Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A simple plea

Wish I was here...?

Ok - I haz a plan for Cata but I need ... input.

Specifically, help from the mons and the monsettes out there...

I really want to play a troll. Like really. Specifically a resto druid troll. And I have a long list of resto druid blogs that I can crib from, but nothing that will assist me with troll lore. And this is where you wonderful people come in. Gief linkies! And I'll bake y'all delicious cookies in the flavour of your choosing. Deal?

Horde ones only though *giggles*

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

A minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye?

~I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end~

{With apologies to Gilda Radner, who really had an excuse to use lines like this, but it works for me}

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Liquid brain matter.

I'm suffering from an overload of belf-age. Actually, that's not *strictly* true. I love my belfs - each and every one of 'em. But as I'm feeling fickle (even more so than usual) I have suddenly grown a multitude of alts... All of them are belfs (I know - the shock must be terrible. Here, have a cup of strong, sweet tea.) So I'm getting ever so slightly over Eversong and Ghostlands. I know that this is easily remedied by a) rolling another race (does...not... compute... *reboot brain*) or b) going to a different start zone... but bleugh. I don't wanna... I currently have 2 mages, a paladin, a rogue and 2 warlocks all under level 20. I think. This is the problem with having two accounts... there is way too much room for alt-age y'see. What I should actually be doing is levelling my shaman, or my DK. Or my mid-40s warlock. Or even making some gold on one of my 80s. But I adore the promises that new characters hold. The potential for what they could be, the as yet unformed personalities.

AND I got a mage to level 10! But I think I'm doing it wrong - help me out here, there's something wrong with basically just using one button surely? All I seem to do it hit 1, which is where which spell is keybound? That's right, that's the binding for Frostbolt. So I mash that and if I get really bored I walk on the wild side and hit button 2 which is where Fire Blast is. And things just fall over. Now that dizzy heights of level 10 have been introduced to me, should I mix it all up with Arcane Missiles or should I just continue to mash 1? However, I guess I can practice sheeping things as well. For lulz if nothing else!

I even re-visited my level 80 lock today. Man, I really need to L2Play her again. This was the 'lock I took through the disasterous PuG of Emo, so I'm not currently her greatest fan. And I logged on and thought - bah NO instancing... questing then... gief moar golds plox etc (no I'm not playing pat-a-cake with stupid jousting, I'd rather finish up questing) and it was just... well it wasn't anything really. I didn't have fun, but I didn't hate it either. Which I how I feel when I play Shad, Kythes and my shaman (who's name, shamingly I can't remember because I changed it when I server transferred and have barely touched her since!) as well. And then I realised, I've gotten used to playing characters with a personality of their own that all my PvE toons feel like just that. Toons. Pixels. They don't feel like 'people'. And I'm not 100% sure how to fix this. I guess I could engage my creativity and bloody well think about them and formulate a back story/character traits/something for them but I'm not sure I've really got the will to. When I get a moment I might try but other than that, I don't know.

And it wouldn't be an alts post without a mention of Pilf would it? I went here yesterday:

And I had a brief moment of, and please try not to laugh, "Pilf would love it here'. Which made me (momentarily) incredibly sad. In both senses - 'sad' in the modern-yoof usage, inasmuch as 'oh good grief it's pixels, get it together woman' and 'sad' in the more traditional usage of 'I'm a bit upset.' Because somehow I feel like she's painted into a very tight corner. Of a mixture of her making and mine. She really quite needs to vanish, but I'm not sure how to go about it. I'm leaning towards popping her onto a floating island in Nagrand and leaving here there until... well, that's the thing. I'm not sure until when exactly. Until she chills out/calms down or until I forget about her.

And this was exactly the way I did not intend to finish this post. So I need something to make y'all giggle. Let's start with the fact that iTunes has gone insane with the heat. I have my (i.e. mine and the sprogs) entire library set to 'random shuffle' (or whatever it's called) and it is determined to just shuffle between The Smiths and inane drivel that belongs to the kids. So I'm either being seduced by the grand master of contempt or I'm listening to brainless drivel extraordinaire. My brain is melting. And go here and if you don't a) see a hundred things you want, or b) die laughing then I cannot help you. Really, I can't.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Chaotic neutral?

Inspired by Issy's rant at her hubby (and a comment he subsequently left her) and a conversation I'd had with the Bloke earlier in the week about why I can't seem to RP 'evil' characters, I decided that it must be something to do with my RL alignment. Now having never been a D&D player (or really truth be told, understanding it in any way) this whole 'alignment' business has me a trifle confused but ah well - is this not what the interwebz was designed for, peoples?

(As a brief aside, I'm re-discovering quite what a wonderful (?) place the internet is. Having gotten fed up with hearing 'furry' and not knowing what it refers to (yes, pat me on the head, innocent little me, bless...) And having had someone try to explain it to me (tactfully, I assume) - they managed to explain that it was about anthropomorphizing animals, to which I assumed they meant Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore and friends... they gave up and told me to Google it - thank goodness for Wiki being top of the charts in most search engines huh? I now know. Ho-hum. Equally I had 'Rule 34' quoted at me a few days ago and I had to Google that as well. I fear that I am getting too old to keep up with all the net-kiddies and their net-speak... And no I'm not providing you with links - you can make like me and Google if you need to.)

But back to alignment - Bloke has at least one character that he RPs as what I would describe as 'evil' though he might take issue with me on this, wanting to put equal emphasis on the charm and intellect of said character... And I have no evil characters, not one. I have a warlock - and let's face it, there's probably no easier character to RP as 'evil' than a lock - but it's Sassi. She's lovely. She's my Pilf antidote. I can't make her evil anymore than I could make Pilf... behave herself. It just wouldn't work. So I moseyed off the the interwebz again and found this. Now I know - 'personality' tests are only relevant as long as a) you're honest b) you're honest c) you're honest and d) you don't try to mess with them - I had to do a 'real' one at work the other day, in preparation for a mammoth Management Development Programme thingy - all 78 questions and by the time I had finished I was both in tears and convinced that I would be the fail manager of failness because I was clearly not competitive by nature, nor do I want to 'sell' (either myself, so to speak, or 'products') and all this before I have to go and have my debrief-y 'this is who you are' chat-ette but my alignment is apparently 'chaotic neutral'. I know not what this means, really. I think it's a complex way of saying 'selfish', which I guess, is unarguable with! So I went and Googled some more.

First from my friend Wiki:

Chaotic Neutral is called the "Anarchist" or "Free Spirit" alignment. A character of this alignment is an individualist who follows his or her own heart, and generally shirks rules and traditions. Although they promote the ideals of freedom, it is their own freedom that comes first. Good and Evil come second to their need to be free, and the only reliable thing about them is how totally unreliable they are. Chaotic Neutral characters are free-spirited and do not enjoy the unnecessary suffering of others, but if they join a team, it is because that team's goals coincide with their own. They invariably resent taking orders and can be very selfish in their pursuit of personal goals. A Chaotic Neutral character does not have to be an aimless wanderer; they may have a specific goal in mind, but their methods of achieving that goal are often disorganised, unorthodox, or entirely unpredictable.

