Sunday, 28 August 2016

Entry 9 - Face of a Ghost



46th Day of Summer

   Perhaps I'm delirious. Perhaps the apparently permanent fel taint in the air is affecting my mind, because if it isn't, then I saw the face of a ghost today.
   His eyes were covered, but I knew the face. I'm sure I knew the face. Thirty years does nothing to weaken the memory of my people, a fact I bitterly resent, and his is a face firmly lodged in my mind and tangled in a weave of confusion.
   And he'd leapt in to save me in particular. Others were closer to me, and others who needed saving were closer to him. But he jumped in and cut down the fel guard that had been about to cleave me in two while I was occupied by a comparatively meagre hound.
   It was Malveth Sunfeather. I'm sure it was.
   He was a city boy, younger than me but he made up for that in arrogance, and he'd been lively and driven - my mother had always said he was a bad influence; people in Silvermoon City were always more brash and outspoken than those of us that lived outside the city's walls. But at least they weren't all talk; when the Lich King had strode so brazenly through our land, he and many others had taken arms to fight against him. Many of them died, a number too inexperienced and foolhardy through that very arrogance, and though he'd survived the campaign, he'd lost his whole family in the process. Worse still, his family had been quite capable warriors, and that he alone had survived them meant that he had to carry the weight of their accomplishments and the expectations of everyone else that came with them. I always thought he carried it well, even despite the darkness that had began to shadow his heart. I knew him well enough to notice it, but we were not close enough for me to voice my concerns, even though I could see it reaching deeper and deeper into him. Now I regret never speaking up.
   And so it hadn't been too much of a surprise at the time when he, like so many others, had eagerly and loyally followed Prince Kael'thas away from Quel'Thalas to restore our people to our former glory by Illidan's lead. But while he must have felt that he had nothing left to stay for, I have wondered on the few occasions he's popped into my mind since if it wasn't perhaps that very difference of upbringing, in the city rather than the woods, moulding a more privileged spirit, that had coaxed such a reaction from him. Where, I suppose, I accepted the fate of my family and friends, he simply couldn't and wanted to lash out. His heart had become quite dark by that point and many of his friends, myself included, had been pushed away by it. No one was there to try to calm him, to talk to him.
   I've found that I regret that, and all the more now that I've seen where it has led him.
   When he left Quel'Thalas, that was the last I'd known of him. I admit that I assumed he perished - so many others did - but having never set foot through that or any other portal that bridged this world with another, I had nothing but second-, third- and forth-hand accounts of what the orcish homeworld was like, or what Prince Kael'thas's band had truly gotten up to. Though I saw the results.
   But I am surprised by the revelation that he did not stay beside Prince Kael'thas, that he had joined with Illidan instead, and I admit that, right now, I'm not sure which side would have been better. But I don't think I would have liked what he'd have become if he had remained loyal to the Prince. He and those beneath him had become enemies of our own people, but these demon hunters, Illidan's twisted elven creations...they seem to be fighting on the same side as us - or for the same goal, at the very least.

   I've not seen him since that moment on the field, and while I'd like to think that whether or not I see him again, whether I speak a word to him, is within my hands...I get the feeling that his eerie, unseeing eyes are already spying upon me.


-- Atherya Sunleaf              


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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Entry 8 - Hidden Hope



40th Day of Summer

   I don't understand why I'm surprised, but these demons are relentless. We fight and we fight, and though numbers are lost on both sides, where ours are replenished by new arrivals, theirs seem only bolstered. And their reach is spreading, they're hitting all known sites harder and more frequently.
   That is alarming for a number of reasons, the most dominant of which is the fact that they have the means to come at us much harder, and they are not. They remain in predictable locations, allowing us to gather our forces, build our defences, and slowly strengthen their assault.
   They are testing us. And I am terrified.
   Dalaran has been relocated above Karazhan, of all places - I can only hope there is a purpose in that, rather than some sick irony. But amongst these snippets that new-comers bring with them, there's also been word that Khadgar, Medivh's famed apprentice, has been delving through his past master's work in a bid to find some way to give Azeroth the upper hand. For, surely, Medivh must have had something in his extensive library on the subject.
   Ah, but I forget. He was not always Medivh, was he? I've always felt it was a somewhat absurd story even when it happened and the orcs first stepped through his portal into Azeroth, but there has been too little to oppose it in these past few decades.
   But if he was not always Medivh, would there be such a tome? Would the demon within him not have destroyed it? Or left him too little time to find it? I admit, I don't know the details, but it seems unlikely.
   I can only hope I'm wrong. Whatever Khadgar seeks, it may well be our best bet. He is not a fool, he wouldn't risk wasting his time in the face of this.
   Unless he's that desperate.
   But then, aren't we all?


