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  1. 8 points
    The Shadowblade tore through the darkness towards her prey, but her poisoned blades never found their mark. Through the murky shadows outside of the room they were in came a searing ray of energy, illuminating the keep's derelict stones as it arced a path directly towards the Forsaken attacker. The beam pierced Syreena, slowing her momentum as Cerryan spun on his heel in anticipation, swinging his glowing golden greatsword at the off-guard rogue. It pressed into her flesh, further pressing her at the wall away from him, and while the cut was not deep the wound burned with brilliant holy energy. The magical whir of a hulking and very much active arcane golem sent heavy steps toward the chamber, but the sentry was unable to clear the entrance through the corridor. A miscalculation on the part of the incensed paladin? Syreena hissed in pain as the Light from both the beam and Cerryan's sword burned her flesh. Much to her surprise, and disappointment, she had lost the advantage of surprise, but she still gripped her daggers as she regained her footing and began pacing around the room. When she got too close to the doorway, however, the golem's eyes glowed red a second before laser beams shot from them toward the rogue. Syreena rolled away and came up to her feet again. Her movements were stiff though, pained by the Light burns. She got to her feet, glaring at Cerryan. "New pet, little purple elf?" Without waiting for an answer, she lunged at him, one blade poised to deflect his sword and the other aiming for his face. Cerryan grinned wickedly, but did not respond as he met her blades with his. Her intuitions were right, and as his blade locked with one of hers, her other was free to slice, cutting a gash across the paladin's face and leaving stinging poison clinging to the wound. He hissed as the pain bit into him, taking a swing at the rogue which she deftly parried, and another which she dodged handily. In turn, she rewarded his hasty attacks with a series of stabs running up his side, each leaving more debilitating poison in his veins. He slowed, his guard less strictly maintained and his motions growing sluggish, but still he came at her, golden blade slicing at her once, then again, and over, providing the rogue with dangerous but potentially fruitful opportunities to counterattack. Syreena's golden eyes gleamed cruelly, even though her body still burned with the Light from his first strikes. "What's the matter, pretty elf? Getting tired already?" The little rogue grinned, her gaze traveling, briefly but meaningfully, to his single ear, and ran her tongue over her lips. "Then let's end it!" She launched herself at him, both blades aimed at his throat. Cerryan finished uttering a prayer under his breath and the toxins plaguing his wounds at once fell away. As the rogue rushed him with her vicious blades he stood to unleash an aura of blinding light that filled every corner of the room with a burning golden glow. When the stinging incandescence had faded, the paladin had launched his own rush at Syreena, low to the ground with his blade aimed for her midsection. Angered shock filled the Shadowblade's glowing eyes as his burning holy weapon pierced her, and they were both propelled towards the far wall as golden wings of holy light unfurled from Cerryan and aided his surge forward to drive his blade deep into the wall, pinning Syreena against it as searing holy energy coursed through her withered undead form. He drove the weapon as far into the stone as he was able, channeling every ounce of divine wrath into the vile assassin before releasing his sword and launching himself backwards. Even after his hand left the weapon, arcs of golden light continued to wrack her body. The Shadowblade gasped hoarsely, her daggers clattering to the floor as she reached to grasp the sword that held her to the wall. She tried in vain to pull it out, but she lacked the strength to pull the blade from the stone wall behind her. The Light from the paladin had scorched her skin, and the Light from his sword burned her from the inside. Her mouth gaped soundlessly, and when she looked at the Sanctuary elf, her eyes were wide with shock. Her squirming only made the pain worse, but her struggles were already beginning to slow. Cerryan stared coldly for a long moment as the source of so much suffering and conflict in his and Sanctuary's life writhed in agony against the righteous vengeance that kept her pinned, then casually brushed aside a few rogue strands of golden hair behind his intact ear as he caught his breath. He stood tall, bloodied and a little wobbly, but he looked at her finally, wearing a well-practiced and abundantly warm smile. "Light keep you, Syreena." A shimmering shell of protective holy power surrounded the paladin as he ran his thumb across a small glowing stone. At the doorway to the chamber the large arcane golem, resplendent and marked with the ornate heraldry of House Visca, pivoted to face the room beyond and returned to an inactive state, blocking the door behind it. "May it keep you here forever, in the name of Peace." He was gone, and the Shadowblade was left alone in divine misery. ((Written by Syreena and Cerryan))
  2. 8 points
    Dear Netherholdt rp community: In times like this, is it best we band together as a community, with open hearts and open arms. Care for those grieving and take care of others who may also be affected. This is not our community’s first sudden or unexpected loss. But we must press on, and keep this legacy going, for ourselves and for those we have lost. Think on the happier times and remember our loved ones, how much they brought to our little community, and how much they changed our lives. They would want us to continue on, holding events, having random rp nights at the tavern, and writing our stories with characters we all have brought to life.We have something here that is so special, and so rare, for a community to be this tight-knit. Everyone knows everyone, and new people are welcomed with open arms. It’s what makes this server so special to me and why I have stayed for so long, as I am sure many others feel the same way. So please, everyone, take your time and grieve how you need to, whatever way it is. But know that you will always have a home to turn to, a home of people who love and care about each other. We will get through this, just as we have in the past, and they will never be forgotten.
  3. 7 points
    Cerryan was himself on the way back from aiding Orgrimmar's latest defense against the Burning Legion. The golden-haired paladin was weary from hours uninterrupted on the front lines, keeping as many fighters as he could alive and able to keep swinging. The constant fighting was wearing the defenders down, and it was all Cerryan could do to keep morale high and casualties low. He was increasingly struggling to succeed at either, and it was having a frustrating effect on his already strained psyche. Finally, he acquiesced to withdraw from the battle lines long enough to recover himself, physically and spiritually. He was on his way through the rough, rocky streets of the capital city of the Horde, riding somewhat aimlessly on his armored talbuk just to remind himself of what he was helping to keep safe. He rode through the Valley of Honor, his eyes lingering on the Wyvern's Tail where he planned on ending his trip. He moved past it for now, into the Drag and en route to the Valley of Wisdom, where the sound of rushing water and the company of perhaps the Horde's wisest and most sensible members would help ease his tense anxiety. This was not to be, as while he was heading through the Drag he heard the weak call for help on Sanctuary's channel of communication. “…attacked…Cleft of Shad-….” The Cleft of Shadow, it had to be. Fortunate that he was so close already... “Cerryan.....mate’s…..ear…. Need….heal….” He pulled hard on his reigns, bringing the noble talbuk to a quick turn as he coursed as fast as he could down the darkened passage that lead to Orgimmar's most shadowy district. It took Cerryan a few moments to find the injured Orcess. It was a small gathering of onlookers that drew him to the wounded warrior, and he pressed through them hastily to find Kanda on the ground, gripping her freely bleeding stomach unconsciously. He knelt beside her, coursing healing light into her wounded form. His free hand fumbled for his communicator, finally gripping it and speaking hastily. "Sanctuary, Kanda has been gravely injured in Orgrimmar. Send guards and medical staff from the guild hall immediately." His brow furrowed as he whispered a fevered prayer to the Light. These injuries are severe...another demon attack in the city itself? He struggled to keep up with the bleeding, his healing not accomplishing as much as it should to close her wounds. He flinched slightly as he realized why this was. Poison...not usually a part of the Legion's usual arsenal. Something isn't right... The paladin uttered a different prayer, expunging the toxins from Kanda's body. The warm, healing light seemed to work more quickly now that it was not opposed by further damage. Cerryan just needed to move her hands to get a better angle on the worst of the damage, but they were gripped tightly against her. He applied gentle pressure to move them, one hanging on a bit tighter. Something was clenched in the hand, something that slid out along with the arm as the paladin finally cleared the area and began surging shocks of holy light to stop the bleeding as fast as possible. He used his free hand to pry at the orc's clenched one, and as the sliced appendage slipped free from her hand and into his, he was at once overcome with sickening nausea and trembling emotion. His eyes welled as they narrowed, his blood pressure rising sharply. Quickly, the mending wound was wrapped tight for compression, and Cerryan let out a cry of anguish as he laid his hands on the downed fighter, coursing a massive surge of holy light into her. He stood up, drained and weary, his face blank and unfocused, and he coldly pressed through the crowd without saying a word. He was gone by the time Sanctuary's responders had arrived. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ A short time later, a bloodstained note is delivered to the Shadowblade's hands with the speed and precision that could not have come cheaply. The writing was rough and hasty, with an anger-filled tone that betrayed the writer's possible instability. You little murderous shit This is over, Syreena. I will kill you I swear I will. No more hiding behind oaths or behaving for the commander, I will kill you myself and on my own. Come find me in the Ghostlands. Your rotting corpse will fit right in among the dead that your kind brought to our lands. Come find me. -Cerryan
