A funny thing happened on the way to Lights Hope

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So the story of Ravennah somehow got stuck in my mind. Now I can’t shake the idea of a dyslectic draenei who never got the hang of How To Behave. But you know what?

Ravennah is a smart girl. She just don’t know it yet.

Urk does.

- – – – – -

“Dear Dairy.

Sos been couple ostrange weeks, yakno.”

Ravennah raised her eyebrows, hopeful. However, Urk Gazbag had a troubled look. They sat on an old log not far from the tower, bathed in the ever present light from the holy font on top of the tower, listening to the closeby calls of plaguehounds hunting, and a long way away – the screaming ghouls of Plaguewood. As horrible as it was, the hill was a haven of solace and calm.

Urk sighed. Ravennah swallowed, hard, allready nervous. It was one thing facing off against an undead, no problem there. Just kick them hard between the legs, ram an elbow in the neck and split their rotting skull with the main hand sword before thrusting upwards with the offhand.

Writing was harder than fighting.

He held the diary in one hand, a cheap notebook she’d bought from a traveling worgen saleswoman. With his other hand he first scratched his head, then very carefully placed his index finger on a line and followed it, mouthing out words in soto voce. Then he sighed, gave Ravennah a tired look and sighed again, shaking his shoulders. He gave her the diary back.

“I’m considered to be a smart orc by some people,” he said. “I picked up reading like, well, like nothing, really. But honest to the Light, girl, you got me.”
“Whatcha mean – got ya?”
“Oh dear … ” He chuckled, raised his hand and waved, calling out a sharp “Carlin!”

Carlin Redpath, tempered by an untold number of battles, twitched and was halfway trhough pulling his sword when he stopped himself. Instead he sauntered over, shield on back. There had been trouble around the tower for quite some time, even though the Scourge was more or less defeated. Redpath was always on his guard. He was also a gentle man, given the right circumstances or the right company. He did have a hard time getting used to a dragon, shaped like a gnome, of course. Compared to Chromie, an illiterate draenei was almost … normal.

“Yes, Urk?”
“Girl’s gone done it again she has.” Urk chuckled and punched Ravennah gently on the shoulder. “It’s her spelling, you see. Can you sort this out? Give him your diary, girl.”
“I wish you’d stop with that ‘girl’ stuff, greenie,” she said, a bit grumpy, and handed Carlin Redpath her diary. “It’s demuning it is.”
“Demeaning,” Carlin said, flipping the diary open. Then he scratched his head, gave her a short glance and smiled. “Well I can see the problem right there, soldier. You write the way you talk. That won’t do.”
“Wha’?”
“See, it’s a trick to spelling, you understand. You must always use more letters than needed.”
“Dat’s stupid!”
“And not very effective, I agree, but you know what? What if I … hang on.” He pulled out a small notebook from one of his pockets, a pen from another and then jotted down some quick words. Then he tore the page from the book and handed it to Ravennah with her diary.
“Read it,” he said. “Read it out loud, if you please.”

So she did … she tried … but honest to the Light she couldn’t understand a word of it!
“Daer … suldur! Red dis ot alood or ye be a green cabb’ge you are!” She looked up at him. “Whathefuck?”
“Darrowshire dialect,” he said. “It took me years to forget it but I can still do it, if I have to. Na dats sa’ spellun innit?”
“Wha’?”
“See? Dem blu gurls all noting dey not, innit so Urk? Wankers allofem!”
“I … ” Urk scratched his head. “Uhm … Loktar?”

There was a giggle somewhere behind them. A small giggle. They all turned. A gnome looked back at them with big, blue eyes. Then she giggled again.

“Chromie, yus wan try to teeesh da gurl soemthun?” Redpath said. He could barely control himself, the last words turned into a big grin. Then he burst out laughing, a bellow of a laugh that undoubdtedly was heard all the way to Maris Stead. Some gargoyle or another screeched in reply, as if defying the one thing that the Eastern Plaguelands had lacked for so many years: Laughter.

