Archive for February, 2010

Tree form update?

From the recent Blizzard Twitter Q&A:

Druid
Q. Is there any ETA on tree / moonkin form graphical update?
A. Moonkin is hard because Moonkin players are so in love with that form. It’s tough to change it at all. We currently hope to do a new tree form for Cataclysm, but no promises.”

YES! YES! YES! So fed up of looking like a half-dead limp-rooted trunk!

Give us new forms, please!

Yes!

Yes!!

YEESSSSSSSS

Oh pleeeeeease Blizzard I want to be the tree that gives people the GIFT of LIFE!!! (or not, if I’m distracted/eating)

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Meeting (continued)

She scowled at him for a moment more, her pale eyes opaque in the dim candlelight. He met her gaze for a second with his own beady black pupils, but then grinned and glanced down at the table. A derisive snort blew out of her nostrils, and she turned back to the Ethereal.

“Now. What your problem, Mr. Xe’voss?”

He turned his sightless head towards her, mimicking the Azerothian mannerism. The arcane energy in the room prickled once more, causing those composed of matter to shift uncomfortable in their seats. He reached out a hand slowly, extending a bandaged finger towards her. The end of the creamy linen dangled loose, hovering precariously close to the exposed flame of the candle.

“This delay, it does not please me. Gladefall. It is essential that my arcane amplifiers reach here before the full moon!”

Leafsong exhaled loudly, her stubby nails tapping an irritated staccato rhythm on the tabletop. After a contemplative pause, she looked back up, her face deadpan.

“No. I got important delivery morrowgrain day after tomorrow. Is in increased demand. Your slot, will remain Saturday.”

The Ethereal stood up, flickering in anger, the purple glow behind the linen increasing in intensity.

“You will return my original slot to me, woman!”

Leafsong continued to eyeball him beadily, her lips pursed, her face remaining neutral.

“Is non-negotiable.”

“I’ll take my business to the goblins! Don’t think that you’re the only import company around these parts which carries contraband.”

She snorted, one hand idly resting on her swollen stomach as she looked him up and down. Her finger dug into the rounded nub that used to be her belly button and she sighed imperceptibly.

“Fine. Go with Kratz Boomfuse! I hope you not mind muchly when half your stock goes ‘missing’ en route. Or that they take double the time, diverting to Booty Bay. Or that they-”

The Ethereal hissed at her, throwing up indistinct hands in abject frustration.

“You’re insufferable.”

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Story: Meeting, part one.

The Ethereal was the last to enter the room, the door sliding noiselessly shut in his wake. The atmosphere seemed to heighten with the presence of the arcane , manifesting itself as a prickling sensation on the skin. Candles flickered as he swept past, the cream bindings which bound his vague figure  fluttered in his wake as he joined the three figures sitting at the table. Only the goblin registered his arrival with a curt nod, and a greeting in the international trade language they all shared.

“Xe’voss.”

“Friend.” replied the Ethereal after a pause, only cold formality in the word. A chair had been left empty to the left of the occupied head of the table and he took it, his faceless head angled unseeingly to the ceiling.

The human coughed to hide his nerves, gunpowder-blistered fingers fumbling for a cigar. As it hung from his lips, lighter rising, a slender hand smacked it down onto the table. It bounced, then tumbled end over end to the dusty floor.

“No. I’m pregnant.” snapped the fourth figure irritably, the one sitting at the head of the table. The three men turned to look at her, the goblin’s mouth curving upwards to show small, pointed teeth.

“And here I was, thinking that you’d eaten too many pies.”

Leafsong scowled at him, straightening up subconsciously in her seat. Picking up a hastily inked schedule, which she already knew off by heart, she pointed a bony finger at the Ethereal.
Y
“Mr. Xe’voss. Your shipment ‘as been pushed back to Saturday, two. I got an unexpected delivery comin’ in at fourth dock during your original slot, and I can’t spare the men to oversee both.”

The Ethereal seemed to bristle and the hum of energy surrounding it increased in volume. Leafsong held up a hand, irritably.

“Save it till the end, I ain’t got the time nor the patience.”

