Happy New Year

From all of the Exodar Sisters to all of you – a happy new year.

Now to figure out how to apply text in GIMP …

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Done killing

“Here, take this gift,
I was reserving it for some hero, speaker, or general,
One who should serve the good old cause, the great idea, the
progress and freedom of the race,
Some brave confronter of despots, some daring rebel;
But I see that what I was reserving belongs to you just as much as to any.”

– Walt Whitman, To a Certain Cantatrice

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She kept her armor on for far too long. The ghost iron eventually started to chafe. Not her skin but her soul (such as it is). Dear, sweet Zavannah. Vindicator of Karabor, hero of Shattrath, destroyer of man and worlds …

Sweet Zavannah is finally at peace.

Don’t read it wrong. She’s not dead. Far from it. Once skewered by a ghouls polearm, raised anew as a killing machine for the Lich King, a rebel with her own cause with the lingering memory of the final words of Valok– it’s hard to kill something like that.

But, as she states “herself” in her bio, she’s finally found peace. It took her some time. Indeed it took her some time …

There is a certain inevitability to removing one’s armor. There’s a certain “Never Again!” to it. Well, until Warlords of Draenor comes along … IF she’s up to it. Ask her youself and you’ll probably get the answer above.

I’m done killing.

So here, take this gift. Let the life of the soil renew your spirit (or purse of gold). For a long time she reserved her services for heros or generals but none of them could bring her peace. If content can come from the semi-magical earth of Pandaria, then peace can come to even the most troubled mind.

Her time as a brave confronter of despots are over. Enough! She’s even killed Death Himself – or some form of it at least, the form of a dragon made from molten rage and burning anguish. She’s battled foes beyond nightmares … and virmen.

Ah, the virmen is still there, of course. You might rid the world of Ragnaros – you’ll never rid the world of angry little rabbits.

Zavannah is at peace. She’s taken off her armor. She’s hung her swords above the mantlepiece. Her concerns are no longer that of this world, but that of the other world. Will it rain? Will it rain to much – or too little? Will the virmen destroy the crops (not likely; she raised the first virmen she killed as virghouls; they tend to keep the living rabbit-rabble away – one of the boons being an unliving farmer).

Zavannah is – content. Next time you pass by Halfhill, ask around for her. If you want her you will find her in the garden, unless it’s pouring down with rain.

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Greetings. Never mind the undead virmen.

They keep the live ones away.

In Character: Their own story (Ravennah)

Jump

Hi guys! Aight, I was like totally blown away aight. Like, someone wanna hear MY story!? Yikes! So, uhm … yeah, anyway. Aight ‘ere it goes:

Hi, I’m Ravennah. My mom is Annaeh (who you won’t find anywhere ’cause she’s not a player like us). Dads, well – he’s off somewhere. Last anyone saw of ‘im ‘e was like, ‘Oooh, me gonna smash demons with Alleria and Turalyon’ – and no one’s seen them in years. Sure, there’s bit of gossip goin’ around the Crystal Palace aight. How Maradaar used his other mace … if you know what I mean eh? On mom. Like, yeah.

We don’t talk about dad much. Us Exodar Sisters.

My eldest sis is Shu, or Shuanna of the Exodar. Yeah, you probably know about her. If you don’t it doesn’t matter. She’s like … idunno. Like every time we meet, yeah, she’s of on some … tirade. On how I should shape up, get better. Like she’s always nagging like “You better grow up fast, Rave, the Legion is closing in”. I’m like – hallluuuu!

Yeah whatever sis. *lol*

So anyway, uhm … Yeah. My second eldest sis is Mehannah, but she’s like far off these days and I haven’t seen her in years. Stuck up [bad eredar word] opened an inn over at Nagrand and got all high and mighty after someone called her ‘loremaster’. Like that’s something to be proud of. Uhm … ok, lessee … Yeah!

Cannie. Oh man, I really like Cahanna, my third eldest. She’s like totally cool, aight. Dunno how to ‘splain it but she’s like just you know like … yeah. That’s cool, sis. You know? So anyway, lemme tell y’all about why I like her. Goes like this, aight:

It was like really really long ago. On a planet far far away – Argus, to be exact. I was jus’ born then aight, jus’ a toddler toddling around with a firm grip of a tiny hand around Cannies tail. Wherever she went, I went. Din’t matter much if it was classes – she was in school, studying arcane or stuff like that. Or, y’know, like out on the town. She din’t mind; havin’ a toddler following you really gets people laughing, aight. ‘specially other draenei gurls. Yeah, Cannies not into boys much. They make do for some R&R but she’s more happy with some … feminine touch. Yeah, uhm …

(Some people in Azeroth don’t like that. Most of ’em live in Goldshire. Like they’re all high and mighty, bunch of mother[foul eredar word].)

So we kinda ended up on Draenor eventually. I was teeny so I din’t understand much. but I grew, fast. Like all draenei. I … as they call it … came of age, just couple of months before the orcs went all bonkers and started …

Ok, y’know what? I’m not gonna talk about that. You wanna know that, ask Vassie. Poor girl. So, uhm – Cannie, anyway. I used to tease her before the fall. I was like really big – on the chubby side when I was young – and I used to grab her tail whenever she was about to sneak out. She used to laugh at it, but sometimes she got angry. but I don’t care, and she don’t either. Fave sis ‘n all.