“My my, I’m probably one of the mightiest creatures anyone of you have ever seen and … You want me to teach a draenei to read and write? Ooh, Kairoz won’t stop laughing like ever if I tell him!”
“Give her a hand, will you? As pleasant this has been, I’m supposed to be on my way to Lights Hope,” Redpath said. “Meetings and meetings and more meetings. It appears that’s what war is all about these days.” He smiled, put a gentle hand on Ravennahs shoulder and nodded. “I do believe I might run into a relative of yours, girl. Come by, if you can. I’m sure m’lady Shuanna would love to meet you.”
“Ya not kno’ ma sis’ very well then,” Ravennah said. She lowevered her eyes, half ashamed, half angry. “Ain’t no love lostb etween us y’kno.”
“Well that’s something we have to remedy then … ” Redpath paused for a moment, then added in a thick Darrowshire drawl: “Innit?”

Ravennah smiled, she couldn’t help it. Hearing one of the greatest heroes of the plaguelands talk like a backwater farmer was just too much.
“I might come by then, sah!” she said and gave him a nod.
“Good!” With that word he mounted his horse, turned it around and, just before he left them, looked at them all and said: “the Light have mercy on you all!”

She flipped trough the pages of her diary and tried to figure out what they all meant. The words seemed perfectly fine to her. Well, okay, dairy was probably not quite right. She wasn’t tauren after all. But other than that … and then one spelling error after another started to come through. The mass of letters was nothing but a jumble to her eyes. It gave her a headache just trying to sort it out. She focused, pushed the headache back, but instead she started to panic, stress out. A few minutes later she was so nervous she couldn’t hold the book in her hands. She dropped it on the ground – then gave them all a terrified look.

“Sorry, din’t mean to! Jus’ ‘appened it did ‘onestly!”
“Amazing,” Urk said. He couldn’t help himself, he put a strong arm around her shoulders and pulled her into a long, strong but comforting hug.
“Well that’s something you don’t see every day,” Chromie said and laughed. “Orcs and draenei hugging. There might be hope for our worlds still, don’t you think?”
“I’m stupid,” Ravennah said and relucantly slipped out of Urks hug. “Soz but that’o it is, it is. Sis’ told me always, n’ guards in da Exodar. There’s always one and I’m the one, y’kno.”
“True, there is always one, ” Chromie said. “But you are not the one, my young draenei.”
“No?”
“I’m pretty sure Urk is the one.”
“Hey!” Urk scoffed. “I’m not that dumb, allright!?” Then he looked horrified. “I, oh shit I’m sorry Rave I didn’t mean it like … Yeah Chromie’s right. I am the one. The one with a big foot in my mouth.”
“Yeah well,” Ravennah smiled. It was impossible not to. “I might not be dat good at talkin’, but yakonw wha’ they say, no?”
“I do not,” Chromie said. “What do ‘they’ say?”
“Sum people talk da talk but can’t walk da walk,” Ravennah said. Then, in a split second, her fist shot out and froze half an inch from Urks suprised face. “I jus’ walk da walk.”
“You also know your punchlines,” Chromie said. She raised a hand. “Tell me, draenei … Have you ever seen a ghost?”

Chromie snapped her fingers.

The Monk That the Light Forgot

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“Ok, there was a bit of misunderstaning at the bank … ” Yeah, it sure was.

A couple of weeks ago I started thinking about monks. Again. After all, if I can get a rogues rotation right a monk shouldn’t be that hard. I’ve done my monking around earlier – on Kittyanna, who since has returned to her shamanistic roots. As it happens quite often I couldn’t think of a good name. So the monk was put on hold. But lo! There was a monk once … and now she’s back.

Meet Ravennah, Exodars worst nightmare, an incorrectible storm of trouble and terrible spelling. It goes something like this … in her own words:

- – – – -

Heeeluuuu!!!

Whooping ay, as a dwarf I shared teh same dishwashing spot with used to say. Or was it ass? Ah aight, ass – whooping ass, ‘s what’t’was. Anyhoe (yeah that was another dwarf) … Ok, so … Lessee … Yeah! Goes like this aight:

I kinda ended up in a bit of trouble. That’s what happens when people let me go free, y’know. Sis’ Shu once said I’m the worst nightmare of our people. I think she was kiddin’ but I’m not sure. So, uh, yeah, I got word of how you could like store stuff in the Stormwind bank aight. So I went there. Though I muss’ave done something wrong ’cause the next thing I know the lady in black is screaming and then there’s a ton of guards. Well, two anyway.