Then lots from here, but picking the sentence I like:

Chaotic neutral is the best alignment you can be because it represents true freedom from both society's restrictions and a do-gooder's zeal.
Whoo-oooo! I like that one *grin*.

Another one that makes me happy, from here, a site which takes a more pop culture view and explanation:

Chaotic Neutrals detest the self righteous, believe in power to the individual—and notably power to themselves as they are interested in their personal gain. However, they do not intentionally harm the innocent, even for their own personal needs.
And the list goes on. All interesting reading really, especially if you're me and you've never dipped into this particular treasure trove before. And a good way to waste time on a day where the rest of the nation is either glued to the tv/their pints as they watch some bloody game involving men chasing a bit of leather round a field, or in denial that such a game exists. Me, I'll stick to exploring the inner reaches of my self *cough*...

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Re-loading my mojo

Wa-hey - Azeroth is fun again! Seems like my (kinda) break has helped a bit!

Not that there's a great deal happening mind - Pilf finally made it to 63 *gasp/swoon* but has since wandered into the woods and gotten distracted again *sigh*.

As I commented, on my other blog, I've come to the conclusion that she's basically a teenager. However much I talk sense to her, tell her that she's behaving in a ridiculous and irresponsible manner, and however much I think I'm getting through to her, she basically does the teenage hair flick, rolls her eyes, says "whatever..." in a bored voice then wanders off to find sex, drugs and rock and roll. Or warlocks, depending on your point of view. I get the feeling that I may struggle to drag her back to Northrend for a while. Last I saw of her she was muttering about a journey to Silverpine...

Sassi is behaving herself (well, someone has to!). But I think she has a yearning to be a mage...

She's also grown her hair a bit - and overnight too (why does this not happen to me??) And is on route to offer her services to the Forsaken in Tarren Mill. It's fun playing Sass again - I was determined to put her on hold, pending something later in the year, but my levelling co-dependency has put the mockers on that.

I am, and here's a surprise, failing at playing my mage. I need to be dragged back to her, to at least get her to 20 (10 would be a start though) but I'm having that new server thing... no gold, no bags, I've-done-this-recently-and-I-don't-want-to-do-it-again pouty moment and I cannot bear to go through the DK start zone again to enable myself to make some gold. That said, I eventually will. Or I'll re-roll on AD and negate those issues...

My level 80s, Kythes, Shad and Ahi are being hugely neglected. I hear rumours that something patch-like is dropping tomorrow with a new raid, but as I haven't set foot in raids for months it's kinda irrelevant to me. Nor am I playing pat-a-cake with Real ID until they give me an 'appear offline' option a la MSN. And yes, I am a bit stompy about this - I hate logging neglected characters on old servers just to catch up with friends but I do not want to be accessible on Every Fucking Character All The Fucking Time. How is this unreasonable...?

But enjoying playing again is A Good Thing. It's still summer (although the longest day was yesterday - Summer Solstice already - waitwut - where has half a year gone??), weekends are still busy, working and (RL) playing is taking up a lot of time (in a good way!) so there won't be any epic levelling adventures in the short to medium term but hey, it's good to mooch around having fun again.

Sunday, 20 June 2010


*stands up* My name is Pilf and I'm a meme addict. *sits down* Thank you, thank you wunnerful people of teh interwebz for WoW memes *cheers* (Seriously, I was determined to blog tonight, and not just here, and I completely adore listy memes. Thanks Jak and the Sorry Caps blog.)
So here, via here. Go look...

1. Raider, farmer, PvPer, or altoholic?
We've met right? Or you can at least read the blog title? *giggles* Seriously, raider-turned-altaholic. Nevah a PvPer...

2. Favorite raid or dungeon?
Oh you wanted reasons as well? Ok then! Possibly because your first raid is like losing your virginity - slightly painful and messy the first time but improving with practice and staying in your memory? Or some slightly classier analogy.

*Ahem*, Kara, yes - because it felt like a real journey through someones (slightly creepy) mansion, not just a few randomly connected bosses. Because it was where I learnt that being a priesty healer does not mean you don't need to be able to use crowd control (focus targets - yawhatnow? macros - yawhatnow?) Because the first time Moroes died I'd been lugging that damned cake around for weeks, and I was sick of promising fireworks... Because of the abuse we used to give Barnes whilst waiting for Opera. Because I loved hearing 'Run Pilfy run!!' as I invariably got Little Redded during the Big Bad Wolf. Because Nightbane landing was always cool as fuck. Ok, I could go on forever about how much fun I had in Kara...

3. Number one choice for a new playable race?
I possibly adore the 'nilla dragonkin more than is healthy. And have waaaaay to many screenshots of them...

4. Class you suck the most at?
Anything melee? Damage dealing is (still) odd for me. Having to be close to the bad things that want to munch on me... *flees*. And yes, I am aware I have a level 80 loladin. And no, I don't quite know how.

5. Original UI or modded UI?
You tell me:

Vaguely modded I guess. I hate Blizz toolbars but despite having an inner-geekette I am amazingly untechy so it's Bartender, SexyMap and Clique basically.

6. Profession you've never levelled past 200?
Blacksmithing for sure, possibly leatherworking. That's about not having classes that would benefit from those proffs mind you.

7. Favorite flying mount?
I adore my green protodrake.

8. Nozdormu -- friend or foe, you figure?
I'm going for friend - people should learn that fucking with time is a bad idea *glares*.

9. Useless item you have in your bank that you'll never get rid of?
Where would you like me to start? I have a few outfits but they aren't strictly useless. Holiday stuff from last years holiday? Way too many snowballs and mistletoe certainly? Old epics that I can't bring myself to delete? This because it's blatantly shadow priest QQ?

10. Most expensive thing you've ever bought?
Epic flying on Pilf-the-First. Goddamn I was chuffed when I got it.

11. Favorite starting area?
Urgh... I like both the Belf and Draenei areas because they're so much better put together than the 'nilla start zones. But that's probably my TBC gal bias talking.

12. Inane goal you worked hardest to achieve?
I was proud to get The Diplomat. Fucking made-up when I got a mount for Pilf. And I had this before I set foot in Naxx Mk2. Dungeon running every night ftw... And levelling Pilf-the-First 0 - 70 as 100% holy spec.

13. Darion Mograine VS Tirion Fordring, gloves off -- winner is?
Face bothered? I've done the DK start zone waaaaaaay too many times. (Huge apologies to all the people it does actually matter to...)

14. Game music or your own playlist?
Oh my own playlist(s). There are separate ones for questing, raiding, gathering...

15. Particular option or setting that you always toggle on a new alt/server?
Display cloak 'off'. Display helm 'off'. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.

16. Highest amount of levels gained in one play session?
Not a clue.

17. Thing you'd most like to experience or see in-game?
Well, I'll never take down the Lich King that much is certain. I guess I'd like to see Sunwell Plateau just because of my belf-ness.

18. Worst PuG moment?

There have been a few. I choose not to dwell on them.