Just … I never could get ma head wrapped around ‘the teachings’. Arcane this and arcane that. Light this and all. Mom was disappointed of course. Dad – well y’know, we don’t talk ’bout ‘im much. Like, Cannie got more and more busy with the studies aight, so I kinda ended up with Zavannah, she’s my fourth oldest.

I wanted to be just like her. I mean – before she … y’know. Back when she still had a normal body temperature. So there was a lot of yelling and fighting – quarrels, y’know. Mom was … uhm … wassa word … she was Adamant I should become a mage. Or, if all else failed, a priest. Like Vass. But I can bloody hardly read!

I know how to handle a sword. Or a staff. Or a mace. No problem. So Zavvie, she was like my new best friend back then. I was almost admitted to the Vindicators but then all the shit hit the fan and we ened up refugees and no one had time to ask what I wanted to do so I just kinda trailed along and …

Sorry. Din’t mean to start crying.

Anyway!

Uhm … yeah. I was absolutely shattered when Zavvie went off and got herself killed. Then? When she came back? Yeah … things got hard, y’know. Shu was like all holy and all. Cannie just turned around and got herself another bottle of wine. Lots of us – the other siss’es – they like pretended it hadn’t happened.

That’s when I started to … slide. We were like all settled in on Azeroth and all. Cannie was off saving the world, most of ma siss’es was. I was just sliding. I tried real hard to be good, y’know. Study the Light, or magic, or even the elements – like Savenna. but all that stuff means readin’.

I can read, sure. I just get the letters jumbled up. Mom told Velen, and he took his time trying to figure out what … wassaword … what Ailed me. he tried real hard to teach me, but I couldn’t get the write … right …

Yeah, ok, I’m stupid. That’s what most people say. Shu’s like thinkin’ I’m juss lazy – tht’s why she preach to me. Cannie’s too busy to bother. Vass, well. She’s got her nightmares. Thing is, no one really cared what I did. Kitty – damned I love her! – she was real cool and all. She taught me some basic elemental knowledge and all. but nothing seemed to stick in my mind. Then one day she came back. This was all after that [foul eredar word] dragon aspect had gone insane and tried to torch the world. Kitty came back, minus an eye but plus one human “close friend”. Sharenne, that is.

No one talked to me anymore. All busy, busy, busy. I probs spent more time in “the brig” than roaming Azuremyst. I remember a guard saying “There’s always one, and you’re the one. You’ll bring the Legion down on us if you don’t grow up!”. Then he hit me – and I hit back. Hard.

They sent me away. It was the best, I reckon.

Kitty came to see me though. No one else did. I was, uhm … well, I was an “assistant engineer” up by the pod village by then. Meaning – someone has to do the heavy lifting and Stupid Girl was the one to do it. funny though, she had a buddy with her. big fella – rotund, as he liked to describe himself. Not draenei, oh no. not even night elf or human. He was – he said this with some pride, mind y’all – a Pandaren.

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“Show me what you got”, he said to me one day. Actually, it was the same day that vindicator Aldar was about to give me a hundred years worth of scolding; I kinda broke an important crystal. Then this ‘Mojo’ just stepped in, haggled a bit like I was a piece of meat and … “Come on, rough me up, horny girl!”
“What?” I clenched my fists. then relaxed. I kinda know that sometimes it hurts a man more if I hit him with my palm. Ask Aldar (he really don’t like me, the [foul eredar word]).
“C’mon, ‘it me!” Mojo said.
“I’ll get in trouble. Again.”
“See these people around you? They told me to sod off.”
“They did?”
“Well, not in as such many words. In fact, they used a lot of fancy words. But I’m a Stormstout. I know when people politely tell me to stick a sha where the five suns never shine.”
“What?”
“Hit me, girl!”

So I did.

When he came around again he muttered something about “natural tiger palm, that one”. I was sure he’d like call the guards but he jus’ laughed. And Kitty laughed to. Then she said:
“Hit ME.”

I tried. I don’t know what happened. She just poked me in the neck and I couldn’t move. Then I was flat on the back and her fists just kept on pounding … half an inch from my face. That’s how I ended up a “monk”.

Funny. I always thought monks would be like all holy and stuff. They were at Auchindoun, before things turned bad. But Kitty – and that Stormstout fella- were like … whirlwinds. We were going down to the Exodar one late night. bit of a trek, y’know. n’ this horde posse came along. Musth ave landed somewhere, no one saw ’em. And Kitty and Stormy just went to work. Imagine, aight? I as hidin’ behind a tree and these two just take out half a company of smelly orcs (and one blood elf. mother-[doul eredar word]).

“You know, you should really get to Stormwind,” Kitty said later that night.
“That’s human lands!” I said, agast.
“You’ll love it,” she said.

Well – I did.

Ok, there was a bit of misunderstaning at the bank …

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but that’s all sorted out. A Death Knight of some renown came swooping in and put things straight. Thanks, Zav.

So here I am. All the worlds open for me. I have no idea what to do. I’ll just keep an eye out for people who need a stupid girl with fists of iron – and Kittys old leather armor, her swords and a few trinkets.