She turned to the human, her brow crinkling. “Mr. Barnes. You new to this.”

The human nodded, swallowing nervously, a bead of sweat pricking on his brow. “Yes. I got the-the documents you wanted. The Menethil shipping schedule.” He slid the dossier across the table, and she plucked it up and eyed it. The scrawl would take her at least an hour or two to decipher, but she nodded intelligently and tucked it into her satchel.

“I will ‘ave this confirm. Looks alright. Your shipment will be goin’ out Thursday, with GHE noon delivery. You ‘ave the export papers I give you?”

He nodded once more, relaxing slightly as he gave her a tentative smile. She returned the gesture of calculated affection, her retainer glinting. The goblin cleared his throat impatiently, and she slammed her bony fist on the table.

“Oi! Don’t piss me! I pissy enough already. My lifemate is up north on fool mission rescuing druid who not pay me shipping fee!

The goblin raised green fingers in apology. “Sorry, sorry.”

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Leafsong’s Diary 24.2 – In which Leafsong catches up.

War!

It’s horrible. I hate it!

I don’t know why I had the idea in my head that it would be exciting. I look back on myself now, covering my belly with leather straps and cinching it in as tight as I dared, sharpening my dagger in anticipation – and I want to slap myself across the face!

“Keep an eye on my lifemate”, that was my goal, that was the reason why I accompanied him up North with his cohort of fools. I thought it would be a nice couple’s bonding activity!

Was it? No! No! No!

We were defending a farm. “Olsen’s Farthing”, a stinking, dead, Forsaken farm in the midst of the foothills. Not even arable land, one taste of the soil told me that. A worthless patch of land, and people were slaughtered to defend it! I didn’t see much of the combat, because a worthless Alliance (!) paladin threw his shield a little too enthusiastically and it struck me in the head. I was knocked unconscious and spent the entire battle lying in a ditch. I didn’t find my lifemate until late the following evening, after a very traumatising night spent up a tree surrounded by worgen! It was terrible. I don’t know what I was thinking, putting myself in such a situation.

What a pointless endeavour! Even if we had held the farm, what is the point? It is thirty minutes from the Sepulcher, and half a day from the Undercity. It is surrounded by foothills which could easily lead to ambush. And you can’t even FARM anything on the soil! It’s worthless! Worthless! Typical of the humans to see the earth as only territory they can possess, to no reason or end, just for the sake of HAVING it.

And now, my lifemate is planning to go and defend a bloody farm in Westfall later this week. Another farm! Why are they obsessed with them so? Let the Horde take the farm for a few days! Then, when their troops have retreated, leaving only a small force, swarm in from Stormwind and overwhelm them easily. Are a few acres of wheat and grain worth the life of my Shan’do? No!

Greedy humans are too concerned about missing their morning cornflakes to let their precious farms fall into the hands of the Horde, clearly. RIDICULOUS!

In other news, I conducted a business meeting with X, R and V last night. It went well for me, though X wasn’t happy with the terms. Tough! Stupid ball of energy thinks he can boss me around? Ha!

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ALMOST DONE!

Right! Hellish fortnight is almost over =) And as of tonight at 9pm, after evil psych midterm, it will be over! Then just a leisurely editing of essays till March….

ICly, Leafsong accompanied Aphel and co. up to Silverpine Forest with the Alliance war conglomerate Aegis to play CTF with some farms and villages. After a series of amazing victories and crushing defeats (which I mostly did not see as I spent the entire time running around in the foothills, trying not to get killed in my awesome vanilla PVP set [which I spent countless HOURS in bloody AB earning, so not wearing it is not an option], and ultimately Leafsong got separated from Aphel and spent the night unconscious in a ditch next to a dead blood elf. On the plus side, she has managed to accumulate quite a lot of lovely loot. On the minus side, she has lost her lifemate and is now in enemy territory, surrounded by Scourge, worgen and ferocious wildlife; armed only with a herb cutting knife! Hopefully she will manage to get herself out of this traumatising situation (but she will have to wait until I’ve finished studying Sleep, Arousal and Drug Behaviour!!)

