Tag Archives: writing

November Challenge: Feeling Musical

October Wrap-Up: Incredible Costumes

You're all winners!From Hallow’s End transmogs to Mad King hijinks, there were some great costumes that came out of the October challenge. I’m just glad I finished the Mad King’s Clock Tower, everything else is meaningless now!

Take a look at these awesome costumes:

Sugar & Blood shows off a great Bewitched-inspired outfit–and some other pretty awesome ideas, too!

Bubbles of Mischief creates a spot-on movie-based Red Riding Hood. Picture perfect, to be sure.

Kamalia et alia presents a bunch of great Hallow’s End themed transmogs you might want to bookmark for next year.

ZazzyMogs creates a witchy transmog with a twist–and a comic to boot!

Harpy’s Nest introduces the smallest troll ever seen…

Image Heavy breaks out an impressive, hard-to-beat costume: gnome into giant bird is pretty impressive.

Shards of Imagination will be in the running for any costume contest with this awesome Charr doctor from Guild Wars 2.

I have to also show off a couple of little costume wearers who weren’t part of the challenge but who were representing  Azeroth on Halloween night:

Elunamakata designed a Chromie costume for her little girl that absolutely ROCKED:

Check out how she and Kurby did it here: The Making of Little Chromie.

My daughter begged to be a rogue…she wanted to be a goblin, but she settled for human this year:

Whoever–or whatever–you were for Halloween, I hope it was a safe and fun one!

November Challenge: Feeling Musical

The other day on Twitter, I complained–okay, I whined–that I was feeling grumpy. That’s when Marathal posted this Tweet…

GANK A GNOME!

…that led to this song:

If you’re grumpy and you know it, gank a gnome.
If you’re grumpy and you know it, gank a gnome.
If you’re grumpy and you know it,
and you’re really ’bout to blow it,
If you’re grumpy and you know it, gank a gnome.

If you’re wiping and you know it, blame the tank.
If you’re wiping and you know it, blame the tank.
If you’re wiping and you know it,
and you’re really ’bout to blow it,
If you’re wiping and you know it, blame the tank.

If you’re losing and you know it, go for kills.
If you’re losing and you know it, go for kills.
If you’re losing and you know it
and you’re really ’bout to blow it,
If you’re losing and you know it, go for kills.

The possibilities for additional verses are limitless. I’m sure I will have many opportunities to sing of epic stories to this tune.

This got me thinking–what other wandering minstrels (or at least semi-interested lyricists) do we have wandering around in our fantasy lands, not yet tapping into their talent?

Here is the challenge: Write the lyrics to a song (and/or the music if that’s your thing) about your game. It can be silly, fun, sweet, angry, a little naughty, a little nice–whatever you want to write about, write me a song about the game or games you play. 

I can’t wait to see what you guys write!

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June Challenge: Tell Me a Story

At the end of the Newbie Blogger Initiative, my weekly challenges ended. But a few people expressed interest in doing a monthly challenge. This is the first of those, and I’ll keep doing them as long as I have continued interest!

I’m a sucker for story time. I still enjoy being read to. I love picking up a new book–including my kids’ books!–and reading them for the first time. I love stories and lore in the games I play. Some people have Calgon, I have story time!

A few months ago, I posted about some guild stories–just a few of the many, many we have stored away. Those were raid-oriented, but I KNOW you guys have stories!

Do you have a funny story about how you accidentally–or “accidentally on purpose”–wiped a raid? Or the tale of an epic battle against that ONE GUY in PvP who always got the best of you and how you cut him down (or didn’t)? Maybe you watched a friend pull a boss and get eaten alive (*cough* certain paladin raid leader and XT *cough*) or were moved by a stranger in game who somehow stood out from the crowd. Whatever it is, there’s a story you like to tell, and I’m asking you to tell me!

Your challenge is this: write me a story about something that happened to you (or something you witnessed) in the game(s) you play!

When you finish, link it here in the comments for me (pingbacks are fine) so I can check it out! All participants will be featured in a blog when I issue the new challenge at the beginning of July.

This story begins, “Once upon a time, there was a group of adventurers who set out on a dangerous journey…” Trust me, that’s putting it mildly.

(P.S. You can click on the picture to find out more about Challenge Accepted. I don’t get to participate much, but the night I did it was a blast!).

I look forward to your stories!

