Monday, November 28, 2011

Regarding Rheugan, part 2

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There are several things I have to keep in mind when I'm RPing Rheugan, whether in-game or in my writing:

1: Rheugan is not a "happy" character. Not saying that he's always mad or gloomy- he does have his bright spots- but they are few and far between (though fortunately less so now than before). He's had a lot of horrible things happen to him in a very short amount of time, and they have left their marks in him. Not physically, perhaps, but they are there all the same.

2: It took me a long, long time to figure out why I had so much trouble writing anything that involved Rheugan. He simply has his own ideas about what he wants known about him, and if I try to do something he doesn't agree with, he just shuts me out. It made me amazingly frustrated with him, but now that I'm figuring him out better, I'm learning to just go with it.

3: Rheugan may have very little in the way of possessions right now, but he is still a noble. He can be snooty sometimes ("poncy" is how we usually describe it XD), and he can be a bit touchy about his honor. He still has his pride, no matter that it's been beaten and dragged around some. All in all, it still sometimes surprises me how different he is from me, which doesn't tend to happen much with my characters.

4: He really, truly, honestly wants to be useful. One of his biggest depression-causes before he went to Northrend was how useless he felt. Combine that with his pride, and how could he not feel miserable? There were a couple times when he offered his help with something and was turned down (Fells' trip to Gilneas comes to mind), and he reacted pretty badly to it. I can understand that there was simply no way for him to fit into the plotline, but with Rheugan, I have to go with how he feels about things, and it was pretty rough at times.

* * * * *

So if I was having all this trouble with Rheugan, how did I end up doing his Northrend story?

I did it for one reason, really. Rheugan was getting to the point where he wasn't really much fun to play. I needed to find some way to fix him, before he became well and truly "broken". So, I gave him what he wanted: my full, undivided attention, where I would only write what he wanted me to write. It was his chance to tell his story the way he wanted. And it worked, though I couldn't tell you how many times I had to rewrite parts of it before he was happy enough to let me hit the "post" button. There are parts of it that I wound up editing out at the last second, like that mysterious bit in Dalaran that got mentioned in the last chapter, but never got explained. I'm still hoping that Rheugan will let me finish that chapter, and it'll get posted as an aside if he does. But, it will have to be his decision whether it gets finished or not.

I have never had a character that insisted on having so much control. It's almost humorous.



The Northrend story wasn't just about him learning to get along with his cat. It was also about him learning to deal with his life as it stands now. And I think it worked out well.

* * * * *

One of the best decisions I think I ever made about Rheugan was a spur-of-the-moment one: introducing him to Shaurria. It was all Pitch's idea- and he gladly takes credit- but it turned into a life-saver.

I don't write much about their interactions, and I don't plan to in the future either. Their relationship is hard for me to describe. They are definitely not romantic, for several reasons. Shaurria is a little over 100, which I believe puts her in her mid-teens, comparatively, so she's simply too young yet for a relationship like that. Rheugan is too damaged; if he ever does find someone, it will likely be another worgen, since otherwise he'd be terrified of passing on the curse, and it will likely be full of complications. Someday he might reach a more normal point, but until then he doesn't need the added stress of a romantic relationship.

If I had to define it, I would say Rheugan and Shaurria are the siblings that neither of them had before. Their friendship is almost like a twin bond. I like to think that it's what has helped Rheugan hold on to his sanity at times.

They hit it off from their first meeting. Rheugan was expecting Shaurria to be like the other people he'd met; either pryingly curious about what the curse was like, or else afraid of him and trying to hide it. Instead, she simply accepted him in her Shaur-like way; Pitch liked him and said he was nice, so of course that's what he was. For her part, Shaurria somehow sensed how broken Rheugan was at that point, and her first reaction was to try and heal his pain. In this, she's very much like her adopted father.

They relate to each other very well. Both are orphans, both had been through a very rough part of their lives. Shaurria had dealt with her pain and was well past it, while Rheugan was still in the midst of his. Shaur was, perhaps not so surprisingly, the best medicine he could have gotten.