What? What I’m gonna do with my life?

Get rich or die trying.

Meet the monk

I cringed a tiny bit last night as I was reminded of the the never ending quest for gear. A cricket cage for Vassannah for instance. Or something else to adorn someone else – Sharenne the Warlock perhaps, or Savenna the Shaman.

As if my LFR voes weren’t enough with those three Zavessa the Priest propbably needs a few bits and pieces as well. Then there’s of course reputations here and there; Zavessa is lucky though, engineers don’t need any rep-locked patterns. Still – the Sha of LFR was beckoning to me, whispering to me.

Nah, screw that.

I’m actually pretty content with where my different main characters are right now. Vassannah has all the right reputations for patterns. She’s got a comfortable iLvl 529, closely followed by Sharenne and Savenna. As for Zavessa, well – at the moment her basic Timeless Gear is more than enough for scenarios and the odd heroic dungeon. Some would probably argue that i need to cap Valor Points each week but I disagree. I don’t need to do anything. I have no one breathing down my neck for “progression” or “raid slots” or whatever. The only one pestering me about VP’s and iLvl is, well, me. There’s plenty of time for capping VP’s and upgrading gear – or finding new one. I’m not in a particular hurry with the legendary cloak. Most of all I don’t want to end up burning out because WoW turned World of Workcraft. I play WoW to relax. I don’t have many problems in WoW unless I create them by myself (forcing oneself to cap VP’s for instance and then end up thinking “well now wht? I don’t really need them? Waddya did that for?”). I do have one problem though.

I’ve run out of character slots.

The eleventh slot was occupied yesterday when I did what anyone should do. Especially if they start to feel like Sisyfos; you know the poor greek dude who never ever gets his boulder up to the top of a hill. A never ending task. I rolled a new character (a new boulder, if you like, it’s not like I’ve got enough boulders to roll).

Say hi to Ravennah the Monk.

Jump

“Hiiiii!”

Ghost story

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By fire be purged! Teaching creepy crawlies what “kill it with fire!” really means.

That popping sound of eggs exploding … is always a bit icky.

Zavessa made it to level 90 in no time, really. With the help of some guildies the last 80% of the long slog of 89-90 was done in all but a few hours. Dungeons are good for that (even if we ended up running the same two dungeons over and over again). There wasn’t much in gear she needed – a full set of 496 Timeless Isle-gear was waiting. So, this is the “boring” reality of it. The immersion bit is a bit … well. The dark drama suddenly took on a decidedly Benny Hill-ish tint. A very talkative flying wasp-man didn’t exactly help.

Gurgling strained klaxxi-voices speaking of things of doom and gloom and a fashion distaster – well, there you have it. Que the silly music and just wait for a string of coppers, bugs and scantily dressed priest chase each other around in 48 frames per second. Wich in a way is just as good; Zavessa shouldn’t be the “dark and brooding” shadow priest. There’s allready one, and one is (probably) enough.

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Someone should make her a robe.

Let’s chalk the unfortunate meeting with Sha of Hate down to a mere misunderstanding of pandaren culture. Maybe Taran Zu is right in his hostility towards us. After all – we are to blame for all the bad things that has happened. Just look at what happened at the Jade Temple. The nightmares have abated. Whatever sha that embodies itself these days only last for 30 seconds. She – or any of her sisters – are yet to lay their hands on a Gooey Shaling, but that will probably happen as well.

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See – nice ro… oh, you’re dead. Again.

The transition from halfnaked adventurer to a wise (?) and experienced shadow priest not only came with a rather nice looking robe. It also came with – death. The number of times she did her spirit walk was shocking. If Zavessa have nightmares in the future it’s likely about Timeless Isle. That place is pure murder – especially for clothies – before you have stocked up on isle-buffs.

Funny thing though. The scariest part of this last leg of a fairly long journey wasn’t sha’s, or dungeons, or Northrends lack of cobalt. It wasn’t the emerging backstory for a care-free, sometimes gullible, yet not exactly flimsy shadow priest. So – what was it?

Poor Mookíe the Paladin (she’s in front).
“I don’t believe in ghosts”, she said as she lined up for a ‘vacation photo’.
“That’s allright,” a voice said, an echo from forgotten aeons. “We believe in you.”

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Shadow word: Hate

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Shadow word: Hate.

Things have taken an ugly turn for Zavessa. What started out as a frolic in strange lands has been tinged. Tarnished. The light is turning grey. the light is fading … But first things first.

She was carefree and adventurous as she hit the shores of Pandaria, striking out against the Horde near Paw’don Village and later as she took part in what SI:7 refers to as “Peacekeeping educational needs among indigenous Pandaria races”.

Wich, in the cold, hard light of reality means – arming and training a paramilitary force of Jinyu and eventually use them as tokens in a war with devastating effects. Zav (as someone called her) didn’t take part in the battle at the Jade Temple, she was far away by then, but she heard the rumors. She did however use her mercenary expertise helping a poor, defenseless village against a marauding gang of bandits. It was unavoidable. As she stopped on top of a small hill and saw the orchard burning and mogu on the rampage, well …

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Something stirred inside her. She killed way more mogu than necessary. She trapped some of them in shadowy tendrils, spoke the word – and then she just stood there. Watching them die. In pain. Just like Marion, the harpy queen. It was supposed to be a bad – almost shameful – memory, but something terrible stirred inside her.

