[Story] The Ghostclaw – Sorrowmoss’s Thoughts

The Ghostlands sky is blanketed with dark clouds, bringing the inevitability of the winter rains to come. They haven’t yet started, not really, but once they do it will be impossible to stay dry. Orledin and I talked about it briefly. The cold doesn’t bother us much, unless it becomes dangerous — if the ground were to freeze while we were on it, for example — but Orledin is concerned with staying dry. It’s true that water can damage us, and he’s very concerned with how the others see him. I don’t care so much about that, but I want to be useful. I can’t be useful if I can’t shoot, therefore I must stay dry as well. There are fires inside the sleeping rooms, where we can hang out wet clothing and armor to dry. Orledin suggested that we remove these outside, so the snow doesn’t have a chance to melt on us. I don’t feel embarrassment about removing my armor in front of the others, especially the women. They’ve seen each other often enough as they dress or change. Mostly I want to avoid that look of disgust that the living feel when they see one of us exposed; bones showing through the thin places in our skin, things that have begun to decay that normally are covered up. If I came in early enough in the morning, they should all be asleep.

Lin might not even be here. She’s spending more nights in the woods, with Sunashe. I could almost feel jealous, if I did not know such a thing was impossible. It would be like being angry with the winter rains; they will come regardless, and they won’t feel anything. Orledin still believes it could happen, I think. He spends most of his time with them, doing his best to make them forget. And I believe they do, to a degree. But sitting together is one thing. To them, we are still abhorrent and repulsive, even if they do their best to hide it, they can’t help their reaction. Still, sometimes I allow myself to imagine it, having someone to warm me, who smelled faintly of the trees and leather armor. I don’t tell Orledin that though, I think it’s best to be realistic.

There is another ball coming up at the school. We’re never invited, which means we’ll have an extra patrol — the early evening one. I don’t mind. I was never one for fancy parties, though from what Lin says they are quite nice. I don’t ask her about them, but she and Vellira talk, sometimes as if I’m not even there. I’m not sure what I’d do at one of them even if I was invited; we can’t eat or drink, and no one is going to want to dance. Even if they did, I’d be rather hopeless at it. There used to be parties here every weekend, at one of the estates or another. Sometimes they would continue all week, and run into the next one. We’d often find people sleeping on the roads and have to escort them home. Or we’d find loose hawkstriders, their bridles hanging from their heads, grazing in an open clearing. We’d have to try to find their owners, which wasn’t an easy task most of the time. It’s strange to think that all of those people are probably dead now, and the hawkstriders too.

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[Story] Fairsong Academy – Terellion’s Journal

We’ve been here for a few days now. I’m not sure if it’s one of those portals where we go back to the same time, or not. I guess I could ask, but usually I don’t understand the answer anyway, so I just go along with it. I don’t really mind if time passes differently here or not, then I’d be older when we go back. I suggested it once, but Hethurin said that it would make me lose track or something. Doesn’t everyone? I don’t see how that’s so bad.

The place we’re staying now wouldn’t be so bad, except that there are orcs everywhere. The last place had that too, except there were also a lot of bugs, especially mosquitos. The orcs gave us some stuff to put on so the bites wouldn’t itch as much, but it smelled so disgusting that I thought I would die. Plus it didn’t really work anyway. I suspect they just were trying to get us to put that nasty stuff on us. There were also big plant creatures, which were kind of scary. Normally you don’t think about plants much, but when it’s big enough to pick you up and grab you, it’s a different perspective. The place we’re at now is like a big open prairie with a lot of animals. We’re staying in the orc town, inside one of their little huts. It’s slightly better than the tents, but there are still no doors, or any walls on the inside. I’m pretty sure there are no baths either, though there are at least streams. These ones aren’t frozen, either, so I could go wash if I didn’t mind a hundred animals and orcs watching me.

It feels weird not being able to bake. The food here isn’t so great, and I think it would make everyone happier if they could have some nice dessert. The orcs don’t have the proper kind of oven for baking — they just have a stick to put meat on over a fire, and some kettles. Even if they did have an oven, there’s no place to get the right ingredients. All we’ve seen is meat, and a few different kinds of roots. I definitely cannot make a cake with that. I said that maybe Renner could go catch a clefthoof for us, but he’d have no way to get it back to the village. And we couldn’t go eat it there I guess either. Hopefully the next place we go will have better food, and I’ll be back in my kitchen in a few days. I’ll have to make a really big cake when we get back!

We talked about the winter ball too. I’m trying to think of a good present for him, but he says he just wants cake. That’s not enough! It should be something really good. He says I know the one thing he wants, which I do. I just don’t really know how to go about it. I can’t buy a ring  unless I use his own money, which would be weird. Maybe I could hide it inside something else, I don’t know. I have to think about it some more. He asked what I wanted, too. I said maybe some good baking pans would be nice, and he was talking about getting gold-plated ones. I don’t know if gold is good for baking or not! I also thought some pajamas would be nice, for when it gets cold. We could wear them in front of the fire, they could even match! I think they would be comfortable. He also paid for my mother’s rent again. I said that we should go and have dinner with her soon, I know she’d like to see me and she likes Hethurin too. I think she’d really enjoy that. I could make a special cake for that too, and maybe get presents for my sisters. I haven’t seen them in so long!