  4. 6 points
    My neck twists, lips grinning, as I survey our grand picnic gathering. The Forsaken has the one doll, some holdover from a lost daughter or maybe her own living childhood. It is ragged now, but has the hallmarks of expert craftsmanship. The thing had once been lavishly expensive. Like everything, though, time has dulled the painted face, faded fabric colors and applied miniature scars of scrapes and scratches. The hair is bleached white. Perhaps once it had been yellow? She calls it Emily. I introduce her to the bear. I have no name for him, only hatred. In my head I can almost hear his voice condemning me. As always, the memory of that sound is elusive and I don't bother with the attempt to chase it down. That voice and all the rest is the stuff of nightmares and best left alone. It's enough for me to know he deserves what's coming to him. I feigned embarrassment at his lack of clothing, playing on the emotions of a human mind. The truth is that I do not know what the tauren druid looked like except as a bear, or a bird, and hadn't bothered to craft clothes for him. It seemed to work, and the undead set up the tea table. At the stump covered by her thin blanket, the dolls sit. Emily and my own created tauren. On their makeshift table is a miniature tea set of cups, saucers, and snack plates painted with delicate pink and yellow roses. It's just about the most ridiculous thing I can think of at the moment. What purpose does it serve to sit here and serve real food to pretend people? I'm a real person, let me eat all the food. Like the undead said, she doesn't need it. She really got into the act with very little prodding from me. I giggled in the right places, manipulated my effigy in a pantomiming of what I imagined to be a gentlemanly way, showing the ceramic-faced Emily to her seat and ensuring her comfort before trudging him over to sit opposite. Aziris is an attentive host and pulls me into the game instead of letting me merely play the doll's part. To my surprise, I actually start to have a little fun. "Ah, I believe I hear steam from the kettle," Aziris says in her play-voice, acting the hostess. She excuses herself to the kitchen to prepare the tea tray, which means she scoots off the blanket to arrange the picnic in better readiness for serving. She begins arranging tea cakes on a serving platter, and I notice that she has quite a few more than she actually sets out. My stomach growls. Is she going to feed us in courses, like a feast meal, or, more likely, will she be the conservative lady and set out just enough for the four of us? I had asked for a picnic of free food, not all this tea party mess. Now it threatens to lead to real human habits of old-fashioned politeness and stupidly dainty portions. I don't have time for this, I'm hungry! An idea occurs to me. "Lady Emily," I speak for my druid friend, "this be a fantastic-enough gathering, and ya friend be such a gracious hostess... ya be minding if I be inviting a few odda friends to be witness to ya hospitality? Dey never gonna believe I been meeting such lovely ladies like yaself, ya be seein..." More plates on my side of the table equates, in my mind, to more share of the tea cakes. Aziris pauses in her careful stacking of the little biscuit rounds. Her faces briefly blanks as her eyes scrutinize my doll again, lingering on the belly stitching in particular. I thought she had accepted my story of the doll's poor care and the need to play doctor to fix him up again, but I'm beginning to think the girl is a bit smarter than I've given her credit for. A troll with a homemade doll? That's not the least bit suspicious is it? Too late now. I've already admitted that I have more dolls, and besides that I'm hungry. I was already nearly caught by a bluffwatcher about to make off with a pair of plucked and hung striders. Only my own paranoia and a third quick scan kept him from actually witnessing a theft. Damned tauren. The tea cakes are my most immediate and certain source of calories for the moment, and having actually seen them now, it's really hard to not need them. "Be forgivin my presumption, nice lady. I only be meaning if ya have enough fo sharin...?" Aziris blinks away whatever thoughts lurk behind those glowing eyes and smiles at me. She picks up the tray of treats and moves it a few inches closer, as if she is returning from a faraway kitchen. "Emily, did I hear we are to have more guests? Why yes, dear Azi, Mister druid here was just askin if it would be alright to invite them to sample your delicious baking. Of course they are welcome! Bring them in, by all means! The more the merrier..." Aziris looks at me expectantly. "Please show them to the table, Derecho?" Something in her expression makes me believe that I have erred somehow, revealed something about myself that I hadn't quite meant to share. What secret have I lost? She sets the heaped serving tray down and picks up the abandoned stack of dessert saucers from earlier table-setting, waiting patiently to set a plate for each new arrival. I cannot help myself. I bring out T'suro the third. I introduce him, making the doll bow with a gracious sweep of his tiny little stick spear, and set him at the table. Aziris smoothly plays the role of hostess and sets a plate for him as she speaks for both herself and Emily. My second Lilliana joins the tea party, her fireweed hair is no longer scarlet but dried out and brownish. The plant strands crumble easily, and this doll is soon nearly bald from the rough manipulations of removing it from the cuff of my glove and setting it at the table. The second hidden face on the back of the head, with angry slitted eyes and slanted scheming mouth suddenly seems like a poor design choice. She peers at me. Aziris smiles again, and this time the impression of superiority is unmistakeable. Something she suspected has just been confirmed. She chooses that moment to begin serving, and my thoughts instead gloss to the pondering of what those little round cakes will taste like. Will they be dry and crumbly? Buttery? Does she have jam to go with them, or just the tea? How many will each puppet get to have? What about the real people? Aziris greets Lilliana and Emily compliments her dress. The undead splits the cakes in half and serves the rounds open-faced, one half to each puppet at the table. She places two cakes on the plate for me and as she passes it back, nonchalantly asks if there are any more guests that might like to arrive? She is well aware that Sanctuary and The Grim are quite large guilds. It's such a treat to be able to see them acting so amicably... I'm not quite sure how it happens, but the picnic blanket is soon filled with every random doll I have thought to create. Julilee with her driftwood shield. Kexti holding his stick topped with a snailshell jug of medicine. The monk doll's face is completely absent, instead having concentric circles, like a target. There is another paladin with both arms ending in tufts of yellow feathers. His name is Cerryan, though I don't know why I know that. A green doll with a giant heart stitched over most of the area of the torso and an angry face I recognize as Shokkra. Along with this one is another, very similar and plain except for the head, where the same yellow feathers stick out of the mouth along with a single red one. Is that supposed to be fire? Then there is the eyeless half-doll, missing it's legs and pudgier than the others with zigzags drawn over every inch of it's black-and-white form. Aziris watches as I pluck these from every nook and cranny of my armor. The dolls emerge from pockets, from under flaps beneath the bones caging my shoulders, from inside my bushy hair. I retrieve them from my vest, betraying the utter lack of breasts actually padding the garment. I refasten the studded leather guards against my shinbones after unpadding them with dolls. If the Forsaken is surprised by the number of my targets represented, she hides it well. She insists on having each one introduced by name if I'm able, and then directs them to their seat at the table as if she really were a grand hostess conducting an epic social event in her home, instead of a silly girl playing dolls on the edge of a bluff behind a bunch of tents. With each new arrival the stack of tea cakes becomes smaller and soon enough there are no more plates. Each additional doll gets a napkin and a biscuit in their lap. We end with only two unclaimed treats, which she adds to my plate with the smooth excuse that the person who had made her tea party such an extravagant affair should rightfully receive an extra portion. She invites us all to please enjoy our tea, blowing gently on her own tiny cup as if to cool it and then sipping. I'm ecstatic, surveying my little army of dolls each with half a tea cake. Along with the tea, this will be an excellent meal. I proceed to eat and drink happily, occasionally voicing a different character. "Oh miss Aziris, dis be de bestest party I eva been to. Ya be so nice to be hostin it. Pfft, less talkin and more passing o de sugar, firefly. Shokkra, bein nice to our lady host! No demonkilla weapons at de table. Be eatin some o dat sugar, ya, improve ya attitude. Miss Emily, ya must be sharin de name o ya tailorin guy, Julilee always be wearin de armor, see, and if she be having a dress she be lookin mighty fine, right? Lilliana, no flingin o de crumbs at ya Sanctuary, now, we all be here nicelike..." The Forsaken gradually quiets, contributing less and less to the pretend as I find myself swept up in the story of it. I nibble at every doll's tea cake for them, doing my best to be dainty about it and take small bites after my own biscuits vanish. This is a lot more fun than I had thought it could be. It's nice to have someone just sit with me and be friendly. It makes me miss that bartender. Everyone has gone to the new islands. I wonder if perhaps it is time for me to follow them. I don't see Aziris fold her arms, watching me. She discreetly inserts a hand up one sleeve, finding something hidden there. As she sits, watching me eat and play nice with her doll and the crafted representation of everyone I wish to see dead or maimed, her thumb rubs a small oblong device between her fingers, activating it. When I glance to her to smile, still happy at this whole picnic thing and cheeks full with doll food, her own lips twist upwards in response.
  5. 6 points
    Sketch of Arch Druid Theira casting with her resto skillz.
  6. 6 points
    Because I have nothing better to do than to update something from a year ago.
