NaNoWriMo Wrap Up

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

One month. Twenty four blog posts. Over 20,000 words. And one writing challenge successfully completed.

I am proud to announce that after thirty days of hard work, I’ve completed the NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge ‘Pants-Style’! You can find all of the posts under the NaNoWriMo2017 tag here on the blog, but right now, I really want to talk about the journey.

I’ll be brutally honest; when I first started this challenge, I didn’t expect to finish. I predicted that I’d write for maybe a week before running out of inspiration. Or I’d get to my vacation in the middle of the month and lose all motivation. From previous experience, I know that I sometimes struggle with writers block when I set a quantity goal on writing, and I thought I would run into that for sure. But instead, I surprised even myself.

Once I started writing though, I kept coming up with more and more topics I wanted to address. It totally helped that Blizzcon came out right as I enacted this challenge as it gave me boatloads of new content to cover, but even without that, I still think I could have filled the month. I had forgotten, but there are so many factors in this game and the community surrounding the game that I want to talk about long form. Heck, I still have a list of blog ideas left over from the month!

The only thing I found myself short on was time. I won’t lie, quite a few of the posts you can now read were written in the small hours of the night. I was writing in between classes or working out paragraphs in my head at extracurriculars. The tight requirement (a post every day with only two breaks per week) combined with my already busy real-life schedule meant that almost every spare moment was spent writing or preparing to write. It was exhilarating!

Unfortunately, it was also unsustainable. As you can see by the fact that this post is coming out several days into December, I’m just too busy to write a blog post almost every single day for a period of time longer than a month. I’d have to give up sleep if that were the case. I may eventually reach a stage in my life where that is a realistic goal, but for now, the rapid-fire posting of November will probably be a once in a blue moon thing.

I have to say it – and usually I don’t say it – but I am so incredibly proud of what I accomplished. I wrote a blog post per day for a month, an entire month, and I didn’t cop out. I didn’t take the easy road, I didn’t quit when the going got tough, I didn’t shirk away. That is pretty gosh darn awesome! Being the perfectionist that I am, it’s not often that I come out of something feeling like I performed to the best of my ability. There’s usually always that little something that I felt I could have done better, or that one area that I slacked. But today, looking back on the month of November, I can truly say that I gave this my all. And that is all I could have ever wanted.

Now what do we do now? Well, write of course! I’ll probably settle back into a once or maybe twice a week posting schedule, depending on what’s happening in the World of Warcraft and the World of Pants. I want to get out some more narrative style stuff (one of the few goals I had during NaNoWriMo which did not occur) along with the editorial pieces I typically write. But really, I just want to keep doing this at a much more relaxed pace. After the sprint, it’s time for the leisurely jog.

Before I wrap up for today, I want to quickly highlight some of the best things that Yotaan and I posted over the crazy month of November. There’s been a ton of content in the past thirty days so, no doubt, some of this was probably lost in the flood. Here’s some of my favorite works!

Tin Foil Hat: Battle for Azeroth
My working theory on what Battle for Azeroth will hold. I still don’t buy it that we’re just going to be fighting each other the entire time!

Leveling Guide: Legion Invasions
A quick guide on how to effectively level up from 100-110! One of my guildies has already gotten an alt up by this method and he thoroughly endorses it!

Four Year Anniversary!
We celebrated our four year blogiversary!

I am a Rose: A Visual Story
A visual story out in Val’sharah… I won’t spoil any more.

Crazy Raid Tales: The Mysterious Monk
One of the crazier raiding tales I’ve collected over the years, involving a monk who may or may not be Batman (or the Joker).

 

And of course, the pieces written by my wonderful father!

Legion or How I Learned to Love PvP Again
A write-up on how Legion PvP has been treating Yotaan. (Check out my response post here!)

Better Long Term Legion Goals
Yotaan showing up my goals by posting his own Better Long Term Legion Goals.

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Legion or How I Learned to Love PvP Again

A couple of days ago, Fussypants and I played the PvP brawl Temple of Hotmogu.  I have played this PvP battleground the day before and had a great time, and even got some achievements!  Sadly when we played together she got quite frustrated as the opposing team was very coordinated and was excellent at focusing firing her down.  Totally did not help that she was the only healer on our team either!  Afterwards, Pants was more than happy to move on to a different PvP battleground for the next go, just not the PvP Brawl.  We also had a guildie friend along who had no clue what they were as he told us he simply never PvPs.

