Draecember 2018: Tattoo

Image created by @rurukatt

Welcome to the second day of Draecember! (Do ignore the fact that it’s the fifth day in the month.)  Today’s theme was Tattoo.

A bit of background before I jump into the vignette – this story takes place very early after Kya and Letuus met Mikri for the first time.  There’s still a little residual awkwardness as neither of the draenei quite know what to do with this easily excitable gnome.  Also, this story is far more lighthearted than yesterday’s, thank goodness.

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Draecember 2018: Hugging Someone

Image created by @rurukatt

Happy Draecember everyone!  But what is Draecember you ask? Draecember is an event celebrating the WoW Draenei race (one of my personal favorite races in the game) through art and writing! It was created by the absolutely fantastic rurukatt, and you can find out more information about the event here.

This year, in the boundless amount of free time that I’ve had in college, I’ve decided to give the event a whirl for as long as I can! I will be posting my short vignettes and illustrations here on the blog.  Please enjoy this little bit of personal writing I’ve been able to squeeze in between college essays and reports!

Today’s theme was Hugging Someone.

(Small content warning: the contents of this story are a touch emotionally charged.)

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Short Story: TRAPPED (Part 1)

WoWScrnShot_080516_191028Today we’re breaking from the norm yet again; I’ve got another short story for you all! Because of the longer length of the piece (it’s nearly 6,000 words!) I’ve broken it up into two parts and placed this first part behind a cut.  Part Two will be coming soon so stay tuned!  And now, I present to you….

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Short Story: A Shield Against the Storm

WoWScrnShot_062716_230441So you know how, the other day, I mentioned that I had written a few short stories about some of my characters? Well, today I’ve finally worked up the courage to publish one of them!  This is a little piece that I’ve been working on for a couple months now about my main character, my draenei holy paladin Fussypants.  Without further ado, I present to you…


A Shield Against the Storm

CRASH!

There they were, armed to the teeth with murder in their eyes.  The cluster of orcs gathered into a line and prepared to rush the defenses.  She and the other defender tightened their grips.

CRASH!

Another flash of lightning and rain drops began spattering to the ground.  The line began its charge, picking up speed like a boulder down a hill. She could see the whites of their eyes, their tan tightly drawn lips.

CRASH!

The two lines collided.  Grunts and shouts filled the sodden air, shields smashed and weapons hacked. She raised her own shield just in time as a crude axe shrieked across its metal surface.  Its wielder, a particularly cruel faced orc with a wicked gash down to his chin grunted in exertion as his blow was deflected away. She raised her own mace and smashed it clean into his unprotected side.  The orc roared and stumbled away but before she could have a moment to celebrate, another axe flashed in front of her eyes before biting into her shoulder.  She turned to face this new foe and slammed her uninjured shield arm into the attacker.  This new orc too stumbled back but he had drawn first blood.  With a wild grin, he steadied into a battle stance and moved forward again.  Blue blood was splashed all across his weapon hand.

A horn sounded.

There was a pause and then the orcish line retreated to regroup again.  They left behind the bodies of the wounded and fallen, but it did not matter, they would be back for them.  She peered to her sides, through the now steadily falling rain.  The defenders’ line was reduced by nearly a third.  To her left and her right, allies had fallen. Puddles on the ground mixed with blue and red blood.  But they would not be broken.  The line would hold.

The horn sounded again.  The boulder began to roll back down the hill.  Anticipation and fear rippled through the air.  The orcs drew nearer and nearer until-

CRASH!

She sat up, sweat pouring down her face.  Before her brain had even caught up, she rolled out of the bed and grabbed her shield, falling into a defensive stance.

“…Kya? What are you- are you ok?”

This was no stormy battlefield.  Kya’s breath caught in her throat and then slowly released.  Heart still racing, she rose out of her stance and returned the shield. Fingertips pressed to her temples, she sat back down on the cot she had so recently jumped out of.

“Kya, were you having that dream again? You know, if you talk about it, that might help,” the pink haired gnome jumped down from her perch.  She crossed the small space of the tent to stand hands on her hips before her friend.

“No I — it is nothing,” Kya stared at the dirt floor, still rubbing her forehead.  The roof of the tent pattered softly under the rainfall.

“No, it’s definitely not nothing.  C’mon, talk to me about it,” There was obvious concern in the gnome’s overly large turquoise eyes.

