Monday, 31 May 2010

Pure Shores (part 3)

With every breath I feel lighter, the City with all the expectations it holds now so far away, a continent away, I am separated from the chains that bind me by an ocean, the ocean which I can see, smell, the ocean that sends the breeze to tangle my hair, whipping it into strands, coating it with salty dampness. Going native has never been a pleasant thought before...

"Come, si'down, look over da sea."
He drops effortlessly to the ground, patting the sand beside him and gesturing to the islands still visible in the twilight, "Dey be Darkspear islan', we get dem back one day."

I sit carefully on the warm sand. Not too close now... My feet are coated in the red dust of Durotar and I brush my soles vigorously, distracting myself by trying to remove every speck of dust, anything that will help me to try to ignore how close he is to me. I remember how his arm felt under my hand, the coiled strength contained in the muscles, the smooth warmth of his skin. My breath catches in my throat as I speak, "Get them back? From whom?"

"One of owah own. A witch doctah dat 'ad a few too many potion. Now 'e gone crazy."
He speaks the words calmly, his manner pragmatic, but surely he must mind? The timbre of his voice changed slightly, barely ascertainable, but there none the less.

I gaze out at the islands, they look so peaceful from here. The urge to turn to him, to stroke his skin is so strong, I feel another thread of my restraint snap. I bite the inside of my lip, nearly hard enough to draw blood. Focus, empathise... I gather myself, the concentration required so great I nearly sigh aloud. "That's terrible, and the islands look so serene, so peaceful from here."

"It gone pass, it gone pass, 'e won' be der fa evva. We seen da rise an fall o'many great empire, darlin', We use ta it, eh? Ya young one don' understan' dat, darlin'."

"Why..."
I trip on my words, my mouth and throat so dry for a moment I am unable to speak, "Why... why do you call me that?" My cheeks flare crimson as he turns his head to look at me.

"Call ya what?"

I tear my eyes away from his, surely he knows what he says? Even if I am, somehow, managing to sound unconcerned, he must see the heat in my cheeks, see my chest rising and falling with each shuddering intake of breath? Maybe he just wants to hear you say it... I swallow hard, unwilling to give him the satisfaction of spelling my innermost desires out to him. Time stretches and contracts around me. He remains silent, his gaze turned once again to the islands off the coast. "Darling," the fire leaps inside of me, flames surging higher, my voice a throaty whisper, barely audible over the drumming and the gentle crash of the waves, "You call me... darling."

"Well, ya see, dat be 'ow we speak, eh?"

I turn my head away, I will not afford him the satisfaction of seeing the colour drain from my face, knowing my eyes would betray me, the disappointment crashing through me with a physical force, the nausea I experienced on the airship paling in comparison to the sickness of this disappointment, this rejection. The women of his own kind, the women in Sen'Jin, their sensuality, the abandoness with which they dance. No wonder a pallid 'elf' holds no draw for him, I cannot compete...

"Ya sayin' ya not a darlin'?" His voice is rough, close to my ear.

I shiver, chills dance over my skin at his words. Maybe all is not lost yet... I cannot meet his eyes, I stare down at the sand. This is hopeless, I cannot even form a sentence, this desire, so strong... I wait but he does not speak again. I have to say something, this moment will not last for eternity, "Oh... I...."

He moves with fluid grace and speed, one moment he is beside me, the next in front of me. I sense, rather than see his hand reaching out towards me, a gentle pressure underneath my chin, my face raised by his fingers, turned up towards him, my eyes meeting his. "Ya see," he pauses, his breath whispers over my face, caressing me. As he exhales, I inhale, drawing the sweet scent of his breath into me, his very essence into mine. Whatever else happens I will always have this... The memory of a part of him merged with me... I feel him draw a longer breath, "I reckon der be some jungle in ya, if ya jus' let it out." I cannot tear my eyes away from his, again time seems to stretch, expand, I know not whether seconds or minutes are passing as I gaze at him. I could drown, I wouldn't care... The fact that my desire must now be written clearly over my face matters not, this moment is everything, everything else fades away and I let it. "Ya tink ya can do dat? Give in ta da jungle rhythm?"

"I want to... but I'm not sure I know how."
Inwardly I curse myself, what if the chase, the pursuit isn't what he wants? Why was I raised to be so cool, so repressed, why can I not just abandon myself to this?

"It ain' about knowin', darlin', it be about feelin'. Ya tink too much." I continue to gaze at him, my eyes widening, the blood now running through my veins feels molten, the fire raging unchecked now. His eyes seem to change in response to mine, they flicker briefly, a moment where something untamed, unchecked, feral breaks through, then as quickly as it appears, it is gone. No...... I will not....

I jump up, sweeping my skirts over my arm. I must cool off now. The sand is hot against my feet. "I must just..."

"Jus' wha'?"
His voice floats behind me as I run towards the sea, letting the waves wash over my feet, calming me, soothing me, cooling the fire. I will not let this happen. I will not allow him in. If I lose myself, if I let go, what then? Who will I be? He stands beside me, watching the ripples break over my feet, I wriggle my toes with pleasure, I have regained myself once more. "Dat be good, dat be good. Dis where I spen' ma time, eh? Dis place be cool an' 'ot at da same time. A bit like you, only da odda way roun'. Ya be too cool in ya 'ead, eh? Always tinkin, always tinkin."

I look at him again, caught off-guard once more. Casual, be casual, learn your lesson... I smile at him quickly, careful not to catch his eye again, "That's the worst compliment I have ever been paid!"

"Ai speak as ai fin', eh?"

"And you find me cold?"

"Part o'yas could do some warmin' up, I reckon."
The roughness has returned to his voice.

Fel, no not again, please no...
The heat rises in me again, sweeping up my neck, brushing my cheeks with its heat.

"Dance fa me now. Der ain' nobody else ta see... Ya can do what ya wan'."
I shake my head despairingly; how can I ever hope to recreate what I saw in the village? "Jus' do what be right fa you. Stop worryin' about what otha people tink about, jus' dance."

I think I might need a little help..." my voice is breathless, as I surrender once more to the beating of my heart.

"Ai tell ya what. I go wait by da trees. Ya dance on ya own fa a while."

"No!... I mean... please stay. Maybe we could walk a little further,"
I gesture down the beach anything to put some distance between the village and myself. " Down the beach I mean, I would feel less conspic-"

His voice interrupts me, "Sure - we can go as far as ya wan', darlin'."

Heat floods through me, I daren't look at him. How did he mean that...?

I feel his hand on the small of my back, my skin flares at his touch, the thin cotton of my robe may as well not have been there. I walk on, the sand soft under my bare feet, his hand motionless but firm, guiding me forward, the village recedes into the distance, the drumming faint now, the rhythm pulsing through me regardless of how audible the actual beat is. I feel his hand drop from my back, he has stopped walking. "Under dis tree, maybe?"

He settles himself under the tree and looks at me, his eyes almost hungry. "Now, darlin'... now ya dance fa me." His voice is deep, almost a growl. That was not a request...

I close my eyes, letting the faint beat of the drums guide me, merging with the beat of my heart, until I cannot separate the two. Can I do this? Can I dance here and now... dance on this beach for him? Is this who I want to be? Slowly I begin to sway my hips. Don't try to be someone else... Just let it all go... I move faster, the music within me now, as I relax it becomes easier, I keep my eyes closed and allow myself to be guided by feelings, not thoughts. This is wanton enough without seeing him watching me... My eyes snap open, his eyes are fixed to me, barely blinking, "Dat's da spirit." Careful to keep a distance from he he begins to dance again, the freedom afforded by the miles of sand affording his movements additional range. His dance, so impressive in the City takes on a new meaning here, the moonlight catching his skin, the faint shadows it permits, flowing round him, melding, merging, the movements simultaneously sinuous and strong. I want him to reach for me, to feel the strength in that body, to be crushed against him, pinioned, unable to move.