She's helped him in other ways too. She introduced him to Arvoss, who saw a bit of himself in the worgen, so now he has another friend and a place he can call home. The cat will never hurt her, since she's no threat to it, so she is "safe", which is to Rheugan perhaps the most important part.

* * * * *



So now, what am I left with? Rheugan is no longer broken, thank goodness, and his moods are much better. His cat, which turned into a character all on its own, is no longer fighting him, and he is more at peace with who and what he is. I don't know how long this will last- I'm hoping it's permanent, but I've learned to take nothing for granted with Rheugan- but for right now, he is a much better character to play, and to RP with. I think I can count this as a success.

And that is my worgen in a nutshell. A little rough around the edges still, but not a bad guy to be around. And maybe someday, his cat will start to like being petted. I can always hope, right?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sick

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I got the inspiration for this while I still had my cold, and figured that if I was sick, there was no reason why my characters shouldn't be, too. Yes, I'm a meanie. This story idea just puttered around in my head for a while, then I started writing it after my cold was gone. For lack of anything else to write, I finally got around to finishing it.

This would be from several weeks ago- Lark's cold is long gone by now, same as my own. Also, have I mentioned how much I love my characters? >.>

(I'm not forgetting Rheugan's post, just need to finish writing it. >.>)

______________

There were, Pitch reflected, some advantages to being bigger than your mate- one of those being she couldn't push you out of bed. Not that she wasn't trying.

"I dode wadda gib you by code!" Lark's feet pushed futilely against his hip again. Pitch suppressed a sigh.

"You won't give me your cold," he told her again, patiently. "I'm too stubborn to get sick anyway." He didn't mention that his throat had been scratchy that morning, so he'd probably already caught it. Which was why he'd helped himself to his brother's "cold tea" when Alanon had brought some by earlier; if he was catching it, it wouldn't last long, not with that tea.

Lark herself had had two cups of the tea, plus as much soup as he could get her to eat- and thank Elune her morning sickness seemed to be mostly gone. An added benefit was that with her belly full, she was too sleepy to put up much of a fight.

Almost as soon as he had that thought, she suddenly gave up the fight, rolling to her side and pulling the blankets up. "Fide den," she muttered, slurring slightly. "Dode blabe be if you get zick." Pitch smiled to himself. "I won't," he told her, though he was doubtful she even heard him.

He gave her a bit to fall asleep, then slid under the blankets next to her, snuggling up close with a contented sigh. Within minutes, he too had fallen fast asleep.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Regarding Rheugan, part 1

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(Disclaimer: If you haven't noticed by now, I tend to talk about my characters like they are real, living people. If you're not a roleplayer, this will probably strike you as odd. Bear with me.)


I have a confession to make. I haven't been fair to Rheugan.

This will probably take a while to explain. I started planning for Rheugan the moment I found out worgen were becoming playable, and they could be druids. I reserved his name, decided what color he'd be, and thought up a little bit of a story to introduce him. And... that was it. I didn't expect him to be that important of a character to me, he was simply an excuse to play and RP a worgen, and all his RP was supposed to involve Pitch. Really, I just wanted him to add a little more depth to Pitch's story. He wasn't supposed to be a "real" character.

Then this happened. Hooooooboy, did it happen. And it took everything I had "planned" for Rheugan, turned it upside down, and kicked it out the window.

Remember this post I did? If not, go ahead and read it. I'll wait.

After that post, I kept finding myself beating my head against the wall that Rheugan had become. Why was he acting this way? What was his problem? For that matter, what was my problem?

The problem, I finally figured out, was that Rheugan was a far more complicated character than I had given him credit for. And, well, he was getting angry with me... for not giving him that credit. And how could I blame him?

I think that was when I started thinking long and hard about Rheugan. I brought him to RP night every time I could manage it. And bit by bit, I finally started to see some of what was going on inside my little worgen's head.

So now, you get something that I never thought I'd be able to write: Rheugan's backstory. It's... a bit abbreviated and I still wouldn't consider it to be set in stone, but at least I got it down, right?

* * * * *

Rheugan's story actually begins with his I-don't-really-know-how-many-greats-grandfather, a prosperous sheepfarmer living in Tempest Reach. The Reach is also where a lot of the wealthy had their estates, and this elder Jameston decided he'd like his family to live on one of those estates someday. He was the first in the family to start working on climbing the Gilnean social ladder. When he grew too old, he passed the reins to his son, who took up right where the old man left off. In just a few generations, they'd gone from farmers to businessmen, hiring workers to run the now-much-larger farm, then sending the wool to their own workshops and warehouses, to be turned into trade goods. By the time Rheugan's father came along, they were living in a very nice house among the elite in Gilneas City, and just before Rheugan was born, his father was granted a title and status as minor nobility.

Rheugan grew up learning how to run the family business from his father, and was always impressed with the idea of taking it even further. He and his family were nobles, yes, but they got there through hard work, and Rheugan wasn't allowed to forget that, either. He knew his place and what was expected of him, and that was exactly how he wanted it.

Then the worgen attacked. Rheugan's father went to join the fight, leaving Rheugan in charge as his heir. He was killed early in the fighting, leaving Rheugan as the lord of the house... that is, until Rheugan decided to take his place against the worgen. That is where the intro questing starts. Rheugan went through most of it in-character, so it is part of his background. When he was sent to free Crowley from the prison and the worgen attacked them on the roof, that was when he was bitten.

Now, Rheugan didn't know what would happen when he was bitten. As the fighting progressed, however, at some point he guessed what was going on. So when Crowley wanted volunteers to stay behind while the rest of Gilneas evacuated, Rheu was one of those that stepped forward, knowing full well that he would probably die.

Fast forward a bit. Rheugan obviously wasn't killed, but he did turn full worgen and found a place in a fairly large pack. This pack had an aggressive leader, and their hunting trips caused quite a bit of terror in the Blackwold where they lived. Then they were tracked down, and the entire pack was killed or captured. Rheugan was among the latter.

Back in Duskhaven with Krennan Aranas' potion working on him, Rheugan finally stopped being a savage monster and started on his path back to humanity. One of the first things he heard was that if he ever showed signs of being irredeemable, he would be destroyed. The next thing he learned was that his mother was killed in the evacuation, and Rheugan was now the only living member of his family. Since no one had known where he was or even if he was still alive, after Gilneas was reclaimed from the worgen, his family's business, home, and wealth- everything material they had owned- had been taken by the Crown and given out to others. So now Rheugan was an orphan with nothing left to his name but a now-useless title.

That was enough to send him into a pretty fair depression. It only got worse as time went on, and he still heard the warnings of what would happen if he ever went wild. Rheugan grew withdrawn and fearful, avoiding contact with the non-cursed humans as much as possible. Things went on like that until the Forsaken attacked.

The battle with the Forsaken gave Rheugan something to focus on besides his own misery. He fought willingly and well, but still remained fearful of giving his worgen side too much freedom. His story pretty much follows the questlines up until he meets the Night elf and goes through his ritual at Tal'doren. Once the rituals were over, the Night elven druids offered to teach him, and any others that wanted, the druidic shape-shifting.

Enter the cat.

Rheugan was feeling pretty good by now. They seemed to be beating the Forsaken back, he had control now over his worgen side, and with the night elves' teaching, he'd become an even better fighter. He was so used to the wolf by this point that when he started feeling "nudges" from his cat, he simply ignored it or pushed it away. That was his mistake.

Rheugan's cat didn't like being ignored. It grew angry and frustrated with him, but Rheugan remained clueless. He gave no outward sign of being in trouble, and he didn't know enough about druidism to think there was anything wrong, so no one thought to help him. The battle finally ended with Prince Liam being killed, then the Forsaken pushing the Gilneans out of their home. With no other options, Rheugan went to Teldrassil with the rest of his people.

