Monday, April 30, 2012

Generosity of spirit.

Matty drank some POI during the LK raid, and wasn't quite feeling herself...
Lizzyuh and Effy are amazing.


I knew the red gems were all the rage, but was too cheap to regem everything, because I wanted to know why.

You ladies are --

like I said...


Know Your Archetype: Maiden, Mother, Crone

Seems nice enough: she gave me her hat, after all.

(Really trying to get over whatever it is that makes me want to pinch Kristin Stewart. I adore Charlize Theron, so I think I'll be able to stomach my way through this seemingly gorgeous film. It looks beautiful.)

But this is a tale as old as any--the passage of time personified by a wrinkle, or lack thereof. The Maiden, Mother, Crone archetype is the embodiment of promise, desire, fertility, and then wisdom. At every stage of life, our roles and responsibilities change. As I am sitting here, I find myself having a hard time writing about this archetype(s). The cliches are too thick to wade through, and--oh, must be honest. I am too in the middle zone of this phase of life to be a fair judge of either one to my left or right. No longer the young maiden, and not quite to crone phase, this middle zone is pulled.

But let me work in a fairy-tale framework:

The maiden, pure, and innocent, her only gifts or attributes of any value are her youth (beauty) and innocence.  I hope that when a younger audience reads anything from Game of Thrones they at least spend a few moments to look up 'maidenhead,' and hopefully will not find it in the Urban Dictionary. So much stock is placed on virginity, and from a biological imperative there is good reason.  (Seriously, forget Guild Wars or WoW - how about Biological Sperm Wars!) Sorry, my apologies. I realize some of you have not had your morning coffee yet. The power of the Maiden is in her power of promise, of potential. It's either in her child-bearing hips or her rose-red lips. But it's all about the visual; she doesn't need a personality or wisdom at this stage of the game, she has her looks.

The Mother figure has her own archetype, but in this triptych, she is simply the nester. She watches over her little chicks as best she can, and in most fairy-tales is usually dead before the turn of the second page, because the real conflict is between the maiden and the crone. Those two are separated by years of hardship, wrinkle cream, and mirrors. The Mother is all about sacrifice: she is devoted to her child/ren, and her sexuality or personal desires are a far distant memory from what she may have hoped for in her maiden phase.

The Crone: of the three, she is perhaps the most interesitng and dynamic. She ranges from evil witch, surrounded by fear and superstition,  or a jealous woman past her prime (again with the wrinkle cream! Stop!) to the wise sage of the village, the Mother Goose, story teller, advisor, and nurturer. She doesn't have to compete with the maidens any more, so she can relax and revel in her glorious moo-moo dispensing wisdom and cookies. But mostly she'll cut out your heart or chase you with flying monkeys: don't piss her off.

Now, looking forward to the next phase of my own life, I was telling cross-dressing rogue I wouldn't mind going into it looking like Helen Mirren. But damn, not sure I looked that good when I was the maiden. Sure there's a photo around here somewhere.

The problem with these archetypes is not that they exist, but that they are still so pervasive in our culture. Why can't the Queen "win" because she's smart, not because she's evil? Why can't Snow White get a pimple? But they are difficult to escape. As I have said before, I am not a 7'tall Draenei female in real life. "No?" you say. "No." But for a few hours I get to look at a mirror-mirror computer screen and be forever young, and strong. And if I stack up my intelligence rating, smart, too.
Looks good on me...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fresh-squeezed mana. With pulp.

Lizzy: is it possible to, well, do I become a better shaman healer? Good elves are dying, and I can't hit those buttons any faster--I want to make it rain! Rain NOW! (This is best said in an Arnold-voice.) "Mar-reeAH, get me da doilet pappeer, NOW!" Okay. That was inpsired by Amateur's imitation, and I can't quite pull it off.

But I need help. And not just with my Austrian accent.

I switched up some talents, moved some things around, and what I want to do it make stuff go faster. I feel like I'm using Coumadin when I should be using a beta-blocker. What's a doc to do? So, if you have a moment, and want to look me over in the Armory and tell me what's what, or if there is any way I can cast Healing Rain faster, or other healing spells faster, I'm all horns and ears.

In the meantime, I cleaned out bags, banks, and storage closets, organized, had a yard sale, and came up with this transmog ensemble:

May have found the look that the Kirin Tor tabard can work least for 21,000 more rep points...

 I'm going to Ask Mr. Robot, too, and check you out. Yup. That's what I do. Imitate.

One fine day...

Sometimes you have to begin with an ending:

Well, that's from Arthas' perspective, in any case.

From my point-of-view, I got to tag along with JD's (aka Amateur Azerothian) crew yesterday for a cross-realm raid. Yes, Mr. Arthas Menethil, your time has come, again.

We had a blast, and I stacked up the achievements like cord-wood:

The Ashen Verdict likes me! They really like me!

Before...with some of Mylune's flowers...


Highlord Tirion Fordring, although looking like an insurance salesman to me, seems appreciative of our efforts...

Shiny happy raiders!
BUT--as fun as that was, and indeed it was fun, I found myself with an agenda, and underlying motivations. The thing was, this was what I have been looking for in a raid group for a long time. It was a great balance of irreverence (notwithstanding my love of dirty martinis) and actual game knowledge/mechanics (DON'T STAND IN THE DEFILE! okay okay!) We did all this without Vent, tripped up a few times (I am pretty sure I ran too far away from the Sindragosa fight, hence, the gate locked me out--I've done that one a few times and should have listened to my own knowledge/experience), and the boat fight started before I could strap on my parachute. I jumped off the boat anyway to see what would happen, and nothing. Just landed back on the deck of the non-fun, er, fight, boat. I have also done that one successfully, so was kind of bummed I could jet over and punch the villains in the snouts.

Which leads me to my agenda. I don't want JD to go. And, I am going to see if I can help make that happen. All I want to do is the occasional old content raid with fun people, and check out newer content with folks who do not take it seriously. Yes, of course I want to "win," but I have some fairly strong opinions on what a "win" is. Did I have fun? Yes. Did I make other people smile or laugh? If yes, win again.

I am not sure what Ke$ha means by 'waking up like P.Diddy,' but it can't be a good thing. I still have no further understanding of this one fight after watching this video except for a healthy debate over UI and musical tastes:

And my other agenda is this: I want that Frostbrood mount. I don't care if we get a 25-man together or not. I only have a few more to go--whaddya say, guys? Wanna come along? I can't do this alone. So put on your swagger, 'Kick 'em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger...sure. He's probably there. Along with Arthas.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Whatever, Jaina...

