Sunday, 29 September 2013

WCC: Pandaren Lotus Farm Watercolour Painting

   My second submission for my WoW Crafting Challenge. Like the first post, this one has used a fairly obvious medium. I used watercolour paints for this painting, on 300gsm watercolour paper. I painted it from a selection of screenshots taken of the Lotus Farm above New Cifera, in the Pools of Purity, Valley of the Four Winds. There is one blaringly obvious mistake I made here because I wasn't thinking when I did it, and once you've noticed it, it's hard to unnotice it. So I won't tell you precisely what it is :P but it's quite obvious.
   Either way, I'm very happy with this painting. The painting itself looks better than the scan - it's always hard to correct colours once something's been scanned but I did my best. The background isn't great, backgrounds have always been a huge weakness of mine and I've never been able to do them well. I put my focus into the main subject.
   This painting isn't supposed to be accurate to the Lotus Farm, but I did end up adding the path into the background that runs to the higher level for lack of any better idea.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Is WoW important to you?

   Is WoW important to you? Like, honestly important? I'm not here to judge - I'm just wondering how highly people regard the game.
   It's easy to get addicted. I was when I first started. I lived and breathed for the game. It's only been in the last three years, when caring for my disabled mother has become a priority, that I've been able to walk away from it.
   WoW used to be the first thing I'd do in the day, and the last thing I'd do at night. I lived on the computer, and if ever the internet or electric went out, I'd go crazy trying to fix it - even if it wasn't an internal thing, like it was a problem with the internet provider, or a general street-wide power outage. I was like this for what felt like a very long time, and I couldn't go without it. I used to get up in the middle of the night, tell myself I couldn't sleep just to play it. While there are certainly far unhealthier addictions, this was pretty bad for me.
   But I moved back in with my parents after two years and quickly became a carer for my mum while my dad worked. It was a huge weight off of his shoulders, and I like to think that I'm helping him just as much as my mum, if not realistically more so. But moving back must have jolted things into perspective for me. I never had an epiphany or a realisational moment - I just stopped living for the game. I'm not sure what happened, because that wasn't the only change that occurred. I started a blog, I opened a handmade shop, and got involved with an amazing guy. I still played WoW, but I would go days without thinking about it, and a few more days beyond that thinking about it but still not playing it.
   Even today, three years on, I still have my shop - and I opened another. It's nowhere near as successful (assuming you can call my jewellery shop 'successful'), but it's something. I also started a second blog - this one. It's certainly not as personal as my first blog, and I started it mostly because no one who reads my first blog cares for games at all. That doesn't mean I don't talk about it on there, because, sod it, it's my blog, but The Wyvern's Tail at least gives me a more accepting and interested audience. At least, I hope you are! But then, if you're not, what are you doing here?

   I keep my WoW subscription active, for the most part. Just because I don't play all day, every day, doesn't mean I don't still want to, and with my mum the person she is, it is possible for me to sit down and play for a few hours when I'm on duty. Sometimes she naps, sometimes she's happy to just watch TV, and I get a little peace - I may play, or I might write, draw, craft, paint, or manage my business/blogs.
   If the power goes out, I shrug it off and pick up a book. Or, if it's night time, I will look out of the window and watch the hilarious show of neighbours who reach for their torches immediately and start flashing them around frantically. I don't understand why half of them go outside, either. It's clear that it's not just them by just looking at the street lights, isn't it? Or, if it's late enough, I just go to bed.

   After all of that, I will say that WoW is important to me. It's a constant and easy connection to fantasy, it's something to take my mind off of things, and it also fuels my creativity - not just for WoW-based watercolours or WoW-based writings, but it inspires me in other ways, too. The male Blood Elf death emote in particular inspired a whole character in a book I wrote. You can probably guess from that snippet of info that he died.

How do you see WoW? Is it just a game? Is it the main activity you have with your friends? Is it the only place you're confident enough to make friends?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

WCC: Pandaren Balloon Village Drawing

   This is my first submission for my WoW Crafting Challenge ('World of Warcraft Crafting Challenge' didn't work). I couldn't wait until the weekend to post my first one, so I've started 5 days sooner than planned :P I based this drawing on a small section of an illustration in the MoP Collector's Edition Art Book, and expanded it into a full village. I've not drawn for some time, so I decided to avoid shading here, sticking with a line drawing. I used to be quite good at it in school, but I've barely touched a pencil for ages.

Monday, 23 September 2013

My Own Challenge

 There is just one week left (final date: 30th September) to submit your writing competition piece. Remember, there's no minimum or maximum length it has to be!

   I've been putting this off for some time, but I'm finally ready to reveal it.
   I mentioned in the past that I wanted to start my own WoW blogging challenge. But, being a fidgety soul, I had to do something creative. So, due also to the long-winded nature of my challenge, it is not necessarily something that everyone would be willing to follow, and so, instead, I leave it open. Join in a year from now, if you'd like, but don't be put off because it sounds 'hard'.

   I set myself a challenge to make something WoW-based out of every single creative medium I could think of and actually do. When I say actually do, I mean have the means to start, complete, and appropriately present. Music will not be part of my challenge because I cannot sing, I have no instruments, no recording equipment of any kind, no access to any, and no musical talent. My songs would just be poems that go along to the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star tune. Not good.
   I've really put myself in the spotlight here. Creativity is something I pride myself on. It's where almost all of my money comes from, and while I know that there are some things I can do well, there are a lot I'm not so confident about, and not because I haven't tried. Some things I'm just not good at, no matter what I do. But my goal of this challenge was to try new crafting mediums that I'd never tried before, and see how many of them could be applied to WoW.
   So far, at this moment, I have 7 completed projects, and 4 more immediately in mind and half prepared, but I have even more in mind that I've not fully planned out yet.
   I'm going to present them on my blog, one a week, starting from this weekend with the more obvious of creative mediums I've done so far, and some pieces I'm selling because I will either never use them, or I can make another of should I want one for myself, and will sell the original because I need the money. In these cases, there will be a link at the bottom of the item's post leading you to an Etsy listing (paypal payments) where it can be purchased from, and yes, I am used to shipping worldwide.

In case anyone is interested in participating, here are the guidelines I've set myself for the challenge:

1. Everything you make must be WoW-based. You can choose another game instead if you want, but you must stick to that game and that game only for the duration of the challenge.

2. Each item must be made from a different creative medium. You may not repeat mediums. In this case, 'creative' means anything that you have to be creative to achieve. It sounds obvious, I know, but it needs to be said. Anything that can be called an 'art' counts. However, there are some arts that have many subgenres, all of which can be acceptable as different mediums. An example of such a medium would be culinary - baking, cooking, confectionary, chocolatiering and cake decorating can all be classified, for the purpose of this challenge, as seperate mediums, but I wouldn't suggest you stick to just culinary arts. Try to broaden yourself.

3. If you try a medium that doesn't work all that well, you are still obligated to post it. This means if you make something and it goes horribly wrong, you're obligated to show it on your blog as a part of your challenge. However, in these cases, you can either choose not to bother with that medium, or you are allowed to retry a medium until you're confident that you've made something good with it. In such a case, you may feature the most successful of the two or so attempts as your main submission for that week, but you must show previous attempts that failed at the end, kind of like bloopers. Learn to laugh at yourself. Believe me, I know that, where creativity is concerned, it's hard to show things that didn't go well and open yourself to criticism, but there will always be people who think something you think is awesome, is awful, or will tell you something you did was awful, even if it truly was amazing. Some people are trolls, and are jealous and just looking to put people down because they don't possess the skill needed to create such things. I've encountered many of these in my time, and I likely will again in this very challenge. It's a matter of opinion, and you must be willing to accept that. However, if you're that concerned, you can always disable comments on the challenge posts and prevent both the good and the bad comments.