So here we are, joining a battleground, muddling along fighting the bad guys.  Our mini team was 2 tanks and a healer, an unusual trio for battlegrounds.  Of course the first Battleground we get is the Temple of Kotmogu  but this time, we did a lot better.  While the team overall was not as coordinated as Fussypants, the other tank, and I were, the experience was a lot smoother.  And it certainly helped that Pants and I used voice communication with each other – we were in the same room!  We focused on picking up the orbs and holding onto them, particularly in the courtyard.   Pants made sure that she healed herself and me when needed, and I went after a few of the problem players on the other side to try to keep them focused on me rather than her.  There was on vengeance demon hunter I particularly disliked – I loved taking him down.

We both had a lot of fun and we won the Battleground!

Legion has made a lot of changes to PvP.  Frankly, I think overall for the better.  One big example for me is separating out talents that work just in PvP and talents that work just PvE.  The “leveling up” of the PvP talents as opposed to PvE talents makes it more interesting in my mind.  They added value to the play.  It is no longer just a grind.  Game play is always better when meaningful choices are available.  While there is not a lot of choices initially in PvP leveling up, they do appear later in the process.  You have a decision once you meet max level by getting to choose between different PvP options within a grouping of 3.  Of course, everyone is familiar with this from the talents from the PvE side.  Once you move far enough in level you have some interesting options to choose, they can really affect your game play.

Additionally, they evened the playing field for all the types and specs.  By tuning the damage, mitigation, and healing of all the different abilities, they gave everyone a better chance of survival and completing objectives.  Gear no longer determines your success rate, how well you play does.

The PvP aspect of the game now is even more interesting to me than it was in recent expansions.  When I first started playing WoW, I played exclusively on PvP server.  I transferred to a PvE server in order to play with Fussypants.  Now as I learn from the upcoming expansion news, Battle for Azeroth, it will not matter which server, I can PvP just about anywhere.  That makes me excited!  I might even go Horde again!

 

P.S. Seething Shore Battleground preview in 7.3.5?  Sign me up!

This blog post was written entirely by Yotaan. Thanks Dad ❤

Better Long Term Legion Goals

[Fussypants] There were a lot of failed attempts to get a new blog header photo

Battle for Azeroth is pretty far away, so we have Legion to play with for some time. Fussypants cornered me yesterday, grabbed me by the collar, tried to pick me up, and demanded I write a follow up blog post to her Legion long term goals. [Editor’s note, I did not.]  After I grounded her and banished her to her room, I decided it was a good idea!!

Long term Legion goals:

Finally get the %$# Ratstallion – I have been farming coins in that stinking sewer for months! An elemental shaman is not the best for PvP down there. I have a little less than 2000 more coins to go, so close! Hitting up the weekly quest to get 150 coins helps, but Yotaan will need to buckle down, hold his delicate panda nose, and grind coins down there.

Speaking of mounts, I hope to get up to 250 mounts collected. I am at 242 and have gotten most of the simple ones. I was very, very lucky to get the Reins of the Infinite Timereaver in WotLK timewalking last week, so cross your fingers for more lucky drops. Plus, the Pants has another sibling that occasionally plays, and that toon has been farming up some mounts as well.

PvP has been better this expansion, we’ve wrote about it before. Yotaan is all of Prestige 1 – the goal is 4 for the prestigious bronze courser mount. Stretch goal is the prestigious ivory courser mount. Fussypants is interested in artifact appearances and there are a few hiding in the Prestige ranks, but I just can’t get too excited about those.

Yotaan wants to finish some stories! From a lore perspective, I missed the part when Illidan returns – does he get rezzed, does he get put together again like humpty dumpty, does he get really angry about it? (Well, I think he never stopped being angry.) That part of the story is gated behind Mythic dungeons end bosses. You have to acquire enough bits-of-something-or-another to see the next part of the story. Yotaan is only half way thorough – not really keen on the grindy dungeon crawl so it is taking more time.

Other stories to finish is the death knight series and the demon hunter series. I haven’t gotten the class mounts or seen the resolution of either. Fussypants informs me that it is worth working for, so that is interesting to see how that plays out. Plus, we are leveling our demon hunters together and they are only 107 or so – lots more story there!

