Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Story of Vlad: Chapter III, Rotten to the Core

Chapter I, The Assault
Chapter II, He who resists

Silence had fallen upon New Avalon. The fight had ceased, but it was only a matter of time when another attack would be launched. Vladan made his way to the Scarlet hold. It was likely Brigitte Abbendis was there. If she wasn't already aware of Quimby's death, she would soon be.

The hold stood proudly on a hill. Normally it was strictly guarded. Not only by a couple of guards, but multiple in each section of the fort. This time the building was empty and quiet, almost sleepy in nature. The old, wooden stairway creaked under each step the man took. As he approached the main room, he cleared his throat. Ready to meet with the Scarlet leaders and Birgitta's family, he knocked on the door frame and entered the chamber as he spoke.
- High General Abbendis, I wish to inform you that Mayor Quimby has b-
As the warrior raised his leer from the floor, he clammed up abruptly.
- So the wretched pest succeeded? What a pity. My hunger to break those brittle bones grows every minute.
The deep voice echoed hollow. Its source was guarded by black armour, seemingly made of saronite. Long silvery hair descended softly on the shoulder plates. Light blue glowing eyes had an ironic glimmer in them. A set of thin fingers found their places around the hilt of a long runeblade.
The death knight rose from the chair he sat on and slowly walked up to Vladan.
- You see, not everyone makes a death knight. Initiates are so feeble. It is almost a waste of time to resurrect them at all.
- Where's Abbendis? What have you done to my daughter?! You sick beast!
Vladan raised his sword at the death knight, but couldn't hold on to it. As the death knight pointed the palm of his hand towards Vlad's throat, he felt unable to breathe. His grip of the sword loosened, causing it to slip out of his hand and fall to the planking. He made an attempt to squirm out of the scourge knight's grasp, but the power was insuperable. He felt pushed against the wall, until the death knight finally lowered his arm.
Vladan collapsed on the floor. His head pounded and his vision was blurry. He could hear his heart beat, but it appeared much slower than normally.
- Your daughter? YOUR DAUGHTER?! Worry not, you'll meet her soon enough!
The runeblade pierced Vladan's chest. It struck him like a cold embrace, devouring his life energy, more with each sip. The sound of his heart beating, as well as the death knight's voice, faded away.
- For a brief moment..., the knight in black armour pulled the blade out of the body, turning towards two other death knights that had arrived at the scene without notice. - Take the corpses to Acherus. There's work to be done.

. . .

Isa Jelen held her hood at the windy docks and looked at a departing ship. It was the first ship to have accepted civilians aboard. It would make its way to Northrend, as would a few other vessels.
- Isa! Isa, is it you?
Isa looked surprised as she turned around. Birgitta Barrett jogged happily towards her. She held a bundle on her arms.
- Birgitta!
- I believe I have something you've been missing, Birgitta smiled widely, handing the bundle over to Isa.
Isa uttered a silent moan as she unwrapped the cloth cocoon. She lovingly embraced the baby girl, seeming peaceful at long last. Nathaniel Barrett walked up to the two women, holding the hands of two children. Ethan and Noah were Nathaniel and Birgitta's sons.
- They assaulted from within, Birgitta told Isa, who had begun to breastfeed her daughter.
Isa looked at Birgitta with wide eyes as she informed her about the situation.
- How did they manage to do that?
- Obscure, don't you think? Their death knights had snuck into the town hall and killed Mayor Quimby. They've taken the town hall and the orchard. I haven't heard any news from the chapel.
Birgitta groomed her long mahogany hair. She was nearly a decade older than Isa, but always looked amazingly refreshed. She claimed the energy of her children to keep her youthful. Noah and Ethan sat on a log next to Nathaniel. The boys were dressed in white shirts, dark grey vests and lighter grey cotton pants, very similar to their father's outfit.
- And the hold? How is the hold? Isa stuttered.
- Same as always, I suppose.
Birgitta's reply was negligent. Nevertheless, it mildly relieved Isa's worry over her husband. She remained tense as Birgitta spoke.
- Where is Vladan, anyway?
- He went... to look for you. For Milka.
Isa looked down to their sleepy daughter. Milka Ekaterina was only a few months old.
- Missus Jelen, there are still soldiers up there. He's probably helping with the ballistas. He'll return when they're set up, Nathaniel joined the conversation. Isa let out a saddened sigh.
- Come on, I can't stand seeing you like that, Birgitta comforted her. - Think of the new life you'll get up north. Everything will be fine. Milka can grow up in a land of peace and the two of you can grow old together.
The thought Birgitta forged on Isa's mind put a minor smile on her face.

