Monday, March 22, 2010

[RP] The Faire, Chapter 3

[I have discovered that Thiyenn prefers not to speak in strict timelines. Because of this, I am going to continue posting her story in short pieces, with a non-linear format. I do apologize for any confusion this may cause, and will try my best to keep things as ordered as they need to be for the sake of coherence.]

Mama. It was all I would say, through the weeks we traveled over the sea, then through valleys and over mountains, through forests so dense we could hear rain above but never saw so much as a drip. Without mama, I was lost. I had no axis, no tether. I was a planet without orbit, flung out into the void. My shoa understood, but he did not pity. His goal was to make me strong.

There was no room for pity.

"Eat," he said. It was raining, but he had found shelter for us in a hollow in the base of the mountains that towered over us to the west. It was a shallow cave, full of spiders. These he burned away with a torch, and the vaguely meaty smell of roasting insects and smoke made our bellies growl. He depended on the world to feed us; we rarely ate what few rations he carried in his packs. Sometimes he conjured bread and water from nothing. This bread was dry and simple, the water flat. It sufficed to feed us when nothing remained.

"Mama." I wanted to be home. I wanted Mama, not bread; nor did I want the soup he made of herbs, grubs, and tubers he dug out of the rich, mineral-smelling earth. I refused most food, I had grown gaunt. His patience, too, wore thin.

"Eat," he said.

"Mama," I cried.

My tears angered him, and when he set aside my portion and took my chin in his hands, I wondered if he might harm me. My bones were twigs, my body small, and he, who in those days seemed so big I felt puny in his shadow, could have broken me into pieces if he so chose. Instead, he knelt before me where I sat leaning against the cool granite, and held my face so I could not look away. He filled my vision, I felt his warmth.

"You must give up such things as tears and sadness. Your family has given you over to accomplish great things. You must not disappoint them with weakness. I am your family now. I am your uncle, I am your father and mother. I am all the family you need." His hand tightened on my chin and his steel-grey eyes would not let mine go. "If you choose to wither and die, their hopes die with you, as do mine. Do you understand me, girl? Will you spite me with selfishness and take your blessings to a grave in the cold clay?"

I trembled.

"Will you allow me to guide you to a greater destiny than you can imagine? These are the days that will decide you. These are the trials that will temper you and show me your worth." Gravely, he released me and pressed the wooden bowl into my hands. "Now eat, little one, your bones are not yet finished growing."

I ate, though it was so much ash and dirt in my mouth. I ate, and it pleased him. I found that it pleased me to please him; his disapproval was a dagger in my chest, a weight on my soul. So began my studies, though I did not know it then. We had many years of training ahead of us.

As for my bones, they would finish their growth within the season. I was no more than fourteen years old.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Technicalities of Magic-Using: Inventing the Wheel

You may notice that in past WoW writings I've gone ahead and taken some... liberties in describing how magic works, and in particular shadow magic. I've been vague of course, since I'm describing something that isn't exactly, you know, real. But I'm curious what other people think of it, and whether any of what I've suggested in previous posts (
Teatime, the post just before this one, is the most solid example I have posted so far) sounds patently wrong, or even just a little off. When I think of people learning to use magic in a Warcraft setting, I think of visualization and mind-strengthening techniques, Nether-phasing, and of course, practice, practice, practice.

As I see it, it would require a huge amount of discipline, unless, perhaps, you were born with a mind that was already wired for it. I can also see how jealousies might arise in the community because so-and-so could be lazy and never practice and still do amazing things, while others had to work their asses off for half the skill. And perhaps (I've actually explored this somewhat with one of my characters), the wiring of a magical mind would seriously cripple one's ability to interact with 'normal' people. There's a lot of things to think about, and I certainly do.

I would like to spark some discussion on the topic and see what you all think. Post 'em if you got 'em, I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Friday, March 19, 2010

[RP] Teatime.

Authors: Ambika & Wueten

There was a breeze, but then there always was a breeze in Dalaran. This high up, one could not help but suffer the convection and drafts of the icy continent below. Thankfully, mages (being the sort of folk to prefer robes and gowns, not parkas) had devised a buffer that turned even the sharpest blade of glacier breath into a pleasant sigh with a hint of summer. Wueten contemplated this as he looked at the tea before him. The crockery was thick and egg-white, a perfectly round bowl with a single notch in the side.