19. Best dungeon/raid moment?
I guess clearning ZA and punting Zul'Jin. Mainly for the party-on celebrations afterwards but also because we were a teeny-weeny guild who had 11 members. So class balance was a bit of an issue...

20. Worst quest ever that you totally hate doing?
I don't think I have a worst quest. I have a favourite on which all my characters do - because Kevin Smith makes me swoon. So this makes me fan-gurl drooly.

21. First thing you do when you hit 80?
Not sure... breath a sigh of relief and promptly stop playing that character usually. Why do you think Pilf is still 72...!

22. Character (of yours) you would RP as if you had to?

That would be Pilf then.

23. Keyboard, mouse, or both for using abilities?
I'm a clicker. Can't break the habit. W, A , D, X (I think) for moving but clicking for abilities... I know, I'm a bad player...

24. Thottbot or WoWhead?
WoWhead. I never got on with Thott for some reason.

25. Acronym you've seen in chat but don't understand?
Man I didn't understand Trade for months after I started playing. PST had me confused for longer. Basically I'm happy to make a fool out of myself in guild chat so I just used to ask. Mind you, I still don't understand what Gearscore is *sticks out tongue*.

26. Plot point you'd like to see resolved someday?
I'm a bit shite with plot points. So rather than hobnail booting it all over the lore I'll let someone more in tune with all things lore-based take that one.

27. Biggest thing you're looking forward to in Cataclysm?
Other than Twilight fanboi/gurl mockery? I am looking forward to being a goblin...

28. Guild event you'd like to see?
Hmm. Not sure. I've been lucky enough to be involved in various guild events during my time in WoW. That said, a big Hallows End bash wouldn't go amiss.

29. Level range you hate being in?
Ugh 20 - 30 without a doubt. It's where I get bored, wander off and make another alt.

30. Favorite map to quest in?

I adore Nagrand... the floating islands with the waterfalls *happy sigh*. Equally I like Netherstorm, mainly for the Eco Domes and because it's where I hit level 70 on all my characters.

[Apologies for ugly fucking font of fucking ugliness. Blogger fucking hates me tonight - and is refusing to let me change the font and it's late and I'm knackered and just grrrrrrrr!]

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

This should be my 100th post...

But it isn't - it's my 99th... go figure!

My love-affair with WoW has been intense in the main, with brief periods of frustration and doubt, and the occasional smidgen of dis-interest. I'm currently at a dis-interested point, RL is providing me with a lot more fun than Azeroth at present, it's the summer blah blah blah. I'm not going anywhere, but as I play less, I blog less...

Back along, on a whole 'nother blog, I wrote a 'thank you' list. So often we read doom and gloom on blogs; PuGs that failed, changes Blizzard are making to our favourite class, changes that will/won't be being made to the game with the next x-pac etc etc but for me, as you all know, the game is about the people. So here goes the (updated and improved) list, in vaguely chronological order. Some names have been shortened, some changed, some just as they are, depending on how I think the person would feel...

Zalaxta - GM of my first proper guild, Horde side. For giving me and a few others the impetus to leave the playground guild we were in and start up on our own. Zal went MIA about 2 years ago with no warning and we still miss her and wish she could have said goodbye.

Ag - for being the paladin every guild dreams about having. For being an arrogant SoB (who I now admit, doesn't have a ponytail, either in Azeroth or in RL!) I have to admit, he's one of the players who's opinion really does matter to me and the day he admitted he was 'proud' of me I knew I'd made it to the bigger leagues.

Bob - for being the small dwarf with the big feet. For being the person I partied with loads, once he'd been persuaded that whilst PuGs suck, instancing with your guildies is a blast. For being part of the 'Friday Five' and for being an all-round, good-natured guy (even when the donkeys were braying loud).

Kin - for being another legend, my co-raid leader and subject of my adoration. For adding the phrase 'the big dude' [you have to imagine the broad Glasweigan accent for max effect] to my raiding vocab, and for all the times he literally whistled up the raid 'come along raid, up the stairs raid, that's a good raid...' And for being a donkey-kicker...

Swar - for being the fastest leveller I'd ever know, or for being a 'bot. I was never sure which. This guy gets much respect and every excuse to /flex.

Pen - for taking shit as a fellow healer and always bouncing back. For being an incredibly brave woman (in RL) and for continuing to play despite chemo, sickness and tubes.

Sai - and his multitude of alts. For being a walking, talking wowwiki and knowing each class inside out. Most importantly to me though, for being my mentor, the priest who explained to me that hitting 70 was when you learned to play your class. Who held my hand through early Kara, who provided wonderful, constructive critisism and advice, never through raid chat, guild chat or vent, always through whisper. Who gave me buff food and made me realise that fishing would be worth it in the end. Who picked me up so many times when we were wiping, who talked me out of giving up healing, who made me, in some ways, the player I am today. I could write a chapter on this guy. Sai, I always have, and always will /swoon in your presence.

Patish - for being totally off the hook, opinionated, bonkers and a huge part of the Friday Five. Also sadly gone but not forgotten.

Arca - Drunken GM extraordinaire. For making me realise that there are only 30 people in the world and the rest is done with mirrors. For making my laugh so much I cried when we realised that we'd probably met previously in RL and had drunk in the same pub for some time (but fortunately, didn't 'know' each other, in the biblical sense - thank goodness for FB. There's a whole blog post in this story in my drafts folder that I'm not quite brave enough to publish...)

Blonde - who I wuv virtually more than anyone else in game. My favourite PvP fanatic. A classy lolwock with attitude. I could write another chapter on the fun I've had with this guy but some of it would need censoring (I give you Wispas and a cup of hot chocolate.)

Sem - for being the most non 'tard hunter I've ever met. For having a T-Rex called Bolan. For turning into a chick and dancing in Shatt wearing only his tabard (and the screenie says it did happen). For being guy that always had room for a cute, biker spacegoat on his hog, who kept me stocked with mana and health injectors. Who made me robots and cuddly things but most importantly, for being some random druid who I PuG'd with, and, on the off chance, sent a cheeky letter to, asking to be kept in mind if his guild ever needed another priest. The guild he was in was RotS. Sem has also been lost to RL but often sends me texts, especially when Ziggy Stardust comes on the radio. Sem, every time I hear Bowie, but admittedly mainly when it's Ziggy, I think of you crooning down vent.

Akasa - for being another RotS dude and for letting me duct tape him when the (>'.')> got too out of hand. Props to the Camden boi...

Cat - For being the coolest tree on the planet. For waving her branches at the bad guys. For her funky moves on the dancefloor. For reining in the ladz when they need it. For being another injection of much needed oestrogen and for being her own, truly enigmatic self at all times.

Noir - for being a squeaky lolwock who gets regularly sacrified to keep the raid gods happy and never complains. And she's a gnoam, 'nuff said!

Chops - for being another non 'tard hunter and for being a space goat. For being da bosses henchman but always (well 99.9% of the time) in a nice way. For having the biggest laugh and the smallest bladder on the planet. For allowing 'comfort breaks' to be renamed as 'Stevie breaks'. For keeping me informed of things I *really* didn't want to know, such as 'monkey face' (not a CHANCE - go google it...)