A foghorn stemmed from the distance. Everyone in the shore took notice of it. Not only did it bring a breeze of hope, but also competition. People wanted to get out of New Avalon as soon as possible. They wanted to feel safe again.
As the ship slowly floated closer to the docks, a bunch of people gathered to wait for it. The anchor was thrown into the water. A man with a long, thin scarf jumped off the vessel. He waded to the shore and tied a rope to a sturdy wooden pillar, then walked up to another pillar. A bulky man on the ship threw another rope to him, which he tied to the second pillar, just like the first one. Three Scarlet soldiers disembarked from the ship, carrying heavy two-handed swords. They settled on both sides of the ramp. A Scarlet captain walked down the plank. With his greying beard and bushy mustache, he appeared to be in his 50s. He cleared his throat while holding a piece of paper before his eyes.
- Citizens of New Avalon! With the right I have been granted, I shall now list the families that are entitled on the next voyage. When you hear your name, please gather your children and spouse, and report to me.
The crowd awaited silent as more people gathered around the red and white captain.
- Abbey. Abbendis? Damn it, where's the high general?
- Captain Danell, a feminine voice requested from aboard. - Captain Danell?
Scarlet Captain Stanley Danell turned towards the source of the voice.
- High General Abbendis said she'd take another ship. According to High Abbot Landgren, there's something they need to take care of in Tyr's Hand.
Danell groaned his reply to the woman before continuing the roll call.
- Barklay.
An old man dressed in a rugged suit held the hand of a woman of the same age, walking her before Danell. The captain had a brief word with the couple before allowing them on the ship.
- Clay.
A young woman, barely in her 20s, escorted two cranky children up the ramp.
- Hudnall. Kipling. Perry.
As the roll call went on, families of very different kinds stepped aboard, one after another. Isa peered at the passing people. Some of them she knew, or at least had known. As their family names were called, they didn't look back. Birgitta cursed their arrogance.
- I hope that damn ship sinks, she hissed.
- Wilcox.
Henry Wilcox, a retired Scarlet guard stood up and straightened his back. He picked up his satchel and walked up to captain Danell. As Danell moved over to let him enter the ship, a sword suddenly blocked Wilcox's way. He looked at the wielder with a questioning look, which transformed into an incredulous one as he caught a sight of the armed person.
- I think you misread that, a conceited male voice blurted at Danell.
- Cut it out, commander, Danell ordered immediately. - If I require your assistance, I'll make sure to request it.
Casey Morgan peered down to Henry Wilcox with narrowed eyes.
- Do you happen to remember the time I promised you'd regret what you did to me? Our journey to Northrend appears most... promising... Cox-ie.
- Mind your own business, will you! Danell yelled at Morgan, who receded grudgingly, glaring angrily at Wilcox. - We need to set forth as soon as possible. This is a waste of time.
Danell looked at the crowd as if he had forgotten all about the piece of paper in his hand. He rapidly turned his gaze back to it.
- Barrett.
- Did you hear that, Nathaniel? Birgitta screamed joyfully. -We've been selected!
Nathaniel remained calm and silent, merely looking at his wife. He stood up and picked up a backpack that lay against the log.
- I guess we had better get going then.
- We had! Come, boys, come on here, Birgitta rushed her sons, then turned to Isa. - Dear friend. We'll be waiting for you.
The two women shared a hug. Hesitatingly Isa began to speak.
- Birgitta. I'm going to ask you a big favor.
Birgitta tilted her head slightly, looking at Isa awaitingly.
- I'm going to wait for Vlad. I need to wait for Vlad. Even if our name was called, I couldn't leave without him. Please, please take-, she swallowed, still hesitating. - Take Milka with you.
She wasn't sad. She was sending her daughter to safety. She gave Milka a longing gaze before gently handing the bundled baby over to Birgitta, who carefully held her on her arms. Birgitta smiled warmly at Isa.
- She will be safe with us.
Relief glittered in Isa's eyes as they got damp.
- Barrett!
- Coming! Birgitta made a fast turn towards the captain.
Isa smiled her immense thanks at her friend as she peered over her shoulder, then climbed aboard.
- Morgan. Ruskin.
Captain Danell tucked the piece of paper into a rugged fanny pack hanging on his waist, giving the crowd a last look before nodding at the soldiers next to him. He walked up the plank as the soldiers loosened the ropes before entering the ship and pulling the ramp up.
The ship slowly set forth with a bunch of civilians aboard. They looked scared and fragile as the ship departed the King's Harbor. Isa stood at the docks for long after the vessel had disappeared from sight, just staring into the vast horizon.

Disclaimer: I do not own the World of Warcraft, Azeroth or anything in it, but it was me and not Blizzard that came up with the story of this character, whom I have created to breathe life into their world.

Monday, 28 May 2012

10 hours of LANing

If your WLAN, mobile internet or head can't handle the 10 hour version, try this one.

Switch the power on, and go from offine to online
Game on, and fingers move by themselves already
Killermasa stopped by, we have 'LANs' tonight, yep
Let's see how many servers we get banned from tonight
I'm looking for the tune, but soon I'll be tense
When the ??? (no clue what) begin to argue on the chat in the middle of the game
I take it easy, but I'll be mad if I don't win
If you shoot one more time, I'll start throwing things around

We drink ES, LAN all night
Microwave pizza and hotdog, I don't eat anything else
Our gaming skills are admired by millions of fans
"Wanna go out?" Can't, we have LANs (The following times: "Wanna go swim?", "I'm gonna get ice cream", "Come on, let's go eat!")
I'm not interested in girls, or sociability
Computers are a second dimension for me
I've become engrossed in the game world, maybe a little bit marginalized
But I've got better at RuneScape
Not everyone can be fine against us (not the ideal way to translate, I just couldn't figure out a better one)
"They're cheating!" cry the trolling people
Today we forget about all unnecessary exercise
Tonight we don't need an hour of sleep

If you want to challenge us, you're welcome to try
You noob could never beat us in any way
Today we're gonna play CS and WoW
If you're a true nerd, join our LAN

by Masa & Teurastaja, translation by me

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Hail Fluty

On Friday 25th our little guild fought the evil Warmaster Blackhorn, his companion Goriona and their horrifying friends. Our aim had always been to save the ship from any damage caused by Twilight Barrages. However every time at least one was too far, or had a particularly unfortunate timing.

Desperation filled our hearts as our beloved Skyfire was about to suffer a blow! Luckily our amazing rogue Fluty bravely sprinted into two barrages, sacrificing his life for the sake of Skyfire!

Fluty's heroism will inspire our further adventures. He had to make a macro to thank people for praising him.

All hail Fluty, champion and savior of Menagerie! And the Skyfire. Sky Captain Swayze also sent his regards to him.

The Story of Vlad: Chapter II, He Who Resists

Chapter I, The Assault

I think I failed at not making some scenes sound like Titanic. Recognise the Lovejoy character...?
Soundtrack: Rhapsody - The Magic of the Wizard's Dream

Disclaimer: I do not own the World of Warcraft, Azeroth or anything in it, but it was me and not Blizzard that came up with the story of this character, whom I have created to breathe life into their world.

The town square was filled with scourge and Scarlet armies. Vladan weaved his way through the crowd as quickly as he could, heading towards the King's Harbor in the heavy rain. The path was stuffed with tons of civilians desperate to get away from the hazard. Panic dominated the atmosphere all the way down to the harbor, where people were running to all directions. A large group of civilians was swarming near the ship, where soldiers dressed in red and white had blocked the brow. Some individuals made a desperate attempt to enter the ship regardless of the armed men, who didn't hesitate to use their steel against any who rebelled against their authority.

Vladan desperately tried to spot Isa within the panicking crowd. To him every other face looked like hers. He yelled her name a few times, but his yells succumbed into those of the crowd. He kept calling for her name, and after a moment he heard a distant cry.
- Vlad!
- Isa? Vlad turned around immediately and began to make his way to Isa within the pushing crowd. Isa, although getting pushed around vigorously, also moved closer to Vlad as fast as she could.
As they met, he immediately wrapped his arms around her, for both protection and warmth. She pushed herself against his chest and caught her breath. Her face was pale and her long, fair hair soaking wet, even under the dark grey cloth hood she was wearing. They spoke to each other loudly in the clamor.
- Is Milka okay?
- I... I don't know. Birgitta had already left when I...
Vladan peered around nervously as the worry over his daughter filled his mind. The fact that he knew Birgitta would do anything for the sake of children, even if they weren't her own, made the worry slightly lighter. Still, that day no one was safe in New Avalon. There were no guarantees of anything.
- Do you have any idea where she might be?
- Birgitta? She, uhm... I think Nathaniel was in the Scarlet hold today. If the undead haven't reached the hold yet..., Isa filled her lungs with air. - They could all be there.

Vlad held Isa by her shoulders in front of him, looking straight into her eyes.
- Stay here. The scourge will be busy with the administrative buildings for quite some time. It'll take them a while to get down here.
Isa didn't say anything. In the rain it was nearly impossible to tell if she was crying, but in her eyes there was a glimmer of both desperation and hope.
- Go near the soldiers and stay there, Vladan instructed and held her tight for a short moment. - Everything will be okay, I will find Milka. Go!
Submissively but reluctantly Isa followed Vlad's command, peering at him over her shoulder as she pushed through the crowd. Vladan looked at her longingly for a moment before leaving the shore.

. . .

Scarlet blood covered the ground in the town square of New Avalon. Many had fallen under the force of the scourge, but the remaining soldiers kept fighting. Most of the undead forces had been vanquished, with a few abominations, ghouls and geists remaining. Vladan pulled his swords out of their sheaths simultaneously. He charged at a ghoul, which fell at his feet after a few slices.

A shielded man on a white, armoured horse fought a few feet away from Vladan. The paladin was surrounded by ghouls. The undead fell under his blade, one after another. As the last one of them collapsed, the man turned to Vlad. He was exhausted and out of breath. His armour was blood stained and his face bled badly.
- Soldier, he huffed. - Go to the town hall. We... what's left of us... will push the scourge back to Havenshire. Havenshire's done for. We can still buy us some more time.
The paladin looked towards the rampart and sighed.
- They haven't reached the hold yet.
The knight's words seemed true. No guards stood at the hold entrance like usually, but otherwise it seemed untouched by the scourge. Vladan nodded at the man, who soon after rode away towards the rampart. He stopped for a moment to lay his hand on a wounded soldier's shoulder, casting a minor healing spell. Relieved by the news about the Scarlet hold, Vladan gave it a brief glance before he left for the town hall.

An abomination stood at the town hall. Corpses of two Scarlet guards lay next to the undead monstrosity. As Vladan prepared to charge at it, something tightened around his waist. It was a scourge hook, a device clumsy scourge creations used to bring faster and more agile enemies to their reach. The undead pulled the hooked chain back to itself. As Vladan slammed against the abomination's body, acid spurted out of the stitches on its sides.

The vile undead squeezed Vlad between its hands. It drooled heavily as the human hung upside down in front of it. Vlad's sword fell out of its sheath and hit the ground. He managed to grab the other one of his blades and stuck it through the abomination. The slice caused green liquid to start dripping from the undead's stomach.

- Your end has come, sacrilegious beast!
The flesh monstrosity growled in a strange manner as something entered its body. What looked like a wave of light made the undead squirm for a moment before collapsing on its back. It let go of Vlad, who fell to the ground. As he picked up his sword and raised his leer from the paving, he saw father Newbury, a priest of the local chapel, point the scourge cadaver with his staff. The white cane had a golden glow surrounding it.
- In the name of the Chapel of the Crimson Flame, I swear I'll purge this land of these foul creatures!

Vladan carefully opened the heavy door of the town hall. The floor creaked as the warrior took steps towards the main room. Without a source of light other than the curtained windows, the chamber was gloomy. He spotted a figure resting on the floor near the stand. As he reached the corpse, he kneeled next to it, rolling the bulky man around.
- Quimby?
Mayor Quimby was dead. A sharp weapon had cut through his chest, with multiple other scratches on his arms and neck.
- Abbendis should be informed about this, Vladan pondered to himself. Quimby's death was no doubt a major step towards the fall of New Avalon.

. . .

Isa wrapped the grey cotton robe tightly around her. The rain had ceased. The area was left cold and foggy, the noisy crowd had fallen silent for the day. They all wanted to ask the same things. "When will there be space for us?" "Is there anywhere we can go for shelter?" Yet no one asked those questions, because they knew no answers would be provided.

A man in a dark leather jerkin stood up and walked up to the Scarlet guards. The silent soldiers eyed the peasant up and down as he took a breath before starting to speak.
- You, he began hostilely. - You won't get us on any ship, will you? You're just keeping us waiting here 'till we starve to death and then use our corpses as distraction in order to escape the scourge yourself.
As the guards showed no signs of sympathy, he continued.
- Your Light will not save you sons of a bitch when you meet your end. We all got to face judgement one day, and you... You're all going to HELL! You sanctimonious bastards! You hear me! All of you, you're going to h-
The man collapsed to his knees, quietening abruptly as a rifle was fired. A series of screams followed the raw gunshot. A woman dressed in a simple gown rushed to the man lying at the guards' feet, almost throwing herself to the ground next to him.
- Raghnall! Raghnall, please, get up! she cried out, crouched next to him. She stroked his cheek and talked to him in loud whispers mixed with her labored breath. Her hands got stained in blood as she tried to stop the blood flow on his stomach.
A man walked down the ramp leading to the ship. He held a rifle on his shoulder. His steps seemed light, his attitude carefree as his rusty spurs clacked against the wood. He walked up to the mourning woman, granting her a fast, pitiful glance. She lifted her gaze from the man on the ground and looked at the Scarlet commander.
- Does anyone else want to squawk? Rampage, perhaps? he popped a question in a cocky manner, peering around. - I have plenty of bullets left.
The fragile woman slowly stood up and stared at the commander right into his eyes, her stare bursting with pure rage and disgust.
- You... Killed my husband, she hissed deeply, her teary face just a few inches away from the commander's.
The man known as Casey Morgan looked down to the lady, his expression everything but compassionate.
- His punishment will serve as a warning to all. If anyone here wishes to live a life, and die a death more meaningful than his, they'll know to hold their horses.
The woman gave commander Morgan a vigorous push on the chest with both hands, her appearance transforming into that of a shield maiden instead of a peasant's widow. As Morgan swayed back a little, his face gave away his rising anger. He swiftly placed both of his hands on his gun and pointed it against the woman's chest.
- I take it you want to join him in wherever you riffraff end up?
She stayed quiet for a moment, just staring at him. Soon she began to speak, her calm tone of voice becoming more murderous as she went on.
- My daughter will grow up without a father. I will have to make a living for her and myself without my spouse. I have no idea if we will get to keep our home. But she will grow to despise your kind, I promise you that. She will despise you enough to never dress in your colours. You are the taint of Lordaeron. I will pray to the Light that you'll all waste away into nothingness.
She turned her gaze towards the silent crowd gathered around them, still speaking to Morgan.
- Now if you'll excuse me, I wish to give my husband an honorable burial.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Story of Vlad: Chapter I, The Assault

This is fan fiction, my own storyline and a character introduction combined.
Soundtrack while writing: Rhapsody - Echoes of Tragedy, ACT III: The Ancient Fires of Har-Kuun, Dargor, Shadowlord of the Black Mountain (extended)
'The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia' in the background.

A pack of medium-sized ghouls ran towards him, thick saliva dripping from the sides of their mouths. He tried to make a run for it, but his legs wouldn't work, his feet seemed glued to the ground. The ghouls got closer and closer, soon reaching him. They ripped his clothes and scratched his skin as he got overwhelmed by the vigorous undead, falling down on his back. One of the ghouls pounced on top of him and stared him right into the eyes, ready to rip his face off. As the ghoul brought its rotten teeth closer to his face, droplets of cold drool landed on his face.

Vladan Jelen boggled awake with a gasp. What stood before him wasn't a ghoul, nor an undead of any sort. It was his wife with a can full of water in her grasp, reaching out for the various daffodils on the shelf above the bed. As she noticed her husband awake, she burst into a wide, warm smile.
- I'm sorry, love, the shelf is just too far.
- Isa! Vladan cried out, still out of breath. He swiftly sat up, placed his feet against the floor and sat on the edge of the bed.
Isa pulled the water can back and stood next to the bed, fumbling Vladan's thick, dark brown hair that had length way past his shoulders. She spoke in a calm tone:
- Now, what did you dream of?
- Scourge, they will come for us... Sooner than we expect.
- Nonsense, honey, we have plenty of time left to prepare, she said confidently. - Oh! Speaking of which, I have already packed some necessary items, they're all ready and set in the closet.
- I thought you didn't want to leave New Avalon, Vlad noted, questioning his wife with a raise of eyebrows.
- I just hadn't thought of all the options, she stated joyfully.
Vladan eyed her, surprised by the sudden change in her opinion; that which had been nearly the opposite just a few days ago.
- Where in the name of Faol would you go then? Back to Strahnbrad?
- No, she replied fast. - Not Strahnbrad. Northrend.
Vladan looked bemused as he stared at Isa, who had begun to wipe dust off the bedside table.
- Don't be fooled, Isa. We'll be long perished before any ship has space for us.
Isa clearly stated her disappointment in her husband's disbelief. Her pout was enough to tell Vladan she wasn't in a state of discussing the matter. He decided to change the subject:
- Where is Milka?
- Birgitta is taking care of her whilst I finish cleaning the house, Isa replied, her good mood washed away.
Vlad gave her a fast nod just before he stood up. He walked up to a heavy wooden cabinet, opened one of the drawers and took out a bunch of clothes.

. . .

The chink of steel could be heard far from the anvil. It was mixed with the chirp of birds. Those midday hours always seemed so long for Vladan. He peered to the distance on his way to the smithy. The dark and sinister Acherus hovered in the sky near Havenshire. It was the base of scourge operations in the area, sending various mindless undead and more intelligent death knights to cause disturbance in the two towns next to it. To rain destruction on their inhabitants.

Vlad knocked lightly on the door frame. A warm welcome awaited him in the workshop as he walked in.
- Oi, what's kept you away for so long? smith Blackmoore said with a smile on his face.
- Aiden, Vladan nodded at the man sitting at a massive anvil. He made his way to the worn wooden counter and leaned against it.
Smith Aiden Blackmoore was an old friend of his. The man was in his 40s, which made him around a decade older than Vlad. The bulky man had a short, greying beard and a hair that could just be tied up on a ponytail. The two blacksmiths met a while after Vladan had relocated his family from Alterac to New Avalon, a very different part of Lordaeron.
- Are you a warrior or a blacksmith, Vladan Jelen? Aiden asked with a mischievous grin. - You can't seem to make up your mind. One day I hear you've been bashing undead with two blades, and the next you visit me and my little shop. What brings you here, old friend?
- You're the one with the best sharpening stones in town. I need you to use those on these.
Vladan pulled a long, thin sword out of its sheath and lay it on the counter. He grabbed another blade from a different sheath hanging on the other side of his hip and placed it next to the other one.
- I take that as... the smith went quiet for a moment, turning his gaze to his anvil with a wide smile. - Warrior, then.
Aiden Blackmoore walked behind the counter and picked up the sharpening stones from a shelf, giving the swords a look. He took them to the anvil and began to sharpen the blades. Vladan followed each motion carefully, as if he was sharpening the weapons with his gaze. After a moment of work on each sword, Aiden handed them over to Vlad, one at a time. He examined them carefully from tip to tip before sliding them back into their sheaths.
- And hey, don't even think about a payment. You've done so much for me that it's about time I did something for you in return.
Aiden's face was serious, but his eyes smiled at his friend. Vladan smiled his thanks at the smith over his shoulder as he stepped out of the workshop.

New Avalon was silent. The birds had stopped singing; they couldn't even be spotted. Very few people were out. The atmosphere was oppressive, like the calm before the storm. A few drops of water came down from the sky, the drizzle getting heavier each passing moment.

A jangling bell tolled. As Vladan walked back home through the town, the feared sound tore the silence apart. By that time, each citizen of New Avalon and Havenshire had learnt what the sound meant. Scourge forces were approaching. This time the bell tolled in particularly short intervals, which meant the forces were great in numbers. Not a second was wasted while gathering the defense. Tons of soldiers ran out of the barracks, gathering in the town square. Soon after another militia dressed in red and white joined the rest. High general Brigitte Abbendis, a major leader of the Scarlet Crusade, stood on a wooden stand before the crowd.
- It is here we make our final stand against the scourge. It is here the Scarlet Crusade will lead the undead to their end. It is here, on this holy ground the Crusade will be victorious!
As Vladan, frozen in place, stared at the cheering crowd, a Scarlet commander rode past him, turning his horse around. The man dressed in shiny red and white armour, accompanied by a tabard of the same colours and a logo, looked at Vlad. He pointed to the warrior's direction with his sword.
- Soldier, fall in! What are you waiting for?
He almost immediately turned his horse around again and rode away, yelling to the militia.

Vladan took swift steps through the crowd. He zigzagged between the men and women that were devoted to defend New Avalon. Behind the militias he spotted a bunch of citizens running down the road to the King's Harbor. No ships were supposed to leave in weeks. Mayor Quimby had told the people a bunch of lies.

As soon as Vlad made it to his home door, he stormed in. The cottage was empty. Curtains danced wildly in the wind at an open window. He quickly checked the closet. The satchel was there, with Isa's items inside. No signs of either his wife or his daughter were present in the house. A sudden clatter of bone and steel in the already heavy rain interrupted his search. He took a couple of fast steps to the door and looked at the rampart between the town and Havenshire. The Scarlet armies ran towards the undead masses, hitting as many of them as they possibly could upon reaching the scourge.

The assault on New Avalon had begun.

Disclaimer: I do not own the World of Warcraft, Azeroth or anything in it, but it was me and not Blizzard that came up with the story of this character, whom I have created to breathe life into their world.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Ress please!

I decided not to reincarnate in the fire.

In a recent short story about my paladin, I described what a holy resurrection felt like.

"-- a flash of light cut through the darkness. Soft whispers of an unidentified language echoed in the numb mind, coursing through the veins and filling the body with life energy."

So I came to think about resurrections. What do the others feel like? I find them a wonderful opportunity for some hardcore imagination usage. Here are my thoughts about various kisses of life, feel free to tell me what you think! Perhaps this will have an effect on who you choose as your raiding buddies in the future... Also, to make it a bit more fun, I won't tell which resurrection it is right away, but you can think what it sounds like.
Most of them were performed by/to my own characters in my mind, so they brought their own twist to them.

1. Roots sprang from the ground to wrap around her body, still warm. Various sproutlings appeared to stroke her skin with their leaves and petals, breathing life into the body. As more and more sproutlings gathered to dance around her, she opened her eyes slowly and stared at the sky, seeming peaceful and rested.

2. He felt incredible pressure around his chest, as if his heart was squeezed really tight and then released. Squeezed and released, squeezed and released again, like it was blackmailed to start beating. He rapidly woke up as if from a nightmare, out of breath and coughing.

3. "Is this a lucid dream?" she wondered, feeling sleepy. She saw everything hazy and blue, nothing stayed still but constantly moved in a wavy motion, a place with no time and space. A wolf's nose suddenly poked her hand. The wolf said nothing, only gave her a deep look in the eyes before turning around and walking away. She instinctively followed the wolf; she felt there was no other option.

The spirit animal lead her to a well - a well which held a reflection of her lifeless body lying on a rock, her back twisted like a wire. She understood it was her, but had no thoughts in her mind. She stepped into the well.

As her body touched the water, the feeling of sensation slowly began to return to her skin, the deeper she let her body sink. She let go of the well's edge. Her body disappeared into the dark well, as did the reflection.

4. A sharp-edged sword pierced his lungs, cutting through his body as effortlessly as it would through water. He fell down to his knees and held his chest for a moment before collapsing forward. As everything was fading to black, a green fog appeared to fight the darkness, pushing it away.

He felt two treants by his side. Their branches grabbed him by the arms before he hit the ground, and lifted him back up to his feet. The green vision faded as quickly as it had appeared, slowly turning into one of the physical world. He was still holding his chest as he looked down to it, standing feebly. The fresh wound looked nasty, but it did not bleed.

5. She heard the ancestors call her name. The flames burnt her skin, but at the same time the water was about to fill her lungs. She was done for. She knew she was.

The draenei shifted into her ghost wolf form, making a last, desperate attempt to escape the pressure and torment. She jumped. Jumped as far as she could. The wind under her paws lifted and carried her over the flames; the water being heavier than the wind, it didn't follow.

Though falling from high, the ghost wolf landed softly, as if she was weightless. She ran into the blue fog, humid and soothing.

6. A foul stench invaded a dark figure's nose, as it walked into the humid cave. The figure stopped walking and looked down to something, pulling his hood off. The man was dressed in a simple black robe. He carried a black staff with an orb in its tip, glowing purple. He kneeled down and peered at the rotting body in front of him. The elf had been dead for days.

The man crouched before the body, moving his hand over it, an inch or two remaining between his palm and the elf carcass. In his hand he held a tiny sphere. It's surface was amazingly smooth. As he performed the ritual, focused, necromantic energy began to slowly flow between the body and the small object in the man's hand. His face was neutral, almost empty of any feelings, but a hint of pride could be detected from it as the rotten elf turned his head towards the man in black.

1. Druid resurrection. 2. Death knight combat resurrection. 3. Shaman resurrection. 4. Druid combat resurrection. 5. Shaman reincarnation. 6. Warlock soulstone resurrection.

Hmm yeah, what can I say? I am highly disappointed with myself regarding reincarnation. My main character is a shaman, I should know better, but truthfully speaking, I had no idea where to start. Then again I can understand that going from others resurrecting target to target resurrecting themselves is a bit difficult.

The outcome of a resurrection doesn't always take the resurrected one back to what he/she was before the death, but thankfully it gives you your life back! My personal opinion is that character deaths (non-permanent ones) and resurrections can be great in RP, as long as they aren't used excessively. I imagine that would leave a pretty bad trauma, make the body unable to function normally or cause disability. Perhaps even a single resurrection could cause something like that to a very sensitive individual. It's probably likely that the resurrected one would feel rather weak and/or disoriented after the ress, particularly a combat one.

I find it fun to bind RP-like emotes and lines into my abilities (as long as it doesn't cause spam. So no binding things to frequently used spells, attacks and whatever) and I'm thinking of doing it with resurrections as soon as I come up with something that is clear and interesting, but not too long.

As my last words for this post I am going to say that I found it quite a touching piece to write. I admit using WoW as a method of dealing with certain things. It's easier to think of some more difficult matters in that concept. I was fairly careful with my words here, because I felt quite sensitive writing about life and death this way, being in control of it. Anyhoo, I was absolutely excited about this post when I first got the idea for it, and still am.

Thanks to Mr X for coming up with helpful words regarding soulstone resurrection. I have very little RP experience of warlocks (more of felhound minions!), so I was out of inspiration for that one. Thank you! <3

Here's some atmospheric music from an amazing band to go with the post:

Thursday, 17 May 2012

You might not remember me, but... Part I (warning: might be boring)

Something a bit alternative inc.

This post I dedicate entirely to people who have been a part of my WoW experience in one way or another. Some of them more essentially, some just made a brief appearance - the main thing is that I still remember them today. So, to honor the memory they left me, I took a moment to think about the person. My plan was to also visit some places that reminded me of them, but since I am not able to log on WoW (long story short, tried to log in in another country and account got locked, need to wait for serial number) I am not able to do that now. I'll visit those places in my mind though.

I'm pretty sure I could stuff many people into this post, so to prevent it from getting too confusing, I'll write multiple parts.

1. First off we have someone who I know nothing about. I remember him from the days I spent on my first rogue. I was a complete noob and he was nice to me despite that. I think we had a short RP moment in Goldshire..? I'm not even sure about this, but I think he was a male night elf death knight. I suppose I should search for him on Armory. Regardless, I have a memory of him and I can still find the character on my friend list.

2. The next person is someone I first met in Gnomeregan while levelling Nicasia. The human paladin actually took the time and effort to use capital letters in his text; something that always impresses me (although it can seem a bit arrogant, too, with a dot in the end, but hey, that's a different story now.) We did a few dungeons together and afterwards stayed in Razorfen Kraul to talk. There, before Charlga Razorflank's throne, we sat at a campfire and talked until we agreed about real ID friendship.
Although there have been more and less difficult times, we've remained friends to this day and I am glad about it.

3. The first time I encountered this person was when he overheard a couple of friends and me critisising the United States. It's a bit difficult for me to write about him, because by the time I heard the truth about some things, it was already too late to do anything about it. Also, I don't want these people to be too regocnisable, so I can't mention some essential things about him. The main thing is, though, that I have some good memories of him, for example hunting rarespawns in Northrend and some long conversations.
Sadly we are no longer in touch and I don't know how he is doing.

4. One night in early Cataclysm I was standing around in Stormwind. I got a whisper to make a raid group with someone who wanted to do Molten Core. I always say yes to these things if possible, so I did that time as well. He asked if I wanted to talk about something while he does Molten Core, which sounded alright to me. And when we talked, we did mention fruit and porn in the same sentence. Hmm.
We ended up doing AQ40 together right after and talked more. By the time we had finished doing that, I knew I wanted to befriend that guy. Lots and lots has happened since then, but we're still friends.