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Sath’alor’s Journal

I’ve started working on Rylad’s fort. I probably annoyed Gael with all of my questions, but I wanted to make sure I was building it right and wouldn’t have to start all over again. Though, I think he liked the idea and might make one for his own kid, once he or she is old enough. I thought about building it up in a tree, but I’m pretty sure Nessna wouldn’t go for that. Maybe when he’s a few years older, she’ll let me. For now it’ll be on the ground though, in the yard of the ranger building so he can play in it while I’m working. It’ll have a door and windows, and a little table inside so he can eat his lunch or whatever. Maybe a cot as well, if he wants to have a nap. It’s going to be really great! The only difficult part is going to be keeping it hidden from Rylad while I’m working on it, because it’s supposed to be a surprise. I’ve been working on it at night while he’s asleep, but then I have to hammer and stuff which might wake him. Maybe I can do it up at the school or something, I bet Hethurin would like one for his playroom that he’s making.

Sunashe is back from his trip. He was a lot more subdued about it than I expected, I mean I thought he’d be grinning like a fool. I know I would have been. He didn’t seem to want to talk about it at all, I mean even in very general terms. I guess I can understand that, I sure don’t want to tell the guys every detail either. Then again, maybe nothing happened and he’s too embarrassed to admit it, so he wants us to think it did. I don’t know. Either way, I hope things work out between them so it’s not awkward around here. It was bad enough when she and Gael were mad at each other. I also know that if things work out, I’ll have to make some other kind of arrangements for them, and Ty and Vellira too. Nobody likes having to sneak around, and getting an inn all the time will get too expensive. If they’re going to be together for a long time, I should think about making some rooms for them. If I had enough money, I’d buy up some of the houses nearby, but unfortunately I don’t. I wonder if Nessna could talk Hethurin into it? I bet he has enough. Arancon mentioned that Aeramin still has his house in town, maybe he’d be willing to rent it to us. He’ll probably charge a lot, but it could be good for a temporary solution. There’s two bedrooms, so Ty and Sunashe could each have one. The town isn’t very far away, so they could easily make it back for their patrols. But maybe it would be better if I built some small cabins onto the property. They wouldn’t be full houses, but big enough for two to sleep, along with maybe a small kitchen and bath. We’d just have to clear out some more of the trees and brush, but that wouldn’t be too hard. I’m kind of afraid to ask Gael about it though, he’s probably tired of all my questions.

The winter ball is coming up soon, Sunashe suggested that I should just buy Nessna a dress. He said maybe she doesn’t wear them because she hates shopping. I am pretty sure that’s not the case, and I think she’d be upset with me if I did that. I’d never force her to wear one, I just would like to see it sometime. But I won’t if she really doesn’t want to. I told Sunashe that he needs to get Lin something, but he had no clue what to get her. How can you be seeing a girl — and go camping with her — and have no idea what she likes? I reminded him about the moth vase that I suggested before, and he seemed to like it. I hope he’ll be able to think of his own ideas though, or she’ll probably get annoyed with him. I’ll be going to pick up Nessna’s bow this week. I need to find a good hiding spot for it!

 

[OOC] Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition came out this week, but I haven’t posted about it. That’s because I haven’t bought it. As a Dragon Age fan, I was very much looking forward to the game — until I started finding out more about it. A part of me still wants my problems with it to someday get fixed, but I know that’s not very realistic. I want to play it, and like it, but there are just too many negatives for me to justify paying actual money for it.

  • Terrrible controls and UI on the PC. Many reviews that I’ve read talk about this, that the UI and controls were made with the intent of playing with a controller, and don’t translate well onto the PC. There is no auto-attack button, you must constantly hold down the left mouse button, and/or spam attacks as quickly as you can. Objects and party members can’t be clicked on, you must tab. There are no tooltips on the action bars, and what skills you do have are stripped down and simplified. Mages went from four distinct schools of magic, with various spells, to four spells. Which brings me to my next point —
  • No healing mages. The entire spirit school, well established in previous Dragon Age lore, is somehow just missing now. All damage reduction is done with barrier spells and potions, of which you are limited to carry 8 at one time. Apparently, some people didn’t like feeling “forced” to bring along mage companions. Well, you never were “forced” to, you could always make do with potions before — and you weren’t limited in the amount you could carry! I always enjoy playing healing roles in RPGs, and I’m baffled that they would remove that choice from players. This is the number one reason I can’t pay for this game, in good conscience.
  • “Commander” style play. Wow, first they put this garbage into my WoW, now Dragon Age too? Command an army! Gather your minions! Collect armor bits to upgrade your outpost! No thanks. I don’t want to play army commander, I want to follow my own character’s story.
  • Grindy, MMO-style questing. For every 1 story quest, there are 9 “collect 10 bear butt” quests. These are used to improve your “power” (see above). ZZzzzzz.
  • Companions aren’t compelling to me. Not a single one of the companion characters interests me, they seem bland and boring. Granted, I haven’t had a chance to see them in action or anything, but shouldn’t at least one of them get me curious enough to meet them? The romance options are pretty dreadful too, and the only one that interests me in the slightest (Cassandra) is for males only, and I prefer to play females usually.
  • Freaking Varric. Sorry Varric fans, but I can’t stand him. It’s mostly the way he was forced onto me in DA:2 that has left me feeling disgruntled. He’s integral to the plot and always acts like he’s Hawke’s best pal, even though I can’t stand him. Worst, I can’t tell him to leave, kill him, or even go tell him to piss up a rope. The worst I can get is some mild disapproval. He’s still there, still acting like my best buddy. Go hump a muddy nug, Varric. I hate you.
  • Strange character graphics. The environmental graphics look great, but the character models range from muddy to shiny plastic. Especially the hair. The hair is just so bad. From what I’ve read, they don’t change expressions, either. What?!