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The Real Challenge Is…

…Reading all these awesome blogs. My “To Read” list freaking exploded. I’m going to be weeks behind.

And you know what? I’m totally cool with that.

Week 5 Recap

Sponsor blogs had their marching orders from Syp: post ALL THE LINKS. But I issued a more narrow challenge to those who participated in my NBI Challenges: pick 3 blogs that caught your attention and tell me why you like them.

Get ready to do some reading, ladies and gents:

  • Meet Other Newcomers (Kemwer Game Blog) – Kem gives us a thoughtful look at three of the blogs that got his attention, and can’t help but add a few more. (This became a theme, by the way, and I’m not complaining!). Thank you for taking the time to do my challenges and to pay it forward, Kem!
  • Let Me Introduce You To… (Shards of Imagination) – I love the consideration Rakuno puts into his choices and descriptions, and the hats-off he gives to all of the participants. Thank you for being so involved in the challenges, Rakuno!
  • Share and Share Alike (Bloodthorne) – TJ offers not three, but four blogs for you to check out, with his reasons for each. Thank you for some seriously thoughtful posts (and some entertaining parodies) this month!
  • Sponsor This! (Argus or Bust) – I love that the intro to this post is about this sense of freedom Fivequarters gets from posting out of desire instead of out of expectation, not to mention some great blog suggestions! Thank you for taking part!
  • Nearing the End (Ravalation) – The image at the top of this post made me grin, and the blogs suggested within it are worth your time. Thank you, Rav!
  • That’s a Wrap & The Final Challenge (Flask Half Empty) – Sticking with a WoW theme, Ninevi introduces three bloggers that stood out to her during the NBI. I love that she included a header for each! Thank you so much for particpating, Ninevi!
  • Thank You, NBI! (Brazokie’s Blog Space) – Brazokie is grateful to the NBI and to her fellow bloggers–and I’m grateful to her for coming along this crazy journey with us! Thanks, Brazokie!
  • The End is Only The Beginning (The Frugal Gamer) – Award for most fitting blog post title: Skron. Also, some great recommendations for blogs you should check out. Thank you, Skron!
  • Newbie Blogger Link Love (The Daily Frostwolf) – First of all, if you play WoW, you need to check out the list of what different classes smell like. Yes, do it now, and then keep reading through a 2-part link love extravaganza. Thank you so much for blogging with us, Navi!
  • The Final Challenge (Image Heavy) – Someone hand me a tissue. This post is a rule-breaker, but a very thoughtful one. I am so grateful to have been a part of NBI, and it’s I who needs to thank you–and all of the bloggers who participated–for making my May completely awesome. Thank you!!!

Challenge Wrap-Up

you rock, you rule

May was a fun month, guys; and you were the ones who made it so. Thank you all!

Here are links to all of the challenge posts–please take a sec to glance through them at the great job everyone did!

Challenge 1: Build Your Own Boss - Imaginations were high with this one, and I loved it!

Challenge 2: Why You Do What You Do – Lots of thoughtful commentary and images about why we play the games we play.

Challenge 3: What’s My Main Again? – What do your characters mean to you? Some great thoughts.

Challenge 4: Learning is Fun - An adventure in research!

Challenge 5: The Final Challenge - A swarm of new bloggers, and some old ones, too!

Future Challenges

A few bloggers expressed interest in doing more challenges like this, so I’m looking at posting one a month. Stay tuned in the next week or so for a June challenge!

 

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A Few Words of Wisdom, With LOLCats

Congratulations, new bloggers!

You are over halfway through the month! I’ve read some great blogs the past couple of weeks, and I look forward to reading more. My reader’s already starting to get heavy, but I’m not complaining!

When I signed on for the NBI, I agreed to do at least one post that gives blogging advice. I struggled with this, because I don’t try to be a popular blogger (I know, shocking, right?) and there are many things the great bloggers do that haven’t even crossed my radar. I guess my issue is this: what kind of advice can I give?

I decided the best thing to do is to tell you what I would want someone to tell me if I were back at the beginning starting TLBC all over again.

1. You don’t have to be perfect. In the very, very beginning, I had no problem admitting I didn’t know everything. The whole purpose of starting this blog was to get help as a moonkin. Once I felt like I understood my class, though, I suddenly started thinking I wasn’t allowed to admit there were things I still didn’t know. Bloggers are supposed to know everything, right? Just go ahead and wipe that thought out of your brain.

