Tag Archives: WoW lore

A Cord of Two Strands–Part 1

My short story for Blizzard’s creative writing competition didn’t make the cut, but my mageboy has encouraged me to share it anyway.  Because it’s pretty long, I’m going to post it here in parts.  This, then; is Part 1

A Successful Experiement

Runes hung in the air, glowing brightly.  Each one was a different shape; a different spell—but all of them were incomplete.  The fingers tracing them looked worn, but flew across the space with deceptive speed.  Lips moved in barely whispered incantations and many uttered curses.

One of the runes glistened for a minute, then a sound like a small explosion echoed through the chamber, followed by a violent curse from its creator.

A door creaked and a voice bellowed from behind it, “Keep it down in there, Your Highness!”  Then came a short snicker drowned by the slamming of the door.

A tall female with pale blue skin and hooves sat next to a fountain, looking incredibly lost.  “Diplomacy,” her father had said, “is an important part of our life now.  As a people, we have adjusted to many changes with this new alliance with the humans, gnomes, dwarves, and elves of Azeroth and Kalimdor.  Forging these bonds is imperative to your adult life.”  Faced with her father’s insistence, Sonora reluctantly agreed to a trip to the human capital of Stormwind.  She felt like an oddity here; many of these humans were unfamiliar with her kind, and looked at her strangely.

Just when she was sure she could take no more, her escort finally arrived.  A strikingly tall human, he introduced himself as Markus.  Brown hair and blue eyes, Sonora found him not unattractive.  “Sonora, I presume?” he said with a smile as he extended a hand, and she placed her hand in his.  “Peter at the Stormwind Visitors Center sent me to welcome you to Stormwind and show you around.  It is very nice to meet you.”

“The pleasure is mine, sir,” she said in her soft voice as he closed his fingers around hers and assisted her to her feet.

“Oh, please call me Markus,” he replied with another smile.  Her blue cheeks flushed slightly purple.  This blush did not escape Markus’s attention, and he grinned inwardly with delight.  She was just what he had been looking for.

Morning came, and he could sense the building waking up around him.  Today would be another day they could torture him.  For 475 days he had been in this room that served as his cell; days without magic that crawled by through his one dim window.

The guard outside his door handed him a small mug of water and a plate with gruel and a piece of hard bread.  Immediately after his capture, he had refused to eat, but found that this only made the torture more painful.  Using the bread as a makeshift spoon, he forced the tasteless mush into his mouth.  When it was gone, he tore at the bread with his teeth and sipped the water to help him swallow.

When he finished, he threw the plate at the door and put the mug next to the straw and joke of a blanket that served as his bed.  Several minutes later, a familiar voice called to him.  “Good morning, Ultraking,” the female voice sneered.

“I am more noble than you will ever be,” he growled back at her.

“That may well be true,” the voice replied from under a dark hood. “But this is my palace.  You would be wise to watch your manners.”

The captive clenched his jaw, and the tall elf in front of him took it as a sign of acquiescence.  She began to cast, her voice low and guttural.  The crown of inky black light above his head—serving as both the mind-control spell that kept him from blasting his way out and the source of his nickname—began to swell and brighten.  He braced himself, knowing what would come next.  Her shorter partner withdrew a trembling orb from her robe, and the circle of darkness above his head dropped down into his body.  He writhed in pain.  The first time they had tried this, and several times after, he had been forced to his knees and blacked out.  He now knew to force his body to relax as much as possible, though he clenched his teeth tightly against the burning swell within him.  After several agonizing moments, a stream of light tore from the center of his body and whipped to the orb with frightening speed.  The searing pain was gone, but it had been replaced with the feeling that his soul was being ripped from his body.  They had certainly gotten better at this, he noted with some difficulty.

Finally, when the orb had been filled, the draining ceased.  Impacted by the sudden stop, he fell to his knees.  He looked up at the orb, and grimaced with concern.  It was completely unclouded; they had extracted his magic without infusing any of their own.  He wanted to believe that they would now release him, but he knew better.  The thought of what they planned to do with his concentrated power concerned him; there were many ways he could think to use it, none good.

Click here to go on to Part 2: An Introduction.

Click here to go to an index of all the parts.


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A New Achievement

No, I didn’t get Heroic: Glory of the Raider, and to be honest, I probably never will (we have a group of achievement-haters in our guild).  I don’t have a cool drake or neat title, but this sense of accomplishment is a lot greater than even my favorite achievements (Ambermist Jenkins, c’mon, you know you love it).