So what are the good points? Ummmm, well I’m waiting for someone who has played it to tell me. Story, maybe, but I can just go onto youtube and watch clips for free. I’m so disappointed that this isn’t a game I’m even willing to try out. I’m just glad I read reviews before paying $70 for it.

[Screenshots] Molten Core

After running some dungeons, I was finally able to squeak into Molten Core. The run I joined was already in progress, and it still took about 2 1/2 hours. Yikes! I never got to raid MC at 60, so I missed out on the true experience of it.

Which, apparently, is decursing 40 people by myself. See how many druids there are in our raid?

mc2

So every time we fought a single stupid core hound trash mob I had to do it, all the while people in chat yelling “omg decurse!1!!” like they don’t know there’s a cooldown on it. Fun!

But honestly, it was kind of fun. I wish they’d added some drops to the bosses, or a new version of the hunter’s bow and Benediction. I never had a hunter high enough to get that, though Vajarra does have a Benediction.

mc3

I didn’t get the pet, so I’ll probably be trying again. I’d also like to get Sath (my hunter) geared up enough to go since it’s running for a while. There is a guaranteed 640 head drop which looks really awesome! And of course, the awesome and HUGE mount:

coremount

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Terellion’s Journal

Well, we didn’t get to go on our vacation together. Not exactly. Hethurin told me that he had to go with Des and Renner to study some portal, and at first he wanted me to go with the students to Shattrath and watch them. I don’t really mind doing it, but I was just kind of disappointed because I’d really been looking forward to spending time alone with him. I kind of got frustrated because it seems like he’s almost been avoiding me, and he finally admitted that he’s worried I am going to leave. I don’t know where he gets that idea from! I told him I wouldn’t, the only time I would is if he was kissing someone else, and he says he wouldn’t. So he has nothing to worry about. Then he said something about how I was the right one for him. I hope things will be a bit better now that we talked. I guess that would explain why he didn’t even want to eat my cake even though I made kinds I knew he would like, and without eggs too.

He let me go along with them for their study trip. Raleth and Magister Firewind are going to watch the students, they both know Shattrath really well so they’ll be good guides. I just hope they know not to let Vaildor go to the market alone. I wasn’t really sure what to expect for our trip, but I figured at least it would be a good chance to spend time with Hethurin. And also I figured he would need his guard along! It turns out there’s a ton of snow, and about a million orcs. There’s no elves here at all (besides us), just orcs. The place that we’re staying has buildings, sort of, but they’re not nice at all. There aren’t any bathtubs or beds and I guess the orcs just sleep on top of piles of fur or something. Actually there are some hammocks, but they don’t look very comfortable. We didn’t want to just eat conjured food so I went to look for something to eat. I’m not really a good hunter but I saw a lot of animals while we were riding there so I figured I could catch one of them. Normally I wouldn’t feel safe leaving Hethurin and Des with a bunch of orcs, but Renner was with them. If he was a normal elf I wouldn’t, but I know he’s not. If things get really bad, he can just eat the orcs or bite them in half or set them on fire or something. Hopefully it won’t come to that.

It took me a long time but I finally found a pig thing with spikes all over it. Hopefully it’s edible. Since there’s deep snow everywhere, I don’t know if there are any kinds of plants anywhere. Supposedly they grow some up in a cave, but I’m skeptical what kind of plants grow in a cave that are good to eat. The only thing I can think of is mushrooms, and I’m pretty sure Hethurin won’t eat those. I’m not a huge fan either. We may have to have conjured food until we can figure out what our plan is. Hethurin said we can travel to other places here, so hopefully it’s not this cold and full of orcs everywhere. I wish I’d known so I could have packed warmer clothes. The orcs let us use some furs but we’re afraid they might have fleas or something. They definitely have an orc smell to them.

It’s not all bad though, at least I get to be here. And I hope the next place has proper beds, hammocks aren’t very comfortable at all, and you can’t have more than one person in them.

 

[Art] Moonkin Plush – Head and Paws

The head and paws are painted and sealed, tomorrow I’ll begin making the pattern!

headsealed