Once there, Rheugan slipped back into his old depression. He still had no home or finances, so he found himself entirely dependent on the charity of others- another blow to his pride and self-esteem. One day, he slipped out to find a quiet place in Darnassus away from everyone else. He found a spot, but one of the Night elves' saber cats found him and, seeing a stranger loose in its home, it challenged him. Rheugan tried to ignore it but his cat, fed up with everything it had been through in the past weeks, finally took complete control of him and attacked the saber. It killed the cat and mauled a Sentinel when she tried to break up the fight. Rheugan was deemed too dangerous to remain free, so he was shut in a room at the inn, where he waited for what he thought would be his execution. And that is how Pitch found him, when they first met.

* * * * *

And with that, I think I will need to pause this here, since I'm kinda feeling the effects of going to bed at 3am last night. Now you know the basics of how Rheugan got to be where he was, and I will finish up the rest of this (yes, there's more... a lot more!) hopefully tomorrow. So til next time, Happy Hunting!

Rheugan: Storm Peaks

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    Dear Shaurria,

    I am writing this from the Hero’s Welcome in Dalaran. I think now I may be coming home very soon. The cat and I have reached an accord, though the details will have to wait until I see you, as I’m not sure if I can put them into written words adequately. I’ve been here in the city of mages for three days - it feels good to be clean, warm, and safe again. I think the cat has been glad for the rest as well, though he is pressing for “just one more hunt” before we head back to Stormwind. I’m sure you know where that will lead, though I promise not to let him keep me out here for too long.

    Now that I can spare the attention to think on everything back home, I am realizing how much I have missed everyone. It will be good to be back home, although I still don’t know if Stormwind will be my home for good. There will be things I will need to take care of - but I promise that this time I will not need to go alone, and I would be glad to have you and Pitch accompany me.

    That isn’t all that has happened, but I’m not sure how to tell about the rest. I met a girl here, another Gilnean with the curse, and she shared a rather startling story - although in her defense, I don’t think she knew how much it affected me. It has given me much to think about, however - indeed, it seems like I’ve been doing nothing but think for days now, and I am no closer to finding the answers....

* * * * * *

The blizzard swept through the Storm Peaks, blowing along anything unlucky or foolish enough to be caught in its winds. Among those hapless victims were a harpy, several eagles, and one big gray stormcrow.

Rheugan let the winds carry him along, using his wings just enough to stay aloft and keep from crashing into anything. The cat, only a dim presence in the back of his mind, made it quite clear that it thought he was crazy, but he gave it no mind- all his attention was focused on simple survival.

He felt exuberant, with the harsh wind blowing through his feathers and carrying him along to who-knew-where, and thought that he could better understand Pitch’s “hobby” of throwing himself at the biggest and toughest opponents he could find. But Rheugan had another reason for being out in the storm as well- with all his focus on staying alive and unharmed in his wild flight, he could spare no thought for anything else. And for the moment, he very much wanted it that way.

His past weekend in the mage city of Dalaran had started out nicely, but it had ended on a sour note, and Rheugan did not want to think about it any more than he had to. He knew he was running away from things that he ought to face down, that he would have to face sooner or later, but he couldn’t help himself. He was finding it hard to care that those things were also keeping him out here, in Northrend, when he knew he could go back to Stormwind now any time he wanted to.

And that was probably the reason he didn’t see the frostwyrm until it was on him.

His only warning was a change in the pitch of the wind, then huge bone claws were closing around him like a cage. The tip of one caught in his wing near the shoulder; he felt it pierce the skin, then the hot rush of blood flowing. In an instant the cat had seized control, letting out a scream of pain and rage as it shifted his form. The frostwyrm wasn’t prepared for its prey’s sudden increase in size and weight, and it lost its hold on him. The claw tip tore through skin and muscle as Rheugan slipped free and started plummeting toward the ground far below. The undead wyrm gave an ear-splitting roar, but didn’t pursue him for some reason, and Rheugan’s last sight of it was of it flapping back toward Icecrown. The entire attack had lasted mere seconds.

