May 27, 2009 – 7:17 am
This is Part of Angrethar, the story of The Battle for the Wrathgate from Aelflaed’s point of view. You can see all of the posts in this story on the Story Archives page, by searching for the Wrathgate category, or through this link.
Aely lost track of time – between fighting off the stragglers that made it over to Fordragon’s flanks, rushing water and bandages to those on the field, and keeping her own feet in the din, she didn’t know if it had been moments or hours or days.
A pair of ghouls broke through the line to her right, yelling gibberish and flailing towards the makeshift area that the better equipped healers were using. “OI! FECKIN’ TOSSERS!” She screamed, slamming one of them in the face with a shock of Holy Energy, and crashing full force into the second. A whirling mass of greatsword, holy light, and angry, red-headed vengeance completed the job, leaving two sets of shredded body parts back underfoot. She went to get an elven archer back on his feet, catching her breath.
The snow fell thick over the battlefield, the newly dead falling alongside the reanimated, but still they pressed forward. She flung Holy Light at everything she could reach, friend and foe, knowing it would warm and heal the men but burn and kill the undead. Her voice was harsh, raw with yelling and ragged breath. Her arms ached from supporting the wounded off the fields only to turn and have to fight her way back. Still, she went on, slashing her way through the straggling ghouls and skeletons to find another wounded soldier. A drop of water against the tide.
“Death Knights – hold your ground!”
A coarse shout rang out from an Alliance commander – and a resounding yell surged from the soldiers on that flank. Aely paused, waiting to hear the expected horror usually wrought by Arthas’ chosen, only to have shouts of surprise instead.
“The Ebon Blade – Give room!” “Give room, and assist!” “Fall in behind and keep moving!”
She whispered a prayer, knowing that Bertrand was likely among them – fearing for the hollow look in his face. But his fate was his own, between him and whatever afterlife awaited those who were neither living nor dead. She didn’t have time for more than a passing hope as she knelt to close the eyes of a young woman, grimacing at the head wound that had taken her life.
Without warning, pain seared through her consciousness.
Bandages, greatsword, and concentration toppled with her as she sprawled forward into the snow, blood rushing in her ears. She rolled, praying it was away from the attacker and watching as the axe sunk into the ground beside her head. A gruff yell, and the skeleton’s chest cavity crumpled from behind, followed quickly by a sickening crunch as its arm was wrenched out of socket, useless.
A scruffy, russet beard, followed quickly by a grinning Dwarven face came into view. “Watch nae, lass, or ye’ll be joinin’ em – cannae focus on healin’ an’ lose sight th’ battle!”
She sat up. Blood welled up from the soft space between her gorget and shoulder armor, warm against her skin. She pulled off the armor, binding her shoulder with bandages and a prayer, her left arm tingling as she closed the wound and flexed her fingers.
“Yeh’ll be alright?” The Dwarf offered her a hand.
“Ayeh, jus’ need a moment.” She strapped the damaged spaulders back on, and then took his hand and leveraged herself back to standing.
Wrapping her fingers around her necklace, she closed her eyes – By the Grace of the Light, may your brethren be healed; By the Strength of the Light, may your enemies be undone. And may the Light bring you Peace. – took a deep breath and opened them again, heard the cries of someone wounded, and went back out onto the field, cradling her arm.
So the battle raged up to the doors of Angrathar, and the undead were pushed back. Even the great legions of Ymirjar warriors fell before the onslaught of Alliance and Horde.
And then there was silence again. Somewhere a man was shouting, and Aely recognized Highlord Fordragon. She was far to one side, and his words were indistinct, but the challenge in his voice rang clear. She stood on a broken wagon to get a better look. Someone called for a medic, but her eye caught another red and white baldric heading that way. Then nearer…
May 26, 2009 – 10:10 am
The usual Monday mutterings got pushed back again this week, thanks to Memorial day! Having a “day off” was quite nice, even if it did mean that the instance servers were full all day.
- Wrathgate posts will be more frequent, hopefully, as the guild side of this endeavor is pushing forward quite rapidly. More writing in the future! I’m also hoping to tie in the Flashbacks to Childhood story to this somehow. We’ll see if it works.
- In the vein of RP – Bricu’s “Friday” Ficlet this week was about the remnants of Lordaeron, the Argent Tourney, and how there is no Lordaeron tabard or contingency there. You can read it here. It’s quite good, and brings up a lot of the struggles that the human population from Lordaeron would face in trying to remember their homeland (most are not going to try to get it back, as it is plaguelands now, but they’re a bit like war refugees. Actually, quite a lot like war refugees).
- Aely will get her “Crusader” title today – just in time to contemplate whether she – like Jolly – will be withdrawing from the Tourney after what happened with Bricu (and then Jolly’s own confrontation).
- Also – Aely sends her congratulations to Threnn and Bricu on the arrival of Naiara Bittertongue! Wooo!
- Annie Mae is 43 now, specced protection, and having a blast. Woo! It’s fun to play and RP with her, as she’s something completely different – plus a cowgirl gnome is just hilarious. She makes friends very easily – probably the most easily of all my characters – and as such it’s been really fun to work on her. A nice break from endgame, where I’m feeling more than a little disgruntled with various things.
I’m struggling with the mental balance between the game and real life right now – things have been super stressful, I’m hoping to get a second writing contract, and I’m still trying to figure out the stupid plumbing thing. Sadly, that’s been bleeding over into in game stuff, and I’ve been irritable and not really all that enthused about raiding. RP has become something of my “haven” in game, as it lets me flex the creative muscles and is a great diversion from all the other junk in a way that raiding has never been.