Ex - for being da boss(y). For calling us 'kids'. For never pretending that RotS was anything other than a dictatorship. For giving me immense shit on a regular basis and hiding that cuddly-marshmallow interior behind a tough-bastard-Glaswegian exterior. Ex, heaven forfend you ever see this you *are* a hunny-bunny-wunny-kins. And yes, I did let Nao read the screen when you're busy fretting about me /smirk. You pissed me off a great deal but only because you're even sarkier then I am. Very few people can out-argue me; Ex is one of them. He's also the reason RotS were so wonderful and, as they never recuited, I'm very grateful that you gave first me then Naofa a chance. I hope we did you proud.

Jeeessus - and the variations thereof. The guy who had to make the RL vs WoW decision. When I logged into vent that evening to say goodbye I'd never known it so quiet. And I know that I wasn't the only one in tears either [thanks for whispering me Kitty, I thought it was just me]. His final words were 'I have to log, this is worse than getting divorced and I'm not joking'. It sounds melodramatic until I think back to when I was quitting Synergy, the speech I typed to the officers and the tears I cried for along time afterwards. Jees, I salute you mate and I hope playing RL with the missus and the kids is giving you more pleasure than Azeroth ever did.

Stadi - for confirming my belief that all rogues are deeply depraved, not just the undead ones. For regularly saying stuff you usually have to call an 0898 number to hear. For being my personal lockpicker and for being more grateful than I thought possible when I gave him the pet that I only ground to prove I could.

All the Synergy raiders - who are to numerous to name. The guys who were immensly encouraging and put up with me finding my way as a baby raid leader. Despite it all going wrong eventually (not enough experience, too high expectations and immense self-pressure and self-critisism on my part) you guys were imba.

Naofa - what can I say? You were my partner in both Azeroth and RL for a long time. You were my other half, the tank to my healer, the calm to my tantrums. Without you I wouldn't be playing this damn game still... and despite everything, I thank you for this.

Tam - for starting up SAN and giving me RP at a point where I was pretty much done with WoW. For the fantastic blog, the numerous mouthfuls of coffee spat at the screen and the general fan gurl awe you (still) inspire in me.

Issy - for being another girl IRL *gasp* and for being a kick ass orc. For making me giggle a lot. For the comments on my posts, for the hysterical blog you write, for the emails when I needed them. And for just being your all round, fun lovin' self.

Erc - for being someone special who journeyed around Azeroth with me and kept me up waaaaaaaay to late on numerous nights. For all the screenshots I took, for the nelfs, the spacegoats, the numerous alts. And for the t-shirt, I send you *hugs*.

Kao - for being a fellow priestess with attitude, and for being a stunning healer. That MC run will be embedded on my memory as one of my most enjoyable times in Azeroth.

Zal - for the advice as I took tentative steps into RP. For being the 'Beachcomber' and for making me realise just how incredible RP can be with the right person. For really understanding Pilf and listening as I talked myself round in circles trying to 'fix' her. For giving me inspiration to write and the courage to to continue. The muse and the artist are inextricably linked...

Jae - for writing a fantastic blog. For being a fellow 'let's play dress up' girl. And for being one of those people who just makes me happy when she logs onto guild.

All the SANers - who I haven't named, to stop this post being even longer than it is. It's a privilige to have played with you all. My blog list is huge nowadays and even though I'm teh fail at commenting I love the breadth of writing that I have found via SAN. It's been a joy to be guilded with intelligent, witty, mature people. Much, much love, many hugs and vast quantities of cookies!

Nameless - for personal reasons. The person who introduced me to WoW and bought me the game and who is no longer in my life. For all the water under the bridge and everything that happened I still thank you for the introduction to Azeroth and the people that inhabit it.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

On with the alting!

I've been a bit of a fail recently, both WoW wise, blog wise and in a myriad of other ways. Normal service will be resumed shortly and to start the ball rolling... Yes, another alt! (I know, the shock! Pick yourselves up off the floor and dust yourself down.) I'm also intending to give Pilf a breather. But as with all best laid plans...

I've had many abortive attempts at playing mages and I grind my teeth everytime someone expounds on how much fun/easy they are to play! I get them to 20 and then get bored and wander off, only to delete them at a later date. I think my highest one was 46... And I am fully aware that it's at 20 they start to get fun, but thank you for pointing it out again. Oh I get the 'glass' bit of 'glass cannon' alright, it's just the 'cannon' bit I seem to be lacking. No that wasn't a metaphor so stop sniggering in the back there. So for your lulz, I have rolled another mage. And I'm going to try really, really hard not to hate her. For your sake, you understand. Not because I have a secret yearning to chuck flames and ice from my fingertips. Not to mention make things that irritate me go baaaaa. Seriously, of all the spells I would like transferred into RL (please, when some bored deity has a moment) polymorph is high on the list.

Thus far I am singularly failing to be over-awed. But in fairness I'm only level 7 and all classes suck until at least 10, amirite? Faster icebolts frostbolts begin at level 10? And technically I guess I should sheep things already. But dragonhawks are prettier than sheep. I guess I should be practising on the thingies... ummm the Wretched?

{Image yoinked from here. This is one of my favourite websites. And my eyes are never green. Please, someone have mercy and tell me how I should be doing image credits - I like piccy's on my blog but I don't enjoy always having a nagging feeling of guilt...}

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Changes afoot.

The time has come, I feel to try and run two blogs.

I'm adoring, really adoring writing my, well my fan-fic, my RP stuff, my ficlets, call them whatever you want to call them I guess. However it feels like it needs a separate space, a separate blog to make me feel comfortable, so from here on all the fantasy posts will reside here. It'll be nice to have a little part of the interwebz just for my imagination.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Stuck in the middle with you.

I'm slightly stuck (you may have noticed... or you're just *really* observant and read the post title...) with both my gaming and my blogging at present.
Real life is conspiring (in a good way, for the most part) to lessen my game time. This is totally healthy, in a RL > WoW thing but is knocking on to make my characters feel stuckety-stuck-stuck-stuck which is less than good *pouts*. I've got plans for my baby warlock, Yassias, which makes her effectively unplayable until the autumn. I'm not raiding on Shad and seeing as how I'm trying (and failing) to plough through Northrend on Pilf I CBA to repeat the quests on Shad just for the sake of goldz. My paladin, bless her, does the occasional few laps of the Basin or Icecrown to mine but then I get bored, yawn and log off her. Am I finally getting the pre-xpac blues? Oh noes...

Of course the *actual* problem is more complex than the above sentences and is all caught up in Pilf and where she is. I've got so much entangled in her that all the time she's miserable and unhappy, playing her is a miserable and unhappy experience. She's fed up of sitting in the City so I dragged her to Northrend to try and get a few more levels under my belt and I took no pleasure in it at all. All she wants to do is wander up and down a beach in a unattractively goth-lite manner, getting more and more fucked up (apologies for the cussin', I don't usually do that...) which is pissing me off a great deal. I suspect she's writing bad poetry too... Yes, this is boundary blurring, I know. No it's probably *not* all that healthy. Is it possible to intensely dislike something you enjoy so much? I remember my love/hate relationship with raiding but at least that had set goals, desired outcomes etc. RP is so much more layered than raiding, darn it! I don't know where to go with her really, and that's saddening. And yes, the logical answer is to leave her be for a bit, and come back to her a while down the line, refreshed and able to take control of her again and steer her the right way. But dammit, it ain't that easy!

