even more.

"This is one of the hawkstriders I used when I started jousting. I asked for him specifically... he's the most gentle and good-tempered of the lot. Don't let his size scare you. He's a sweetheart." The bird looked at Keilos pleadingly, making the blonde knight chuckle. "I see he still remembers me. I always brought his favorite treat, and he's expecting it now. Wait here."

Detaching himself from Ysani's fierce embrace, Keilos trotted over to the troll across the way and quickly returned with a small stack of honey buns. "Here we are. Give me a hand with feeding him, love. There's a trick to it, though...he can't just have them. If he could, he'd be fat as a pony by now. So he has to work for his treats." Kei quickly broke one of the sticky cakes into quarters and held out a piece to the red-haired knight. "Here. Take this and hold it up where he can see it. Then tell him to "down." He can't have the cake until he does what you tell him to."

She held the treat gingerly between her fingers. It trembled at arm's length for a moment, and she cleared her throat. "Down..?"

The bird didn't move, only kept his eyes locked on the cake in the girl's fingers. Keilos chuckled and rested his hands on Ysani's shoulders. "Say it like you
mean it, love. It's not a question. I'm right here. If it looks like anything's going to go wrong, I can shield you. You're safe."

She wanted to close her eyes, but she didn't dare with the huge bird's attention glued to her and the sticky bit in her hand. She tried to find a little courage under the big lump of scared sitting in her gut. A lot of digging yielded a tiny red lick of pissed-off, and she ran with it, setting to work on stoking the fire.
You aren't the boss of me, you big idiot. You're a bird with a brain the size of my thumb. Your cousins drown when it rains. I'm too strong and too smart to let an oversized dustmop keep me from success. You hear that, big tall 'n ugly? You aren't going to keep me from winning. I'm going to win, I have to win, I WILL win, and you are not going to stand in my Light-forsaken way! "DOWN!" she bellowed, garnering the stares of everyone within fifty yards.

Keilos kept his silence, only grinning as the hawkstrider dropped into a crouch on the ground promptly. The bird's eyes, he noticed, were still fixed on the treat, and if a beaked creature could drool, he suspected the 'strider would be. "Don't forget to pay him," he said softly. "You can toss the cake to him if you don't feel like letting him eat from your hand yet. He's good at catching."

A gentle underhand toss was caught handily by the beast's long yellow beak. Ysani managed a smile, a tiny dimple surfacing at the corner of her mouth. Keilos kissed it. It deepened. "See? That wasn't so bad, was it?"

"It was okay." Her smile faded a little as he watched her, expectantly. "I need to do more than feed it, don't I?"


Ysani sighed and looked at the overgrown crouching turkey. It looked like it would be a simple matter to hoist one leg over its wide back, and she took a small step in its direction. It cocked its head to the side, no doubt scenting out the cringing fear that oozed out of her pores. For a wonder, it sat still. A moment later she was in the saddle, and it hopped up on its feet, nearly bouncing her off in the process. "Waagh!" She clung tightly to its neck, the toe of one boot scrambling wildly in search of the stirrup. For a brief and awful moment she was sure she'd slip right over the polished saddle and into Kei, who stood close by and looked as though he was trying desperately not to laugh. Finally her foot caught and she steadied herself, rocking with the creature's bobbing motion. She wondered if it might make her puke again, and decided she was too little removed from hangover territory to speculate on the matter.

"Are you settled?"

"Uh... I think so."

"All right. Now. This really isn't too terribly different from riding your charger - just a tad bouncier." Keilos took the hawkstrider's reins from the squire and handed one of them up to Ysani. "Here...just hold on to that with your left hand, and make sure it stays loose. I've got control of the featherhead here with the other one. Don't switch hands with your reins, because you won't be able to do that when you have a lance in hand. I'll start slow and walk the two of you around the arena a few times so you can get used to each other. Just relax, all right? And don't fret. You're past the hard part now, it's all downhill from here."

I really, really want to believe you. I'd also really like some of my dignity back. Pony rides are for little kids, not fully-grown women. Fully-grown women who can look an old god in the face and say boo. "I guess I'll try not to fall off." He nodded. She smiled sweetly, assuming an air of bravado she didn't really feel. "If you laugh, I'm going to draw a mustache on your face while you sleep."