The desire for him hits me so intensely my legs will barely support me. I collapse onto the sand, breathless with desire and exertion, my chest heaves, my skin glowing in the moonlight.

"Dat's better, eh?"

"That was certainly something."

"Ya dance an' notin' bad 'appen."

I fan myself with my hands, trying to pass off the sheen of my skin and the glow as side effects of dancing, "Other than a certain rise in temperature."

"Dat be a good ting. Warm ya up a little."

I gulp, "You still find me cold?"

"Ya gettin' der, But ya got ta let go a lil' more before ya can be 'ot."

Fel, fel, fel! What else can I do? How much of a fool of myself am I prepared to make? Realisation kicks me swiftly, something has changed, something is missing. Before I can fully process the thought, I have spoken, "When I asked you why you called me... that... I did not mean for you to stop." The risk is worth it surely? I smile at him from beneath my eyelashes.

He smiles back at me, "Stop wid what?"

"I asked you... you called me..."
Unable to bear it, I trail off. My cheeks burn again, desire still, but mixed with the hot flush of humiliation. How many times will he reject me? I turn and face the sea again, blinking rapidly. Surely he will understand, he will speak, will seek to reassure me. The waves continue to crash against the shore, the only noise discernible now other than the shallow intake of my breath. Again, the sensation of time stretching floods through me. I will not break this silence. Time hangs, crystallised into an eternity. Has he left?

When I hear him move behind me, the relief almost overwhelms me. "Go on, yas can say it. It's only a word, eh?"

"Darling..."
That is it, the last shred of my resolve, my dignity dissolved, "Darling... you called me that, and then you stopped."

"Did I now?" the smile in his voice is unmistakable. Is he enjoying this?

"Yes."
My voice is breathless, I cannot manage more than that one word.

"Ya wan' me ta call ya darlin' again?"

He wants too much. How much further will he try to push me? How much further am I willing to be pushed? I toss my tangled hair over my shoulder, feeling it caress my back. I raise one shoulder my back to him still, trying communicate how little it matters to me. Liar... I acquiesce, and turn around slowly to face him again. I will not look at him...

"Ya can say it i' ya wan', ain' no machine listenin' in 'ere,"

Time ceases to matter, my entire being attuned only to this moment, to him. I raise my eyes slowly to meet his, "Yes..." I whisper, all idea of being in control long gone, "Yes."

"We set ya free yet, eh darlin'?"
He leans into me, his breath caressing me once more. My eyes flutter shut feeling his breath warm on my neck, my bare shoulders. "What else ya wan', eh?" A sigh escapes from my lips before I can contain it. His breath continues to bathe me with its warmth, a lovers promise, fleeting, tantalising, exquisite. This time he can come to me, two can play this game after all... I inhale gently, tasting his breath in my mouth again, "Want...? I am not accustomed to discussing my... wants."

"Really? I tink ya sayin it pretty clear, ya jus' ain' usin' words." He leans in closer still. Close enough to kiss... In his eyes I catch another glimpse of the savage, the raptor that lurks below, patiently biding its time. My lips part expectantly. Finally. And I'm ready for this... so ready... My eyes hold his, my lips remain parted. Surely now...? He moves fractionally back, just enough, making it apparent that anything I want, I will need to reach for. My eyes hold his still. How can he not read what is written in them? He raises one eyebrow slightly, confirming what I had thought. No. No I will not. I will be taken, be prey, I will not be the hunter. I can also... retreat.

I move back slightly, mirroring his movement. Last chance... please... oh Fates please don't do this to me! But he does not move.

"I... I should be leaving..."
I despise the crack in my voice, the weakness glaringly apparent.

He shrugs, unconcerned, "Sure ting, darlin', dis beach still be 'ere when ya get back, eh?"

"And you...?"
Fel! My humiliation is now complete, how could this get worse? When he speaks his words cut through me. "Maybe, maybe. I wander aroun' but ya may fin' me." These words, this night, this beach has meant nothing to him. This is all me, this is a connection I have imagined into being. I stand up swiftly, I will leave now, I will return to my City. Foolish Sin'Dorei, what have you done to yourself? Consider this your just desserts for consorting outside your own kind.

"Ya 'ave a good evenin' now, ya 'ear? Maybe ya sleep better fa all dat dancin'?"

I must speak, I must say something. My voice is barely recognisable to my ears, "Maybe I will... Thank you for showing me..." I break off, no more words will come now, my eyes prickle warningly. Leave now!

"Sweet dreams, eh?" His voice is back to its melodic tone, proof as if I need further, that this was a pleasant way to spend an evening, nothing more, nothing less.

I walked towards the sound of the village drums, pausing only to trail my fingers over his arm briefly as I passed him. He stood still, staring out towards the islands again, lost in thought, I'm not sure if he even felt my touch. As soon as I was able to think clearly enough, I breathed the incantation that would return my to my City. As I felt the magic build inside me I turned to take one last glance at the beach, the shore, but the islands were not visible from my vantage point. A moment of nothingness, then I was back in the City. I ran through the inn, uncaring how I must appear, my feet covered in sand, my hair a wild mane of tangles and salt, my face streaked with tears; shoulders heaving, heart beating painfully, I ran to the fountain at the entrance to the Court. I looked into the water, at the coins that lay at the bottom of the pool. Wishes are only for children... My hand went to my purse, reached for a coin, stroked its smooth surface. But what if they aren't? The coin flew into the air, shimmering briefly in the lamp light then sank to the bottom of the pool, joining the others, causing barely a ripple in the water.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Virtual Me?

A few nights ago Sven (who also takes the blame for the above photo, having told me that the post requires an image) and I were having a bit of a chat which ended up with us discussing this topic in a roundabout way, possibly prompted by Pilf's recent and slightly alarming descent into something scarily close to hedonism. Seeing as how Sven a) told me at the time I had inspired the muse (and who can resist such a compliment?) and b) left me a lovely credit on the post itself, I'm yoinking the topic and running with it.

In a nutshell, and for those to lazy to follow links *glare* we were chatting about how our 'virtual' selves (i.e. our characters) were different and/or similar to our 'real world' selves. At least I think we were, I vaguely recall being distracted by the concept of tweed, not to mention ballet therapy at one point, but I digress. I think I was probably bemoaning the fact that whilst I consider myself to be vaguely feminist (and what an appalling term that is) I play arguably one of the most 'sexist' races in Azeroth. Pilf bless her is minute. She's about as convincingly proportioned as Barbie, 'famous' for being unable to support her body weight on her feet. Her waist is noticeably smaller than a male blood elf arm... So why do I play her? Why are all my characters, where possible blood elves? If you remove, for the sake of the topic at hand, lore and other similar trappings and focus exclusively on appearances I really have little defence. But does this mean that I actually wished I looked like this? Or similar anyways; not being able to support my body weight would be irksome at times...

So to break it down completely, do I aspire to the current fashionable 'desirability' perpetuated by Western culture? The endless legs, tiny waist, large breasts, hair to the waist, eyes always widened, mouth always pouting? Does Pilf, my 'virtual' self, summarise how I wished I really looked? You know that I'm going to say emphatically no, don't you? I have never been greatly interested in 'classic beauty', and even less so, as is the case at present, surgically 'assisted' beauty, which appears to translate into a sea of indescribably dull women, with the same noses, same collagen enhanced lips, same breasts, hair weighted down with extensions, perma-glossed lips pouting, crammed into clothes so revealing there is no way for the imagination to be tantalised. For me attraction, beauty, desire, call it what you will, has been more complex - a gesture, the tiny imperfections, a glimpse of teeth exposed by a smile, and the biggest cliche of all, intellect. None of which can be created by the most skilled of surgeons, but is intrinsic in the object of desire. Ahem, sorry about that folks. Normal service will now be resumed...

