The Fall of The Undercity: A WoW Story

The missive was blunt enough:
Call to arms. Champions needed in defense of The Undercity. Convene in Orgrimmar.

Ranger-Captain Toriah Sunstorm tucked the slip of paper back into her belt before the warm Durotar winds could snatch it away. The dexterity in her fingers weren’t quite at a hundred percent, but at least her limp was completely eliminated. Whatever pain was leftover, she could bear it. There was simply no more time to be on the sidelines. The Alliance were marching on Sylvanas and The Undercity; her skills would be needed. Not for any loyalty she felt toward the former ranger-general, of course. This assault was all her own doing. No, as usual, Toriah marched to battle because she knew there were civilians to save and friends to help. Continue reading

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The Return (Part III): A WoW Story

Read Part I and Part II.

Leva Dawnbreeze was the first to move when she realized her patient was no longer there. Whatever took Toriah left no marks on the floor or walls. All that remained was the naaru remnant, lying at the very edge of the Sunwell. Its light still pulsed, softly and faintly, as if it were a sentient creature in the middle of deep thought. Continue reading

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The Return (Part II): A WoW Story

Read The Return (Part I) here.

Halduron drew Toriah tighter into his arms while she cried, the months of disappointment and despair finally coming to a head. Outside, the last glimpses of golden summer sunlight faded away. A swift breeze picked up in the cooling air. Enchanted lamps around the room flickered to life on their own as darkness closed, filling the office with the violet-tinged glow of arcane flames. Outshining it all, however, was a warm light that emanated from somewhere above their heads. Continue reading

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The Return (Part I): A WoW Story

A series of sharp knocks rattled the door. Gently, slowly, Toriah eased herself from the chair. It would have been easier to just shout, of course. There would be no need for the crutches and painful hobbling. Just sitting back and letting things come to her— as they had been for the past several months. No, she decided; she had been sitting far too long. She felt restless today. Something indiscernible, just beneath the shimmering surface of the summer heat, made her skin prickle and caused the tips of her ears to itch.

Continue reading

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(Wise Saying Goes Here)

Yesterday morning, I woke up to an email to the guild’s raid team that simply said our friend and guildmate wouldn’t be raiding with us tonight. Nothing more. Nothing less. Didn’t think much of it at the time because people need to duck out all the time due to life responsibilities and whatnot. But, it did strike me as odd that the email came from my husband, The Orc, rather than our friend.

Our friend is vocal, straightforward, self-deprecatingly funny, and doesn’t hesitate to communicate about anything, especially things Warcraft related. For him to pass along the message through another person is out of character for him. When I asked The Orc later on after work, he had few answers, too, as our friend had not disclosed any details— only that he “couldn’t explain now.”

That’s when all of the warning klaxons went off in my head. Something was terribly wrong. I thought immediately of his wife and little boy. My mind rushed to worst-case scenarios, praying all the while that our friend and his family were okay. After the dinner rush had subsided and kids were in bed, I got to my computer ASAP and sent our friend a quick email. “Just saying hi. Hope you and everyone over there are alright. We miss you and we’re thinking about you. Big internet hugs!!”

I didn’t raid very well last night. In fact, it didn’t seem like anyone did. We wiped on bosses we had on farm. We even wiped on trash. Sure, we laughed about it but everything seemed… Off. Part of me wrote it off on the lingering effects of my two-week cold.

As I wrapped up the evening with my pre-bedtime pump session, I scrolled through Facebook, simultaneously searching and not searching. And there it was. A status update from my friend’s wife with a million comments attached to it.

It’s a hell of a thing to find out your friend couldn’t make it to raid night because his brother had died in a car accident that morning.

There’s no way to describe the chasm that seemed to open up inside when I read those words. I could hear the pump’s steady rhythm— a direct opposite of the uneven, staccato of my breath struggling to not become sobs or racking coughs. When The Orc came up for bed, I couldn’t even tell him right out.

I know why he couldn’t make raid tonight.
His brother.
What happened?

Car accident. A bad one. Really bad.
Is he okay?
Is he…?

I have no wise sayings to offer. No wisdom, no inspirational stuff. Just… Hug someone. Tell someone you love that you do, in fact, love them a lot. Phone up a friend, family member, someone, anyone. Our lives are finite and fleeting, but not without meaning… We are not without substance. It’s up to us to determine what that substance will be, however.

