[Screenshots] SWTOR – KoTET Chapter 2

Sorry there are going to be a lot of these, I’m a screenshot addict. Only got started on chapter 3 but then there was server maintenance!

This was a pretty amazing chapter, story-wise. Got to meet an awesome new character and have Space Gal adventures with her.

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[Story] Story a Week 48

[[ Prompt: A story set in a strange small town. ]]

Leinath held his breath as he approached the town, the painted spires peeking into view over the hills. Even from this distance he could see that the paint was faded and chipped in places, that the formerly regal spires now looked crumbled and tired. It had been so long since he’d walked along these paths, and coming home felt strange and uncomfortable. It wasn’t his home any longer. Maybe some parts of it looked the same, but it wasn’t.

Nearly all of the buildings were in similar disrepair — cracks snaked up through the walls, scraggly vines clinging to the dirty surfaces. Leinath could remember them all. That one had been the bakery, the big clear glass window was long ago broken and gone. The display now held various bottles and jars, poisons, Leinath supposed. The hooded figure behind the counter was gaunt and skeletal, either one of the dead or an elf who might as well be. That was the library, where all of the city’s book collection had been held. A few lay trampled and forgotten on the floor, but where were the rest? Had someone stolen them? What use would the dead have for books? It hurt to see his town like this, broken down and stolen by the dead. Worse, they didn’t even care enough to fix the things that needed repair. Maybe they saw it as pointless, Leinath couldn’t be sure. There was the mayor’s hall, and the hawkstrider stable. None of the faces there were ones that he recognized. The old chapel still stood, and while it was dusty and had pieces of the stained glass missing, it looked at least as if it had been cared for. The grounds out front were free of weeds, and the door had been recently painted. Leinath couldn’t remember the Confessor’s name, but he could picture his face, and his long white hair. Was he here still, or was he one of the dead? Leinath couldn’t see how anyone could have escaped the onslaught of the scourge.

Not far away, he noticed a new building. He stood and blinked at it for a moment, trying to remember what had stood there before. Had it been the potter? No, now he remembered: the old man who made furniture. Someone must have torn the whole thing down to put up this new building. The idea bothered him, though the building looked clean and well-kept, there was even a fountain out in front, water bubbling through it. Why couldn’t they just fix up the old building? Now it was gone forever, and perhaps there was no one else who even remembered it had once been there.

Leinath walked to where the leatherworker’s shop had been. He could remember the shop well, its warm and comfortable smell, the harnesses and armor displayed on the wall. He remembered being fitted for his armor and choosing a pair of boots to go with them, how pleased he had been and how excited to wear them home. There was no one here now. The shop was dark, cobwebs and a thick layer of dust coated the work tables and counters now. It didn’t look as if anyone, alive or dead, had been in here for many years. He knew this would probably be the case, but he hoped that he might be wrong. He’d hoped to see a few  familiar faces, someone who might remember him and say hello. He wasn’t entirely sure if he was ready to give up on his home yet, but it seemed to have gone ahead without him.

Frowning, he walked up the road toward the dragonhawk handler. He at least knew there was one, he’d seen their bright feathers from the road. He would have to get his new armor in the city.

 

[Screenshots] SWTOR – Knights of the Eternal Throne

The new SWTOR expansion came out today (for paid accounts – it’s tomorrow for freebies). There were some minor changes to classes, but I don’t have any complaints. I don’t really miss the couple of abilities I lost, and I gained some neat new ones to make up for it. My character still feels the same to play, which is something I really appreciate (especially after Legion…). I also really like how they streamlined the upper menu bar UI, it’s a lot cleaner and easier to find things now. It is kind of annoying to have to re-spec every character but oh well!

Unlike the last expansion, I am pretty sure that all chapters are live right now. I have only had time to play one so far, as they take around an hour each, I plan to try to do at least one a day. It means I’m going to have to stay out of general chat and avoid spoilers for a while, though! Apparently you can also re-play them on higher difficulty, I assume for rewards, which sounds like it might be fun. The first chapter wasn’t difficult at all, except for the part where I was driving the walker — it almost died a few times, I don’t think I was using the abilities correctly.

I didn’t take too many screenshots, but they’re behind a cut for spoilers, just in case.