The villagers were more than grateful. They invited her to solve some other problems in the close-by village of Dawns Blossom, but Zavessa politely declined. Her interest was ghost iron. Most of her time as a “contractor” for the Alliance in Jade Forest was spent mining. Exploration of the area was a mere bonus. During her travels across the Jade Forrest she even made a friend. A gnoll, down on his luck, decided to stay close to her. Either that or get beat up by “advunt’rues” as he called them. Poor Martar. Zavessa felt bad for hitting him on the snout until he dropped his spyglass. She took him under her wings, made it to the Shrine and told him to stay there. Last she saw of him, Martar was sniffing the air close to the butcher, muttering “grrr … fresh meat!”.

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Her prospecting for ghost iron eventually took her to the Valley of the Four Winds. It was about that time she thought it would be a good idea to visit Halfhill. After all, “the Dead One” – her sister Zavannah the Death Knight – lives there.

Zavannah wasn’t home. There was however a farmer – for some reason called Yoon – who pleaded for help. The Yoon family must be a big one. All of Zavessas sister has encountered a struggling farmer named Yoon … strange that. Must be a pandaren thing.

This is where some things started to change. This is where the carefree adventure started to turn ugly. No doubt she’s spent countless sleepless nights in the makeshift Shado Pan camps dotting Towlong Steppes, wondering if Halfhill was the moment everything changed.

It wasn’t even something big, something epic, something distatrous. It wasn’t a Big Bad turning up in a cloud of smoke. It wasn’t a world destroyer. It wasn’t even the Horde.

It was the Tillers.

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Oh, she knew people like that the second they opened their mouths. Oh, she knew what they would say. They’d sneer, laugh, snicker, puff up their chest just like the elders who once teached her the way of the light and chuckled when she questioned some of their teachings. “Silly girl, this is how it’s always been”. She knew them allright. There’s an ancient eredar word for people like that. It translates, roughly, to – “bastards”.

Yoon had problem with unbudging rocks. Zava helped him; mining all that ghost iron ore had really given her the right swing for unbudging rocks. They had barely disposed of the rubble when the rabble showed up. Snickering. Leering. Laughing. Suddenly she understood why Zacannah had “settled down”. It wasn’t about carrots. It wasn’t about scallions or other crops. It was about – justice. But maybe … something more terrible.

Vengeance.

The carrots turned out pretty good, though. Farmer Yoon promised to keep an eye on the farm. After all, more important things than carrots are out there. The Alliance (or so I imagine) was pestering her about reports of this and that. Her travels turned out to be of the uneventful sort. Most of the time was actually spent mining. She spent more time on horseback – erhm, gemmed pantherback – than running through adventures. She did go through some “mercenary stuff”; dungeons, that is. Mogu’Shan Palace is quite nice if you take your time to notice the details. All in all the journey from 85 to 88 was … rather boring. Kun Lai was rainy; the one day it didn’t rain a porcupine tried to eat her.

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Things heated up in Towlong Steppes. She was off to a rough start, falling off the great wall and barely have time to deply her goblin glider. Once she landed she was – more or less – lost. It took quite some time finding a grumpy Taran Zu. By the time she found the Shado Pan she ended up right in a pitched battle.

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Taran Zu suggested 8 would be an approriate number. Just how field commanders decide such things is a mystery. Zavessa met her quota – and then some more. Then … things changed. The war became emotional. The “contract” became personal. By the pricking of a thumb …

The osuls murder of a pandaren prisoner of war must have been the catalyst that set terrible things in motion. A routine mission – disturb the enemy, free prisoners, disrupt communications and artillery – turned into something far worse.

She enjoyed killing.

Maybe Taran Zu understood what was happening, maybe not. It was hard to read him, face hidden under a wide-brimmed hat and all. She couldn’t forget the shrieks of grief … the murder. The widow – the widow of vengance. The widow of hate.

Zavessa could relate to that. Sure, she was young and far away in other parts of Draenor when Shattrath fell, when Karabor fell – but she knew what happened. Like all draenei know. She knew what price there is to pay if hate becomes all-comsuming. She also know that sometimes … sometimes the light isn’t enough. That mercy, as her sister Vassannah puts it, is an option.

There was no mercy for the Osul.

Her trek further into Towlong Steppes – not far from the frontlines – was swift. As she reached her destionation, an abandoned – slaughtered! – osul camp, dark things stirred in her mind. Words of pain, thoughts of justice, of mercy, of vengeance, of hate. The work of a grieving pandaren widow. Zavessa was eventually tasked with putting the widow out of her misery. She finished the contract, to the letter. She didn’t think much of it, to be honest. That night, she had a dream. She woke up screaming, sweat covering her body, heart racing. As is the case with many nightmares she couldn’t remember all of it – just … one thing. The words of admiral Taylor: “This land tests us!”.

Oh – she remember one more thing, darkness. Embodied darkness. Corporeal hate. That’s when she woke up, screaming, gasping for air. Just a nightmare, of course. Nothing to worry about. A nightmare before Winterveil … but the light has dimmed. It’s not just the beckoning missions in the Dread Wastes that weighs her down. It’s something more.