If you’re like me, you’re terrible at math and a little slow on the uptake sometimes (okay, that’s probably just me, but you get the idea). You’re human. Keep that in mind.

2. Take yourself seriously. This was advice that was given to me a long time ago, before blogging. It’s still great advice. If you want other people to take you seriously (and you might not, that’s fine too), you need to take yourself seriously. Put thought into the things you write. Use spell check. Proofread. Look things up you don’t know. Verify your facts. Keep learning.

But if you make a mistake, fix it, then refer again to #1 and move on with your life.

3. Get involved in the community! Sooner rather than later, too, guys. The blogosphere is monstrous. The WoW blogging community alone is h u g e. It’s also very supportive. You’re only doing yourself a disservice by keeping the rest of the community at a distance. In the beginning, I felt like good bloggers were aloof. PFFFFT. Egotistical bloggers are aloof, maybe, but it’s not a measure of quality.

Get involved. Read other blogs. Comment on other blogs. Refer to other blogs. Link to other blogs. Support other bloggers. (Are you getting the theme, here?)

And for heaven’s sake, join Twitter. When I got involved in Twitter, it was like I’d found the entrance to the secret Blogger Cave, only it isn’t a secret. Unfortunately, there’s also not a cool car or Alfred. But it’s just about that good! When you read a blog you like, chances are that blogger is on Twitter. Follow them. Get into the conversation. This community rocks, don’t miss out.

4. Blog because you love to blog. For a long time, I was tired of blogging. I was barely playing WoW, I had a heap load of personal family stuff going on, and I didn’t have the energy to put into TLBC. I kept doing it anyway, but for all the wrong reasons: because I felt like I had to keep it active, I wanted to be noticed, I wanted my blog to be popular, I wanted to be thought of at least semi-knowledgeable/entertaining/attention-worthy by the bloggers I respected so much.

When I stopped playing WoW altogether to focus on my family, I closed the doors to this blog. I was heartbroken, but I knew it was the right thing to do. When I returned, I didn’t immediately start blogging again, but soon I found myself missing it. This time, it was for all the right reasons: It was because I like to write. I like to write about the game I play. I like the discussions and the community and the way a blog post forms in my head.

If you’re blogging for some concept of fame you have in mind or because you feel like everyone expects you to, stop. It will show in your posts and in the way you carry yourself in the community. Blog because you can’t help smiling when you think of an idea or when you finish writing a post. Do it because you find pleasure in finding the right screenshots and organizing your ideas. Do what you do because you love to do it, and stop when you don’t.

5. Don’t measure your worth as a blogger by your hit count. If you’re blogging because you like to blog, that number just doesn’t matter. Sure, it’s a great feeling to get hits, and I would highly suggest that you publicize yourself. We’re writers, after all, we like for the things we write to be read.

But don’t quit because you don’t have as many readers as you think you should. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Keep writing. Keep improving your writing (see #2). Get involved and get your name out there (see #3). Give yourself some time!

I’m sitting here reading this now thinking that it’s way too Saved By The Bell. I should be giving advice about thinking of good topics and how to publicize yourself. I said at the beginning, though, that I would tell you what I wish someone had told me, and I would have traded all the nuts-and-bolts blogging advice in the world to have just been told it was okay to make a mistake. Just call me Mr. Belding.

That said, there are lots of great brass tacks-type posts out there for NBI. I’ve learned quite a few things myself from reading through some of them, so go check them out at NBI HQ!

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Week 3 Challenge: What’s My Main Again?

Week 2 Recap

Last week, I posed the question “Why do you do what you do?” There were a bunch of responses, all with slightly different reasons for choosing activities or games. I’m listing them below; go ahead and check them out!

And, of course, it’s never too late–if you want to do either of the previous two challenges, go for it and link me your post in the comments!