Finally, for the Horde! I have a Forsaken Rogue that is only 101 – I would like him at max level as he may become my main in BfA. I am missing playing Horde and I might be able to talk the Pants into joining the better faction…

Another other good stuff out there we missed in Legion? Let us know! I’ll go and let Pants out of her room now.

This post was written entirely by Yotaan.  Thanks Dad! ❤

Four Year Anniversary!

I realized I’d never before posted both of our Blizzcon badges together, and, I might not have posted Yotaan’s at all!

As of today, Growing up in Azeroth is officially four years old! That’s like… an entire high school education! It’s been an action packed four years to be sure, one that Fussypants and Yotaan would love to recap on!

But first, let’s see some stats!

Total Views: 37,025
Total Posts: 185
Total Visitors: 21,276
Number of Countries Represented: 121

Yotaan: Anniversaries are a time to look forward and to look back. Looking back, I am very amazed at how much time has passed and how many posts we have had! While I say we, everyone knows the primary writer is the the intrepid Fussypants. She has grown so much as a writer and has impressed me with her writing time and time again. You haven’t seen my writing much lately because it is so hard to add meaningfully to her posts! Of course I have the advantage of seeing the teen behind the Pants (wearing the Pants?) outside of the blog and the game, and that makes me very happy to see how well she and the blog have done.

Looking forward, I hope we can continue to write together and share a 5th anniversary. We will always be “growing up” in Azeroth. Fussypants will continue to grow as will I. Maybe someday we will even step out from behind the curtain!

Fussypants: I don’t think I can accurately put into words how mind-boggling this whole experience has been. When my dad and I first started writing so many moons ago, I was pretty convinced that no one would read other than close family and friends. Afterall, who wants to hear some teenage girl talk about video games? And yet, here I am, exactly four years later, marveling at how wrong I was. The blog has become something so much bigger than I ever realized. Even when I could not write as actively as I would have liked, it was always in my mind (and on my bookmarks toolbar). I remember, one of the things that stuck out to me the most at Blizzcon was when I’d introduce myself, people would always say something along the lines of “Oh, you have that blog, right?” It caught me off guard every time, making me blush and shyly say yes. Yes, I have this blog and yes, people read it! That is crazy!

I won’t lie, Growing Up in Azeroth has definitely had its ups and downs. We went through content droughts to rival Siege of Orgrimmar. I personally have written posts that I’m not terribly proud of (either because I rushed to get something out or I took a stance too extreme and unreasonable). Despite all this, or perhaps, because of all this, I feel like I personally have come out a better person. Writing this blog has first and foremost improved my writing skills. But secondly, and more importantly, it’s inspired me to look at the world with a critical eye. What do I agree with? What do I disagree with? What do I think about this? And why? That essential question has become my modus operandi.

As some folks close to me know, I am getting very close to an important milestone, the level ding from a minor to a major. I’m planning on writing up a huge, heartwarming post about what exactly Growing Up in Azeroth has meant to me, so I’ll spare you guys the more sappy parts of that now. Instead, I think we owe some thank yous.

 

For those of you who have read Growing Up in Azeroth, either from our beginning or just starting very recently, Fussypants and Yotaan want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You guys are a huge part of what makes this so enjoyable and worthwhile. Thank you for all the comments, likes, page views, and honestly, time. You guys are the very best!

 

Fussypants: There is one more person I owe an even bigger thank you to, and that is my dad. Yotaan, had you not suggested we start a blog together all those years ago, well, I don’t know where I’d be today. Thank you for inspiring me to write, to game, to explore. I know I sometimes am not the easiest person to work with, and I appreciate from the bottom of my heart the patience and encouragement you’ve shown me. You’re the best dad a girl could ask for ❤

 

Four years down, and many more to go!

BlizzCon!!

The Hype Center!

The Hype Center!

Months and months and months ago, Yotaan and I wrote about our adventure at the WoD live cinematic premiere. At the time, we thought that would be the closest we were going to get to the Blizzcon experience.  Boy, were we wrong.

Fast forward to now and Yotaan and I are excitedly enjoying our very first Blizzcon!! So far, we’ve gone to the Con Before The Storm party as well as experiencing our first day of Blizzcon glory! Since so many sites cover the news aspect much better than Yotaan and I ever could, we’re going to instead focus on the personal impact of the con rather than the deets.  Here are some of our trip highlights!