Of course there is always another solution which is to roll another alt... but I'm not sure what I fancy right now. Gah *wanders off to find convenient wall to bounce head off*.

*Image yoinked from here. I suck at knowing the right way to borrow images...

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Moar RP: Timing and Communication, the importance thereof.

The most important tool by far, in any RP scenario, is the ability to communicate. One of the better known 'rules' on RP servers is that anything in /say or /yell is In Character and, from what I have seen, this is quite closely adhered to on AD. Of course, there are those who ignore this convention, there are the trolls who spam /Trade with 'anal...' etc etc; RP realms are still a cross sector of people and until Blizzard unleashes entire teams of GMs onto RP servers to 'monitor' the interactions (which I don't necessarily want, bringing, as it does, images of 1984 with it) this won't change. The responsibility I hold, to myself, my characters, my fellow RPers, to the server itself, is to be as respectful of the atmosphere as I can. And from this I have a set of 'internal conventions' I try to follow:

  • I have FlagRSP, so if I'm flagged as 'In Character' then I will be.
  • If I'm flagged Out Of Character, for example, whilst questing, and you engage with me I'll likely default to being IC anyway.
  • If you don't have FlagRSP, or are using another addon that I can't read (Total RP or similar) but you speak to me in /say I will probably respond IC, if you then reply with 'lol' or similar I won't bother to engage with you any further. It's doubtful I'll /ignore you or report you. I just won't interact.
  • I won't run in cities .
  • If I speak in /say to another Sin'Dorei it will, 90% of the time, be in Thalassian.
  • If the person/group is of another race I will speak Orcish.
  • I try, where possible to communicate with emotes as well, not just the standard /smile, /wave, /whatever, but custom /emotes as well.
  • I assume that if people want to communicate with me OOC (guild chat notwithstanding) they will do it in /whisper.
  • I'm not concerned if you use (single brackets), ((double brackets)) "OOC", ((OOC)) or if if you do nothing at all. If the text is pink, it's OOC in my book. You can type however you want in /whisper though for the sake of my sanity, I'd appreciate it if you didn't use leet speak...
  • I will be respectful of your experience and your immersion as long as you grant me the same respect.
I have no desire to impose these on anyone else but they do make it easier for me to get into, and stay, In Character...

Ok so, all constructed rules and regs aside, communication is the thing. I've had some glorious RP ficlets, from tiny little scenarios: assisting blind trolls and experiences with poisoned apples through to the more expansive Murder Row liaison right up to the pinnacle of Pure Shores and many more that never made it as far as the blog (else I'd be writing 1 or 2 RP posts a day...) The running theme of these good scenes was the other person's willingness to communicate OOC in /whisper. The difference this makes to my RP cannot be over-stated. I have no desire to know everything about your character but stuff that I need to know, probably for my own comfort, is appreciated. Whether this was my Forsaken 'friend' with the foot fetish asking me very politely if he was making me uncomfortable, the rogue/poet explaining that he would lose 'the girl' his character loved if he continued to womanise, hence why he looked right through Pilf the next time she saw him, etc etc.

As I looked through the Pure Shores chat logs the one thing that really amazed me was how little conversation we'd had about the scene in /whisper as it played out. There were the odd moments of humor to lessen the intensity; at the point where the Beachcomber is feigning ignorance (maybe not 'feigning', I don't know... I'm waiting for more Strong Voodoo as well!) about Pilf asking him why he calls her 'darlin', and she finally capitulates and says *the word* I had a whisper, "Oh the joy of making her say that :)" which alleviated the tension considerably. As the scene neared its end, at the point where it became obvious that he wasn't going to kiss her, I sent a whisper saying "I'm not sure she will." Swiftly followed by one saying "Gah...!" as I floundered, caught between Pilf's headspace and my headspace. As she looks up at him, clinging to the hope that he will close the gap and the pause continued, he whispered to say "I think in TV terms, this is the shot they end on. In all honesty, I think she'd walk at this point." And he was right, she would... and did. But on the whole there wasn't the need to discuss much. Call it serendipity, synchronicity, what you will, for some reason that whole scene just clicked.

Onwards, then, to appropriateness of dialogue. I've been lucky, I think, is as much as I haven't really ever witnessed something I could class as being completely inappropriate in either /say or in /emote. There has been the occasional time, usually in an Inn where some of the chat bubbles on my screen have made me a little... but it's usually a /sigh response, not a /rage response. I try to be careful of what I'm saying in /say, back along, when I was still a timid and terrified beginner, I left a comment on, I think WTT:RP, which regularly has open 'what do you need help with?' threads, asking about communication and channels, and the response really stuck in my head; words to the effect of: if you wouldn't say it on a crowded bus, or in a pub (for example) it probably isn't appropriate for /say. Take it to /party or IC /whisper. I revisited this during Pure Shores, asking myself, as I wrote the post, if there had been anything said that was hugely inappropriate for public viewing, whether we would have had a similar conversation in Orgrimmar or whether the beach afforded some degree of privacy. And whilst any adult, with a bit of nous what have known exactly what was being said (or unsaid in many ways) nothing that I can see could be classed as, crude, inoffensive, inappropriate or anything else. Other than the troll/Sin'Dorei situation, obviously...!

Finally, timing. A slightly strange thing to try and write about, admittedly, because it's rather more in the doing than in the writing but good timing, knowing when to pause, when to /say, when to /emote, increases the tension and the intensity of a scene a great deal. In my view, RP shouldn't be rushed. It should be savoured, enjoyed - if you're on a tight timescale either let the other person(s) know, or don't get yourself drawn into something complex. RP is a dialogue, your opposing number needs to have the time to process what your character has just said/done, then think through what their character would say/do in response and then type this! It's not something to rush. If your dialogue seems to be turning into a monologue ask the other person, either in OOC /whisper, in /say or in /emote. Or maybe just stop talking and give them a chance. If they are just standing their talking at you, rather than to you, let them know, maybe their character does ride roughshod over anyone they can, maybe they're blathering on out of nerves, maybe (sadly) they just do like the sound of their own (textual) voice. But it's worth trying to establish which.

Don't be afraid to pause. During Pure Shores there were many occasions where nothing was being said, no emotes, no OOC /whispers, nothing. I tried, where possible to imply, through /emote or through a stuttering /say, that there would be a 'pause', the same as there would be if you were having a similar (!?) conversation in real life. But sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I just let it hang and hang. If you think about 'big' conversations in real life, there are pauses. There are times when you have to stop and process what's just been said, times when you need to gather your (shredded, tattered, butterfly-esque) thoughts together before responding, and times when what isn't being said is just as big (if not bigger) than what is being said. And also, and I'll be be honest here, there are times where, in fragile, new, relationships, at moments similar to those within Pure Shores, I do pause delibarately. For the same reasons as Pilf did, because sometimes you need to hear what you're thinking echoed before you can say it. Or not hear it echoed, and then you know it's probably best not to say it. And now I'm rambling - probably a good indication that I should wrap this post up.