“Truly, it is nothing, please do not worry,” Kya removed her hands and looked up to meet her friend’s eyes.  She tried to put a smile on her face, but the cold shiver still ran down her spine.  “Shouldn’t you be in bed?”

“If I can just finish up this part of the tunic I’m making, it would be so much simpler to carry around with us on the trip.  I was thinking… hey wait don’t change the subject! I still want you to tell me!” The gnome eyed her friend.

“Mikri, it is not important now, I will tell you in the morning. We must be getting some sleep, tomorrow will be a long day.” Mikri sighed and lost her intensity.

“I guess you are right.  But I’m not dropping this one, you hear me?”

“Yes, I hear you.  Will you please go to bed now?”

“Fine fine, you don’t have to be so pushy!” Kya rolled her eyes as she fixed up her bed. Mikri launched into her own sleeping bag, rustling around in the blankets.

“I’ll get the lights,” the gnome called.  There was a snap from her side of the tent and the candles all went out as one.  The tent was plunged into darkness.

Kya listened to her friend turn about a few times before settling down.  She herself rolled onto her back and stared up at the darkened tent ceiling.  Above her, rain still gently fell.  There was a distant roll of thunder and the rain increased in response.  Kya let out a big sigh and turned back onto her side. She closed her eyes and drifted into the abyss…

Blood.  There was a lot of blood, everywhere.  Not all of it was hers but a terrifying amount of it was.  At this point, Kya had abandoned her weapon.  Her shoulder was raggedly bound up and the arm hung limply at her side.  Like a trapped animal, she scampered over ruined gates and carts.

She wasn’t sure where the captain of the guard was but it didn’t matter anymore.  The line had fallen. No, fallen was too kind a word, it had been shattered. Smashed.  Obliterated.  Kya continued her frantic retreat but not even she was aware of where her terror was bringing her.  She slipped in the blue puddles splattered on the ground.

Suddenly, she came to a very familiar place.  Her house loomed up before her, the once elegant windows smashed, the once tranquil garden torn up.  Kya turned to go but something stopped her.  There was someone in the house, she could feel it.

Fearfully, she pushed past the splintered door and into the foyer.  The rain no longer pattered on her shoulders but now it dripped to the floor in big sloppy puddles.  Carefully, Kya continued down the ransacked hallway into the parlor.

She had been right; there were three orcs smashing up the place.  Something primal within her urged her to charge over and hurt them as much as they had hurt her.  But instead, she clutched her battered shield and hung in the deep shadows.  The orcs continued their looting, rifling through her stuff, crushing her belongings beneath heavy boots.  The group circuited around and entered the kitchen out of sight.  Kya let out a breath.  What now? Should she follow them or try to flee? Where even would she go?

From the kitchen came a grunt of surprise and a high pitched squeal.  The sound of stomping and weapons being drawn.  Sobbing and pleading.  Kya’s legs moved almost by themselves.

She entered the room with a shout of her own, bowling over the closest orc.  As the group slowly scrambled in reaction, Kya positioned herself between the orcs and their captive.  It was a young boy; she recognized him from the village.  The child was white with fear, a line of blue from a small cut extending across his forehead.  Kya raised her shield to defend herself and the boy.

The orcs, now fully recovered stared at their new foe with vicious grins.

“Puny draenei.  We kill you and boy now!” The orc’s draenei was broken and guttural but the message was clear.  She wasn’t a threat.  None of them were.  Her whole race wasn’t. Nothing could stop the orcish war machine.  Kya gritted her teeth and strengthened her arm.

Smirks on their savage faces, the orcs advanced as one.  As before, Kya launched herself, taking the left most one by surprise.  Her shield smashed into his defenseless face and the orc snarled.  Kya spun around and raised her shield just in time.  Sparks showered as a spiked mace screamed across the shield.  The force of the blow knocked her back, and the boy and she were now in an even smaller space.

Kya fell back into her defensive stance.  Bracing, she intercepted two more blows from the mace and a slice from the third orc’s axe.  But the first orc had not been stunned as much as she had wanted.  He stepped up beside her, a looming shadow and swung his massive warhammer down.  Kya tried to throw her shield up in time but she was too slow.  The orc pulverized the already weakened shield and the remaining force crushed into her chest.  Kya stumbled to her knees.

Now that the kill was close, the orcs were practically drooling with anticipation.  The one with the axe stepped forward for the honors, his massive arms tensing as he readied his swing.