Stay tuned for news of Matty's new title, Kingslayer....

...something to do with this:

Pretty little match girl...

Took time to put together pretty outfit to match my new staff...
She shoots her wand, SCORE!

(Voice in head: Matty, you have a sh*t ton to do today.)
(Matty: yes, yes I know, but Ceniza is so much fun!)
(Voice: Okay, you got your staff, now go do the dishes. You need to go to work for a bit too.)
(Matty: Shush, Tyrande, I mean, Voice.)
(Other Voice: Yea, what is it with Malfurion telling her to hush all the time? He acts like her dad, not her boyfriend [said boiee-frand)
(i-Phone voice/Siri: Would you like me to send that message? Okay, I'll send it.")

Okay -all of you shut your pie-holes. 

Gambled and took Ceniza into the Deathwing portion of LFR this morning. At one point, thought I was queued, tabbed out, and then checked back in to realize I'd been goofing off for twenty minutes not queued. *sigh* I used the word 'gambled' because unless you go in with a Loot Buddy who doesn't need the gear but can roll on it, it's a risky proposition.

Ah, the nerd rage-tastic fan-flipping-awesomness of LFR. Before I even landed on the damn spine a player was calling for me and a rogue to get kicked because he accused of us pulling another tentacle. Not I, said the Fly. Can't speak for the rogue, but that was bullcrap. (Oh, and please tell me it's not true that we can kick mid-fight--this seems like overkill, no pun, for a small but annoying problem. I read this may happen in the expansion and thought NOOOOOo!!!OOOO!OOOooooo!!!) I think a simple fix should be: there needs to be  ready check and the fight does not begin until then. That was no one can pull the boss for fun and ensure his spot for loot. Simple fix, right. Regardless, the spine is not a dps fight, but makes folks so damn angry. Not sure why.

Sorry -- I digressed. Kind of. The thing is, I have been there many times, but my mage isn't geared yet. That is why I am there. Duh. And I got all kinds of flack for lows DPS. I finally whispered the one hunter and said, "Look, this is my fifth level 85 and I'm really just learning her--be patient please." Sometimes kindness works, because he stepped off a bit. I am well aware of my poor DPS/Damage on Ceniza, and am taking steps to correct it.

Bottom line, for the last fight I was a poor showing of around 22K, place #13 in DPS, but...BUT...(insert squee here!) I did win Ti'tahk (how you do say that? Tic-Tac? Will it make my breath sweeter?). Now I really wanted the dagger, but beggar mages can't be choosy. I have some reforgining and regemming to do now, and I am really having fun with "her."
So off I go, to the jewelry store (Matty's JC Shoppe is open for business) and the reforgers, who are always eager to take my gold. Maybe there will be time to set the world on fire, too. Just to take that staff for a test run...

(Voice: Have you updated your checkbook? Look at that dust! Go for a walk! Sort your socks!)
(Matty: SKABOOM! Problem solved (smell of lighter fluid and sulfur).

Thank goodness.

I don't have to do Children's Week again. Ever.

...Of the Nerdling Realm...

This is straight-up cute:

Dull lead.

I love to write.

I have been telling stories to myself, performing Barbie doll operas, tales to my sisters and cousins, since I can remember. The powers of the Internet have made it possible for all of us who want to be published to fulfill our wishes. Even this pressure-cooker of an article: 7 Reasons to Learn Apple iBooks Author Now has me spinning.

And now I don't have a thing to say. Me: Deer. Keyboard: Headlights.

Allow me to take you on a tiny media mind trip:

NPR story headline: From Kerouac To Rand, 'Harmful' Reads for Writer -- the gist is, there are some novels that are so pivotal, so monumental, that when an aspiring writer reads these tomes, they may become too mimicking or intimated to move forward. I was discussing this with my Snakes & Tea friend yesterday about the novel The Book Thief by Mark Zusak. It is transformative. And now, if I ever consider using a personified Death, I will hesitate.

And then I saw a headline about Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, which I have not read yet, but apparently there is a celebrity author of big ka-ching status among fan-fiction writers, too. And, what kills me, KILLS ME, is it's a "sexy" book. I have been wanting to write in this steamy genre for years. Don't worry. I've got my nom-de-plume all figured out: Fanny McBloomiepants. (Maybe I'd better work on that one.)

Finally, the kicker: Jargon to Jabberwocky: 3 Books on Writing Well by Jonathan Gottschall on NPR.

I have perused through Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont, and Stein on Writing by Sol Stein, two other books about writing that are short, comprehensive and helpful.

From I came across Chuck Wendig's blog, Terrible Minds which has also scared the writing shit out of me.

Bear this morning shared his internal writer's conversation, Novel News: Epiphany. This simply reminds me and makes a tad blue because a few years ago, when I was actively engaged in the Puget Sound Writing Project, part of the National Writing Project, the sustaining, nourishing fact was I got to hang out and read other writers, just like me, who were amazing, and you know what? They liked my stuff, too. It wasn't all a big mutal admiration society, not at all. Many of us didn't agree, but it brought me back to college where we all put our big drawings and paintings on the common wall and talked about what we saw, asked questions, chose to take or discard. The process of a writers' circle is simple: you read your work once, everyone listens. You read your work twice, and your peers have a feedback sheet--what they heard, what they had questions about, where they got confused. You then listen to their feedback, and then you say "thank you." And nothing else. You may exchange ideas at some point in the protocol, but it is not the time to be defensive about your work. If someone has taken the time to articulate why they are confused by something, that feedback is immeasurably valuable. So often I have something in my head that I believed was evident on paper, and it took my writing buddies to let me know, no it wasn't. The "blue" part is we are all scattered to the four corners of the state, and even with the Internet and Email, it's just not the same. They are all very busy professionals as am I, and especially this time of year is like our World Series, our tax day, our "big show."

I have to admit this is what is tough, sifting out all of the advice. Yes, write for one person. But writing and putting it out there does feel risky and exposed at times. Glass houses and no bathrobe, I guess. I know the advice: write for yourself, write what you want, yadda-yadda-yadda. All true. My muse seems to have gone on vacation,  and those well-established writers (see link above) are confusing me.

