Written by | Posted September 8, 2015 – 9:51 pm Descent and Ascent

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 – was Gromnor dead? Was he really in the northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms, somewhere […]

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Dealing with Sad
comment 18 Written by on October 6, 2009 – 8:04 am

How does your character deal with grief? With heartbreak?

It’s a question likely out of an old Friday Five, really.

One that I’m trying to wrestle with now with Aely – trying to find the balance between an unhappy character and not making other people want to avoid her because she’s vacillating between being deep in a funk and being randomly short tempered. And really, there’s only so much strawberry icecream and bourbon that will make a difference.  She’s flung herself into her work again, as though working her fingers sore as she bandages and heals and puts folks back together in the field hospital will drive away the darkness of self-doubt and loneliness through sheer exhaustion.  Her work-a-holic phase is bad enough that she’s even back to helping at the Stormwind Infirmary on her days off, tending all the sore throats, broken arms, and skinned knees common among school children.

I like to think I’ve struck a good balance between “putting on a face for the world” (since we’ve all been there, done that) and acknowledging her emotions, but it’s a hard one to hit right.  Too much in one way or the other and I’m either driving my friends nuts or not being true to the character.  Grief is, like many misfortunate things, a very personal, private sort of road to walk, but even writing fics has been difficult.  (Maybe she just wants me to leave her alone?)

Add to that my desire to scare up something remotely happy for her, since she’s been something of a tragedy-magnet lately, and with 3.3 on the horizon, that’s not likely to get any brighter.  She’s planning a bit of a shindig for the anniversary of the Longest Night – but even she can’t decide if that’s a happy or a melancholy thing.

I’ve got a pretty clean slate today, and it’s decided to be unseasonably gross outside, so maybe I’ll be able to get something written to deal with some of this.  Dunno.  Your ideas are welcome!


Annie Mae would like me to let you know that she’s been working hard fighting wolves with no tails and eels without fins in Terokkar Forest.  She’s level 65 now, and I’ve got a good momentum running, which is /really nice/!

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18 Responses to “Dealing with Sad”

  1. Here’s another way to make a character deal with grief, sometimes they go on a pilgramage to understand what’s happened and why. Meditation, communing, or even a final task in someone’s name. They’re all ways to receive closure depending on the character.

  2. Well, if she is doing things like patching up skinned knees, there can be small joys to offset the deeper sorrow. Who can’t feel happy, even if only for a moment, when they turn a child’s tears to smiles and get a grateful, happy hug from the small trusting person?

    My take on the night elves is that they value children highly. A long-lived people would not tend to have so many children, so those that they have are treasured, deeply. So that could offset her deeper issues so the story isn’t overly negative.

    By Kayeri on Oct 6, 2009 | Reply
  3. Very true about Night Elves… but Aely is a human paladin! (From old Lordaeron, no less)

  4. Victor Frankl wrote that sadness is like a gas. It expands to fill up the entirety of the vessel that contains it. While varying people have varying degrees of “Sad density,” sadness affects us all. Aely’s completely understandable grief and loss regarding Philly is rough to deal with. Combined with the devastation at Wrathgate, we can see how resilient she actually is. Instead of sobbing or breaking, she went farming.

    OOcly I dont’ see her as a sadness drama magnet. It all makes sense from my point of view. Bricu wouldnt’ see an issue with it either–he’d be pretty clear about the whole, “time to knock it off” thing. In fact, I actually think she is asking you to leave her alone while she figures out what to do next.

    Bricu dealt with being sad by drinking. Now he deals with it by plotting and focusing on his daughter. His cynicism gives him a degree of resilience, and he is usually clever enough to deal with what is thrown his way. He tries to stay in front of it. That being said, he also has a tendency to react aggressively and finally to deal with his grief. He’d seek revenge (labled justice) and do whatever he could to get even. He’ll justify it by saying, “they had it coming.”

    When Bricu gets too upset to deal, he’ll retreat–with Threnn and Naiara in tow–and have a vacation. The one time he came close to relapsing, he got himself thrown in the stocks so he couldn’t get easy access to booze.

    Then the zombies ate his cell mates.

    I could write pages on grief and RP. Maybe I will…

  5. Duh… got your characters crossed! ::blushing and going to hide in corner:: 🙂

    By Kayeri on Oct 6, 2009 | Reply
  6. @Kayeri – Don’t go hide! even I can’t keep them straight sometimes! (not that having them all with very similar names makes that any easier either)

  7. Kayeri hit on exactly what I was going to say. Small joys. I know on my end, I’m still struggling with Shael, who’s not yet entirely let go of the whole Laurus-blowing-up-the-Stockades thing. But he’s past the worst of it. Two things helped him get past it.

    1) He took a week off. Didn’t work, didn’t worry about guild matters. He took his daughter off every day and went somewhere quiet. Slept. Watched her.

    2) He did this at the behest of his counselor. He’s a big enough man to realize he was having anger issues, and actually went to the Cathedral seeking counseling.

    It’s all about the baby steps, be they literal or figurative, in mine opinion.