Green tail, the tea was called. He forgot precisely what the term meant in Mag'har. Something about valley rabbits, he remembered that much; it took its name from the fat little red-orange bulb root that had catapulted in popularity after the Outland campaigns and was most commonly served whole in curious cups, wedged into a built-in notch. Soaked in water and left to steep like a tea bag, the root produced a strong, yet pleasant fragrance and was prized for its calming effects. The smell reminded him of lettuce and hickory, and, in his opinion, was sufficiently 'bracing' for him to put up with the sheer number of elves that usually habited this particular Dalaran cafe.

A cluster of outdoor tables graced the patio, always popular in the magically temperate weather inside the mage capitol. It was a quiet afternoon hour, and he and his blue-skinned guest had a modicum of privacy from other diners, if not from the heavy traffic of passers-by on the path beyond. Ambika didn't seem to notice one way or another. She ignored her own cup, whittling her thumbnail to the quick as she stared across the tiny but well-kept courtyard. Her clothes, while still of the usual fine fabrics and impeccable starch, fit poorly, her recent weight loss gone unnoticed to her normally critical tailor's eye.

Long minutes passed with only the clink of silver on dishes and the tiny clicks of the priestess's teeth as she worried her ragged nail. She paused, and her shadow darkened.

"You know, I'm told, and with good authority, that this is rather good for worriers like yourself," he said, the leafy, long-stranded tail of his drink dragging up the side of his coat. He'd chosen a rather heavy one, the color of old steel. "Let it steep too long and it will be strong enough to combat those little demons running around your head."

She stiffened, tilting her nose up ever so slightly. "I'm fine, thank you." The chill in her voice more or less negated the politeness of her words, and she wondered--very briefly, and only on a level of consciousness just below the surface--if being rude might be unwise. "I prefer to stay sharp. Difficult problems require a clear head, you know that better than most."

The lean Forsaken nodded in agreement, brows rising. He took another sip to mask the cold silence. Licking his lips to catch a spare drop he knew wasn't there, he continued. "Sadly though, I doubt those difficult problems will be solved with tea, but perhaps the answer is not to be found yet. Have a sip, someone of your steel-edged wit I think shan't be outdone by a little root."

Ambika snorted. "A surprising lot is undone by a little root." Her acid tone was not without some humor, and her hand moved to the cup. She raised it to her lips with a sigh, took just a sip of the warm, oddly tangy brew, then held it on her lap, cupping the pale ceramic in both hands to keep them occupied. It seemed all of her fingers were raw at the tips now.

One sharply raised eyebrow followed her motion. "Hmmm. Well, that was your first sip and you hardly seem 'undone', as it were. If anything it's helped a bit already. You've stopped biting your poor nails," he said mildly, one finger curling off his cup to gesture toward her abused hands. "Perhaps now you could give voice to what is vexing you so?"

Leveling a glare at him from across the table (a fine polished quartz with a subtle spark in sunlight, it reflected the pair up at each other), she made no move to hide her hands. Nor did she take another drink. "I'm close to something. I can feel an unusual source of energy just beyond my grasp, but I've been unable to access it. I've tried everything I can think of."

"A source of power? Well now, that is something. Magical in nature, I take it. Internal?" he asked.

She considered the question thoroughly before answering. "Well, technically yes, the practical magics that most study and use require some sort of personal conduit, as far as I can tell. There are some exceptions--I'm sure you've used magical spells that are bound to scrolls--in that case, the paper itself provides the connection. But even then, someone had to bind the spell to paper. Channeling magic of any real power requires a malleable mind and the ability to look at a problem from unique angles. Much like you might learn the trick of a lock or the set of a trap by examining it from several angles or using a different tool, a magic user must learn to adapt her mind to the type of energy she is trying to control." The cup was warm against her mouth. "I may have discovered something big on the other side."

"You know, the irony is, by all accounts, I should not exist according to the laws of nature, and yet I do. Despite that supernatural background, when you say, 'the other side' I still draw a blank," he replied.