What am I asking for? What do I want? Nothing really. I'll get through this. I always do. And whether or not I get published "for real," well, I know my Barbie dolls certainly had some choice parts.


I am offering this: if anyone wants to be a part of a writers' workshop with me, and in a reciprocal aggreement, give me feedback on my work, I would be open to that. It can be pretty damn cool. Guarf has been a big help in the past, but he's busy doing whatever it is Guarf does.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The more you know... *rainbow*

At your side, my lady...

I am sitting here thinking, as the coffee is brewing, about stuff. Too much stuff. I would love nothing more than to drink the coffee, and then go back to sleep, with the Northwestern spring rain encouraging the birds and bees to get busy, and then go about things on this Friday at my pace. I would like to go into LFR and obtain a better weapon for Ceniza, I would love to peruse and study the scrolls and meditate on how to produce a powerful fire mage, seek vengeance on the Lich King, and write a few more chapters to my short story.

BRB - coffee just beeped that it's ready.



So, let me kick to the curb my dream goblins first:

Effy's post on chivalry got us all thinking, and here is my response:

Read Neil Gaiman's short story Chivalry.

Effy's post links to O's post, which I am not going to link (you'll have to click yourself) because the thing is, I am not sure it needs much more publicity. O is correct, context means nearly everything. I say nearly, because I wonder if the image in question was of say, a Mexican in a big sombrero taking a nap under a cactus, or an African-American eating a watermelon, but it was in historical context, how much it matters? I guess I just answered my own question. If the image was in a history tome explaining racial bigotry images versus an actual poster on a stereotype, then sure. But my emotional side, and this again is where opinion resides, is I cannot help but be reminded of a very good friend who left an abusive relationship, and what her response to the image might be. The image is what it is; one's interpretation is a whole 'nother issue. I will never ask her. I don't want to remind her of any pain.

We have most assuredly lost our critical thinking skills when it comes to fact versus opinion. Blame the media whose mission is to create a veil of facts when really, it's just like your opinion, man.

The image in question, in my opinion, does not show that the female is "clearly casting a spell"-- nope. The image could have been drawn many different ways, but it wasn't. That is a fact. It is drawn the way it is. Now, what conclusions or context one draws from it, that's where the trouble begins. One man's door-holding is another crazy girl's edict on Nazi feminism. Say what you will about the tenets of tenets of national socialism, but at least it's an ethos.

And as far as Blizz changing the panda's dialogue? Well, my knee-jerk reaction is 'big deal.' Writers edit things all the time. I think what they came up with is better. Just because readers got to see behind the curtain before the final show, well, gee. I don't know. Think about it. What if you got to read all of the best novels before they were edited? What if Margaret Mitchell made Scarlet and Rhett live happily ever after? What is the prince never does find Cinderella, and one of the step-sisters ends up with him? What if in Carrie Stephen King gave her a hot shower and fresh corsage? I guess what I am saying is dear fellow players, don't break your hands patting yourselves too much on the back for changes you like, affected, hate, or whatever. Freedom to critique rocks, and that is the fun part, isn't it?

The thing is, and this is anecdotally what I know and have discussed, once we all separate out our emotions from any topic and sift out fact versus opinion, we are left with our biases, and we want our biases to be truth, to be fact. And there is wisdom in our perceptions are our truths.

One thing for me is I know if I start to get discouraged, disheartened, or depressed, I will try to stay away from the news. The never-ending stream of human atrocities grinds down our spirits. Part of my sheer, unadulterated joy has been meeting great friends and being treated like a lady in Azeroth, chivalry to chauvinism. Yes, even the chauvinism, because it's laughable, and makes the chivalry all the sweeter. The relationships, the friendships, supersede gender, race, and other obstacles to their purest, sweetest rewards--just hanging out with cool people.  I need to check myself and perhaps not steer toward links and blogs that become too newsy, because really, the real world has dragons enough, and they are not metaphorical.

So, back to my little stories. Back to my quests.

And to my friends.

gracias señor por mi poción de la ilusión

Theme song: Shiny Happy People

Thursday, April 26, 2012

POI: Had to cut a shaman...

This is Matty, as a gnome rogue, on the Hagara fight in LFR yesterday. She had big blue eyes, and a fiesty attitude. Only trouble was tanks kept mobs in hurty icy stuff, and her little legs just couldn't move quite fast enough. No deaths, but was so distracted by trying to find her in the crowd the dps/damage went near toilet levels. But lots of fun!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Audacity of D'ohpe!

Please be patient with me. As you know, I don't play mind-games well. I had to have this explain to me, that greed trumps all, and sometimes, well, you be the judge. Here is an e-mail exchange from earlier today:

CDR*sends me this link:

Me: I don't get it.

CDR: It's the classic Ultimatum Game:
But it happened on a game show. The guy on the right is a genius with people skills, playing the psychology of the dilemma perfectly.

Me: The genius part I got. But what did he actually do? Convince the guy to do the split, knowing all along he would choose split too so they would both win? 

CDR: Right, he had to make sure his opponent would split, but greed is always more powerful than cooperation. So he had to downgrade the situation to make greed work.

Tonight I had a few minutes before evening duties and did LFR on Miss Matty-Shammypants. The Wyrmrest run could not have gone better, seriously, it was smooth as silk. Like butter (said in Linda Richman voice). Multiple goop mobs pulled, all downed, bam-boom-bang, done. Got some cute boots for transmog (yes, yes I did), and all was well. Hey, would you look at that? A few more minutes for the Deathwing portion. 


Could not have been worse. 

Remember Bear's post on the one player? This time it was a group from the same server who decided to do as a team what one player did before. After the Balance Druid won the Starcatcher trinket I needed and he did, oh, gee, I don't know, about 200 DPS, I started to smell a Stormwind Rat. When we wiped, and we most assuredly did on the spine and then on the last platform, before they could be kicked they pulled the boss again. Click. Bye. Gone. Thirty minutes, gear repairs, and no trinket later. Wasted away in Margaritaville, but this time not nearly as much fun. (Actually, not a fan of Jimmy Buffet--thinking of his crap would be my personal version of musical hell. Sorry if I have offended anyone who likes cheeseburgers in paradise.)

In any case, in spite of now craving a cheeseburger and margarita, this ultimatum dilemma is an interesting quandry in terms of LFR and other group pulls on stuff and junk. I was musing on this out loud the other night, and young elite druid tells me, "That is the game you play." 