Hopefully I can find what makes all that fun again, so bear with me while I try
May 25, 2009 – 3:27 pm
There isn’t an in-game holiday for Memorial Day.
I find that somewhat sad, really, considering all of the other western holidays in WoW – but I suppose we remember them near Veteran’s Day for the Ancestor Festival. Either way though, this post is here to remind you that even without an in-game holiday, there’s an out of game event that’s worth mentioning.
And among the things worth mentioning are all the folks in the armed forces that play WoW – either while they’re home on leave, or at odd hours when they can squeeze in a bit of time with ping of less than 4K to do a daily or two. These are the paladin in your PuG, the rogue in the EotS game, the priest that’s a sub for your raid, the death knight that’s fishing next to you in wintergrasp – folks that put their lives on the line for the country they serve (and not all of them are from the US).
Today is about honoring those who have given their lives in the service of others. For the Uther Lightbringers and Orgrim Doomhammers as well as the Dwarven Mortar teams and the Goblin Zeppelin Pilots of the real world – all the way down to the rank and file Footmen and Grunts who do the day-in day-out work to keep us all living the lives that we choose to live.
But, at least for me, it’s also about the Big Bear Butts, the Aridins, the Jackpots, the Zeligs (Hi Zelig!), the Conneurs, the Airman Howells, the Kestrels, the Dechions, and the Buttons of the world – those men and women who either have served or are serving in the armed forces today.
So here’s to all of you. You have my utmost respect and my thanks.
(And any of you reading who fit in that category, consider this directed at you too, even if I don’t know or didn’t remember your name.)
May 23, 2009 – 10:02 am
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with my hunter sometimes.
I love to RP with her, and I hope to have more writing about her up soon (once I finish these two Aely stories) – but at the same time, playing her reminds me of all of the things that I’ve done in game. The days where training at level 40 meant a mount OR mail armor, but not both (after which I had to /ride/ that mount to Stranglethorn because I couldn’t afford the flight fee). Of learning how to raid, and picking up new pets, and learning to PVP.
And, oddly enough, though I have trouble with leveling because I don’t like Northrend – I find myself playing her quite a bit more lately, even than Annorah (though she does still see a bit of raiding) and wishing I had her at 80 so that I could take part in playing with friends.
But on the other hand – there’s an element of epic that I just haven’t found since Burning Crusade. Maybe I’ve just “grown out of” that sense of awe that I had, fighting these “big bads” like Archimonde and Nefarian (whom I saw killed once as a sub raider, but never got to with my own raid). Even the “little bads” (if you can call Lady Vashj and Kael’Thas “little”) in BC had a sense of history and awe to go along with the wiping. Maybe it’s the same disconnect that I’m feeling with Northrend in general, and Ulduar in particular. Ulduar is pretty cool – but it doesn’t have the same sense of “holy sh*t we’re doing this” that previous raids have had for me.
Yakra, over at Mirror Shield, had an interesting take on the varying differences between the three “end games” so far experienced. And I think he’s right about a lot of it. The leveling changes, the change from 40 to 25, the addition of badges and “armor tokens” for more than one class – all things that made raiding much more accessible.
And most of those changes are /great/ – don’t get me wrong. They allow a lot more people to see the content that the WoW development team is creating, and they help eliminate some of the stagnation that happened at level 60 (at least before Zul’Gurub and AQ20 were released).
But one of the sacrifices made in the name of accessible content is the loss of that feeling of “epic”. Raiding – especially Naxxramas – is MUCH more accessible now. The one time I set my little hunter feet in Naxxramas-40 at level 60? I was scared out of my shoes. Naxx was HARD. Naxx was a guildbreaker, and C’thun wasn’t exactly chocolate cake with sprinkles either.
And maybe that’s a sign that I suck less as a raider, that I have a stronger raid group. That I’m a better paladin or shaman than I ever have been hunter (which I’ll accept – healing is what I’m best at, by far). Maybe it’s a tribute to the overabundance of great information at places like EJ and PlusHeal and Tankspot Videos and Bosskillers and StratFU and all the other incredible blogs and websites dedicated to helping out the raiding progression. While there’s always been a “well, this is the basic idea, let’s go wipe a few times and figure it out” trend – especially among the people I raid with, which I love because it makes us think as a team – by and large if you want to experience the unknown edge of content, you do that on the PTR, or if you’re lucky in the first two weeks of raiding before the nerfs roll in.
One of the reasons I’ve been playing my hunter again is that we’ve been taking weekly trips into Blackwing Lair. BWL. The instance where I first learned what it meant to really wipe on something for weeks and then get it down (Vaelestrasz). And when I walk in there with our little 10-15 man group, it’s different. It’s not 40 people, it’s not an epic feat of coordination in relatively poor gear with often poorly itemized upgrades.
But it’s still Blackwing Lair – creepy, eerie, dangerous. Get the hell out of here before you end up dragon-snacks.
Naxx got that right too. Standing around in the wings of Naxxramas or BWL, you realize that this place is just messed-up creepy (Thaddius’ yelling doesn’t hurt). The centerfuges of dragon’s blood, the reminders that this place exists as Nefarian’s personal lair to take over Azeroth. The dessicated dragons hanging from the ceiling. The bones everywhere. The epic architecture (ok, Ulduar’s got that going for it as well. Check out the ceiling sometime!).
But raiding these days doesn’t feel the same as it did, doesn’t hold my attention or get me excited like it did. I guess I have to hold out for Icecrown. Call it Nostalgia, I guess.