  7. 5 points
    Syreena had heard about the brawl in the Wyvern’s Tail a few days ago. As she heard it, T’suro had come in and started trouble with Khorvis. A fight broke out, and Khorvis lost a tusk. Baal and a couple other Grims broke up the fight, and ran Sanctuary off but were injured in the process. Syreena did not take attacks against the Grims lightly. Since hearing the news, the little rogue had been prowling around Orgrimmar and Warspear, looking for an opportunity to remind the purple people that aggression against The Grim would not be tolerated. She found her first target along the beaches of Warspear. A female elf she’d met at the last Cantina. Sanctuary. And Cerryan’s mate. Sen'ahri sat in a secluded little section of Warspear, having found a semi-quiet spot near the water and slightly far away enough for the din of the hub to be partially muted. She was in simple clothes, the only real flavor to it was the bright purple and gold of the Sanctuary tabard that hung loosely around her. The make shift table was low to the ground, the pole that kept it up right half sunken into the high tide of the water that lapped at her bare feet. Her boots sagged on the table as she sat hunched over a book, an odd spherical puzzle in her hand. She would turn and spin the halves of the object, study it then jot something down in the book, completely engrossed in her progress. Even as the sun hung low with a fire's blood and her feet ankle deep in wet sand, she kept to her studies, ears flicking every once and a while, but mostly limp and droopy as she concentrated. It had been ages since someone last passed by, either in wayward passing or intent. She was alone, and dumb as ever. With the step of one practiced at remaining unheard and unseen, the Shadowblade moved silently over the wet sand until she was directly behind Sen'ahri. She leaned forward, placing a blade lightly against the elf's throat and her lips close to her ear. "Hello, elf," she whispered into that elegant ear. Sen’ahri flinched hard, nearly jumping out of her skin, the sting of the blade on the tender flesh of her throat stinging less than it should, adrenaline starting to pump through her blood. She recognized the voice, though her memories had to search for the woman they belonged too far slower then she would have perhaps liked. Though as the image of the undead woman flittered into her thoughts she knew she was out classed. She was a mage, sure, but where most of her people practice for combat, she had used her time learning of the past... and its people. It was the trickle of red that tickled her skin that slammed her thoughts back into reality. Slowly she sat the pen and the puzzle down, hands flat on the table fingers splayed. She didn't say anything at first as her eyes closed trying desperately to quit the tremble that had over taken her. The fight the day before with Cerryan echoed into her thoughts, a bitter taste running on her tongue from the thought. "That's right," Syreena whispered approvingly. "Keep your hands right there where I can see them.” “What do you want?” Sen’ahri said, her voice giving away more fear then what she had intended. “Hm," Syreena said and then paused, as if thinking on the question. She tilted her head back and forth in time with tipping the dagger back and forth as well, rocking it gently against Sen'ahri's throat. "I just want peace, same as you purple people," she finally answered with a deceitful cheerfulness in her voice. The frightened elf flicked her gaze around as much as she could, trying to find someone, anyone to signal to, to raise an alarm, anything. She just had to keep the woman talking, that’s what they always said, keep them talking, get them to monologue get them to spill their guts to save your own. Peace? Peace was easy, but this wasn't the way for it this wasn't how you got it. "I also want this," Syreena hissed as she licked the outside of the elf's left ear. She raised her free hand, holding the twin of the blade at the elf’s throat. Sen’ahri’s lips parted to speak, to ask questions, to say more, but her words were soon gone as she felt the blade slice through the skin and cartilage, severing the ear from her head. To the undead's credit, her blades were sharp, impossibly so, before the pain registered the appendage was gone. Reaching to pick up her small, bloody prize from where it landed on the table, the Shadowblade removed the dagger from the elf's throat and took a step back, quite pleased with herself. They teach you to be calm, to keep a level head and a mind like a vice when using magic, that using while emotional did little but hurt yourself and those around you, but the only one around Sen’ahri now was Syreena. In a pop of displaced air and magic the mage was gone, standing facing the other woman with wide wild eyes. A shaky hand reached up to touch the unprotected hole, her palm coming back a bloody mess, the long slender pink spear of flesh she expected to feel; missing. The gore streamed down her face and neck, making a mess of her clothes and shoulder as she tried to stop the bleeding. trying to get the ringing out of her...her.... Her vision warbled as tears started to sting, her hearing drastically muted on her left side. Syreena tilted her head, her gaze fixed on the bleeding hole in the elf's head. Then she giggled softly and lifted the severed ear up to her lips, giving it a tender lick. The mutilated mage rose her free hand to cast a spell, lances of Ice starting to form around her then haphazardly flung forward as she tried to stumble away, the magic puttering out mostly before getting to their target, or off the mark by more than a mile. She was a researcher, not a harden battle mage. The rogue’s giggling grew louder as the ice pieces flew harmlessly about her with no real aim or force. "Ooh, a snowball fight?" With a childish playfulness, Syreena pulled out a magic snowball and threw it at the mage. The ball of snow smacked the woman in the chest. As she registered what her attacker had thrown, a horrid look of confusion claimed Sen'ahri's face, causing Syreena to laugh harder at the expression. Her one hand still covering the hole, the other slowly starting to cast a simple teleportation spell. More in test to see if the rogue would even let her leave, the cast taking more time, her hands shaking too hard. Having already accomplished her goal, the Shadowblade made no move to impede the elf’s escape. “You're a monster,” the mage said, her voice sounding half muffled. Syreena put on her best innocent face and pouted a bit. Then she grinned wickedly. “Rawr!” Sen’ahri flinched at the sound, dropping the spell once again, only to be quickly picked back up again. Then, with the soft sound of displaced air and magic, the mage was gone. Later that day, Syreena had Lilliana stitch the elf ear onto her own head where, eighteen months or so ago, her left ear was removed after losing a battle with another Sanctuary elf. ((Written by Syreena and Sen’ahri))
  8. 5 points
    " You are only allowed to give 10 likes per day. You cannot give any more likes today. " What the... I'm allowed to like as many things as I want to like and no one is going to stop me! Be that as it may, I would appreciate being able to indicate my likes without limit. I feel any such restriction on appreciation is in error.
  9. 5 points
    “You are not performing your form correctly,” said the pandaren, Fong. Kex’ti seethed, and swung the butt of his staff upward, aiming for the other monk’s solar plexus. Fong stepped backward, out of the path of the attack, and threw his entire bodyweight behind a palm strike. The blood elf’s nose broke, and Kex’ti reeled backwards, bringing a hand to ward his face. The panderen expected the elf to yield. He expected the monk to bow, as others had. When the Wandering Isle had sent the Huojin and Tushui envoys towards the end of the Cataclysm, they had spread hints of Pandaren culture like petals drifting on the breeze. Ephemeral, transient, and easily missed. The Wanderers continued to wander across Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, and set up small encampments among their new Horde and Alliance allies. One of the simplest arts they passed along were the teachings and traditions of monasteries remembered only in ink and word, stories of a continent lost in the mists. But the memories and stories endured, and teaching farmers and warriors alike the virtues of meditation and unarmed combat translated beyond one’s race. Indeed, many of the people the Pandaren reached out to could relate to the monastic traditions of the Pandaren; the Forsaken and humans had orders of knights and priories to the Holy Light; the tauren had their druidic circles, and the blood elves would cling to any hope of calming the ever-present itch at the back of their minds. Fong expected this elf to be much the same as the others. The elves, particularly the sin’dorei, practiced the soft arts well, thought the monk. They could reflect, and they could show discipline. But they would never truly master the hard arts. Their bodies were frail, their thoughts alien to the tranquility necessary to truly be masters. To a one, Fong had found the trials easiest against elves. It wasn’t to say they weren’t capable. Just that so much of their technique, and so many of the “new” developments they brought to the Broken Temple were glamour rather than substance. One good hit was usually enough to put them down. Fong was Tushui, and knew only a little of blood elven culture. What he learned he had heard from a quel’dorei secessionist. The picture the high elf painted was arrogant and vain. Disdain huffed the monk’s black nose. At least the orcs and dwarves bothered to master some of the fighting. They attempted to be masters. They saw glory, and they saw opportunity, and they saw what it was to be a monk. The blood elves wanted