June 16, 2009 – 4:58 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.
Twilight in the Dragonblight is an ethereal thing, the pale rays of sunlight transforming the sky and the snow into a palette of reds and purples and oranges. The Dragons had beautiful mornings and evenings, not to mention the gorgeous displays of light in the night sky, streaming from the stars.
At least, it’s beautiful when it’s not snowing, and you are inside. That evening, big clumped flakes fell, piling on top of the already deep snows and sticking to everything with soft brushy kisses that quickly turned wet, and then icy cold in the wind.
Aely shivered, fatigue and stillness allowing the chill to seep in under the edges of her armor, her joints protesting from the cold and damp.
She wiggled her fingers – relieved that they still worked, though the work and injuries had taken a toll on her hands. Moving her arm, however, released fresh, nauseating waves of pain and opened the wound yet again, the oozing blood warm against her shoulder for a few seconds, and then turning icy. Unfastening the armor, teeth gritted against the cold, she drug handfuls of snow across the angry wound before attempting to close it again, finding only enough Light to stop the bleeding.
The world reeled. She reined herself back in.
She shoved the last of the bandages into the gash and rewrapped it, fastening the dented shoulderplate back over the lumpy mess. A tattered strip from the bottom of her ruined cloak worked well enough to bind the arm across her chest.
She looked around. A condor blinked at her from its perch on a nearby Dragon skeleton.
A’righ’. Snowin’. Windy. Feckin’ cold. Ye have no food, no water. Y’r out a’ bandages. An’ y’r … alone.
Bertrand’s voice washed through her mind, followed rapidly by Phileas’, and then the screaming and the acrid green gas, and she vomited.
Pull it t’gether, lass – ye cannae think on ‘at now. If ye dinnae fin’ someplace t’ bunker down, or sommat t’ help ye fin’ th’ Black an’ Red, ye’ll be seein’ Bertrand sooner than ye thowt, an’ nae seein’ Phileas.
She stood up, willing herself not to pass out.
Smoke’s there… likely tha’s Angrathar. Nae dinnae think on it. Jus’ walk wi’ that t’ y’r righ’, an’ tha’s likely South – If nowt else, y’ll get closer t’ Wyrmrest an’ migh’ see a Dragon, if ye dinnae get eaten by a Magnataur.
So she walked.
Some minutes passed, maybe half an hour, before the cold started winning. Her cheeks were icy, and then burned, and then stopped feeling altogether. She shook, and the shaking made the exhaustion worse. Then soft on the wind, from far off, she heard her name.
Oi, y’r hearin’ thin’s now, ‘sides th’ cold. Need t’ fin’ a place wi’ shelter, an’ fast, Lass, i’s nae gettin’ any warmer.
And then again, a strong call, this time nearer.
She turned her face into the wind, “OI! Ye lookin’ f’r me, or am I jus’ stark ravin’ mad?” Her voice cracked, and she fell into a fit of coughing, dropping into the snow and clutching her shoulder.
“OI!” the call came again, “Stay thurr!”
Out of the sky behind her, she heard, and then saw the Bronze Drake. It landed with a thump and a snort, and its rider dismounted quickly.
“Aely? Uthah’s Grace, tha bloodah… “ Jolstraer trailed off.
“Jolly? Oi…” She attempted a smile, teeth chattering.
“Laight help us. Le’s git yeh tha ‘ell outta ‘eah.”
She took his outstretched hand, pulling herself out of the snow and leaning on the Drake, shivering. The older Paladin looked her over, his eye taking in the bindings around her arm, and then offered her a leg up. She took it, and he climbed up behind, wrapping her in an extra blanket before kicking the Drake off into the blowing snow.
Aely huddled against him, thankful for the blanket and willing herself to stop shaking. The cold sang gently to her now, lulling her – she almost felt warm, as though she should slip gently into sleep and not worry about anything anymore.