If it is not the appearance then, what is the attraction? Bringing this back to game-land, lest we all get swept away by the TMI river, I play blood elves because I like their style sure, but I play Pilf because she's so different to me. At least I think she is. Her fascination for me lies in knowing how 'I' would react to given situations but not really knowing how 'she' will. This suspension of disbelief, of ignoring your instincts is a difficult one to broach and to describe. It's a real case of 'I know it when I see it'; you will either be nodding in recognition at this point or thinking 'poor deluded girl, she really should go talk with someone about this', if it the former then you will understand where I am, if it is the latter then go RP some more... My 'real' self is an open book, I have always worn my heart on my sleeve (and other sundry cliches) whereas Pilf is so closed off, such a conflict, torn between her insecurities and her arrogance, wanting to keep complete control of herself, terrified of letting go, but also this woman wanting to give herself over completely to the Fates. How she copes with this conflict is something I am still learning, but I know, for example, that in the the situation Pilf was in recently I would have been unlikely to let the stranger vanish, I would have been more... upfront, I would not have hesitated and therefore maybe not lost. But Pilf could not do that, even with every fibre of her being wanting the danger, her inner self screaming at her, she could not take enough of a chance, run the risk of letting herself go, because the potential consequences (rejection, shame, being the subject of gossip - who knows?) weighed too greatly on her. Is this then something I wished I could do? To have more restraint - possibly. To weigh actions with consequences better - again possibly. To keep parts of myself better closed off - definitely. Whereas Pilf gives too little to late, I tend to give too much too soon. And for that restraint I envy her.

I'm fairly sure this post has been somewhat meandering, and hasn't quite written what I set out to do; it would seem both Pilf and I have lives in flux at present, neither knowing where we will be swept, torn between the desire to find something to cling to and the urge to abandon ourselves to the currents of Fate.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Sanctified.

The breeze lifts my hair, blowing it round my shoulders but does nothing to cool my skin. The air is so warm and heavy it feels almost tangible. My cheeks burn further at his words, try as I might I cannot think of a retort, I cannot summon any wit, any flirtatious comeback. My entire vocabulary has deserted me. What am I doing? What possessed me to think that I was experienced enough to manage these situations? How do I escape from this without seeming like the ridiculous, inexperienced woman I am? Do I even want to escape...? My stomach flips again as I realise just how deserted the streets are and the potential consequences of my actions. These will not be good consequences... I bite my lip, trying to ignore the adrenaline that is beginning to filter into my blood, fizzing, lighting me up, inwardly cursing my baser instincts, the part of me I keep hidden, keep locked away, tiny fists beating on the walls of my subconscious mind, hammering, trying to break free, wanting release, however fleeting. I try to breathe evenly, but I know that my chest rises and falls faster than it usually would, I know that he will be aware of this, his eyes continue to burn into me, my skin flares with heat where his gaze touches me. As I try to convince myself to do something, anything, to look back at him, to let my eyes reflect what I am feeling, to grab this chance and let myself be overcome, I feel a tap on my shoulder. My heart surges with expectation, the decision has been made, and I haven't been the one to make it, and my eyes flick upwards, expecting the pool of light to be empty but, no he is still there looking over my shoulder.

"Excuse me..." the voice comes from behind me. I turn around slowly, I recognise that voice, but can't quite place it. "Evening Miss, imagine running into you again after last night." He bows deeply before me, "Not meaning Miss... That might have sounded... Excuse me, Miss." He finally stops talking.

"Yes, indeed." Now I remember him. Last night I had chanced upon a friend of mine, or rather she had chanced upon me, as I relaxed on one of the golden benches by the fountain. I feel she may have mis-interpreted the situation somewhat; when she found me I had a Forsaken, poor unfortunate, examining my bare feet in fascination. My friend, whilst a delight to those she holds dear, takes against strangers with little or no provocation, and has a deep seated loathing for the Forsaken, so was utterly appalled by one being within touching distance of me. In some ways however, he was curiously endearing, his fascination and desire for servitude obvious, his apparent, intense pleasure in the simple act of reaching out cautiously and touching the tip of my toe with his cold finger a refreshing change from my arrogant kin... But my friend was not happy, disbelief that I would allow myself to be 'defiled' in this way written all over her haughty features and continued to glare down at the poor unfortunate, who tried his best to ignore her cold stare... Into this slightly odd situation strode the man before me now. I try to recall his name, something vaguely comedic sounding, I was unsure when he first introduced himself, as I am now, whether he was mocking me. Oh, what was it now? No first name, I recall that... Mr Dawnwood, that was it. He seemed to have been laughing gently at the three of us, openly scorning the Forsaken and his fixation, speaking to my friend in a manner which , on many nights, would have resulted in him having a painful (and possibly permanent) hex cast upon him... She must have been in a good mood, either that or was more concerned with the Forsaken than with a fellow Sin'Dorei, but I recall him shrugging off her thinly veiled threats in a very casual manner. Interesting, more so that I had not considered this before now. Either foolhardy or brave, I cannot decide which...

His voice interrupts my thoughts, "And who may this... gentleman... in black be then? If you don't mind me asking?"

I turn round to face the stranger, my face calm again, "We have not yet been formally introduced." I am pleased with how steady my voice sounds. My pulse has slowed again. I have regained my composure at last.

He raises an eyebrow at me, again, I feel like he is laughing at some private joke. "Alright, well allow me then." He turns to the stranger, "Mr Dawnwood - nice to meet you Mister." He bows deeply, too deeply, mocking the stranger with his obeisance.

"Poet." The stranger replies shortly, "At your service, of course."

"Poet?"
the inflection in his voice is unmissable, the disbelief he does not bother to hide, "Really...?"

The stranger turns slightly, drawing himself up, the eyes above the mask hardening, "Oh yes. Really."

"Your attire would suggest otherwise... poet." Again the sarcastic inflection, the knowing smile.

I sigh inwardly and try to smile, to break the tension a little, "He certainly has a way with words..."

His eyes fall on me, "Yes, and we all know how you react to... words." Now it is my turn to feel the bite in his tone, the contempt, as I suspected, his words veil his distaste for the situation.

The stranger raises an eyebrow at him, "Really? And what, in your view, should a poet wear then?"

Again, I try to diffuse the growing tension, "Well, he certainly has the requisite mysteriousness, and you continue to have me at a disadvantage, I can hardly address you as poet..."

"Oh, I don't know,"
Mr Dawnwood's words cut across mine, "Something a little more bard looking, I had imagined. Silly feather in a hat, maybe a lute, that kind of thing. Not quite so... rogue. But I guess it's the 'words' that are important, not the 'look'... He smirks at me, "But I have interrupted you two, would you rather I left you alone or...?"

My eyes return to the stranger, whose name I still do not know. I have an escape route... but yet, a part of me I can barely admit to, wants him to reach for me, to make his intentions clear, for this not to end. Under the mask I can see him smile. "Oh no, I shall leave you. I have already achieved my...aim. " I look away, uncertainty about what he might be about to say rising inside me.

"Is that so?" Mr Dawnwood grins once more.

"Yes, to make a beautiful girl blush. Such a wondrous and... enjoyable conquest." He spins around quickly, running his hands through his hair, melding once again into the shadows as he leaves.

"Then I bid you farewell, stranger," I call to his retreating back, hating the tremor in my voice.

"Farewell, for now at least." His voice floats through the air, though he is now nowhere to be seen.

"Well, he seemed like a... 'nice guy'."
Mr Dawnwood stands before me still, indifferent or maybe just uncaring, unaware of what he had interrupted. That can't be it surely? Surely he will return?

"A poet,"
With effort I make my voice return, for the moment at least, to it's normal clipped drawl, "Who would have thought it?" My voice trails off, the shadows are still now, no sign of movement anywhere. Where has he gone...?

Again, he raises a sarcastic eyebrow, "I suspect that poetry is a tool of his, a way to achieve.. other... aims...rather than an occupation of his."

"You suspect a great deal, it seems. So cynical..."
I match my tone to his.