“You’re going to the Stockade you are!” one of’em said. ‘n the other one said “Nah, that’s one of them popular blues, Kip. Sarge’ll ‘ave our asses if we throw her in with the ruffians. Gonna start another riot fo’sure.”

So instead I somehow ended up under guard in a room in the castle. ‘causse no one like knew what to do. But I guess I was lucky or somethin’, ’cause Maraad was around. Funny, huh? He’s kinda always around when someone’s about to grab me ba ma ear and go “You are bad and you should feel bad!”.

So I heard bits n’ pieces of what was said, aight. Goes like this aight:
“She did WHAT!?” said Maraad.
“She tried to rob the bank, Maraad,” a human said. I think it was a king or something.
“Throw her in the Stockade then!” Marry said (he hates it when I call him that, tee-hee!).
“I don’t think that would be wise,” the human said. The nthis young’un human also said:
“Some of our fellwo citizens are … not polite, when seeing a draenei. Perhaps we should give her something else to do?”

So I ended up with “community service”. 8 months of it. Scrubbing floors in the castle. Scurbbing pots n’ pans. Scrubbing blood and pue off the streets on sunday morning. I was the only draenei doing it. People kinda started calling me “pothead”, ’cause whenever someone saw me I usually was head down in a pot, scrubbing the bottom of it. Or something.

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Then one day one of the big dudes, Master Chef of the castle and all, came around and said to me “Grab your gear, you’re off to boot camp, lil’ miss Sunshine”. So I was. Now, it wasn’t a camp made of boots (I thought so and thought it would be a really weird place aight, but it wasn’t ‘caause it was more like a military compound run by a draenei and a human paladin).

They kinda shaped me up, they did. Spent a lot of time standing on a box with my thumb in ma mouth. Yeah, it’s called “disciplinary action”. They used to flog people like me but someone thought it would be a bad idea to flog a sis of one of the war heroes. Thanks a lot, I guess, sis’ Shu.

So Naanae and Lucas Severing ran this camp. Oh my they sure knew how to get the fool out of me! Six months of it; I dare say I got in such damned fine shape people walked into lamp post when I swaggered down the street. I had a hard time remembering all the stuff about the Light and stuff. But I knew how to fight (that’s why I spent so much time on the “shame box”). I fought my way to freedom. Yeah, fucking poetic and all.

Nope, they din’t clean my mouth up. That one’s ne’er gonna be clean, ok? Good!

I’m free! And I have no fucking clue what to do now. Guess I’ll go down to Elwynn and beat teh shit out of a bandit.

I hear the magi… st… ireta … magistrate! I hear he pays good coins for it. This time I also know not to bring unsheathed weapons into the bank ..

All that remains are the poems

“These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.”

- Wilfred Owen, ‘Mental Cases’

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My intent was to write a heroic blogpost about the legendary cloak obtained on my beloved but troubled paladin Shuanna. The cloak became mine – but it is really hers – a few days ago. Due to various reasons I never found the words. Let’s blame the heat. Never mind that I cried once her wings sprouted blue and white. It’s just pixels after all. Surely it is.

There’s something more important happening today than a cloak of glowy pixels. Today, one hundred years ago, the world ended. This blogpost, part of #blaugust and inspired by Alt:Ernative Chat therefor starts in Westfall. Actually, it starts before Westfall … the progenitor first blinks the heroic eyes in a dimly lit barrack of Valliance Keep.

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“This man is about to die.”

(“And when the summons in our ears was shrill
unshaken in our trust we rose, and then
flung but a backward glance, and care-free still
went strongly forth to do the work of men”

-W.N Hodgson, ‘the Call’)

Have you seen them? Most players rarely do. But before you’re heading out onto the beach, stick around a bit at the bunkbeds on ground floor. There’s a few scripted NPC’s there who’s quite interesting. Some are gung-ho tendershoes. Others are … well, scared. With the cold logic of fear and boredom. You see them go into the fortress in civilian clothes. You see them walk out in uniform.

