August 31, 2013 – 11:38 am
Introducing a new multi-part fic, written with Jolstraer, and possibly others as this goes on.
They always say you can’t go home again – and they’re probably right. Hearthglen wasn’t “home” any more than any other part of Lordaeron really was anymore, but it was about as close as she could get. Aely had taken Tarquin up on his invitation to head North for a week, and try to break out of the holding pattern that grief was putting on her brain, keeping her from even fully accepting what had happened. They’d had a good talk, and things sort of settled out from there.
Hearthglen had a lot to offer the former Silver Hand Knight, including a good portion of what was left of the Argent Crusade. Aely took a hand in working the horses there – something she hadn’t done since she had barely taken vows – and had even taken a few rounds of practice with some of the trainees. There was an infirmary there, but it wasn’t a warzone anymore, and she wasn’t needed to tend the sick.
The sword work was good in that it made her tired, and that would make her sleep. It also made her hungry, but she’d been welcomed back and had taken a few meals in the mess hall with the various levels of soldiers, most of whom were happy to listen to her tell stories of the assault on Ulduar or Icecrown, or even of the early days before the Scourge.
It was later one evening, at dinner in the barracks, where the first inkling showed of something not quite right with the little idyllic, reclaimed corner of Lordaeron.
“Oi you gits,” one infantryman said as he set his tin plate down on the table. The great hall was filled with tables and low benches, most of which were thinly populated with Argent soldiers taking in the evening’s meal. A sparse few greetings were given in response, most more occupied with the fried pork and piles of potatoes that were today’s fare. “Saw our frien’ again t’day.”
“Oh?” a gangly fellow from Kul Tiras with a long nose asked back. “Didn’t see him up close, did ya?”
The first, clearly a native, shook his head as he shoveled a mouth full of potatoes. “Nah. Alweys dusk, alweys aroun’ a hill awey. Creepy bugger. Must be ah scout ay tha F’rsaken.”
“No, he is not,” the Night Elf at the end of the table spoke solemnly. “I too have witnessed him. The Northeast tower at Andorhal was nearly ambushed. The only evidence was the aftermath of a Forsaken raiding party, torn to bits just outside of the watchfires’ light.”
“Sounds like wot happened to ‘at pack of Scarlet raiders,” long-nose replied, looking a little shaken. “They’d raided Dalson’s farm for supplies. By the time a cavalry group had been wrangled to chase after ‘em, all they found was a bloody mess, an’ saw ‘at rider sittin’ on a hill off in tha distance.”
Aely wandered over, munching on a cookie. “Anyone gone an’ ridden after ‘im?”
She was greeted by a chorus of silent eyes, looking her over, and settling on the various emblazons around the edges of her tabard. “Ma’am?”
“Dame Aely Caltrains. Born Larsdottir. Served since the Silver Hand. Ye can answer me wi’out thinkin’ I’m gonna tell any ay yir officers. I’m jus’ here oan a… rehabilitation assignment.” She smiled in what she hoped was a confidence inducing manner.
The Night Elf was the first to reply. “Yes ma’am. Nobody’s gone after him because nobody’s really had a party together to go looking. He just seems to show up, and then disappear again into the trees.”
“An’ none ay ye brave lads thought ta tell a superior about it, an’ get it proper looked inta?” She sat down near one end of the table.
Another chorus of silence.
This time it was the Kul Tiras man who replied. “Truth be, ma’am, I think we’re all a bit spooked. He’s not causin’ trouble, so I don’t think anyone wanted ta go and piss him off. We don’t have much other than this toehold up here real solid yet.”
“Ye lot mind if I bring it up, an’ maybe head out an’ do a bit ay lookin’? Can get ye all ta come wi’ me if yir so inclined. I dinna like th’ idea ay lone riders, an’ I dinna like th’ idea ay an ally out in th’ cold either. If he’s a friend, as ye say, we’ll find him out. An’ if he’s a foe, we’ll sort ‘im out, an’ be done wi’ Sir Spooky either way.”