Rheugan managed to change back to his bird form as he fell, using his good wing to try to slow and direct his descent. It worked, barely, and he landed in a snowbank with a thwump, in a shower of blood and loose feathers. Instinct warned him against turning human- the cold would quickly finish him off if the injury didn’t- so after a brief moment of hesitation he took his worgen form, then placed his good hand over the wound and directed all the healing power he could muster into it. He felt it close, the bleeding slowing, and once he had done what he could he risked turning cat. His foreleg wouldn’t support his weight, but he knew he had to find shelter fast, so he limped the best he could toward the nearest mountainside. If he was lucky, perhaps there was a cave nearby.

The blizzard’s winds still swirled around him, blowing the snow about and, after he had gone no more than a handful of steps, bringing a sudden whiff of a strange animal. Rheugan stopped in his tracks, hackles rising, and looked around with a growl. Between the snow and his own growing weakness, it took him a few minutes to spot the large black cat that watched him from a nearby outcropping.



At first he thought it was another worgen- it was certainly shaggy enough. But the smell was wrong, and when the strange cat lifted his head higher to get a better look at him, Rheugan noticed the horns on his head. The stranger stared at him, nostrils twitching, then gave a tilt of his head and turned to jump off the rock. Rheugan debated with himself for a second only, then followed the other druid.

The tauren, for that was certainly what he was, led him only a little ways before ducking into a small opening in the rock. When Rheugan entered, the smell of cat and woodsmoke nearly set him back on his haunches. Clearly the tauren used this cave frequently.

His unexpected benefactor had already shifted to his natural form, and was stirring a small campfire into life. He was a big fellow, likely a little taller than Pitch, with black fur spotted with white. It was hard to tell in the dim cave, but it looked like his muzzle was starting to turn gray with age, although his movements were as easy and graceful as anything that large could be.

Rheugan crept as close to the fire as he dared, then turned human and bent to look at his arm. The injury started near his shoulder blade and stretched all the way to his elbow. It was still oozing blood and hurt like fire, so he again sent whatever healing energy he could muster at it, closing his eyes in concentration. Then suddenly the warmth of the healing magic intensified, as something large covered his hand. Rheugan’s eyes popped back open to stare at the tauren, who was now taking his hand off of Rheugan’s, giving the smaller druid a reassuring smile. Rheugan blinked, then checked his arm again. The wound was now closed and healing nicely, though he could tell he would have a wicked scar. He looked back up at the tauren. “Th-..thank you,” he offered shyly.

The tauren’s smile grew wider as he answered in fairly decent common. “You are welcome.” Rheugan gaped at him, blinking. “You know common?” He nodded. “The druids in Moonglade taught me. I hear, mmm... understand, better than I speak.” He settled back comfortably across the fire from Rheugan, then looked back at him with interest. “I have not seen many of your... your kind? So, how do you come to be here?”

Rheugan hesitated before answering. “I came here to the Peaks because it looked like good hunting grounds. If you mean why am I in Northrend... that’s a long story.” The tauren took a moment, likely to make sure he understood properly, then nodded. He waved a hand at the cave’s entrance, where the blizzard was still blowing rather noisily outside. “We are not going anywhere for now, eh? Tell, if you’d like.”

Rheugan still hesitated. The tauren seemed friendly, but he was still a tauren, one of the “enemy”- not to mention he was big enough to break Rheugan like a stick if he chose. Still, he felt inclined to trust him, though he didn’t know why. Finally he began. “You know what I am.” The tauren nodded again without speaking. “Do you know how many people treat worgen?” At that the tauren cocked his head, looking at him curiously. He studied Rheugan for several minutes in silence, then snorted softly. Pulling off one glove, he held his black-and-white mottled hand up for Rheugan’s inspection.

“My color marks me as one of the Grimtotem,” he said. “You heard the tales?” At Rheugan’s slight nod he continued. “I have not been a part of the tribe since my druid teaching began. Still some of my people do not think I am to be trusted. They give me looks - you know what that’s like, hmm?” He shrugged, pulling the glove back on. “They do not know me. My.. my leader, is not Magatha. I follow Hamuul, and yes Malfurion too sometimes; they are my leaders. I do what helps, and those of my people that do not like me can think what they want, eh?”