Friday, 4 June 2010

The sun is shining...

.. the weather is sweeeeeet, yeah.

Pilf and her avatar in real life are taking a break this weekend go to and play real life a bit, some, hopefully a lot.

Have a fab weekend y'all, and try to get some sun on ya skin...!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The creative (!) process at work.

This whole RP thing is a interesting lark isn't it? And you lot are a funny bunch - I never quite understand what it is about the RP posts that I write that prompt a flurry of actual emails and in game conversations (and in game mail as well!), rather than good old fashioned comments, but I do begin to get a feel for how many lurkers I have out there (and feel free to officially de-lurk at any time by the way, we're a friendly bunch round here!) However, regardless of the medium, your comments are hugely appreciated - anyone who has ever taken part in any really good RP will know that it's a precious and fragile dialogue and the prospect of trying to do the piece justice when written up (especially when it's being written entirely from one of the protagonist's perspective) is alarming. I couldn't quite relax until I'd had confirmation from the Beachcomber that he was happy with all three parts...

I thought that it might be interesting (and hopefully informative) to write something to try and explain both how Pure Shores came about (I've had a fair few questions and whilst I fully intend to answer each email when I have the head space to do so (!) I hope that this will prove to be a useful stopgap) and how I RP Pilf. Please also bear in mind that I continue to be a complete novice RP-wise, I'm still only 3 months into playing on an RP server so I don't, in any way, profess to be an expert. Go here if you want an RP expert, m'kay?

The first, and possibly most critical point to make is that 'Pilf' is a separate entity from 'me'. This actually can't be emphasised enough and folks, there is no intrigue here, the only reason the Beachcomber wasn't named was because his character belongs to him not to me. Whilst I had (obviously) sought agreement from him to write the piece, it's up to him to associate himself (or not) with the scene. The mini-speech at the beginning of Part 1 was a thank you for an amazing RP time, nothing more... This degree of separation between Pilf and me does merit some discussion though. I have to be in the right frame of mind to really be able to do justice to her. She can be quite emotionally exhausting, especially at the moment, her inner turmoil, her conflictedness (yes that is a word, now at least), the tension she is carrying round at present, the calculation, the over-analysis of everything all makes for a level of complexity that can make my head spin. During the Pure Shores RP, which was incredibly intense, I had a few fleeting moments of 'oh nooooo' that were as much me as they were Pilf, and let me tell you, that was weird. I guess there is a degree of inevitability though; to play your part convincingly I would suggest that you do have to, at times, be inside the skin of your character even if this causes momentarily discomfort. As long as you can pull back sufficiently, and don't let the lines get too blurry, having that level of investment on your character can lend additional plausibility to the scene. And I was deeply flattered, post-scene debrief to be complimented on how 'real' Pilf is. She's obviously very real to me, but to be told that she's real to someone else is a huge compliment.

Pure Shores wasn't actually planned. It was an off the cuff situation that kind of wrote itself, as unbelievable as this sounds. And, to deal first with one of the most asked questions, yes I know the Beachcomber was a troll, and yes I know how Pilf feels about trolls. It was one of the reasons why most of Part 1 was mainly scene setting. She's in a strange place at the moment, being battered by emotions and desires she can't really acknowledge, even to herself; it's keeping her up at night, making her unable to settle, it's why she's playing with fire in Murder Row. This wasn't completely unexpected for me, after all, when we go off the rails we tend to do so in the most spectacular way we can, do we not? But I'm privileged that when the match under the kindling was lit, it was with someone who had an understanding of who Pilf is, and who's RP skills make mine pale into nothingness.

The dialogue in Pure Shores was written basically as said in the scene (it's no over-exaggeration when I say I spent hours flicking back and forth between the chat log and Blogger) and I cut very little out (mainly some additional scene setting, i.e. when they got to Sen'Jin he took Pilf to meet the raptors, pointing out the one he'd tamed, and told her to watch one of the Sen'Jin women dance, to give her an idea of how to 'let go' - which worked wonderfully during the scene but I couldn't manage to write up in a way that I was happy with) because basically all of it was so relevant. The emotional stuff and her internal monologue was an addition but you can assume that all speech and 'motion' (and never underestimate how much enrichment custom emotes can give to a scene) took place. Are you beginning to see why as a piece of RP it took my breath away? I can't put my finger on the exact point where it turned from a small piece of RP into something bigger for Pilf. Even as we rode (slowly) through Durotar, through Razor Hill and turned off the road onto the track that led to Sen'Jin I wasn't sure which way she would jump. Even with the "hopeless mixture of terror, confusion and attraction" she had felt whilst in Silvermoon flooding through her veins I couldn't be certain that she wouldn't scorn the troll village, not until they dismounted in the village itself and she let the rhythm of the drums pound through her was I convinced she wasn't about to channel her (inner) bitch and let fly.

Part 3 was possibly simultaneously the easiest and the hardest thing I have ever written. The scene played itself out so seamlessly, the setting perfect (c'mon we all know what happens on beaches in the moonlight...) the tension and the atmosphere stunning. Parts of it were excruciating, the conflict she was trying to deal with, the indecisiveness, again the separation between what I wanted her to do/would have done ('just jump him already!) and remaining true to what she would do ('take a few steps, then retreat'). The final part of the scene, where he leans into her "close enough to kiss" and the awful realisation dawning that she will have to make the final, tiny movement towards him and she just can't: "he moves fractionally back, just enough, making it apparent that anything I want, I will need to reach for" was terrible. She'd been so courageous already, she'd left her territory: "the City with all the expectations it holds now so far away, a continent away", she'd danced for him, she'd coped with (from her point of view) a number of rejections already. She'd been, in her view, as clear as she could be about what she wanted. Having to close that tiny gap was just too much.

This is a mortifying thing to admit to, but when he brushes away her tentative enquiries about whether she will see him again, "I... I should be leaving..." "Dis beach still be 'ere when ya get back, eh?" "And you...?" "Maybe, maybe. I wander aroun' but ya may fin' me" and she walks away, my eyes were prickling. Ok, now you can all have a little chuckle at my expense... go on... I can wait... Better now? Good. Not because I was being rejected, but because I knew what it would do to her. It'll be a fantastic thing to work through, a huge piece of her character development and one that I'm really looking forward to getting to grips with. In the meantime she remains by the fountain in the City, looking down into the water, hoping against hope that wishes aren't just for children...