August 20, 2013 – 7:48 am
For the… was it sixth? seventh? morning in a row, Aely woke up just before dawn. The Rose was quiet, as it should be at 5:30am, with only faint muffled sounds coming from the kitchen downstairs. Not even a hangover could break years of military training. And at least she wasn’t still drunk this morning, best she could tell.
She stared into the little mirror. Her hair was a disaster – she couldn’t quite remember when the last time was that she’d taken the braid down, brushed it out, and washed it. But that could wait. She rinsed her mouth out with water a few times, and splashed her face. There was no coffee yet, and she didn’t have any way to make any for herself. Coffee, she decided, could wait too.
Next to her, Roger whined. The wolfhound/worg mix dog had grown in years, grey creeping into his muzzle. She worked hard to keep him healthy, and was thankful that his worg parentage was keeping him alive longer than a standard hound of his size. He nudged her towards the door.
“Hold oan a tic, y’ big oaf. Lemme get dressed.” Roger wagged his tail in a big slow arc, looking eagerly at the door.
She pulled on a soft shirt and pants, leaving the braid tucked down her back.
And for the first morning in nearly three weeks, she and Roger headed out to hit the streets of Stormwind in the soft light of pre-dawn. It was strange to run alone again, but the very act of running made the strangeness fade after the first mile.
August 15, 2013 – 9:35 am
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.
August 14, 2013 – 10:35 am
Another post by Lorelli. I don’t know how much fiction will result from the aftermath of the Old Enemies storyline, but I’ll try to post it all here for you to read.
The halls of Stormwind University echoed, empty in the early morning hours. The sound of her boot heels on the floor brought back memories of the year she spent here as head of security. They’d met in the stockades of all places, almost four years ago. Lorelli had just returned to Stormwind and had made a total mess of her life. She hadn’t cared whether she lived or died and yet Arrens Caltrains took a chance on her. A lost woman he hardly knew, in a jail cell. She always figured she owed him her life more than a bit.
In just a few hours the halls would fill with students rushing to their classrooms, unaware, currently that their headmaster might never return. That was indeed the hardest part. Not knowing if Arrens was alive or dead and having completely lost any trail to continue pursuing him. All the warlocks–and there were quite a few of them hanging around and in her life suddenly–seemed to agree that he was likely alive. Yet they also agreed that death was probably the kinder outcome.
Lorelli was tired. Sleep had not come easy. She couldn’t imagine what it could possibly have been like for Aely or what it would continue to be like. The rogue had lost a dear friend but Aely had lost a friend, a husband, a man she had likely seen herself starting a family with one day.
Lore had done her best to keep it together last night for Aely. She had done her best to make sure her friend mourned and didn’t try to “pretend that it didn’t hurt.” She had held it together as folks shuffled out, through the hug from Threnn, continued to try to keep it together with Prayce later. Then she had eaten her words. That charming bastard had slipped through her walls far too easily and she had cried and told him things even many of the Riders didn’t know. Yet, she was still trying to convince herself they could keep it casual and there was no significance to their relationship (when she even designed to call it that). Ever the fool, especially in these situations.
Things were a mess and they were about to get worse. Lorelli paused in front of the door to Landris’ classroom. She had come up with a dozen different ways to break the news and they all seemed trite and unfeeling. So Lore would do what she always did. Make it up as she went. She took a deep breath and stepped inside. The diminutive professor was standing on a small step-ladder making notes on the blackboard. She turned to look as she heard the click of Lorelli closing the door.
“Good morning, Madam Lorelli, too what do I owe the hono…” Landris paused as realization struck. “You’ve found the headmaster. How bad is it..?”
Lorelli raked a hand through her hair, the form of address didn’t even bother her this time. “Extremely. He… likely won’t be returning.” Not the best she could have come up with, but the dialogue was started at any rate.
Landris shook her head sadly but said nothing. Lorelli couldn’t remember ever seeing the professor speechless.
“Landris, m’sorry…” Lorelli began.
The gnome shook her head. “No Madam Lorelli, I am sorry. You were friends. We were merely colleagues.”
“S’not true. Arrens considered you a friend.”
Landris smiled a little but it was short lived. “What happened?”
The professor wobbled slightly on her step-stool and Lorelli was there in a moment to help her down.
