Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dialect coach.

Okay - so this is a funny coincidence. Last night in guild Vent, I detected an accent that is very uncommon, from the area in question from my barfing beer mug story-- and sure enough, this guildmate has been to that pub many times, and was from that area. I know my accents, at least US ones. 

According to a PBS story, researchers detect or classify the US dialects from three to twenty-four. Three? No way. There are probably twenty-four distinct dialects in the state of Texas alone. And does this count immigrants, and their interpretation of English? And heaven knows I am such a hybrid, having lived from coast-to-coast and everywhere in between, I think any accent has been washed away to generic "woman voice #3.A/456." I know sometimes I've laughed too loud, or asked someone to repeat themselves (can't hear them over the awesomeness), and sometimes my mic has been screwy. I can mumble sometimes, and have been accused of forgetting that there are vowels in the world (Hawaiian and Samoan names are tough ones for me).

In any case, if you get me on Vent, I'll try to be polite. But mostly I'm just listening for you to tell me when to Hero. Unless of course, like last night, the dungeon leader allowed me to think for myself.

Heard that loud and clear.

No regrets.

Nothing like a good old-fashioned night fight...
I have no regrets about not studying for the 4.3 Patch--last night was a blast. Got through most of the new dungeons easy-breezy, and wasn't too distracted by how beautiful they are. I can see how they can become tiresome later, but that is always the way, and not my problem now. Plenty of new content to learn and play. If I have any regrets at all it may be that I did play grasshopper a bit too much when others were being ants, but really, not sure it matters. I don't like to farm, and making a lot of gold doesn't appear to be a big priority for me. I do wish I could have glammed up with some new things I bought, but ya know? In time. It's all about the pacing for me. 

But, thought it was time to review the patch notes. These are the items that are important to my shaman, Mataoka "Please call me Matty and No I won't be an Elemental Shaman but Might Try to Heal You," Zeptepi the Confused Holy/Shadow Priest, Luperci the Reluctant Paladin, Haanta the Hillbilly Huntress, and Magadora "the Gas Tank" Mage. 

Some love:

This I probably should have known:

Wind Shear's base cooldown has been adjusted to 15 seconds, up from 6 seconds.
Oops. That would have come in handy during a certain rainbow dinner party fight.

Oh, guess I'm not so dumb after all: Mages

Official Hour of Twilight Patch Notes

Blood Diamonds: Dangit, Blizzard. Why'd you have to go and make access to the wealth so much like real life? And with pepper spray, too?

I'm already enhanced. 

Thank you RNGs: 

  • Zul'Gurub
    • Players now only have to kill two of the four initial dungeon bosses (High Priest Venoxis, Broodlord Mandokir, High Priestess Kilnara, and Zanzil) to face Jin'do the Godbreaker.
  • Zul'Aman
    • Players now only have to kill two of the four Troll avatars before they may face Hex Lord Malacrass.

And a few "What the hells?": (Did I even have these spells? What the heck have I been doing?!)

Paladins (I don't think I've ever understood my hammers from my seals...yikes.)

Oh, I know one little dwarf hunter who is going to be PISSED: The achievement Tol Barad Veteran now requires 25 victories in Tol Barad, down from 100.

Here is the cautionary tale: If you begin to grumble about the grind of the game, all you need to do is stop grinding. Goals are wonderful to have, but when they lose their original purpose, they cease to bring happiness. That's right, grasshopper. You just got fabled.

Yes, content of this post liberally borrowed from joystiq.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Aggressively passive.

Oh, the list of things I didn't do to prepare for 4.3 The Hour of Twilight.

  • No PTR
  • Didn't add up any justice points or valor points to see what or who needed what when or why
  • Haven't visited Mr. Robot in a while. He's like the bitchy fashion designer who tells you what to wear, but doesn't give you the credit card.
  • Didn't farm anything. Nothing. "Oh, Sir Orc? You want this node? Be my guest, after you..."
  • No gold, no materials, emptied out pockets on professions that will probably be worthless soon, like training to be a wheelwright or farrier. (Look them up--you have Google).
  • Didn't read notes again, didn't preview squat. I heard there is a rumor about a monkey with a fez, and if that is true, it will be mine. Oh will be mine.
That would be sho kewl.