The sense of elation those first weeks of 1914, when gallant knights on horseback charged machine gun nests and heavy artillery … the heroism quickly turned to dust and mud. Much like the campaign in Northrend it bogged down in a war of attrition. The civilians turned soldiers became trapped in a living hell of a multitude of problems; obsolete strategies, incompetent officers, sheer stupidity – and a militaristic imperialism that eventually doomed us all.

WoWScrnShot_030814_151122“at some disputed barricade,”

“I have a rendevouz with Death
at some disputed barricade,
when spring comes back with rustling shade
and apple-blossom fills the air -
I have a rendevouz with Death
when spring brings back blue days and fair.”
– Alan Seeger, killed in action, 1916

John McCrae, Alan Seeger, Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and many others who lived in trenches for all those long, long years in wich life was a split second and death an eternity, didn’t know. Kipling didn’t know. No one knew. I dare say, not even Adolf Hitler knew. He still had a full moustache, you know. I seem to remember that Mr Mulliner, a creation of P.G Wodehouse, once stated (paraphrase) “Can’t trust a man with a moustache like that. Either you shave it completely off or you keep it.”

Over time, the heroic poems of 1914 took on a new edge. Two of the most prolific writers, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, both met at Craiglockhart War Hospital at wich both were treated for “neurasthenia”, or what is now commonly known as either “shell schock” or PTSD.

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“Shell schock”

“-Thus their heads wear this hilarious, hideous,
Awful falseness of set-smiling corpses.
-Thus their hands are plucking at each other;
Picking at the rope-knouts of their scourging;
Snatching after us who smote them, brother,
Pawing us who dealt them war and madness.”
-Wilfred Owen, killed in action, 1918

In the end, as we remember those who have fallen one hundred years later, and all that remains are the poems. The names of tombstones tell us nothing. It was the war to end all wars – yet the names tell us nothing. The voices that can tell us what really happened are dying out. Soon they too will be forgotten. Siegfried Sassoons question – “have you forgotten yet?” will soon be obsolete.

But the past is just the same,— and War’s a bloody game….
Have you forgotten yet?…
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.
Siegfried Sassoon, ‘Aftermath’

Perhaps World War I can be summed up in less than twenty words. Rudyard Kipling, who lost his son in 1915, wrote by the end of the war:

“If any question why we died,
tell them, because our fathers lied.”

Have you forgotten yet?

Army of One: How To Solo …

After thinking about it for a short while, about 50 seconds, I decided that what the Exodar Sisters lack in order to gain more visitors than me, myself, I and a stray cat looking for porn, is guides. It appears that quite a lot of succesful World of Warcraft-blogs out there on the internets have – guides. There’s guides to pet battles and fishing. There’s guides to raiding and PvP. I’m pretty sure there’s guides to ERP as well (though I haven’t exactly googled for it). So, if I’m ever to break into the pro league of WoW blogging I need a guide section.

I’m going to create soloing guides.

Nifty, eh?

Now … given who I am, these guides … well … erhm … might be useful. Of sorts. I’m sure everyone has had some trouble with som old content at some point. So just to create a stabile footing for the excursions into the Truly Heroic – how to defeat a Terrible Monster on Your Own! – I’m starting with the basics.

So here it is, ladies, gentlemen, virmen and gnolls:

How To Solo Hogger at Level 90.

Army of One: How To Solo Hogger

hogger

(This is satire.)

The pillars of soloing are three. Three are the pillars of soloing. Not two, not one, but four. Four are the pillars of soloing. The pillars of …

Ok, to quote the death knight: “Get on with it!”.

Fashion.
Preparation.
Surveillance.
Execution.

Now, all of the parts are of equal importance to a successful soloing so I’m going to break each point down. In the end you will have a simple step by step-guide to soloing almost any content.

Fashion

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“You’re not going outside dressed like that, lady of an uncertain lifespan!”