Basically, yes. There are stupid humans in that world, mucking it up. Going to go collect pets now. It's been real. 

Postscript: Just kidding. There are too many cool people, too. 

*Cross-dressing rogue.

Kirin Tor Separatist.

This is why I hate the Kirin Tor.

My two-year anniversary of creating Mataoka is coming up May 1. Not sure what is appropriate for the two-year mark: is it the linens anniversary or new mount? So hard to know. But for the bulk of this time, I have been grinding away at the Kirin Tor reputation. I am bars away from exalted, still. I wear the tabard full-time now:
This tabard, highly suggestive, is starting to stink like arcane magic gone bad.
Why do I hear "boom-chicka-wow-wow" every time I talk to Mr. Jones?

I go see that pimp, Timothy Jones, and his hoodlum pals Tiffany and Harry (both allusions to famous jewelers, including the name of the place, Cartier's) and have done more dailies for him that I care to count. Cut, clarity, color, and carats have become to taste like ash.
A purple shag heart-shaped rug? Really?!

I know the Kirin Tor are responsible for something or other in Dalaran, magic, and a lot of purple. And I was never trying to be exalted with them for their gear--just out of sheer stubborness now. They don't have a mount, they're not going to give me diamonds, and they sure as hell aren't going to give me one of their 7K gold rings so I can pop back into Dalaran at the twist of a gem. Maybe I'll just do a marathan lower-level dungeon day and wear that ugly, phallic thing until they finally say, "You're one of us, Matty."

Big deal. Stupid wizards.

Theme song: Uncle Rico.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Have you noticed this trend, or maybe it's just me...

While leveling Momo, I look at every BoE piece through a different lens: the Chanel rose-colored glasses of Transmog. Yup. Everything I look at I wonder who of 'my many girls' could use it, (like some kindly madam of a house of ill repute), or if it could go for a chunk of gold on the AH. And yes, I have asked other players for stuff, and sometimes they could not care less, and sometimes they chime in in agreement.  Some are a little hostile about it, and aggressively disenchant without care or caution. 

But this brings up the issue of ninja...or puts it in a different light, perhaps. During one of my many runs a warlock, at the bitter end of Dire Maul, needed on healing leather bracers, which were quite an upgrade for Miss Momo. I asked him politely for them, and he said, Naaah. Yes, I did report him, the first time I have ever done that. It was blatant and unequivocal loot theft. But then tonight, while in LFR, Zep won a great necklace for my SP/OS. Now, let me tell you--whenever LFR came out, I've run it on her every week. She still needs leggings, and has very few OS pieces. A player asked me for the necklace, and then proceeded to open a trade chat window about ten to fifteen times. At what point is it perfectly reasonable to run an LFR and need on an OS piece that well, one needs?! The thing is, we have two specs for a reason--if gives many of us enjoyment to play different sides of the same character. And then the button on the shirt was tonight: 'Momo' needed on the leather helm you see above, and the hunter called her a ninja. Now, I took a tiny bit of offense for that. I asked the hunter (knowing the answer) weren't they a mail wearer? Yes, and leather. I said right, just like MY hunter and shaman. The thing is, a hunter/shaman is not going to want to wear leather for transmog once they can wear mail. If he wanted it for that purpose, there are other ways. Also, I mean, damn. 

So, here are my questions: Has the advent of transmog changed the way you see loot now? What do you consider the 'new rules' of loot distribution? I think players have a knee-jerk reaction to loot needs and call anyone a ninja out of hand, just because someone is lucky. I am asking this: let someone be lucky. It is so rare in this world, inside and out, and if the helm fits, wear it. 

RTMT: Faded Glory

Was sent this link yesterday, and somehow, some way, I need to use it:

The images and the story are haunting, melancholy, and yet, well, now I want to go. I don't know why. It has less to do with the fact that I have collected mermaids for years, drawn them, and been fascinated by them. I just want to see this place for myself. My mermaids all reside in my bathroom now, and are not the cheesy kind: they are quite beautiful, and hand-selected gifts mostly from my mother. In fact, a very talented artist made a sculpture for me years ago from the scene of a Howard Pyle painting, a commissioned piece. I would take a picture of it, but it's safely tucked away this morning.

These images and story are from a theme park that arose from Disney's overflow is now in the land of kitsch and nostalgia.

Again, what does this randomness have to do with WoW?

A few things.

As the game ages, and its players age, things change. We all lament over how desolate Dalaran is, the developers pushing us together and corralling us like we're all waiting in a queue for the next big ride. They did not make it easy to keep characters in Dalaran, and heaven help those unsuspecting souls who are still loitering in Theramore. Those agitators? Well, gents, you'd better pull your head out of the past and get the hell out of Dodge.

I was looking at Demon Souls game play the other day, and there's a section where the character was on a bridge--it was stunning. It reminded me of the bridge in Shadowfang Keep, and I wished for a moment that I could play the same way I do now, but have the hyper-realistic graphics that other games have. But -and this is a BIG BUT--so much of that hyper-realism photo work is leaning towards being overused. Like auto-tuning and an obnoxious meme, it can be overdone, and get tiresome quickly. I must hand it to the designers of Azeroth--to me, it is a travel journey. Twighlight Highlands must be some group of artists' crowning achievement. And Mt. Hyjal? I could live there. In fact, I think mentally and spiritually I have made that my new "go to my happy place," almost on par with some surf in Maui I experienced years ago.

So--here are some random ideas: (JD, are you listening?)

I was thinking it would be cool to do a "road trip" or mount-rally sort of thing. Go from here to there, and do things, and take screenshots, or something, and not fly.

Also, I would like to know your favorite places of 'former glory' in the game, or a moment where you did something and it was a pivotal moment for you in game, something your character would tell his/her imaginary grandchildren if it could.

I don't really want Azeroth to changes its pixels or palette too much. The changes in the game have been wonderful and fitting with the feel of the game, and that is no small achievement. Kudos to you, you artists and designers of Azeroth - /bow.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Good looking, and smart...

Reading through some of the posts, I have to say Navi's really hit it--this past week and weekend were, well, on a walk, I told my companion that I just didn't feel like much was accomplished. For me, there is a sense of peace from knowing something is completed. In fact, at one juncture, I had a small meltdown from the sheer data fatigue (I understand this is a #firstworldproblem=guilt.) Siri was being surly, and couldn't keep up with my own CPU of a brain. If anyone is worried about robot overlords, they can relax.