“Naaru- grant me protection!” Kya gasped, throwing up her arms in a feeble attempt to block the blow.  The boy behind her had started crying.

CLANG!

A shield of pure light had appeared between the axe and the crouched draenei, completely blocking the blow.  Shocked, the group of orcs stumbled back.

Kya felt a newfound sense of strength surge through her.  The aches and pains melted away like ice on a hot day.  She stood up and in her hands appeared a shining shield and mace, similar to the one that had just saved her life. Invigorated, she once again turned to face the orcs.

“What is happening? What did you do?” The boy gasped, his voice cracking in wonder.

“The Naaru protect us!” Kya shouted and charged at the astonished group of orcs.  She slammed her shield into the first, bringing her mace around to pummel the orc’s other side.

“Go now! Run away! Get out of the village, run, run!” The boy paused for a second and then sprinted out of the room.  Kya backed up, blocking the exit he had left from.  With grim determination, she blocked the orc’s blows and dealt back her own.  With each weapon clash, there was a burst of bright light.

The orc’s enthusiasm had given away to confusion and for the first time, fear.  This was not what they had signed on for.  This paladin before them, this was not the easy battle they had been promised. Still, they were orcs and orcs did not flee from a fight.  Getting a grip on their amazement, they focused in on the prize.

At the same time, Kya began to feel her strength flag again.  The spectacular flashes of light began to diminish and her arms began to feel very heavy.  With one final blaze, the glowing weapons winked out of existence.  She stood, empty handed and exhausted.

The light of victory was back in the eyes of the orcs.  The one with the hammer triumphantly swung towards his now defenseless foe.  It crunched squarely into her light mail armor, throwing the draenei back into a wall.  Many things broke simultaneously within her.  Kya stumbled and slumped back. Her head dropped down momentarily to her chest before wearily lifting up again.

“At least… at least I gave the boy… time” Her chest hurt terribly but it was a faraway sensation, like a voice shouting from a distance.  Speaking of sounds, everything became magnified to her ears.  The clumping of the orcs footfalls as they came towards her.  The distant sound of fighting out on the street.  Someone’s faraway wails.  The rain on the roof.  The rain on the roof.  The rain on the-

The orcs stood around her now, apparently arguing over who got the honors.  Kya wanted to move, wanted to run away and hide.  To hide away from all this pain and fear and destruction.  Away from this crumbling world.  But she couldn’t move, couldn’t even lift a finger.  Through bleary eyes, she stared at the bickering orcs.  The one with the axe shoved one of them aside and shouted at the other.  It seems he had won this argument.

With businesslike efficiency, he walked towards Kya, rolling his shoulders as he went.  The battle axe was raised high above his head and then arced down…

…and down…

…and down…

…and down…

…and CRASH!

Kya’s eyes snapped open again.  The light of the lightning faded away as the rapid staccato of the rain beat upon the tent.  She fought down the panic in her stomach and resisted the urge to grab her shield as she had done last time she had woken up.  Small short breaths accompanied a racing heart.

With trembling fingers, she felt under her nightshirt at her shoulder.  The mass of scarred tissue was still there, marring the otherwise smooth surface where the bones connect.  Her hand moved up to her face and she clutched her lips and nose.  Breathe deeply, don’t panic, breathe.  That all happened a long time ago. You are fine now, calm down.  Calm down.  Breathe in and out.  In and out.

Gradually, Kya’s heart rate returned to normal.  Her breathing evened and the squeezing tightness left her stomach.  From the other side of the tent, she could hear Mikri’s soft snoring.  Kya blinked a few times and the storm continued to rage outside.  Stormy nights like this always brought back the memories.  There are some things buried so deep that only the piercing light and stinging rain can uncover.

But she made it through that once.

Kya could certainly do it again.

~FIN~

Fussypants’ Headcannons!

Wow, I never thought Yotaan of all people would get a post about RP and headcannons out before me.  He’s just not really the story-telling type, that was my job! No, it’s still my job! And now I’m going to do it! Pants style!

Most of my character start off with a set of personality traits and characteristics.  Sometimes they just at that level, no back story or name.  Name you ask? Well, the majority of my characters have a name that ends in or relates to Pants.  I’ve got Fussypants, Fancypants, Yogapants, Stancepants, and Bearbottoms to name a few.  Doesn’t really make for great RP names, does it? So, part of creating headcannons also includes picking an appropriate name that matches with the character.  Actually, this is typically the last part, once I’ve  cemented down the story.  Personality traits, then backstory, then name. Well this was a lot of exposition, now lets get to those headcannons!