Soloing is not for the weak. It takes dedication, commitment, skill. More importantly, you have to wear The Right Thing. Gear is of the utmost importance in soloing. Since I’m doing this guide with the help of the slightly quirky paladin Shuanna

(“Hey!”)

I decided to go for a simple but elegant theme: Red and gold.

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“Preparing for battle: A blessing wouldn’t hurt.”

(Shoulders: Judgement Shoulders Chest: Hyperion Armor  Gloves: Flameguard Gauntlets  Belt: Conquerors Girdle  Legs: Legplates of Blazing Light  Boots: Magma Tempered Boots  Weapon: Firemaul of Destruction)

I was thinking about the Saltstone set first, but then I remembered – maybe adults might read this. Someone has to think about the grown-ups!)

Oh? iLvl? Yeah, uh … whatever you like? I’m no good at numbers, I usually ask a friendly robot about what to actually wear.

Preparation
The prepping part coincides at some levels with the Surveillance part. But we have to start somewhere so we might as well start with Talents. Now, Talents might need to be changed up and around a bit depending on what information our Surveillance reveals, but for this example I went with a decent build:

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If I can survive Garrosh Hellscream knowing this, Hogger shouldn’t be that much of a problem.

I’m known to play loose with rules, however. Some people might be more cautious than me. You simply have to experiment a bit. don’t be afraid to wipe – that’s part of the learning curve! Not long ago a levle 90 death knight decided to solo Hogger unarmed, naked and AFK. That didn’t end well (thus it’s not a recommended path to glory).

Surveillance
There’s actually two parts to this: Theory and practice. The theory bit is simple enoough. Just go to a relevant credible internet source and read up on the boss you’re about to solo – Wowhead is an excellent source for a lot of information on the experience of the encounter from other players. I learned a lot about Hogger perusing the comments.

The more practical bit is a little bit dangerous but might turn out to be a very exciting adventure. Now, some classes are better suited for “cloak and shadow” than others, so for the practical surveillance part I decided to call on an old friend.

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Sheylah the Rogue, Special Operative of SI:7, a very experienced information gatherer and occasional agent for “wet work”. For Hogger, I decided to break up the surveillance bit into two parts: Aerial surveillance and close encounter surveillance.

The aerial part obviously only works with outdoor bosses (or bosses not instanced – meaning those not in a dungeon or raid environment). I decided to make a low altitude fly-by first, scouting out possible hotspots for trouble.

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“Target aquired.”

What I learned proved very useful once I sent Sheylah in. She air dropped from high altitude into the water some distance away from Hogger and very carefully made her way towards the objective. In order to make it easier for the final kill, a few guards had to be … immobilized.

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“Stop licking your daggers, Shey! You’re a night elf, not an orc!”

Execution

Well I just went up to him and smacked him really hard.

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Unholy

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A few weeks ago I had to get away from the grind for Titan Runestones and other things necessary for yet another legendary cloak (because, honestly, Vassannah can’t stop teasing Shuanna at family dinners; “Look, Shu! I’ve got wings! Tee-heee!”). So I dabbled a bit with a few diferent classes but no one made it past level 10. During this episode I took some time to read som old posts of mine. Suddenly, a name popped up.

Menea.

She’s not an Exodar Sister per se. She’s not “related” to the others, but she does have a part to play. What part? Time will tell (I’m sneaky; I’m planning out a backstory in advance!). Since I allready have a rather good death knight I decided to twist Menea another way. I’ve never managed to get a handle on Unholy. The only way for me to truly learn a class is to play it from the beginning. If time permits before the Iron Horde comes crashing down upon us I’m hoping she’ll get a cloak as well.

Here she is, the newborn. Say hello to my little friend!

Menea, the unholy Death Knight.

- – – – -

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“Do not seek death … “
But there was other words too, burned into Meneas memory, unshakeable. Mrs Mary Lorena Dorrington, the redeemed Forsaken, an apothecary in the service of the Argent Dawn, wasn’t the only one who had spoken to her. Words, no other memories from the terrible moment to the … reawakening.

“Your will is not … your own. A vindicator, eh?.” There had been a scoff and a pause. Ah yes! She remember the cold stone floor, a chill seeping in through skin that felt too tight over muscles, a frost deep within her bones. All within that moment of a pause, no longer than a thoughtful breath. Then: “Rise!”