But I suppose, one of the highlights, because there were a few, was this note from my mom, who is putting together our family tree:

Lest we Fields descendants become too swelled with pride on line researcher  offered this Quotation from an article entitled A CHEROKEE PIONEER by Carolyn Thomas Foreman
" The Fields family had the reputation of being the handsomest and laziest family in the Cherokee nation, the laziness being attributed to the fact that they were great book lovers and indulged this taste in preference to manual labor"
Chief Richard Fields was a cousin on my great grandfather's side.
Talk to you all soon I hope.
Let me explain why this tickled all of us so much: we have known for years we are good-looking and smart. 

Now, the final round of Mog Madness is in. Please visit JD's, Tome's, and Effy's sites for their viewpoints. These are all very good-looking and smart players. And I am probably reading too much subtext into some things that are not there, but -- if anyone got their feelings hurt, or took themselves too seriously over this very fun, free, and entertaining contest, well, all I can say JD is send them my way. I cannot wait to see what you're cooking up next.

Yesterday and today promises to be very rare warm, rain-free Northwestern days. I have a Deathwing-spine-boatload of work to do, bloods coming at me, barrel rolls, stomping, bellowing bosses throwing out throbbing piles of goo (and I JUST cleaned that up!). I feel like I have been in those raids vicariously through Navi's wonderful posts.

What I wanted to happen, I guess, was the BIG thing: the rare mount drop, the perfect weapon, the hyacinth parrot pooping rainbows and worms on my shoulder, so to speak. But none of that happened.

But what did happen -- went to an Oceanic server (squee!), my friend Ran convinced me to run my mage Ceniza a few more times (nothing dropped, but it was fun), and Senor -- it is always a pleasure to talk to you, you make me laugh, and I get to learn new words, like "borracho." That is an awesome word indeed. As long as you don't call me a borracha, it's all good.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Story Time: Friqke's Story (Chapter 2)

Friqke’s Story (The Ash Witch)

The spring morning began in obnoxious twinkling pastels. The sharp sun cut her eyes; this was unexpected, and unwelcome. Compensating for the gloom of past weeks, the sun and green were doing battle on the shreds of clouds and blue. The sky fought back, bursting forth in broad strokes of grays, blacks, and bruising thunder. But it was the war of heat she loved: the spring storm was a sign that ice and fire were fighting for power, even if the brooding rain was the price she had to pay, extinguishing her own heat. The performance was worth it, though slightly aggravating.She had learned the skills of mixing water and fire to produce living smoke; why couldn’t the gods? 

When the showers stopped and the sun came back out, it was weak and muted. The rain had won.

Pitiful excuse for light, the sun choked on its own phlegm. It was a draw between the crystals and the fire. She put another log in the hearth, to stave off the chill, as her imp jumped on her back, sliding down her blouse with a monkey-sized paw, bit her shoulder near her collarbone, a little too low for her comfort, so she slapped him to the floor. He splattered on the wood planks like spilt oil, pulling himself back up like a street clown, overly dramatic, disjointed, moving in reverse, slowly, glaring at her over his near nonexistent bird-like shoulder. He grumbled a small curse in his unintelligible forked tongue, and scuttled off near one of the oak table legs and licked his left hand and arm. It was a tic he had, to lick himself in that manner when insulted or hurt. And she slapped him often.

In retribution, he pinched her in her sleep, and poked tiny sticks in her temples. She dismissed it as fleabites.

In this cottage at the edge of the woods the Ash-Witch lived, alone save for her imp, an arrogant guard, and bumbling blind demon. They were conjured friends, not loyal, enslaved by dark magic. She knew the consequences for its use and practice, and she herself was enslaved by the necessity of constantly creating a new soul for herself, consuming them like sweets. Fortunately her teeth were sharp as blades, and hidden behind a false, pretty smile.

Indeed, she was enchanting. She had to be, to get what she wanted. Stray travelers, beggars, thieves, rogues, woodsmen, knight or knave, all manner of gentlemen and scoundrels were her quarry. Friqke jumped one loop ahead of the hangman’s noose, like a circus trick, just when the village women’s suspicions grew to the boiling point, as her minions reported imminent plots of her neck doing aerobatics from the nearest tree. It was odd, but she could stay in the hovels and cottages outside of a village for generations before she would have to go—she just imagined the village women needed her services as much as the men. She kept them occupied, and only until the women noticed their men not pestering them, did they start to gather the weak ones up like part of their nesting broods.

This rainy spring morning, however, her dissatisfied restlessness and boredom tortured her. She slapped her imp again, simply because she didn't care for his glare. The bumbling blind demon huffed away, slumping and pouting, forever resigned in his fate, and chastising her. The demon guard smirked. Friqke conjured more sweets, and ate them until her tummy hurt.

And it started to rain again.

Chapter 1

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Where I make no attempt to make sense....

Well, damn. Out of gold again. Once again too much month and not enough paycheck. But it's okay. I'll call my off-shore banker and have her move some funds around. I swear I keep a lit match in my pockets, so many holes get burned through them. Okay, this is so not a problem, this is happy -- my phone has been bugging out for some time, and it is my technological life-line: during any break I have at work, I can't check messages from my family on Facebook, nor approve a comment on my blog, nor jot down any personal writing I may have on my work laptop, because "they" will own it, so I must have my phone/mini-computer. To say it's frustrating to be in a paradoxically challenging position (I am in charge of helping others be tech-savvy) and then not having half of my tools to do so is well, quite frankly maddening at times. (This makes me think of a comment of a player friend who has recently visited China, so I guess I shouldn't complain about constraints of information.)

To repair this technological grappling hook (aka cell phone), I used a recent boon to purchase an i-phone, complete with Siri. I am having trouble with my i-tunes, and there is some issue with my bits and pixels being strewn all over the Interwebs, like abandoned flies and beetles, sucked-out carcasses of discarded data.

So, I'm a mess. Or my data is. I am data, therefore I am?

So much of a mess, on my two accounts, I need to clean up and stream-line a bit. Having two accounts is excessive. I log on and see players logging onto Diablo, and most players who wanted the MoP beta now have it, including me. The invitation is sitting in one of ten email accounts like some lost ball invitation, and the shoes don't fit. As I am sitting here trying to choke down more coffee so I can function on my 5.5 hours of sleep, thinking about all the ways things just get out of control. I may need to clean up my blog roll--which brings up this blogging etiquette: just because someone doesn't have my blog on their roll, it doesn't bother me. I don't blame them for not putting this mess on their clean blogs. I am not being facetious, either--really. This place is a damn mess. Wish I had tidied up a bit first. If you smell Lemon Pledge and bleach, it was my attempt to mask the clutter and junk.