Now, what did I do this past week, besides make too much stuffing, enough mashed potatoes to feed all of the Stormwind orphans, and scuttle under the darkness of a northern Pacific coast gloom? I leveled my beautiful mage, Magadora. I realized that when I get the "Explorer" title that may be a bit awkward, so I may have to change her name. In any case, between the heirlooms (shoulders, staff, and chest) and the WoW 7th Anniversary buff, she went from zero to hero in no time flat. She is now level...35? 36? Yes, she is a Fire/Arcane mage. Yes. I know it's wrong to use Fire. I have seen how slow it is, the casting time takes an eternity, especially after having Mataoka wield the weather like she owns it. But, dang: it makes me happy when I see a huge fireball hurtling toward its target, SKABOOM, down. So, on those boss fights, the little mage that could is usually top or second DPS. She is a slow boil, but look out when she's cooking. I have prepared myself to get plenty of gruff from other players, although it hasn't happened yet. So far I've heard "solid group," or "great group" and been asked to re-queue repeatedly.

But the real thanks goes to my partner-in-crime who has the patience of the world with me, and will just grind through older content just to get the cool mace or ax, no hidden agendas or demands.

I asked myself this week, concerning a few issues, "What do I want?" Do I want to be GREAT, or do I want to have fun? I feel that much of Azeroth and real life make these two mutually exclusive, but not always. I have known moments when greatness and fun unite. Maybe that's what we all do: define it for ourselves.

As far as raiding goes, I am not looking forward to LFR especially. As long as I get to bring my monkey, then I guess it'll be okay. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Picture is worth...

She is the Annie Leibovitz of screen shots (in my opinion): If you want to see how a screen shot is done, please go to the Tome of the Ancients blog and review her amazing portfolio project:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hey, that looks a lot like Ice Crown...


Getting my righteous geek on means having a marathon of the LOTR series this Thanksgiving weekend, and I realize once again the true lord and master of fantasy: Tolkien.*

*Although I am pretty sure he'd roll over in his grave if he imagined two troll-masked punks taking over a monastery...

Liv Tyler galloping like an angel away from the Nazgul like she owes them money across the New Zealand, err, Middle Earth countryside still gets my heart racing, even though I know how it ends. It never matters. The great stories ensnare us and don't set us free until it's over, and it's never really over.

Anyway-- can't wait:

Theme video: Get your swoon on.

A retraction, of sorts...

Those who know me know I am a moody [insert epitaph here] little shaman.

In my impulsive need to leave, I forgot one thing, one critical thing: I can be a *itch, too.

There is a reason why I kept hearing the Eric Cartman's song about Kyle's mom in my head for the past week, and it took a very good friend to reveal to me why. Ah, epiphanies. Such exquisitely sharp tools.

So-- I am sorry. I can be too much Walter and definitely not enough Dude. Thank you Donny for trying to help. I think, however, in that scenario, I played Maude.

Anyway, I have this fantasy scene in my head where I've recast The Big Lebowski with WoW players:

The Dude: Walter... what am I going to tell Lebowski? 
Walter Sobchak: I told that f**k down at the league office... who's in charge of scheduling? 
The Dude: Walter... 
Donny: Burkhalter. 
Walter Sobchak: I told that k***t a f*****g thousand times that I don't roll on Shabbos! 
The Dude: Walter... 
Donny: They already posted it. 
Walter Sobchak: Well they can f*****g unpost it*! 
The Dude: Who gives a shi*t! They're gonna kill that poor woman, man! What am I gonna tell Lebowski? 
Walter Sobchak: C'mon Dude, eventually she'll get sick of her little game and, you know, wander on back. 
Donny: How come you don't roll on Saturday, Walter? 
Walter Sobchak: I'm shomer shabbos. 
Donny: What's that? 
The Dude: Yeah, and in the meantime, what do I tell Lebowski? 
Walter Sobchak: Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. That means that I don't work, I don't drive a car, I don't f*****g ride in a car, I don't handle money, I don't turn on the oven, and I sure as sh*t *don't f*****g roll*! 
Donny: Sheesh. 
Walter Sobchak: Shomer shabbos! 
The Dude: Walter, how am I going to... 
Walter Sobchak: Shomer f******g shabbos. 
The Dude: Oh f**k it. I'm out of here. 
Walter Sobchak: Come on, Dude... 
[rolls his eyes at Donny] 
Walter Sobchak: F******g BABY... 
[Donny nods] 

I don't kill Rag on Shomer Shabbos. 