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Untitled Incident

”Hello, little madam”

Leafsong looked up, startled from her musings, as the disembodied voice drifted out from the alleyway. A human was standing there, dressed in a worn leather jacket, grubby fingernail crooked invitingly. Leafsong thought, fleetingly, that he must either be blind or shamelessly pandering; as at seven foot even, she stood eye level with the majority of Kaldorei males. A green eyebrow shot up in question, and she asked the customary question, readying her GHE satchel.

“You wan’ buy? ‘Erbal remedy, all natural. Cure every ailment, ‘cept undeath!”
“Nah, missy, but come ‘ere a sec. I got somefing ya might ‘ave an interest in.”

She followed him into the depths of the alleyway, turning several corners until they had left the bustle of the main tradeway behind them. Finally, with a cautious glance to either side, he gave her a leery smile, looking her lanky length up and down appraisingly.

“Expectin’, are we?”
“Yes, mister. You wan’ bu-”

“Aaww, how cute. I love them little Elf kiddies, wiv their big ears” He tilted his stubbled chin upright to gaze at her pointed face. “You got any names yet? Twinkletoes? Flowerkin? Mushroomie?”

She smiled beatifically down at him, brushing a strand of pale hair away from her eyes. “Somefing like that.”

He nodded knowledgably, before reaching up a mottled hand. “A pretty mother to be such as yourself, needs…”

With a flick of his fingers, his leather coat fell open.

“…Lots of pretty trinkets to adorn ‘erself wiv!”

The inner lining of the coat gleamed, studded with dangling silvery ornaments; elaborately engraved pocketwatches, gleaming quill-holders, brooches and filigree earrings. He turned from side to side, the metallic shimmering incongruous against the dirty leather. After a glance at the elementium ring that looped precariously on her bony finger, he detached the most elaborate treasure of all and handed it reverently to her.

“Genuine Highborne antique, madam. From the lost underwater palaces of Surry-mar. Very old. Very rare. Tells the position of the moon in the sky, it do. Thought it might catch the fancy of a pretty elf like you. Only twenty gold.”

She held it up to the meager sunlight filtering through the clouds above, then bit the edge of it delicately with her small teeth. A moment later she smiled pleasantly at him and he flashed yellowed teeth back, his grin widening as she reached a hand down to her satchel.

A moment later, the grin disappeared rapidly as he felt a cloying, damp splatter across his mouth and nose. He barely had time to register the empty vial in her fingers before his vision blurred and a seeping numbness began to flood through his abdomen, his legs crumpling beneath him. He fell onto his knees and then onto his back, the back of his head splashing into a brownish puddle. Through his smeary gaze he could see, but not feel, the tall female crouching over him.

She sat on his stomach, shaking her head in solemn reproach, before addressing him in a genial tone. 

“Is SO immoral to tell the wicked lies. I have done you big favour and numbed the Tongue to prevent it from speak such wickedness. Also have numbed rest of you. Is only temporary.”

Her face narrowed into a scowl and her voice became a hiss as she bent over his rigid face, pale eyes furious. “You think you fool me-me!- with the cheap knockoffs?! You made the very unfortunate mistake, clearly. Amateur! If you possess greater experience in this area, you know NEVER try pull wool over eyes of Gladefall.”

She tossed the silvery ornament in the air, squinting to admire the deceptive sheen.

“Yes, this is good copy. Convincing. Made more convincing-full by the fact is coated in silver varnish which I myself mix up last week! Perfect for adding thousands in years- and thousands in value. You think to trick me with own product?! Pah!”

Her mouth twisted for a moment in contemplation, and she nodded.

“Is a good fake though. A more, ahm, skilled seller would have none of the problem getting rid of! Hrmm, let us see what other gems is here–”

A moment later, Leafsong wandered out of the alleyway, blinking slightly in the sudden sunlight. Her satchel bumped against her hip, newly heavy, the chink of metal faintly audible. As she joined the flow of merchants and citizens making their way towards Cathedral Square, she rolled her eyes to herself, snorting. Flowerkin!

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Leafsong’s Diary 17.2 – In which Leafsong gloats. Ah ha ha!

Ahahaha!