Fussypants: Oh my goodness, I don’t even know where to begin!  Beginning, maybe? Yotaan and I attended the CbtS party on Thursday night which, while being initially intimidating to actually go up and meet all the people behind the names, was a perfect beginning to the con!  I was able to meet a number of awesome artist and community folks, people that I have chatted with or looked up to for a long time over the web.  I’m probably going to forget some but in no particular order; Bawk, Avaltor, Ratsel (thank you again for the pin and advice!), Malkarii, Faebelina, Skornflakes, Quel’Fabulous, Katch, Serephita, Battlepanda, and Lyeric.

Speaking of Serephita, thank you so much for letting me set up a little sign with business cards out in the vending area! That was also a really exciting opportunity; over 100 people grabbed a card with my name on it!

After staying up far too late, Yotaan and I came back the next day ready for con action! We’ve spent a surprising amount of time watching the arena championship; something about the energy of the crowd all cheering at once made even this die hard PvEr interested in some player vs player.  And hey, the go to PvP healer appeared to be holy paladins, which was totally awesome for me to watch!

blizzcon-slide

Wonderful picture, boat day?

The Legion: What’s Next panel was also an amazing experience.  It’s one thing to read about the announcements on Blizzard Watch but it’s quite another to live through the hype as it happens.  The energy on that stage was palpable! And man, am I psyched about those “micro-holidays”! And, the class flying mounts! And ARGUS! Gosh, even though it wasn’t an expansion announcement, I am super super excited to play WoW!

blizzcon-cosplayCosplay! The cosplay at the convention has been insanely awesome! Lots and lots of Overwatch (sooo many lady McCrees!) and a good amount of Warcraft as well! Some of the most impressive costumes I have seen was an absolutely perfect Deckard Cain, lady Varian Wrynn, an enormous Reinhardt, Chromie, one of the Feral druid artifact skins, and a stunning re-imagination of the Warlock Tier 2.  I think the most amazing part though, is the fact that these people are just wandering around throughout the enter con.  Turn around and suddenly, there’s yet another Dv.A sitting at the panel behind you.

My badge!

Ok well Yotaan wants me to wrap this up (we’re writing on my laptop) so I’ll just finish with, if you happen to see the two of us at the convention on Saturday, totally come up and say hi! I would love to meet some of the readers of the blog face to face and I mean, I’ve also got some pretty spiffy business cards left over!  Meet and greet the Pants!

Yotaan: By far my favorite time during this trip was during the Con before the Storm.  I accompanied Pants, of course, as we wandered the party.  I loved her excitement and enthusiasm as she met other artists that she admired.  They were all friendly and wonderful.  It is fantastic to see such a supportive atmosphere around artists and their art.  Frankly, our trip could of ended right there, and I would have been happy.

However, Blizzcon is pretty awesome and I saw some great stuff!  While there is a great community around WoW, its rare to run into other folks in the everyday world that know, much less play, WoW.  And then if you are lucky, you get to go to Blizzcon, where SO MANY people play WoW.  What a thrilling opportunity to share this great game with like minded individuals, this experience alone is a highlight.
But there is one more highlight.  One more small, but incredibly  important detail that I learned today…

I get to ride an air elemental as a mount.   A zephyr!  Yotaan will ride a flying, whirling, lightning filled TORNADO!!!

Oh yeah, say hi to us and all, but I’ll be distracted by thoughts flying by twister.

Legion First Look

stormheimThe long awaited Legion expansion has finally dropped! Here’s Fussypants and Yotaan’s first impressions of the new expansion.

Fussypants: First things first, I want to give kudos where kudos are due, that pre-expansion event was AWESOME!  The quests, the invasions, the whispers, all were perfect for building up the excitement and anticipation for the final drop.  The Legion invasions in particular got me two new level 100s (a druid from 80 and a rogue from 64) as well as a bunch of shiny new gear to outfit out all my alts.  Two thumbs up from me!

Secondly, I’ve got another person to thank.  I would have had to wait several days for my copy of Legion to finally arrive had it not been for the super generous actions of one of my guildies.  Thank you so much Frandall for giving me the key that allowed me to enter Legion the day of launch!  You’re the real MVP!