Theme song: Kyle's mom.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My my my my Garona...

So, not sure where I picked this quest up, and it took the spell power of Google to look it up*, but Rökkr received this lost libary book, and has been charged to return it tout suite. Now on this fine holiday weekend, there are Fridays to blacken and garages to purge, yet now I am compelled to go forth and figure this out:

Quest: Garona: A Study on Stealth and Treachery
It can be difficult to find the library, which can actually be accessed from either Dire Maul North or Dire Maul West. The simplest way is through Dire Maul North. After you enter the instance, go down the first ramp into the pit (full of ogres and dogs). To the left in the pit is a locked door which requires [Crescent Key] or 300 lockpicking. Through this door is a long hallway which leads into the Aethenaeum library (actually part of Dire Maul West). As you enter the library, Kildrath will be to the left (south), muttering about other lost books.
And apparently I will need a key:

Librarians are a tough crowd, so I'd better get this book back before the fines add up and deplete the guild bank. I'm sure Rökkr will stealth and put it in the night drop box without anyone being the wiser.

*Saw a Neil Gaiman tweet the other day that said something to the effect, "Google may give you millions of answers, but a librarian will give you the right one." Amen, Sir Gaiman.

Theme song: Sam Cooke/Wonderful World

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Drabble: Kings.

The Kurenei elder looked at her with crinkling wise eyes, and asked, “Liddle gurl, you vill tak car of dis talbuk, yes?” The tall draenei female resisted the urge to touch his face: too disrespectful. Her grandfather had always been cautious, worrying too much about everyone and everything. But he had kept them safe, and alive. The least she could would be to protect this talbuk from any harm. Family legends told of her grandfather fighting an army of orcs just to save her grandmother. Looking in his eyes, she believed this, and his protection lasting eternally. “Go on now,” he said.

I realize this isn't Father's Day. Lately, appreciating good fathers and grandfathers has been on my mind lately, mostly I guess because one of my best friend's since I was a girl lost her father a few months ago, and we are both able to talk about it now. The other is I read Vid's blog Manalicious regularly, and know her grandfather isn't well. 

For certain, there plenty of wayward fathers, neglectful fathers, and simply disinterested ones. I know someone whose own father was the worst kind of vagabond blackguard, who would steal from his young mother, and leave her to fend for herself time and again. But I also know of plenty of men who are wonderful fathers, who love their daughters and sons, who protect and care for their children. Those are the men who are truly kings. I am thankful for the men in my life, living and passed on, who have loved me and protected me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Well, if Felicia Day likes it...

I am fortunate enough to work with an IT guy who likes ME BEST (step off, peeps...ME - he likes ME). Actually, I kid, but me and my friends did get in a Facebook brawl over which one of us he favors. Again, pretty sure it's ME. In any case, as a huge favor, I asked him if he could help me with my very old Dell. It was having issues a year ago, and in the layers of grit and archeological technological mess, I forgot the password. I never forget passwords, but, oh well. He hacked into it lickity-split, and before you could say "troll-bait" the creaky old Dell was back up and running. He knows I play WoW, and even just thinking about stepping plate or leather soles back in Azeroth makes him froth at the mouth. He did share that he has really been enjoying Skyrim. Toodling around on Facebook tonight while frying bacon and making cornbread for the cornbread stuffing (suck it, Yankees--cornbread stuffing is the only stuffing worthy of this princess's lips), I saw that the lovely Felicia Day plays Skyrim, too. I should have known Sir Fixalot would have followed this lovely redhead into the fire. I am definitely going to check it out, too--it looks AHMAAAZINGGGG.

PS On the desktop, was a screen shot of Mataoka on her broom from last Hallow's End, 2010. Aw, she was so cute.