My washing machine broke recently, and the dust bunnies turned hostile and created new horrors: undead armies of plastic laundry soap caps, a hammer, old warranties, and 77 cents in a mix of pennies, half-dollars, and other change crawled out from underneath the alter of suds and agitated filth.  It's fixed, but the laundry has not gone out and washed itself. Maybe it was scared of the loose change and gunk.

I knocked down a mirror/coat rack the other day.

I had an exhausted meltdown earlier this week.

Zep went into a Zul with one of her most dependable running buddies, and fell off of not one but three cliffs, eaten by biting fish, and two bridges, and was pushed by trolls and slapped around by bridge ogres or whatever the hell those things are. Effing Zuls.

But she got enough Valor Points to get a higher level robe. Should she buy the helm? Nah. Robe is better.

Realized last night, long after the "receipt" expired I already had the damn thing.



This was the penultimate event of yesterday. The morning started with me calling an early morning meeting to deliver bad news, and a little trustworthy bird told me that indeed, there was a real life troll digging for dirt on me. It confirmed my suspicions, and another little bird said, "Hey this is like Game of Thrones!" and while I struggled with who was Cersei Lannister or Catelyn Stark in the scenario, the bottom line is I don't play real-life 'games' well at all. Like, AT ALL. I am too much in my own head, my own life, love, and duties to put much thought into others machinations and Machiavellian* maneuverings. I am always dismayed when others show their true puce-colors.

"Penultimate" means next to the last. So there was one final thing: Senor, thanks for making me smile, not ever, ever allowing myself to take myself too seriously, and reminding me of cool things once again.

So--here is from Cymre and Vidyala: Anyone else out there who makes your day? Of course my close (blogging) friends-but every one who chose to put me on follow - they rock, I read them, and they make my day.

And I have many stories/posts half-started, too. I know why I hesitate to write some--because there are trolls out there who would try to make fiction into fact, and I can't have that.

Do any of my fellow writers struggle with that? Having to censor one's fiction because of outside forces or judgments?

In any case - onward. Got get a hold of that banker.

*Cool! I spelled it right the first time! Maybe my brain is coming back!

(Spoiler-free) Limerick for MoP

There once was a  player with a beta
And it was into the Mists she met a
Not a troll nor a dwarf, but a whole lot of noobs
and a kowtowing panda bear (with boobs)
Though they were tiny like tots of the tater

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dear Matty: Game Wife

Dear Matty:
A few years ago, my boyfriend enticed me to play WoW. We are still together, and I love him dearly, though he drives me crazy sometimes. But that's what love is, right? Give and take. But over time, I found myself not wanting or needing to play with him. I learned so much from other players, male and female, and from reading, researching, and practicing. He was a gamer for years, I might add, and many a night he would be playing WoW while I read a book or watched a movie by myself. I don't mind spending time on my own, and think those little breaks are healthy. I really love playing WoW, and have gotten in with some fun, friendly and helpful players. The problem is now he wants to play again after a break, and he was mostly PvP. I steered toward dungeons and dabbled in raids. Now the tables have turned, and I feel he doesn't ask enough questions, or when I offer insight or game-mechanic knowledge, it's met with defensiveness, or worse, dismissal of my knowledge. I just see this image of the old man in the car who refused to stop and ask for directions--these conversations have become cliche and tired. I don't want the same dynamic with him in or out of game, but our time to be spent in the real world having real fun, and my time in WoW to be my friend time. How do I do this without hurting his feelings? I know there are many couple-run guilds, and I don't know how they do it, and quite frankly, not sure I want to know.

Horde-frau Frump

Dear Horde-frau:

I don't think there is a woman who plays who does not understand what you are saying in one situation or another. When I read blogs, forum posts, and general cloud chatter, it is obvious that in no capacity are we able, equipped or even motivated to extricate our human relationships from our virtual ones. We are social chimps. I have very mixed feelings about Samuel Jackson and Zooey Deschanel pitching i-phones--the Sam Jackson one implies that there is a human partner who is going to participate in "date night," and that Siri has the night off, but alas, I am not entirely confident it is. And poor Zooey! In her jammies, all quirky and clutter-y! Just try that when you're fifty-eight, dear Miss Deschanel, and you're just going to look sad. (Actually, that would be a funny Saturday Night Live skit - fast forward Zooey to middle-age, and see how quirky girl she is then.)

But I digress, as usual. The phenomenon you are experiencing is one I have theorized and labeled as "Game Wife." A "Game Wife" is someone who, in some form, is in a friendly relationship with another player that takes on some characteristics of a real-life wife. I am not including a cyber-sexual nature in this conversation: that is a range from Role Playing to flat-out, well, something else altogether. Many women joke, married, in a lesbian relationship, or other, that it would be great to have a 'wife,' and what women mean by this is someone to handle all of the drudgery, minutiae, and organizational duties no one else wants to do. I am not sure a Game Wife is this, but it sure is nice to have someone who is an equal peer in the game who matches one's own goals, skills, and drive to keep, let's say, a guild bank organized, a dungeon run fun, quest or leveling help knowledgeable and expeditious. The truth is, friends are friends and intimate relationships are quite different: we can vent to friends about boyfriends/husbands/partners, but that's where it stays. We vent, get it out, and move on, and our partner doesn't have to get the brunt of it. Men shirk at nagging, and never want to ask for directions. When we add the layer of game knowledge, then that brings out another layer of tension.

I guess in the process of negotiating and working on any relationship, it's just that. Be clear in your boundaries, you can be honest without being cruel, just say you enjoy playing a certain way, and do so--however, make sure if you want to keep the real relationship healthy, make sure you and he keep finding common ground and interests together, too. It is very healthy to have your own mind, interests, and creative outlets, as it is for him. But remember what brought you together in the first place, and pursue those interests, too.

