Comments Off on Dark Rider of Lordaeron (Part 2)
September 2, 2013 – 9:04 am
At an hour before dusk, the three soldiers and the paladin set off south from Hearthglen. It was not a very far ride done the south road before Galin Riverwind led them off the road and into the rugged hills of Lordaeron. Orryl Hanley matched him stride for stride, his gangly features and experience on a Kul Tiran deck giving him ample footing. Rath ap Corrahnsfeld didn’t fair near as well, despite being a relative native.
“‘Ow long nae?” Rath muttered, using his spear more as a walking stick than a useful weapon.
“The hill ahead narrows the path,” Galin replied cryptically. “And something quiets the forest,” he went on in lower tones.
“We’re too far north fir Forsaken,” Aely frowned, surveying the rough highlands in the failing light. “Either Scourge or Scarlets if anythin’ is amiss. Orryl, cut through brush ta th’ left. Rath, come round the hill ta th’ right. Take it slow an’ easy,” she ordered, easing her sword from its scabbard. “Galin, take th’ lead. I’ll be right behind with room to swing.”
Rath and Orryl nodded at her orders, their training taking hold as they stalked into the wilderness. All of them had survived Northrend and weren’t about to have some skulking deaders or fanatics give them a ruckus.
Aely and the tall elf moved quietly along the path, and as they crested the rise she began to catch the faint smell of woodsmoke.
“Do ye smell that?” she asked, though she surmised the elf was already ahead of her in sensing it.
“Yes. A fire in the glen beyond. A small camp, to be so faint, so close.”
They moved more warily as they crossed the hilltop and down the other side. At the bottom the pair found Orryl, but Rath had not yet made it round.
“Campfire ahead. Small, maybe another Scarlet remnant,” Aely filled Orryl in as they waited.
“Never seems to be an’ end to ’em, ‘ey mate?” Orryl grimaced. “Me be they’ll be too hungry to fight and come along peacably.”
“‘S possible,”Aely replied absently. Where was Rath? Even with his bulk, he should have been able to find them by now.
“I do not hear him,” Gavin spoke, as if reading her mind. She frowned, concerned.
“Prolly fiddlin’ with his cod,” Orryl muttered. The wind shifted, and the scent of woodsmoke filled the air, as well as that of something juicy roasting over it. “‘Ere, mayhap he’s scopin’ out ‘is fire, steakin’ out an ambush. Let’s have a looksee a’fore they find us.”
She didn’t like it, but they had come this far. The sun was already set behind the mountains. “Awright. Ten paces apart. Galin, the left. Orryl, ye take the center. Nice an’ quiet now.”
They moved out, each of them drifting into the thicket like worgs on the prowl. Their strides were so soft that field mice would have sounded like a herd of elekks. The smell of roasting boar meat grew stronger, and the fading twilight gave way to a faint glow flickering through the trees.
There was a rustle to her left, making her freeze in place, sword rigid before her and ready to strike. Moments passed, measurable by the beaded sweat that slowly tracked its way down her face. A distant thump. Moments more, and the thicket was deathly quiet again.
Comments Off on Dark Rider of Lordaeron (Part 1)
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.”
Comments Off on A Morning Ritual
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.
September 8, 2015 – 9:51 pm
It didn’t take long to get from Thunder Bluff to the Echo Isles – Ankona took advantage of a wyvern so she could think and plan before getting to her destination. She had information to confirm with the spirits – …
August 4, 2015 – 12:22 pm
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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …