Archive for the “Storytime” Category

She awoke, for the final time, at The Terrible Turnip, as she liked to call it in her darker moments1. It was a fine enough establishment, and Innkeeper Lei Lan did the best she could considering the hordes of outsiders from all parts, but it was missing a few refinements that her apartment in Dalaran had, especially the company. 

Well. At last, her business here was done.  She was finally going home.

She had given her notice to Farmer Yoon the week before, and he assured her he would be able to find new help, so not to fret about leaving him in the lurch.  Elvish mothers got nothing on this fellow, she thought with amusement.  I guess it’s those big Pandaren eyes.

She checked her bags one last time; all the Pandaren foodstuffs had been sent off to other members of the clan that could use them; anything faction-related that she could transfer had been. All she really had at this point were a couple of changes of clothes, and even those would probably be put in storage or disenchanted before too long.

After breakfast and tea with Madam Lei one last time, she took her leave and flew to the Shrine, trying to avoid looking at the Vale of Eternal Blossoms as she flew overhead.  A couple of days in Ironforge, visiting with the “family”, and she was finally on the tram to Stormwind and the docks.

During the trip to Valiance Keep2, she read, daydreamed, and enjoyed the sea breeze as if it were somehow better than that around Pandaria. And perhaps it was; she always appreciated the crispness of the northern air to the muggy closeness of the South.

The flight from Valiance Keep was uneventful but altogether too long.  After over a week of travel, her patience was starting to wear thin. She could see the spires in the distance, for the first time since that awful time with Lady Jaina and The Purge.  As she drew closer, the enchanted city looked no worse for the wear. Jaina might be the angriest four people in the world right now, but she knew how to manage a city, as anyone in Theramore could attest before Garrosh destroyed it.

Landed at last, she hurried towards the Legerdemain, all the while trying not to look like she was rushing.  But when she rounded the corner and saw that sign over the door, she might have lost all of her resolve. Maybe. 

Bursting through the entrance, she practically skidded to a stop as Amisi appeared right in front of her3.

Hello Amisi

“Well, look at you!” Amisi caught her breath for a moment, and then grinned slyly.  “You look terrible.”

That was it; when next she was herself, Jasra realized she had taken Amisi in her arms and was having a hard time letting her go.  “Well, you look divine, my dear,”  she whispered in Amisi’s ear before releasing her.

Behind the bar, Arille was headed her way in a most indecorous way – for a High Elf, or anyone else for that matter.  His grin, “most unbecoming for one of his station”, was like a cool drink on a balmy evening.

Taking it all in, she let out a happy sigh.

“Well. I’m home.”


  1. The Lazy Turnip, if you hadn’t guessed. []
  2. Yeah yeah, I know, “take the portal from the Shrine”, you say. Work with me here! []
  3. See: Previously []

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If you’re like me, you have an addon that lets you know when a rare NPC appears in your vicinity, such as NPCScan.  I’m not into killing every rare that appears on my scope, but I’m always on the lookout for special ones such as Time Lost Proto-Drake or Poseidus, both which drop unique mounts.

Achievements add another layer to the activity. There are at least three achievements in Pandaria that require killing all of one or another type of rare NPC … in the case of this one, ALL of them.

Perhaps I’m mistaken, though, but Pandaria is also where we started to see Neutral Rares … in most of these cases they are friendly or neutral humanoids – Pandarens, Jinyu, and Hozen.

Now, it’s one thing to kill a hostile … it’ll attack you given the opportunity. Or if it’s a neutral of a normally hostile race or faction, for example a Tauren as seen by Alliance.

But Pandaren and Jinyu are usually friendly, don’t attack on sight, and are generally just minding their own business when BANG! Some huntard comes along and puts a bullet in its head!

(I’m ignoring any implied commentary on mogging here.)

Now, I ask you: is this the action of a good person?  I mean, what if they were random Night Elves, Dwarves, and Worgen scattered over Kaz Modan? Has the act of PK’ing *ever* been considered anything other than evil?

It’s so obvious when you see it: achievements are evil, in that they make us do evil things to get them.

Might as well add one for killing your own faction leaders in a raid, while you’re at it.

I’d be a lot less annoyed at this if there were obvious penalties – such as a loss of rep with the relevant factions.  But, just like the undead invasion at the start of WotLK, Blizz has copped out and refused to attach any real consequences to actions that would otherwise be considered immoral or evil.  I guess if it’s "cool" it’s okay, right?

To date, I’ve avoided killing any of the relevant rares that are neutral. It’s simply too far out of character; it breaks immersion.  None of my toons are the sort of people that would go out and kill a non-hostile for no good reason, and something as meta as an "achievement" is no good reason.

I have a strong suspicion that there will be more of this to come in WoD. I’m pretty sure I won’t like that, either.  But I’d love to be wrong.

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Back when I was a mid-30’s scrub serving my enlistment in the Argent Dawn, my squad got reassigned to Silithus. No, not in the battle taking place there, but as support, and by support I mean scrubs – we scrubbed things, we cleaned, we picked up the grounds, we groomed the horses – anything that needed done around camp while the "real heroes" went out and gathered Slithyst.

We were the first such scrub division sent there. Things were pretty rough in camp before we got there – they were even using latrines and eating out in the open.  We brought tents, lumber, craftsmen, and, most importantly, good Dwarven outhouses.  I guess you could say we were among the first to post a head in Silithus.

Among the duties we had, none was more loathsome than working in the mess tent.  Nobody liked the scullery, nobody liked food prep, nobody liked provisioning, and, most loathsome, nobody liked to cook. 

Whoever got the job usually took it out on his mates by making the most horrific food of all time. It was terrible. We’re talking goblin water … dog-bottom pie … basilisk gizzards … I mean, it was terrible!

It was so bad that they had to decree that whoever complained the most about the food would get stuck with the job.

Yep. You guessed it. That was me. Ol’ Crockolisk Mouth.  On one fine evening I bit into a Silithid egg tart that was still squirming, and could take no more. I let loose with a torrent of abuse that brought me to the attention of the archbishop later on. The local authorities were no less annoyed. "Okay, smart guy", they said. "You do the cooking, see what YOU can do!"

Well, like those before me, I set about the task of getting out of the job. All I had to do was get somebody else to complain about my cooking, and I’d be out of the kitchen.

I went out into the wilderness and scouted for something suitable, and wandered by a pen full of Kodos we had captured up in the Barrens on our way down from Ratchet.   As I watched these huge beasts, one of them let loose with what kodos do best.  As it splattered on the ground, it caused a miniature gust of rancid wind, and I had a great idea – I’d make them some Kodo Turd pie!

So I fetched a pail and a shovel and a clothespin for my nose – the Light wouldn’t help me on this nefarious task – and gathered up my mats. There was plenty there, enough for several pies, and it was ripe – a real steamer!

I got back to the kitchen and did the deed – nice flakey crust, whipped creamy topping, festive dates and pecans to give the pies an allure that belied what they were.

And then it was supper time.

The dinner bell went off and the scrubs came piling in. One sergeant – a veteran of the Silver Hand, I think – went straight for desert and grabbed him a nice big slice of pie.  He plopped himself down like a fool on the stool, and took a big bite.  His eyes bulged out and he leaped to his feet!

"BY THE LIGHT!", he cried, "THAT’S KODO-TURD PIE!!"

Everybody turned to look at him … he took a deep breath …

"It’s good, though," he said meekly, and sat back down.

I was stuck with the cook’s job for six months.  I still won’t speak to the man.

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Every now an then I have to spring Illume out of the glyph shop and drag her around the countryside to remind her what it looks like.  I don’t mind this, I consider this a service to her and the people around her.  She still doesn’t seem to appreciate it.  Like that’s ever stopped me.

On this occasion we were tromping around the ruins in Shadowmoon Valley, just for old times’ sake.  Since it was a special occasion, I let all the demons out to play around.  To you and me, it’s a burned out wilderness burning with Fel energies. To them, it’s Disneyland1.

We were sitting around the campfire, enjoying a few moments of relative quiet, when Illume broke out laughing.  Looking over my shoulder, I saw why.  My imp, Fuzzbutt2, was running by wielding a whip and cackling manically.  After a moment, he was followed by my succubus, Bronwyn3, waving her fist in the air and cursing in a language few on Azeroth or Draenor have ever heard without bursting into flames.  I’d forgotten how much Fuzzbutt loved to torment her.

I let out a heavy sigh and Illume looked concerned.

“Something wrong, Flora?”

“Nope,” I sighed again.  “Just one damned thing after another.”4

Illume didn’t speak to me for a month.


  1. I know someone that has portals. She knows things. []
  2. Not really his name. []
  3. Might be her name. []
  4. I only steal from the best. []

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For one that knows where to look, Stormwind has something for every appetite, things that would make a pimp in Booty Bay blush, even. In the past it was a lot easier, truth be told, but even after Good King Varian came along and asserted himself, there is perversion and skullduggery a-plenty, some of it even under his nose – the departure of Miz Prestor did not flush out all of the corruption in the royal court.

Even before, a general nexus of seediness existed in and about The Slaughtered Lamb, where the Warlock Council orbited, and the criminal underground’s diminutive overlord, Milo Oddcog, pulled on strings from the dark corners. 

Fortunately, I didn’t need to go there, as I came close to setting Milo on fire last time we crossed. I think he knew that, since the note left at the dead drop in Halfhill told me to go to the Shady Lady and see the bartender there, rather than my usual chat in his office.

Fine by me. His place always has a whiff of sulphur about it.

Not that the Shady Lady is much better.


Stormwind GatesI rolled in to Stormwind early enough to beat the nightcrawlers out of their pits, but not so early as to be accused of being a morning person.

It was good to be back. A faint haze of wood and coal smoke hovered over the place, giving it a dreamy quality that held up until you flew into that haze and tried to breathe.

Viewed from the rooftops it looked like the kind of place the Priests and Paladins told you it was. Getting down to the ground, it took on a whole new character; a busy metropolis filled with people trying to get things done, whether it was banking, buying, selling, stealing, or begging.

Raiders posed and preened on the bank steps, blocking the guards’ view of the courtyard below.  I decided to blow a charge of my precious cache of Baby Spice.  I walked away with the sound of guffaws fading behind me (and one outraged yelp). Waste not, want not.

Good form is to stop by the Lamb to check in, but the thought that that insufferable Gnome might already be up and poking around sent me the other way, to my assigned rendezvous.

It’s a nice walk, along the canals, just taking it all in; Stormwind is above all other things vital, alive. Children running through the streets, vendors hawking their wares, adventurers selling off their booty. There’s an energy here that makes you feel alive.

The acrid smell of coal burning gives me a general idea that I’m getting close to the Dwarven District. When I walk into The Shady Lady, a whole new selection of scents assaults my nose – stale ale, half-burned tobacco, mostly-cooked meals.  This is just the sort of place Milo would send me, the bastard.

Shady Lady

The bartender barely looks up when I belly up to the bar and order a cider – reasoning that’s the least vile drink they serve here. I drop one of Milo’s tokens with my payment, and that gets his notice.

"You Floramel?"

"Yarp.  Milo said you knew someone."

"Corner table, next to the stairs."

Grabbing my drink, I made my way to the table, watching the local "color" for any red flags.  Fortunately, it’s early enough that the serious lushes aren’t up and about yet, but that leaves a more dangerous form of scum to deal with, and they’re less likely to miss an opportunity.

Sitting down at the table, I scan around for the likely candidate.  Nobody seemed to be moving towards the table, so I wonder if I have the wrong one.

"My eyes are down here."  A scratchy voice that can only belong to a Dwarf comes from across the table.  Readjusting my gaze – how embarassing! – I realize there’s a Dwarf sitting opposite me  He’s wearing a wide brimmed hat, and has a well-worn stogie clenched in his teeth, but even in the dingy lighting of the Lady, the glowing red eyes clearly show that I’m talking to a Dark Iron.

"Wow, I didn’t realize Milo had branched out into comedy."

"Watch your mouth, lady. Dark Irons are part of the Alliance now, like it or not. We’re not too pleased about it ourselves, but it is what it is. I was told you were a professional."

Sigh.  "Fair enough. Just wish he’d’ve warned me."  Milo, I’m gonna kill you. THEN set you on fire.  "What’s on your mind, aside from amicable diversity?"

He grinned. Even in this lighting, it was a bit unsettling. "Good.  Down to business."

He quaffed a bit of I knew not what, and began.

"When we left Shadowforge City I was caught outside the city and never had a chance to gather my belongings. Most of it can be replaced, but one item is special and has great sentimental value. It’s a wand, it’s special to me, and I want it back."

"Why didn’t you go back and get it?"

"Those of us that followed the Empress to Ironforge were put on notice. We’re not welcome back, and by ‘not welcome’ they mean ‘shoot on sight.’  So I need someone capable to get in without, in fact, being shot.  And getting back out with the prize."

"What makes you certain it’s still at your place?"

"Oh, it’s not. I have friends on the inside, and they mapped out where it’s at for me.  And that’s the other kink in the line."

"Oh, tell me, I can’t wait."

"It was claimed by the chief warlock that remained. It’s been locked up in her vault since then – she doesn’t use it, as it’s not that powerful in anyone’s hands but my own.  The catch is, it’s in a place that only a Warlock can get into without raising an alarm. I don’t want an alarm. You’ll probably not get out if there is one, and they might trace this back to me – and I’d rather not find out if we have any Shadowforge spies in Ironforge in that particular way."

"Here’s a map, a drawing of the case, a drawing of the wand. Are you in?"

A job’s a job. "Sure, let’s settle on price."

He grinned, and offered me a stogie. "Great. Name’s Jenkins."

"Any relation to Leroy?"

He made a face. "Jenkins Direflame."

My bad.


Getting into the depths of Blackrock was a bit easier than it used to be.  The fall of the Emperor and the subsequent departure of the Empress had shifted things somewhat, and not always to the better. There were new ways into the city, and some of the old ways were forever closed. The map I had didn’t help with that, since it assumed that I could get to the Grim Guzzler myself, and at that point I could start following it.

The Guzzler’s patrons were, as usual, indifferent to the presence of a Human in their midst. Well, except for Nagmara, who gave me a wide berth. She knew a warlock when she smelled one, and wasn’t buying what I was selling.

The map took me in a direction I’d never been in the city. Usually, I was looking for a way to the throne room. This time, I was headed to a part of the city that, to be honest, had a very comfortable vibe to it, but which would have been described by anyone that wasn’t a Warlock as "foreboding", "dark", "brooding".  Seemed like I was headed the right way.

There were patrols to avoid, but plenty of warning and plenty of places to hide.  I cursed that I hadn’t worn my black velvet robes just this once; besides being warm in this dank cavern, they’d be decent camouflage.

There were a few casualties, but no alarms.  At least, not yet.

I eventually made it to the vault, which had cheery green lighting, making everything look like it was on Draenor. I closed the door most of the way, but wedged it slightly open so as to not become part of the treasures therein.

Warlock Vault

First rule of vault-raiding: always make sure there’s a way back out.

Second rule of vault-raiding: don’t get distracted.

There were treasures a-plenty in here, and truth be told plenty to tempt even myself.  But years of retrieving items for people have taught me that keeping focused on the objective is important. Start window-shopping, and something nasty usually catches you with your hand in the fel cookie jar.

Scanning the shelves, I spotted the case that Jenkins described. It was locked, as expected, but the combination he gave me (667 – "The neighbor of the Beast", he said cryptically. How odd.) popped it right open.  The wand itself was within, in fine condition.

"Hello"

I jumped maybe ten feet straight up and scanned the room frantically. 

"Hello?", I ventured, hoping to buy some time.

"I’m right here."

I looked about. Nothing.

"In the case."

I looked down at the wand.

"Aye, ya git! right here!"

"Um, you’re the wand?"

"Aye!  How can someone so tall be so dumb?  Are ye an ogre?"

"No, I’m –" deep breath; "I’m sorry, do you have a name?"

"Aye! I’m Wanda!"

"Yes, you’re a wand.  Do you have a name?"

"My. Name. Is. Wanda!  Are ye thick?"

"Oh!  Okay, Wanda.  Sorry about that."  Jenkins hadn’t mentioned that his bauble could talk.  Something that was going to cost him.

I started to place the wand in my bag. "I wouldna do that if I were you."

"And why not?"

"I’d have to give the alarm!  You canna just come in here and steal things anytime ye want, ya know!"

"Please don’t."

"Aye, then put me back in my case."

I put her back in the case and closed it.

"And don’t cheat and put the case in the bag."

I could hear her clear as a bell. So much for that idea.

"Listen, I can’t let you give the alarm."

"Then put me back on the shelf and leave this place."

"I can’t."

"Well we have an impasse, then."

"I don’t normally threaten inanimate objects, but I may make an exception in your case."

"Oooo, how scary!  But why would you do that, if you wanted ta steal me, I wonder? Destroyin’ an item ya came here ta steal – now that’s daft!"

"Ever been through the insides of a Felguard? I could have mine swallow you and let you enjoy a slow drift through the alimentary canal.  I’m sure you’ll wash up nicely, and I doubt anyone would hear you."

"Might ye be knowin’ what effects I have?  Shadow? Flame, Fel Flame?  Maybe I shoot bouquets of Peacebloom, so that wouldna hurt your wee Felguard. But that’s a gamble, isn’t it?"

Had me there. Wait …

"Apparently that case is proof against whatever you do."

"Aye, it is.  And can your wee beastie swallow the case?"

"He – "  Damn. No, he couldn’t.

Thinking for a moment, I remembered seeing some sort of sleeping quarters just a couple of rooms down. "Wait right here."

A couple of minutes later, I was back with a pillow from one of the beds.  Slitting the end open, I stuffed the case with Wanda in it into the innards of the pillow, then tied it shut.

"Can you hear me, Wanda?"

"MY CMMAH HRR ROO"

I’m sorry, Wanda, I can’t really hear you that well."

"MM SOO GMMA GBBA AWMM"

"Be my guest."

"AWWMWM! MMM BMM STWM!"

I peered out the door, up the hall, down the hall. Not a creature stirring.

"Sorry, Wanda, nobody can hear you."

"LLL GTTCHOO FRRR DSSS"

"Yeah, whatevs."


The trip back out was pretty much the same as the trip in, except fewer casualties since nobody had noticed the ones I had left earlier.  Looked like I was going to make it.

That is, until I set foot back in the Grim Guzzler.  One of the patrons popped up from her bench and pointed at me. 

"HER! SHE’S THE ONE STEALING OUR PILLOWS!!"

Pillow Thief!Oh, bother.  I’d forgotten about that.

I reached into the pillow, grasped Wanda’s case tightly, and pulled the other end of the pillow real hard.  In a flurry of down feathers, I headed out towards the exit as fast as I could, summoning a Felguard as I did. Kil’jaden’s Cunning, don’t fail me now!

As I headed out the way I’d come, Wanda was egging my pursuers on.

"Hey, did ya know she stole a wand from the Warlock’s Vault as well?  Aye, that’s me!  I’m sure there’s a big reward to the one that brings me back!"

"Shut up, Wanda! I’m not stealing you! I’m retrieving you!"

"Aye, that’s what the others said, too."

"Oh, shut it."

"You go that way?  That’s a lot slower!  I’m sure they’ll catch you now!"

"Very funny. The other way leads to a chasm of lava."

"Oooo, so sorry.  Maybe I’d survive that."

"You’re lucky somebody wants you intact."

"Aye, that’s a kindness.  Not sure they want you intact, though."

"SHUT UP."


Jenkins at least had the good grace to look embarrassed.  "I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that they had put a geas on her to give an alarm.  I didn’t even realize they knew she was more than just a wand."

"More than ‘just’ a wand?"

"Why, yes.  Wanda’s my wife."

"Bwuh?"

"She angered Thaurissan a few years back; I begged him not to harm her, so he promised that she’d be mine forever.  Then he imprisoned her into this form and presented it to me for our anniversary."

When I looked at the fel crystal on the end of the wand, I realized it was in the shape of a female dwarf’s head.  As I watched, the head swiveled to look at me.

"Aye, and I’d been with him ever since.  He left the city for ONE HOUR without me and see what happened?  That should teach him!"  The crystal grinned at Direflame.

"Empress Moira promised me she’d have a go at fixing her, or finding someone that can, in exchange for my allegiance, so I’m hopeful, now that I have her back!"

"One last matter."

"Payment. Of course!"

"No, besides that.  Wanda mentioned that there had been others that had attempted to retrieve her … obviously they failed.  Is that true?"

"Aye.  Close to a dozen times I’ve tried enlisting from the best and the brightest of Ironforge, and not a one has ever returned."

"These were dwarves?"

"Aye."

"Dark Irons?"

"Some, but not all."

"So, you sent dwarves …"

"Aye"

"Into a room of treasure …"

" … aye."

"And told them to come out with JUST ONE item."

" … aye … OH!"

"Yep.  I’d say they were genetically predisposed to fail."

"Oh, my.  What have I done?"

"Given yourself an object lesson, is all. Never send a Dwarf to do a Warlock’s job."


The money was good, I was able to give Milo hell about a number of things, I enjoyed a good night watching fights at The Brawlers Guild, and I got to spend the night in my favorite Stormwind inn afterwards.  

It’s not an easy life, but it’s a good life.  As I’m sure Jenkins would agree, the little things are what’s best.

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She woke up alone, as was often the case.  The early morning sounds of Dalaran wafted through the open window.  Not what it used to be, she thought. Dalaran after the Cataclysm was much quieter, even restful for the weary souls left in the wake of Arthas’ demise. Even the air seemed more invigorating than it was elsewhere in Northrend.

When she sat up, she noticed a rose on the pillow next to hers. The stem was wrapped in a bit of parchment, and the parchment in turn wrapped with a red ribbon.  Smiling, she untied the ribbon and read the note therein.

Today’s your first day back on the job!  No matter what, we’re all very proud of you!

– A.

First day back. Right.  Oh, bother.

Rubbing her eyes blearily, she set about getting ready for the day ahead. Checking her lists, and making sure her things were packed right. Every bit of gear gemmed just so, enchanted correctly, reforged, in what the Sisters at the Temple assured her, with the latest configuration for a successful Discipline priest.

On her dresser was another letter. For what seemed like the thousandth time, she picked it up. It had arrived three days ago, and her life had Officially Been Turned Upside-Down as a result.

Jasra,

The time has come, lass; we need you.  I’m not sure what is going on in this new place that the Navy has found, but we know the Horde’s on the move after they destroyed Theramore, and this is likely the next place they’ll be poking around. The Alliance needs all the good healers it can muster, so I have to ask; will you lend a hand?

I wish I could let you stay where you are for the duration without even asking; you earned your "retirement" in Icecrown.  And even if you choose not to come, I won’t argue; it’s your decision.

However, should you  decide to return to "active duty", see Sky Admiral Rogers in Stormwind. I’ve put a good word in for you, so she’ll be watching out for your arrival.  I think you’ll like her. She reminds me of Flora, but with more angries.

I have to close now; the Skyfire’s leaving within the hour. I’ll be scouting ahead to see what’s what. Hopefully we’ll get together in some agreeable tavern in this place called "Panderia".

Your favorite uncle,

Grimmtooth

Well, if it was him asking, she wasn’t going to let him down.


She had left but she always found herself coming back here. The years after Arthas’ fall had been spent here with the Azuregazes at the Legerdemain, doing such exciting things as making beds, preparing cheese platters, and serving wine to guests that had no idea that their serving wench had once stood before Arthas’ most terrifying creations without flinching. 

It was blissfully, quietly, wonderfully, uneventful.

Evenings were spent with Arille and Amisi, in a warmth that had nothing to do with hearths and everything to do with how her heart spoke to her.

Grimmtooth and his clan would always be her "family", and just a word from any of them would bring her to their side. As near as made no difference, even if not of her blood, they might as well have been.

But Amisi and Arille had found a way into her heart that was unlike anything she had felt before. Her family "of choice", then?

And now she had to leave one family to help the other.


Properly dressed and packed, she drifted down to the common room of the inn for breakfast. Arille grinned and waggled a hand at her as she took her accustomed table. Early morning tasks for him included taking inventory and restocking for the night to come, but he was never too busy to make her feel at home.

Enjoying a light meal of cheese, fruit, and mulled wine, she went over her lists once again.  She almost didn’t notice Amisi coming down the stairs. Her smile shone out amid her dusky complexion.  "Well, you’re up early."

Jasra smiled back; "You may have snuck off without waking me, but I did notice." 

Amisi motioned her up. "Well, let’s have a look at you. After close to two years in retirement, I’m not sure you remember how to dress yourself."  Dutifully, the grinning Night Elf stood and bowed.  "I stand ready for inspection, madam."

Sizing Her Up

Amisi looked up at her. "Your halo’s on crooked."  Jasra’s grin got wider. "This surprises you?"  As Amisi reached up to adjust it, Jasra reached out to stop her.  "Don’t bother, the thing never sits straight on me anyway." Amisi chuckled. "Well, all right then."  She took a seat at Jasra’s table, and Jasra reseated herself.

They traded small talk and ate for a while, then Amisi took on a serious mien. "No matter where you go, you always have this place to come home to.  We’ll miss every moment you’re gone. Nothing will be the same without you here. Come back as soon as you can."

"I will. You two are the only reason I can even go out there."  Looking around, she realized everything was prepared.  "I guess it’s time for me to go, isn’t it?"  Amisi’s sad smile was her only answer.

Standing, she hefted her pack and her staff. "I’ll be back as soon as I can. "  A quick grin; "Don’t sell my stuff."

As she passed the bar, Arille stepped out to block her path.  "You’re not getting out of here without a hug, m’dear."  His voice was rough for a change; his hug was warm and welcome, as always. "Don’t embarrass us", he whispered in to her ear, and then ducked back behind the bar, laughing. Nobody ever warned me that Highborn had a such an odd sense of humor.

As she turned, Amisi was waiting. "What he said", as she hugged Jasra. "Come back to us."

Jasra stepped foot outside of the Legerdemain. Looking back, she saw comfort, good friends, and more. Looking forward, uncertainty. Danger. Excitement. She grinned at the Unknown.  "Well, let’s get this thing started, shall we?"  Calling her favorite flying carpet, she set out of for the portal to Stormwind – and new adventures.

ext-jas-leaving


OOC-ly, beware the 4th wall

I’ve been rewriting this for weeks.

In a way, Jasra represents all that soured me on raiding in Wrath; not the events themselves, but an inability to deal with certain things in her environment. Thus, when Cata came out, Jasra gave voice to those feelings. It was months later before Grimm found a home with the Effers, which profoundly changed my outlook and helped me gain a certain perspective.  Thus setting the stage, Flora came along and helped advise the Bunnies in some seriously late but fashionable T11 and T12 raiding, and it was good.

To make this possible, the Bunnies’ long-suffering GM set aside her main, a mage, and filled in for Team Heals. Her main, therefore, didn’t see ANY tier gear, and what she had was purchased from endless nights of grinding Heroics.  In the end, even she burned out and we pretty much only saw her on our two designated raid nights.

So, guilty feelings, I has some.  Even if it’s not justified.  But also if it is.

Having mentally mended some fences and resolved to be more a grown-up about some things (seriously interesting concept when you consider my RL age), it was decided that our dear GM should get a chance to shine with her mage once again, and Jas was just going to have to suck it in and start flinging Frisbees again.  I think our GM will be happy with Frost’s new idioms, and she, like Illume, has been fond of the Frosty ways, so it’ll be a homecoming for her, of sorts.

It’s just a damned shame that playing Warlocks is so much FUN now.   But it’s worth it if it brings a smile to our GM’s face and motivates her to come out and play more often.  And I get that she’s reluctant to let go of the priest altogether, so Flora may see some action from time to time after all.

The mood of this piece is one of awakening, of renewal, and of finding one’s place in the world. Jasra had a place in the world, lost it, found a new place in the world, and now she’s going to try to keep both within her grasp.  I won’t say exactly what kind of relationship she has with the Azuregazes, as it’s more fun not to know, but it’s a deep connection, and it will be kept alive.

In closing, and totally unrelated: getting the damned Halo to work right in WoW Model Viewer is a gigantic pain in the bottom. It would be a lot easier with true chroma-key software, but one goes to blog with the tools one has, not the tools one wants. In the end, it was just easier to shoop it in manually. Bleah.

And now we hit "publish."

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Name?

Shadow.

Surname?

Fiend.

Profession?

Minion, type 4.

Aye, times are tough for you types, ain’t they?

Well, the paycheck’s still coming in, but the writing’s on the wall.

New guy, isn’t it?

Yeah. A real go-getter.

All show, no go?

Oh, he’s got the right stuff, for sure. Quite frankly, we’re outclassed.  Gotta be honest.

How’s he doing that?

Well, first of all, he flies!  I can barely slither, and here he comes flying?  Can’t hold a candle to that!

How’s that happen?

I’m guessing the Twilight types left a few bits of research lying about, and the Temple had a look.

That’s a right shame, it is.

Well, at least I have time to find a new gig.

Well, right. What’s your qualifications?

Well, I studied in the twisted nether. Majored in Hit-and-run Tactics and Ignoring Masters’ commands. Picked up a nice Disco spec in Karazhan and romped around Northrend for a while. Spent most of my time recently in Shadow spec questing about. Seen Alien about 1,344 times and it keeps getting funnier EVERY SINGLE TIME I see it.

Hm. Yes. Very good.  The computer’s coming up with some nice candidates.

Great!  What you got?

Well, we got this walk-in part in Westeros that pays pretty well.

Cold there, isn’t it.

That it is. Hm. Do you have a hairnet?

I don’t  have hair.

Right, that would be a no.  How are you with numbers?

Um, not bad.

Right. Okay, luv, I’ve got a few options here.

Yes?

First, we have several entry level openings in the food service industry.

That’s not really my gig, though.

Exactly right, I thought the same. So, we have several middle-management openings in the Banking industry to do with Derivatives.

I have principles.

Oh, that is unfortunate.  Well, there’s one other possibility other than Oblivion, but I doubt you’d like it.

I’ve an open mind, lay it on me.

It’s in your field of expertise, but it’s a huge change of pace.

Come on, out with it.

Sorry, sir, of course.  Was just trying to prepare you.

I am prepared.

Warlock minion.

Warlock minion?

Warlock minion.  Type 2. A promotion, actually.

I was not prepared.

Sorry, luv, I tried to soften the blow.

I do appreciate that.

… Think they’d waive the hairnet?

I’m sure they would.

Well, let’s get the ball rolling then!

Right, sir. I’ll need you to sign here …

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A quiet moment It’s been a right pleasant day here at Casa de Grimmtooth. Well, really, we’re in Kirthaven this time around. It’s been a long time since Amus, Fai, and I have been able to celebrate the Bounty surrounded by our kin. The locals have been mercifully accepting of Fai’s "condition" so she’s been soaking in the culture – and by "culture" I mean from a flagon – as Keegan shows her a right good time of it. The Stormbrows may be our closest living relatives, but he’s right convinced there was a Firebeard hiding in the woodshed, if you get my meaning.  I must thank him properly for his kindness before we go.

Amus has been catching hell for being a Paladin, nothing new there, and he’s given as good as he’s gotten. He even put Naveen Tendernose under the table, and if you know your Highlanders, you know that’s a right fancy feat.  Naveen’s fine, they put him in a cart and told the mule to go to Thundermar. I’m sure nothing bad can come of that.

Fanny Firebeard gave me a good talking too over a certain incident involving a night elf druid sneaking around the place going "Here, turkey turkey turkey …" so I told her I’d have a look in to it. Promised Yarley that if she’d only not start a war with the Firebeards this month, I’d see what I could do about getting Thisalee to look in on her next time she comes by Ironforge on a shopping trip.  Kid’s got some massive hero worship going on there, so bribe gambit was HIGHLY EFFECTIVE.

By the by, that Fanny’s a formidable woman. If the Firebeards don’t watch out, she’ll be chieftain before they know it.   I’m pretty sure the Thundermars married her off partly out of self defense, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she took Kurdran’s job before all’s said and done. I swear, they live in fear of her ire around here, and if it’s one thing a Wildhammer respects, it’s fear.

We’ve avoided a repeat of last year’s infamous Fel-Roasted Turkey incident. This involved me getting Kutath to keep an eye on Flora until the birds were actually served up. I dont’ care if she did promise to not use green fire this time – something about a warlock-powered turkey roast doesn’t sit well with me.  I love Flora to pieces, but that’s the going consensus and I won’t be the first to gainsay it.  Orlee’s getting her smashed now, and Ku’s hanging out with the local shamans, so all’s well that doesn’t end in explosions. Of any sort.

So me and Amus are sitting here in a comfy spot next to a nice fire-pit, draining a keg and taking turns belching the Wildhammer National Anthem (Amus actually got applause from the McGrafs!), and toasting everything in sight. Now’s a right good time to toast you, and yours, and wishing you a right peaceful and bountiful Bounty.  So, consider it done.

And now I shall render it all again, in Iambic Pentami … pentama … pent … burp … /thunk

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Son, I must be off to the Firelands. Look after things while I’m gone.

Father, why do the Firelands keep burning?

Well, son, it’s not the same kind of fire like we have in our fireplace. If it runs out of things to burn, it just keeps burning. It’s a special fire, from the elemental plane of Fire.

But what kind of fire is it that doesn’t burn out?

Well, son, you’re too young to understand this, but some day you will encounter Nerdrage. Nerdrage is the fire that burns with or without actual cause or fuel.

But what is Nerdrage, father?

Nerdrage Is. It cannot be categorized or compartmentalized. It is something that must be experienced to be understood. Nobody can tell you what Nerdrage is. They can only know it.

But how will I know it, father?

I cannot tell you, my son, but when it happens, you will know. Perhaps it will be at Comicon, waiting in line for a six-ounce Mountain Dew Zero. Perhaps a Blue post about PvP trinket cooldowns. Maybe a press conference about Blizzard’s new FPSRPGMMO’s ERP toolset. Whatever it is, when the flames burn – you will know.

I will set fire to the land?

No, my son, that is not how it works.

But you said the Firelands was caused by Nerdrage, father.

Yes, my son. That was very special Nerdrage.

Who’s Nerdrage was it, father?

Nobody you or I know, my son. The wise men have pondered for many years, and determined that the fires started with nerdrage on another planet, in another dimension, in the year 2011, in a place called Dirt. Or Earth. Something like that.

They sent Nerdrage at us across dimensions?

:: chuckle :: No, my son, I do not believe they meant to do that. It just … happened. Such is the way of Nerdrage.

When I grow up, I want to send my Nerdrage back at them, for setting fire to the Firelands.

Warlock.

Father?

I think you may grow up to be a Warlock. You appear to have a natural tendency.

Wow … I should go study!

:: child runs off to tell his mom he’s going to be a Warlock ::

Yes, son. Study well. I shall see you soon.

The doughty warrior shouldered his weapons and set out towards the portals. Farming the Firelands wasn’t easy, but it was reliable. Light bless those nerds.

Firelands

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I know it’s been quiet here, but it’s not because I’m in another one of those navel-gazing moods of mine, honestly.  There’s just a lot going on and it’s hard to see a good blog post all the way from beginning to end. Last week’s flowchart was a bit of a fluke as I was at my desk at work with Visio running on my PC and a conversation from guild chat ringing in my ears, metaphorically. So that one more or less wrote itself.

This is not to say that work is not being done on the blog. I am around 2/3 of the way through my next omnibus overview (I hesitate to call it a review) of Unit Frame addons, somewhat related to the HUD overview a couple of months back. I won’t blurt anything out here other than a thought that the time of the general Unit Frame addon may be coming to an end. And maybe that’s a good thing.

I’m also working on yet another overwrought origin story for one of the many alts that hang out here.  In this case, Floramel. How, exactly, did a hard-bitten veteran of the Stormwind criminal underworld end up as part of my virtual family?   I’d be lying if I said I didn’t steal just a little bit of the story from Joss Whedon, but it was a good bit.

-=-=-=-=-=-

Guild-wise, we’re 9/12 over at Eff the Ineffable.  I know that our RL and GL are probably disappointed that we have not downed any of the final 3, though we did get Cho down to 20-ish percent this weekend. That was probably our last chance to beat the 4.2 nerf, as this coming week may be raid-less.  There has been talk of a lockout extension. We might get one more chance.

I do get the sense that I personally disappoint in my performance, and I regret that. I am a slower learner than others in our guild, and it makes me less likely to run the right way or have the right angle at the crucial moment, until I become really familiar with the fight. As an example, when we downed the elemental council, I was one of the first to go down on the final phase. I can try to justify that all I want, but the fact remains that 9 other people didn’t. While my DPS is generally in the top 3, my effective DPS is much lower if I’m tanking the floor.  At any rate, this poses the hard decision between taking me, or someone else that does not die as much.  As an RL, I know what my decision would be.   Progression bosses should be faced by the best of us.  If I don’t cut it, I will loudly cheer them on.

Still, on fights in which I used to die frequently, I’ve improved. For example, I survived the Atramedes fight this time, which I usually haven’t.   So I can be taught.

One of the takeaways from our Cho attempt a couple of weeks ago was that our DPS wasn’t up to the task of getting Cho down fast enough – we would probably hit the enrage timer. So, I took a look around for ways to improve.  One thing I did was go to Mister Robot to audit my equipment.  I had been avoiding this but I really needed a sanity check.  The good news is that most of my equipment choices – including gemming and enchants – were good. A couple were not.  I also spent a few gold to purchase a BoE belt that is close to BiS as a result of this audit.

The bad news was that my reforging was very off from the suggested optimal.  This leaves me with a conundrum.  There are three, maybe four reforging schemes out there and none agree.  The one I was using was an addon called Reforginator, and it was really sweet.  It used the collective wisdom of Elitist Jerks to drive its optimization engine, but the engine itself made a plethora of calls that disagreed with Robot *and* Pawn.  Pawn was closest to Robot’s suggestions, but not quite there. And, finally, there is the raw tap from EB itself, but that’s another story1

The upshot is that I gave Reforginator the heave-ho and used the Robot profile.  DPS improved a little bit, but not dramatically. What was interesting is that on the Cho fight, my DPS was extremely consistent, whereas in the past it’s been all over the place. I’m not sure what to make of that, but consistency is usually a good thing. Unless you’re a screw-up.

One thing I need to do next is try different reforges with FemaleDwarf.com. If this favors one over the other, that will help me decide. On the other hand, FemaleDwarf DOES suggest I take a cat in raid, as well.  What is not taken into account is that the buff a cat brings is already present. I bring a wolf because nobody else gives the +crit that he does.  The rather surprising news is that my DPS is 2K lower than the theoretical that FD suggests I should be getting.  THAT will require some review.

-=-=-=-=-=-

The Cho fight itself is quite a task to master.  Whereas most bosses have one or two gimmicks, Cho has at least four, if not more.  There’s the worshipers gimmick, there’s the blob placement gimmick, there’s the tentacle gimmick and the corruption gimmick. He has both a hard and a soft enrage timer. 

Each of these gimmicks has to be sorted out and mastered.  Right now, we’re hurting on the adds, and Blizz didn’t make that easier when they changed the timer on the Fury debuff (I think that’s what it’s called), since it’s now out of sync with the add spawn.  So that’s one thing. Then the placement of the add when he dies is also an issue. Too far apart side to side, and no one AoE will stop them.  Too close together, and the add tank is two-shot by previous pools. And if you don’t burn the big add fast enough once he’s in place, same thing happens.  AND if you take too many DPS off Cho to help, he’ll enrage.  You get the picture. Gimmick after gimmick, and precision is absolutely necessary. So we’re learning how to be more precise.

The good news is we saw Phase 2, so we now have a real sense of the phase 2 gimmicks. I think.

-=-=-=-=-=-

Having maxxed out Engineering, I’m now working on a helm and gun that may or may not be BiS for me.  Pawn says that the helm, with cogs, will be. Robot says the gun will be. I’m also farming the Jeeves pattern in Northrend, oh joy. I’m finally able to put stuff on the AH that may earn me a few bucks here and there, which is fortunate as my nest egg has dwindled to half of what it was when I set foot on the server.


  1. Yes, I am aware of Rawr. And I imagine it has yet another suggested weighting. I’m leaving it out to minimize confusion as much as I can. But I’m not ruling it out. []

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