something to distract them from their addiction to the arcane. That the urge was mostly abated by the Sunwell was little known and of less value to Fong. Fong was disappointed. So many pandaren, Huojin, Tushui, and Continental, could have been invited to the Wandering Isle. So many lost opportunities. Elves like this one were invited. So much wasted space. Pathetic. Kex’ti lunged back in, and was met by Fong’s guard. *** The elf first broached the subject to Baern Grimtotem. The pair sat in oak chairs in the Filthy Animal, a skin of whiskey flaccid between them. Their cups rattled each time they lifted them to their lips. “I have been invited to the Wandering Isle,” he said. The pair had been discussing Baern’s induction into the Valarjar, the elite warriors chosen by the Titan Keeper Odyn. A small hint of a smirk rattled and died at the corner of the monk’s lips. “Then why don’t you go?” Baern asked in as many words. Kex’ti had waited for that question. And he did not have a response. He made up a satchel for the journey. He packed and unpacked his cooking equipment, pondering if it would be met with open arms or with disregard. He reviewed scrolls and form diagrams he had all but crumbled into dust with his obsessive smoothing and study. It was not that he doubted his ability. Not really. He knew he had mastered his stances and his strikes, had the countless scars and calluses to prove his dedication to his style. His combat record, too, reflected this. But monks were not plentiful, not in his experience, at least. His lot for comparison was near to nonextant. And he wondered why he had been invited. Why were the monks gathering? He supposed the only way to find out was to go. He smirked to himself as he climbed aboard one of the cloud serpents corralled at Krasus’ Landing. His own, Shou-Kara, would wait behind. He gathered his cloak around himself, patted the serpent, and tried to doze. An hour later, he opened his eyes, and peered through the cloud cover. He smelled, over the sea, the mixture of many smells. Kex’ti gaped, taking it all in. The island itself was a massive turtle, its flippers and head rising and falling in the slate grey waves miles off the Broken Isles. As the serpent wheeled above and descended down to a clearing near the center of the turtle’s back, the tinge of fel met his nose, along with the clean trees and herbs of Pandaria, blended more still with the overwhelming aromas of food. Heat shimmered from a village that had been converted almost wholesale into an open kitchen. Near the massive temple, students of hundreds of disciplines engaged in duels. And among them walked venerable Pandaren, obvious even at a distance that they had forgotten more about the martial arts than Kex’ti could learn in his remaining lifetime. He grimaced at the though, and swallowed down a cough. The cloud serpent landed, dust whirling around the current that guided and suffused the creature. A pair of acolytes immediately began speaking to the monk in quick, dialectic Pandaren. Even after a year on the Continent with no other language to hear, Kex’ti still fumbled over the euphemism and tonal notes. “Om nom?” asked one of the acolytes, a pandaren man with stark white fur and black rings around his eyes. “Nom sze om,” said Kex’ti. The acolyte seemed confused and nodded, and helped remove Kex’ti’s belongings from the serpent. The pandaren paused, and spoke again, slowly, placing emphasis on the way the O’s left his mouth. The monk blinked, and nodded, bowing his head gratefully. He smirked, even still, drawing a neatly narrowed gaze from the attendant. Try as he might, Kex’ti could not get the tic to subside. Choice words in Thalassian crossed the monk’s mind. He dismounted, carefully, and used his staff to steady his stride. The limp was apparent, but not incredibly obvious. It was noticed, thought Kex’ti. He closed his eyes, inhaled, and raised his head high, speaking amicably in Pandaren--Huojin Pandaren--to the duo who aided him with his things. It would be impolite to not accept, he knew, and the conversation’s initial brusqueness gave way to something more honest. “Certain am I not to why here I have been invited,” he said, thinking carefully over the words. “Pardon. I am not certain to why here I invited I have been,” he attempted. The second pandaren, similar in most respects to the first, save that he had dyed the longer hair on his head to a vibrant purple answered. They were hesitant to give him their names, for whatever reason. “The Order of the Broken Temple was formed to bring together monks of as many styles and backgrounds as was feasible. Any who might have something to contribute against the fight against the Legion,” said Purple. Rings nodded. “Yes. The council of Grandmasters wanted to see what had happened to the teachings in the wake of of the diaspora.” “So they just invited everyone that drew anyone’s attentions…” Kex’ti asked. “Ah, not so simply,” said Rings. “It is also to collect and...gather the information people have made about monastic styles.” “For salad? Pardon, for grouping? For....” “Collection,” said Purple. “Just in case.” Kex’ti nodded, grimly. “I see. Is the council of Grandmasters that pessimistic about our odds?” “Not quite. It is also to make certain that those who have mastered a style or discipline are rewarded accordingly.” “Wait,” said the monk, pausing his steps. Around the three, Pandaren chittered and droned, while pandaren and other races mixed and talked amongst themselves, demonstrating strikes and stances. He almost lost track of his thoughts. “Does a master not get to make those choices? For their disciples?” “Yes, but the Order of the Broken Temple wants to provide an extra standard, so as not to lose the techniques of the ages. It is very precise, and incredibly exacting to meet their standards.” Kex’ti nodded. “I...think I understand.” Satisfied, the pandaren took him towards the Temple of Five Dawns. “You are a Serpent initiate, yes?” Kex’ti blinked. “I have learned quite a bit of Serpent teaching, but in truth I am much more of a Crane adept.” The pandaren shared a glance. “So you have learned a bit of Tiger style? What temple?” “The Crane temple in Kun-Lai,” Kex’ti said. The two shared another glance. “Ah, to the Crane grounds, then. And what of Ox style?” asked Purple, scanning the monk’s figure. “You don’t look typical for an elf.” Kex’ti hobbled along, the scrolls and tomes on his staff fluttering. He smirked. “I suppose that is true,” he chuckled. “I did study a bit of Ox style. All of the styles connect somehow, yes? Ox and Serpent both focus on leaves.” “Leaves? Oh, medicine?” Kex’ti nodded. “It was a lot of work, but pandaren martial arts...well, elves using them is newer than the arts being made for them, right?” The pair nodded in agreement, and led him through a red archway. They left him with his satchel and armor, and he hobbled in, looking about. He drew occasional glances. He coughed and took a pull from his jug. Kex’ti sat down next to a jinyu and a night elf. The Jinyu was dressed in simple black robes, and was, to his estimation, a woman? No, a man. The aura failed to give it away in either respect, not that it ever did. The kaldorei sipped at some ginger tea. “Hoi, friends,” Kex’ti said. The two gave him a cursory nod. “How do you fare?” The others turned towards the sin’dorei. “Well enough. How goes the Horde’s fight with the Legion?” Kex’ti gripped his leg. “It is slow progress,” he said. “And the Alliance’s?” “Considering we lost our High King, and the new Commander of Forces…” began the Jinyu. The night elf glared, but his expression softened, and he sighed. “Suzu, hush,” said the night elf. “What happened at the Broken Shore and our current factional leadership is inept on both sides, for many reasons. We should focus on what is happening here, today.” The Jinyu looked into Kex’ti’s eyes, noted his waiting disagreement, then looked down to Kex’ti’s tabard. “Sanctuary? I’ve heard of you.” The Pandaren language flowed between the three as they waited for what happened next. Tea was shared, and for a brief moment, Kex’ti’s heart soared. A stern, young Pandaren woman emerged from the temple at the end of the courtyard. Her robes were fine, if used, and her gaze was calculating. She refrained from any magic. Instead, when she spoke, the voice echoed throughout the court. “Crane adepts,” she began. “I am Number Eight Aiko, Shado-Pan and Crane Master. “Our world, our way of life, faces an unprecedented task ahead of us. It is not an orcish menace that stands before us…” she said, looking over the crowd, “...But the extinction of all life. Do not take your summons here lightly. “The council of Grandmasters has convened in an attempt to gather the various splinters and techniques developed from the original four styles. While many of you are Cranes, so many of your teachings have not come according to the original trainings. This is just as well, as we are more than what we were when the original sects were born.” She nodded. “Crane adepts are unique among the four styles. We strike hard like Tigers. We heal like Serpents. And we are more than willing to defend our allies like the Oxen. But we are bastions too of hope. And no matter who we once were, the Red Crane watches over us, as we must watch over our allies, no matter where they reside: Before us, behind us, or at our side.” “The Legion comes. We must have hope that we possess the skills, together, to overcome them. In the days to come, we will find out how this is possible.”
  10. 5 points
    Because I was sick of not having an avatar for Dora.
  11. 4 points
    A new weekly publication has entered the streets of Dalaran. Despite it being new, apparently this is the 223rd issue.
  12. 4 points
    Guild has a craft club on the go our first assignment was something hearthstone related made from Sculpty. Dis is what I made.