Keilos looked at her solemnly. "I don't laugh at people who are being brave and doing something I know scares the hell out of them." Without giving her time to reconsider, Kei clucked to the bird and began to lead it forward at a sedate walk. She was almost too touched to remember she was afraid.

How did I get so lucky?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Blood in the gears

I'm working out a bit of Lamis's character, and it's hard, but I'm finding that it's being helped along by my own starey, unstable mood (to be honest, the two may be feeding off each other, growing into something bigger than they would be alone). I am not sure if this is a good thing, but it makes me both happy and sad to see my tough-shit DK in such a vulnerable position. She hasn't let down her guard this much since before she died, and even then I really couldn't say how long it might have been. She is not in the habit of lowering the drawbridge. Her moat is a mile-wide churning bottomless froth filled with slithering beasts more maw than body, and this is because Castle Lamis is made of glue and tissue paper.


Returning to the days when she first began her spiral, I pick up signs of the coming break. The inability to sleep, dark circles under her eyes. Dealing with guild sins (or going long out of her way not to deal with them) drains her, puts cracks in her defenses, revealing old wounds she locked away rather than bare them to the sun to heal. Suddenly old trouble is right under her skin, and she feels his presence in her dark hours, smirking at her decline. Of course he is happy to see it; she deserves this for daring to think she can make it in this world without him, without any part of him. She deserves it because she cried, she deserves it because she begged. She deserves it because she cringed whenever he put his hands on her. Ysani would have known to tell a story, or dance a twirl across the room, or laugh infectiously in his dark and handsome face. Lamis does not know to do any of things, and so she must suffer.

She suffers for what she doesn't know.

He calls her baby, tenderly, this is the voice of making up, of apology, of benevolence. He humors her, helps her. He wants her to be what pleases him. When she is not, he is silent, a shadow with fists and hard, angry feet. He knocks her down to hear her cry. He makes her bleed. Her cries are never answered until the storm is past, and soon she learns to be as silent as he when the storms begin. Her acceptance only frustrates him, she ought to smile to stave off the blows, not take them endlessly. One day she is gone, and he allows it. She is impossible, she is wrong, she will never be what he wants. She isn't worth chasing.

It is a new beginning for Lamis, and she finds her inner discipline echoed in the soothing pulse of the Light. Here is her refuge, here is her rebirth. She builds her walls here in the halls of the holy, taking strength in the force of her devotion. The Light takes her love and gives it back even more beautiful than it left her; the Light never kicks or humiliates her for stumbling at prayers, for choosing the wrong word or gesture, for speaking when she ought to sing.

This is her loss, the mindless gravity in her core that steals her sanity. The loss of Light, the break in communication. She longs for it but it is severed from her. Her love will never again be returned to her, gilded and inspiring. Her life is a bitter ache, a joke without a punchline, full of pain and enemies who thoughtlessly prod and tear at what remains of her tattered heart. She closes the door.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Retro Hour: Meet Ysani

I've had a huge cup of coffee (black, just the way I like it) and I think it's time for some retro. Ysani needs an introduction to go with all the screenshots! I'm so buzzed. Weee.


Vranesh gave her the creeps. She watched him furtively from beneath the curtain of tangled crimson hair that hung over much of her face, an unkempt hairstyle that inspired a great deal of exasperation (and, she suspected, a guilty sense of relief) in her big brother, Ayren. That worthy was just out of earshot, bowing deeply to Silvermoon's eminent blood knight champion. Her hands twitched in her lap.

When both men turned to look at her, she lowered her good eye and attempted to shrink into the bench and disappear. To her dismay, the soft pad of Ayren's leather boots and the sharper clang of ceremonial plate moved toward her, the sounds loud in her ears and causing a twist in both her mouth and her stomach, which she'd forgotten to fill with breakfast. Her lips moved almost imperceptibly as she whispered to herself.
I am Ysani Cloudbreaker, invisible girl.

"Ysani Cloudbreaker, front and center." Vranesh had an unmistakable voice, clipped, dry and humorless, and it made her cringe. Rising slowly, the pale girl executed a halfhearted salute. "Sloppy. Stand up straight, shoulders back. And for light's sake, put your head up and show a little discipline." Ysani complied reluctantly, straightening her back, lifting her chin to stare blankly ahead through her wild red locks, taking in the champion's expression without looking directly at him.