That is what you get, orcs of the Horde, when you arrange your grain distribution deliveries to coincide with my herb transport on the way to the port at Booty Bay. Three times now, I’ve had my goods returned, ransacked, my delivery gnomes battered from your maces and blunt weapons.

NO MORE!

The weeping gnomes did not penetrate my cool and calm exterior, but the fact that I missed the evening boat to Kalimdor did. Do you know what happens, moron orcs of Stonard, when I miss a shipment? My father hears about it. And I get my pay docked! And that is intolerable, you hear me?

No-one messes with my profit and gets away with it!!

So, last night I assumed my secret identity. I strapped myself up in leather gear- bump and all, I padded myself up so I looked like a barrel- and assumed the persona of Kaldorei menace, THE VIOLATOR.

I was torn between Ballcrusher and The Violator. I think The Violator has more of a menacing tone, plus it has a greater variety of catchphrases (Viz. “Prepared to be Violated!”, “Violation Nation”, etc.)

Anyway, I originally intended for it to be a covert mission (or as covert as it can be with a seven foot tall, five months pregnant Kaldorei woman screaming “PREPARE TO GET VIOLATED” two seconds before go time). But my husband had an attack of the irrational bitches and insisted that he accompany me, along with two of his stooges.

They did provide a good distraction, tearing up the town of Stonard while I rootled around until I found their grain supply. A few goblin rocket fuel cocktails later, that was burning merrily (and I was incredibly hungry – it reminded me of bread, but sadly snacks had to wait), and we could leave.

All in all, a successful mission! I don’t think my husband’s two minions identified me. I was simply The Violator. Mysterious. DEADLY.

Sadly, my lifemate did identify me. He might have recognised my, um, unusual dialect during the course of the mission; but he probably worked it out after he caught me changing into my costume, even though I yelled at him not to come in. Hmph.

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Two midterms…

Two midterms to go! Then a break for a whole week from essays and exams! Whoopee! What a hideous month February has been so far. Story coming later today!

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Leafsong’s Diary 13.2 – In which Leafsong thinks beyond her years.

I spent a lot of time walking around yesterday, ostensibly doing my daily deliveries, but mostly to avoid my lifemate. I left the house while he was still blearily mumbling in his sleep, reaching out a hand to pat the warm hollow where my body had been (Needless to say, the Impenetrable  Wall of  Greymane Pillows was re-constructed). The only other people up before the sun were fellow Kaldorei; those who were freshly come from the West and still not used to keeping daylight hours; and those like me who simply prefer the quiet darkness to the harsh rays of the sun.

I must have walked the entire city in the course of that day. I didn’t even stop for lunch, which shows you how absorbed I was in my thoughts! But I knew that I had to purge the rage and resentment from my body, pound it out on the uneven cobbles of the city, before I confronted my Shan’do later. My greatest weakness is my youth, my impetuous and self-righteous nature. When I am calm, I am aware that my lack of years, mental development and experience prevents me from acting the way that I should. I open my mouth and fling words in anger, empty, meaningless words that do nothing productive and make me look like an angry child.

I knew that I couldn’t confront my husband later with this mindless, thoughtless anger stewing inside my head, so I stamped it out into the ground within the course of the day. By the evening, my rage had dissipated and I was able to study the situation with a view untainted by irrational anger.

My husband is a fool for accepting this charge from Shan’do Staghelm. I stick by what I said, the Might are the tools, not the great arm, of the man; despite what he might assure my husband. My Shan’do is absurdly flattered when those he admires dole out words of praise and gratitude. He doesn’t see that they are only callously using him for their own end. But I shouldn’t blame him, really. My lifemate grew up with an abundance of libraries and tutors and educational apparatus, so it’s no wonder he turned out to be ‘book-smart’. I grew up with none of that. I learnt from the people around me in the Nighthaven ghetto, people whose ambition far outshone their means. Cunning was what was needed to escape that cage of poverty, and the ability to manipulate and coerce without seeming as though you are coercing. I can recognise a fellow schemer from a mile away.

I forgave my husband, last night. Rather than keeping the storm of my anger churning between us, I nullified it in the interest of our family. He is an invaluable protector.