PPS What do you get a IT guy who doesn't drink Starbucks? Do you have Felicia's number?

Muse of Fire

O! for a Muse of fire, that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention...

Shakespeare/Henry V
Roaring Fires and Cheery Embers

Dragging Magadora through her initial road of trials, as many do under level 15, questing my through the narrative. Part of the entertainment, at least for me, is to go impulsively forward, technique be damned. I decided to make her a fire mage, because  I've seen plenty of frost mages, and heard that arcane was powerful, so why not do something a little different and maybe noob-challengeriffic? The wise advice was yes, fire was fun, but beware of incendiary quick deaths. 

As fall blusters and chills toward winter, leveling a fire mage sounds, well, warm. I may leave the questing behind for a while and start the dungeon grinds....but I'm not sure. And I know why.

I had crazy insomnia this morning, with this nagging sense of "What next?" For the first time in years, I felt I had no clear path ahead of me, which was both incredibly relieving and daunting. Since my shaman is in limbo in terms of raiding, and my tank is still fighting hoof-and-mouth disease, maybe I'll take my time with this mage, because playing with fire can be dangerous. 

When I feel like this I realize there are cures. Clean something. Throw things away. And cook. Luckily for me, this is the season of light, fire, and renewal. 

And I'm now on book two of the Game of Thrones series, finished my first attempt at a little longer story (please...would someone tell me that you didn't hate it? I know it's not great, but just a little love my way, please?), and all is well. Anyone got a match? If you want me to set any future manuscripts on fire, bring your own flint.

Master of Disguise

So, just poking around on, and apparently, my rogue had a sex change operation when I wasn't looking. I didn't think Azerothian Health Care covered this surgery:

 When I last left her, she was a freckle-faced, blue-haired Night Elf girl. I would say she was born that way, but pretty sure she wasn't. She did dabble in being a female human for a while, but that's about it. Now, of course, I would change her into a draenei, but we all know with those hooves she wouldn't be able to sneak up on anyone, but she would have a powerful kick.

Maybe when I have some time to play later she'll have gotten her stitches out and will be back to her cute blue self.

Monday, November 21, 2011

You can't fire me, I gquit.

On Sunday, I got some great news regarding my professional life, something I've worked very hard for for two years was realized. I almost didn't believe the results, I had convinced myself that I would still be on this journey longer; but no, success was mine.

Coincidentally, being a Sunday, I was wondering if that would be the night I would finally help my guild get Ragnaros. There was no calendar event listed, and even though our GM had been otherwise occupied, another guildmate had been posting raids, so I assumed that because none was posted there wasn't one.

This probably had nothing to do with what happened next, but the night before I had asked a guildie to stop bullying another one, politely, privately, and was told no, and then I was targeted in guildchat, openly. Since I was on my draenei mage at the time, which was created to help the guild, I decided enough was enough, and fast as my fingers could fly, typed gquit. Simple as that. I'm sure divorce lawyers would cry big tears if couples could do that. Now, the guildmate to whom I made my original request threw me an invitation back to the guild, not immediately, but after a fashion, maybe intended like a life-boy over the side of a cruise ship.

I declined. For some reason, just hanging out, trying to do a nice gesture for the guild, and being rebuked got to me. Even nice draeneis get a spine once in a while.

Now, last night, they indeed did have a raid, and indeed, did down Ragnaros. I would have gone if I had known, and am suspicious that this information was kept for the original clique of the guild. I shared my good news with a guildmate, and then saw him in Firelands, and asked him about it, and didn't get much of a response, other than that it was just a spontaneous run. When all was said and done, I congratulated them on their success, to two of the guildmates, packed my virtual bags, and took my skills elsewhere.

Simple as that.

The thing is, guilds are cliques by their very social nature. They are small, tight bands working together. It is been my opinion for a long time that adults never really get over middle school/junior high, and guilds quite often become this petri dish of adolescent post-traumatic funk. Don't think for one minute my cavalier attitude suggests that I lack emotions about this. Not ashamed to say my feelings were pretty damn hurt.I have no issue with any individual of my old guild, and bear them no ill will. I guess I just didn't fit in with their cool-kids' group.