Finally, onto the expansion itself!  I, of course, started leveling with my Holy Paladin right off the bat.  The whole Class Hall and artifact introduction was very, very well done (but I do have to say, it’s a little weird to be the big man in charge of all the paladins in Azeroth; I’m much more used to being underling number three).  I totally adored that aquiring the healing artifact took, you guessed it, healing! My lifelong dream has finally come true, healing quests are a thing!

the-silver-handSpeaking of healing quests being a thing, you know what else is a thing? Leveling in healing spec!  That’s right, I’ve been shockadining my way across the Broken Isles since the first moment I stepped foot and for the first time, it hasn’t been horribly inconvenient.  In fact, it’s much more akin to tank leveling now- I can pull anywhere from 3 to 5 mobs, pop a few AoEs, toss a couple heals on myself, and widdle down each and every mob.  The process has probably been slower than if I were leveling in a dps spec but at the same time, I cannot die.  And really, compared to previous expansions (looking at you Warlords), the only drawback is that it’s a just a bit slower instead of taking twice the amount of time.  Healers rejoice!

Right now I am level 105 and have quested through the entirety of Azuna and a majority of Stormheim.  If I were to write about each zone in specifics, we’d be looking at several thousand words so instead I’ll just brief over a few things that really stood out to me overall.  The biggest and best thing so far is that I haven’t been hit over the head with demons.  Sure, the Legion is invading and all that, but there’s a plethora of other lore having nothing to do with the demons.  Vykrul lore and Night elf lore and heck, even current Alliance v Horde lore, it’s been everywhere and it’s been awesome!

The other thing that has really stood out to me is the development of little side quests and characters.  I feel like everywhere I go, there is some fun little tidbit to watch out for.  Some of it has been highly comedic but others side stories have been incredibly sad.  If I had to recommend side quests to look for, my top three would definitely be Runas in Azuna, Tehd’s demon in Azuna as well, and the Moonkin up in Northern Stormheim.  (The goblins in Stormheim might also join that list but I have not yet completed that particular quest chain.)

Legion has just been… wow.  The story is fantastic, the zones are gorgeous, the voice acting is superb, man it’s almost perfect!  Now my only wish is that Blizzard maintains this level of perfection into the endgame; if this happens we might be looking at Pants’ new favorite expansion!

This part of the zone was so beautiful, I have over 50 screenshots of it!

This part of the zone was so beautiful, I have over 50 screenshots of it!

Yotaan: I have to agree with Fussypants, I really, really enjoyed the pre-expansion event.  The quests were an enjoyable as lore building.  I actually began to like Khadgar!  I do wish the whispers that lead to transforming into a demon were a little different.  The RNG gods smiled on my toons twice for this, but I was not able to complete the chores to transform.  It was not entirely easy or clear what to do.  I was hoping to achieve this (ala the Scourge transformation in the Lich King pre-expansion event) as I wanted to rampage as a vile Legion demon!  Speaking of rampages, the Legion invasions were very fun.  Initially, I was thought they were too simple – I had quickly grinded out Nethershards on Yotaan and did not need any gear.  But then I learned that they scaled for alt leveling.  I jumped on Poopertunity (for some reason Fussypants does not like this toon???) who was a lowly level 13 Brewmaster monk.  He had rested experience, full heirlooms, and access to the monk only daily experience gain quest.   So he joined the fight against the Legion and leveled like a mad dog!  It was so fun watching him ding repeatedly during just one invasion.  The other interesting effect of the invasion scaling was Poopertunity’s threat generation.  He was tanking the elites!  I had not really tanked on a monk (outside of a little with Fussypant’s help) and this new challenge was fun and rewarding.  It got even better the few times a healer targeted me and I never thought tanking would be so engaging.  Ultimately Poopertunity made it all the way to 71 from 13.  Very impressive for just a few hours of play.

Demon hunters are fantastic.  Fussypants and I intend to write a whole post on this so I won’t say any more.

