An old story, reposted here as I’m shaking the mothballs off Ankona and needed an easy way to show people a little bit about the (batshit) things she gets up to. Enjoy, and don’t be too creeped out!
It really was a pretty thing, now that she got a good look at it. The polished blonde wood and glinting enamel was cleverly made, and shone with a soft reflectiveness that suggested – once it was properly installed – that it might even have the look of being wet, like a real eye. It fitted together without a seam – she’d been sure of that, nothing to catch on soft tissue or eyelashes.
Ankona had spent the better part of three days preparing to turn it from some wooden bits and various herbal components into as close as she could come to a functioning eye. Verdus was recovering well after his treatment at the lake, and his subsequent cleansing by Ambika, and she hoped to have his eye done in short order.
She looked at her pipe. She’d need to be smoking soon – this kind of work didn’t respond the same without the sacrifice of pipe leaf. The Elf would gripe at her, but eventually she was going to have to smoke around Verdus too. She’d open the windows, but there was no getting around it. For now, though, she was away from the recovering Tauren, and probably better for it too. The fewer questions he asked, the fewer interruptions she would have. This was going to be a tricky bit of work.
Lighting several large taper candles, she settled down to work at the table in the little inn she was staying in. She had paid good money to not be interrupted tonight. Set out in front of her was the now much smaller, leathery looking, salt-and-heat cured eye, which thankfully was only unpleasant looking and not unpleasant smelling any longer. Next to it sat a small candle, barely wider than her little finger, several vials of oil, pouches of herbs, a mortar and pestle, pen, ink, and parchment, a tiny stone with a hole drilled through it, strands of red and green thread, a needle, and an awl. Her bone and shell rattle sat nearby, as did her raven wing fan.
She lit a little disc of charcoal and piled it with resin, stocked her pipe and lit that too, and settled in to work her magic.
Thick smoke filled the room, filled her lungs, and she found her trance. Taking up pen and ink, she slowly, painstakingly, created a sigil on one side of a tiny piece of parchment. Within the sigil, no bigger than an egg, was a bear, a lion, a stag, a sleek orca, a large bird, an owlbear, and a tree. The figures danced within and about each other in a dizzying pattern that seemed to shift around the edges of the parchment. On the other side, she wrote Verdus’s name in Shu’halo characters, so many times as it took to fill the paper.
With the needle, she wrote his name into the waxy flesh of the little candle, spiraling around and around, until the whole surface was covered. She counted out herbs and woods into her mortar and pestle, pounding them into a fine dust. Kingsblood, Terocone, Icethorn, Peacebloom, Lotus all went into the mix. Then the dust went onto a piece of black silk cloth, spread on the table. She uncorked the vials of oil, dressing the candle with each one in turn, and then rolled the candle in the herb dust until it was fully coated with oil and herbs.
With a flick, she lit the dressed candle and dripped some of the wax on the parchment, before standing the candle in it to burn down while she did the rest of her work. This was the easy part.
She relit her pipe, and began a soft chant under her breath, making it up as she went along, about Verdus seeing the truth of things, and seeing through things, and seeing colorful things, and seeing everything. Taking up the needle and red thread, she carefully stitched the little stone over the pupil of the leathery, preserved eye, so it appeared to be looking through the hole. As she worked, leaves began to appear in her hair, blue to match the mohawk at first, and then turning to green and gold. The chant turned into a soft song.
With green thread, she stitched the sigil onto the back of the eye, tiny painstaking stitch after tiny painstaking stitch, careful never to prick her fingers with the little curved needle. Once the symbol was clear, she rolled the entire eye in the herbs on the cloth, careful now not to touch it with her fingers, only with the cloth.
The candles burned lower in the room – the small one she had so carefully dressed was little more than a smudge of wax now, completely covering the parchment sigil.
In the cavity of the newly constructed wooden eye, she lay the wax-soaked parchment, sigil side down. On top of that she lay the decorated eye, as though its pupil was looking through the pupil of the wooden eye. She relit her pipe, the room now thick with choking pipe smoke and resinous incense.
Taking up the rattle, she began to sing in earnest, her skin taking on the appearance of bark, twigs sprouting from her shoulders and hair, full leaved and vibrant. With each pass of the rattle, Ankona grew less, and the Tree grew more.
After some time, with hands stiffened into bark and wood, she set down the rattle. Using the herb covered cloth, she snapped the two sides of the eye together. With a soft click, they joined as one piece – and with a wave of her raven fan, the seam melted into nothing.
The eye glinted in the candlelight. After getting rid of the remaining herb dust, She wrapped the eye, carefully, in the black silk cloth, passed it three times through the incense smoke, and then blew a lungful of pipe smoke into it, as though to give it life of its own.
Ankona set down her pipe, song fading, and her skin slowly regained its supple blue hue. The wrapped, enchanted eye now only needed to be bound to its new owner – and that would mean going back to Verdus.