The blood knight appraised her, his arms clasped stiffly behind his back, upper lip drawing up in a sneer that seemed to grow by minute degrees the longer he looked at her. Finally he spoke, an irritated edge to the words he directed over her shoulder at the lanky, tanned elf who would be horrified if baby sis called him Ren-Ren in public.

"I don't know what kind of favors you had to call in to get this miserable piece of work initiated into the Order, nor do I want to know." He paused, his cold, glaring eyes turning back to Ysani. "Your brother has an excellent reputation for dedicated service with the Shattered Sun, and it would behoove you to understand that this reputation, and nothing else, has purchased your continued tenure with the Order." Vranesh took a deep breath, and she groaned inwardly.
He's going to give a speech, why is it always a speech? ... Did I remember to make my bed? I hope I did, I don't need more demerits. ... I hope there are some biscuits left in the mess hall, I'm so hungry. ... Oh wow, when did I break a nail? Ugh, it almost got down into the quick, you'd think I would remember having done that-

Vranesh barked, his eyes boring into her as he thundered, "Initiate! Pay attention, I'm only going to say this once. No amount of pulled strings will help you from here on out. You may have underachieved your way through your primers out in the sticks, but you are in my city now. Here your training is at my discretion. If your performance is unsatisfactory, I will not hesitate to expel you. Do I make myself clear?"

Her throat was dry as sandpaper, and she attempted to swallow, her reply hoarse and inaudible. She cleared her throat and tried again. "Yes, sir."

"Cloudbreaker," he said, addressing the elder of the two as though Ysani were not present (she still wasn't sure whether to be happy or annoyed when her Invisible Girl trick actually worked... it usually meant she was being treated like a child, and this time was no different), "Be aware that there is no room for pity or lenience among the knights of the Order. All initiates must pass the same rigorous tests," and he spat the word with more than a little distaste, "
disabilities notwithstanding." Vranesh turned to her, the corner of his mouth turning up in a smug approximation of a smile. "I guess you could say... I won't turn a blind eye to imperfection."

Mouth contorting into a snarl, Ysani barely restrained the urge to throw herself at him in a fury and knock him to the ground, pummeling his smug, aristocratic face into paste. She could feel her brother tense and step toward her, a gesture of protection and a warning for her to keep her temper, his voice taking on a coldness she was not accustomed to hearing. "That was uncalled for, Champion. I do not expect her to be treated differently, for good or for ill... keep that in mind, or I will be forced to defend her by any means necessary." Ayren drew himself up to his full height and glared down at Vranesh, restrained but clearly demonstrating that he was and always would be, regardless of rank or honor, a hulk of red-headed farmboy with a temper to match.

Vranesh sniffed dismissively and turned away from the fiery pair, calling back over his shoulder as he mounted his precious warsteed. "Your threats are meaningless. I will treat her how I please, and she will earn better or suffer. And you," he smirked down from his perch at the seething woman with her hands balled up into tight fists at her sides, "you'd better get to class, you're late."

The champion rode stiffly across the common, one last chore to take care of before breakfast. Passing through an alley, he pulled up outside of the familiar hall, his nose wrinkling as he pounded on the door. Fabrio's timid eye appeared at the peephole. "Open up, official business for Keltyr Sunsworn." He dropped a crisp envelope bearing Liadrin's seal into the secretary's hand and spurred his horse toward home.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another dream? Ugh, don't read this. I'm not crazy.

I really don't want to post this, but since I've started on the dream catalog it seems dumb to stop now, especially since they're so goddam vivid. I'm in a weird mood now, and I don't want to play.


Yet another visit to the compound in the woods where my parents and grandparents live. (My dreams are always coming back to my grandmother's house and I'm not sure why. It's an all-the-time thing, once I even dreamed I witnessed a nuclear incident from up on the hill near the end of their driveway. It's a common setting, as are the woods around the house. They live in a hundred-year-old Christmas tree farm, I guess. It's full of douglas fir. It almost always looks more fantastic and brooding and awesome in my dreams than it is irl. It looks more real and more fake at the same time.) I'm in the kitchen and I hear a noise from the living room. I go look.

There's a recliner set by the patio doors, and in it is a lump of carpet scraps stapled to jello. I get closer and I see that it seems to have some kind of form, and looks matted. It has a wrinkled portion at one end and when I get close, it opens its wrinkled mouth and eyes and sniffs me. It's a dog. A very, very old dog. And it belongs to my great-grandmother (who lives with my grandparents, for real).