4. If you're looking for an end to this challenge - and in some ways, there could be a few hundred different mediums - then either 10 submissions, or when you really can't think of another medium to try. Whichever comes first. Alternatively, do away with such things and carry on until you can go no further, or lose interest. I initially though I could exceed 15, but now I'm not so sure. Some of these crafts are expensive, and money, unfortunately, is questionable at this time, which is part of the reason that I'm going to be selling some of these pieces.

This isn't an official challenge competition with a deadline, this is an on-going thing that anyone can join in with at any time they want. I may do a competition similar one day, but there will be a limit to around 5 pieces per person, rather than 15, and, hopefully, some actually really awesome prizes to compensate for the time taken. We'll have to see. In the mean time, consider this a leisure challenge. Don't feel the need to complete a new piece every week. I started this challenge 2 months ago, and have only announced it now because I have built up just enough pieces to cover the posts while I make others. Some things I made took only a few hours, others took a few days, and one in particular took three weeks. That one I am particularly proud of. So if you do want to try it out, feel free to make a few different pieces before making any kind of announcement on your blogs. You never know, you might find you're really good at something, and that is worth practising. You could make a little extra money on the side. I'm far from amazing at watercolour painting, but I had a natural knack for it the first time I tried it. I usually use acrylic paint, and I've used that stuff for years and had a lot more practice with it, but I'm nowhere near as good at that as I am with watercolours. Of course, I have a long way to go to reach the skill level of my dad with those paints.

To give you a nudge, here are 10 creative medium suggestions that you may not have thought of:

• Needlefelting
• Crochet
• Carpentry
• Flower arranging
• Photography
• Costuming
• Make up
• Writing
• Video
• Poster design

Entry 25: The Archduke

100th Day of Spring

   Everyone was still quiet in the morning, but some of the better-humoured Dwarves attempted to pick up everyone's spirits with jokes, and a few of the more serious ones stated quite firmly that Bani's death couldn't be in vain.
   This time we moved as a whole group, and I discovered that it was just the four Dwarves I was grouped with who were light on their feet. The rest were somewhat less careful.
   This didn't cause much of a problem, however, because there was nothing and no one to encounter for quite some time. It would have been a pleasant stroll if not for the dry, intense heat. Of course, when we did finally encounter something, it only worsened the heat.
   Fire Elementals.
   And we had to kill them.
   I've heard stories of elementals, but I'd never actually seen any as close as I did today. The closest I'd ever been is back in Hillsbrad two months ago, when I was sneaking around in Durnholde Keep. I don't recall what the elementals back there were embodiments of, but these were very definitely made of fire, and the only thing giving their 'bodies' form were a few lumps of molten rock. They were incredible. They radiated heat, almost too much to bear, but fortunately I was not killing them alone, so they dropped quickly.
   We were close to the bottom of the Slag Pit at this point, so Oilfist told us, and you could believe it. It was so intensely hot that I was surprised my sweat wasn't just steam, but what was not surprising was that the elementals remained in that part of the cavern rather than further up. They were likely quite at home there.
   I was soon told that at the deepest point of the cavern was Archduke Calcinder. I asked if we were going to be able to kill him, but they scoffed at me, then told me we wouldn't be killing him 'anyway' and that we were banishing him instead. They said, quite rightly I suppose, that the remaining Dwarves would be able to summon him back in no time if we were to kill him - which also made me realise that killing the other elementals was merely a way to remove them from our path, and that they still existed back in the Firelands.
   I can't count how many elementals were at the bottom of the Slag Pit, but once we truly reached the deepest point, I almost passed out. The water in our skins would have evaporated the day before had spells not been put on the skins themselves, so fortunately, we had plenty to drink, but whenever I wasn't drinking, I felt as though I might truly shrivel up and die. It was not an experience I'd like to have again.
   When we finally removed the last of the fire elementals, Oilfist gave one of the Dwarves a device. He said that this device would banish the Archduke, but, due to his certain strength, Calcinder would have to be weakened before he could possibly succumb to the device's power. And that job fell to the rest of us.
   We hydrated before taking on the strange-looking elemental - he was almost like a fire Naga. Being that he was surely of great elemental power, he could probably cook us all where we stood. The few casters among us - myself included, once I was shown the spell - shielded everyone else and ourselves against fire as best we could before committing, and I think we can all say that we're glad we did. The floor beneath our feet turned to magma while we fought, and if not for one caster's quick thinking, we'd have sank into it. Instead, we were kept afloat in the air, and continued to attack the Archduke, until, finally, he was banished.
   We didn't take long to celebrate our victory, because the heat and exhaustion from the fight would have surely killed us. We were teleported out as a group by the casters, and I swear I've never been so cold in my life. I don't know how deep the Slag Pit was, but I wish never to go to such a place again unless I can maintain a suit of ice around my skin. Many Dwarves, and myself included, collapsed on the ground as we came out. We rested there for what must have been half an hour before heading back to Thorium Point. Mountain-Lord Rendan and all of the Dwarves he had brought with him headed back South, towards Iron Summit, where they had come from, leaving the Thorium Brotherhood to head back to their own refuge. They were adamant to keep me with them, and I certainly wouldn't refuse. I'm still not so sure I'll be ready to travel for a few days after that exhausting work, and I had to admit that the heat had brought about a rather strong headache, and I was keen to sleep on my skins, rather than on hot stone.
   My head is still pounding, particularly around the area I hurt back in the Badlands, but I slept better last night than I had while in the earth. Though that was hardly surprising.
   Today should be a rested day, for all of us, but I believe they're conducting a funeral for poor Bani later in the afternoon, which I want to be a part of.
   I don't know when I'll leave and head on my way, but for now I'm content to stay here at Thorium Point, and the Dwarves seem to be happy to have me.

-- Atherya Sunleaf              

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Atherya Sunleaf Writing Competition - 1 Week Left

   3 weeks so far, and it's the last call for submissions. The competition comes to an end on the 30th, after which date I won't be accepting new submissions. The winner will be chosen within the following two days, and that winner will receive a custom watercolour painting of their favoured WoW character (physical and digital copy); a loot card pet; 1 month of advertising space on my sidebar with optional guest post on my blog; their winning story published on my blog and having it played out in the diary itself.

   So far I've received no submissions, but even if I only get one submission, that will win. I'm hosting this competition to get new ideas for Atherya's story, so even only one submission will have to do, and they will win all of the above.
   There are prizes for honourable mentions, too, so even if you don't win, you can get something. I will be hosting another competition like this at a later date when she moves to another continent, but for now this is set in present day Northrend.
   There are only 2 requirements for this competition: 1) it must include Atherya, and 2) it must take place in present day Northrend, meaning Arthas has been defeated long ago. The main restriction is that you cannot kill her.

   You may post your entries on your own blog and email me the link, or, if you're not confident of your writing skill and don't want anyone but me to see it (unless you win), then you can email me the typed submission yourself, either in the email or as an attachment, and only if it wins will it be put on the blog. Because you should be proud!
   It does not have to be brilliantly written. It could, in fact, be awfully written - what matters is the idea. I'm looking for ideas, not insanely talented writers. So as long as you have an idea for anything that can happen between one or more of your characters and Atherya anywhere in Northrend, just go for it. It doesn't need to take you any longer than an hour to write, either, and there's no minimum or maximum number of pages.