  • Why Do I Do What I Do Bee Do (Bloodthorne) – TJEdgar explains why he blogs and demonstrates how everything is better when it’s set to music.
  • Battlechicken’s Challenge (MMO Compendium) – Sometimes, each character we roll has a different purpose and personality–this post includes a whole collection!
  • Week 2 Challenge (Flask Half Empty) -Ninevi reminds us that our reasons for playing the games we play are not one-dimensional.
  • Week 2 Challenge (StarShadow) – I love bows–the shooting kind, not the hair kind. Great screenshot mash-up here of the thrill of adventure.
  • NBI: Why Do I Do What I Do (Brazokie’s Blog Space) – From the process of creating a character to blogging about them, Brazokie shares the why behind the what.
  • Why Do You Do What You Do (Shards of Imagination) – This is a look at the uniqueness of MMO gaming as a hobby, from exploration to community!
  • Why I Stealth (Casually Vicious) – Why be a ninja? Why not?!
  • Why I WoW (Image Heavy) – Sometimes it’s the little things that make the game worth playing. A simple “hi” is sometimes just enough!
  • Why Do You Do What You Do: Guild Leadership (Neri Approves) – Guild Masters take on massive responsibilities–why? This is a GM’s perspective on taking on the job.

Week 3 Challenge

Most of us invest a lot of time in one (or two, or three…) characters in the games we play. For me, this is Ambermist, my druid moonkin. She is the reason this blog exists at all.

I’m sure it sounds strange to anyone who hasn’t experienced it first hand, but she has a personality and a story. I’ve “known” her for 6 years. She is, in some ways, my alter ego.

Your challenge this week is to tell me about your main (or the small handful of characters you feel most attached to). This might be their backstory as you’ve imagined it, or how you imagine their personalities. It could be how they relate to you–are they your flamboyant side, or do you channel your thoughtfulness through them?

Maybe explain why you chose them or why you keep coming back to them. What would they say if I asked them to tell me about themselves?

Whatever form or idea that takes for you, the challenge is this: Tell me about your main character(s).

Bonus ChallengeTomorrow I’ll finally be writing some of my thoughts about blogging (I know, I’m a terrible slacker). One of my biggest cornerstones is  community. The gaming blogosphere is huge and very community driven.

One of the vehicles through which this community communicates (say that three times fast) is Twitter. It’s not for everyone, but if you can plug into it, it will help you connect in ways you might not have realized. Your bonus challenge is this: if you don’t have a Twitter account, make one! If you do have one, find 3 new people to follow this week. If you haven’t already followed me, you can count me as one of your three. You’ll find me here: @battlechicken.

I can’t wait to read about your main characters! Remember to give me a link in the comments so I can include you in next week’s post!

P.S. I am so sorry for the cheesy title, but I just could not resist. 

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Why You Do What You Do: Week 2 Challenge

The Newbie Blogger Initiative is off to an awesome start! I’m already having a hard time keeping up with all of the awesomeness.

Recap Week 1:

Of course, some awesomeness took place right here last week with some great responses to the Build Your Own Boss Challenge. I highly encourage you to check these out:

Week 2 Challenge:

There was a boss for every type of player last week (and you guys did fantastically, by the way). This week we’re going to get a little more introspective and talk about what type of player you actually are.

About a year or so ago (maybe more, now), I discovered a website: Why Do You Do What You Do? The premise is simple: answer the question with a picture. I fell in love with the idea and created a Why We WoW  page on my blog.

I still love the concept, so I’m opening it up again across all genres and games:  Why do you do what you do? Why do you play the way you play, why do you play the game you play? Why are you a healer? Why do you PvP? What keeps you coming back?

This is not limited to pictures–I’d love to see your thoughts on why, exactly, you do what you do in the game(s) that you love. And you can have as many answers as you can come up with. I discover new ones every day!

The Week 2 Challenge is simple. Answer this question: Why do you do what you do?

Make sure you link your blog post to me so I can include it next week!

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If You’ve Ever Wanted to Blog, May is Your Month

Sypster over at BioBreak contacted me a couple of weeks ago about a plan; a way to encourage people who had considered blogging to go ahead and jump off the cliff into the sea of posts and tags and topics.

This plan is known as the Newbie Blogger Initiative. The idea is simple–get a bunch of experienced bloggers together to encourage new ones. There are over 60 bloggers from all corners of the gaming blogosphere signed up.

Throughout the month of May, each of us will be posting a blog giving our personal tips for and experiences with blogging, as well as publicizing and encouraging new bloggers as you start to get your feet wet.

This is a test run for new bloggers–give it one month and see if you like it! If you’re ready to jump in (and I hope you are!), go ahead and create a blog, write your first post, and then come over to the Newbie Blogger Initiative H.Q. to sign up. There you can ask questions, talk to other bloggers, or bounce ideas off of new and old bloggers alike (not to mention the nifty banner).