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Pure Shores (Part 1)

{Blogger often hates me and refuses to publish posts in the order I want them. This particular piece has potential to be so long that the only way to make it manageable is to break it into parts, which will, unsurprisingly, read best in the correct order. This is also an appropriate time to acknowledge the debt of gratitude I owe to my muse and 'partner' in this piece. You know who you are, and all Oscar-winning speech moments and clichés aside, this piece is, in many ways, as much yours as it is mine.}

For days and nights now I have been restless, unable to settle. When I finally retire to bed, oftentimes not until the light of a new dawn is beginning to chase away the shadows of night, I toss and turn until exhaustion overwhelms me and sleep finally lends the caress of its soft fingers to my mind, soothing me, calming the racing thoughts, granting me sweet oblivion. But even in the nocturnal realms it seems I cannot find peace. Despite my efforts I cannot recollect coherent dreams, just fleeting images, sounds and feelings, I awake tangled in the sheets, pillows pushed aside, the bed rumpled and in disarray, my pale skin glowing, my hair tangled. My feet feel bruised, I have tried again and again to walk off these feelings, I have walked the streets of the City for hours, I have walked through the Woods, past the Spire onto the beach below. Even my beloved sea has failed to work its usual magic upon me. What is wrong? What has happened, why do I feel this way? I cannot stand this much longer. What has changed in the last few weeks, how do I return to the way I once was? Do I want to...

In my desperation for peace, I have given serious consideration to returning to the wastes of the North. There I would have no time for these feelings. The gossip in the City says that the war is all but over; the tyrant will soon be toppled from his frozen throne in the Citadel... I will have played no part in this, will not be able to expound to my children, to my grandchildren, Fates willing, about the glorious war and my part in it for every time I try to imagine leaving the City my heart wrenches - what use would I be anyway, when my heart and soul would remain here, my longing would be undiminished, I fear, even with such a great distance.

As another day draws to a close I tire of my usual seat by the fountain in the Bazaar. The falling water, once so soothing to my ears, now makes me wince; my senses have become more delicate recently, colours brighter, scents more intense, even the lightest and softest of robes weighs heavy upon my sensitive skin; the splash of the fountain now almost as loud as the roar of a waterfall. I walk across the Bazaar to Parnis' wagon. He is an unfailingly cheerful young man, easy to talk to, always smiling, and I hop up onto one of his storage crates and watch him work, his sales patter charming, his manner with all customers young and old, the same mix of courtesy and affection.

I feel something brush my skin fleetingly, not a physical touch, something ethereal, almost as if the dust motes around me have been stirred into action, they swirl around me, the briefest touch then gone. I cast my gaze around but nothing seems out of the ordinary. You are imagining things, just... settle down... I breathe slowly, turning my face to the light, feeling the warmth on my face and try to relax. As I inhale I feel it again, the same tantalising brush across my skin. This is magic... Not the magic wielded by my kin which is sharp and clear, not fel certainly, no taint to these sensations, but what then? I open my mouth and inhale gently, then I realise why this magic feels unfamiliar. It is the magic of the elements; the flicker of fire, the majesty of the crushing water, the boiling of the clouds before the thunderstorm breaks, the fertile goodness of the earth, the jungle. The jungle... troll magics? My eyes widen; now I know what I am looking for he is easy to see, standing out amongst the groomed perfection of my kin - how could I have not seen him until now? Thoughts crowd into my head as he looks up and catches my eye, he moves purposefully though the crowds and within a few strides he is standing before me. His closeness, his proximity to me, brings the scent of the sea to my nostrils, refreshing and clean. His hair almost totally white, encrusted with salt, pulled back from his face in small, casual braids. His skin is paler than many of his kind, presumably also bleached by the sun. Like me he is barefoot, though I suspect this is a way of life for him; who needs shoes on the beach, when the sand, hot to begin with, can be cooling underneath its fragile crust? A beachcomber then...but why here, so far from home? As he looks at me intently, his magic whispers across my skin for the third time, more intense now, undiluted by distance, a cooling breeze playing across my delicate flesh, but causing a spark inside me. I cast my eyes upwards - the Fates appear to have a new favourite toy... No, please not this. Not a troll, surely, can you not be merciful?

"'ey der, elfie," he says.

Pure Shores (part 2)

"'ey der, elfie. What you doin' on dat box, eh? 'e 'ired ya ta bring in dem customer, eh?" He gesticulates at Panis, the muscles in his huge shoulders and arms flexing gently as his arm moves, his voice curiously melodic, heavily accented, like most of his race, but some how pleasant to the ear. Troll, nevertheless! What am I thinking?

"Good evening... troll."
Thankfully my voice remains steady, but as I digest his words I feel my skin heat up, my face reddening at his words, 'eye-candy' to bring in trade for Panis indeed! I deliberately douse the spark his magic lit with ice water and let my tone reflect this, "And I'm sure I don't know what you mean."

"Well why else a lady sittin' on a box den? Should ya no be dancin' or sometin'?"

I let the ice drip from my words, but suspect this is having little, if any effect upon him, "Do I really look like that's something I would indulge in?"

He shrugs, unconcerned, "I seen a lot o'dat roun' 'ere. I tink it be da custom..."

"I think it depends on the 'class' of elf you associate with."

"What ya mean by dat? I tought all yas elfies was 'igh class?"

I sigh; how would I even begin to explain the stratification of Sin'Dorei society to a troll? The shifting alliances between the Houses, the agendas, the political manoeuvring, desperate people seeking their chance at power, the calculation, the arrogance, the occasional frenzy that sweeps through the City, the infectious desire to let it all go for one night, the drinking and dancing that ensues. "Even the ones that dance? I would disagree..."

"Ya not tink dancin' be classy, den? Ya should come down ta Sen'jin some time den. Catch yaself some rhythm."

The thought brings an unbidden smile to my lips, if only mother 'dearest' could see me now, consorting with a troll, being told to get 'rhythm'. Why, she would lock herself into her room for a week with all the mana crystals she could lay her hands on! "I'm uncertain as to whether I have 'rhythm'..."

"Well, I don' mean ta be rude, darlin', cos I know yas elfies like ta dance an' all, but sometime yas look like ya got a broom stuck up yas. Too stiff, ya see."
He moves before me, his body swaying effortlessly, unselfconsciously, to some beat only he can hear.

"Are you suggesting that I should.... loosen up? Be like those of my kin, with no sense of dignity?"
The thought is almost laughable - that I would behave like the painted women in the taverns of the City, reduced to the oldest profession known. Almost, but not quite laughable... How many times have I looked on with something approaching envy, not at the prospect of being brought so low there is nothing but myself left to sell, but at the thought of no longer caring...

" Well what ya mean by dignity, eh?" I look away, uncertain. These are not topics we discuss with our kin, never mind with other races.

Not doin' sometin' cos 'e no be proppa?"
I nod, relieved that he appears to understand something of the Sin'Dorei. "Well oo get ta say what dem rule be, eh? " Or then again, maybe he doesn't. "Now me, I dance when I wan' to, not when some rulebook say so."

"Then your life must be infinitely less complicated than the lives of many." Flustered again, I turn my head away. This is dangerous, the midst of the City is no place to be seen conversing with a troll.