It can tell I am female and of bearing age, and before I realize what the hell is going on it's nipped open the front of my shirt with its teeth. It is upset that I'm wearing a tank top underneath, and rouses itself to pounce on me and hump my (leg? please say leg, I don't know)-- but then I swat this stupid old muppet-dog and tell it NO. It growls, annoyed, but it leaves me alone.

Some other stuff happened, but I can't really remember so well. I just know I narrowly avoided being raped by a muppet, and it's got me a little creeped.

Ysani is home. Finally.

Ysani's back in town, after wrapping up this whole abduction story. Keilos ex Machina (thanks, Lin :P) got her home at the 11th hour and all that. Unfortunately, or interestingly, or both, Haydren the Bad Dude is still looking to get a little revenge on her. Or something. The guy ain't all right, and whatever secrets he may be hiding are mine to keep and yours to find out. Right now, we know he's in Northrend. And he's met up with Lamis of all people. Nothing good can come of this. Everything awesome can come of this. Stay tuned!


"I'm sorry."

"Sorry for what, love?" Keilos stroked her hair sleepily, his arm tucked neatly under her head. He made a nice pillow.

"For putting you through all this. It makes me feel kinda sick knowing I could have prevented it if I'd just known to tell you, you know?"

He kissed her temple, gently. It made her shiver. "Ysani, you know what they say about hindsight."

"I--I know." She chewed on it a while longer anyway, her eyes open and thoughtful in the dark. Kei's body was warm against hers. "I just--"

"Hmm?" He was nodding off, his hand drifting from her hair down to her side where it traced the soft skin over her tailbone.

"I should tell you if something's not right."



His eyes flickered open. "What is it, love?"

"I think I have to tell you something." She had his full attention now. He brought her in even closer, bundling her up under the blankets.

"You can tell me anything."

"I'm scared."


Tell him. "It's kind of a long story."

"So tell me. I'm not going anywhere." He paused, his mouth set in a firm line. She could see it in the low light that came in through the window. His arms closed even more tightly around her in a vaguely possessive gesture, which was somehow comforting. "And neither are you. All-night curfew, Fabrio's orders."

Ysani took a deep breath, then exhaled slowly. I love you. "I think we're in danger."

"Ayren." His body tensed against hers, and she could hear his teeth grit.

"No. Ayren made some mistakes--"

"Big mistakes."

"--some big mistakes," she acknowledged, "but he's not dangerous by himself." A few moments passed, and she thought maybe he'd fallen asleep after all. "Kei--?"

"Tell me." She talked about Haydren Sunsorrow until she had nothing more to tell. She was glad it didn't take long. The last thing she wanted was to be talking about it until dawn paled the curtains.

He lay there quietly for a long time. She listened to him breathe.

"I love you," she said.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Retro RP: Meet Lamis

I killed Lamis when the second plague hit Azeroth. Well, technically she got plagued and the goblins killed her, but it was all my idea. The PoL Master was falling deeply into drink, for many assumed and actual reasons, most of which were known only to herself. She got a second run when the Lich King reanimated her. This was her introduction.


The fires were banked for the night, but there was one last thing to take care of before the worn patriarch sent his children off to bed. Daily attacks by the Scourge had chipped fiercely at their routine and stolen the woman from his side, but one thing would not change, he thought grimly to himself. A birthday is a birthday, and he'd be loathe to let it slide. He singled out the eldest with a smile.

A dark figure paused outside the window, unnoticed. Beneath her hood, eyes that burned with cold fire assessed the family. Dark lips twitched up at the corners, a hollow imitation of the father. She could see a small gift change hands, joy flitting across the faces of the young. She mimicked them all, briefly, feeling the muscles of her face contort and twist. The man produced small pieces of candy from his pocket. She recognized the hunger stamped on the faces of the little ones, so eager for a little taste... she was cold once more, expressionless in the dark, waiting with stony patience as they ate and laughed. Soon they scattered, trudging off to the warmth of their beds, and the man slumped into an overstuffed chair in front of the fire.