If you’re not quite sure, come take a look at the forums anyway. Maybe you’ll get caught up in the excitement, too!

And finally, if you’re an experienced blogger and you want to become a sponsor blog, sign up! As a sponsor blog, you’ll be asked to write three blog posts this month for the NBI and to encourage new bloggers as they join our ranks.

What are you waiting for? May is your month!

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A Cord of Two Strands — Part 7

This is the final part of a 7 part series. If you’re new to the series, you can start at the beginning with start at the beginning with Part 1 or you can go to an index of all seven parts.

I’m honestly kind of sad to end it; it’s been fun to share it with you.  But there are more stories waiting to be written, and I can’t write those without closing this one.  I hope you guys have enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing and posting it.

From Part 6:

“The chase ends tonight, Markcus!” Aleron replied hotly.  Markus only laughed again, sending a dark bolt sailing in his direction.  The mage blocked the attack, but only just.

“You are willing to fight, but what about your little apprentice?  Have you taught her enough, Aleron?  Arcis was stronger than she, and still she was not strong enough to defeat me.”

“Do not touch her, Markus!  This is our battle alone.”

“Is it?  I was aware of no such restrictions,” he replied.  This time, the attack came whizzing towards Sonora, close enough to singe hairs.

“So, you like to play.  I enjoy a good game myself…shall we?”

The Parting

Suddenly Aleron’s vision clouded.  He tried to fight the influence, but it overtook him, and he sank to his knees.  Then Arcis stood before him, fighting the battle of her life once again.  He reached for her, trying to throw shields up to defend her.  “I will never become one of you!” he heard her yell at her assailants.  “I would sooner die!”

“You may have that chance, little mage,” said a voice that sounded like Markus, if Markus was ten feet tall.  Aleron called out, but spells rained down upon her again the same way he had seen it in his nightmares night after night.  If only he could get closer!  He fought, crawling towards her, desperate to save her.

Sonora watched in horror as her mentor crawled upon the ground like a child, lost in a vision she could not see.  “Leave him alone!” she cried.  “You have tortured him long enough!”

Warlocks now crowded around them, watching their master toying with the prisoners.  “Have I?” Markus finally replied to Sonora, not bothering to look at her as he quite delighted in Aleron’s struggling form.  “Then perhaps it is your turn.”

Sonora gasped as Markus began to grow and change grotesquely.  In a few seconds, a tall, dark form stood where Markus had been.  She didn’t know what to call him, but “Markus” seemed inadequate.

“Sarah!” the deep voice called.  “Sarah, come forward!”  A hooded figure stepped out from the crowd.

“My lord,” she replied, kneeling.  She alone seemed to be unsurprised by this change.  Even the others in the crowd took a step backwards.

“I tire of these trifles,” he told her.  “And you still need to prove yourself to me.  Dispose of the girl first.”  Sarah stood and turned to Sonora.  In a flash, the draenei fell to her knees, a dull ache in her chest where the spell had hit her.  Had Markus’s spell hit her like that, she would be long dead.  Sarah was a  more even match, but Sonora still did not like the odds.  She struggled back to her feet and sent a blazing ball of fire at Sarah’s head.  The spell hit the warlock enough to cause her to stumble and knock her hood loose.  Cascading brown hair fell down around a still beautiful face, and in an instant, she knew this warlock for who she was.

“No!  How could you?!” Sonora screamed at her.

“I did what I had to do,” she replied coldly.  “I am an outsider no more!”  Another spell came flying at Sonora, and she pushed herself to the side; it took effort, since the ache in her chest still caused her to lean over, panting.  She could not do this alone.  She flew at Aleron, landing on her knees next to him.  “Leave him!” Sarah shouted at her, launching an attack that sent Sonora tumbling away from him.

She felt sore all over, but struggled to her knees again, this time preparing a shield she hoped would last long enough for her to get back to Aleron.  Sarah continued to cast shadows at her, but Sonora gratefully noticed that they were being absorbed by her shield for now.  She sent another fireball in Sarah’s direction, catching her hand this time and causing the woman to curse.

“Aleron!” Sonora cried desperately, finally reaching him.  “You must wake up!” She felt as though she were talking to an empty shell; Aleron was lost somewhere in a memory.  She grabbed his shoulders, grunting with the effort.  “Aleron!  ALERON!  ARCIS IS DEAD!”