“M’sure you don’t need me to go into detail.”
“No, no. Certainly not and there is nothing further to be done?” Landris questioned.
It was Lore’s turn to shake her head. “Not as of yet. All we can do is keep an ear out.”
“Of course. If it is alright, I shall have a word with some of my best students? Perhaps eventually they will come across something in their studies.”
“I’ll check with Aely. Like as not she won’t want some poor kids meddling with whatever it was that got Arrens, but I’ll check.”
Landris blinked, “Oh dear, how is poor Madam Caltrains doing?”
“About as well as can be expected, all things considered. She’s in good hands at any rate.”
“Please, send her my condolences.”
Landris patted her on the side of the leg as it was the only part of Lore the gnome could reach. “I suppose I should go make an announcement. I’ll cancel classes for the week and finish assuming what’s left of Headmaster… former-headmaster… Caltrain’s duties.” If Landris had aspired to be headmaster one day, Lorelli could guess that this was not the way she had wanted it to come about.
Lore turned and made her way back to the door.
The rogue stopped, turning, “Hrm?”
“Just because the headmaster may no longer be with us does not mean you and Madam Caltrains get to be strangers.”
Lorelli smiled, hand on the door knob. “Right, I’ll let Aely know.”
Lore opened the door and was met with a crowd of students just arriving. Some stared at her, some looked anywhere but at her, none seemed to recognize her. Many of the student she had known during her time at the school were gone. Some had graduated. Some died in Northrend. Many died to Deathwing at one point or another. So many had passed before her when she had fully expected–and in some cases even welcomed–death long before now. Lorelli slipped through the crowd as she heard Landris telling the students to proceed to the main hall and wait for her there.
Lore stepped outside and the sun shone brightly, casting its merry yellow hue across the front walls of the school and everything else it touched. She pulled her hood up against it’s assault, the light harsh and seeming wholly inappropriate. She closed her eyes and felt the tears on her cheeks. She dashed at them, irritated. After the Sha she had been sure she couldn’t feel anything at all, obviously that now proved to be untrue, though the timing could have stood to be better.
Lorelli took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. There would be time enough for that later. Right now she wanted to go check on Aely.
October 24, 2014 – 12:01 pm
Squire Benjamin William Sullivan stood in the middle of Light’s Hope Chapel in his underpants.
Actually, it was white linen pants and a shift, but the effect was approximately the same. The little chapel was warm, on the edge of …
June 29, 2014 – 4:39 pm
So I’m not really in a position where I should be creating alts. This, of course, does nothing to deter me from making alts when the inspiration strikes. I’ve been really enjoying my Alliance hunter, and she’s my raiding main …
November 19, 2013 – 4:46 pm
Bad things are happening in Stormwind – and beyond.
The Hand of Lothar, they call themselves.
Yva Darrows was their first target.
Tirith and Aely were their second and third.
They have since… expanded their reach and escalated their methods …
November 13, 2013 – 9:59 am
The cathedral bells stop ringing overnight, except for chiming the hours. Three bell strikes, and Angoleth padded softly around another corner of the Cathedral District, staying carefully in the shadows. Trained ears picked up Mogget’s soft breathing – nearly inaudible …
November 7, 2013 – 1:33 pm
(Written by Jolly, Tarquin, and Annalea)
The highlands of Lordaeron were not for the faint of heart; be it the putrescence of the Scourge’s long-lingering remnant, or the rock-strewn hills and valleys that made farmers out of only the most …
September 13, 2013 – 7:11 pm
(With Tarquin and Annalea)
Once more, four people made their way through the thickets and hills of Lordaeron, this time in the crisp chill of late morning, seeking after the Rider. Aelflaed had snatched what sleep she could while Chryste …
September 11, 2013 – 9:47 am
She hadn’t wanted to leave Jolly – not so soon after finding him again – but once away, it took about five minutes for Aely to figure out she had a problem.
That problem had just announced that …
September 9, 2013 – 10:05 am
It was an uneasy goodbye for him, but it was agreed by both he and Aely that a stroll back to Hearthglen would not be very easy to explain, nor would the explanation needed for the three Argent soldiers once …