  13. 4 points
    Autumn made its presence known across the rocky hills of Redridge, arriving with gusting breezes laced with tastes of distant winter bite. Red, orange and yellow leaves fluttered from thick-limbed oak trees, coating the ground with a carpet of color. These leaves fell thick in the Lake Everstill cemetery, especially on the stoop of an unobtrusive, wood-clad shed tucked behind the tombstones. It wasn’t empty. Gray-black smoke curled from the top of a black, iron pipe. Attached to the backside of the shed, it remained mostly hidden from view, even to the occasional fisherman who stalked catfish along Lakeshire’s opposite shore. Had someone been fishing on this particular morning, they might have heard laughter, singing and the banging of copper kettles from within the nondescript shed. Brother Jeb was brewing. Named after his grandfather, Jebediah was the latest in a long line of moonshiners who’d been brewing illegal alcohol in the hills of Redridge for time eternal. In fact, they’d been brewing for so long, the list read like a heraldic tree of Bradferd brewmaster lineage. Bradferd Shine was famous, and most in Redridge knew the family, or had at least heard the name. The name Brother had been given to him by one of the tavern keepers, who once said his brews were, "worthy of praise, as if the Light itself had offered up it's own, holy nectar." It stuck. Every so often, the King’s revenue agents would ride into town in an attempt to shut the Bradferds down. However, the beverages always seemed to reappear in taverns, tables and cabinets around the district. When the King’s men asked questions, they were always met with blank stares and shoulder shrugs. If they asked more, they might mysteriously disappear while on patrol. After a couple of times, the questions stopped and so did the revenuers. Redridge liked their shine, and the Bradferds kept their neighbors happy. It was an October morning. A morning filled with bird song and acorns drumming on the shed’s tin roof. The cool mists settling across Lake Everstill provided the perfect water temperature for this seasons dram, and Brother Jeb was using it to his advantage. Metal vats of cold water, pulled straight from the heart of the lake, was now mixed with mashed cherries, tart apples and pure cane sugar. Local yeast had fermented the mixture into wine, yet the true magic was happening in the large copper still over which Jeb was leaning. Making shine was a labor of love. Exact temperatures required for the perfect liquor took his constant attention, and singing brewing songs helped him keep time with the boil. Too hot and the liquor would flow fast – not good for quality shine. You wanted slow and steady, which he never failed to produce. Autumn Bite. That was this season’s brew. The sweetness of the deep, red cherries from Elwynn combined with the tart, green apples of Westfall would make for a memorable drink to usher in Hallows End. So far, from what he’d tasted, it was one of a kind and better than any his pa ever made. This drink would be legendary. Yet, as hard as he tried to do otherwise, his mind drifted elsewhere. Just the week before, he’d run into Charlie while fishing for catfish in a refuse pile beneath the dock. He’d just pulled a small, wooden box from the floating debris when she called his name, taking his attention from the potential treasure chest. After some small talk and discussion of happenings around the district, they’d slipped into the tavern for a few drinks, and to catch up on local gossip. He now wished he hadn’t. Not because of her, of course. She was a looker and friendlier than all get out. Always had been, so far as he recalled. Nah, it’s what she’d said to him about a Colonel hanging out in city hall, looking for volunteers, that’d ruined his mind. The man wanted help with the Orc problem, and like a catfish gobbling up stink bait, Charlie’d taken the hook. Come to find out, she’d been learnin’ bout bein a paladin. Even had a set of armor, so she said. Even had a book to help her learn, for fel’s sake. Borrowed from the cathedral in Stormwind. What was worse, she’d introduced him to the Colonel, and now Jeb's mind was spinnin. He twisted a copper knob on the still, lowering the flame to a yellow flicker. “Dang that woman,” he said, stepping to the top of a 3 rung stool to stir the thickening wine. He used a long, wooden paddle like found in wood-fired ovens to remove bread. He swirled the liquid, filling the air with the pungent sweet-tart scent of his future brew. “Gettin’ me all fired up ta help that man.” He lifted the paddle, tapped it on the edge of the vat then hung it from a hook on the side of the shed. “I knowed she says he’s from round here, but I bet he ain’t. All a ruse ta get us kilt er somthin.” He climbed down the stool and twisted the knob, running his fingers along a curling, twisted copper tube that wound its way into a large, glass jug. Soon, the good stuff would pour forth. He’d already skimmed the foreshots and saved the heads for the next batch in small glass jars he’d placed atop a wooden shelf. Who wanted to fight wars, anyway? Sure, they’d all sat around a campfire talking bout how great the army was an all. But that was just beer talk. This man wanted fighters, recruits to convince some pit fighter to save em all from the Orcs. Or the Gnolls. He weren’t sure. Still, he wasn't the sorta man that fought wars, no how. True, he was a bit tall, but danged if he didn't look immaciated. He ate a ton, it just never stuck to his ribs. Some folks even thought he was one a them homeless from out in Westfall, till they got up close an saw he was a Bradferd. It was the balding head and beard that always sold the deal. Only a Bradferd would sport a spade-shaped beard like he did. But Charlie? She wanted to be a hero. Swing swords, chop heads and save the world. Or at least Redridge, anyway. Fel, he’d tolt her all he could do was wack thangs with a stick. Orcs had swords and shields an such. What good would a stick do against that? But did she listen. Nope. Instead, said she was gonna let him thank about it awhile for she signed up. An he best think right and join the cause. So they agreed to meet on Thursday mornin, along with a few others she'd rounded up and decide what ta do. He doubted she'd like his decision. His eyes widened as the first drop of the good stuff fell into the greenish glass jug. A left over from a Goblin beverage incursion several years back, it provided the perfect container for the potent drink. He licked his lips as one drop became two, then ten, and before long, the entire jug was filled with the first batch of the good stuff. It would be legendary, and all thought of Orcs, Colonels and wacking sticks disappeared into the intoxicating red liquid that defined his life, that of his family and that of his heritage. Autumn’s Bite, a name that would soon mean much more than he ever could have imagined.
  14. 4 points
    I've been taking screenshots of new things, and some of them are so pretty, I thought them worth sharing. Barring the occassional DC that kept a few from saving, here are the things I love about Legion, or just a photo gallery of Kerala's travels. I hope you'll share too! "The nightmare consumes, druid. It devours from within. It overwhelms one's thought as easily as it creeps across terrain. Inevitably, the mind fills with shadows, and all hope is eclipsed. It is terrible, it is... beautiful..." ~Astry Fallenbough There is a class being held in one of the buildings in the Dreamgrove. The teacher will flap, and the little students flap. Here, the student is demostrating a fierce rawr! SO CUTE. Kerala's kind of meal. Salad, cheese, and soup. Delicious! Beautiful glowing fishies! Dude. Do you SEE the skeletons? 'Just relax'... mhmmm, sure. 1st Legion death. Once you get G'Hanir, there is a mob of blood drop thingies that get on you, and stack up the corruption too high. This is why everyone was dying. I love the expression here. I FOUND A STIIIIICK! The seedling which allows artifact upgrades. /COVET owned Sadness The Emerald Dreamway. This is the portal to the Dreamgrove. This here was an "OH MY GOD!" moment for me. Finding this made me SO HAPPY! I squealed out loud. It's Stickball! Occasionally I would get a Jewelcrafting quest to actually cut a gem. I loved these! I hope there are more than just the two... (both for a yellow gem). Yay tauren baby and baby stuff! <3 MOOZY!!! Right in the feels again, Blizzard. "Still a damned sea lion." ~Vicktor Ebonfall Malorne's nightmare, and maybe some hesitation, there?
  15. 4 points
    So I was in my Class Hall and ran into an old girlfriend from the Bloodsails. I thought we had parted on good terms, so I tried impressing her with my wonderful charm. I think she remembers things a bit differently than I do.