"Look - I shows ya. Get down o'dat box fa a while." I look back to him, my stomach drops as I see a small cluster of people standing behind him, the inevitable gossipmongers amongst them. I will be ruined, Fates help me, how can I disentangle myself? Unperturbed by the attention we are starting to attract, he beckons me down. No, don't step down, don't make this even worse. If you have to get down, walk away quickly, there are people present should he try to follow. I step down cautiously, stumbling briefly as my feet touch the ground. Curse my clumsiness. Unthinkingly I reach out for his arm to steady myself and as my hand clutches his arm he smiles down at me; drawn up to his full stature he looms over me, my head just about level with his chest. I draw my hand back sharply, too sharply, an obvious overreaction but he takes no notice and vaults up effortlessly onto the box I have just vacated.

He pauses briefly, seeming to centre himself then begins to dance. Gravity appears meaningless as he throws himself into the air, landing lightly, only to jump again, hands and feet soaring through the air, suspended momentarily in time and space. How...? The beat he moves to apparent, even though there is no music. The moves themselves are graceful at first glance, but when repeated it is impossible to ignore the sinister undercurrent lurking, the sweeping legs cutting through the air, the balance, the control, the pivot, the tension in the movements. My kin standing behind me are still and silent, after all we are raised to believe that trolls are primitive, savage, barely civilised, that there is no beauty or art in their culture. How can the unenlightened move like this? Behind me I hear brief applause, stifled quickly as realisation of what they applaud dawns. It appears that I am not the only one who has been swept away with the currents...

As he lands for the final time, he looks down into my eyes, "Yas gotta let go. If ya be afraid o'fallin, ya never get 'igh." He vaults down from the box, landing directly in front of me. Move back... you cannot be this close... Behind me I feel the crowd departing, looking for the next piece of entertainment.

"I feel our upbringings are very different." Damn the stammer, the catch in my voice, he is too close, the spark re-ignited from nowhere. "But... I... I envy your ability to let go. It looks like you have... fun."

"Maybe so, darlin', maybe so." 'Darlin'? What does he mean? "But I ain' got notin ta let go of, ya see. Ya need ta cut dem string dat 'old ya up. Move on yas own."

I try to brush this away, "You may be right. But here and now, this would not be the right place." I smile briefly, trying to soften my words. What am I saying...

His voice cuts across my thoughts, "Maybe we needs ta take ya down Sen'jin den. Sa ya can feel da rhythm. Maybe try some o'dem ol' witch doctah potion, eh?"

Oh no... please no, that wasn't what I meant
. Please don't ask me. I swallow hard, biting back the reponse I want to make, my heart thuds against my chest, suddenly the air becomes close again, my cheeks flare, but words tumble from my lips unchecked, "Are you asking me...?"

"Well dat be up ta yas. Ya wan' stay 'ere, dat be fine. Ya get back on ya box. But if yas wan' live, ya come feel da see breeze on ya."

"I have never been. It is near the sea I hear...?"

"Oh yes. Sun an' sea an' jungle."


"Oh ya, on dem islan' nearby. Darkspear islan', I might add. Wid raptas and tigers an' all maner o'dangerous ting. Jus' waitin' fa a tasty morsel."


"Dem gobble ya right up if ya don' learn ta move right."

"Now I feel you are just trying to scare me,"
I giggle nervously, gazing at him, the passion in his voice as he speaks of Sen'jin familiar for it is how I feel about my City.

"But if ya let go, ya learn 'ow ta tink like a troll, ta move wid da jungle, dey tink ya one o'dem. An' den dey know oo be da real boss. Ya need ta be rule by 'ere," he thumps his chest, bare save for a few tattered leather straps and I try to stop myself, but my eyes graze the defined muscles, the skin dusted with salt, and I lower my eyes to the floor, as a hopeless mixture of terror, confusion and attraction floods through me. "Not 'ere," he continues and I know, without looking up that he is he motioning to his head. "Ya tink ya can try dat?" I nod helplessly. I cannot walk away, it is already too late. Oh fel, this is beyond imagining. Dragging my gaze up again I see him grinning down at me, "Dat's da spirit! Now ya got ta come wid me. OK - follow me, darlin'. I takin' ya ta da wild place."

I follow him through the City, listening as he grumbles about its size, its atmosphere, "Ya gets no suchine down 'ere, no wind, no sun. No wonder a' elfies be so frail. Yas look like a ghos', darlin'. Again that word, the flames inside me lick higher, fanned by something I cannot place. I do not want to place... We reach the portal that takes us to the Forsaken city, he fumbles slightly but we reappear successfully in the Ruins. "Dat ting make ma 'ead spin"

I admonish him gently "It is a great achievement..."

As we leave the Ruins I realise that we will need to board the zepplin and my stomach churns. I hate the airships. I will embark regardless. To have come this far then flee would be a regret too big to bear. As we reach the top of the tower and step onto the platform the zepplin glides up. No time then, to reconsider, thank you Fates... I step on and close my eyes - hating my weakness I ask him softly to let me know when we arrive. The wind rushes through my hair, tangling it, I try to ignore my fears and eventually I hear his voice, "I recon' dis be it."

My shaking legs have just enough strength to carry me forward and I exhale gratefully when I reach the bottom of the tower. I am never as grateful to lay my feet upon the red dust of Durotar as when I have arrived by air "Euch, those things make me giddy."

"I seen a crash'd one in da nortlan'. Dey ain' too safe, I reckon. Now, ya got sometin ta ride, darlin'?"

I gasp, my pulse beats harder, the blood surges joyfully though my veins. I am far from home now, far from my comfort and my security. Ready...

An angry sound, crossed between a roar and a squeal startles me. He is seated upon a mount. Oh... right. I turn away briefly, mouthing the call to bring my hawkstrider to me.

"Dis be a rapta - don' take ya chicken too close, or 'e may eat im. Raptas be like da spirit o'da jungle."

"Beady eyed and viscious...?"

"Dey vicious, alrigh'. An' quick too. One minute ya by walkin' along, minden ya own business, den WHAM,"
I jump in fright, nearly unseating myself, "dey got ya. Savage, dey be. No warnin', jus' speed an deat. Dat be why we rides 'em. So dey know oo be boss."

Unbidden the thought rises, and before I can stop it becomes spoken word, "You enjoy the pursuit, the taming...?"

"I wen' out wid ma brothas an sistahs a couple o'days ago ta get some more. Dey don' like day tamin', dat be sure. One near bit ma leg off!"
The subtlety of my words has passed him by, Silvermoon flirtations are not something he would understand. Be grateful...

I shiver slightly, "That sounds brutal."

"Life is brutal, darlin'. Ya fancy city may 'ide dat from ya, but der be folk der oo kill ya if dey get da chance. At least wid rapta ya die quick."
That word again, presumably he cannot guess the effect it has on me. The images it conjours, the fuel it scatters over the flames. Or can he? Is this deliberate?

The drums, a moment ago so distant, become louder, we round a bend on the track and walk towards the huts, this then, is Sen'jin.

"Ya can feel da sea wind, now, eh? It caress ya skin like da fines' lovva."
He walks towards the village, greeting his kin, unaware of the effect of the words he has just spoken, unaware that my heart is now beating in time with the almost hypnotic rhythm of the drumming. He walks towards the beach, I follow in his wake, completely powerless now. Oh Fates, what have you done to me?