She stared into the abyss – and the abyss was herself.

Steam in the mists

The chill of Northrend eat through your bones. The black ice-freezing seeps into your very soul. Icecrown makes you feel brittle as a reanimated skeleton, no matter what you do. Everything is cold. Even the monstrous palaces – even the deadly enemies. Not even Scholazar Basins tropical heat can fully make the chill go away …

At least Zavessa made it out of cobalt hell. With a small plea to Shuanna

(“Give me money or I’ll NEVER TALK TO YOU AGAIN!!!”
“You need cobalt, huh?”

– about here Zavessa broke down sobbing; she got two sacks of cobalt. Shu figured it was either that or another crazy sister)

the leap to saronite was made. Engineering in the range of 400-ish is a nightmare; it eats cobalt like … like … well, like a cobalt monster. There’s plenty of saronite used too of course but at least Scourgeholm have a never ending supply of fast respawn saronite and titanium nodes. Not counting the ones that mysteriously goes missing, of course. Invisible bots? Maybe.

The leveling process of Northrend basically consisted of mining and dungeons. By sheer luck Violet Hold only appeared twice. Instead Zavessa got to sai hello to a glitched Loken.

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As the titan watcher fell, reduced to 1 hitpoint, he somehow instantly got to his feet – deadish. The “1” remainedc but the kill was made – and the achievement. Luck was on her side, no doubt. It was with a tremendous sigh of relief she left Northrend behind. By now she had a singel mission in life: How to get warm again.

Hyjal was a hotbed (pun intended!). The furs of Northrend proved a bit too cumbersome, thus Zavessa took a cue from her fave sis’ – Vassannah. They have a story. It’s not an entirely happy story, but circumstances in teh past have fused them together in an unbreakable sisterhood. The only drawback is of course that Zavessa is … gullible.

(“No need for hevay duty armors, sis.”
“Really?”
“Just drop some modulators from the ethereals on your garb and dress how you like.”
“O-ookay … how about that robe?”
“Well, I know what I would dress like … “
“Does it bother you I want to be just like you?”
“don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. Now, let’s get you outfitted shall we?”)

And so! Yeah, you guessed it. The “haute couture” of Vassie might lack some coverage but it turned out to be quite comfortable for the smoky mountainsides of Hyjal. All those fires really drive the temperature up.

It was an uneventful trek through Hyjal. It was more or less a routine job. Zavessa did hesitate wether or not she should cure the twilight mental control-disease or not, once she encountered and orc. Pity won: he did get a drink. Most likely he ended up as a peon later. Probably one of those gunned down as she made her mercenary duty on the shores of Pandaria.

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Maybe … something happened there. A cruel streak in her character started to show itself. She started to enjoy … hurting things. It all started after Marion.

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What would have been a typical interrogation turned into something more dark. She enjoyed the squeals of pain. She told Kisalee to finish the bird off. It left a sour taste in her mouth but something far more horrible stirred deep within her soul, asking for more.

Sometimes it’s not a good thing trying to be just like one’s vengeful almost broken sister … no doubt “Zavis” (another dungeon nickname) will find that out. Something has started to shift, you see. Her shadowfiend looks decisively like a sha. Not the happy kind.

Once Aggra stopped yelling

(“I know how you look at that blueskin! Couchtime, mister fancy shaman! Couchtime!”
“Aggie, I wa–“
“You see this mace!? You want it? I’ll give it to you!”
“Ag, I was … Loktar?”
“I’ll loktar your ass if you don’t stop drooling over blueskins!”
“Maybe I should … swirl a bit of green around. Again.”
“Pssh!”)

Erhm.

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There’s another kind of hell as well. Obsidium purgatory, made up of fast flying level 90’s who insist on following the same Gathermate 2 path as poor Zavessa, the holy engineer. A few more pleas to Shuanna managed to fix the obsidium conundrum. Deepholm, while a beutiful place, didn’t offer much in either obsidium or elementium; she made her way out of there as fast as she could.

The big question is, of course … did something happen between her and the young prince? for some reason little Anduin seemed confused. As Zavessa took off for the harbor after a chat with the king, the prince glitched. He just stood there. Quite possibly because moving would have been painful. Those baggy pants he’s wearing – I guess he wears them for a reason. (There’s no innuendo intended with the below screenshot! What? SI.7 wants a chat? Oh dear …)

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It was about this time Zavessa had a chat with her sister, Cassanna the Huntress. Once Cassanna had stopped describing gutting techniques and how to prepare a pristine mushan hide – Zavessa didn’t eat much during their dinner – she mention, in passing, a nice inn. Zavessa didn’t recall much of their talk but she did pick up on one thing – “bath”:

(“So, while I was soaking away bit of the gore you know, ’cause mushan really stink even on the inside, I ws sitting there at the Inn in the Mists just chatting with some pandaren fellas inna steam bath, aight. Ha! They really are cool dudes y’know! And by the way: With a mushan? It’s not like a deer. A deer you just stab, then glotch – you got a handful of stomach. If you get lucky they just ate so the grass and leaves and stuf form this pretty tasty mulk. Well it smells a bit bad but y’know, you just gotta think about Nagrand or somethin’. But with mushan, a pandaren taught me this aight, you really need to work you way down from the larynx. Once you’re past the rib cage the guts just spill out like … oh I dunno. Like splitting open a grilled tomato. See? Splotch! Awesome animals. Did you knwo they eat pebbles? It grinds down the fibers. Mix it with some yak milk and you got a really good gruel. Dry it out a bit over a fire and you can shape it into bread; ha! When I gave Shu some mushan bread she just stared at me! Silly sis … Anyway, aight: Just cut away the meat a bit, then start working on the tendons and fatty parts. It’s amazing how easy it is to peel away the skin of a mus… Zav? You ok? You look a bit pale?”
“Mu… shan br… bre… oh Light, I need a restroom!”)