5. Again in early Cataclysm. I was quite well geared for someone who hadn't raided current content yet, so I could easily get picked as a pug person for guild runs. This happened for the Conclaive of Wind. The raid itself wasn't particularly successful, no bosses were downed that night, but there was a person there who I still remember to this day.
He was a paladin tank, whose character's name described his hair colour. Well, the character's at least. Some time after the raid, he /waved at me in Stormwind. That made me happy. I didn't think he'd remember me, but he did.

More social nostalgia will be featured in part II.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Avenging wrath

This short story is set in the time before the fall of the Lich King. It's just a short encounter in the life of one of my characters. It's also the first novel sort of thing I've ever even attempted to write in English. Please do report any typos and nonsense grammar you find.
Soundtrack while writing: Human Fortress - The Wizard and the album 'Defenders of the Crown'

A young man let out a hacking cough, rapidly waking from a dream. Taking such a deep breath of air as cold as Icecrown's wasn't the best idea he had got. He sat on the snow, leaning against a conifer. The bloke's red hair was tied up on a ponytail. His silvery armour appeared ever so slightly too big for his fairly delicate body structure, his shield too heavy for his untrained arm. He was seemingly in his early twenties.

At first glance the man looked the same as any other Alliance soldier up north. What made a notable difference in his looks was his hair, as red as a flame, and his freckled face. Over his shoulder he held a satchel with a metallic badge on it, carved to read "Raleigh Croft." The young man stood up and looked around.

- Oliver? he popped a question with a rusty voice. He suffered from a cough caused by the weeks spent in the ice cold Northrend.

The horse known as Oliver was nowhere to be seen. He had been tied to a nearby twig, but all Raleigh could trace him by now were the vague hoofprints on the snow. Raleigh followed the trail leading to an open valley with little snow and more ice, not entirely unusual for Icecrown. Sunlight was blocked by a sharp-edged mountain for most part, leaving the area gloomy. Raleigh didn't hesitate taking steps deeper into the valley. His boots clacked against the icy ground as he walked along the trail of fresh hoofprints suddenly ending in a snowless patch. He peered around with a hint of frustration on his face.

The valley was silent - as was Raleigh. He gasped abruptly as a low snarl made its way to his ears. Young crusader Croft turned his gaze to his left, where the source of the sound appeared to be. He could tell it was no animal. The snarl sounded unnatural, far from a nature's creation. It was shortly followed by a dragging noise.

Raleigh was paralysed at the sight of the enormous flesh giant approaching him. Various rotting limbs and other body parts attached with chains and leather straps hanging from its body, it left a trail of hideous stench on its path. The paladin took a step back only to trip on an icy rock. The rough fall, however, accompanied by the rattling sound of heavy plate armour hitting the ground, startled him awake. The Scourge fiend swung its wooden mace towards the human, tiny next to the huge giant. Although losing in size, Raleigh beat the undead in agility, dodging the weapon swing by jumping backwards. The undead didn't wait to attack again and took another shot at the puny human. It was obvious Raleigh couldn't have avoided the attack. Instead he shielded himself with the piece of steel holding a blue painting of the head of a lion.

The swing was strong enough to knock him down to the ground. Raleigh climbed back on his feet as fast as he could, only to soon discover that he was no match for the flesh giant. Looking at the vicious Scourge creation, he grabbed his sword and pulled it out of its sheath made of thick leather.

Crusader's Glory was not a unique weapon. It was mass produced and given to most young soldiers before they were sent to fight the undead on the glaciers and in the frozen valleys. Raleigh held tight to the sword designed for a single hand. For the first time it felt fitting against his palm, his frostbitten fingers hugging its smooth surface.

Raleigh said a silent prayer in between breaths while trying his best to block the undead's attacks, yet running out of strength to do so. The flesh giant swung its mace on a spot not covered by the paladin's shield, hitting him hard on his side. Raleigh fell to the ground in agony. His vision got hazy and he felt his grip of the sword loosen. The giant gave him another hit, one that didn't feel as painful anymore. Crusader's Glory hit the ground with a clang. The paladin lay lifeless in front of the beast. His vision turned to black.

After what could have been ages, a flash of light cut through the darkness. Soft whispers of an unidentified language echoed in the numb mind, coursing through the veins and filling the body with life energy.

Raleigh opened his eyes. He peered at his surroundings for a brief moment, then swiftly lifted his cheek from the icy ground. He jumped up on his feet and grabbed his blade that had been lying next to him. Right by his side stood a familiar foe, staring at the resurrected paladin with rotten eyes, ready to squeeze any remainings of life from him. Raleigh gave the unholy creation one last look, then let his empowered sword cut through its leg. The magic steel shined, enchanted by the Light. It immediately stunned the undead, making it defenseless and weak. With a few more swings the abomination fell to the paladin's feet with a thump.
Raleigh collapsed down on his knees, closing his eyes for a moment of rest, leaning against the cadaver.

Something soft and warm rubbed against an algid man's cheek, stuffy breath warming his face. The man managed a smile, sealing his fingers around a rein.

Disclaimer: I do not own the World of Warcraft, Azeroth or anything in it, but it was me and not Blizzard that came up with the story of this character, whom I have created to breathe life into their world.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Blinded by the light

The time to introduce a second character has come. This time we have a ginger paladin in the spotlight. He's quite likely my most roleplayed character with the most text in his MyRolePlay profile.

His mainspec was holy all the way to level 85, but as the very power-yerning person I am (ahem!), I had to start tanking with him; so protection now serves as his more frequently used spec, despite holy having slightly better gear. The ginger was my best geared alt for a long while, until beaten by my death knight. He was the third character that I leveled to max level and he spent a moment doing arena at level 70.