For hints to help you write/plan your entry, see the original post's section 'Hints'. All submissions must be received by the night of the 30th of September (by your clock, any time zone). I'll begin looking through them on the 1st of October.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

My First Week on the Timeless Isle

   After my first day on the Timeless Isle, I thought I'd write a post about my first week there. It has been amazing. I started a week later than everyone else, due to a vacation-at-home situation, but when I finally got to it, it was just awesome.
   I was well and truly on good form with this patch, for the first time since the second to last patch of Wrath of the Lich King. I fully geared my Hunter, half geared my Warlock, half geared my Druid and began on my Priest, while I've even sent a few pieces to my Paladin who's too low level to use the items. And I've only been at it a week!

   I've gained several achievements which is also unusual for me - though I enjoy achievement hunting, I'm not very effective at it - and I'm almost done with a few more. Killing all of the rares may be a challenge since there are one or two I've not even seen once yet.
   I had one unlucky day where I managed to find several of the rares I'd not killed yet, and each time I got to them, it was just in time to see them fall to the ground, or to see the skull on the map (most helpful thing ever) disappear, and the same thing happened to a few rares I'd already killed and wanted to again (Gu'chi, Leafmender, Python). Sad face. What made it worse was that I'd announce them on General Chat when I saw them, so people got kind of annoyed at me for announcing rares then immediately saying they were dead. I'd get annoyed too, to be fair.

   In contrast, I did have one particularly lucky day: I managed to find Bonkers after opening just three chests in Kukuru's cave, and only having opened nine in total, preferring not to waste the coins. Not only that, but that same day I managed to get the Reins of the Thundering Onyx Cloud Serpent. I didn't know that it was even a drop until one day before hand, when I finally started looking at WoW blogs again, and happened to see it on the Daily Frostwolf. Of course, Navi said that 'I have decided that it's when you DON'T know that something is going to drop, then it does' - I'm of the complete same mind, and immediately began thinking 'that's great, now I'll never, ever see it' - BUT I DID! I also didn't know that it doesn't drop for everyone, each individual has their own chance, but when it dropped I never said anything in-game, assuming everyone else had gotten it, too. But no one said anything other than 'Oh, an egg! Yay!'. Actually, to be honest, Koruth was the one that killed Houlon for me at that time since I was doing the washing up, so when I saw him loot it I was a bit busy jumping around the kitchen in excitement to say anything to anyone anyway. I had killed him three times before, so it dropped on my fourth kill. I wouldn't have said anything anyway. If everyone else had it, what would be the point other than making those who hadn't bothered to get to it feel bad, and now, knowing that not everyone got it, it would almost make me a bad winner. There's nothing worse than a winner that rubs victory in someone else's face.

Yes, those are other players. I am learning to be social!
   I have decided to leave off of farming for Shaohao rep at this time, though. I've got about 50k coins at this point in time, and while I'm happy to farm for coins, since that involves doing two quests and changing location a lot hunting for rares etc, and that giving me a chance at other loot in the process, farming rep is far too repetative in too small an area, and given how much trouble I'm having bringing them down on my own, and finding a group to do it with (Koruth suggested a faction change but I'm not wasting real money on changing to the Alliance just to change back again after a month, plus, from experience, I happen to know that the Alliance on my server are very whiney and childish. The Horde are actually a lot more grown up on my server, don't complain as much, and don't harass eachother as much, either. This changes from server to server, of course), I figure it's best to leave off. So, I decided that, since it's not likely that there will be another patch this expansion, I'm just going to wait until I'm level 95-100 in the next expansion and then come back and farm the rep then. I should be able to take them down a little faster and take less damage that way, and there will actually be Yaungol that aren't already tagged. Seriously. The place is packed. Of course, taking down rares will be a challenge so I may have to just do my best with rares now and ignore them when I come back.

   I think the World Bosses bugged out briefly, too. I have yet to find a single Horde group taking down the Celestials on my server. They've been nothing but Allies, and so they were obviously already faction tagged. But, despite this, I always check to see who they've been tagged by when they're in combat. I saw Chi-Ji the other day, and though he was in combat, his HP bar was yellow, suggesting a Horde group. Buuuut, when I got down there and joined the attack, there was nothing but Alliance there, all of whom were attacking it. If it had been tagged by Horde, why would they attack it? I continued to attack anyways, since it had a yellow bar, and I figured I'd see if it bugged out or not - it couldn't do any harm, just perhaps waste a minute of my time. Well, it must have bugged out, because I got some loot and 100g. I was quite surprised. I've not seen a Horde group yet, however, and I've also not thought to check if it counted towards the achievement, but I expect it did. Either way, if I want the achievement, I'd be better off putting a group together myself. But that was a nice bug. I like nice bugs.
   There was, however, a bad bug to follow. When the week reset on Wednesday, I took down Niuzao with a Horde group (hooray!) but we wiped after our first go. But we tried and succeeded a second time. The problem was, after we downed him, as soon as he hit 0%, we all disconnected. I saw the two loot roll windows pop up, so I know we took him down, but when I logged back in, there was no body, no loot windows, no rolling, but I did obtain the cache box that you get when you kill them. But otherwise, there was no real loot. But what has bothered me the most was that it didn't count towards the achievement that I had killed him, and there was nothing a GM could do. It was very frustrating because Horde groups don't come together often, and I'm not usually a part of it when they do. So, sad face!

   All in all, however, it's a really nice patch. I love the amount of special loot the creatures hold, and while I dislike the seeming laziness of the gear and the baffling choice of reputation gain, I cannot say it breaks the patch. It just means that there are one or two things I'd like that are going to take a lot more work than I'd like. But I am lazy. I also love all of the very obtainable achievements (one of which is now made a little easier since I've got the mount), and the incentive to explore. As a lot of you know, I prefer to explore and find lots of exciting secret places rather than raid. Well, no, I'd rather raid, but I can't raid, so I don't. But exploring suits me just fine. And while you can't fly, I've been using my Goblin Glider a lot. If I'm hunting for rares around the Yaungol, and Vazuvius pops up, or Gu'chi or other pet-dropping rares, I'll just run off the edge. It's also an easy way of following anyone with a legendary cloak across the bridge to Ordos' house to fight rares. I just wish there was an easier way up to the Ruby Lake other than flying out to the fatigue zone or those bloody albatross. The birds are a cool way to get around, but slow, and particularly annoying when they decide they don't want to fly downwards when you attack them, and prefer instead to just drop you when they die.

How is everyone else finding the patch? Anything you love? Anything you hate?

Friday, 20 September 2013

20DoW - Day 20 - If This Was My Last Day Playing WoW...