“Lass, dunnae yeh dare fall sleep on mah!” His tone was harsh, but fringed with worry; it frayed at the edges. “Yeh heah? Ah dunnae care ‘ow col’ yeh are.” He shook her gently, and the shaking hurt, and she was cold again. “We’re nae far from camp – jes’ hol’ oan ’till ‘en. Yeh’ll be warm enou’ soon. Laight help us, jes’ hol’ oan.”
June 15, 2009 – 10:51 am
There are a lot of things I enjoy about TRI (my raid group). I enjoy their company. I enjoy that we have pretty solid progression for a “casual” raid (which is to say, we raid 7 hours a week). I enjoy that raids are as much silly fun and RP as they are srs bsns – and that we get things done while still being able to goof around a little on occasion.
But there’s a new thing that’s started with LK raiding – a new thing which I like more and more each week.
We’ve always had creative sign ups – usually based around song lyrics or movie quotes that relate to that week’s progression or boss attempts. Recently, however, while the thread titles and “yes” and “no” list titles have still been song and movie related, the posts themselves have been in character. And many of the responses have ALSO been in character.
And the one that was posted today… well, it’s taken the cake. The descent into madness, with a drunken night elf (who should never have gone drinking with the dwarf priest) a monocle’d white rabbit disappearing into a hole, and a bunch of other nonsense. The responses have been fantastic, Aely got to actually be in character in Northrend again (with her wounded shoulder from Wrathgate), and I can’t wait to see what other folks come up with.
My favorite individual posts, however, were from last week’s discussion of Mimiron:
Fury Warrior (Engineer): I’m not so sure you should dismiss the wonders of engineering so quickly, though. I have a plan in mind to defeat Mimiron entirely by surprise that only requires a Gnomish Remote Control, half a dozen World Enlargers, and 232 explosive sheep…
Raid Leader (also Engineer): … and twenty four of us hiding in the f*cking tram car!
Rogue: Not me. I’ll be stealthed right outside the room with a readied Sprint cooldown. I want to see this.
June 14, 2009 – 5:06 pm
Sooooo things have been a little quiet around here, and for that I apologize. I had houseguests that came to help Mr. Annas and I with our house – and a 2 day, quick visit to take care of our patio turned into a 5 day marathon ordeal. We had a good time, if you can say that about hard labor, discovered we have a Cyborg Ent in our yard (that’s a story for another day), and now have a new patio and a lot of other good things fixed with our house.
But because of that, I didn’t raid, didn’t log in, and haven’t had time to sit at my computer to do ANYTHING since Tuesday afternoon!
I’m back though, and things should resume as usual. Angrathar will be continuing this week, as well as an Ask Anna post (hooray!) – and it looks like, thanks to some help from Phileas, that Angrathar may have an extra epilogue post. Which is very awesome, since you guys haven’t gotten to see him and Aely interact much (and he’s got a fantastic accent, too). Anyhow – much love, and I’m glad to be back.
June 9, 2009 – 2:24 pm
So I’ve kinda been putting off this book review for awhile.
I’ll admit, I had high expectations for Arthas: Rise of the Lich King going in – Christie Golden’s novels Rise of the Horde and Lord of the Clans are two of my favorite WoW books, and I’d really enjoyed them. They’re not great, classic literature, but that’s ok – they’re entertaining and enjoyable reads with characters I liked and stories that kept me interested.
Unfortunately I’m not quite so glowingly happy with Arthas.
The book suffered from a lot of things that I think really crippled what could’ve been a fantastic novel or novels.
My first issue with it is that there was too much that was utterly glossed over, too much that should’ve been either fleshed out or left out in order to make room for expanding other sections. Were this story fully written out, it would fill two books easily. Sure, Blizzard probably didn’t want to release two books, and I’m not sure if Golden asked for more space and was denied it, or was given a length limit or whatnot.
At just over 300 pages, it felt both too long and too short at the same time, because things were mentioned in passing, instead of explained or written out. So many scenes needed to be actually filled in, rather than glanced over, that it never felt like the book settled into any pace other than headlong, breakneck, and rushed.