Aside from leaving a huge hole in the hearts of those who knew him, my friend’s brother leaves behind a wife and two very young sons. They could use your help.

Just for you <3

Thanks, love, and big internet hugs…

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The Best Laid Plans

I thought I had everything figured out.

That’s how these stories always start. The thing is, I thought I’d accounted for Murphy’s Law, too. “How can things go wrong?” I’d ask myself, and I’d try to work that into the plans, as well. Then I’d ask, “How can things go even more wrong?” and go from there. I’m no stranger to Murphy’s Law and the ways it’s affected my entire life.

On Tuesday, around midday, things got a lot stranger than I ever could have accounted for. Ever.

Monday evening at the library was busy, but no worse than usual, really. It’s summer after all. This is our busy season. It’s nothing I haven’t faced since June, if not earlier. So, when Tuesday morning rolled around, I was ready to tackle the errands I had piled in front of me. Time was running out, rapidly hurdling toward the September 17th due date the doctors had given us for the Broodling. My husband and I told ourselves that we’d have everything done by mid-August by the latest. We’d learn from last time when our daughter was born seventeen days early.

This pregnancy had been anything but easy from the get-go, but we managed. I kept spotting past the first trimester. When the doctors told us there might be something wrong with our son’s heart, we took it in stride and kept marching forward. And when the doctors told me I might have complications with the afterbirth, we took that in stride, too. We were going to get through this: one day, one ultrasound, one scan, one checkup at a time.

In fact, I was on the phone with my OB’s office, waiting to schedule an MRI to scan the placenta and contemplating the next week’s dinners for the grocery list on Tuesday around midday while I waited. Then I felt that eerie leakage of fluids. And it wasn’t just a tiny bit.

It was a lot.

If it stopped, then it was no big deal, really. That was my understanding of it. I moved to go upstairs and get changed; that’s when it kept leaking. Sure enough, my water had broken. Just a day shy of 32 weeks of the pregnancy.

You win again, Murphy’s Law. You win.

So, long story short, I’m staying here in the hospital’s special care OB ward, trying to keep the Broodling inside for another two weeks. While the water breaking at 32 weeks isn’t the worst that could happen to the Broodling, those extra two weeks to get to 34 weeks is the real key. I’m not on formal bedrest, but they want me to minimize movement because further agitating the ruptured sac is just bad juju, obviously. If the contractions and labor start up again, however, they’re gonna have to stick me back on the IV tree, which is literally a drag.

And, as with everything else in this pregnancy, we’re going to take it one day at a time, and we’re going to take it in stride. So, keep your fingers crossed. We’ll see where this strange turn of events will take us this time.

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Another Gamer Parent Profile!

I can’t keep my nose from running for a few seconds at a time, so I’ll keep this short n’ sweet.

Ken, also known as Kanter of the blog “MMO One Night a Week” and the World of Warcraft/Twitter communities, was kind enough to talk to me about his experiences as a gamer parent and how gaming has affected his family for the month of June. You can find the profile through this handy link here, or just mosey on over to the Gamer Parent Initiative pages at the nav bar up top!

Tune in next month for my interview with Heather the “Mominatrix!”

Also, Ken put forth the idea of making my own Gamer Parent profile, but according to the questions of my fellow interviewees! If you’re interested, let me know or him know and we can get it set up. Not sure if you all wanna hear about me, though… I mean, this is my blog after all and y’all have to put up with my yammering all the time anyway!

Hate to type and run but I really need to catch my nose. I’m just glad I’m not a podcaster because, good Heavens, my throat feels much worse than my sinuses are acting.

Hope your summer is going better than mine! Happy hunting, everyone!

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Gamer Parent Profiles and Miscellaneous Things

I’ve been slacking. Ever since I finished up “30 Days of Character Development,” the only time I’ve had for the blog is getting the profiles up each month for the Gamer Parent Initiative.

The third one just went up today.

I mean, sure, I could blame it on the fatigue and general “I feel like crap”-ness of the pregnancy. Seriously— feels like all I do is eat and make sure I stay hydrated so that other weird things don’t happen. And they tell you not to stress because that just exacerbates the weird things but do you know how hard it is NOT to stress about the weird things when they’re happening to your body (and, by association, to the Broodling) and you have no real idea why (which, by the way, adds to the stress)?!