Now I'm going to go smoke cigarettes behind the dumpster by shop class, and try to fit in there.

Worth a listen: This American Life, Episode 449: Middle School

Theme song: Beast of Burden/Rolling Stones

Luperci's theme song...

Not all of the search words allude to things of a nasty nature. Some are pretty experimental: Luperci Scorched Earth Media Fire.

Here is where it led me:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Story Time: A Paladin's Tale (Chapter 12: The Cut)

The petulant demon sat on a cushioned throne. This was a room designed for debauchery. The succubae giggled nervously. They had tried to get his mind off of the girl, (bitch), and focus on their talents. They were like cats, only purring and rubbing if ignored by their master. One flicked her tail under his nose, and was rewarded with her liver being removed through the lacings of her corset.
Demons’ tales of self-serving histories are apocryphal tales; demons share their triumphs with wanton disregard for another’s point of view, with their grandstanding monologues and soliloquies to such esteem that their own mothers blush at their spawns’ self-love. Demons never think they are wrong, because they never lie.
Their motives are honest.
They want what they want.
And cannot be stopped.
However, the demon had not prophesized Dacianna. Reckoning on the rogue’s folly, and the arrogance of whomever hero he could dredge up, the demon monster used a mental abacus of careful measurement and game play. He would win, the sister would be taken, and the rogue would die. The heroes’ hearts would be savored: the male paladin’s especially, would be a trophy.
But…the female paladin soured his stomach, like a badly digested rat. His room of masks usually played the best games of all: mind games. Torturing intruders with their own anguish, flipping it back on their own worn roads of doubt and fears. But onward she strode, the bold little bunny.
Daci entered the chambers with her right-foot first. Gaenlon stood by her side.
Micah followed behind, in the shadows, and went to his sister’s side. She smelled like rusty incense and polluted oils. She did not smell clean. Her embersilk dress was soiled and sweat-stained. Her long iridescently icicled locks were dulled and matted. Looking in her tattooed eyes, Micah’s sour face was reflected her eyes, like two cracked mirrors. She smelled like she had been washed in lies.
She scampered in his arms, not relieved to see him for her sake, but for his. He did come back for her; whether or not she wanted to escape, that was another matter. He was alive, foolish, but alive. She forgave him everything, from putting her in the arms of the devil in the first place, and using her as collateral in a lopsided bargain. Sold to the demon for blades. She considered the offerings: be the concubine of a powerful demon and giving him heirs was not necessarily an unfortunate fate.
But Micah’s sister looked in his eyes, back at Micah’s gaze, and with an unseen light, grace covered her soul. He tried, he tried, and he tried. Everything he had done had been to protect her, in his fashion. She saw all with clarity. Being the consort of a powerful demon would never be worth the warmth of loyalty, however misguided, the missteps, and mistakes. She needed to go find her home, and help him find his, too. She knew where to start.
Under the cushions, as a bitter nuptial gift, the demon had given her the blades her brother had sold her for, the very daggers that danced in Micah’s nightmares, stabbing him in his heart, but never killing him, slowly poisoning him with plum and crimson-colored regret. Micah’s sister gave him the blades. “Here is what you come for, Micah.” Micah looked at his sister with fresh painful guilt. “Did the demon take everything from you?” Micah asked, choking, softly, afraid of the answer.
His sister responded, “He doesn’t know who I am: he was going to make me his bride and take his name tonight.” Freshly covered with poisons, he put the daggers in his side scabbards, their enchantments quietly but inviolably peeling off deadly fumes. Rogues’ immunity to poisons is not infinite, and their resistance to the toxins they use may ultimately cause their death if sour deals and traitorous negotiations do not kill them first. Death, for rogues, can be a slow seepage of sewage, either cutting their veins open from the inside, if not by another’s blade from the outside.