Raising an eyebrow, the dainty troll took a leisurely sip of tea and returned her cup to the folds of silk at her lap. "I channel much of my power from the Nether. It exists alongside this particular plane, but most never see it because there are barriers in place in both worlds, and in the mind, that prevent it. Much like a muscle, the mind strengthens and is able to perform required functions more efficiently, and at greater levels of power, when properly exercised and stimulated." She managed a smirk. "One isn't required to understand the shadow to benefit from it. But I deviate from the point. When I am phased, I can feel something that gives to pressure but will not be breached, and it's driving me mad."

"So in essence, you can feel the wall, and you can strike the wall, but for the life of you it won't break..?" he ventured, after a pause.

After half a cup the tea did indeed begin to have a minor calming effect, she noted with clinical interest.

"I would say more of a lock, if we're going to continue using metaphors. I've tried a number of keys to get it to turn and open for me. None quite tip the balance."

He took one drink, then another, watching the bulb float like a fisherman's bobber in the remaining water. "Some locks require keys, other locks aren't meant to be opened, save perhaps by a hammer," came his response, in a slow, contemplative manner. "But a hammer is not a 'clear headed' tool."

Ambika shook her head. "Using force in this particular... discipline... rarely leads to success. Slow, steady and deliberate wins the race far, far more often than not. But I've been patient, and it's still over my head." She frowned, replacing her cup on the table and leaning back in her chair. A flicker of exhaustion crossed her face, and she ran her hand over her forehead, an uncharacteristic gesture of weariness and frustration mingled into one. "I can't relax. I want it too much."

"So your patience is at an end." He seemed to be fishing for the right turn of phrase as he finished his drink, the bulb now swinging free along the inside of the cup. "If you could make a little progress, would it help?"

"I think you know I've tried things that were... ill-advised." Her golden eyes pinned him, reading him and his intent as best she could without prying. "I am not willing to try just anything, after my last foray into the drastic," she lied. "I'm sure you understand."

"I do. But there is perhaps a more alchemical means to an end. Now when I say that, I must add that such things must be carefully administered and used with the upmost discretion."

"Alchemical? Explain, please." Her fingers tapped against marble, belying her calm voice and casual posture. In fact, the petite priestess was channeling enough focus to crackle the hair of the server passing behind him.

He could feel it, a light buzz in his mind--like a bee in the next room, perhaps--and had a momentary flash of doubt about bringing it up in the first place. "Mana dust has proven to be habit-forming, but with the siege of Ulduar there have been other forays into some of the substances there. A few colleagues of mine have been testing its effects on the magically inclined. Amazing results, but nothing for the books... yet," he said.

"And what is it?" The force of Ambika's will hovered around his defenses, but the detritus of old cooking recipes, engine compression ratios and the like held firm against her scraping mental claws, obstructing her mind as it attempted to rifle through the outer layers of his consciousness like a thief. She caught herself intruding and cleared her throat, breaking it off in an instant. Unable to make eye contact, Bika folded her arms over her chest and stared down at her lap.

Wueten searched her downcast face, weighing the gravity of the situation. At long last he spoke. "I think you would attempt to find it elsewhere, now that I've mentioned it. Let us meet someplace more private and we'll discuss this in depth."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


There are a ton of talented artists in the Feathermoon RP community, and I've always wanted to get my mitts on some of their work for my characters. Well guess what, suckers? I got some.

Featuring: Skulley (YARR, now that is some Sex Leg right there) and Ysani (BOOBIES), both by Gaets. I'm glad I could steal some of her talent help her get back into her artwork. Thanks a ton to her, and to Pill and Ale, without whom I wouldn't have gotten either of these pretty arts.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Current Events in RP!

**Thanks to Ghaar, who reminds me that I am indeed missing something... a super sekrit plot involving Astrani, the brickwit troll. However, part of being sekrit means I'm not spilling any details! Neener!

I have several long story arcs in the works for two of my characters. It's slow work and I am lazy, so it's just being pieced together in spurts and I honestly don't know if I'll ever be able to finish them, let alone do them justice. I'm going to try, though!