   This one's easy: I'd go with a full raid group into Dragon Soul and kill Deathwing. This isn't something I'll be able to do for a long time, like, for another expansion or two, so if it was my last ever day of playing WoW, I'd take down the biggest boss there's been so far. Deathwing isn't my favourite villain, but he's perhaps the canniest, sneakiest and most intelligent of them all. He had immense patience and amazing planning skills. Unfortunately, none of this came through in Cataclysm, which seriously sucked, but I still count him as the biggest villain we've faced as of yet.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

20DoW - Day 19 - In My Bank

   My bags and bank are filled with junk and sentimental stuff. Atherya's is more like a wardrobe. I have a load of archaeology fragments and solved items, lots of random items from Winter Veils past, items that Koruth made for me, and, in some cases, profession-based items like ores, old gems and other things I forget to throw out.
   These are my favourite items from each of my characters' banks:

Spinegrinder:  Spectral Essence
Kharzil:  Skull of Gul'dan
Daeaye:  A letter from Koruth
Atherya:  Fras Siabi's Cigar Cutter
Sevacia:  Olaf's Amazing Handkerchief

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

20DoW - Day 18 - My Favourite Outfits

   I'm not much of a roleplayer in-game. My server is a PvE one, and while I love vanity items and useless gear with no stats, and putting together nice outfits, I don't have any that I can call my favourite - atleast, not any I have. I suppose my favourite outifts would be my two favourite transmog sets. The Merciless Gladiator's Dreadgear set (a darker version of the Corruptor Raiment) that my Warlock sports, and the Demonsbane recolour set from the 3 End Time dungeons. I've really never seen another Warlock set that I like since the Corruptor, and I find it hard to find something good for my Hunter to wear.
   But, aside from gear, I'm rather fond of the Black Embersilk Gown (Black Embersilk Gown) I made it as soon as I could on my Warlock, though I never used it, and since Atherya is, to some small extent, my role play character, I gave it to her. I pair it with the Knitted Sandals (Knitted Sandals). It's simple enough!
   I'm also partial to the Black Mageweave set, but it's impractical given how revealing it is. I felt so silly putting Atherya in it for the 'Trash' theme of one of WoWscreenshotaday's posts. But it is the perfect outfit for whoring around.
   Having said all of this, I have seen two transmog sets that I could die over. One I saw while I was out in the Timeless Isle recently. It looked stunning on a Night Elf, and surely only a Night Elf could pull it off. It's likely been put together elsewhere, but I really can't fathom just how people go about making these awesome transmog sets. It's beyond me. I am forever doomed to transmog into dungeon and PvP sets because I don't have the co-ordination skill required to come up with anything myself.

   I was under attack by angry pink birds at this point but I got some shots of the gear pieces themselves for future reference :P The Mooncloth Robe was obvious, and the shoulders were painfully so, too. The Valorous Shoulderpads of Sanctification are only obtainable through tokens from Ulduar which I'm relatively sure I won't be able to manage. The headpiece was mogged into the Scintillating Headdress of Second Sight, and for a tasteful contrast, the gloves became Ebonweve Gloves.

   But my favourite of all time was put together by Banesidhe of Transmogative Works, and is based on Tyrael's Charger. I had wanted to put this together for Kharzil, my priest, but, once again, the shoulders step in the way. Unlike the above set, these Shoulderpads of Faith are only obtainable through the Black Market Auction House, and even then, only inside the Unclaimed Container. So, given that I can't even afford one of those boxes, I don't think my chance of ever obtaining them is very high. I just hope an alternative option pops up one day :P

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

20DoW - Day 17 - My Favourite Spots In-Game

   I have a few favourite spots in-game. I'm partial to Serenity Falls in the Jade Forest, the Heartlands in the Valley of the Four Winds, the floating islands in Nagrand, and most of Feralas. I certainly can't pick just two or three, so prepare for a picture, wordy post!

   Stratholme is not the nicest place to be, but, like many spots on this list, it has historical value, which appeals hugely to me. It burns even to this day, though the Scourge have maintained their hold over it. It's about the very last zone on Azeroth's map that has still not been filled in, and despite it being a city that was a part of Lordaeron, it has its own zone while Alterac, rather unfairly, does not. Even if Perenolde was a bit of a t-word. I'd love to see the area filled in, for the fires to stop burning, and for it to be inhabitable again, even if only by Alliance.

   Eldre'Thalas, or Dire Maul, was the home to Azshara's Highborne sorcerers, where they protected their most valuable of arcane secrets. It was ruined during earthquakes of the Sundering and the first invasion of the Burning Legion, but it's probably one of the most, if not the most, in-tact Highborne city in existance. The Sundering is one of my favourite areas in WoW history.

   The Throne Room of Lordaeron had to be on this list. I've always loved it, but now I've found out about its secrets, I love it ten fold. It's absolutely amazing. And, like Stratholme, it is one of history's bedrocks. My first character was an Undead, and I like to think she once saw Terenas as her King, so the place means a lot to me. Even if I do refuse to play Humans.

   Call me innocent, ignorant or just generally airheaded, but despite playing a Warlock for five years, it wasn't until I started reading the books 3 years ago that I realised just how evil and dark they are. I was a little ashamed of my Warlock after that, but continued to play her because she was my main. I've warmed back up to her now, however, and I've found if she spends most of her time around other Undead or old Human ruins, I don't feel quite as bad about it.
   There's no doubt about the twisted nature of Gul'dan, but, as other historical points, though this is a negative event, it's still important in the history of the world, and had the Infinite Dragonflight attempt to change it, the Bronze would still have stopped them. Because these things had to happen. When I first saw this area, I had no idea who Gul'dan was. I was simply told he was the first Warlock, and that was cool enough for me. Now I know better, but the Hand of Gul'dan spot is still important, interesting, and therefore one of my favourites.

   I had assumed at first it was just a mountain, but, as above, after reading some books, I've been corrected. Though it doesn't appear as such, it was the ship that the Draenei used to flee Argus, powered but K'ure, a Naaru. The book Rise of the Horde, though written before the expansion, disagrees with some parts of in-game lore. Within the game, K'ure is in the ship, but in the book, he is in a pool of water. Orcish spirits were drawn to Oshu'gun because of K'ure's energies, even if they were waning, and Orcs began to see the place as something holy. In the book, the Shaman would take water to the pool, which was actually allowing K'ure to keep himself alive and slow down the process of his death, but in the game, the Shaman only commune with the spirits of their ancestors in the crystal, while the ancestors went there to commune with the Naaru.
   Though I'm not all that interested in the Draenei at all, I do find their history interesting and somewhat tragic. The Rise of the Horde is the only place I've gotten any information from about the Draenei.

   I know more or less nothing about the Furbolgs, except that they are a truly ancient race. As for Grizzlemaw, I know little about that, either. I just think this place is adorable. The most I do know is that Grizzlemaw was once Vordrassil, an early attempt at a World Tree, but due to corruption by an Old God, it had to be taken down. In the centre of the stump, there's a sapling there, which is the Furbolgs' attempt at regrowing the tree. They wanted to use the magic from the tree to resurrect Ursoc, and while it worked, he was corrupted, just as the tree was.

   Again, River's Heart is nothing but a pretty place and my favourite Northrend fishing spot, just like many others. The waterfalls are appealing, though ultimately overshadowed by the ones in Pandaria, and the secluded lake surrounded by lush greenery looks very comfortable indeed.

   Despite being pro-Horde, I can admit when the Alliance have it better. I love Thundermar. It's just a fact. It's gorgeous, it's cute, the story line, while fluffy, was just fluffy enough. I loved it. I hated Bloodgulch.

   Underlight Canyon. I've always been partial to the Abyss. I am terrified of deep water, I really am, but in spite of that fact, I really am a huge fan of underwater wildlife documentaries, and the deeper they go, the better. Unless there are whales. I'm terrified of whales, for the simple fact that a) they are enormous, and b) if there is a whale in the water, the water is too deep. If I can't keep my feet on the ground and my head above water, I am not happy. I love bioluminescence, angler fish and all the freaky things down there with them, and Murlocs are really quite cute - combine the two, and there is something terrifyingly adorable right there. I want one. They were my favourite art in the Cataclysm art book.