Bath. A steambath. The trouble was – no one within the Alliance expedition seemed keen on telling her where to find it. By then, the shadow residue and grit of battle had really started to work its way into her pores. The usual baths in the ocean or a river just didn’t seem to help. She is a bit vain, you see – she likes her skintone. The grey dust of shadows forgotten …

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Pandaria was not in the least as cold as Northrend. Taking Vassannahs advice she went into the fields of cherryblooms dressed for the climate. Hot, lush. Damp. Floating away across a narrow strait between Jade Forrest and Valley of the Four Winds was soothing; the air was humid and hot but she started to feel at ease. As she made her way on horseback (Well, actually it’s a red ruby panther, graciously given to her as a gift by Sharenne the Warlock) towards Halfhill the deepfreeze of Northrend finally gave away. By the time she reached 100 stairs – and once she managed to climb them all – she was soaked, covered in dust and grime and turtle blood. Funny that, how killing turtles at times brings embodied harmony. Tiny beads of blueish light that go “pling!” when you drop them.

There it was. After a long, hot journey, after doing battle with Hozen and orcs and Forsaken and wildlife, she came upon an inn in the mists. A suspicious looking fellow with red burning eyes watched her carefully as she passed through the main hall, out to the back. There it was – the bath. The steambath in the mists. The two pandaren gentlemen who shared it with Zavessa didn’t talk much. They were busy staring each other down. Zavessa didn’t mind. Leering princes and all other folks who stare at a scantily dressed draenei priest – all that vanished from her memory as the perfectly tempered waters slowly relaxed her muscles, still remembering the frozen wastes of Northrend and the damp chill of Deepholm.

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She asked one of the pandaren gentlemen why her shadowfiend looked like a grey-and-black gob of hate. They looked at her, one of them smiled. The other one said:
“Care for some mushan bread? It’s fresh.”

Zavessa is having a hard time getting used to foreign food.

World of Warcraft: the Ebon Insurrection

WoW Insider posed the truly interesting Blog Community Topic of “Pitch your World of Warcraft expansion”. I was thinking for a moment to re-use something I wrote some time ago but then I realised it would mean two Draenor expansions after another, including a revamp. We know that’s not going to happen since Outland is “old content is old”. So I’m doing the complete opposite. So here it is: The expansion that will never (?) be.

– – – – –

The Iron Horde was stopped. Thousands of lives lost, two worlds almost completely shattered. Fierce battles saw heros come forth. Fierce battles saw old allegiances … forgotten. Who was in the very frontline of all the fighting? Who held the tide of enemies back? Who saved the world?

Why … The one kind of soldier neither Vol’Jins Horde or the Alliance dare to call a “hero”. The undead. The Death Knights. The Knights of the Ebon Blade under command of Mograine had been aimless for years following the end of Arthas, the Lich King. Their mission complete Death Knights across Azeroth either laid down and died, thankful for the eternal rest, or they did what they are programmed to do. Fight. The war in Pandaria proved a lucrative business for mercenary outfits, many Death Knights turned “dog of war”. They fought, they won – they won a glorious victory for the Alliance … yet they never got any recognition for their sacrifice. The pattern repeated with the “mission to Draenor”. The Knights of the Ebon Blade is finally fed up … but not all of them. Some knights follow Darion Mograine. Others don’t. The reason is simple. The result – the Order shatters.

One of the discoveries in “alternate Draenor” turned out to be many a Death Knights salvation. By magical means – the very magic fabric of the Light itself – the undeath, at least the form of undeath Death Knights suffer, could be turned. The undead knights suddenly found themselves with the option of returning to the living – or keep their suffering, wander aimlessly in a world where there’s not place for an undead knight. Some choose the “cure”. Others were too far gone, or to loyal. Those who accepted the cure was shunned, cast-out, from the order.

The cured Death Knight became a strange anomaly. On one hand, they retained their old abilites – such as different presensce, the ability to raise undead minions, the ability to heal themselves through the pain and suffering of their foes. On the other hand – they were no longer dead(ish). They had returned to the living, such as life can be. Both Horde and Alliance found themselves in need of these veteran soldiers and welcomed their new brothers in arms. They formed a new order – Knights of the Black Sword. This time … they even accepted living prospects.

The resentment grew among the Ebon Blade followers. The deflectors, the traitors had shattered the (un)holy order. Resent grew to anger, anger grew to hate. Then – Acherus moved. the loyal Knights of the Ebon Blade, true to their beliefs, sought refuge in the only place where an order of undead knights can find solace. Northrend.