For example – during the part where Arthas and the Scourge are marching on Quel’Danas, they mention that there is a traitor. And Sylvanas kinda figures out that there must’ve been one. And then she retains her brain (kinda) – and so does he (kinda) – and they are both part of the scourge… and that’s all that we ever hear about it.
Dar’khan Drathir is one of the biggest betrayers in the history of Warcraft – and he gets hardly a passing glance because the story has to move so fast. You get the same feeling from Arthas’ meetings with Uther Lightbringer – and his Paladin training happens entirely without being mentioned at all. Even two pages dedicated to these kinds of little interactions would’ve helped this feel like an independent story rather than a rote retelling of Warcraft III.
And that’s my second complaint. Warcraft III wouldn’t win any awards for dialogue writing, and that same dialogue is, if anything, less effective in novel form.
Seeing the scene outside Stratholme reenacted in full was nice… but having to rehash the entirety of the game (essentially) with little or no actualy expansion of the dialogue felt forced and was a serious letdown. Golden writes better dialogue than this, and the parts that are “campaign text” stick out. The only part of the book that feels in any way original is the section at the beginning, telling about Arthas’ childhood – and that is fast, furious, and glosses over a lot of things.
Another frustration, in the words of Falconesse? Just marry the fucking horse already! (pardon my language)
One thing that I’d like to have seen, particularly with the development of Arthas himself, is a more defined transition from “wants power to save his people/land/family” to “wants power”. Especially since you see the latter early on. Plus, you have so many clues that Arthas has been mentally unbalanced – if not outright mentally ill – since he was a child that some of it seems, in a way, disgenuous.
Arthas Menethil is supposed to be self-centered, impulsive, and rash (which he is… and I’m not sure how that managed to get him accepted into the Silver Hand – something that seemed to be everyone else’s choice FOR him?) – but he’s also supposed to be good at the beginning, and there are aspects of his character that don’t come across that way even from when he is just a child. Whether this lends credence to it being “his destiny”, weakens the power of the Lich King as a temptation force, or just shows that he was one serious basket case of a man is kinda up to your own reading.
What does the book do well?
It gives us a lot more insight about some lore characters that we didn’t have before – Jaina, Kael’thas, Uther, Muradin, Terenas Menethil. Those sections of the book were my favorites – not the sections dealing with Arthas. The vast majority of the story that deals with Arthas isn’t new. In fact, it reads like a transcription of Warcraft III/Frozen Throne. If you’ve not played those games, and are unfamiliar with Arthas lore (90% of which you can get on WoWWiki), then this will be new stuff for you. Otherwise, it’s mostly old hat.
In fact, I’d say that the only really “new” idea in the entire novel comes in the last 5 pages. And I’m not sure the book supported those last 5 pages particularly well, but I can’t really talk about that without giving it away.
I’m also not sure if part of Blizzard’s request for Golden required that she use the WCIII/FT script and the lore that already existed or not. If it was, I’m more sympathetic towards the novel itself, since that is an incredibly stifling set of guidelines.
Golden’s two previous WoW books basically “set up” the lore for those characters – where with this one she was working from a very well established story, and that definitely may have affected the effectiveness of the novel. I kind of suspect that this is what happened, since the other characters in the book are more interesting than Arthas was. Arthas comes across as a one-trick pony (*mutter mutter horse mutter*), where the other characters – even Uther, who had maybe 4 cameos – had at least the impression of depth.
Should you go out and buy it?
Well, that depends.
Obviously it has some shortcomings, and largely frustrated instead of interested me as I was reading. But, if you are unfamiliar with the Arthas lore, this is a good way to get it – particularly if you’ve not played through Warcraft III. There isn’t anything groundbreaking in the book though, and the writing isn’t good enough to make me want to read it again (unlike both of Golden’s previous books, which I have read twice each). Regardless of the title, it’s a brief overview and not an in-depth character study of Arthas. It’s fast paced, glosses over really excellent opportunities for story/character advancement, and suffers from that awful horse – but as an afternoon’s worth of reading to get you the cliffnotes on Arthas, it’s quite successful.
And I really rather like Jaina. And Muradin and Uther. Would like to see more of them plz!