   Despite what I said above, I'm partial to clear water. Who isn't? So I love small streams and brooks, lakes and rivers and so on, so it's understandable that these two screenshots made it on here too, as two of my favourite locations. I love green - it's one of my favourite colours, along with brown, so forests and jungles are really gorgeous to me. It's part of the reason I love the Jade Forest so much. So give me clear, turquoise water, some waterfalls, a cute boat, wysteria loads of greenery and I am a happy bunny. So Lake Kittitata is very appealing for a break.

   And though this pond is nowhere to be seen, which makes me very sad, it was definitely my favourite pool in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. The lilypads, turquoise water, red trees, golden grass, corner location and minor architectural features made it one of my overall favourite spots in Pandaria. I'd wanted to screenshot this so many times, but never knew how. There weren't really any locations to sit my character, there wasn't any room to set out a picnic basket or anything, so I just never did anything with it, until 2 days before the EU launch of 5.4, when I was taking some shots of the zone before its upheaval. I happened to look down eventhough I was flying around and looking for high, secluded places, and noticed this. I flew down a bit, adjusted my position, increased the graphics (I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that it takes 5 minutes for my PC to adjust to Ultra in Pandaria) and print screen. I am so glad I got this shot.

Lordaeron Throne Room Easter Egg

   This was brought to my attention yesterday by Zeirah of Azeroth Life. Koruth knows a lot of things like this in WoW, but he never knew about this one, so when he came into the room asking why the sound was so loud and found me wide eyed, staring at the screen, he had a surprise, too.

   If you want to see this for yourself without me ruining it for you, head to the Ruins of Lordaeron's courtyard, turn your music all the way down and ambience right up, and turn the volume up, too, and begin walking towards the throne room. You'll find all this out yourself.

   If you'd rather I just get to the point, continue reading here.

   Head to the Ruins of Lordaeron's courtyard. Anyone with the ability to detect invisibility will already know that there are ghosts out there. And if you don't have the ability, but ever cast an AOE spell out there and got into combat with nothing at all, the you probably wondered what was going on. I did this several times before I found out. They never hit me, though.
   Walk towards the throne room. You will pass through the bell tower and then through a short hallway before getting there.
   While in the bell tower, you'll hear the bells that rang upon Arthas' return to his home. He was a Death Knight by this time, however. Continue onwards, and you'll hear the cheers of citizens as they welcomed their Prince home. And then, at last, step into the Throne Room and you'll hear the whispers, echos of a time past.
   There are two sides to these whispers. First, following the ones from the way in, are the whispers of Arthas and King Terenas. Two such whispers: King Terenas: "What is this? What are you doing, my Son?" Arthas: "Succeeding you, father." Chills.
   The other side has speech between King Terenas and Medivh. King Terenas: "What is the meaning of this? Who are you?" Medivh: "Humanity is in peril. The tides of darkness come once again."
   There are two more lines that accompany each segment, and I will admit to being disappointed that the transcript with Medivh was put in there. Though the moment Medivh tried to convince Terenas to move to Kalimdor is a pivotal part in history, given that all other sounds are related to Arthas' return, it seems a bit unnecessary to have it in there. But, it is nonetheless awesome.

   There's also a blood stain on the floor. Some people may not have noticed it - I've been playing Undead for 5 years and only noticed it about a month ago, myself. While the splatter itself doesn't match the one in the video perfectly, it is very clear that the blood on the ground is that which came off of King Terenas' crown as it rolled down the dais steps and along the floor. All in all, the Ruins of Lordaeron is one of the most haunted places in WoW.

   I've added videos below.

The whispers themselves, put together in the best video I've seen detailing the phenomenon, by trberwyn:

The cinematic from Warcraft 3 featuring Arthas' return and the death of his father:

The cinematic from Warcraft 3 featuring Medivh's attempt to warn the Human Kings:

Entry 24 - Twilight Lord Arkkus

98th Day of Spring

   Rather surprisingly, the theft of the pillows the day before had proven to be at least a little bit effective, because early that morning, as my small group set out once again with our new task, we came across several Dark Iron Dwarves who seemed to be overly sleep-deprived (perhaps a little too much for just one night, but maybe they just work that hard). Some of them walked right past us and didn't bat an eyelid, others were sleeping in chairs, and two of them even tried to borrow money off of one of the Thorium Dwarves for a gamble of some sort that was taking place immediately, judging by their haste. In fact, it seemed to have a more obvious effect than killing the slave driver, yesterday.
   Either way, we moved deeper into the Slag Pit. Once again, it was another assassination mission, but this target seemed to be of far higher standing, and his death might actually make a difference. His name was Overseer Maltorius.
   We sneaked as best as we could through the dry, hot darkness, and freed more slaves as we passed them. They seemed to be even more sleep deprived than the previous Dwarves, and I can't help wondering if it was due to the lack of a slave driver. Perhaps they could only sleep when he allowed them, and if he wasn't about to give the order to rest, maybe they wouldn't. I suppose it would make sense, but for them to be too scared to sleep unless they're told they could paints the picture of pure brutality. What did that Dwarf do to them to make them so afraid of him?
   It took a few hours once again - I really can't describe how huge this place is - and after passing by a shocking site of lava - I've never seen such a thing before, just pure liquid fire if such a thing is possible, and the heat that rose up from that chasm was more intense than I could have imagined - we met up with another Dwarf, named Hansel. He was supposed to meet us here to help take this guy down on the off chance that he had more in his arsenal than we expected - afterall, the slave driver had a Golem, so what would the Overseer have? Well, he had someone, certainly.
   Hansel wasn't worried, but he did mention that, if not for this extra person, he'd probably have attacked by himself. I'm glad he didn't. I was told by my brother when I was younger that Ego was the one thing that was guaranteed to get you killed.
   Hansel told us that the second individual was the Twilight Lord Arkkus, and that he would not go down without a fight. None of us knew what he was doing there for certain, but it confirmed the Dwarves' suspicions that the Dark Irons had thrown their lot in with the Twilight Cult.
   We were as quiet as we could be, getting into position to attack, but the Twilight Lord - a Night Elf, of all things - was onto us quickly. He spoke up and told us he knew we were there, and to come out peacefully so that he could offer us to his 'master'. We never found out who that master was, because before he could divulge any more, Bani, the stoutest and most aggressive of the Dwarves I'd been partnered with these past few days, charged at him. Even now my eyes well up thinking about how foolhardy he was to charge straight at him. The Night Elf stepped aside and Bani ran right over the edge. He yelled as he fell, but it was one of fury, cursing the Elf.
   Following this loss, the other Dwarves charged at the Twilight Lord and the Overseer, and I had no choice but to back them up. None of them went over the edge, though they all did suffer some minor magical wounds.
   I'm not a mage, but I know how to weave a few spells. I am a Blood Elf, after all. I was able to distract the Night Elf with a few carefully placed spells - merely conjured shadows that made it seem as though more Dwarves were charging from a dark corner - and the Dwarves were able to exact their vengeance and complete the mission. I won't go into detail over what they did, but in the end, both the Twilight Lord and Overseer Maltorius resembled something similer to Alterac Swiss. My stomach turns just thinking about it.
   I hope that tomorrow will be easier. I don't know what the time was when we made camp at the next rondezvous, but everyone was quiet. I don't mean to sound insensitive but I cannot help thinking that none of these Dwarves expected to lose anyone down here. Still, I'm saddned by our loss. Despite being the most aggressive of the lot, he was also the first to laugh. And that laugh was contagious.
   He'll be missed.