Dacianna confronted the demon. She just saw him as another foe, one who would test her, certainly, but he seemed a bit flaccid in her opinion. Besides, Gaenlon was right here, although he looked pale and waxy. His cloak hung on his back in tatters, as if shredded by claws, and his red hair was oily and dirty. He glanced at her with tired eyes. There was a thin scratch running from his eyebrows to his chin, curving ever so toward his mouth. The only desire Daci felt was to bring him home alive, and to end this. She felt oddly detached from what happened to him after they left this place; she squelched a tiny but stinging shudder deep in her chest, like she had swallowed an itch.
The demon shifted restive on his throne. Daci did a mental calculation of all the players in the room: the rogue was by his sister’s side, and would know the best time to strike, she hoped. There was an enhanced greenish aura about him Daci couldn’t place, but a feeling of renewal struck her. The sister—out of the way. Probably drugged and weak, they’d have to work together to get her out safely once this over. Gaenlon was ready to fight, although he seemed—she could not allow herself to think it. He was weakened. But yet, there was still something of an inner fire in him. He could handle his blade. Dacianna doubtfully counted on it.
The goblin servants and slutty succubae had vanished—not likely to be back. This was not their fight. (One succubus scraped some offal off of her hob-nailed footwear on her way toward the gates. A goblin manservant boldly slapped her on her tail, and promised he knew a friend who could clean up her outfit for a bargain. She giggled. As if she would pay.)
Daci spoke to the demon: “We only came for the rogue’s sister. Stand down, or you die.” No quaver or falter in her voice. Her stance was bold and strong, her muscled thighs bent at the knee, turned three-quarter stance so as not to absorb any direct hit. Her shoulders held the shield at a protective angle, meant to block as well as hit with its strong force, her sword held like a handshake made in faith and truth, its enchantment thick and powerful.
The demon chuckled. “Little pink paladin, pink, pink, milk and blood, pink. The little rogue girl is beautiful, indeed, but stupid as an imp. She cannot seem to remember her own name. The rogue brought her here drunk or drugged, and left her to me. I wish she would tell me her name, but can’t seem to get it out of her, she is that dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Maybe all pinks are dumb. He has the daggers he came for now, so just give her up. I need her name to perform the ceremony tonight. The moon is almost full, fat old cow that the moon is, but you, tiny pink paladin, bore me to tears. Go back home now, there’s a dear.” And with a wave of his clawed hand, tiny sparks of purple and scarlet began to rain from the illusion of a ceiling.
Daci surrounded herself with great threat, height, and righteousness as naturally as she breathed. Her presence, her righteous presence, created energy of another soul at work. She tried to use her shield to coalesce the tiny sparks, but though each one was harmless as a sparkle, a shower of them began to burn.
Gaenlon roared as the fire mist grew to raining shards. A stream of holy light from a guardian spirit poured over him and Daci. Only because of Kiindra’s gifts was this possible, the extra healing she had bestowed. The demon squeaked, ignoring their attempts to stop him, “I want this girl, paladin. I want to have her, bed her down, and eat her soul. Give me another, and I shall set her free, and you as well. Give me another. We’ll trade. I like trading for better deals. One foul girl for a fresh pink one.”
“Never” thought Gaenlon. He could barely speak. His voice was scorched by smoke.
“Not this time…”
Dacianna continued to fight in her formally trained style—shield hit, shield hit, power infusion, sword thrust, she missed again, hit, missed, not causing enough damage to weaken the demon…she felt outside of herself, desperately wanting to be unorthodox, to hurt, to kill this devil, to beat him down, but her training had not prepared her for imaginative deaths…she called upon her Na’aru sprits, her own guardians of light, but for her they offered only a straight path…enough…she threw herself into the demon with her off-side, swinging around and kicked him like the animal-warrior inside of her that she was born with. She had been given these horns and hooves for more than freakish jests, by gods.
Micah just wanted to get his sister out safely. The paladins’ rage was a blur of feathers, light, blood, and sweat. He couldn’t estimate the time left. With his throwing ax, and one of the daggers in quick succession aimed for the demon’s skull and throat, respectively. Though Micah still possessed lightening speed, the demon was a hair quicker, and caught the dagger between two fingers. The fiery rains increased, scorching their vision, the smell of burnt fur and hair infused the room.
But the throwing ax, the old, dulled throwing ax, hit its target.