  16. 4 points
    The rogue’s ankle twisted as he fell back in the dirt. The kick had worked, and the vrykul before him struggled to catch his words and cthnonic syllables back in the shape of a spell. But Kex’ti was in trouble. His second dagger was embedded in the wood of the cliffside dwelling, a remnant from his long drop from the ravine above. Empty air to his left. To his right, an angry vrykul allied to the Lich King. He made his choice, and the elf spilled a sack at his waist into his palm. He threw the clump of white powder at the vrykul before him. The man yowled as he tried to scrape and cough the itchy dust out of his eyes and mouth. Kex’ti looked up and wondered if he could scramble to the other dagger, and looked down at his ankle. It could be worse, he thought. He grit his teeth, and vaulted himself back to his feet, biting down a gasp as he put his bad foot down. He sprinted towards the giant, and drove his dagger upward, leveraging it from his waist into the runecaster’s ribs. The daggers had come as a prize in one of his arena fights. Not a particularly memorable one save for the weapons, but he liked using them. And there was something wrong about keeping just the one. The rogue’s charge barreled the vrykul back towards the cliff, and a slug of the elf’s fist propelled the giant, dagger and all, backwards into the ravine. This one had been a sentry, but there would be others. He quickly pulled some frostweave from his field kit and made a makeshift splint with his boot. *** Fong chuffed and came forward, drawing a shortsword. The sheen of the living steel weapon blinded Kex’ti. If the elf was going to use dirty tricks, why shouldn’t I? Thought the pandaren. The light shining in Kex’ti’s eyes would’ve distracted him. But some cheap tricks worked on monks. Some of them didn’t. He focused his senses, and followed Fong’s aura. The red of anger, the bright pink of passion. To say that Fong didn’t care wouldn’t have done the other monk justice. He did, Kex’ti knew. But emotions had to be controlled. Either by yourself, or by your opponents. Kex’ti didn’t consider Fong a foe, not really. A threat? Perhaps. Few others fell into that category, mostly out of caution rather than any real concern on the monk’s behalf. Rorrek was one. Awatu, another. People who Kex’ti could not see himself fighting, but neither could he see befriending. Fong’s blade sang through the air, the mists guiding his strikes. Mistweaving among crane initiates involved focusing on both the external arts of healing, and the internal arts of qinggong. Using the mists allowed one to surpass physical limits and fight with greater endurance than one would imagine. Pain could be dulled, reflexes heightened. It wasn’t the longstanding training of wearing plate mail or the practiced incantations and summonings of others; but it could bridge the gap for a time. Fong’s strikes continued onward, the monks dancing in and out of the melee, their feet crossing, their arms jutting out to break offensive maneuvers, the staff and sword clanging and twisting. Sloppy or no, Kex’ti’s modified forms worked for him. He wouldn’t win. He knew it, Fong knew it, and most observers knew it. But he wouldn’t go down without a fight. *** The human had caught him by surprise. Not in ambush, but merely that it was the first he’d seen another non-pandaren monk out in the world. In the thick of combat in Ashran, he could spy glimpses and glances of unusual fighting styles, and occasionally the distinct green lightning and mists of other healing monks. But this monk was not a healer. His armor was more cloth than leather, and barely padded. And the power he could draw from his strikes, and the aggressiveness of his stance painted him as a tiger adept. The tiger adept’s strikes were quick, and deadly. Kex’ti had to roll and transcend more often than not just to catch his breath and mend his wounds. As the duel continued, Kex’ti’s medicine managed to keep his mana flowing. And eventually, the crane began to win. The tiger refused to yield. Kex’ti didn’t plan on killing him...But leaving him badly wounded might send a better message. With a quick series of palm and finger strikes, Kex’ti released his chi into the other monk. As a crane, Kex’ti never learned the tiger technique of the karmic touch. By aligning one’s chi with another’s, pain suffered by a monk could be transferred whole cloth to another. It was a difficult technique, but one that was almost essential to fragile, but nimble, tiger adepts. But the dim mak, the death touch, caused resonance in the target’s lifeforce, and dealt monstrous damage after its application. It required a focused mind and a weak foe; used too soon, the dim mak’s destructive effects would bounce back into the user. Tiger adepts, among all monks, were the most dispassionate. They could focus their emotions, and clear their minds to unleash their powers. While all monks could do this to some extent, most needed their emotions to draw on. Kex’ti channeled a moment of rage, and left the tiger shattered. *** He was not prepared for the same technique to be used against him. The elf could no longer dodge, no longer slip away. He bent his will and the turbulence roiling inside of him towards resisting the hostile invasion of chi. But this technique was different. It still manipulated life energy, but was not designed as one final blow. Fong was doubtless the better monk, and had adapted the dim mak to something new and superior to its original form. In all his many battles, Kex’ti had seen one single person shrug off a death touch: the orc rogue, Gnarrdog. The fight ended regardless shortly after, but it was a singular moment. Kex’ti knew he could not repeat the feat. He had a few seconds to go, and took a deep breath while he waited for the pain, or worse, to hit. *** Kex’ti took months before he could walk again. Remiaan’s last act had been to shield him from the collapsing pavilion at the Argent Tournament. With each step, he’d remember her. It chilled him more than any night he’d spent in Northrend. Without invitation, each itch and fork of pain would be accompanied by her smile, her smell, or the ripple of her hair in the wind. The only running he could do was away from the memories, and the cold. He left the formal Horde Offensive, his record one of failed efforts and disobedience. He went to Ratchet, and tried to forget. But even when he ran deeper into the dark, he was not content to simply stay still. *** Fong and Kex’ti watched each other, gauging the elf’s reaction to the dim mak. It coursed through his energy, painlessly at first, and the elf did his best to chase down the chi and expel it. It tore at him, splitting apart the balance of generating and consuming force in his essence. Kex’ti assumed a stance. He only had a few seconds left. And he smirked. *** The Nightmare oozed into Sanctuary’s guildhall. The relics collected there, the magic the guild relied on, all beckoned it like moths to a flame. Kex’ti had encountered it, and the dreamless sleep he experienced in the wake of his own attack by the Nightmare was more peaceful than he’d had in...months. Kex’ti never slept well, not since the Cataclysm, and the unspeakable company and acts he’d participated in. The guilt was never truly washed away, the blood on his hands stained too much to remove, much like his oft-quoted metaphor about teacups. But he managed it. He tried to do better. Chi, as Kex’ti understood it, was related to the elements that shaman could draw upon, and as elemental spirit, could be used to manipulate life itself. To him, mistweaving was about aligning the current state of one’s body with its idealized, pain and damage-free form, and bending the difference away, like smoothing out a wrinkle. It touched the Emerald Dream, elemental spirit did, in some way. And throughout his experiences with Sanctuary, he’d faced his own fears, and the fears of others, more times than he’d like to admit. The Nightmare would find something new to take from him, as it always would, in a world of infinite, horrific possibility, it doubtless would find a fault or crack to pick at. But Kex’ti thought, for once, he could take something back. *** He felt the energy separate, waiting to crash together. The flimsy avatar Kex’ti had summoned faded as he drew what spare energy he could from it, and he focused on the pathway the dim mak traced through his limbs. His discipline had taught him to focus his chi, and to commit fully to the acts he set out on. In this case, not dying would suffice. He reached into the stain within himself, into the miasma of the touch of the void on his soul, and let the corruption into the small gaps of separated chi. What he prepared himself to do would not be undone, and it would change the way he could mistweave, perhaps for the worse. The corruption, the pain and doubt and mistakes and loss and errors that hid in the corners of his mind and spirit were set loose. He released a lance of lightning at Fong at the moment the dim mak would have finished its reaction inside his body. The beam singed the pandaren’s fur, and knocked him to his back, ten yards back. The pain brought Kex’ti to his knees regardless, and he raised a hand in surrender. The other crane adepts stood by, and murmured amongst themselves. The chroniclers and masters looked on, processing what happened. Kex’ti had come to learn, to have anything he’d develop be recorded and evaluated by the true masters of Crane style. It was a simple discovery, albeit one that could be replicated. Even though it was simple, even though it had more an impact on Kex’ti than it would on other mistweavers, even though the technique had likely been practiced by others, he had chipped a sliver into the new disciplines taking shape on the Wandering Isle. He made red lightning.
  17. 4 points
    It began with a test. A duel between practitioners, and studied by masters and scribes. Fong fought, and he recovered, and he fought. The pandaren had learned at the feet of Chi-Ji himself, and had studied the celestial over years of practice, learning his stances and jabs and kicks without fault. He wove the mists easily, and the pooled within him, giving additional strength to his already formidable form. And then he was paired with Kex’ti. The elf was graceful, Fong would say. But the amount of brute force and low cunning the monk employed, consciously or no, told him all he needed to about the white-haired elf. When Fong spoke, it was not out of derision, but merely to help his sparring partner’s form improve. Not that it ever could rival his. Or another pandaren’s, thought Fong. It disappointed him, how little the new monks could bring. Especially not one from a backwater monastery, who fought as much or more with cheap tricks and dirty hits than fluid technique. This opponent’s attacks were jagged. His forms were all sloppy. They flowed together somewhat correctly, but they were all imperfect. Journeyman, certainly. But they were the sweeps and weaving of someone who had learned it wrong, and had been so ingrained with the incorrectness that even an expert couldn’t remedy it. Fong parried the elf’s attack, but was surprised when Kex’ti’s leg took his feet out from under him. He rolled easily out of the path of the falling heel Kex’ti attempted to hit him with, and responded with a brief invocation.Fong’s chi focused jade mists, and burned red as he shaped them into an avatar of Chi-Ji. The crane stood at his side, and he felt his fighting spirit rise. Perhaps the elf didn’t warrant a full response. Fong was being observed, though, as was Kex’ti. What better way to provide a contrast between a true master and an amateur? *** “You are doing it wrong,” said Tideriel. “Follow your sister, Kexerian.” He was following her hand motions and wording perfectly. But just when he thought he’d done it exactly, Kex’ti would see his father’s mouth twitch, just a little. Maybe he learned more from that than he did from his attempts at arcane magic. The smallest of arm movements. The most rigid, or most fluid of wordings. He understood it, or thought he did, but for whatever reason could not make it work. And throughout, all he felt was sick. Eventually, the attempts to instruct him stopped entirely. *** “The purpose of these sparring matches isn’t to see who is the best or most ideal master of our style. It is about seeing how the techniques have diverged and developed among so many splinter disciplines.” Kex’ti never felt very smart. Clever, or insightful at times perhaps. But he never had the same talent for book learning or abstract concepts that Tesonii or his sisters did. But he knew how to try things and wasn’t afraid to take risks. When Augustus Krowne had met with him in the lobby of the inn in Silvermoon, he had been willing to sell everything and travel as wandering arena fighters. Kex’ti’d accepted experimental potions to bring his strength up, and to make him feel better. He’d loved, and he’d fought, and he’d journeyed and lost because of his recklessness, or his curiosity, or something inbetween. When he had learning at the Kun-Lai monastery, he focused more on the somewhat familiar herbal medicine and anatomy lessons that all mistweavers learned. But he worked hard at mastering each and every elbow sweep and the accompanying backstep, the way a jutting hand depended on a turned forearm for defense; Kex’ti never felt very smart. He felt tenacious. Perfection was prized among most of the monk disciplines. But Kex’ti’s life was never perfect, and he tried to focus on what he could do. His body wasn’t as tall or stout like the monks who developed Crane style. His mindset he could adjust. But he knew that there were limits to what he could achieve in trying to emulate. So, for a year, he threw himself and his imperfect forms at better trained students. And slowly, he began to win, and if nothing else, the strikes and sweeps and spells became consistent, and just as good. The results he wanted, he got. And it did not go without notice. *** The Pandaren’s avatar leapt between injured monks as he honed it down to his own chi. Chi-ji stood at the monk’s side and mended his injuries. Kex’ti assumed his stance, dropping his hips low and holding his staff in a short guard before him, his other hand held low and back at his waist, waiting, and gathering air in his chest. Fong left the avatar to heal him at his back, and lunged for Kex’ti, his strikes too heavy and too fast to fully deflect. He turned more aggressive still, trapping the elf’s staff between the pair, using his knees and elbows to hammer at the monk. “Your attacks are imperfect, your defenses subpar...Why are you even here?” asked Fong. Kex’ti merely held the other monk at bay. He waited. He thought. And no cogent response came.