-- Atherya Sunleaf              

Monday, 16 September 2013

My First Day on the Timeless Isle

   I'd say I regret not getting out to the Timeless Isle when it was released a week ago, but that would be a lie. My parents go away only twice a year for a week at a time, and since I can't be a carer for my mum if she isn't at home, I take the opportunity to spend some quality time with my boyfriend. In the mean time, I avoided MMO-Champion and other WoW blogs so that I could continue to be ignorant towards the patch. Sure, I saw this, that and the other while browsing the web, but I wasn't too bothered by it. I also did get onto WoW every now and then to keep up with my auctions, but that was all I really did.
   But today, I finally set out towards the mysterious island. And I have to say: wow.
   I usually never get very far with patches, not since Wrath to be honest, and that's usually because I find it hard to gear up due to my home priorities. In fact, I was living elsewhere while Wrath was out, so I actually got to experience that quite a lot more than any other expansion.
   MMO-Champion kept showing the gear, and kept talking about chests and rares. I was convinced that these chests would either be impossible to find, and if they weren't, I wouldn't be able to work out the 'puzzles' to get to them (I was expecting mini-games for some reason). So I wasn't very hopeful in terms of successful gearing, or even really collecting many coins, but today's experience has completely changed that.

   In my first day, while clicking anything that was clickable (the first thing I looted was a couple of coins from a pile of dirt), I cleared all chests, killed many rares, got a few achievements, and almost completely geared my hunter. I was shocked by the progress I made. I was really on the ball this time, too, and got numerous screenshots of achievements to post, so yay me! I don't really care if no one is interested :P
   I love Blizzard, and I actually support a lot of the decisions they make, but despite that, I am still capable of realising when there are things they do that I hate, and I have two complaints for this patch:
1. I feel Blizz got a little lazy with gear this expansion. As lovely as it all looks overall, there aren't many new sets unless you head into raids. The Timeless Isle stuff is just recolours of the armoud you got from the basic factions, and as nice as a few sets look, I don't think they suit much beyond Pandarens. Yes, there's transmog, which does make a big difference, but it means they're not adding much in the way of new things to transmog into in the future. And I don't necessarily want to be constantly transmogged, either.
2. I really do not like the Shaohao faction's rep gain. I'm not a particularly skilled player, but even with almost complete Timeless Isle gear already, it takes me a solid minute to take down an elite Yaungol, my pet is almost dead at the end, so I can't pull a group, and even the elites only give 16 or 17 rep with a Level 25 guild. Plus, my server is very imbalanced - it's almost impossible to find another Horde player willing to farm, and it's just as difficult to find any mobs that aren't already being fought. It's a bit too difficult. I just think that, if there are two dailies anyway - one of which from Shaohao himself - surely there should be room to add a little bit - even just 500 - of rep for that daily. It would give a greater feeling of progress without ridding the method of farming they seem to want us to do.

   BUT, on with the post!

   I was so very excited when I first got to the island. Why? Because Alundra was there. She is one of my favourite Heroes from the WoW Trading Card Game (rest in peace), and I made my own Timewalker deck with her as my Hero (it wasn't very good and resulted in me buying lots of single cards online), and she is in fact the very reason that I made a female Blood Elf Paladin! So, naturally, I had to get a shot of Atherya beside her. She's only level 85 so I had to run her right across the Jade Forest, then run across the sea towards the Timeless Isle on a Water Strider since she couldn't get the quest to get there, and swimming in fatigue waters would probably take too long, resulting in her death. But I got there easily enough.

Look at the sheer excitement on both of their faces!

   I then got back to Daeaye and sent her out into the island. I bookmarked a guide to chests that had been posted on MMO-Champion, and used that to navigate my way around, picking up loads of chests. The first three chests I opened each had tokens in them - a cloak, legs and boots - and I eventually managed to pick up all the pieces of armour, a trinket, and a ring. I was a bit wary of the blazing chest because I had managed to get up there via albatross and I had wrongfully assumed that I had to go through the main square of Ordos to get to the semicircle to the west. I was teleported out, because I've only completed the first two quests of the legendary questline (meeting Wrathion, and getting honoured with him), so I quite obviously didn't have the cloak (I had read time and time again that you needed the cloak to get to him and I had no idea why, seeing as I was already so close to him), so I had to make my way back up and around after reading it up on the ever helpful WoWhead.
   The Mist Covered Chest was another story. My PC isn't great at all, so there's a slow reaction time between my commands and the computer's response, so I was shocked to manage to get the chest on my second attempt. I saw the crane statue, clicked it, was thrown in the air. What I did initially was wait until I was above a chest platform and then remove the flight buff. I then fell (slowly, thankfully) and all of the platforms disappeared. The second time around, I realised I had to use the slowfall buff carefully, and after aiming for several different chests and realising each time I wasn't about to make it, I changed targets. I tell you, I only just landed on the platform. Only my big Troll toes were keeping me on it. Yikes. Great fun, though.

Pardon the funny looking achievement box, I took it off of an alternative screenshot. As you can see, I am a master of Photoshop.

   The rares on the Timeless Isle are so great. Some of them are a pain, yes, and while reading MMO-Champion before the patch launch, I had seen Vazuvius and knew I'd never manage to take it down even with a group. I'd get there too late, I'd die immediately and so on. I've destroyed it about 4 times today :P It's well worth dropping what you're doing to get (unless some pet-dropping rares are about). Garnia was a pain. I tried to take her down on my own - needless to say, it didn't work. I did eventually, with a group, but there was no pet. Koruth was the one that told me about the pets - for some reason, I thought the only pets were the ones from the pat battle tournament. He also took over while I did some house cleaning and started opening crane nests and got me the Azure Crane Pet. Woo! I also opened some of Kukuru's chests, about three of them, but found no pet. I naturally went for the biggest chest first and it only gave me about 100 coins. Koruth suggested going for the smaller, less exciting ones. The really boring ones. They yeilded 300-600 coins and I've not opened a big chest since :P

   I collected up a good 10k coins just today. I'm shocked by how easy it was, and decided that I would collect the coins for the mount exclusively before buying anything else. My server tends to get excited around the launch of patches, and then it all dies within a couple of weeks to the point that the areas are almost deserted. I knew that if I spent the coins on other things, I'd never get the mount. Of course, now I'm wondering if I ever will anyway due to the nature of rep farming. I'm not entirely convinced that the mount is pretty enough to encourage such farming anyway, but I'll try.

   All in all, I'm loving it so far. In my first day I got Where There's Pirates, There's Booty, Rolo's Riddle, Timeless Nutriment, Eyes on the Ground, and Extreme Treasure Hunter. I realise that none of these are particularly difficult, but still. I'm pleased with myself! I'm excited to continue on ^^

20DoW - Day 16 - Things I Miss (Pre-Cataclysm)

Full credit for this image goes to Revive & Rejuvinate. I would have gotten my own screenshot, if I could have.