Cunning is what is needed to find out who exactly sent the shrapnel bomb to the GHE store. My husband immediately went into a fit of rage and swore to hunt down and murder those who were responsible, immediately accusing Verlias of being the culprit. He even was intending to hunt down Verlias that night, before I stopped him. This is typical of my Shan’do: to act with impetuosity, lacking proper thought. I told him that I would take care of it, but he blustered and stalled and assured me that I wouldn’t have to do a thing.

If I leave it to him, the culprit will never be caught! He will simply go after every man who has ever threatened  him in the past decade. But as long as he’s here, chasing ghosts of grudges past; he’s not hurling himself against a wall of Horde up north, and I can keep an eye on him.

I retrieved one of the nails that tore through the shop from the explosive delivered. It appeared silver in colour, but the outer layer was wearing off to reveal plain copper beneath. When I put it to my tongue, I could taste the sharp, acidic tang of silver varnish. And not just any kind of silver varnish – it was the kind with an almost sweet aftertaste, a result of the citric acid that they use. I am well-versed in the various types of coatings and deceptive masks that one can give an object to make it appear older, shinier – and much more valuable – than it appears. Ahem. Anyway.

So what do I know? Not much, unfortunately. No names, not even a face. No leads, but a silver nail.

However, I am going to assume that the enemy is a single entity, rather than a conglomerate. The wording of the anonymous letter said that it was a punishment for crimes against “my” people. My people, not our people.

I’m also going to assume that this person is not personally skilled in combat, for two reasons:

1) He/She hired an assassin. Why would they do that, unless they were not able to carry out the deed themselves?

Of course, there are many other reasons why someone would hire a killer, rather than kill themselves. But this first reason is reinforced by the second:

2) The bomb was amateurish in construction. It only partially detonated, half of the shrapnel was still contained within the ruins of the crate when I inspected it afterward. The wood contained the majority of the explosion, something that a professional would never allow to happen. It was not a bomb made by a professional engineer, it was not made in a workshop and sold, it was home-made.

A hired assassin, and a poorly made amateur explosive. The assassin turned down the contract, so the person resorted to a pathetic, home-made effort the very next night. No attempt to hire another assassin who would do the job quickly and efficiently. They went straight to home-made explosives! This person is impatient, and  – as I suggested above – not very skilled. This person wanted me dead, quickly, probably while they believed my husband was still away up north.

We have an impatient man (or woman), who wants me dead, and who is now willing to get their own hands dirty to do it. The escalation in scale from a hired professional assassin to a home-constructed dirty bomb suggests that they are getting nervous, that they want this to be over with quickly.

Where would a nervous man go to get supplies to make a dirty bomb? You need an explosive element, shattered glass, iron fragments and nails. Not the kind of thing an amateur would keep at home, nor the kind of thing which he would wish to be seen purchasing in Stormwind the day before a large, public explosion. No, the supplies were purchased from a workshop outside Stormwind – probably an illegal workshop which specialises in operating away from official eyes.

They would not have been able to travel far from Stormwind, either. There was only a gap of twenty four hours before the initial hiring of the assassin, and the detonation of the bomb. They would have to find supplies within the tri-country area: Elwynn, Westfall, Duskwood.

Back to the silver nail. There are three illegal workshops in the Eastern Kingdoms which deal in explosive parts, and also supply that particular brand of silver varnish with the citric acidic aftertaste. (I know, because I recently aged up a couple of ‘Highborne’ jewellery pieces to sell to idiots in the market. Ha!). One is goblin-run, in the Plaguelands. The second is also goblin-run, in Loch Modan. The third is run by a human in Westfall, in Moonbrook.

I know the man who owns it. He is technically aligned with the silly human faction, the Defias, but he will sell to anyone who can pay with information. Due to the GHE’s – ahem – unofficial business dealings, I have a detailed timetable of the guard patrols in the Stormwind Harbour, including the times when each individual pier is clear. It is valuable information. I think I will pay a visit to this Defias man, and see what I can find out.

I do hope my husband doesn’t get into too much trouble in the meantime!

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Letter from the Front

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