He bows before me, "As always. Now should we find somewhere more comfortable?" My eyes widen, surely he does not think that I am for hire, that the stranger he has just ousted was a potential client? At last the mocking smile leaves his face briefly as he realises how his words sounded, "I did not mean... umm... foot out of my mouth. I meant shall we find somewhere more comfortable to sit..?"

I sigh quietly. Maybe I should be grateful, maybe I have been rescued from a situation that was becoming a long way out of my control. And much as I hate to admit it, given the still shadows, the stranger by now long gone, the tiny beating fists lessening their pounding, aware that their time has again passed unfulfilled, this man interests me. His disregard for convention and his lack of compunction is intriguing, and I am far too awake to even be able to consider retiring; sleep, I suspect will be hard to give into tonight. Gathering myself once again I look at him, "Yes, of course. Lead on then."

Friday, 28 May 2010

One of these crazy, long nights.

The flagstones of the city are cool against my bare feet, their smooth surface soothing my hot skin. I should not be walking alone at this time of night; it is reckless, dangerous even; Murder Row is aptly named and is avoided by many even during the daylight hours. Tonight I do not care – tonight I throw caution to the winds. I feel reckless, foolhardy; if trouble seeks me out then so be it. I don’t understand why I feel this way, my sense of self, of propriety, of preservation has deserted me. Maybe it is the heat, even the breeze is unpleasantly warm instead of cooling, my blood feels hot in my veins, though my skin remains its usual pale colour. Maybe I have spent too much time here. The city itself is an addiction, the inhabitants colourful, charming, and tempestuous – is this rubbing off, somehow, onto me? I feel myself changing… my emotions run higher, my control becomes harder to maintain. Should I leave again, travel to the frozen wastes of the North? But I long to remain here… All the more reason to leave, I suspect, but not tonight. Tonight I trust the Fates to decide what happens.

My skin prickles suddenly; some sixth sense makes me turn - I look around but can see no-one. My skin continues to tingle and when I turn my head again, caught in the pool of light under the lamp post, is a man. His hair is white blond, even blonder in the glowing light and is the only part of him, save his luminous eyes, visible above the mask that covers his lower face, that is not clothed in darkness. Either he has moved incredibly fast or, more likely, was camouflaged by the shadows when last I looked. My pulse speeds up a little, but I continue to walk. I feel his eyes burning into me and I halt briefly, locking my eyes with his. For a moment, my nerve fails me and I contemplate turning on my heel and running but I steady myself. Did I not invite the Fates in? Did I not consciously or otherwise, offer myself up to the unknown? If this is what they hold in store for me then so be it, tonight I will drift on currents, carried on the air like the thistledown that floats through my beloved city. His gaze flicks over me, assessingly, holding a hint of a challenge. I walk on slowly, conscious of my movements, when I reach a wall opposite the lamp post I lean back against it and wait. His body is tense, turned away from me but his eyes continue to assess, to analyse me.

"Not often you see a girl wearing a dress like that around here." His voice startles me, and I feel my breath catch in my throat.

"Maybe you don't look hard enough?" Whose voice is this issuing from my mouth? My voice does not sound like that, my voice is clipped, this is a ridiculous drawl, husky yet inviting. I try to swallow, but my throat is dry, I can feel a pulse beating at the hollow of my throat. I want to wet my lips but I catch myself in time. I do not want to be inviting. I'm not ready for this...

"Who says I'm lookin'?" Tiny hollows appear in his cheeks, just visible over the top of his mask. He's smiling, his mouth hidden underneath the cloth, I'm certain of it.

I try for outrage, for iciness, "You shouldn't necessarily be looking. But you comment on someones dress yet you expect no response...?"

He whistles softly and above the mask his eyes widen with surprise, "Well, look at you. All high and mighty in your dress, I didn't think you would stop to address a 'lowlife'..." Again the hollows appear - surely under that mask there can't be dimples?

"A 'lowlife'? You seem ready to make assumptions about the thoughts of others!" I try to keep my voice steady. How dare he assume that I would judge others instantly.

He raises an eyebrow mockingly, "And why would you think that?"

"You assume that I'm 'all high and mighty' - I would say that was an assumption, by my definition anyway."
Without realising I have moved away from the shelter of the wall and taken a few steps towards him.

"What can I say? You seem... well-kept..."
With a fluid movement he moves away from the lamp post into the shadows, I wonder if he will appear beside me but then I see him, leaning against the wall. I swallow hard. I am not disappointed. This is madness, what am I doing here?

"Is that your idea of a compliment?"

"Rouged red lips, finely dressed, jewellery... It is not often such comes around here."

Deep inside me I feel something flicker. I look at the stranger, leaning casually up against the wall, "Maybe sometimes it is fun to... slum it."

Again he looks me over, slower this time, completely unashamed, uncaring that he may be causing offence. "I cannot imagine why one such as yourself would choose to slum. Surely you are quite... worth the price."

I toss my hair back over my shoulder, "'Worth the price'? I cannot decide whether to be insulted or amused. You talk about assumptions, yet you assume that somewhere there is a man enabling me, financing me to look like this?"

"Believe me, my insults would not be directed at one such as yourself. I simply meant to say, the way you look...you look like your worth is high, I did not meant to imply that you can be bought...All I meant to do was... was to make your cheeks the ruby of your lips. Is that so wrong?"
He rubs his hands over his face, the cloth slips slightly, and he quickly re-arranges it, pulling it a little higher, his eyes guarded.

Momentarily I feel victorious, I made him think, made him uncomfortable made him stumble oh so briefly over his words. I can feel myself smiling. "You have pretty words when your tongue ceases to be sharp."

"My tongue is always sharp... but not always deadly."
His voice has deepened, gotten rougher somehow.

My stomach flips as I take in the loaded words, the meaning they are imbued with. I feel the heat sear through my body, my cheeks flush and I look away quickly, then realise my mistake, turning my head exposes the side of my face to the lamp light. Surely he will notice now...

I hear him take a quick breath, and then chuckle. "Ah, there we are..."

The good, the bad and the... other.

One of the reasons (ahem) that I haven't been levelling Pilf is that I find it so easy just to sit around in a city and watch the world pass by. Yes ok, specifically Silvermoon and yes I know what everyone says about Silvermoon. I do remember poor Sassi's experience...

But I really enjoy spontaneous RP. I'm not sure that I'd have the imagination or prowess for large 'scripted' events, but the casual stuff is wonderful. Mainly. RP seems to come (unsurprisingly) in a variety of flavours: the good, the bad, the weird and the meet-my-ignore list. RP also only seems to happen on Pilf, which is odd. My other characters get nada. And WoWScribe is a fabulous addon, which makes writing these sort of posts much easier...

Let's start with the meet-my-ignore-list scary. A while Pilf got chatting to another blood elf priest, it was a pleasant conversation, nothing earth shattering (nor, and I would like to be clear about this, was it anything vaguely resembling cyber-lulz), just a bit of gentle banter. I logged off and logged in the next day to find I was now on their friends list. Ok that's fine, I guess, we'd had some RP and yeah, maybe to be expected. But then every time I logged in I got a whisper. Every single time (hence my lack of game time on Pilf for a few days). Quite often ones that said 'Hey, I was waiting for you to show up'. Okaaaaaay. Because I'm inherently a care bear, and despite all advice to the contrary, I didn't spell it out in a kind of 'ok you are creeping me out slightly, please back off' way but I did imply that I was busy, not online all that much etc. As the tells got more...inappropriate I began to worry, then out of the blue I got something SO unpleasant that I hit ignore. And I really don't use my ignore button a lot. 30 seconds later I got a similar tell from another on of their characters. Oh great...ignore again. And another one. Ignore. I figured that that'd be it, I knew those three characters belonged to them (ugh gender neutrality is ugly but I really don't want to categorically state 'he' when I don't know for sure it was, however the character was a he, so that might fix it). I kind of breathed a sigh of relief, but too soon. I got another tell, level 1 mage in newbie belf land. Great. Ignore. Then another. At this point I was starting to freak out in a low key way, I admit. And on the third tell from a brand new alt I sent back something along the lines of 'If you really want me to report you, please keep doing this. GMs can access chat logs and actually harassment is against ToS'. That seems to have done the trick...