I finished a 9.9 thousand word short story.

Okay, yes, I call myself a writer, and I’ve certainly written things.  But that’s all I’ve ever done.  A few poems here; fragments of novel ideas there; a few stories that barely reached three pages, but never have I written anything to this magnitude.  What could have possibly motivated me to finish such a glorious feat in a young (shut up, all you 16-year-old prodigies) writer’s career?  I’m glad you asked, my friend:  Blizzard’s Creative Writing Contest.

Write a story about something I know inside and out?  Put myself in my character’s shoes and create art with it?  Relate to the characters in novels by Christie Golden and Richard Knaak, the pages of which I have turned so often they are worn from use and tears?  OF COURSE I WILL!

The awesome prizes aside (first prize being a trip to Blizzard to meet the writers of our favorite MMO and related franchises AND a hot, personal Frostmourne), this gave me a chance to put away my pretentious ideas stemming from the three years I worked towards the English Lit degree I never finished and get in touch with who I am as a writer.  I finally discovered what they always told me but I never believed: write from what you know.

The competition is fierce; I’ve read several excerpts from competitors and almost lost the resolve to finish my own tale, but with constant encouragement from my mageboy husband and a real love of the story I wrote, I typed out THE END about two weeks ago.  After that, it was read after read, cutting back dry dialogue here, choosing better words there, and getting input from other WoW lore fanatics.  Yesterday I submitted A Cord of Two Strands for better or for worse.

I don’t know if I even have a chance at winning, though I hope I do.  But I don’t need to be number one on progression; knowing that I wrote from that really cool point of inspiration inside of me and seeing my work completed is pretty darn satisfying.

That said, wish me luck!

And, of course, here’s an excerpt from my entry, A Cord of Two Strands:

“I expected it would be painful,” Aleron said.  “How do you feel now?”

“Okay, but I feel strange.  I—I feel as though I am shaking on the inside,” she said, blushing slightly at how absurd it sounded.  Aleron studied her for a few moments, lost in thought.  Suddenly, he glanced furtively around the room, then finally looked down at the straw of the makeshift bed upon which they sat.  Plucking out a small handful, he looked again at the draenei.

“Hold out your hand,” he directed.  She held out her hand dutifully, and he placed the straw inside her palm.  “Close your eyes, and try to push that feeling out of you.”  At her puzzled expression, he prompted her again, “Go on.”

“I am too tired for games,” she replied.

“Try.  You must do this,” he said fiercely, the first real spark of life Sonora had seen shining in his eyes.  Prompted by the strength of his response, Sonora tried again.  Closing her eyes, she tried to turn her focus inside herself.  She felt the shaking, like a reverberation within her.  She pushed against it with her mind, and was shocked when it felt as though it were following her focus.  Doubling her efforts, she pushed against it further, forcing it into her outstretched arm.  The feeling was so intense, she knew her arm must be shaking wildly, but she continued until she felt as though a blast of it went through her fingers.  The vibration seemed to settle back into her body, although not as strongly.  “My hand is warm,” she noticed aloud.  She was surprised to hear Aleron chuckling.

“Open your eyes,” he instructed proudly.  She did, and was shocked to see the straw in her fingers smoldering, smoke curling up above her hand.  The straw was clearly burnt in places, like the first breaths of a fire had passed over it.

“What have I done?” she said in awe.

“You have proven that you might be our way out of here!”

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Honestly Surprised (or, “Holy Crap, Someone Read My Blog!”)

I’m a shameless narcissist (I have a theory that most bloggers contain a fragment of this trait somewhere in their psyche), and therefore check my blog stats at least, oh, 15 times a day?  Most of the referring links I recognize, but when Destructive Reach popped up in the list today, I was curious.

In a surprise turn of events, I have received an award! This award is presented as follows:

“This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant.”

Brilliant is a lovely word, and one I could grow accustomed to! Thank you, Saresa; I’m honored.

There is a catch. To fully receive this award and not seem like a complete jerk, one is held to a few responsibilities:

1. When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.
2. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.
3. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

Seven Brilliant Blogs
I only read a few blogs with any sort of regularity, so below is a mixture of blogs I love and why I read them, as well as new ones that I was drawn to after Googling “World of Warcraft blog” (and in case you were wondering, that’s A LOT of blogs).  I know a few of these bloggers are unlikely to participate in our little game, but that’s okay, I like them anyway.