A voice far away called his name.  He could not leave his daughter; could not let her suffer alone!  He turned back to Arcis, but while he had been distracted, she had fallen and now lay still.  The voice spoke to him again.  Arcis is dead, the voice repeated. But I am not!

It was the same thing he had heard from another female voice.  He remembered his wife, turning away from him in anger and slamming the door behind her as she disappeared forever.  And then he remembered the imprisonment, and Sonora, and Markus.

“What have you done?!” Aleron shouted in rage as his mind returned to the present.  He surveyed the scene.  Sonora lay next to him, a weak shield protecting her as she clutched her chest.  A true-to-life nightmare stood in front of him; Sonora may not have known what to call him, but Aleron did—an Eredar warlock, straight from the pit of hell and the Burning Legion—and at his side—

“Sarah!  What are you doing here?  Has he taken you prisoner, as well?”

“No, husband.  I am not a captive, but a servant.”  Aleron looked at her in shock, some piece of his heart breaking at the sight of his wife pledging her loyalty to this demon.

“Why, Sarah?” he asked weakly.

“You and Arcis were always together.  The more she came into her power, the less I mattered.  And then she died, and you spent every waking minute in your tower, every day swearing you were close to finding those responsible, and every night leaving me alone!  Markus offered me what I really wanted—we are equals at last, you and I.”

“Enough!” the Eredar bellowed.  “This ends now!  Finish her!”  Aleron watched in amazement as his wife—the woman he had loved because she was strong and stable and normal—channeled a spell that would certainly mean death for the weakened draenei.  Aleron had only a moment to act, but the choice was clear.  She was not the woman he had pledged his life to; this was a monster.

He felt the ground between them shake, and anticipated the spell before the dark runes appeared at Sonora’s feet.  He leapt for her, pushing her off of the circle of death forming below and taking the full brunt of the attack.  The pain writhed within him, but he had built up a tolerance to this in the year of his captivity, and he turned to face the surprised warlock.

Aleron used Sarah’s distraction to his advantage, muttering a few words that conjured a ball that was not frost nor fire, but some unlikely combination of the two.  He watched in agony as it hit her fiercely in the chest.  The searing cold burned her from the inside out, and she collapsed as the warring elements within her combusted.  Aleron looked away, unwilling to watch her die.

UK Frostfire

Sonora stood slowly, shocked at what had just taken place and feeling Aleron’s heartbreak washing over him in waves.  Then she noticed Markus muttering, and inhaled sharply.

“Aleron,” she said quietly.  He understood, and looked up in time to deflect the spell the demon warlock sent at him.  But a curse followed, and the sorrow he already felt welled up inside of him so great it pained him.  It threatened to engulf him entirely, and he warred against the internal agony.

He fought through the curse and cast a counterspell at the warlock, followed by a series of bolts similar to the one he used against Sarah.  A few of them landed well; Aleron noticed the Eredar cringe as his arm began to bleed.

The warlock began to rain fire down upon the two, and Sonora’s shield weakened and broke.  Aleron spoke a word that interrupted their attacker, but it would not last against the stronger magician’s resistances.  Aleron sighed deeply, and Sonora looked closely at him.  He was still weak; this man who had been too weak to safely portal them away was fighting the battle for their lives.

And then she realized—part of his strength was within her.  They had siphoned it from him and given it to her.  There was only one way to survive Markus—she must give it back.  Sonora placed her hand on Aleron’s shoulder as he stood before the warlock and pictured the magic flowing through her and into him.  Her experience was not enough to fight this demon, but his was.  If she could give him strength…

Suddenly Aleron felt warmth wash over him, and felt Sonora’s hand.  “It is the only way,” she said quietly, before he could protest.

“But how?”

“The Light,” she stated simply.  What it had taken the warlocks months to perfect, the Light could do in a single act of wisdom and sacrifice.  Sonora and Aleron had become two strands bound together by fear, torture, hope, persistence, and ultimately Light.

With renewed vigor, Aleron turned to face the warlock.  “You have torn apart my family, Markus.  You have left only me, and that is where you have erred!”  Spurred on by the pain of his losses and Sonora’s faithful spirit, Aleron began to hurl spell after spell at the warlock at a speed even he could barely comprehend.  The two exchanged attacks, until finally, Aleron focused his energy on a powerful blast that caused the Eredar to fall back, breathing with some difficulty and blood dripping from several wounds.