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[Story] The Ghostclaw – Leinath’s Journal

I’ve been here at the ranger place for about a week now. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it’s not bad at all. Mostly I’ve just been practicing my bow, making sure I’m not rusty. The guy who does the training said I’m doing well, which is good. I hope I can make a good impression on everyone. The last thing I want is to have to go to jail. This is definitely better. There’s enough people that there’s usually someone to talk to, and the food is pretty good. One of the rangers is also a baker, or I guess he used to be. He’s actually dead. Well, undead. So are two of the others, three if you count the one outside, but he’s not really a ranger. That was a little bit of a shock. I knew undead had taken over the town, but to actually see it is another thing. It’s hard not to remember the town as it used to be. But the ones who are rangers aren’t so bad, I guess. Two of them I hardly ever see because they take the late night patrol and they don’t really talk to anyone. Salenicus has a bunk in the quarters where I sleep but he’s hardly ever there. I guess most people live in the cabins, there’s an older guy named Arancon who I talk to sometimes but he’s not really chatty either. I kind of wonder if he’s here for the same reason I am, but of course I can’t ask.

The other one is Orledin, he’s the one who does all the baking. Sometimes he comes out while I’m eating and talks. I don’t mind, like I said there aren’t really many people around to talk to, especially after dinner. Everyone else goes back to their cabins. He told me about how he used to be a baker, and about his family. Most of them are still alive, but they don’t want anything to do with him because he’s undead. I’m not sure how I would feel about it, but I think I’d still want to see my brother even if he was. It’s possible, he could have been killed. I think having him undead would be better than totally dead, because at least we could still talk. It just seems harsh to turn away like that and just pretend he’s dead. He did say he saw me outside practicing. It’s not really strange, because I’m out there a lot, but why was he looking anyway? I’m supposed to start on my patrol tomorrow, I’m looking forward to it. I’m not sure yet who I will be working with. I know one of the women is pregnant so she’ll need to be replaced soon, but I guess I’ll find out in the morning. I just hope everything goes well and they like me. I’m so worried about breaking the rules or doing something I shouldn’t by accident. Or what if someone decides they don’t like me and they tell the Captain and he sends me back? He seems like a reasonable guy, but maybe he doesn’t want criminals on his patrols. Some people just judge you by the label before they even know you. I don’t think any of the others know either, though like I said I have a hunch about a couple of the others. Maybe it’s not the first time he’s hired someone like me.

[Story] Story a Week 47

[[ Prompt: A story about a magic spell ]]

Sorelle sniffed at the jar warily. She couldn’t be sure if it was the right kind of butterfly wings; the label was long worn off. They weren’t normally stocked in the practice rooms, she had found them in a forgotten drawer in her bedroom. In her reading, she’d looked up what they might be used for, and found something intriguing — a simple illusion spell. Most were far too advanced for her, especially someone who mostly studied fire, but Sorelle had read and re-read the butterfly wing spell over and over and she was certain that she could manage it. She’d tucked the little jar away in a pocket inside her robe and padded down to the practice rooms. It wasn’t exactly against the rules to cast after hours, but she was still wary as she didn’t precisely know what the outcome might be. If something went wrong, she’d rather not have to explain it to anyone — especially the Headmaster.  

Illusion spells were especially finicky. While not as dangerous as fire spells, rooms could easily be warded to not catch flame, and you knew you’d get fire, at least. Not so with illusions; the result could vary wildly based on a hundred factors: the caster, the reagents, the location, perhaps even the lighting and time of day. The only illusion spell that Sorelle felt confident about was a simple color changing spell for objects. But if this one worked… she was getting ahead of herself. Sorelle took a tray out from the drawer and began assembling her reagents. She placed the little jar of butterfly wings on it, along with arcane powder, basilisk scales, fadeleaf, and spider silk. Checking the spellbook, she measured out the precise amounts of each into a stone bowl, and ground them with the pestle. She carefully shook the powder into a glass tumbler filled with water. If she had to breathe, she would have held it as she recited the spell, following along with her finger.

She didn’t feel any different. No tingling or even any magical residue. But the real test would be when she looked into a mirror. Sorelle rushed to the sink and looked into the mirror above it. Nothing. The same skeleton face with its sunken eyes and leathery skin looked back at her. Discouraged, Sorelle went back to her book again. Surely she had overlooked something, measured wrong or mis-spoken a word. She prepared the spell again, triple checking every step. Maybe it was the butterfly wings after all. Sorelle opened the reagent cabinet and searched for anything else that might work. There were moth wings, but that wasn’t really the same. Would they work? It could be dangerous. Sorelle put them back in the cabinet.

