Drabble: A dagger.

At one time, the dagger was wrapped in runecloth lace, crocheted by ancient sisters. The memory of its noble edge was long forgotten. Zep sensed the pulse, something poetic, not the pub-brawl poker it had become. Direbrew’s blood polished the blade once or twice. It was a blade meant for prison fights, not a dalliance or dance between ladies and gentlemen. This blade was a street fighter’s blade. No fairness. Kidney punches and in the back, fistfuls of hair, and jugular veins released. She felt the edges of her shoulder blades where wings grow, while wrapping the blade in embersilk.

Señor: Zeptepi looted the Coren Direbrew’s Bloodied Shanker today. Bet Chap could take him out. She’s going to keep in her bags for awhile, just in case someone messes with her.

That’s just like, your opinion man.

 Someone’s Original Artwork for Which I Cannot Find the Reference

Haven’t been playing Luperci much lately. Was kind of saving myself for tonight: a guildmate scheduled painless Zul runs, because still being in PUGs with those can hurt. Besides, I need loot redemption for those damned plate shoulders I passed on last time by mistake. (*Bangs head on desk, doesn’t see red Swingline stapler and it leaves a mark.*)

GM basically implied the other day I am too nice to tank. He is not. 
I am not sure the superlative ‘nicest tank ever’ applies to me, but perhaps lack of confidence does. So, I’ll get back in there, and do my best. And try to get those shoulders: stronger ones might help me hold up those standing on them better.

Postscript: Situation: Cranky dwarf with a chip on his shoulder over his brewing techniques feels slighted. Luperci goes in there everyday to have a chat. Does fine. No one has ever died. Until this morning. Druid dies immediately. Then everyone struggles – and the priest dies next. I barely hang on and have to use LOH on COREN DIREBREW.

I don’t know. Beats the sh*t out of me.

Apparently, this is an opportunity for the healer to criticize my tanking skills. “Tank didn’t have on righteous fury.” (I did. Didn’t I? Did the buff drop off the second I went in there? Second guessing and self-doubt: worse than bosses.) Crixa still has issues.

That’s right nimrods and numbnuts: I saved the day. You’re welcome.

 Oh well. My shield is going to start to reflect back to you players. I honestly do not care if a DPS dies. It happens. You pull the baddies to you, think you can take them all on, and then wonder why you…can’t. There are some solid reasons why there are roles, delegated responsibilities. We don’t care if our DPS is highest–we are your shoulders to stand on and rock. Needed a little redemption after this, and sure enough, did great. Coren got that chipped knocked off of him in no time flat, no muss, no fuss.

On the plus side, Matty did win the Swift Ram! 
Comes with cup holders.

Lost in the mail.

This is the only engraved invitation I have ever been in control of. 

It’s taken me months to earn an intermittent spot on the ten-man raid team: I am so grateful that the GM is understanding and tolerant of my real-life responsibilities, and when I can go, and there’s a spot open, I will go. There are veteran guild members who have been with the guild through much, and their tenure is secure and just.

But how do you explain that to a new guild member, one who thinks they may be, dare I say it, entitled to a spot? Who seek out an invitation, instead of just signing up and taking their chances, or even starting their own raid?

I was just in the process of drafting this post, when a young guild member quit. Took others by surprise, but not me. He had said several times statements such as “Guess I don’t get to go,” or “I didn’t get an invite I guess.”

The writing is on the wall in those occasions.

Theme Song: Some Postman/PUSA


There is a hackneyed saying: never discuss sex, religion, or politics in mixed company. And my close player friends know, and it’s no secret, I’ve had to turn off guild-chat once in awhile for some peace and quiet. 
Chat has been vulgar, ignorant, mean, silly, whiny, full of shrapnel and shards; mostly arrested development humor of a 12 year old who’s found his dad’s Playboys under the bed and shares them, except more like a German porn house with magical creatures. Still kind of charming, but mostly not. It gets crude. You get my point.
And I have taken my share of ribbing, teasing, and whatever. Controversial topics like evolution (there is no controversy, just ignorance), religion, and whatnot. I actually enjoy intelligent and funny debates, very much; others’ points-of-view fascinate me. (I am still friends with an old boyfriend whose political views are diametrically opposed to mine, yet we still enjoy great debates over policy, social contracts, and views.) The guildmaster can shovel his blarney like no one’s business. Tolerance? Sure. Tolerance means just that: the Dude abides. Doesn’t mean he likes it. 
Until tonight. 
The States are certainly a hotbed of ignorant media reporting, dangerously poor journalism practices, and corrupt politicians on all sides who are greedy, and special interest groups lay waste like robber barons of  the past. But for the most part, the guildchat hasn’t had that much political chatter, as least as far as I have noticed, since I joined last February. A few players tonight mentioned their views, not in any articulate “let’s debate this way” but in a Fox media blitz way, and when I politely mentioned how much I enjoyed guildchat having been a “politics free zone” was not too kindly told to deal with it, that those days were gone. 
So, okay. Since I was told to “deal with it” by a guildmate who is not the guildmaster, (whom I adore and respect), I shall deal with it. How I will choose to do so, well, I have a few options.
I have enough battles, fights, and obstacles in real life to deal with the collective ignorance in my virtual world. I don’t want to know how you feel about politics, your real feelings. You are not going to change my mind, and I am not going to change yours. I don’t care, and don’t want to. 
Deal with it.
I don’t fight fair.
Postscript: That was one reason I ran from Facebook: relief from talking opinion avatars.

Like a boss.

If only, if ONLY, real life ‘bosses’ came with the tiny skull icon hanging over their heads when you moused over their name plates, then we who play WoW would have a clear signal of “danger” and “look out, they will schedule that meeting and undermine your professionalism” sign. If only.

I consider my colleagues like a guild. We have the usual suspects, to be sure, but for the most part, all of us feel mutual respect for one another, and do everything we can to support each other, truly–we share our time, resources, and hearts.

But sometimes the bosses….are Bosses.

How to handle real life bosses? As stress relief, I will write an allegory. That’s what writers do (and we are all writers). We release those frustrations and maddening personalities and transform them into parables and metaphors. What’s a metaphor? To keep me from going crazy.

What will I do in real life? Shield myself with calm professionalism. Have my colleagues back me up. And go find King Wyrnn if necessary. I know he’s got my back. Besides, he has too many other things to worry about, like finding his son Prince Anduin a date for the prom.

Question: In your life, which WoW boss is most like your real life boss? Is it a Council of Asshats (pronounced ash-hawts) or a singular, vile Jabba-esque boss?

To Real ID or Not Real ID…that is the question.

This is quite a loaded question.

To exist in the state of knowing someone’s name, their true identity, in WoW creates a dynamic that doesn’t exist in many other social media formats. (The levels of knowledge of my Facebook friends and family varies by the thinnest of social threads, to the deepest cords of blood and friendship. I have Facebook friends I have known since I was four years old, and some I wouldn’t know if they slapped me on the street.) In WoW, we are taking on the identity of a character at its outset; in every other media we are who we say we are.

The delusion of personal privacy is powerful: I know many young adults who think everything they do on the Internet is private, gone, vanished: quite the contrary. You have left your permanent stamp, and the harm you do or mischief you make can come back and bite you in the wireless fanny.

Poor Yorick, I Real ID knew him well…

We all know unmasking the hero weakens him. We know their vulnerabilities, Achille’s heels, and chinks in the dragonscales. If we find out personal details, it is truly a dual-edge: on the one side, we can help defend and support one another; on the other, we can cut, and deeply. But that is the nature of human relationships.

Nacho! Summon your eagle powers!

Whether or not you choose to become Real ID friends, consider those friendships carefully, with a skeptical and cautious eye. And it’s not so much because of the wolves in sheeps’ clothing, (which are dangerous predators), but the enjoyment of our time in play, too: when we are in Azeroth, we are enveloped in some degree of make-believe, whether we like to admit it or not. Knowing Real IDs can strip away the varnish and glamour somewhat, and once it’s scraped away is nearly impossible to repair.

To those of you who are my Real ID friends: I have no regrets. It is wonderful to be able to play cross realm, time zones, and factions. To those of you who are not, you’re not simply because I like the friendships we have as they are. You are my masked heroes in Azeroth, and I want you to keep your power.

Healing sucks.

I have tarried far too long writing and playing this fine, misty fall morning. But I need something to wash out the sour taste of ‘bleh.’ This is pure, uncut whining: sometimes this avocation is just not satisying.  Ran a dungeon with guildmate, and I could tell his frustration when we died on the last fight of Shadowfang Keep. I didn’t dispell fast enough, or good enough, ran out of mana too soon, and couldn’t have dispelled if I wanted to. Boss was pulled before I had a chance to put out lightwell, make sure we were all buffed, packed, and ready to go. Needed to top off mana, and the impatience was palatable. Normally this particular guildmate is pretty easy going, but there was an edge today. Don’t really blame him: on guildchat, he has been grousing a bit about bad PUGs. I got put in the proverbial doghouse, I guess.

NowI love Shadowfang Keep, and wondered what it would be like to heal it. It is not fun. He was using his Death Knight as the tank, and there was another DK who kept fainting at the sight of blood, and an elemental shaman who graciously put out his mana totem for me, but I could tell got a bit frustrated with me at the end. I have not taken the time to figure out my healing add-ons and am still learning so much. But there is little patience in Azeroth for dorks and noobs, we all know this. What was simple enough in regular dungeons is not on Heroic mode, but since Catacylsm has been out for almost a year now, the expectations are that every level 85 character is an expert. Admittedly, my learning curve is somewhat softened by the fact that I do have a main, and know more than I did.