   I started to play round the middle of The Burning Crusade, and only got my own account when Wrath of the Lich King came out. I have to admit, I barely remember anything except levelling from 60 to 80. I cannot remember post-Cataclysm. I did get the Loremaster achievement, and did more or less every quest on the Horde side that I could, but I had wanted to do every quest on the Alliance side, too, but before I even got started, Cata came out and ruined it! I didn't get to experience any of the Alliance stuff before Cataclysm except Teldrassil and Darkshore. Even then, I didn't complete Darkshore.
   I'm trying hard to think about what I miss, but it's hard when I can barely remember it.
   I suppose levelling without heirlooms is something I miss, but at the same time, it's not like I'm forced into using them. If I wanted to level the traditional way, I could. What I should really be answering with is something I miss that I can't get to anymore.
   Erm...Zul'Gurub as a raid. I did get in there a couple of times, for...sssomething. I don't remember what it was. Maybe for a mount? I'm not sure. But I miss it being a raid. I really like that they brought Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman back as Heroic Dungeons, though, because they're actually the hardest HCs I've ever done, so while they're no longer raids, at the very least, they retain most of their dignity.
   Oh, actually, I suppose I miss Northrend being relevant. I miss Dalaran being busy (though, even on my server, it's rarely every actually empty), I miss the Argent Tournament being my priority, I miss the Lich King himself. It was an awesome expansion, and though I love MoP, there are two big things it's missing that I love - a neutral sanctuary city, and a single villain to build towards. Though, Garrosh will do. Bring him down guys. Bring him down.
   I also miss the old talent system, now I think of it. Now it seems that the only thing that can improve your characters is gear. If you've got rubbish gear, you're rubbish. There's no more tweaking or tinkering involved in classes anymore, and it makes me sad. I always thought that part of the reason I was such a bad player was because of my talents. When I started to look up recommended talents, I improved a lot. Then they took it away and I feel like I am a noob again.

   Otherwise, I don't remember enough. I wish I could go back and see what old WoW looked like again, because I've forgotten so much, and that makes this a hard question to answer. I'm actually pretty happy with a lot of WoW at the moment, I'm not longing for much.

Atherya Sunleaf Writing Competition - 2 Weeks In

   We're two weeks into the competition, and no submissions yet. I've decided to extend the deadline from the 22nd of September to the 30th, and I've put a post in the noticeboard of Argent Archives to spread the word to other willing participants.
  I am a little disappointed, but I'm not giving up. Remember: it's not about writing skill, it's about ideas. Also, if you're paranoid that your writing abilities aren't that strong, you can always just email me your submission, and I won't post it anywhere unless it wins. Otherwise, all participants are freely able to post their submissions on their own websites, deviantARTs and other such places should they wish to, and send me the link to that page instead of emailing the whole story.

   There will be prizes for honourable mentions - for example, if you've written an amazing piece, you may get a prize, and in contrast, if your writing was poor but your idea was truly amazing but perhaps a little too complex, or was just shy of winning, you could get a prize too. There really is no excuse!

   As before, the prizes still stand at the same, but with one addition: a month of advertising space on my blog's sidebar. The winner can advertise their blog, website, deviantART page and so on - whatever they wish, as long as it's relevant to WoW or gaming in general. They will get the same treatment as anyone else would if they purchased an ad space: 30 days on the sidebar, with the option of writing a guest post for my own blog about any WoW-related topic they wish. But, if anyone wishes to donate a prize - custom artwork, a product, gift voucher, something they've made etc then feel free. You're still eligible to enter and win.

As before, for full details on the 4 restrictions, 2 requirements, prize list, Atherya Sunleaf character profile, and hints and tips to make your writing go smoother, check out the original competition post.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

20DoW - Day 15 - My Desktop

   I actually just changed my desktop background, it used to be a picture of Arthas vs Illidan, but I changed it a week ago to a screenshot of the Lordearon Throne Room. I took it because I wanted a picture of the seal on the floor, and after I got a precise one, I backed up and aimed for a more composed shot. But it was awesome, because I noticed, for the first time, a spatter of blood on the floor. I never usually look since I'm heading down into the Undercity whenever I'm there, but it happened to catch my eye. It looked a little too red to be a crack i the floor, and it wasn't repeated anywhere else so it wasn't part of the tiled pattern. I thought about it and realised what it must have been. I loaded up the Warcraft 3 cinematic of Arthas killing King Terenas, and there it was. The crown rolled down the left side of the throne dias steps, and as it came to settle on the ground, it left a trail of blood behind it - not all the way, just from the last rotation, and its shape and position matched my screenshot. In the cinematic, the crown appears to have settled a little further from the seal than the blood in the screenshot, but, realistically speaking, with design in mind, that blood was intentionally put there by Blizzard. It could be nothing else.
   To me, it's probably the most significant thing in World of Warcraft, aside, of course, to traces of Titans, and that's why I chose it.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

20DoW - Day 14 - What Upsets Me

Dadanga's grave.

   Things upsetting me greatly depends on the time of the year, but there is one thing that always upsets me and that's animal cruelty, animal death and so on. I can sit through a film and watch every character die. I'll cry, sure, but I'll cry as much over the deaths of 10 characters as I will over one single rabbit.
   I've had a lot of different animals - rodents, dogs, reptiles, insects and so on - and each death was difficult. I prefer animals over people quite a lot to be honest, and while I've not had man jobs, my favourite has and probably always will be dog walking. I think I walked about 50 different dogs over the course of 2 years, and, of course, most of them were regulars. I discovered that I have a natural companionship with dogs, and that I am afraid of small dogs. I never owned up to my boss about this, but while I am totally fine walking an Akita, Weimerana and so on, I am quite scared of Italian Greyhounds. They're so small, about the height of a large West Highland White - which is too small, they're brittle in fact. I don't mean to sound dramatic but the first time I met the dog was when I went into his house to get him. He was lying in his dog crate and was quite far back in it in shadow, and I had gone in with my boss (best boss I think I'll ever have - I let her know I was available to work one day, and she found out while I was with her that that was my birthday, she took £20 out of her purse and gave it to me on the spot as well as a box of chocolates that she had in the cupboard, and this was on top of my pay, she was also an amazing person and I'd be happy to work for her again) and when I crouched down to see him, all I saw was light reflecting back off of two huge black eyes. It was eerie. He came out and was very excited, but I was told that he once broke his leg and has had to have a metal plate put in his leg to sort of keep it together, and you could see the plate through his skin.
   Like I said, I was dogsitting him by myself one day and he started getting too excited in the house, he started running around and bouncing about, and he started jumping towards me getting playful, but I was so petrified I just started backing up, and I fell on his dog crate. It was fine, but the door broke slightly. He got me while I was down, jumping all over me. I wasn't scared of the dog, I was just worried that it would hurt itself, because apparently he was prone to it.
   The day looked up, though - that same day I got to puppy sit for 5 hours while the owners were at a wedding, and my favourite dog, Max, lived with this puppy and I got to look after him for 2 hours before he was picked up for his walk. It was a good day :D

   ...Yes, animal deaths and cruelty upset me, all the time, without fail. I feel guilty for killing a spider! I'm a little bit ridiculous. I've always been this way. Even in primary school when I was 8 I used to tell younger kids off because they would jump on this paving slab that a nest of ants lived under, purposely to get them to come out, then they'd just stamp on them.
   I hate kids.
   Also, I'm so fond of animals, when I first made my Undead Warlock, I refused to kill wolves, even though I had to kill them to gather pelts for a level 2 quest. I think I did skip that quest and killed zombies instead to get me to level 3. I don't remember if it worked, though, I may have needed to complete that quest before another would open up. I really don't remember.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

20DoW - Day 12 - A Usual Day

   My days all start the same way. I get up as soon as I wake up, which is as early as I can, then I head downstairs to check on my mum. This is the first thing I do every morning. Once I've made sure she's okay and get her anything she needs, I turn on the PC and have my breakfast. I usually aim to just sit down for an hour to wake up and eat my cereal, but it usually ends up being about an hour and a half to two. I spend this time going through my usual routine. I check Etsy, then I check my email, then I check my blog stats, then I see to any online projects I'm working on at that time, most recently the WoWscreenshotaday challenge. Eventually I go and do my exercise for 45 minutes and get in the shower. After that I just sort of float around the house. I'll sit at the PC as long as my mum is okay, but she has priority over everything. I'll go to the post office in the afternoon if I sold something (provided that my mum is in a good enough way), then come home and go back on the PC, usually writing blog posts or managing my Etsy shop, and then get on with dinner. At this point my dad comes home and my 'work day' is over, and I'll head upstairs to chill out in private. I usually do most of my crafting and writing at this time, or play a game if there's something I'm into, and do my weights. And then around midnight I go to bed.
   My weekends go the same kind of way, but my dad doesn't work then, and I let my body rest so I don't do the cardio in the morning, so it skips ahead to sitting at the PC for a couple of hours before spending time with Koruth or crafting.