-- Atherya Sunleaf              


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Friday, 19 August 2016

Entry 7: Joining The Fight



35th Day of Summer

   I made my decision and left Orgrimmar last night, but it was not with the mind I had expected. I have not taken a portal, a zeppelin, nor a ship to my homeland. Indeed, I am still in Kalimdor.
   And I am invigorated.
   It was a child that stuttered my brain into gear last night, one crying in what could only be described as pure fear. Several corpses lay on the dusty road outside of the Orgrimmar Orphanage, some still smouldering from fel fire, others simply hacked to pieces. It was a sight no child should see, not even by the standards of orcs, and the slaughter had been for nothing more than spreading chaos.
   But all that remained of their assailant were oversized pauldrons that somehow gave off an odour of evil - call me dramatic, but it could be described no other way. And anyone who smelled it wore the same haunted look, for it could also not be misunderstood.
   Matron had tried to calm the child, but nothing would subdue him. That had wrenched my heart enough, but when I saw the silence in the wide eyes of the others, I found myself suddenly able to make the decision I'd been putting off for days - and of my two options, I chose the third.

   I write this from the Crossroads in the Barrens, in the meagre camp, erected in a hurry, where exhausted warriors rest before retaking arms against the demons that relentlessly assault the desolate plains. And I am one of them.
   Hearing the unadulturated terror in the child's voice, and the scarring of the souls in the eyes of the others, I realised that I cannot sit by and be one of the protected. If I can raise a weapon, then I must use it against the Legion. Everyone must. This is no time for second-guessing abilities. If I die here by their hands, so be it. They are formidable; there is no shame in it. But if I were to die in that damned tavern, in that damned city, cowering and shaking or fleeing for my life while they overrun the world because too few were prepared to stand against them...that, there is shame in.
   There is no good excuse to leave this fight to others. We are all of this world. Even the orcs and the draenei call Azeroth home, and any who spit on that - and even blame them for leading them here or contributing to their ranks - should stop to consider the fact that these are more hands to raise weapons against them in the defence of our native home.
   I might sound haughty, pretentious, pious, but I am embracing this resolve of mine. It is right, it is real, and I do my family proud by wearing it as I am. And I do myself proud. If I die, I die well. If I live, then I pray I live because we pushed back the Burning Legion's most recent attempt to consume this world.
   But whatever happens, at least I was not sitting in a tavern, listening to the feats of others being exaggerrated or played down. And who knows? Perhaps my name will appear in one of these recounts.
   Yes, I'm in a humourous mood. It must be the terror at what I know is outside of this tent...


-- Atherya Sunleaf              


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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The New Invasion Trend

   To be honest, I don't know why I'm surprised, especially because I have to admit guilt to it too. These demon invasions are, frankly, awesome, and I love that they're supposed to increase in frequency on the run-up to the expansion's release, and while it's true that everyone will have all the rewards by then, I think it's more for the sake of atmosphere. After all, the Burning Freaking Legion is coming.
   But I've noticed a trend is emerging: people heading to the invasion sites and just sitting there.
   Like I said: I have to admit guilt to this. I actually started doing this on Friday, not two days after the events began on EU servers. Invasions took about 10 minutes, so they were nice and fast, and because I wanted the gear rewards as well as the transmog, I would move everyone over to where the invasion was happening at about 9, 10am, and I would log in, have my character sit in the inn, and I'd reap the benefits on WoW while seeing to my at-home workout. It takes me about an hour, so I'd back and forth very quickly between circuits to swap characters over every 10 minutes, then bugger off and AFK through the invasion.
   I do participate properly when I'm not exercising, but I've noticed that other people have cottoned on to the fact that, as long as you're in the invasion zone, you can get the chests without getting in combat once. And because of that, invasions are taking about 20 minutes now because no one is doing anything.