Comments Off on Very First Impressions
November 14, 2014 – 7:32 am
So I haven’t finished the intro quests yet (the server queues from the reduced server capacity due to the DDOS attacks meant I only got about an hour to play yesterday), but I’m finding that Draenor is pretty cool so far.
- Khadgar is a badass
- I like having a Draenei as a main character – both Maraad and Yrel are pretty cool
- I like that the elite attack force that goes through the portal is extremely diverse. There are elves, dwarves, etc. I don’t remember any gnomes, which makes Annie Mae sad, but still – it’s not all humans, which is a huge improvement.
- Going through the portal and seeing the huge Iron Horde army on the other side was nicely reminiscent of going through the portal into Hellfire Peninsula and seeing the demon army there. Nice touch.
- The music is great. Also, the music in the Blackrock Quarry quotes from the WCIII soundtrack Blackrock and Roll, which makes my little nerd heart happy.
- I really like that the intro quests are zoned, so I’m not doing them with 4 million of my closest friends. I know it’ll get crazy once we get into SMV, but for now it’s been fun just having it be SSH* and I.
- As usual, the first zone is quite pretty.
Fortunately, since I wasn’t in any of the actual populated zones yet, I ended up missing out on the worst of the server crashes, bugged quests, and overloaded zones. I expect that will get somewhat better with today’s maintenance, but this weekend may still be a bit of a clusterfuck.
It really sucks being an adult with a job and an early bedtime at times like this. (I had to take off work last weekend for my mom’s birthday (my parents live about 300 miles from me, so it’s a bit of a drive), so I couldn’t take off for the launch.) Still, I know other people will take things slow, and I should have plenty of people to quest and instance with over the weekend from my raid.
*SSH is Spaceship Husband. He doesn’t want me using his real or character names online, so I’ve had to come up with a new name for him. Since he’s a rocket scientist, he is Spaceship Husband, or SSH, around here.
Comments Off on A Girl and her Dog
November 13, 2014 – 12:30 pm
The morning of the all hands summon to the Blasted Lands, Aely went for a walk. The late fall air was clear and cool, and leaves crunched under their feet in the less-traveled parts of the streets. She and Roger took the long way around Old Town, south through Tanner Circle and down Bulwarks, across Willum and then up Irandun’s way. Roger treed a squirrel at one corner, and read his dog-mail at every mailbox and fence post.
At Rose’s Lane they turned north, and the sounds of smithing rang out over the street. The Silver Shield sat on the corner with Irandun. Aely opened the shop door with a gentle ringing of small silver bells. Two wolfhounds looked up from their blankets in one corner, noticed Roger, and came to greet him. Monk and Lily and Roger were well acquainted, and Roger joined them on their blankets as Aely went and waited at the counter.
“Aely! It’s so good to see you.” Bess Cross’ round face beamed with delight at seeing her former tenant. “Do you want a biscuit? They’re still warm!”
“I’ll ne’er turn down one ay yir biscuits, Bess, an’ ye ken it well. How’s th’ new tenant?”
“Gilbert’s a good lad. He’s working with Bryan, training to become a smith himself. It’s good to have someone downstairs again. So what brings you here?” Bess produced a basket of biscuits and a small ceramic bell of butter.
Aely helped herself. “It’s… well, it’s na a fun errand. They’ve called us ta th’ front – they’re asking fir volunteers ta go through th’ portal.”
“Through the portal? Don’t they not know where the foul thing goes?”
“They dinna ken, no, but there’s no way we’ll win this war against these Orcs without closing it down, an’ that’s goin’ ta take bein’ on the other side of it. I’ve decided to go – with Arrens gone, and most of the Riders takin’ posts there, I figure I could be of good help.”
“Oh Aely, are you sure?”
“Yeh, I’m sure. I’ve been idle too long, an’ I dinna ken what will happen if those of us wi’ experience dinna go through and figure this mess out. Except, I need a big favor of ye, before I go.”
“Of course – if it’s in our power, we’ll do it. Is it your armor?”
“No, that’s in good repair. It’s… well, it’s Roger.” Roger looked up at the sound of his name, tail thumping on the wooden floor. “I dinna think I can take him with me.”
“He’s na as young as he used ta be, an’ I dinna want ta bring him inta th’ wilds ay some Light forsaken place where he’ll na be able ta get proper rest. If we manage ta stabilize this thing an’ get a forward base set up, I’ll try ta send fir him, but … I canna think it’s fair ta expect him ta be a fighter wi’ me anymore. Na when he canna even go runnin’ with me in th’ mornings.”
“Well, of course he’s welcome here. He gets on so well with Monk and Lily, and this place was his home too for so long. But are you sure? He’s been with you on the front for so many years.”
She bit her lip. “Aye, I’m sure.” She sat down on the floor next to the mass of dogs, ruffling Lily’s ears and offering all three of them bits of jerky. “I’d rather him be here safe, than lose him on th’ field. He deserves better than that.”