  18. 4 points
    Piggy-backing on the comments about flaws and weaknesses, I tend to create simple and basic characters that allow for a lot of growth. One can end up with more creativity in the future if a lot of backstory is left open-ended and unclear. I find it much more interesting to focus on how awesome my character can be versus how awesome they were before meeting anyone.
  19. 4 points
    Satisfied that she’d made Sanctuary pay for the attack on Khorvis, Syreena considered the matter behind her now. The Grim had recently been ordered by the Commander to withdraw from their garrison in Draenor and return to the guild hall in Tirisfal Glades. The little rogue returned to the Forsaken lands with mixed feelings. A few days after unpacking her things in the old guild hall, Syreena still felt something wasn’t quite right. Brill, Undercity, the Glades—all were home to the little rogue. She should have felt safe and comfortable. Instead, she was nervous and irritable. Finally, on her way into Undercity one day, Syreena realized what the problem was. Just south of the city, in the middle of Lordamere Lake, sat Fenris Keep with its basement cell. She landed her wyvern on the wall overlooking the lake. On the island, she could see a colony of murlocs, and some sick wildlife, but she saw no movement on the walls of the keep. The Shadowblade nudged her mount off its perch and flew toward the island. From a safe height, Syreena surveyed the grounds of Fenris Isle. She saw no sign of the keep being inhabited. No Hillsbrad refugees milled about. No Alliance patrolled the walls. No black and white banners flew at the gates. After a brief hesitation, she signaled the wyvern to land, and she dismounted, tethering the beast to a tree. She approached the entrance cautiously, staying to the shadows, even though she couldn’t see or hear anyone nearby, and retraced the steps she took that day while she followed Sanctuary members in to check on the condition of a Grim who had been captured by the Alliance. The place was deserted, and had been for some time, by the layer of dust coating everything. The basement was empty. There was no sign anyone had ever been there. In her mind though, she heard the echoes of the past. “SURPRISE BITCH,” the Halfling rogue had called out when he pounced on her, knocking her out of the shadows. “Apprehend her!” Julilee had ordered, as she moved to block the stairs, trapping Syreena in the basement with the humans. “Excellent,” Kex’ti had said to the little rogue after conversing in Thalassian with the human in charge. “Then you will take Tesonii’s place?” “Stop,” Kargron said sternly. “There is no honor in this.” “Forsaken know no honor,” another Sanctuary elf spat. “Strip her,” the human leader ordered after Sanctuary had left the little rogue alone as a prisoner of the Alliance. “Let’s make sure she’s not hiding anything in any interesting places.” * * * * * * The next day, Syreena was in Orgrimmar, on her way to fight demons at the back gate. As she rode through the Drag, she saw a familiar face near the orphanage. For several years in a row, Kanda had been Syreena’s orphan during Children’s Week. When the orc was old enough to leave the orphanage, Syreena brought her to the Grim garrison and gave her a home. When Syreena gave Kanda her first mission—to retrieve for her the ears of the Sanctuary commander—Kanda instead joined the purple people. Betrayer, she thought as she glared at the orc. All of them. Purple betrayers. She waited, concealed in the shadows, until Kanda left the orphanage and headed through the Drag down into the Cleft of Shadows. Syreena followed, until they were in a relatively isolated spot. Then the Shadowblade lunged at the other rogue with her daggers drawn. She stabbed the orc’s exposed lower back. Kanda staggered, but she recovered quickly, whirling around to face her attacker as she took one of her axes in hand and raised it in a defensive stance. She felt blood trickling under the waist of her leggings from the wounds on her back, and she could feel her muscles slowing and stiffening around the wound from the poison that had coated the blades, but she gave no indication that she was in pain or otherwise affected. She simply watched the Grim rogue. “Traitor!” Syreena hissed. “I took you in, and you betrayed me for them!” “There was no honor there,” Kanda replied evenly. “Honor?” Syreena giggled. “Your new purple people have no honor! Even you purple orcs. Ask Kargron. He knows.” Syreena lunged at Kanda again, but the Sanctuary rogue was ready this time. In one move, she turned, avoiding the Shadowblade’s attack and slicing her axe across Syreena’s side hard enough to bite through both leather and flesh. Syreena spun, ignoring her own injury, and swiftly retaliated, her daggers a blur as she came at the orc. Kanda, however, was already in motion. She had launched a grappling hook to the roof of a nearby hut and was pulling herself up. She turned to face her attacker. Every movement was an effort with the crippling poison slowing her muscles. She flicked her wrist, and a hidden engineering device in her bracer sent a small pistol into her hand. She aimed it down at where Syreena was a moment ago, but the Grim rogue was no longer there. The Shadowblade stepped through the shadows, reappearing on the hut’s roof behind the orc, and again stuck her poisoned daggers into Kanda’s back. She twisted the blades viciously. The green skin, and the flesh beneath, were ripped apart and blood spurted. This time the orc stumbled, and Syreena kicked her off the roof. Kanda twisted in the air, a pained grunt escaping her as she landed on her wounded back on top of an awning made out of a bear skin. She lifted the pistol and fired twice. One shot hit Syreena, slowing her as she advanced. Syreena stepped off the roof with her daggers held in front of her. Kanda lifted her axe to protect herself, but, because of the crippling poison, her movements were not quick enough to save her. Syreena landed on Kanda, using the momentum to drive her daggers into the orc’s belly where the armor didn’t cover her. She grinned wickedly as she drew each blade downward through the abdominal wall, then sideways, opening up the orc’s gut. Kanda shuddered, a wheezing gasp escaping her. Then she felt teeth in her gut wound as the Forsaken lowered her head and began eating her. She struggled, weakened from poison and blood loss, and finally Syreena lifted her head and crawled up to Kanda’s face, blocking the orc’s field of vision with a bloody grin. The Forsaken lifted a dagger to the side of her own head and sliced off the pink elf ear that was stitched there. “Have an ear, Betrayer,” Syreena whispered menacingly, roughly shoving the severed ear into Kanda’s belly. “It used to belong to Cerryan’s girlfriend. Don’t worry, I’ll get another one. Another purple one. Many, in fact.” Until now, Kanda had accepted that she was going to die. Death in combat was an acceptable, honorable death. But now, as this hideous monster threatened others, anger rose up in her. She saw red as blood fury descended upon her. With an angry roar, she lifted her axe one more time and bashed it against Syreena’s head. The Forsaken yelped and tumbled off the awning, out of sight. For several moments, Kanda waited, fighting to stay conscious, expecting the Grim rogue to return to finish her task. As the blood fury receded, the pain returned. Kanda realized that Syreena didn’t need to come back to finish the job; the bleeding and poison would do that for her. The elf ear was still sticking out of her belly as she fumbled for her communicator. “…attacked…Cleft of Shad-….” She coughed weakly, then managed to get a few more words out before losing consciousness. “Cerryan.....mate’s…..ear…. Need….heal….”
  20. 4 points
    Something I would like to contribute is a warning about the pitfall I call "Avatar Syndrome," as it catches many people off guard when they just get into RP after questing. This is an important part of keeping IC and OOC separate, depending on the situation. What you are presented in game and how things are in terms of lore are drastically different. The first thing players interact with is the leveling experience, and most do not usually set foot into RP until during or after this process. This has a tendency to influence newer RPers who base their RP on the limited experiences available to them. I will illustrate with an example: You are a young adventurer that has been tasked with clearing the Fargodeep Mine of Elwynn Forest. Kobolds have infested the mines and make it their home, denying the locals access to valuable mineral deposits. Any player can tell you that this presents little to no challenge while leveling. Blizzard recently changed the pace of lower level questing to make combat last slightly longer, but it is still not overly difficult. Questing is very deceiving for new RPers, especially if they are new to RP but have played for years and have had access to Heirlooms which make leveling all the easier. In the end you are left with it feeling like there was no danger since everything crumpled and died in seconds. This often leaves the impression that being a juggernaut that dispatches multiple "threats" with ease is the norm. To shake this off I recommend stepping back and evaluating the situation from a real world perspective. What would you be worried about going into the above situation? What hazards would you need to consider if your life was in danger? How would your character's experience and skills factor into all of this? The given example involved Kobolds in tunnels. They are small creatures, but they come in large numbers and wield heavy tools as weapons. The mines are also a constricted and darker place with many ledges and paths to be ambushed from. Taking all this into account paints a very different picture than the in game quest you might have. It might be easy if you're not prepared to become overwhelmed or lost in the underground corridors. Always think twice about the world around you!