    By Shad on Oct 6, 2009 | Reply
  8. @Shad – Aely was “given” some time off, but I can’t see that she made very good use of it? She spent two weeks at Jolly’s and then about three days bumming around Stormwind generally being bored before she started helping at the Stormwind Infirmary again – apparently inaction bothers her. A lot.

    I think part of it is that I’m having trouble getting into her head enough to see any of the progress too. Perhaps a little fic of her while she’s working should be in the works.

  9. Tarelyn went out on week long bender when her brother was killed. She ended up hanging out with Beltar, of all people. overall, I haven’t had many of my characters aside from Tare deal with overwhelming sadness.

    As for being bothered by inactivity, Dorri also gets like that. She likes to be busy. When things go wrong, she just does more things. I think the whole need to be busy amuses the hell out of Keltyr, who would likely be as lazy as he could get away with.

  10. Aely should go spend a day with Shaurria and Windstar. Especially if Shaur can get into one of her hyper-kitten-sticking-her-nose-into-everything moods. >.>

    Shaur deals with grief by…. well, not dealing with it, actually. She just doesn’t think on it (and usually keeps herself from thinking on it by staying busy >.>). She kinda worries Windstar and Arvoss.

    Stepping away from Feathermoon to my other server, my night elf death knight Barraccus has gone through some pretty heavy grief before. He still deals with some of it, but it helps to just focus on his friends and family. I don’t know if Aely has anyone she’s close to like that, but if she does maybe spend some time with them?

    And Annie Mae is zipping past Arvoss. He’s still only 61 :/

  11. @Sarai – after tonight, I’ve kinda come to realize that’s what’s going on. Aely’s not quiet because she’s dealing with stuff – she’s quiet because she’s /not/ dealing with it. She doesn’t really know how to work through what’s been going on, and (for lack of a better way of putting it) she’s not ready yet.

    If she were to call anyone her family, it’d be the Riders, which is why I make sure she’s there on Tuesdays – particularly Feliche, Bricu/Threnn, Tarquin, and Jolstraer. And newly added Tiforis and Shaurria as well. I’m hoping to get her some “happy” worked in the future – planning that party should help a lot. That and actually nailing down some conversations that need to happen!

  12. I don’t think Aely’s a sadness magnet at all, as she (or Tif for that matter) have never really acted it out in a “Woe is me” sort of way. Aely went to Jolly’s farm to distract herself, Tif always fell back on his engineering over the years, and he still does. Both characters are bogged down in similar spirals of depression, but they both keep moving forward, which I think speaks a lot of the strength the two really have.

    Tif throws himself into work and hardens up emotionally, but he keeps going. He and Aely are a lot alike. 🙂

    By Tif on Oct 7, 2009 | Reply
  13. @Tif – They are. They also apparently make a good “bad cop/good cop” team. Which is a little scary… 🙂

  14. Threnn used to insist that “paladins don’t cry,” but she’s gotten better about that. She tends to focus on work as part of the not-dealing, but when she’s ready to talk, she has a few people she’ll go to.

    Bricu, Threnn has noticed, will also stonewall her when she asks him what’s wrong. He won’t talk about his grief until he’s ready, but there have been times Threnn’s been able to force the issue. Sometimes, picking a fight’s her last resort, and she hates it, but it’s worked in the past.

    Annalea, as we saw this week, gets self-destructive. Not that it’s a surprise — when Threnn wouldn’t wake up last winter, she tried desperately to goad Bricu into a fist fight (which she knew she would have lost). When he wouldn’t rise to it, she punched the door frame on her way out and broke her hand.

    I think Aely could benefit from a good streak (which doesn’t have to be the same as a happy streak). Maybe a series of slice-of-life type ficlets, showing her doing things that are getting her back to normal? I like the idea of her with Shaurria and Windstar. I’m totally seeing a walk through Elwynn and kitties diving into leaf piles… XD

  15. @Lauren – I love the idea of kitties in leaf piles 😀 Also thinking about doing some things related to her work, and to the fall cleaning she recently did at the apartment.

    She may ask Anna about some Old Magic (or possibly Tashiya) to help with that.

    Man – now I have IDEAS.

  16. @ Lauren- o wow, Anna sounds kinda like me 0.o except I’m too much of a wimp to break anything…

    And Windstar is totally up for hanging out, Aely has had her little protective-mama-kitty urges going overtime. She would love to a chance to cheer her up some. 🙂

    By Kelesaria on Oct 7, 2009 | Reply
  17. This is an interesting post. I’m struggling with something similar at the moment. Honnete’s son has disappeared. She’s still in the stage of trying desperately to find him (which isn’t going to happen as the player has quit WoW) and trying to deal with her emotions by keeping busy. She’s always dealt with anything unpleasant by moving on and forgetting about it, before – but she can’t with this. And I’m kind of avoiding RPing it because I know that when it finally hits it’s going to just-about destroy her. She does still have a child to care for, too – but she isn’t able to remember that.

    By Honnete on Oct 18, 2009 | Reply

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