Of the weird (but good) flavour, an undead rogue with an...umm... foot fetish - thanks to the magic of Scribe (names as ever, blanked to protect the innocent *giggles* and apologies to 'K' if she was appalled by this!):

S** grabs Pilfkin foot.

You raise your eyebrow inquisitively at S**.

Pilfkin says: Can I assist you?

Pilfkin says: If not, would you mind letting go of my foot....

S** raises his eyes at her and freezes. Then he lets go of Pilfkin's foot slowly.

Pilfkin looks down at S**

You wave at K**.

K** curtsies before you.

S** stares at Pilfkin.

K** says: Is this...stinking undead touching your feet in an inappropriate way my lady? shall I turn him into a frog?

Pilfkin says: I haven't yet decided quite what he wants.

Pilfkin says: But so far he has behaved...

S** ignores K**s words.

You frown with disappointment at S**.

Pilfkin explains that K** is a friend.

S** says: D..ea..d...

Pilfkin stretches out her feet, flexing her toes.

K** examines S**

S** touches one of Pilfkin's toes softly with tip of his finger, still staring into Pilfkin's eyes.

K** frowns.

You smile at K**

Pilfkin says: Yes....?

K** says: I will leave you alone... for now, but I will be in hearing range if some hexing is needed

Pilfkin says: Thank you K**.

K** curtsies.

Pilfkin stretches out her other foot slowly.

I must add that this sounds great deal creepier than it actually was. I don't have Scribe set up to record whisper and he (again, assumptions based on character gender) had spoken with me via OOC whisper to check he wasn't freaking me out. After he left he sent me a charming tell, thanking me for my *ahem* 'kindness' and saying he hoped that 'A' bumped into Pilf again soon. What? Stop frowning, a little light RP never harmed anyone *grins*.

Onto the bad/weird. I'm not copy pasting this as it's a bit yukky. Safe to say that anyone who thinks I'm going to cat fight in the middle of Silvermoon, with one of their more badly behaved 'females' for their cuber-lulz is going to be disappointed. Yes, I'm looking at you Mister 'Slave Trader' and your badly behaved... whatever. And godmodding, as far as I am aware, is rude ergo these emotes:
C*lr*nn* suddenly lifts her right hand up and with out any forewarning backhands Pilfkin across the face.

really don't work. Even if they are a hook for bringing her back, and trying (and failing) to get her to apologise...Or something. Ok maybe I am going to copy paste some:

C*lr*nn* says: I apologise Miss.

Pilfkin says: And you think that that will be enough?

C*lr*nn* again with out any warning, attemts to backhand her again across the face.

Pilfkin raise her hand warningly.

Pilfkin says: Sir, I would suggest that you remove her before she causes further mishap.

S*nd*n takes a seat and watches the drama.

S*nd*n says: Well, remove her yourself.

C*lr*nn* says: I ask you forgiveness miss.

S*nd*n says: C*lr*nn* why don't you kiss and make up?

Pilfkin says: Can you really not control her Sir?

S*nd*n says: Of course I can.. what you think I'm doing.

C*lr*nn* nods slighly as she steps closer to Pilfkin, attemting to kiss her firmly on the lips.

S*nd*n's eyes widen as he snuggles the corner of the bench, suddenly very interested.

I logged out. No thank you, NOT that kinda girl. Catfight then making out in the middle of the City at peak time...nuh-huh?!? I have no objection to providing entertainment (ok, that sounds waaaaaaay worse than I meant it to!) occasionally but NOT that kind of entertainment. Nothing to see here folks, move along, kkthnxbai...

There's one more I want to write up but it deserves more than a copy paste out of Scribe job. In fact I think that it might deserve Pilf's point of view. So later then...

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

May the road rise up to meet you.

This is basically a very short not really WoW related post so feel free to skip. RL has gone a bit weird of late and the last 48 hours have been emotional, tiring and stressful. Doing The Right Thing isn't something that I usually have talent points in, you understand. My relationship macro of doom, historically, has gone something like this:

/cast Denial (DoT)
/cast Misbehaviour
/recast Denial (keep that DoT ticking)
/cast Bitch (max rank)

Repeat above until hit (probably critted) by:

/Relationship Meltdown (non-dispellable, stacking debuff)

This time it went more like:

/cast Deep Breath
/cast Honesty (HoT, even though it might appear more like a DoT initially)
/cast Firmness
/recast Honesty (needs to be reapplied regularly; can stop ticking without warning)
/cast Discussion

Which is better. Relationship Meltdown still happens, but in a more mature, empathic, managed way. And hopefully, after some time has passed, you get left with Friendship.

~May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on you.~

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Attitude is your acceptance of the natural laws.

~ Disclaimer: Yes, I actually am this neurotic. Whilst I try damn hard not to be a drama queen this is my damn blog and if I want to write a post that makes me look like a hysterical drama queen I will. Please try not to judge too much. ~

Every so often I feel the need to do something really, really, really stupid. I could insert random real life examples in here, but y'know... I won't. However yesterdays idiotic decision was brought to you courtesy of bringing my last level 80 character to AD, effectively kissing goodbye to my old 'home' server. (That isn't the idiocy! I love AD as a server, it completely has my heart and I was missing my warlock a lot, so she's kind of back to where she started, as a blood elf, having had a gender charge, a few server changes, a faction change or two and yeah, now she's back to belf-dom.) Her gear is horrible, well, her gear is a mix of quest blues and greens with a crafted robe and gloves combo because basically I've not played her in six months (or, if you prefer, since I hit 80 on her). But she's a destro lock so the rotation is easy (and why no, I'm not a wannabe mage, but thank you for asking!) and I love the fact that the pet of choice is her imp - squee. So off the back of this I made the bad decision (this is what I should wear I guess, just so the world is forewarned) and said to the Other Half and to a friend '"Shall I take her through a heroic? Just to see what happens?"

The Other Half agrees to tank, the friend agrees to throw some druid heals around and and other guildie brings along his shaman, ok so one DPS slot to PuG - how bad can it be? Even though I'm going to die on my ass, I'm going to do it in front of the Other Half (who is used to it), the friend (who is forewarned about the incoming level of fail) and a nice guildie who I'm 99% sure won't judge me (and the PuG-er, but fuck 'em frankly.) I know that gaming has changed since I last ran heroics. I also know that my gear is too bad for me to get into FoS, PoS, HoR etc so I'll be somewhere that I know because aside from those three (and the Trial) I'd run them over and over on Shad. So we zoned in (and yes, ok I was a bit jittery in the LFG queue but I was telling myself to not be daft - how bad could it be?) We zone in to, and thank you for this Lady RNG, Old Kingdom, which has never been high on the list of ones I enjoyed. I effectively stopped running it once the cloth legs skirt had dropped for Shad (yes, I know mp5 for a priest is teh fail but it was better than nothing when I was a newly dinged 80 and starting to gear up) and I didn't miss it. But meh, I (kinda) know the fights, I remember that there's trash everywhere (and not just trash, but trash that skitters *shudder*) and the last boss who I call Harold, having once misread it and never managed to reboot my brain enough to call him ummm Herald. I can do this.

