A few explanations are, I think in order, if only to assuage my own slightly guilty conscience.
Several people have been following this storyline, for which I am very honored. I’m glad you guys are interested in the things I (and my fellow Feathermoonies) write. But unfortunately, this really is where the story ends. There will be follow-up fic, and fall-out fic, but as of right now?
Arrens is dead.
Well, or not dead. He’s technically “Lost in Time and Space” (to borrow an Arkham Horror term) that essentially makes him a useful future plot point (if Kro’Thar corrupts him and sends him back to kill us all), or just a bit of character past that Aely has to grow past. This way, should the stars align and Arrens’ player come back to WoW, we can write him back into the story. But it effectively makes him gone and impossible to find for now. Which really is as good as dead.
Before you get out the pitchforks, Arrens’ player approved of this plot almost three years ago, when he quit the game and deleted his blog. He’s told me since that day that Arrens was mine to do with as I wished, and if that meant splitting him and Aely up, or killing him off, that was my decision to make. While I still argue that’s a little bit bullshit (he’s not magically going to appear in my head, and I can’t magically write as a character that someone else built), the sentiment was there.
When Arrens’ player quit, I wasn’t ready to take that step.
Almost three years later, however, it’s what I needed to do. I’ve talked before about assumed RP – in fact, I’ll go ahead and quote myself on this one:
Don’t rely on “Assumed RP” - you know, the kind where you say “well, my character’s not online, so everything is hunky dory and they’re happy and nothing is really going on but it’s all happy and good” – That’s extremely unfun for the person who IS playing their character. Suddenly they’re responsible for fending off IC questions about their friend/lover/child, and they are forced into a sort of holding pattern. Not at all fun.*
* A note about Assumed RP: Most RP situations occasionally rely on Assumed RP, especially if both players have to be away from game for awhile. That’s absolutely OK and not any sort of problem. The problem with Assumed RP is when one player suddenly stops playing a character, but will not give up on the already existing relationship. If you can’t devote the time to a RP connection, find a way to break it off for awhile – making other players wait around in a holding pattern where they can’t play their character but they want to is kind of rude and rather unfair. It’s also not at all fun, and can ruin a character for another player. Take a break, let there be an IC break, and let the character “go free” if you’re not willing to put the time into that particular RP story.
The assumed RP was getting to me. I had my own issues to deal with for awhile, and that was okay – for Arrens to be gone while I was sick and unable to play? Didn’t really bother me. But since I’ve been playing again, and RPing again, it started to feel like Aely was trapped. Three years is a long time in game, and a long time in real life, and to be stuck on “everything in their relationship is hunky dory and the same as it always was” just… felt wrong. At the same time, I didn’t want to write up a messy divorce – that wasn’t fair to either character involved, especially when it didn’t seem true to the characters, who really did love each other deeply. Nor did a quiet “parting of ways” seem to be true to the story.
So with some help from friends and a lot of encouragement, I tackled this story. I wanted Arrens’ end to be fitting – both as a warlock, and as the character I loved and that Aely loved. I wanted the end to be fitting for the work that Arrens’ player and I put in together, and to be a source for creating more RP. So I decided to go big or go home, opened up the story, got a lot of help, and Old Enemies was the result. Arrens’ player has approved of the story (To quote him on twitter: “Just read the story. Nicely done by everyone involved. Still say you should’ve nuked the dirty SOB. ”) and of its outcome.
I’m only just touching on the emotional fallout from this – Aely wasn’t prepared to lose her husband so suddenly (as if anyone ever is), and Arrens touched a lot of players. His character ran a University, he ran a guild. There will probably be more gut wrenching conversations and fic to write about this, the grieving process, and where I take Aely from here.
But the important thing is – I’ll have my character back. She’ll no longer be tied to a relationship that exists only in name and no longer in spirit.
It’s not been easy to do, but I think it’s the right decision for me (as a writer) and for Aely (as a character). Arrens and I created an amazing relationship together, and wrote a lot of stories together, and I hope you all find this ending to be a fitting way to close that chapter in my RP history.
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- Population Disparity (34)
- Tanking Perceptions (33)