The demon’s skull began to crack, the point in between his eyes, and fissured down his face. He seethed out words, for if he screamed, his face would open…”What is her NAME PALADIN?”
Gaenlon did not speak her name.
The demon deftly spun the blade in his fingers. Poison dripped down his forearms, leaving tiny shots of smoke, bullets of acid.
“I will cut it out of you.”
He pulled Gaenlon’s head back, and while the demon only saw the pulse of a jugular vein, Gaelon saw lights. He saw two lights, light as shadows, leaving, away, spirits…gone. Daci fell back, her shield sliding across the floor. Scrambling up, she was strong enough, but not fast enough. Gaenlon smiled at the demon as he slit Gaenlon's throat, opening a gash, spilling pure blood, crimson black, like overripe fruit. The blood spilled on his cloak pin. The blood spilled on his lap, and in his hair. Gaenlon twisted and thrust his blade under the demon’s groin, up through his midsection, the entrance being his foulest path, soiled, and oozing blood and bile, a viscous mix of fecal drippings: the blade sliced up the curved spine of the demon, nicking its blade on the bone but making its target, and out of the bottom of his throat, just at his clavicle, the tip of the blade cut off his voice, his words, and all his power.
The demon spoke no more.
There were a few more sad breaths. Kiindra’s gift, the Na’aru blessing, made it so as Gaenlon’s life subsided, he stayed full of love, forgiveness, and hope.
Not thoughts, no pain. Just peace.
Micah and his sister continued out, away, away, away…
Daci fell to her knees. She could not leave Gaenlon there; this was no proper tomb for him, not in a pool of black blood and demon butchery. She scooped him under his shoulders, his head lolling back, and then flopping sickly forward. But he wasn’t heavy...she carried him away and conjured her grand elekk, taking his body to the foothills nearby, and buried him next to a boulder pile. She buried him with his shield, his sword, and all of his armor, save his cloak pin and pauldrons. She didn’t want him to feel burdened in the next world to shoulder any more weight.
Dacianna went to Gaenlon’s parents and told them his final deed. They took comfort in their son’s heroism, as it was befitting his station.
“Here is your son’s cloak pin,” Daci handed the piece to Gaenlon’s mother. Just for a moment, a look of such grief, deep and black, passed over the mother’s face. She aged twenty years in front of Daci’s eyes: “Please, my brave girl, you have it –take it, please,” whispered Gaenlon’s mother. Standing immediately upright next to her husband, they vowed that the world would know of his final brave act. Dacianna never understood the humans’ arrogance and need for braying. The superficiality disturbed her greatly. Perhaps she would seek out Micah’s sister, and see what they could do. She sensed a survivor in her, someone who would balance her with friendship and grace. New lands were opening up, and they each deserved someone who loved them, for life.
In another land, far away, through emerald hills and violet skies, Kiindra went to check on her small girl, an orphan. At the doorjamb, her knees buckled under. Something was wrong. Something happened. A loss. The sense of having something, knowing where everything existed, and then, her heart felt as if it had caved in. The baby girl slept. Kiindra went to the tall chest, and pulled a letter out of a hidden pocket under the ancestral treasures and trash she kept for sentimental reasons. The paper was thin, weakened. She read it again. Time stopped. The movement of the world whirled around her. It was a letter of sorrow, of regret.
Micah and his sister hobbled their way to their homeland, their mother’s empty house. The way back seemed inexplicably shorter. On the hill where the grandmother Cenarion tree grew, Micah collapsed. Their dead mother’s cottage was within view, a glowing lantern beaming like open arms. There was some movement inside, a shadow passed. Micah spewed blood and spittle on the grass. His sister cleaned up his face, wiped back his hair from his sweating, clammy face, and held him upright. The poisonhoney’s stings leeched Micah’s life. His sister kissed him on his forehead. The grass was so fresh with its own dance of clover and honey; she could not smell his sour, burning, fading breaths. Two large roots from the tree encircled and cradled him, his sister knelt next to him. Micah reached out to her, and she grabbed his hand, grasped his finger, and held on tightly. She smiled at him,  in innocence and love. His finger slipped from her grasp, he smiled at her, and let go.

Alone, she walked down the hill, toward the house, with the light on inside.