WoWScrnShot_082215_174132First off, we have my main and most beloved character, Fussypants.  She’s a draenei holy and protection paladin with a strong sense of morals and compassion.  Very much the archetypal paladin, my draenei is the first person to stand up to something unjust and will put her life on the line for a righteous cause.  She’s a fierce defender of her companions but she also internalizes issues to protect those around her.

Backstory-wise, she did live on Argus but was still rather young during the exodus.  She came of age around the time the draenei landed on Draenor and joined the guard in her home town.  She was still a paladin at this point, but she relied much more heavily on her martial abilities and her trusty shield.  However, when the orcs attacked, she was badly injured and spent the rest of that war recovering in hiding.  After this experience, she became more in touch with the Light and took up the mantle of healing, though she still carries her trusty shield. When the draenei eventually escaped to Azeroth, she quickly joined up with the Stormwind army. She has, for the most part, remained in the army all the way up to the events of Warlords of Draenor.

I struggled the most with a name for her, as she is the character I am most attached to, but eventually I settled on the name Kya.  No last name yet, that will come later, but for the most part, I’ve settled upon her story.

Moving on to my next character! My gnome mage, despite being my oldest character, does not actually have a complete backstory.  Personality-wise, I know she is ingenious and resourceful.  An unwavering sense of optimism as well as a stubborn streak a mile wide means there is very little in the world that she cannot do. She is talkative and sometimes overly cheery but she is also highly dedicated to her duties and friends.  I have a working name for her of Mikri but I’m sure this will probably change once I settle on a complete backstory.

Fancypants FloatingNext up we have one of my newer toons, my human priest Fancypants.  Fancy is vain (what a surprise there!), self-centered, and incredibly presumptuous.  The rest of the world is beneath her, despite her not being particularly skilled at anything.  Now you must be thinking, this is a terrible character, why would you ever play someone like this? Well Fancypants is unusual in that her backstory actually came first, before her characteristics or name.

You see, Fancypants came from wealth, with a capital ‘W’.  The daughter of a very influential Stormwind noble, she got everything she ever wanted without having to do a thing.  She entered the Stormwind clergy but left shortly after, finding their life of prayers and public deeds boring.  Unfortunately for her, her family’s prestige and wealth was not to last.  A very public and very dirty contract ended up with her father’s title being forcibly removed and even worse, the family was now prime targets for Stormwind’s underworld.  Fancy and her siblings were all sent away for their own protection, a fact she resented immensely.  After leaving her prearranged ‘vacation’ home, she now wanders from town to town sneering at the ‘low born commoners’ and burning through the remaining bit of her inheritance.

Fancypants does not yet have a name, but you better bet your bottom dollar, it’s going to be prissy and very very rich sounding.

Elfster Gallery

Hey look, I’ve actually got some artwork I made for Elfster!

Last on the docket is a very old character of mine, my blood elf shadow priest by the name of Elfster. Look, she doesn’t have a Pants name! …Although the name she has isn’t great for RP purposes either.  Elfster… isn’t all there.  She’s got a few screws loose although she does her very best to hide it.  It probably has something to do with the whispers she hears constantly, but Elfster would never tell you about that either.  She’s accutely paranoid, extremely single minded, and highly observant.

I haven’t completely filled out all of Elfster’s backstory but I do know she is an agent working for Wrathion.  During the events of Mists of Pandaria, she was a thick as thieves with the last black dragon and personally carried out a number of missions for him.  At this point, her whereabouts are unknown but it is believed that she is somewhere in alternate Draenor.  And of course, since her backstory isn’t finished, neither is her name.

Well there you have it! Some of the backstories and headcannons I’ve put together.  None are completely finished and all could be changed dramatically but the characters themselves will probably remain the same.  I’ve actually written a few short stories about these characters which I maaaaaaaaaaaay or may not post here.  Only time will tell!

Character Models: Making Peace

We've come a long way

First iteration gnome

This article has been a long time coming.  I wanted to wait until more time has past before I gave final judgement, and I think it has been long enough.  So here it is.  The official.  The real deal.  The time-tested.  Fussypants’ opinion on the new character models.