Arcane Brilliance This was the very first blog that came to mind. Yes, I know it’s a function of WoW Insider, but in my opinion, it is the most knowledgeable and fun-to-read blog on the site. Christian’s wit is matched only by his hatred of warlocks (sorry Saresa!) and apparently, Spirit as a mage stat.

Project Lore Although Project Lore is an entity in and of itself, I read several of their blog posts today. I find it refreshing that they’re using it as a medium to bring forth issues that don’t necessarily come up in a lot of other WoW blogs, like “Are Casual Guilds Struggling?” (I actually posted, misspelling “border” to throw them off the scent…).

LoreCrafted Today was the very first time I’d even seen this, and I can tell you now, it will become a favorite. I am a lore nerd to the extreme. I play the games, read all the books, and even write fanfic. This blog was written for me, whether the folks at LoreCrafted realize it or not.

World of Warcraft Wanderings I’d been sifting through quite a few blogs by the time I hit on Kim Dowd’s. I like how she successfully presents a slice-of-life WoW experience without sounding trite or boring. I especially appreciate her post “Slain by Puppy Dog Eyes,” as I have also been victim to the “we could really use a healer…” and “could you respec for the run?” whispers on many heroics and 10-mans.

The Egotistical Priest I’ll admit it, I almost didn’t want to link this one. It puts my poor little blog to shame, but my pride aside, it really is an awesome resource for all things WoW. I especially love “The Essential Ego” collection. YES, please, for the love of all things holy (like healers…) LRN2AGGRO. If you make it to level 80 and you don’t understand aggro mechanics, you fail. Thank you for addressing that, Vonya; it made me cluck happily in that silly way moonkin do.

WoWGrrl I have run across this blog a few times when searching for random things, and it’s a great blend of information and random crap that will make you giggle.  Her video about using the Traveller’s Tundra Mammoth to send your fellow faction members to their death is genius, I highly recommend it and will certainly be trying it with my fiancee’s mage soon.

Wrath of the Boomkin I couldn’t possibly finish this list without mentioning Boomdaddy. He has been a faithful reader over the past couple of months as I’ve gotten my blogging feet wet, and I appreciate that he shares my MOAR DPS hunger. The other night he posted about his guild’s first 2 night Naxx clear, and I found myself cheering for their progress.

Ambermist: 10 Things About Me You  Never Thought You’d Want to Know and Probably Still Don’t

1.  I secretly (well, not anymore) hated when my fiancee’s (and now mine, so don’t go burning down my house) friend joined the guild back in Burning Crusade.  He’s a theorycrafter and an amazing player.  And he came in as a resto druid and my ARCHNEMESIS.  But really, he’s awesome, I’m just jealous.

2.  I practically survive on Diet Pepsi.  If I ever end up in the hospital, someone needs to instruct the doctors to hook up an IV with the light, bubbly concoction.  It will sustain me.

3.  My daughter is hilarious AND annoying.  But she’s 4, and it comes with the territory.

4.  I have a pet turtle on Facebook named for our guild master.

5.  I’m getting married in 9 days.  Expect me not to post for a week afterward.  I will be exploring an entirely different “raid” alone with Ultraking in an isolated cabin.

6.  My 9.5 month old son watches TV.  The only way to stop him from watching it is to turn it off, and the rest of the house protests if I do that.  He also likes to throw things and thinks wires are cool (a dangerous thing in our house that has made babyproofing a nightmare).  He will be a fine gamer.

7.  I keep more things in my WoW bank than I have money in the real world.  I kept my Light’s Justice from Karazhan (first raid loot I ever received!), and I still have Aran’s Soothing Sapphire because it has my son’s name in it (yes, my son’s name is really Aran), along with all of my Tier 6.

8. We still haven’t bought curtains for some of our windows, and we’ve been in this house since June. I keep meaning to, but I never think of it when I’m in the store. In a related note, please stop spying on us. We see you.

9. There are a few people in my guild that absolutely drive me up the wall, and at least a few of them know who they are. I suppose that’s natural, but it feels good to say it anyway.

10. I love The Guild. This requires no explanation, it simply is.

Having fulfilled my contractual obligations upon accepting this award, I want to thank my fellow bloggers, and let you all know that I have a severe case of carpal tunnel and think I should go lie down.


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