   I may not do much but my crafting is a big part of my life and constantly keeps me busy. It's rare for me to just sit down and watch TV. I almost never leave the house - the only fresh air I taste is on my way to the post office - but there are really not enough hours in the day.
   As for my typical online routine...I don't have one. Some days I'm only on WoW for half an hour just to get a screenshot, and other days I'm online all day long.

Entry 23 - The Slag Pit

97th Day of Spring

   Today we had an early start. While we had camped in The Cauldron all night, we still wanted to be on the move quickly and quietly. Numerous suggestions for dealing with the Dark Iron Dwarves had been floating around all morning; some were good, some were...just awful. One such proposal would have us sneak into their sleeping quarters and stealing their pillows! Fortunately, these Dwarves have enough sense to know that that wouldn't be a long-term solution (though they did eventually send some other Dwarves down to steal the pillows anyway - every little helps, I suppose), and have decided on something more...permanent.
   This time, they wanted me to go down and kill a slave driver. At the very least, this was something I could get on board with. I was partnered with a few Dwarves - who were surprisingly light on their feet for such heavily built beings -  and we headed into the Slag pit.
   The first thing I noticed was how stiflingly hot and smelly it was down there. Everything smelled like fire. I had thought it was hot outside, but inside it was worse. I was sweating within minutes. The Dwarves held up much better than I did, but I suppose that, being of Dark Iron descendants, whether they're happy to admit it or not, does give them some resilience to such heat.
   We were down there for hours. While our primary goal was to kill the slave driver, we were also secondarily supposed to be freeing slaves. But that's where things got odd. I have no idea if some of these 'slaves' were actually volunteers, or if their lives outside of the mine were just that bad, because a handful of them were so desperate not to leave that they attacked us on sight. It was sheer madness. The Dwarves who were with me were actually a little upset about the ordeal. I can understand, of course: we were trying to save them, not get them killed. But if people don't want your help, there's nothing you can do. Except perhaps hog-tie them and drag them out to safety.
   We must have freed a few hundred before we found the slave driver. He wasn't much special, though he did have a huge Golem at his side. I admit now to being very grateful that the four Dwarves were with me, because I was almost crushed by that Golem several times, and I really don't know how I could have taken that thing down. But the Dwarves knew their way around such constructs, and were able to disable it. Not that I can fathom any idea as to how it was 'alive' in the first place.
   By the time we got to the rondezvous point further in, night had probably fallen. Inside the Slag Pit it was impossible to tell what time it was. It could have only been midday, and it was just the scorching, burning heat that was making me so drowsy and causing the hours to drag on for so long, but whatever the case, we were given another task. Mercifully, it was easy.
   We were to continue ahead and scout the location around the corner for a safe, secluded place to make camp so that they wouldn't be spotted. I really don't mean to be racially insensitive, but one Dark Iron Dwarf looks the same as another, so I really don't see how the majority of them could be recognised. They'd all dressed as Dark Iron Dwarves - dusty and dark - so that would surely make it harder. I, on the other hand, would stick out like a sore Troll thumb, so I am grateful for the cover all the same, and that leads me to wonder if it wasn't, in fact, for my own benefit.
   We soon found a spot in a dark corner of a craggy room that had surely been ignored for some time, going by the thickness of the dust and ash. I'm not looking forward to sleeping here tonight, in all honesty, but I've got no choice. I wonder if this is going to take long.

-- Atherya Sunleaf              

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

20DoW - Day 11 - Bad Habits and Flaws

   Where do I start?
   I have an OCD. Not the wash my hands 20 times and flick the lights on and off stereotype, but it's similar. If I bump one side of my foot on something, for example, I have to bump that side of my other foot to even it out. If I bump the second one too hard I have to bump the other one again just enough to even it out. If I bang it hard enough for it to actually hurt then I obviously don't do this because my mind doesn't register the imbalance because of the pain and surprise. I can force myself to get past the OCD if I screw my toes up and cancel it out.
   Another OCD I have that I don't even notice is bending my hands back and forth while I walk, stretching my wrist. It irritates Koruth so much he barely holds my hand while we're out, and the second he does I start doing it. And then he starts bending my hand about himself so I have to snatch it away and rotate them both some more to balance it out.
   I talk to myself. I'm not even kidding. I seem to think that a closed door means no one in the world can hear me. And if the door is open but the one people are behind is closed, it does the same thing. I've done this since I was a child. I will talk, full volume, outloud to myself, all the time, about anything, particularly if I'm excited about it. I am insane. Koruth knows I do it, and often comes into the room asking what I was talking about. I used to get angry because I was embarrassed, but nowadays I just accept it and tell him what I was saying. It actually really helps me as far as my writing is concerned. If I'm having a huge problem with the plan, or I've written myself into a corner, I can generally untangle the mess within 5 minutes of talking outloud, but it can take up to an hour if I keep shtum and write it all down instead.
   I'm messy and leave craft materials everywhere. I've managed to melt part of the carpet with a heat gun because I didn't realise...well I didn't realise carpets could melt. I also get paint not only over the table but it frequently ends up on the duvet cover, and I have resin on many soft furnishings and clothes - not hard surfaces, no, just the soft ones. I also have a habit of losing sewing needles. OH, and I've literally dropped 2 pots of Mod Podge on the duvet cover, too. The first time it happened I didn't notice for quite some time, and it was too late to clean up, and the second time I realised right away and managed to sort it out. Koruth cannot stand it when I start crafting, so I think he's probably on edge quite a lot.
   I can be quite rude when I'm nervous. If I'm with new people then I usually try to be funny to lighten any atmosphere, but my humour can be a little dry and sarcastic, and it tends to just come across as me picking on people. Around here, if someone does something slightly inconsiderate, or for that matter they do something that was obviously an accident, we'll look up and say "oh just hit them". The problem is that Koruth is not English, he is Dutch, and when we go to The Netherlands to see his family, I do these sarcastic and aggressive jokes and no one realises I'm joking. The first time I met his cousin and his wife, we were eating dinner at his parents' house, and everyone else had left to use the loo, get dessert, turn something off and so on, so it was just me, his cousin and his cousin's wife at the table. His cousin poured the last of the orange juice into his glass and I saw his wife watching him drink it. I thought she had a slightly irritated look on her face but now I think about it it may have just been slightly uncomfortable because I was still there waiting for everyone else - I was certainly uncomfortable, at the least. So I said "oh just hit him" not realising that it was a local thing at home. They both just looked at me like I was stupid and asked why she should hit him. They didn't understand. And, believe it or not, the second time we met with them about 4 months later, I did it again and they still didn't get it. I have to learn to relax and not tell stupid jokes when I'm around new people.