There are more thoughts about this in my experience: those who want a "Game Wife," and don't understand boundaries of friendship, those who are too possessive of other [male] players' time and space (they don't allow the players to play with any other female player), and those who end up in a row because their real life boyfriend/girlfriend is angry about something that happened in-game. There is also the sadness that arises when someone has stopped being our friends in game -the signs are there. They don't greet us, respond to letters, or invite on runs. Everyone has been on both sides of that, and it's harsh, but it's a "he's just not that into you" thing. If your friend isn't returning your virtual texts or phone calls, get a clue. It hurts, but perhaps the friend isn't able to articulate or is being polite by dodging gestures of friendship. Perhaps he or she has gotten their personal partner to play in real life, and needs to discard the 'game wife.' Ouch, yes, but reality.

Siri: How do I down Deathwing? We'll see what she says.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Too big for your britches...

Today, after work: Clean out that Quest Log. Man, do I love Dreamer's Rest. Could just look at the view forever.

First of all, if duct tape can't fix it, it can't be fixed, in my opinion:

Here is what I have noticed in the lower level dungeons with Momo:

She runs out of sake. A lot. 

With the exception of the Leveling Festival with the best-mannered paladin ever, every dungeon since has been a deathtrap. I spam, spam A LOT,  I mean, I only have Spam, ham, bacon, and eggs to use for healing. I know more will come, a few more spells, but when I look at the spell menu I still still a lot of ham, bacon, Spam, and shred. Lots of things for kitty-cats, bears, and owls.

My dear mage friend simply said let them die--I'm not a mind reader after all. (This tickled me to no end - you'd think those status bars would work as divining rods, but alas, "healthy healthy healthy dead.") A few times on the planks of the mansions and dusty, bone-strewn catacombs of a dungeon and they'll get the idea they can't pull twenty or two-thousand monsters and expect to live through it. What I am wondering is, or suspect in any case, is that players have a few level 85s that have been ripping through old content and then expect their matched levels to do the same. It's not working. However, the RNGs will be humbling us all once again when we need to go to level 90.


I may just go see if I can find that paladin after all: at least he let me stop for mana along the way. Some of these guys just tie the dog to the roof and hit the gas pedal. Maybe it's time for Momo to stop and smell the Mageroyal along the way, and get some questing done. If you see a big lumbering owl wandering around, smelling of sake and spam, well, just say hello and offer her a cup of cheer along the way.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My baby, she wrote me a letter!

Here's to Tome and Navi, who crossed over hill, dale, servers, and International Date Lines to send me some Azeroth post! So much nicer than the usual bills from the Auction House and demands for ebonsteel belt buckles from [my] other characters.

I can't tell you how much the right words at the right time mean to me.

To all my good friends, in Azeroth and out, I'm a very lucky lady indeed.

Theme song: I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter

Postscript: Silly Druid! It was still in the mailbox!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Drabble: The gloves.

The gloves were the last façade of her femininity.  Her mother summoned her home a few years back to help clean out her aunt’s home: not a case of death, but rather the aunt’s disentanglement of all family ties. The gloves had been a bridal gift, and were still in the box in a chest. She wondered why her aunt never wore them. Her aunt’s handmaidens embellished the inside of the silk lining with small-embroidered initials, the same as Lupe’s: LM. Whether luck or strength, Luperci wasn’t sure what they would bring, but hopefully something better than her aunt’s fate.

RTMT: Junk drawer.

This is my metaphorical junk drawer, where I'll be keeping some of the bits, bobs, and doohickeys I don't know what else to do with: I might need "it" someday!

Hit and Run:
If you follow the Big Bear Butt, you've read his post about a character/player named Dalra who intentionally, purposefully, and maniacally ruined an experience in LFR. He was the "Mr. Anderson" in the Matrix: dogged, and detrimental. Some felt Bear may have been justified in his writings, some may have felt he veered towards the side of vigilantism. However you may feel, he brought up a something that is fundamentally at the heart of the issue of other players/human ruining anything for us intentionally: just because it is a "game" doesn't mean the anger and rage isn't real. I was reading on Facebook the other day about an acquaintance whose car was hit, mangled, and then left, no note, nothing. This sh*t happens all the time. And though in Azeroth, one's insurance premiums won't go up, but the player did waste what cannot be recovered: time. And that is a big deal.

Don't tell Jaina:
JD: Wanna go kill the Lich King? Me too.

Music to my ears:
The centennial of the sinking of the unsinkable has been widely reported of late. One story that has stuck in my head/heart is the story of the bandleader, Wallace Hartley. That last song, whether it was or not, is haunting. I know I'm a dork, but sometimes, when I can and it won't bother others, I turn the soundtrack on in Azeroth- there are tunes and refrains that immerse me 'in game.' The talented composers and musicians of this world cannot be lauded enough.

I love letters in game. Every time I see that I have a letter that is not from the Auction House (a bill) or one of my characters (a metophorical sticky note to myself to "do something") it is a treat. I have saved all the funny and sweet ones--worth every bag slot.

That Would Be Sho Kewl Idea:
Heretical concept, I know, but what if...what if we could do a quest or had a narrative where our characters could acquire a spell or trait of another class? I'm thinking specifically of mixing up paladins and Death Knights. Luperci is in crisis, and needs to find her way back...

Speaking of paladins: last night all I could manage was a vegetative state on the couch. I thought I could sit there with my eyes closed and level Momo. I fell in with a paladin and a hunter, and we ran one, then another, then another -- I declared a "leveling festival" and the three of us, with some changes in personnel, leveled four levels last night. The paladin gave out his Real ID email, which I have but did not take advantage of--still cautious of that. But he called me "mate" a lot, and was great fun. I did all this in level 15 boots. Yup. Bad shoes, but he was such a gentleman, checked on my mana, "mate," and we had a great time.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Luperci goes to the dark side...

In a conversation with a sweet friend, he/she asked me if I was like "Matty." Yes, in many, many ways I am, I guess.

But, in real life, my job, is most like Luperci. Yes, in real life I am a paladin. 

I aggro mobs, fight bosses, dodge trash and parry monsters. I hammer, hold, wrangle, and block. All. The. Damn. Time.

Wish is why when I play Luperci, sometimes it ends in tears. 

JD, Tome, and Effy have the next round of Mog Madness up, and I love the concept, the "Anti Paladin," kind of like anti-hero. Hopefully not antipasto, but it is close to dinner time. 

So, here is Luperci's look:

I think I will really try to put this look together. It suits "her" mood now: a little tarnished, dull, and grimy.

Here is how she looks now:

Postscript: Since Lupe can't be a Death Knight (wouldn't THAT be cool?) here are some more shiny looks for her:

Buddy, can you spare a time?