Turns out that actually I can't. Turns out, and whodathunkit, that heroics now are run slightly differently to heroics about six months ago (prior to LFG in other words). And yes, I read enough blogs to know that 'gogogogo' is how it works, that everything gets AoE'd to hell, that mana breaks are frowned on etc etc. But ye gods I had no idea it would be this unpleasant. And this was with the Other Half as the tank, the druid friend as the healer and a guildie. The Other Half and the friend were listening to me whimper (it's an attractive sound, really it is) but couldn't do a great deal. I'm not convinced the guildie actually knew who I was, probably a blessing (having just faction and server transferred I was guildless) but probably was probably confused as hell and sighing inside at the omg-fail lolwock and the PuG'd DPS... the PuG'd DPS warrior's only comment was "speed up" after the first boss and the 'if the tank doesn't pull at the speed which I consider correct, I will pull' attitude. Insert intake of breath from me and the jitters ramped up to an entirely new level. The Other Half carried on; he's used to shit like that, having spend 12 hours (YES 12 hours) one day in the Sanity Tap (VOLUNTARILY!) and having been blessed with a thick skin, not the fragile, delicate layer of transparent cells which mine is formed from. The friend, who is blessed with the gift of snark, said "Please feel free to leave [pugger], if we aren't up to your level of awesomeness" which led to an "omg I'm just saying" comment (after some serious delay - I assume that PuG bitchfests don't usually take the form of correctly spelt entire sentences) and finally made reference to the fact that he was addressing the remark at the Other half "I was talking to the tank" and the Other Half's response? "I have a name." I'm almost hysterical (not in a good way) at this point and I just want the whole thing to be over as quickly as possible. And whatdayaknow, it was. Optional bosses? Bah - what are they? Clear all the trash? Don't be daft! Near death on my friend Harold? Yep. Now I know why my old GM nearly rage kicked me from the guild - it's stupid hard to kill healers during Incite Insanity and killing trees is just... gah *glares*. And we were done.

I know on the grand scale of PuG-fails and bitch-fests that I've read about it was nothing. My DPS was noticeably below that of the Other Half, which is massively against rule number 1 for DPS in heroics. Recount is NOT my friend. Recount is something I should have never reinstalled. Recount hates me and wants me dead (preferably by my own hand, handy then that I have spell of emo, huh) and I should not be allowed any where near it. But it wasn't just that. This is my take on how it made me feel, and I completely accept that people run heroics to gear up, to get raid ready and not because they are masochists (well, I dunno... maybe they are but who am I to judge?) and my take on it was: No thank you. I do not wish to whore myself out like this for epics badges. Nuh-uh. I don't know what that was, but it wasn't gaming. And this was with 3 people who I knew!! So I had a toys-out-of-the-pram moment, it has to be said. Because it's crap isn't? The realisation and acceptance that basically I'm too delicate, too easily wound up, yes... ok too highly-strung, to be able to handle the pressure of 'end game' stuff. Call it what you want, whether that be the (honest) 'can't hack the pressure' or the (charitable) 'you're a perfectionist and you expect too much from yourself' phrasing it all means the same thing. Stop trying to do something that makes you miserable. So thank god for RP and alts, sez I. because I'm moving towards acceptance (it's a cycle, dontcha know, rage, denial, grief (maybe something else) then acceptance) of this. I'm not 'made' to be an endgame player. This is patently obvious. I do care too much. I probably do set myself standards that I fail to achieve. I do over-think and over-analyse stuff. And maybe once your 'nerve', your 'mojo' (urgh, Austin Powers moment at 7am - euch) has gone, maybe it doesn't come back. Or maybe it does, maybe you just have to push yourself through the shit in the short-term to regain it in the long-term, it's quite possible, but I don't want to. I hate this expression with a passion, but in this specific set of circumstances it fits. It's only a game. And there's plenty of other stuff I can be doing. Flower picking is always good. Fishing dailies are fun. Levelling the ever increasing multitude of alts will keep me out of mischief for, ummm a long time *grins*. Acceptance, my old friend, c'mere and give me a big hug...

Ennui - no thanks.

The nelfers are causing me to have slight de ja va. Well, not de ja vu exactly, just flashbacks to how it used to be. I'll happily put my hand on my heart and say that I have no idea when I last levelled a character without the Recruit a Friend triple xp, BoA chests and shoulders, or both. Man it's slow!! But good. Couple this with being on a new server where I have zomg-no-goldz and it's all a bit weird. Fortunately my partner in nelfage does have characters here so he's been vaguely pimping me out in a money-for-bags-and-training kind of way. (Ok, not pimping me out. That had unpleasant connotations. What I mean is that he has given me some gold in return for... um... no favours of any kind. Just so we're clear.) I have rolled *deep sigh* yet another DK because I refuse to be a kept woman; in all fairness there are very few people who understand my obsessional need for pretty robes and even fewer that are willing to finance the habit...

But, my DK is a space goat *cheer*. I missed space goats. Pilf-who-is-now-Shad was a space goat so my DK looks exactly like she used to. Except for the plate armour thing. And I facerolled the DK starting area even though I had promised myself that the next time I rolled a DK (because I'm not daft enough to kid myself that it would never happen again) I would actually read the quest text, listen to the characters (the only one I usually take any notice of is Noth - poking him and listening to him bitch is so totally ftw) and generally get to grips, lore and RP-wise, with the whole shenanigans. And so, much fail was had, as per usual. But at least I got her out of the starting zone, even though I was fractionally confused as to why I couldn't use the Org portal... I have faction confusion issues. She's now riding laps of Elwynn and Westfall mining (to feed herbs to the scribe/alch priest) and mining (to make some gold and to feed to the Partner in Crime rogue).

But levelling, yeah. We've done pretty much all the quests in Westfall and a lot of the quests in Redridge and we're about level 16. The last time I ran Westfall I stopped half way through the quests there because I ws 20-something and was getting no experience. I hadn't realised quite how used to 'cheating' I'd gotten. But it's ok, there isn't a timeframe here in any way. It's just fun to be poncing around again somewhere new and actually I've always wanted a night elf priest. I was even persuaded to go PuGing. At level 16. Fortunately RFC isn't actually that difficult, if all the group wants to do is kill thingy Taragaman. In our case it was harder than it should have been. First the gnome mage thought that he was the tank and should be able to pull at will. Even though I was being thoroughly told off by the PiC rogue, I couldn't bring myself to let him die. It's why I find healing so stressfull... even when people are blatantly being asshats I really struggle with letting them die. Add to this the warrior who kinda wasn't doing much and the random... uh someone, can't even remember which class, who dropped group instantly. However we finally got a druid who knew what he was doing and just as it all started to fit together (as much as can be expected anyway) the warrior and the mage went one way and the druid and the rogue went another. Ok now even I admit I can't keep everyone alive when they're going in opposite directions so seeing as how I'm officially the rogue's healing bitch I went with him and the druid. Staggeringly the warrior and the mage died and we carried on, me carting my 'must res' guilt in a big black sack over my shoulder, with the rogue lecturing me: "Don't res. Don't you dare go and res, they can run." For some reason the mage decided that he wouldn't run and the warrior decided he'd rather go and quest in Durotar, and seeing as how we'd used the 'vote kick' to remove the person who dropped group but didn't leave party (and really thanks for that...) we couldn't kick then. So we 3-manned the rest of it, me the PiC rogue and the druid and it was fine. It was very touch and go right at the end, the adds are casters and I was managing to pull impressive healing aggro but we did it. And I felt quite pleased with myself. I've decided to spec her disco-disco from the start (yes you were right!), I've only ever had a disco spec at 80 but apparently disco is viable for levelling PuG healing... And new challenges are good!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Friday night alting redux

Even when I can't actually play I can still have fun:

Even though the sun was setting on the other side of Azeroth
*cough* date night fail *cough*

And as if I needed further encouragement I present you with co-dependency, alts-wise:

Because it can't *always* be my fault!

Because sometimes there's no choice.

But to make like zen kitty and wait for the string to come to you.

AKA tendonitis is playing hell with work, gaming and blogging. I've my wrist strapped up and playing one handed is teh fail. When I'm logged on I'm just mining/herbing, both of which I can do one handed. Neither of which is interesting blog fodder. So I'm going to wait for the string to come to me...