Thankfully, the fatigue often has a way of flipping that switch in your head, saying, “Okay, that’s enough out of you for now!” and you either forget, get distracted, and/or fall asleep.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, right— the Gamer Parent Profiles. Thanks to a shrewd observation by Ken (aka Kanter), who is also the Gamer Parent for next month’s profile, I had absolutely no idea that, if people aren’t paying attention to my Twitter feed, they have no idea that the profiles go up or even exist! Especially so if they rely on the RSS feed. So, on his suggestion, I’ll make mini-posts to announce each profile each month!

Everyone wins!

I have, honestly, been meaning to get working on the continuation of Toriah’s story, especially now that I’ve seen the end to Mists of Pandaria myself and read the latest Warcraft novel, War Crimes. Every time I do, however, something else demands my attention and whatever brilliant idea I had gets lost. And it doesn’t matter if I write it down, because that piece of paper gets lost, too.

Apparently, pregnancy comes with a modifier for the “Scatterbrained” debuff. I’m totally claiming that.

Oh, in case you’ve missed the previous profiles, here are links! (See, told you that whole scatterbrain thing is worse now than it was!)
March: Esmeralda Sky
April: Hend
May: Zuulzilla

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30 Days of Character Development: Day 30— The Grand Finale

The Prompt: And finally: Write a letter to your character, from yourself.

Well met, Toriah.

To think that I created you out of reluctance, a throwaway alt that wouldn’t last after others got bored with their Horde characters.

Instead, you prevailed and fought hard to become someone whose story I wanted to craft. You’ve been on so many adventures, seen so many things—yet, amazingly, your core values seem to have remained intact. You’re much braver than I, willing to face down even your superiors to state what you believe to be right.

In all honesty, you live your life and I just record it all. You’re, quite literally, a hero in my books. Yes, you have killed, but only when you had to. You’ve saved so many lives beyond that, regardless of their race, species, affiliation, or level of sentience. What you’ve faced so far is just the beginning. There’s so much more in store— some of it positive, some negative, and some might even make you question your loyalty to those closest to you.

Every time something seems to break you down, you get reforged into something greater, better, stronger. I suppose that is the fate of an adventurer like you. You have your flaws, of course, but you don’t let that get in the way of your work. Yes, you are outspoken and smart-mouthed. You demand that someone prove themselves to you before you give them your respect, even if it gets you in trouble. Sometimes you don’t always think things through before you jump in. I’ve given you some good people to help keep you in line for those days when you aren’t quite perfect. None of us are, after all.

And, yes, you do get cocky. It’s understandable in someone who’s good at her job, but you should keep that scar from Karazhan in mind, in the very least. You always have something to learn and you are far from the best. Oh, and would it kill you to let a couple of the people in your life know just how much they mean to you?

Keep chasing that horizon. I know, one day, you may want to take a break from it all. Nothing permanent, of course, but just something that helps you regain your wits and senses until you’re ready to come back. Even the greatest weapons of war must be take time for maintenance before they are ready to fight again.

You tell me what the next chapter of your story is, Toriah, and I’ll write it.

Al’diel shalah.

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30 Days of Character Development: Day 29

The Prompt: How does your character smell? Do they wear perfume or cologne?

On a good day, Toriah smells clean. No sweat, dirt, mud, blood, goo, slime, or other unsavory stenches from various creatures. It’s usually one of those days when she has to look presentable and has to sit down with dignitaries or the sort.

On a very good day, Toriah might look like a battlefield vomited all over her but she manages to still smell somewhat clean. Call it practiced skill, the ability to regulate one’s body despite the environment. Besides, any good hunter knows that even the barest whiff of sweat can give you away. Letting your body run rampant and sweat buckets because of battle or nerves is messy and just plain irresponsible.

To that end, NO PERFUME. Some of her self-care products might come with certain scents due to the ingredients used to clean away dirt and such, but she doesn’t go out of her way to buy smelly water and douse herself in it. She has better things to spend her gold pieces upon. Also, let’s not forget those jerks at Crown Chemical Company. Every single Love is in the Air Festival, they try to pass their blight as “perfume.” It’s pure evil. It even smells like evil. No, Toriah knows better.


… Creep.

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