*dramatic pause*

As an upgraded model of my characters, the new skins have failed.  There’s just no way around it.  This could be due to the fact that I play a female gnome and draenei, the two races that have been struggling the most to please the players.  I’ve found that my characters, especially my gnome, no longer look like my characters.  They look foreign and as a result, they feel like someone else’s characters.  And none of the other upgraded faces are any better.  I’ve lost that connection.

The Evolution of my mage, and my attempts to fix her

The Evolution of my mage, and my attempts to fix her

The Not So Little Problem

I think the biggest problem with the gnome faces is the perpetual scowls.  While I’m not advocating for huge beaming smiles on every gnome face, I wish every gnome face wasn’t stuck in perma-pissed.  My gnome looks about twenty years older and about five times more angry.  Perhaps on it’s own, the face wouldn’t look too out of place.  But when you compare to the old model, the face is nothing alike.

While this might seem silly considering I spend most of my time looking at the back of my character, I feel strange whenever I play her.  The crazy hair mixed with the irate face do not match with the cheery gnome I used to have.  And no manner of fixes has been able to recreate my old mage.  It’s simply no longer my character.

How would I fix this? Honestly, I think the gnomes need a whole face revamp.  More neutral faces and less wrinkles for one for starters.  I would stay away from the bags and heavy eyeliner that is currently plaguing us as well.  The eyebrows also need some work to be less harshly arced and more matching the hair color.  And perhaps, a few smiling faces thrown in the mix.  Gnomes are supposed to be cheery tinkers not crazy haggard axe murders, and our faces should reflect this!

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Evolution of Fussypants‘Eye’ See The Problem

My draenei, especially with patch 6.1, is in a much better state than my gnome. Even still, she still is looking a lot more dark and menacing than I’d like.  As a paladin, I made my draenei specifically with a kind but brave face to embody the defender and mender in her.  But currently, she’s looking a bit more like a death knight than a noble warrior of the light.  And just like my gnome, I’ve grown emotionally unconnected from her.

The fix for the draenei face is a lot easier however.  The biggest problem seems to be with the eyes, so removing some of that heavy eyeliner and adding back the glow effect should fix the majority of the issues.  Also, for my specific dark skin and light hair combination, I would like it if the hair was a bit more white than it is now.  Considering that Blizzard has been improving the draenei every patch, I am confident that Fussypants will soon be restored to her former glory.

If that's not adorable, I don't know what is

If that’s not adorable, I don’t know what is

It’s Not All Bad

At this point, you must be thinking that I really hate the new models.  But actually, I am quite a fan of them, but its rather complicated.  I think the models are very well done and in the proper Warcraft style, however I believe they are horrible recreations of the old.  The updated models are something entirely new and different.  So, while my old characters ‘updated’ look terrible, all the toons I’ve created post 6.0 have been spectacular.  When there is no sudden shift from the old to the new, I find myself enjoying the models way more.

For instance, take my new gnome Yogapants.  I created her after the model updates and thus the only version of ‘her’ in my head is the new one.  As such, I think she’s the most adorable gnome to ever exist in WoW.  A sharp contrast to my other gnome.  But if I were to go back and compare her to the old model, I begin to see the differences. If I had become used to that old model before switching to the new one, I’m pretty sure I would have felt the same sort of disconnect.

Looks so chipper!

Looking so chipper!

The new models are exquisitely done, but they just aren’t the same as the old ones.  In fact, comparing the two is almost unfair because of how different they are.  For some of the faces, I doubt Blizzard could have recreated the old purely because the old model was made of inferior technology.  Some of the ‘feeling’ of the old models are achieved by the low poly count, and thus are virtually unobtainable by the new.

Of course this leaves me a little disappointed, but I think in the long run it will be better for the game to have the upgraded models.  While I was emotionally connected to the old models, they looked pretty shabby in comparison to other games out there.  The upgraded models will mean that WoW’s graphics will stand the test of time longer.  And this is ultimately better for the game.

Do I miss the old models? Absolutely.  But I have made my peace with the new ones.  And Blizzard has proven with the 6.1 changes and the planned 6.2 changes that they will continually tweak these new ones.  The glaring issues will get better, and time will make it easier to adjust.  And from now on, all my new characters will look totally awesome!

(Addendum: Don’t forget to enter in the contest! Just a few days more!)