Aely opened her bag and produced a large sack of jerky treats, a tattered cotton rope knot, and an exceptionally shaggy looking stuffed rabbit. “These are his things. He dinna need much, an’ I ken he’ll enjoy walkies wi’ Monk an’ Lily. An’ I’d like ta pay a little fir his room an’ board. I’ve six months or so here fir ye an’ Bryan, so ye dinna have ta feed him on yir own.”
“You don’t have to…”
“… yeh I do. He’s mine, an’ I ought ta do what I can fir him,” Aely interrupted. “Please, let me do at least this much.” Aely stood up. “An’ thank ye, both, fir doin’ this fir us.”
“Of course, I’m happy to help, you know that. And if the buzzboxes work on the other side of that foul portal, I’ll keep you up to date on how we’re all doing. Maybe Rog can even say hello.”
“Yeh, maybe. I’d like that.” She called Roger over. He sniffed at her hands, looking for more jerky. “No, Rog, no more jerky for now. Ye need to be a good dog, an’ mind Bess an’ Bryan okay? Dinna torment Monk either – share yir toys. I’ll send fir ye as soon as I can.” She wrapped her arms around his neck, and he leaned in against her, almost toppling her over backwards. “Oof, an’ be careful about yir leanin’, ye big oaf!” She laughed, wiping away tears.
“Okay, I’ve got ta go before I lose my nerve. Thank ye again, Bess. An’ Roger, I’ll be back fir ye as soon as I can.”
Comments Off on Counting down to Warlords
November 11, 2014 – 3:09 pm
What a long strange trip it’s been. I’ll be the first to admit that, at the beginning, I wasn’t sure Pandaria was going to be for me. I’ve made clear my dislike of daily quests, and that seemed to be an integral part of the game at launch. (And really throughout the expansion.) It was, and is, gorgeous content – thematically beautiful, with good music and interesting zones. But that wasn’t keeping me interested really.
However, by the end of things, I’ve found I’m quite fond of this little pandaren island. A lot of cool stuff happened there.
- I finally accepted that Aely isn’t going to be my raiding main, and moved to a class whose gameplay I like a lot more (my hunter, Angoleth).
- I’ve relearned Paladin healing, though I’m still not as good at it as I once was.
- Flex raiding made me a regular raider for Siege, since I had only been a sub in TRI Hangover prior to the change to flex.
- RP happened, some of it fairly epic (Hand of Lothar), some of it small and personal (Elevation), some of it extremely funny (Dusksworn-Pennycut), and some of it ongoing (Wrath and Purity, not yet posted here)
As per the usual at the end of an expansion, I’ve gone on a bit of a leveling binge, bringing my total number of 90’s to 6 – Four Alliance (Aely, Annorah, Angoleth, Annie Mae) and Two Horde (Anryl and Ankona). Annorah and Anryl got my two level 90 account boosts, though I have since transferred them so all my 90’s are on the same account. Annalira is 87 and fully rested, but I’m not sure I’m going to binge on leveling for the next two days just to hit 90 before WOD drops.
Raiding wise, this was a weird expansion for me – I saw Mogushan and Heart of Fear, a little of TOES (with a raid that then fell apart due to scheduling issues), and then Siege with TRI Hangover- I did not raid Throne of Thunder at all, except in LFR. I made my first attempt to raid as a melee character, and that failed miserably – I’m much better with a bigger field of view. I’ll be sticking to healers and ranged DPS from now on… except maybe Annie Mae, but I don’t see myself doing any serious raiding with her.
RP wise, things are changing for all of my characters. Aely has interesting things going on with the Riders, and I intend to continue that (even as Tarquin retires). Angoleth had a little involvement with Hand of Lothar, but hasn’t seen much else – I’d like to develop some connections for her over the course of the next expansion. Annorah is currently one of my least favorite gameplay characters, but I have a feeling the lore in Warlords is going to make me want to drag her out of semi-retirement. And Anryl has a full time job working security for the Dusksworn compound, an ongoing RP set that is lighthearted and entertaining. Most of my RP happens on Feathermap, since I’m in bed by the time most of my friends are around, but that’s nothing new.
WoW’s 10th anniversary is coming up, and my 10 year anniversary in game will happen in April. As hard as it is to believe that I’ve spent a decade in this game, it’s been an amazing experience overall. I’ve had this blog as an outlet for the majority of that time, and I’m hoping that as Warlords releases, I’ll have more to say here. My first post on this blog was 4 February 2008, meaning I’m coming up on a 7 year bloggiversary. We’ll have to do something fun to celebrate.
So here’s to Pandaria, and here’s to Draenor, and here’s to whatever comes next. For the next two days I’ll be tidying things up and getting ready to charge through the portal – what are you guys up to while we wait for the portal gates to drop?