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Movie Outtakes Part the First

Because every girl needs a guy to re-enact scene from famous movies with.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Tentative steps

So y'all remember Shad right? Actually, you probably don't because I server transferred her then I got caught up in Pilf/Sassi and I neglected her hugely. Mainly because, as mentioned numerous times, I don't want to get my head back into raiding. Jae said something that basically sums up exactly how I feel, on my previous post: "Nah, I wouldn't have had to quit raiding before if I didn't have issues with moderation. I raid everyday so that I don't fall behind the others, I keep checking what I can improve obsessively, until it becomes more like a job than a game." This, this, one thousand times this. This is exactly how I was. Exactly.

Especially when I raid led. I'd check the sign-ups during work, I'd fret and worry; too many and then we'd have to drop down to a 10-man and people would bitch and whinge and want to drop out which would mean I would have to do the raider-switcheroo and then people would want to bring alts along, and those that only had one raiding 'main' would kick off because 'omfg if we have to do 10 man shit then we could at least do it quickly and get it the fuck out of the way and tbh the badges aren't even fucking worth it. Wtf is with gearing up fucking alts, omfg...' Conversely, too many and then I'd have to do raid slotting - trying to be both 'fair' and give the group the best shot, not easy. Eventually (!) we got big enough to run 4 10-mans and 2 groups of 25. You don't even want to know how complex that was. We tried everything splitting the raider rank into two groups - trying to mix up the sorted and the less so, trying to avoid massive personality conflicts, ensuring that the officers were spread out between the two groups. It was an utter nightmare which resulted in two incomplete farcial runs and much rage.

And in amongst this was me and Kin, another officer, long term friend, my co-RL (for his sins), deserved object of my devotion for keeping the guild running almost single-handed on occasion. Even post a massive car accident with a broken arm and a broken leg he was there on vent, chivvying, encouraging; eventually he taught himself to basically play one handed. I know this is getting close to the 'no-life' thing, but it was commitment to his guild that made him do it. I could write a series of posts about this guy and not get bored of singing his praises. Don't tell me that it's 'just a game' when you meet people who change your life for the better. Where we we before I had a breathless moment? Oh yes, Kin and I, running round like mad things, soothing and massaging egos as necessary, talking down conflicts, talking up players who needed a chance, I did carrot, he did stick, sometimes we swapped... Having a co-RL by the way, was my salvation, he kept me sane on many occasions (sometimes it was reciprocated, his real life was extremely.. complex), stopped me quitting, never failed to say something in officer chat that would turn me from being on the brink of tears to smiling. His patience was extraordinary. I miss a lot of my Syn guildies and friends who have re-rolled RL, but missing Kin is with me every day - no-one says 'Pilf' the way he does (Glaswegian accents being ftw, people) His commitment to Syn is now a double-edged sword for me, he rolled an alt on AD to say hi but doesn't have the time to split himself between two guilds. Also, in a horrendously cruel twist of fate, his eyes are failing and at the ripe old age of 33 he's awaiting cornea transplants, even with a huge pull down screen he struggles with gaming now.

So I've avoided getting into a new guild with a 'main' and raiding again. However I'm a firm believer in the Fates (along with Pilf) and after a great deal of discussion finally applied to a AD guild who do raid, but not in a 'you have to raid' way. I put my cards on the table re my raiding views on my app and yesterday I took Shad to her new home. It feels weird, being the new girl again, for sure. With SAN, few people knew each other so we were all on a similar unequal footing. This isn't the same, these are people who have known each other for years but it seems good. Gchat has the requisite quantity of piss taking banter and everyone's been very friendly. As soon as I can work out the confidence to get on vent I'll be away and nattering happily, but I want to spend a few days a bit quietly, just getting the lie of the land sorted in my head. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, I'll get my head back into end game and re-think my raid stance in Cata.

Shiny, shiny, omg sooooooo shiny!

I _finally_ got my new broadband sorted out on Friday after months of low grade niggles and 'I really should sort this' moments. And big congrats and props to my ISP provider, who, at the point where I rang up to request my MAC code (MAC code - that's like PIN number isn't it...?) decided to try to convince me to stay by telling me that they could effectively double my speed and halve my monthly bill. Note to all ISP providers out there: You offer your loyal customers this before they get fed up and decide to switch; all that happens if you offer them this at the time of leaving is that you piss them off even more.

So I have shiny new router (it's matt black with blue neon lights /strokes) and it's all plumbed wired in and I realised how much smoother WoW was running. Then it was suggested that I should look at my video settings, max them out and see what happens. What happened is below:

Well behaved nelfers *nods* no bouncing here...!

Stormwind _never_ used to be this detailed!

The Cathedral actually made me stop whilst I looked at it. And then I forgot I needed training...

Frosty breath in the snow!! I can't believe I've missed details like this for the last three years!

I'm sure for the majority this isn't something new, you're sitting in your chair with a slightly confused expression in your face, scratching your head a little, wondering what I'm blathering about. Go back and look at my other screenies and compare them to the ones above. And join me for a moment, if you will, in a group squeeeeeeeeee!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Fin de siècle - itis

It's catching everyone it seems, this pre-expansion blues, lull, whatever-you-call-it. One of my favourite blogs of all time shut it's doors this weekend - not unexpectedly, in all fairness, following the oft-seen pattern of scarcity of posts, followed by a goodbye post. I always understand when people feel the time has come to hang up their WoWing and/or blogging hats, after all each on their own is a huge time investment, never mind combining the two... And this pressure must expand to an entirely new order of magnitude when you're a 'face' in the blogsphere; it's why I remain happy with my own little corner of the web, have no desire to be a big 'name' blog and continue to be humbled with gratitude whenever someone comments here!

I'm sure the raiding guilds are feeling it too, I do remember waiting for Wrath to hit, even though my raiding did not progress beyond Kara and ZA, but I remember the general 'what's the point?' feeling that seemed to rule Trade chat, and all the splitting/merging/reforming of guilds too. But reading blogs and seeing the numerous congratulations showered on my fellow SANers for killing the chilly old bugger on their 'main' Azeroth incarnations I'm glad that the bite seems to be escaping some. I guess the obvious question is whether or not I'm envious? I was never one for 'hardcore' (euch, awful expression) 'progression' (euch, nearly as bad) raiding. When I loved raiding it was because I loved gaming with my mates.

I'd never have managed a progression guild because, and I'm sure this isn't the case for all progression guilds by any means, the progression guilds on my then 'home' server were full of asshats, with the exception of the number 2 raked one which was just terrifying. They seemed to have intelligent, mature adults (eek!) and were never on Trade chat polishing their epeens unlike the first placed guild and sundry others below them. I only remember seeing one of their members on Trade once and frankly, (s)he dismembered everyone else in the channel, wit that sharp is an impressive sight to behold as long as it isn't being used against you... But mainly the progression guilds were places full of self-grandiosity , where Recount and Failbot (both tools that I guess have their place; that place being for your own, personal use, unless you are the RL and then maybe they're there for a private discussion with any players/officers after the raid if there are issues that really need addressing) were used as masturbatory aids to ensure that the ongoing 'superiority' of the uber leet. It's a hugely long story but I ended up being offered a trial with No2 guild... no I didn't take it despite my adoration of the rogue friend of mine who was offering me the chance... and his protestations that they were all fantastic people and I'd love them. It came at the wrong time for me, the raiding rot was set in too deep already, but I do occasionally wonder where I'd be now if I had. I guess Kingslayer...

So going from the fact that I would never really have enjoyed progression raiding, no I'm not jealous (other than 'Kingslayer' is a title of utter awesomesauce). Equally I'm not all that invested in Northrend. I have really, really tried to be and it hasn't worked. I liked Naxx (having not seen it in 'nilla) a great deal, but for most people I know it was yawn-some. There were bits of Ulduar that I enjoyed, but Ulduar was also the place where I not only lost my faith in my ability to heal, I lost my faith in my ability to enjoy 25-mans, whether I was healing or pewing, which led onto my still-held and oft-repeated view that I won't raid again.