She did. She rose. There was a flicker of rebellion deep within her, but she wasn’t strong enough. Not then. She shambled forward. There was a faint memory of serving the Light, deep within her, but she would serve only darkness. She straightened up. There was a memory of a fleeting image, how she had stood tall on a wall of bloodied sandstone, keeping the tide of orcs back before she, too, had fled the sacred city.

“Menea, prove yourself!”

Someone handed her a sword. Someone clad her in armor. It was all very strange. She tried to speak but her tongue wouldn’t move.

“Useless piece of dead meat, go over there and kill the bitch!”

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So Menea did.

A machine of undeath. Bereft of mind, sanity, will. Methodical in the cleansing of Tyrs Hand, body upon body. Eventually she gained her voice – her new voice. Harsh, whispering. She wouldn’t talk above a whisper ever again.

The army of death swept across the land. She led the charge. Then … something …happened.

“Do you not remember the mountains of Argus?”

She didn’t. She cut off his head, mechanical in her motions, remorseless. But something happened. Why was there a sudden, but faint, flash of pain deep within her? At first she thought she had ripped a tendon. As time passed by and the pain didn’t go away, she became used to it. Like a thorn, ap inprick, deep within her heart.

As Ashbringer was raised in the air in the Battle of Lights Hope, the pain exploded. She succumbed. The machine broke down. She crawled on all fours, blinded with pain, hissing like a snake. For quite some time she was left for dead. But as the clean-up began and she was tossed into a pitch-filled pit about to be set ablaze …

She rose. The flicker of rebellion deep within her exploded. She hissed, as loud as she could, grabbing the first weapon she would find – a pickaxe. She shambled forward, screaming crusaders fled before her. Her steps began to find its stride. Thus, clad in a broken saronite armor, covered in pitch, she strode forward. Then she dropped her weapon and knelt in front of the most unlikely lord she could possibly imagine. Lord Fordring.

“Death.” she said. “I am Death.”
“No, child,” he replied. “You are a Knight!”
Someone handed her a blackened sword.
“Welcome to the Knights of the Ebon Blade.”

She might have laughed, she can’t remember. Undoubtedly she hissed. There was another battle afterwards, but everything became a blur once the Lich King left her mind. Did she meet a king? Perhaps. She found herself back in the Plaguelands eventually. Nothing more but a whimpering piece of unholy meat. Rotting. She sat down with her back against a tree not far from Darrowshire and decided to … wither.

Then she came. Mrs Mary Lorena Dorrington, the redeemed Forsaken, an apothecary in the service of the Argent Dawn.
“Do not seek death … “
“I’m allreay dead.”
“We all are. Some people just don’t know it yet.”
“There is no hope.”
“There is always hope.”
“You’re dead too.”
“I like to think of it as an unforseen malady, thank you very much.”
“I am nothing without him.”
“Yes you are. Why do you keep clutching that locket?”

To wich Menea looked down on her hands. True enough, she held a khorium locket with an adamantite chain in her hands. Clutching it, like a trinket of good fortune. When she opened it there was a portrait of a young draenei, a woman.

“She’s dead too.”
“Who is she?”
“We joined the … we fought together. We … died. Together.”
“Then she must have a name.”
“Yesss … “
“Well? Spit it out. I haven’t got all day!”
“Zavannah.”
“You were friends?”
“No … we were … more.”
“Then you should find her.”
“I don’t know how.”
“Ah, see, well. I do!”

Mrs Dorrington, Dorry to her friends, did. It was a complex ritual requiring many ingredients. Salts, powders, potions, elixirs, candles … Menea was charged with her first truly epic quest: Gather the materials. As Dorry said:
“It will take you through space and time, through life and death, through truth – and consequence. You might not like what you find about yourself.”

Oh, but she did. Once, upon returning to Lights Hope Chapel with yet another bag full of precious materials necessary for the seeking ritual, Dorry asked Menea a simple question:
“Why do you kill?”

Menea thought about it, for quite some time. Then she replied:
“I only kill to know I’m alive.”