Aleron himself had not been spared a few battle scars.  A gash across his face dripped blood into his mouth that he spat onto the ground.  His hand burned where he had been seared by one of the warlock’s spells, and his head throbbed with pain he couldn’t place.

But Sonora had suffered most.  The amount of energy she used channeling her own power into Aleron had weakened her considerably, and she had already been attacked several times that day herself.  She felt dizzy and weak, and stumbled a little.

Feeling her hand slacken, Aleron turned to look at her.  “Sonora, are you okay?”

“I feel weak,” she replied honestly.  “I do not know how much I have left to give.”

A dark laugh replied,  “You have nothing to give.  Arcis was a powerful mage; she would have been great within the ranks of the Shadow Council, and greater still as a part of the Legion!  But she gave her loyalty to her father, and it left her a weak, simple-minded fool.  You have a way of doing that to people, Aleron.”

Too late, Aleron noticed Markus’s spellwork.  “No!” he shouted, putting himself between them.  But the curse had already taken effect.  Sonora lay on the ground, rocking as if trying to comfort herself.  The pain washed over her in waves she couldn’t bear.

Aleron knelt beside her, cradling her head as she whimpered.  Then slowly, the whimpering stopped.  Her breathing came in shallow gasps, and she turned unusually sunken eyes to him.  “He is wrong about you, Aleron,” she said in a voice barely above a whisper.  “Arcis was strong and faithful because of you.”

“Sonora, you have been so brave,” Aleron said, tears welling up unexpectedly at this draenei who had become as much daughter as friend.

“You made me brave,” she replied softly.  “Do not blame yourself, my friend.  I am proud of you, as Arcis must have been.”  She lifted feeble fingers and touched the center of his chest.  Light glowed at her fingertips.  “The Light leads us down paths that are difficult to follow, but follow them we must.  May the Light bless you; may the Naaru grant you their gift. Be strong, Aleron; be strong for Arcis…and for me.”  A rune appeared above Sonora’s face, and Aleron knew that this was nothing arcane—this was a magic older and stronger than either one of them.  The light from her fingers warmed him.  He felt stronger than before, and fully replenished.  He watched as Sonora took a final breath and collapsed in his arms.

He stood and turned to Markus, scowling in anger and hatred at the injustice this one evil soul had wrought upon his life.  Aleron began attacking, fireball after fireball coursed from his fingers, entwined with the light Sonora’s gift had bestowed within him.  The glow from the fire he swirled in his hands reflected on the angry tears streaming down his face.

Where his spells alone had injured the Eredar, the light within him now burned the warlock, and he grimaced at the hot white pain each blessed spell carried into his skin.  He fell to his knees, trying to fend off the mage’s righteous fury.

“Help me!” Markus said, casting a spell into the ground.  Aleron waited for something to happen, but the earth remained still.  The warlocks in the circle stepped back, doubtful and afraid.

“NO!” the demon shrieked.  “Do not abandon me!”  He pounded on the ground in a futile display of desperation.

“This ends now.”  Aleron now stood above the quivering, injured beast.  He cast a spell that was not his own; it came from somewhere within him, from the pieces of Arcis and Sonora tucked away in his soul.  He placed his hands upon the warlock’s back as light flowed through them.  Where the light touched, the Eredar burned.

“No!  This cannot be!” cried the smoldering demon.  Several moments later, what was left of the monster he knew as Markus lay shriveled on the ground, an empty husk of ash.

Fingers of sunlight curled over the horizon as day broke.  Aleron took a deep breath, not moving for several seconds as the myriad emotions of everything that had just happened passed over him.  He had no one to go home to, and no foe to chase.  His heart felt like a rock thudding within him; solid and unmoving.  He had known true loyalty and love, and it had disappeared like a vapor.

But a small warmth stirred within him, and he found comfort in it.  He tucked it away.  He must not be weak; they had trusted him with themselves, and he must be strong for them.  He was injured and worn; he would allow himself some rest, as the warlocks had all scattered with the death of their master.

***

When he awoke, it was dusk and the area remained abandoned.   Perhaps he would seek out the Kirin Tor; perhaps they would let him come back to Dalaran.  But right now, a task remained, one that broke his heart.

Aleron sighed deeply, picturing Shattrath City in his head, and vanished.

THE END

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