  21. 4 points
    Lomani had never imagined, when she decided to leave her tent wearing the white, that she'd quite end up where she did. The seer scope of enormity left her rather shaken, and cup after cup of hot tea wasn't doing anything to ease the shivers up her spine. Lomani was a seamstress. She was a caretaker and a soother, a guide and a warm embrace for her people when they caught ill, when they needed encouragement to make the right life choices, when they celebrated the happy times or remembered fondly those that had departed. Her life was busy, yes, but it was predictable. It was mostly quiet. Almost serene. She stitched the ray burst tabards and was content to send Kerala out with her raiding party night after night under Mu'sha's watchful eye. They'd come back battered and sore sometimes, or others invigorated and charged from victory, but Lomani had never really paused to consider what they actually went through while they were out. Now she knew. She remembered now seeing all the fidgeting and anxiousness. She remembered the tense banter that mostly failed to contain real humor. At the time, she'd been curious about it, remembering her lessons. She stood still and calm, conserving her energy, not stressing in the slightest. She had confidence, then. She'd had ignorance. The trip by boat was terrible for her. Ever since losing her horn, most types of motion not directly in her own control caused an awful nausea and lingering sense of falling down somewhere endless and unknowable. When everyone else eyed the shore highlighted in fel green and recognized the start of awful conflict, she was actually glad to see it. How silly that seemed now. Immediately the fighting had begun, and Lomani quickly realized that she was out of her element. It wasn't just her dizziness, though she tried to tell herself this was the main reason. It was the movement. Everything moved. If it wasn't alive and swinging or casting, it was aflame and licking. Everything moved. She quickly fell behind, losing track of the people she was supposed to be protecting. There wasn't time to think. She couldn't tell who was friend or foe, except that obviously the ugly fel ones were foe. Still, she mis-aimed her spells a few times in the frantic haste to close any oozing wound she could see. Only the grace of the Earth Mother kept her from renewing fallen demons to fight again, but she only realized later that some of those failures hadn't been due to the snuffing of spirits she was trying to save. Being slow like she was meant she encountered more of the dead than healers in the leading ranks. Their companions fell around them, she supposed, but they had no time to register and regret- there were countless more still standing to attend to, an endless sturggle to keep them from the same fate. It wasn't long before the seer began seeing faces she recognized. Just last week, she'd blessed that warrior's new son. Here lied an elder shaman that just had a bad bout of waterlung. They'd shared a meal together two nights ago celebrating her successful recovery. The woman had been planning to visit her greatchildren. Lomani came upon these lifeless bodies and her heart ached to leave them there without last rites, but there was no TIME. For every three or six or ten she stepped over, there might be one still hanging on. She clung to that hope and rushed after the main forces, trying to stay close enough to make a difference. In the end, she felt she'd failed utterly. She saw so many eyes glaze, so many lights go out. The horns had sounded and she was one of the ones who couldn't comprehend. Suddenly she was surrounded. She was shoved and bullied along by a reversed tide of strangers with more sense than she, until once again she heard the clunking of deck planks beneath her hooves instead of gravel or stone. It wasn't until the sails caught wind with a resounding snap that she fully registered that it was over. They were leaving, and they were so few. She couldn't cast anymore. She didn't have the strength for that kind of focused healing in this sort of fel-shocked numbness, but too she could not just numbly sit and do nothing, think of nothing. Some did. She did not fault them. She could not. Too many lights... too many lights were dark. The wind was blowing. She could see it filling the sails, carrying them gently. Lomani's voice was small at first, wordless and weak. She couldn't seem to keep her eyes from leaking, nor did she try to. She knelt where she was by the mast and turned her face up to the wind. She grieved. She hummed. The tune was soft, but gradually she was able to, with repetition, keen it out louder into the breeze. Slowly she heard other tauren join her. Most did not know the words, but this was a tune older than memory. Lomani found her voice, and she sang the divine hymn for all those that had been lost. She cast out the taurahe words to the winds. Let the Earth Mother hear her. Let Her gather the lost Children. Let their spirits find the way home to Her arms. Lomani sang their death song. Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there; I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning's hush I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft star that shines at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there; I did not die. I am home.
  22. 4 points
    June 28th: Sometimes I have a week where things just go right. Where, for once, I forget my doubts and say what I need to say without things blowing up in my face. Where people behave and where for once I have nothing to stress about. Looking over this journal, the entries I’ve written and left alone or scribbled out show that this is a rarity. Lilly and I have been together officially for months now despite the attempts of others to either ruin it or those who seek to complicate it by inserting another factor, though the latter might be interesting. It was on the shore of a lake near Bloodhoof Village in Mulgore that I finally told her. I love Lilly. For all of her flaws and how she drives me crazy, for all the ways I still don’t understand her sometimes, I love her. She could not speak for surprise but as we sat there on the shore, just the two of us, I could see it in her eyes. I was not alone in the feeling. Since that night, nothing has gone wrong. The bar was profitable, despite the scuffles people were behaving, and it’s been over a week since I bore witness to any political conflict between the usual groups. I know it doesn’t last. As I have said before, life balances the good and the bad. You cannot have Paradise without Inferno. Despite the week, I can see the pieces set into motion for the next conflict. The Grim’s tome, the after effects of the Quorum, and the lack of closure from our long campaign on Draenor are all clear signs that things will soon return to a hellish struggle once more. But for now, I am enjoying the peace. Vendetta List: I have people that I should pay back sometime. But for right now, it’s not worth thinking about. Payback List: Gunheya of Coldstar: After talking with Paiyuna, chances are that orc will never share the pleasure of her company again. Apology List: Words are not enough for those I have wronged. I will take action when the opportunity presents itself. Silver Lining: Lilliana of the Grim: Things are cemented between us. I know where I stand and both of us know how the other feels. I may never hear her return those words but to know is enough.
  23. 4 points
  24. 3 points
    The courier departed as the Shadowblade began reading the letter he had delivered. A moment later, the note fell to the ground in a crumpled ball next to the mailbox outside the Wyvern’s Tail. “As dumb as the Scarlets,” she muttered to herself irritably. “Can’t tell the difference between Scourge and Forsaken.” Then the little rogue grinned evilly. She had always thought Cerryan to be a coward--rich, handsome (if one looked at his good side, that still had a long, elegant ear), arrogant as all elves were, but a coward. She and Lilly had once cut off one of his ears, and he did nothing about it. She’d seen him use his hearthstone from the safety of his shields to run away when confronted with Grims. Now, the prissy purple elf was upset, and in his anger, he had challenged her. She considered whether it might be a trap. It was possible, Syreena decided, that she might show up in the Ghostlands and find Kex’ti, Shokkra, and Julilee waiting for her instead of a lone prissy elf. More likely, she decided, she would get there to find that Cerryan had already fled with his remaining ear that she so wanted for a trophy. She would go, but she would be cautious. Several hours had passed while Syreena traveled to the Ghostlands and searched for her target. She hated the elf lands, as she hated the elves, but still she searched all the buildings she could find with the typical stamina and persistence of a Forsaken. She was beginning to think she was right about him running away before she found him, if he was ever here to begin with. Then she came upon an old Farstrider barracks beneath the boughs of a twisted white tree. The little rogue rubbed fresh poison onto her blades before sneaking into the building. Finally, she found Cerryan in a holding area of some kind. She remained hidden in the shadows and surveyed her surroundings. The building was in ruin. Bricks and stone were lying on the floor beneath holes in the wall. Scattered shards of colored glass littered the floor. A few arcane golems lay about in disrepair, still and silent as statues. She saw no sign of anyone else nearby. She looked back at her target. Cerryan stood in the center of the room, facing the doorway as if waiting for her. He looked her general direction, but she saw no indication that he knew she lurked in the shadows there. He held a large golden sword in his hands. Syreena grinned; he looked like he really did mean to fight her. Picturing what he would look like without his remaining ear, she slid through the shadows. She emerged from the shadows directly behind the elf, her poisoned daggers slicing towards him.
  25. 3 points
    (( Here are some of the SS's I managed to take when not stuck in an endless loop of placing down decorations, haha. )) People were just beginning to arrive! Familiar faces alongside some new people! Skylah's cooking brings a few people... So much skin. Tuuroto learns to see-saw. And dead seagull. Overhead view. All of our contestants in their lovely outfits. A bit more people show up! Congratulations to our Swimsuit Contest winners! Kyalla in 1st place! Tayissa in 2nd place! Kolgarn in 3rd place! Fun in the sun, yo. When you see it...