The biggest elf of all makes us cry...
Well, the last few hours of my stay-cation are dwindling faster than tips to cocktail waitresses after a long losing streak. I can feel the usual stress I feel on Sunday nights, but it's multiplied ten-fold. I tried so desperately to just "not think about anything," but as with all of our jobs, rarely is there one that is in a 'box.' Even when I was a waitress I used to dream of customers in my living room, waiting for me to bring them food...more food...

I cannot express to you, my gentle readers, how much I completely understand JD's post, Error 404. I get it. I get it on an emotional, philosophical, and dare I say, visceral level.

The thing is, I came to play WoW at a valley in my life projects. I was waiting for the results of a long-term professional project, and not only did WoW suck me in, but it, like tire treadles, would not let me back out. I have many personality flaws or positives, depending on the point of view, but one is I finish things. Some have called me a pit-bull, but I finish...what was I saying? Just kidding. I do. I am a check-box, merit badge, fill-in-the-blank, get the diploma, super-gold-star finisher.

And I was warned, time and again: this game is never finished. 

The other day, talking about the release of Diablo III, cross-dressing rogue mentioned that it can be finished. I am still puzzled over my internal response, which was something like, "Then why play?"

Danger, danger! Fundamental personality shift! Paging Dr. Freud! Come to the mental ward, Dr. Jung!

So--what is my point? Am I going cold-turkey? Or do I need to set some arbitrary perimeters so that when I am in Azeroth, I get that sense of enjoyment and enchantment again, because brother, except for my buddies, I am not feeling it.

But that was the problem all along, because when I look out my inner-window to what is going on in the real world, it's pretty daunting and is also - never finished. I am not talking about those who bring me joy, or the humans in my real life who mean everything to me, I'm talking about my own selfish core---the things that bring us happiness. My work used to, very much so. I affected every one around me, I lifted spirits, brought smiles, and creative flow.

But for now, right now, my mojo is dried up.

Now, one thing I have been grumbling about for a while are the things in Azeroth that are simply overly-repetitive. Those are the things that have sucked my mojo dry. And I think about JD - he is being a responsible father and husband, and still trying to maintain a foothold in his creative life. This is huge, and important. This weekend one of my favorite former guildmates is marrying the girl of his dreams. He's been playing for years. Tome used the tagline of being out of the demographic, but you know what, Blizz? I think YOU are out of the demographic in some ways.

There. I said it. Now the RNGs will rain toads and locusts down on me, dammit!

At the risk of having to go out and put some lamb's blood on the inn's door, hear me out. I have alts. They are fun. I have heirlooms, I have all kinds of fun with them. As I have leveled different alts, I have found that I enjoy learning about their unique gifts, and yes, personalities, too. What I don't like is the endless profession grinding, or the sloth-wrangling. I'm not sure what is to be done about it, really. Just something. But instead, I feel that Blizzard is pandering (sorry) to a younger audience, not an aging one. And perhaps from a business model that is best. Yes, actually it is. I thank heavens I got most of my big life projects behind me before I started this little hobby, though. The kids who started playing years ago are starting to get married, start families, or finish their educations, travel, and take on the real world. I just believe, and maybe naively, there should be room to pop into Azeroth, feel a sense of "fun" and then pop out again without it all being such a chore.

So-- what's next? I'm not sure. I am really not. But I'll go for a walk right now, and think about it.

And what I need to do tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. And I am grateful for those days.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Story Time: The Ash-Witch (Chapter One)

The old shaman sat around the campfire with the village’s daughters, a larger bonfire burning a few paces away. “Grandmamma, you always tell us such sad stories,” shyly chirped a one. “Please tell us one with a happy ending.”

The shaman sat for a moment, the bones and furs of her cloak nestling around her shoulders. “Well, child, every story has both kinds of endings if you think about it, because there is always a new beginning. Did I ever tell you, ‘everyone died and the world exploded, the end? No I have not.”
“But someone usually dies.”

Seeing that the young maiden was innocently stubborn, the woman said, “Very well. I’ll start with the ending: ‘He kissed her, and knew that he had found the love of his life, and stayed with her until his dying days.’

“Oh, that’s lovely. But Grandmamma, I don’t want to be rude, but it is a little boring.”

“Then may I tell the story my way?” The girl nodded.

Many years ago, not from this place, the home we were forced to in exile, I knew a little girl. She was a scrubby little girl, a bit pudgy, because she would sneak the treats from the inns and pubs and hoard them in an old crate she found. One leg was a little longer than the other, so when she walked, not straight and true, but like a crab, always adjusting her course but veering off to the side. She had the oddest habit of sitting in the tunnels and alleyways setting small vermin on fire: bugs, rats, and scavenger birds. It would have been cruel except that they were nasty vermin, and she struck them down so fast they could not have felt much pain. She had a gift for fire. I don’t recall what had become of her parents—these were chaotic times, and the records of so many races coming together were tossed, mixed, and some destroyed.

But from what I know, this girl, she was different from the start. She seemed to have oldness in her. It was in the fall when we noticed the change in her. Her chubby figure shifted, and began to fill in more areas as a beautiful young lady, and she grew straight and tall, with feline posture and an aloof and alluring face. Now, as far as chubbiness goes, which often happens to young girls and boys, they replace their baby fat with muscle and strength. But this transformation—something about seemed deceitful. There was magic in it, and the kind of magic that demands a price.

Now mind you, this is not just some story, girls. I saw this with my own eyes. The shaman shifted in her robes. The rumors began when Friqke, or the Ash-Witch as she is now called, was accused of seducing the bishop’s boy. They were the same age, but were caught in the back of the stables doing things that only, well, and it was shameful. Other things happened, and she became the primary suspect. The final straw was when she was a maiden, not much older than you are now, and she was caught dancing with a demon in the moonlight, not far from the sources of our most sacred lights. I felt she needed some guidance, a friendship, but the superstitious ones forced her to fend for herself, away from all of us. The last I heard if you listen very carefully, you can still see that demon looking for her. If you go into to the woods at night, alone, he will mistake you for her, and dance with you on your grave.

The shaman chuckled.

“Where is the kiss, Grandmamma?”

“That is what the demon does to you as he loves you to death.”

The girls, at first looked terrified, then rolled their eyes disrepectfully. "What really happened, Grandmamma?"