She moved quickly. The old man never saw her, and his death was silent but for the sound of his head rolling across the floor. All of them went silently under the edge of her blade, until only one remained. She entered his room. The eldest of the flock slept oblivious to her, the tiny wraith of dripping sword. She could see the lines of his jaw had begun to firm out, dotted with a pale shadow of stubble. He was a young man, trading pretty for handsome. Resting her blade over her shoulder, she stared impassively down at him. Her lips twitched again, an affectionate smile forming on the cold muscle she wore like a mask. A swift movement and she was straddling his chest, his arms pinned to his sides under her hideous strength. She cooed, an alien sound in the twilight, cold, gauntleted hand clamped over the boy's mouth. His eyes rolled with fear, and she could see it, taste it, curdling on the air. It was delicious.

"Darling, why so afraid?" He froze at the sound of that voice. High and sweet, it cajoled even as it gripped his gut with icy fingers of horror. She could feel his mind begin to go. That, too, was a heady fragrance in the dark. She leaned forward and whispered in his ear. "Fear not, my darling. For you, the darkness will be the end, and it. will. be. bliss." The last thing he saw was loving concern stamped eerily on her features. Lamis withdrew her blade and leaned in once more, the hollow, rotten ache at her core soothed by the gurgling sounds he made as he lay dying. "Happy birthday, sweetheart."

School started. Hubby's leaving. And I keep having dreams.

The kid's happy, he's excited to go to school. I can't complain. But we got less than a week to go before Iraq happens and I have to admit I hate to see him go this time. A paycheck is a paycheck, though. Gotta pay the bills.

So this dream.

I was in this country club, it was full of snobs and military men, ex-military men and snobs. They sold me a membership to their club. I paid $200, on credit. The receptionist held my card. Did I want to add $50 for towels? Gym access, $50, a month. "Uhh," I said. I came up with a plan. They all stared at me like dogshit. I rolled out my excuse. "I'll sign up for that next week, after my husband goes back to Iraq." Oh, the horror. "My god," said the one who looked like my recruiter. I nodded. "See you in a week. When I start working out and all."

So I go out to the parking lot, there's this fucking sports car out there. I have the keys. I guess it's a loaner from the club, you know? Well, I sit down in the thing. It purrs when you turn it on, no lie. So I'm trying to get out of this parking lot just before dusk and there's some kinda bullshit road construction and a block on my right side. I can't see for shit. People are waiting for me to go. I can't. There are cones! Well, eventually I see how I'm supposed to get out. It's stupid easy and makes me feel like a retard who ought to be wearing mittens and drooling on a tray, not in a fucking Lamborghini or whatever the hell kind of car this is but goddam, is it fast. It's tearing up the road, and I just drive and drive. It's beautiful. I drive all down those country roads in bumfuck nowhere and pretty soon I'm turned back around looking for my street, the road that will take me up to where my parents live, up in the woods.

I see the sign, it's got the right name on it, just this dirt road cutting off from the highway and curving around. I have to park the car, you just can't drive on a road so narrow. It's nuts. I leave the keys in it and start walking. I crest this hill and there's two houses right there at the top, houses made of nothing but the hollowed-out rotten stumps of trees and hippie junk everywhere. They're like hobbit-holes without any goddam doors. Nobody's in them that I can see. I keep going. The trees clear up and I can see all these gorgeous rocks, this ancient open space full of odd rock formations and red-gold sunset boulders the color of clay and they're beautiful, I can see this old ladder I used to climb to get to the forest up above all this stone, and it's hanging from another one of those gorgeous rock ledges. The end of it's broken, it's too short to reach the rock below it. Not even close. Well, Fuck.

So I decide I'll keep going. Maybe the road goes somewhere good, maybe there's even more beautiful things to see. I'm wrong. It ends, a whole fucking box canyon made of this lovely clay. I don't know what to do, so I stand there. Soon I'm hearing music. It's muffled, faint as hell. I start climbing on some of the rocks. Some of it's rock, some looks like camouflaged wood and cardboard and shit. The music is louder. I hear a door slam. I look down from this rock/roof I've climbed up on. There's a door in the side of the canyon/wall. It's a fucking kitchen. I can see a logo printed everywhere. Some fucking bar and grill. I get down from the rocks and approach the door. A girl opens it. "You got something I can cover up with?" I say. She looks down, horrified. Also amused. I'm completely naked. Somehow my hands and arms are covering most of the damage, but she points to this crazy apron. A passing girl laughs. They're waitresses. "You got anything bigger than that? I'll work for it."

And that's how I got a job slinging grub at snotty country club douchebags in the side of a fucking cliff.