Something that happened in Northrend changed Sir Raleigh Croft's thoughts of the Holy Light for good. Having spent his childhood and youth under the influence of a very religious father in the small town of Southshore, he acted more like a preacher man than a peasant.

Raleigh drifted away from Southshore to study with the Knights of the Silver Hand, but his studies were interrupted by the abrupt death of his father. Inspired by a newfound rage towards undead, he continued his studies and eventually did become a paladin. Just a couple of years later he left for Northrend, still unaware of what really caused his father to die. Unaware that he'd return as a completely different man.

Raleigh's protection transmog consists of the following items (and I'm not going to link them, because if you want to, you can search for them on Wowhead):
Pauldrons of Trembling Rage
Various pieces of the Turalyon set
Malevolent Girdle
Sabatons of Rapid Recovery
Crusader's Glory
Protector of Frigid Souls

Monday, 7 May 2012

She's the one

She is it; the apple of my eye. The one I share most memories with. The one who had to suffer the most from me being a nabcake. The one who completed epic quest chains for her totems. The one who has been ele-f**king-mental since level 10. The one who once won a shield drop from the Shade of Eranikus. The one who was stuck at level 70 due to me not having bought Wrath of the Lich King yet. The one who feared, and overcame the fear of getting lost in Blackrock Depths. The one I chose for a Recruit-a-Friend mount reward without any hesitation. The one whose guild master title is Hex Machine. The greatest heroine of my world (of warcraft) - she is Nicasia.

A fun fact I could mention is that I named her Nicasia before I knew the meaning of the name. It seemed to please my eye and my ear. However, I later heard that the meaning of the name Nicasia is 'triumphant woman', which definitely fits her well.

She has been my main character for nearly two years now. She's my primary raiding character and the one to get all the achievements and collectibles. In chronological order she was my third character, the previous spots taken by my very first character, a night elf warrior, who I levelled to... what, level 3 or 5? Then there was my vanilla content explorer, a human rogue who got to level 60. Then there was Nica. And it would be a disgrace if she didn't get to star the first character introduction post.

As a personality Nicasia relies more on heart than brain. She tends to make impulsive choices, acts a bit hot-headed at times and may appear reckless. She is easily overtaken by bloodlust and feels very natural in her ghost wolf form, taking advantage of her primitive nature. Being a shaman, though, she can easily fall into a dream-like state of meditation, which may bring out very different kind of sides of her.

She was orphaned at a very young age and the only memories she has of her parents are the dreams she's had of them. She bears the title of Stormcaller. Nicasia's morality might appear questionable to some at times and she usually likes to keep her reasons to herself.

Although I have spent a lot of time with Nica (about 185 days), there is still much I don't know about her. I feel something great awaits her in the future.

Her being my main character, I also have a lot of OOC goals for her. Those include getting more achievements, as I like to have one character whose achievements are a collection of my adventures in the game. Currently I am working on the Loremaster meta achievement, for example. Of course I try to be as helpful as possible in raids and all that stuff. I'm also trying to get a variety of legendary weapons, mainly Dragonwrath (currently I am at the stage of collecting the first type of cinders), and Sulfuras at the moment.

Because of all the voice chatting in raids, I go by Nica more than my real name. That's why it felt natural to blog under that name as well.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

I tend to forget to name posts. This one was no exception

To be completely honest, I have no idea how to write the first post in a blog. It's the most difficult one for me and I've always had issues with it. Good thing only one can be the first, and the sooner I come up with something, the sooner it'll be done.

If you haven't yet realised from the background image, this blog is about a MMORPG called World of Warcraft - particularly from a roleplayer's point of view. Not all of it though, because I do other stuff as well. I'm a guild leader and I raid weekly, with more than just one character these days, and sometimes it gets a little... well... Like those times I just can't make myself swallow anymore food.
I do like to raid though, that I admit.

I've been a guild master since July 2011. Back when I had two names on the formation scroll and I was scouting Dun Morogh for the last two, I had no idea what my WoW life was going to be like in a few months (almost a year now, goodness!). It's been exhausting, depressing and infuriating, but most of all: rewarding.
Occasionally I miss those times when WoW was "nothing personal", I just had fun with and without (but mainly with) the friend who got me into it in the first place. Everything was new and exciting. Sometimes I miss getting lost in the forest of Elwynn, and being afraid of Defias bandits, but the path I have walked from there to here I wouldn't change for Invincible's reins.

Enough about that for now! My goals for this blog include not posting anything empty, which to me means something without even the slightest meaning or story behind it. Whether I will tell it or not is a different matter, but at least for now it's enough that I know it. Generally it's a project to get me back into writing. I did want to write more in my mother tongue, but I think any writing what so ever will be helpful.
In future posts I intend to introduce some of my characters that I've learnt to know, talk about things happening in and out of character and such. Each one of my characters, those which have at least some depth to them (these days I wouldn't create a character without that inspiration), is a fragment of me. They are feelings, moods, dreams, hopes, fears and desires. 
I've also received a beta invitation to MoP, so I might post and talk about some beta stuff! And basically anything that's connected to WoW - that's all I can say about that.

A little bit about the graphical side of this blog. Take the background image for example. I think the RP related pics in this blog will all be that style. I feel it makes it seem more like telling a story rather than posting screenshots. Of course it wouldn't be very convenient when trying to introduce some new spell effect... So I'm not going to use it in such situations. Why I got so fond of that style, though, might be because it reminds me of one of my favorite series - Everwood.

I can't think of anything else to say now, so I think I've made it to the end of the first post. Wohoo! I sincerely hope you enjoy the blog, in case there's someone reading this (there must be at least one. He said he would read it!), and feel free to leave a comment or two if you feel like doing so.

Nixnix, /curtsey