Since it's hard to keep track of everything, I'm just gonna post what's happening with each of my active characters and what sort of project to expect from them.

  • A slim file, obviously new, and containing extremely sparse information on one Adelaide "Skulley" Skelton now sits on Agent Jeremiah Newhall's desk.
  • After narrowly avoiding a run-in with Booty Bay guards, Skulley is taking a breather before her next big job... a hunt for CURSED TROLL TREASURE! Yarr. Does she know it's cursed? Not yet!
  • Unbeknownst to Skulley, an account of her life as Adelaide is being constructed by a certain ham-fisted wielder of words. Don't worry, it's a very happy story. Up until everyone dies.

  • After class one evening, Thiyenn eats a massive meal of banana bread, goat cheese, pickles, chocolate cake and an entire jar of mustard. This leads to a very public heaving of guts and embarrassing revelation to nearly half of her friends, teachers and academic peers that didn't already know or guess that she was pregnant.
  • Professor Arrens Caltrains, the headmaster of Stormwind University, is skilled in shoving his foot in his mouth. When he asked where her husband was, Thiyenn lied. Apparently the nuances of her relationship with the father of her child and his current whereabouts aren't meant to be discussed in front of half of the student body (and the professor's bride-to-be).
  • But hey, Thiyenn now has a Super Special Job, that being the crafting of Miss Aely's wedding dress. Take THAT, Delion!
  • Having been encouraged by an instructor to improve her writing (and more importantly, handwriting--she prints no better than a child), Thiyenn has taken up the task of putting down what she remembers about growing up with the Darkmoon tribe. It's good for taking her mind off more recent events. It's also her first foray into introspection, so I expect some personal conflict.

  • Libby, the Rainsinger, is engaged (!) to elf (!) hunter Fenniel (!!), the original geeky belf hunter. They are getting married (!) in a ceremony (!) in Mulgore this May. Firael has been roped into the role of Best Man and will be sporting some fashionable tribal garb (read: leather straps). Oops, I forgot to (!) that.

  • On the verge of a breakthrough in eye replacement technology, Ysani has put on the weight she lost during her Haydren-terror phase, mostly due to sitting around working on projects all day with Firael and Fenniel, the wonder twins.
  • It's been a while since there was a frenzy of speculation on the particulars of Yissy's relationship with Firael, however, several members of the PoL tease her privately. She is adamant on the point that they are Just Friends, and, in fact, everything seems to be quite fine with her and Keilos.
  • Dir creeps her the hell out. Quit staring at her tits, already!
  • Where the hell IS Haydren, anyway? God only knows what sort of terrible things he's planning. One hopes he's given up, but I think we all know that's not the case.

  • Ambika is readjusting to her life as a troll and seems pleased with that particular development, but grows increasingly distant. Her quest to gain more power, as far as she's concerned, has yielded paltry gains; this may lead her to new and dangerous paths as the world moves on.

  • Sergeant Harker has traded the relentless heat of Hellfire for the chill winds of the North and oh MAN is she pissed. Her attitude leaves something to be desired, but she's working hard (and dressing warm), which gets her at least a modicum of respect from her peers and superiors. Something exceedingly strange happened to her the other night, perhaps she'll tell us about it soon...?

I've got a lot on my plate, certainly, and I really need to learn to stop biting off more than I can chew. Here's hoping that all these and more will get proper documentation. Did I miss anything?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

8 Things I've Learned This Week

1. You can get a permanent crease in your face if you always sleep with your left cheek smooshed into your pillow.

2. Guitars are pretty easy to restring.

3. It helps if you choose the right string.

4. Tuning the wrong string to the right note will sometimes let you know, with shocking suddenness, that you have chosen the wrong string.

5. People will deep-fry anything.

6. Garlic cloves make smelly chips. Okra makes inexplicably slimy-yet-crunchy chips.

7. I. Love. Gin and tonic. No, really. I will marry it. Sorry, honey.

8. I will continue to write lists, no matter how incomplete or inane, until the day I die. Or until the day my hands fall off and I have no access to studly young orderlies to take dictation. Whichever comes first.