Yotaan has not traveled in the Broken Isle as much as Fussypants has.  He is level 102 and has gone thorough most, but not all of Azuna.  The scenery has been beautiful to say the least.  When I came across unicorns and rainbow winged hippogriffs, I immediately ran off to get my youngest daughter to show her.  She loved it and demanded that Yotaan stay there forever.  I can really appreciate the new draw distance and attention to detail even on my Mac.  So far the questing has been inventive and the narrative has been reasonably complex.  I did not always know where the story was taking me.  I am a little bit concerned about leveling too fast as I want to take this slowly, but then again, the scaling tech is allowing me to go anywhere.

I am not particularly thrilled about the profession leveling however.  While the quests are cool and unique to the prof, I’m not actually making anything I could use.  Perhaps when I get farther along it will improve.

In an earlier post I complained about the shaman elemental artifact, a fist weapon.  The quests for Yotaan to obtain The Fist of Ra-Den were unusual and I liked the traveling beyond the Broken Isles.  The artifact tree totally reminds me of spec trees back in Burning Crusade.  All that is good.  Still don’t like the pointy claw thing and the teeny tiny shield.  I’m actually motivated to transmog….

Despite the very few missteps I overall really really like Legion so far.  I haven’t had a chance to play as much as Fussypants, for that I am jealous.  And, patch 7.1 is looking very exciting.   See you in Azeroth!

Yotaan’s Head Cannons

One of my fondest memories as a kid was back in Junior High.  Every couple of weeks a few friends and I would meet up.  We would sit around the table and play AD&D.  We started with level one characters and played enough to really develop them.

I had a cleric and thought he (then she – long story but basically in an adventure the character sat in chair that changed gender) was the coolest.  When we were not playing, I would imagine his backstory and were he came from.  I recall that he was a follower of Dionysus and therefore loved wine, a bit too much I think.   He even had a bag of holding that contained an entire wine rack!  During adventures he would drink and then make mistakes – such as sitting in suspicious chairs – that ending up being hilarious.  I created a personality and that I think was the best part of the game.

Fast forward to WoW – while there are RP servers and I clearly have RP’d in the past I didn’t have the full interest to dive in like I did with that cleric.  Plus, when I first started I played with a friend so naturally I started a toon on his server, a PVP server.  However, I did create mental backstories for my characters without realizing it.

WoWScrnShot_060516_131736Recently, Fussypants had asked me why I chose that particular face for Ayayron, she thought it was quite ugly and disturbing.  What surprised her and me was my immediate and fairly complete head cannon.

Ayayron was a regular human in life.  He had a humble profession and was not anyone important at all.  Unfortunately, like many innocents, he was dragged into the conflict between the Horde and Alliance.  He died horribly due to a tremendous blow to the face.  To this day, Ayayron cannot remember the details.   He does not know who did it or exactly what the circumstances were.

He was then raised into unlife by the Banshee Queen.  While most Forsaken have a fanatic loyalty to Sylvanas, Ayayron saw her as a means to an end.  Shortly after being raised, he had looked into a mirror and discovered the horrifying truth – he was missing the lower half of his face.  This was unacceptable.  Ayayron must rectify this and his queen has provided an opportunity for revenge.  He appreciates this but he now has a single ambition in unlife.

Ayayron will kill whomever killed him and he will wear their jaw to fix his face.

He will spend every day in his unlife exacting his revenge.

As it turns out, a few of my other characters have head cannon too, but not quite so vicious.

WoWScrnShot_060516_131106Yotaan the pandaren shaman (formerly Yotin the troll shaman) has always had simple roots.  He was first and foremost a farmer.  This was established years ago and I was very happy to get the Farmer title from the Tillers in the previous expansion.  He became a shaman because it helped his farm work.  Rain whenever you need it!

WoWScrnShot_060516_131522Heeaahww is an ugly little dwarf and grew up as an orphan.  If you look closely, he has features of both the Wildhammer clan and the Dark Iron clan.  He is the product of a secret relationship that went sour very quickly.  He was given up as a baby and grew up in Ironforge.  Heeaahww mostly kept to himself.  He became attracted to becoming a monk because of his personal duality of his heritage and hoped that he could manage it with monk practices.  He still struggles with it today.

The best part of AD&D was imagining your character.  In my mind I created an entire castle (with vineyards, of course) for my cleric.  (S)he had prized possessions, a personality, ambitions, and all those necessary bits to make a character alive.  I think that I have done this a little in WoW as well and that may be why I play certain characters at certain times.   What’s your head cannon?

This post was written entirely by Yotaan.