   Do as I say, not as I do. It's irritated me seeing it, and when I set my characters up before my workout yesterday morning I saw other people doing exactly the same, running into the Crossroads inn and AFKing.
   I got this screenshot when I came back to the Crossroads today at about 64% of Stage 3 purposely to see if many people were leeching.
   I've decided to stop doing it now for a number of reasons:
1: it takes too long for everyone else
2: to set an example
3: to save Azeroth.
   And, no, I've not completed any of the sets, I've actually had seriously rotten luck with drops and I would still benefit from 'playing' the game like this until I've managed. But I'm not going to.
   This event wasn't made for the sake of it, and while, to a degree, it is filler content and a means to build hype for the expansion, Blizzard knows that most people who are getting the expansion already pre-ordered it. They're under no obligation, really, to provide us with new content three weeks before something like Legion is released, especially when most of us have already paid for it, but it's for the atmosphere, the severity, and to get the story where it needs to be. And, I suppose, maybe to draw in an extra month of subs, but a lot of people probably would have resubbed in the month leading up to Legion to dust off their characters.

   "I don't want to play the game, I just want the rewards" - it's the kind of mentality that encourages the fast-track 'unlock collectables' for 89p and stuff that Ubisoft brought out for Assassin's Creed. For people who 'don't have the time' - it's a freaking video game, it's not life! You play when you do have the time; games are, by definition, 'hobbies' and 'passtimes'.
    *Ahem* Anyway.

   I'm writing this post, really, to make a vow not to use this crappy tactic for the sake of gear I'll be replacing in a fortnight, and especially not at the expense of low level alts who are trying to avoid questing and dungeoning for the upteenth time to get to max level. I've been getting about 10 levels a day on my dwarf mage (yes, I made an Alliance, and it feels so wrong running towards blue flags for safety) through the invasions, which I've been using as an alternative to the neutral questing zones, and it's starting to irritate me when I see arrogant level 100s sitting on their flying mounts over Westfall doing bugger all while I'm running around killing everything at level 45 so they can get all the rewards. So when I went on Daeaye, Atherya, Spinegrinder and so on, I've been making a point of doing as much damage and killing as much as I can, to make a point. Even if all I end up doing is helping the AFKers get their rewards quicker.

   Well, that's not all I'm doing. I'm saving Azeroth, yo.

   How many of you are guilty of the same thing? Come on, confession time. Hang your head along side me.

Entry 6 - Upheaval



33rd Day of Summer

   The Horde is in turmoil. Vol'jin has fallen from the touch of fel magic and he has named, of all people, the Dark Lady, Sylvanas, as his successor. I would never speak publicly, and I hesitate even to write it down, but I question the wisdom in such a decision.
   And yet...who else could take the mantle? Baine is too young, too inexperienced, and I know that our esteemed Regent Lord is looked upon by the others about as fondly as the Dark Lady.
   I fear, deeply, what will become of the Horde under her rule. It is true that we sin'dorei have not had the best interests of the other races at heart, but the Forsaken...they have done too much against all of us as a means to expand their own positions. They cannot reproduce, so they turn the unwilling dead - humans, for the most part, and that, understandably, does not sit well with them, and as she has waged war against the people of Gilneas, it is no secret that King Greymane bears even less fondness for her. But she has not acted favourably within the Horde, either; slow to offer her aid and concerned only with what she stands to gain for her own people. We sin'dorei may just about fall into that category if she lapses into sentimentality, but I fail to see a circumstance in which that could happen unless she were to make amends with her surviving sister and allow herself to feel again.
   Garrosh thought only of the orcs, and I fear Sylvanas could turn the same way. Her next choices, those in the face of the Legion, the Alliance, and the Horde, will be crucial.

   But these thoughts weigh too much. None will be given time for duplicity or revenge in the face of what is coming, and any that are would be fools to embrace it. But though I know the only thing worthy of present thought is what is 'right' for Azeroth, the stifling uncertainty that has come with yet another tumultuous shift in leadership has left me increasingly inclined to turn my thoughts inwards and leave the city.


-- Atherya Sunleaf              


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