But sometimes I just don’t feel like it: I don’t feel like researching add-ons, or watching videos, or reading blogs, or blah blah blah.

On the bright side, I did manage enough to get the healing gloves, and that should help quite a bit. I need to be patience with myself first, in all things. And off I go to do some things I am exalted with: Laundry Baskets of Doom, Junk Drawers of Never Ending Absymal Depths, and slaying the Demonic Despots of Unpaid Bills.

Story Time: A Paladin’s Tale (Chapter 3: Bargain)

The moon led Micah, the rogue, to the paladin: a swinging pendulum, knocking sides of clouds, new to wax to wane. He had three moons, and two were spent.

Deals with the devil are seldom fair; no matter how balanced the scales, one of the parties will be shortchanged. Winners have their turn, and losers often go bare-chested after losing shirts, vulnerable to the elements and ridicule. But the underworld isn’t filled with merely one or two gleaned souls: the spirit dust of the ages reside eternally in the multitudes, having lost their bet, or broke a contract. Because the luck always favors the house.

But make no mistake: Devils want their due, too. The advantage can be gained. Consider in any trade, there is the expectation that one will be better off with the object or service. The barkeep in the Old Town pub has no desire to sit on his wares, and the healer needs that water. He makes a profit, keeps his nagging wife happy: meanwhile, she serves others, and basks in her arrogant glory. There is an exchange of gold and silver, goods transferred, and each is better for it. The barter of time and money are more abstract than the weight of a copper in a palm. Money indeed makes the world go round, on an invisible gyroscope of love and lust.

But when deal sour, regret reigns.

Micah traded his sister, bargained her soul, in exchange for his worthless hide.

“Rogue,” the Boss paused, “Options?”

Micah had stopped squirming hours ago. Never had defeat and futility been so palatable. Rarely had there been any occasion he couldn’t talk his way out of, sneak around, hide, maneuver, or manipulate. For a chest of gold, he believed he could win this time, too. The chambers had been deceptively easy enough to slip into. The concubines soothed him, caressed, and giggled. He used their apathetic lust to his advantage. The paid guards were no more than dogs at the door, pacified with meats. Instead of a bone, he used their stupidity to slice their throats while they were easily distracted by shiny pretty baubles. Micah smirked. And was a tad disappointed. This was the security of the vilest fiend in all the land? He found the domicile’s protection amateurish. In his over-confidence, it never once occurred to him that the main resident of the keep lured him there, and used the rogue’s arrogance to his advantage. The bargain had been arranged before Micah had crossed the threshold. The boon he was seeking were two daggers of such renown, which in his hands guaranteed his lethality and dominance. He brushed the dirt off of his patched leather pants. The glamour was fading, and it had become increasingly difficult to keep up appearances. His time for glory was calling. He deserved those powerful daggers, was entitled.
The chest was reported to be under the Boss’ bed. Only took a few goblin jugular veins to spill that secret. Simple enough. The snoring alone indicated the lord of the house was half dead and drowning in his sleep. Micah slithered under the tall bed frame, reaching for the chest, when two cold palms snatched both his wrists, dragging him to a deep hole. Slammed against sharp crags, tossed to the bottom like a wishing penny, the fall broke his left wrist and tore out his shoulder blade.

Up from the dirt pit floor, sprung poisonhoney vines. Wrapped quickly, his entrapment was more than sufficient. These vines grew in one area, and required soulless druids to harvest them. Each thorn pierced flesh with slow-acting poison that diminished mental acuity to the point of a slobbering idiot. No antidote exists. Each barb had a thousand infinitesimally small needles that burred into the skin, irremovable and parasitic. Even when cut from the mother plant, the vine would seek a new host, growing tentacles around legs, groins, and breasts, caring not for gender or status, seeking, attaching and winding along the pathways of veins and arteries. The damage of the vines could be lessened with quickness of freedom. Micah knew for every second the vines bled him, poisoned him, it would mean another year off of his life. And he very much loved his own life.

Options? He had no options. The most dangerous place of all, the realization that all is lost, and the choices belong to the one with no soul to lose: death or death, but whose?

“I know from the whispers of blood, Micah, what you came here for. And I want you to have those daggers, my venal friend. I need something in return. I abhor lies, so to the point: bring your sister to me.”

The Boss gave him three full moons to complete this task. Simple enough.

Oh, here was an out. He’d promise anything to the Boss. Any deal. His sister? Once he found her, they could figure an escape, break the deal. He agreed, so quickly the Boss cocked an eyebrow; a flicker of an expression Micah caught, but couldn’t interpret. It unnerved him, but the deal was done.