It’s been 5 years since the Iron Horde war. Both Alliance and Horde struggle to keep the peace. It’s a precarious peace. The only thing stopping either side from war is the struggle to revitalise their shattered economies. Westfall, Durotar – it doesn’t matter. Both sides suffer from the cost of war. Neither have the resources for a new war. They have struggled to keep their civilisations afloat and thus neither Alliance nor Horde saw what was coming – until too late.

The Knights of the Ebon Blade used Northrend as a staging area for a quest of a fabled land – Icemark, a continent yet unknown, north of Northrend. A land of ice and storms, of fire and brimstone. Pristine, uninhabited (save some small, long forgotten colonies of vrykul). The Ebon Blade didn’t have to break a sweat conquering it. And now … they are posed for retaliation. An army of barbaric tribes under the command of Mograines loyalists threatens to wreak a terrible revenge on the people who spurned them.

Welcome to World of Warcraft: the Ebon Insurrection!

Features:
Five new zones – Argent Holdout (starter zone, Alliance and Horde), Ice Plains, Hellfreeze, Dis, Empyreon.
Level cap raised to 110.
Instant boost to level 100.
New playable race – Vrykul (choose your allegiance, Horde or Alliance, at level 100).
New neutral faction – the Argent Onslaught (remnants of the Scarlet Onsalught redeemed themselves forming a magnificent fighting force with the Argent Crusade).
New dungeons – Ebon Caverns, The Portcullis, The Ice Halls, Ragnarok Village – and many more!
New raids – Assault on Acherus (7.0), The Dead Fields (7.1), Salvation (7.2), the Argent Onslaught (7.3)
New battlegrounds – the Argent Arena, the Isle of Despair, an open 24/7 PvP zone with objectives and quests
Professions raised to 800, new and improved proffession leveling systems using improved Garrison mechanics
Race specific buildings or garrisons – create your own vrykul stronghold!
Wargames – a minigame based on Real Time Strategy; command mercenary troops in battle against the Ebon Scourge!
A new Sanctuary, Lordaeron – Sylvanas has reluctantly agreed letting Lordaeron be a base of operations for both Horde and Alliance; the Kirin Tor has used their magics and “done a Dalaran”. Lordaeron Crater is all that remains in Eastern Kingdoms, but the dread city of death is floating in the sky close to Icemark.
New battle pets, mounts and much more!
New past-time fun – race down the steep snowclad mountainside on skis, or brave the elements and use your mountaineering skills to reach the top of the world!
New profession – Woodworking; create new weapons or other tools of the trade!

(With this idea currenct Death Knights will of course be still loyal to either Alliance or Horde since they were the ones who accepted the gift of life. Nothing changes with the class, other than the pure immersion bit. Roleplayers could probably find a lot of fun with it – for others it’s more a cosmetic that don’t even show. But rejoice: Your death knight gained a heartbeat!)

Seeing the elephant in cobalt hell

After a turbo-blasted trip through the shattered remnants of Draenor Zavessa the Priest, now nicknamed Zed by a funny tank in Mana Tombs, eventually made it further north. “Zed” managed to stay alive all through Outland. So far she’s managed to stay alive even in Northrend. The worst part isn’t the level of the monsters.

She’s in cobalt hell.

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The great wall of Northrend is starting to show itself. I believe the expresion “seeing the elephant” would be approriate. But you know – why don’t we let “Zed” tell it, herself. She might even show some vacation photos … oh dear.

– – – – –

Right then, uhm … *giggles* Less see … Uh, right. Ahm …. Well … Uh … *giggles*

– – – – –

Ok, maybe not.

Zavessa is in fact quite shy. She’s done her duty as a mercenary, yes, but most of the “missions” has been quiet, silent affairs. It’s amazing how the silence can be so thunderous in a PuG when she mumbles a “hi”.

Outland was in fact fairly boring. The funniest thing that happened was the tank who named her Zed. There was a night elf druid in Shattrath who /lay in front of her demanding a belly-scraatch (druids in catform are a peculiar species). Other than that it was routine: Mining, scorunching up enough fel iron an adamantite to level engineering to a sufficient level.

Off to Northrend at level 68 …

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Remember Nagrand … don’t think about cobalt … remember Nagrand …

cobalt hell.

The grand expextations of a fast romp through the frozen wastes is allready starting to turn sour. Apart from almost freezing to death the proffession leveling has hit the well known snag of cobalt. Or rather – the lack of cobalt. Had it not been for the repeat runs through Utgarde Keep it’s unlikely she would even have gathered a handful of the precious blue. Luckily Savenna the Shaman had bits and pieces left from her own adventures in Northrend engineering.

Zed is seeing the elephant allright. While the experience points keep ticking away, the great wall of Northrend looms above her. The lack of cobalt is excrutiating. Level 90’s out mining don’t help. there’s 8-14 nodes in teh entire Borean Tundra, most of them allready looted …

No wonder she’s seeing the elephant.

It’s with a certain dread I see Warlords of Draenor far way, slowly getting closer. Unless the free 90’s also get to bypass proffession leveling, I see a lot on unemployed 91’s in the future. Engineeering, blacksmithing and jewelcrating is likely the worst proffessions to level through Northrend. The dread place of undeath and cold …

Cobalt hell.