Once again, she ground the reagents and added the powder to the liquid. Once again, she read the spell aloud, careful not to skip or mis-pronounce any words. And once again, nothing. Sorelle sat down with a heavy sigh. It was foolish to think she could have cast such a difficult spell correctly, and foolish to think it would disguise what she really was. Every day she saw the other students, so happy and bright and alive, and she felt more and more discouraged. Maybe if she looked more like them, it would be okay. It wasn’t their fault, she could see how she looked. It was right there in the mirror.

“Sora?” Des poked her head in the doorway. “Oh, were you working? I didn’t mean to disturb you.”

Embarrassed, Sorelle started to gather up her jars to put them away. “No — I mean, it’s okay. I was finished.”

Des paused. “Let me help you,” she offered, picking up some of the empty vials and jars. “I think the cake is almost done. Did you want to go get some?”

Sorelle felt herself smile. “Yes.” Maybe she didn’t need an illusion after all.

[Story] Thorns – Harrier’s Journal

[[ Sorry it’s been slow again, we had a plumbing emergency so I have a water leak in my dining room 3 days before Thanksgiving… oh, and the kids are off school for 5 days. ]]

The nights are getting cold, enough that there’s frost sometimes on the ground and windowpanes in the mornings. The winter holiday will be here soon, so I’ve been working hard so we have enough in the shop for all of the people who will be coming in. Just usual stuff mostly, pocketwatches and small clocks, though I always do a few fancier ones just in case. And the animals for the window, of course. Nash said he wanted me to make some to give to kids who don’t have any toys. I haven’t forgotten about that, either. I’m still not sure what a little kid wants with a clockwork animal that’ll probably break anyway. They’d probably rather have a ball or something useful like a knife. But I’ve been making a few a week, in between all of the watches and clocks. Once in a while it’s handy to be awake all night.

Nash got a letter back from the person in Silvermoon. I guess they used to work together, so the guy’s only charging him a few gold to look up the information he needs. When Rose gave him the letter, he tore out of here like he was on fire, she said. He was gone for quite a while, we weren’t sure if he was even coming back. Turns out he’d seen his necklace, being worn by a rich lady. He tracked her to the house where she lives, and wants to plan to get in and get the necklace. He was nervous because there are a lot of guards. That does make it trickier, but not impossible at all. Rich people are paranoid, but they’re also very predictable – they follow a set way of doing things and always do it the same way at the same time. So you just have to watch and learn where the blind spots are. It will take patience, though, and I’m worried he will get too excited about getting his necklace back and rush things. That would be bad. I’d like to help him out if I can, but it’s not a good time right now.

So that’s two really good things for him in one day. He’s going to get his necklace back, and hopefully find out more about his past. I know I should be happy for him. He’s had enough bad stuff happen that he definitely deserves this. But at the same time, I can’t help feeling a little — I don’t know, not jealous, but something like it. Even though I got him a new necklace, it doesn’t matter. He’d rather have the other one. And I’ll never know anything more about my past, no matter who I pay to look it up, because those kind of records don’t exist. Nash was kind of surprised by that. Most kaldorei don’t even live in towns, so it’s impossible to keep track of when everyone is born and things like that. I mean, it’s possible the sentinels might know more; who might have had a baby and given it up, but not likely. I’ve already asked, anyway, and got no answers. Nash has a vague memory, not a good one, but it’s a memory all the same. I don’t even have that. Maybe that makes it easier to leave all of it behind. If I knew more, I might be tempted to go look for my mother, or my father. And while I do wonder sometimes, I know I’m better off here. The past can stay in Kalimdor.

Nash was saying some weird things about sentinels and druids, too. I would say he should meet some in person to see what I’m talking about, but I know they’d shoot him on sight. Though that’s probably more merciful than having to talk to them. I was telling him about druids and how they sleep for so long and he was really hung up on the fact that they must smell. I mean, I guess? But I’m sure they wash when they get up. The ones in town never smelled, at least that I noticed. But I wasn’t really going up to sniff them either. I got kind of annoyed. I don’t like talking about kaldorei, it reminds me of things I’d rather forget about.

[Story] Story a Week 46

[[ Prompt: A story about anger

In picking a character for this one, I realized that in general I have a very mellow bunch of characters. So I chose my female pureblood Sith Warrior, for whom anger is a way of life. Behind a cut for story spoilers. I kept it vague but just in case! ]]

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