From a personal, selfish perspective I remain glad that I have the freedom to toodle off and play whichever character I choose. That I have responsibility for no-one else in-game. I'm seeing if I can level Pilf to 80 from purely fishing and cooking dailies at present... I don't want to haul her round Northrend so I won't. Because I don't 'have' to. I love the fact that during my insomnia bouts (don't ask me how tired I am at present) I can think about her and write her story in my head to keep myself entertained.

I'm loving Sassi like I love... well, like I love Ben & Jerrys Half Baked ice cream but I'm going slowly with her. I've plans for her later on. She's crystallising in my head so quickly - I know what I want her to be and where I want her to go and I'm going to have so much fun getting her there. I'm loving the fact that I finally get why people make A Big Deal about the lore (hey - I even know what 'canon' is - geekdom extraordinaire for me!) and that quest text is something to read rather than clicking through and looking for the quest number circle on the map... I adore the amount of fan fic stuff that I'm devouring (anyone who wants to point me in the direction of more recommended reading would be showered in scrummy cookies in the flavour of their choice!) and the breadth, depth and imagination of people out there. I adore the fact that writing Pilf's posts has opened up new channels for me, and that it's given me enough spark to apply to NaNoWriMo this year (but I have an horrible feeling that this'll coincide nicely with the release of Cata!)

Rolling on a new server. Creating new alts all over the place. Poncing around in cities doing nothing save watch the world RP and duel its way by. Sitting by the sea in the evening, watching the sun(s) set and the moon(s) rise. Exploring areas I didn't know about. Screenshotting like a mad thing, making memories. This is how I'm spending my time. I highly recommend taking your foot off the gas if you can. If the pre-expansion blues are hitting, go do something different. Slow down. Go start somewhere new. Make new friends, have new experiences. Play for lulz. If I hadn't, I wouldn't still be in Azeroth and all the experiences I'm enjoying now I'd never know about, and that's a really sad thought. I'd have left with a bitter taste in my mouth, all the good memories crowded out by burnout and stress. And that's no way to leave something that should be fun.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Friday night's alright (for alting)

My alt-itis is kicking in again, and, as it's Friday I thought I'd treat myself to a new character. Place your bets, ladies and gents... In the photo below is one gorgeous priest and one rogue with attitude, both covered in sparkles. Which one is me...? (Hint: I fail hard at melee and rogues scare me.)

And it's so weird being Alliance again. Every time I think I have my faction loyalty kinda sorted I decide I miss the other faction and re-roll. And night elf mounts again - squee!! I will never stop yearning for sabers whenever I play Horde side...

That said, for the first time in a while I'll be levelling without RaF and BoA gear. Which might be interesting. And as the rogue is determined that we will be Sanity Tapping on occasion I will be holy. No I don't want to try and heal as shadow, thank you. I heal badly enough as holy...

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Blurring the Boundaries.

I have about 5 RP posts that I need to write but I figured I'd give myself a break and have a me a random waffling post instead... So there's this and this and in the middle is little ole me, scratching her head and feeling confused. For those of you who are too lazy to click links, it's two pieces about the Battle.net RealID. When the Other Half mentioned this first, a few weeks ago, I had a bit of a squee at the thought of being able to talk to the Bro in Law on a different server, my old guildies on different faction and server, people I know on servers where I might want to try the opposing faction etc etc ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Because I'm a sociable sort (you might have gathered) and I'm more than capable of logging on with all the best intentions of, y'know, actually gaming, like questing and levelling and stuff, then finding myself sitting on the beach, in an inn, hell atop Icecrown Citadel one night, and just talking.

I'm sure that I'm not alone in having the online 'me' fairly crafted and sorted. Yes, of course it bears some resembelance to the real life 'me' but essentially one of the magical things, as mentioned in a previous post, is that on the interwebz you can kinda be who you want to be. The information that I choose to share on the net, especially via online names is completely in my control. If I choose to let my gaming friends become 'Facebook friends' (and god do I hate that expression) it means I'm willing to accept that this makes them privy to more information about the RL me than they have been privy to thus far. And I'm not the sort that feels the need to live their live through online social networks either, I've had serious words with people who think that it's appropriate to post pictures of me on their Facebook profile, and 'tag' me in them so it shows up on mine as well. Invasion of privacy much?? So much so now that I really avoid cameras, more so than I used to. No, actually I don't want the world seeing how I look when I'm mashed (highly unattractive), what I looked like at 17 (sartorial role model: the prostitute) or at 22 (sartorial role model: Dita von Teese (yes I graduated to 'stripper'... this is better...) but still I don't particularly want my sister, or my colleagues seeing that.) Nor do I want pictures of me at school posted. I don't think I'm being especially unreasonable...

And a 'funny' in a 'omgwtfbbq' way digression now follows. Two nights ago I was logged onto WoW and nattering away happily, and my phone chimed in the delightful way it does, to let me know that I have a message on Facebook. Then it chimed again, letting me know I had another one. Opening up the messages I was faced with messages from two deeply charming young men with Italian names. Both messages were very simple and to the point - was I the *insert RL name here* who had played WoW as Pilfkin and if so would I like to say hi. They included their characters names so at least I knew who was stalking me. Now, before I go any further I must add that they are both charming and delightful (and y'know, studly Italians in their twenties...always good for ones image, right?) and they were good friends in my old guild. But still, the question remains - how the bloody fuck did they track me down? So we had a chat, my Italian Babes and me, and they told me what had happened.

The big raiding guild I was in had an active website and on that website was the Officer Forum, that required officer level access permission to enter and the chap who administrated the website was a fab chap (and a FB/emailing friend) so we knew it was secure etc. It also had our emails on it. Now if you're me you have a pretty basic sounding email address for friends/family/work etc because, at some point in your life, usually when you're filling out job applications, that cool sounding email that you set up in your 20s is a little less... appropriate. As an employer are you likely to want to contact, ah , I don't know... CuteRainbowChick@hotmail.com and offer them an interview? Maybe you are, maybe I'm just a prejudiced old bag but I wanted something a little mature. And, no that wasn't my old email... So yes, my email address was pretty basic - *insert name here* at hotmail. Turns out that after I left some of the other officers did too and the remaining ones had a bit of a promotion spree before they'd closed off the old accounts. So my darling Italians added me to their MSN contact list and then told FB to search for my address and lo and behold it pulled me up. And yes, I have my FB privacy settings turned all the way up... Now in fairness, as mentioned, I knew both of them well, had chatted to them alot in /w and vent etc and I don;t really mind that they found me. But it is kind of alarming too.

Back to RealID. It would be very cool to chat the old mates, but, and again, this might be me with a privacy fail, it's linked to my bloody account. I'm not sure I want this in the 'public' domain. Also, and a biggie for me, it will link to every character, of every faction, on every server. See those 'hiding place' alts? Ok maybe not everyone has them but I do; they won't be so hidden anymore. If you're online people will know. And as Gaz mentioned in the second of the above linkies, unlike good old MSN which lets you pretend you're offline so people don't bug you, thus far, RealID doesn't have this feature. There are times when I game and I really don't want to talk to anyone. I created hidden alts initially when I was playing a priest and every time I logged on I got hit with the pink plague of whispers asking me to heal this or that. The people I wanted to know about them I talked to. Some characters existed only for me, and this is A Good Thing. So sadly, at the moment certainly, I have no intention of using this feature when it becomes available. Just do me a favour Blizz, put in a sociability scale there, something akin to FlagRSP's 'status' selection slider. It could go from oh, I don't know, 'yay it's Friday and I want to catch up with everyone' to 'trying to quest' through 'raiding' to 'if you even acknowledge that this character exists I will fucking make you pay for the rest of your natural days'. Or something... Suggestions welcomed, as ever!

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