If there were at least some nice transmogs to look forward to. But Northrend is the North Korea of warcraft fashion: Brown, black and … brown. With a few tiny specks of blue. Or black. Or brown. Blurgh.

But you know, if she’s come this far there’s no reason to stop. She’s just got to grit her teeth to stop them form chattering in teh sub-zero cold, hunt down the blue nodes, keep an eye on the auction house … and wait until the blood of Old Gods starts popping up. Northrend might be cobalt hell.

It sure is saronite paradise.

Who will play with Dog?

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Anne Stickney over at WoW Insider worries about Dog. It’s a beutiful written piece on how Mists of Pandaria is starting to wind down – and what impact it had on us. It’s not about the numbers or stats or gear. It’s about the immersion. Pandaria managed to immerse us all in a world so vibrant and alive it will be hard to leave it.

Just what does the future hold for my Exodar Sisters? What will happen to them – where will they go? What am I planning for them ..? I’ve been wondering what to do in order to prepare for Warlords of Draenor. I think a gameplan has started to form.

Cahanna: Retirement looks pretty good right now. Unless Warlords of Draenor brings some really good changes to Arcane, thus making it playable again, and mages in general, Cannie will probably sit comfortable in Stormwind. She’s the alchemist and formula collector of the family. Leveling her profs to 675 or 700 (or whatever we’ll see) might be possible without having to go to Draenor. It’s unlikely she’ll be the first to reach level 100; I remember how painful it was to level a mage to 90 through Mists. It was almost a game breaker for me. I don’t want that to happen again.

So, bring another bottle of wine, light that pipe, and make yourself comfortable in the armchair by the fireplace, mage. You’ve earned some vacation.

Unless …

Unless we will see a change in race-class combos. Nothing has been said about this yet, so perhaps there won’t be any changes. But what if ..? What if Warlords of Draenor brings draenei warlocks? If that happens, Cahanna could find the fel-side of magic much more interesting …

Kittyanna: Kitty, being the whirlwind of adventure (and kicking feet!) that she is, will most definitely go Draenor. She’ll probably be one of the first to do so. I imagine she will be a pretty benevolent ruler of a garrison.

Savenna and Cassanna: Nothing can stop them from going. There’s a lavabolt waiting for the first orc to cross Savas path! And an arrow in the knee on the first one to inspect Cassies ice trap! (Yes, that last one is a meta-reference to the preview video 😛 )

Sharenne: Surely there’s a need for an “adopted draenei” in Karabor? See – she’s even dressed for the occasion. The Dark Rider of Azeroth-look will probably scare the green out of Gul’dan! I imagine a scene where Sharenne stops by the first place she can find, leans down and hiss:
“Baggins … Shire!”

Well, that was confusing …

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Sha, being – Sha.

Shuanna: Will she feel the need to go back to where she once came from? No one knows. Draenor is still an open wound. Karabor – and the fall of the temple – is something she tries to forget. Seh knows what will happen if she succumbs to the bad memories (and nightmares). Akama … the shade of Akama, the broken one, weighs heavily on many a draeneis mind. Shu might not be the best paladin around – she still keeps in touch with the Light, in her own ways. going back to a “pristine” Draenor … just what will such a trip do to someone with severe PTSD?

She’s not a happy draenei, Shu. Too many bad memories. Of the fel orcs, of the sabotaged Exodar, of Northrend. She’s the haggardd war veteran of the whole lot of characters. Her eyes have seen things she wish no one would see.

Going back to the future past honestly scares the Light out of her. For now, she’s content being the family banker.

Vassannah and Zavessa: If anyone’s gonna kick some Iron Horde ass it’s gonna be a priest. Vass is prepared. So is Zavessa (well, she will be, eventually). With the Light in one hand and the Shadow in another, they’re ready to flay some minds. there’s plenty of orcs that need to be
(slaughtered)
told “you’re a bad boy!” around in Azeroth right now, sure. But the thought of getting even before they came here in the first place is mouth-watering.

She’s a very vengeful priest, to be honest, “my” Vassie … She’ll be the first one out of the new Dark Portal. Let’s just hope her iLvl 536 or whatever it will be is enough once MoP is obsolete and WoD opens up.

(“Will there be any cute draenei around? I’ve got the goblin jumper cables ready!”
Hush you!
“I’ll show them the Sexodar, you just wait!”
Really, Vass!)

Zavannah: Zavvie will retire at the end of MoP. She’s got her farm, she’s growing her carrots. She’s at peace with herself after a long, long time of death and disorder. A death knight growing carrots just seems to be the ultimate proof of the pandaren way of life.

(I’m also too slow for melee-classes these days. I much prefer ranged, to be honest. Assessing the situation instead of jumping into the fray. This is also a meta reference.)

She will be parked in Halfhill, growing carrots and drinking beer with the neighbours at the inn. Slowly accumulating what BS-patterns and plans I’ll find on other characters during their travels. As for the “progressive” blacksmithing – someone will have to build a garrison, but it won’t be Zavannah. There’s carrots to grow.

And someone needs to play with Dog.

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Zavvie, perfectly content with life as it is for an un-alive draenei knight.