Rheugan allowed a faint smile to cross his face. “I wish sometimes I could have felt that way. It would have made some things easier.” He sighed, then at the tauren’s encouraging nod he went on. “After I was cursed, I ran wild at first. When I was captured, I was given a potion that returned me to my senses, then put with the other recovered worgen in Duskhaven.

“Many of the villagers were kind to us, even seemed glad we had been brought back. But some of them followed Lord Godfrey’s thinking. They were always watching us, making certain we knew exactly what would happen if any of us seemed to be going wild again. But the worst, I think, was seeing some of my old friends.

“My pack attacked the home of my best friend, just a couple weeks before my capture. One of my packmates bit him and gave him the curse. I was the one that killed his father. When I first met him in Duskhaven afterward, I couldn’t even look him in the eye. I still don’t think he knew it was me in the attack, but if he ever found out, what would he do?”

The tauren just sat quietly, listening, as Rheugan went on. He had the younger druid pause to clarify a few points when he didn’t quite understand, but other than that he was an excellent listener. It was difficult for Rheugan to speak about the life he had left behind, but... liberating too, somehow. He finally came to the end, after talking for what seemed like hours.

“So I came here, to figure out how I could live with this cat. It took awhile, but I think we’ve finally become friends, as crazy as it sounds.” He looked up with a shy grin as the tauren chuckled, then thought of something. “Have you ever had trouble with your cat?” he asked.

The tauren shook his head. “I have been a druid longer than you have drawn breath,” he replied with another chuckle. “Whatever troubles we’ve had have been long worked out.” He gave Rheugan a rather calculating look. “So if your trouble is fixed now, why are you still here? I enjoy the North still, but you seem... eager? to get home.”

Rheugan’s grin faded. “I... I think I am hiding,” he admitted. The tauren raised an eyebrow at him, so he tried to explain. “Before I came north, I depended on others to take care of me. I had no home, no money, and no hope. It’s been worlds better up here- I’ve even managed to save up some gold, so at least I am no longer penniless. But... I’m half afraid that when I do go back, I will fall into the same rut.”

The tauren rumbled under his breath- it sounded like it was meant to be comforting. “That is something you find on your own,” he said slowly. “If you want to be useful, you must make yourself useful, eh?” Rheugan nodded, looking into the fire thoughtfully. “And you have friends, hmm? They will help you, won’t they?”

Rheugan nodded again. “I have to say that I’m not entirely useless, especially after having to look after myself all this time,” he said, speaking half to himself. “If I can find work that I can do, that’s a start, at least.” He was silent for another minute, taking time to think things through. “I will have to figure out a new life, I suppose,” he finally said. “I.. I’m just not sure how to.”

The tauren’s smile returned. “Perhaps that is the best way to start, mmm?” He stood abruptly, cocking his head to listen. “The storm has stopped. I will go back to my hunt.” He looked back at Rheugan. “You are welcome to stay here and rest. In the morning, perhaps, is soon enough for this new life.” With a final broad grin, he changed to the shaggy black cat, then padded out of the cave.

Rheugan sat and thought for a long time after the tauren left. It was time he stopped running. And he did have friends, after all; it wasn’t like he had to do everything all by himself. He would still have help.

He turned his attention to the cat next. “What do you think?” he asked it aloud. “Ready to go home?” The cat offered no argument. The frostwyrm’s attack had reminded it quite clearly of its own mortality, and it was more than willing to return to civilization... and relative safety. Rheugan grinned to himself as he shifted and settled down next to the fire. For now, he would sleep as the tauren suggested. When he awoke, he would head back to Dalaran, and the portal to Stormwind.

* * * * * *

She was sitting down by the lake again, the smaller one by Celestine’s cottage. For a fleeting moment, it felt like he had never been away. She was staring at the water, not even looking around when he walked up- until he quietly cleared his throat. “I wrote another letter,” he said as Shaurria’s head whipped around, to stare at him with wide eyes and a quickly-growing smile. “But I thought I might deliver this one in person.”

She looked him over, as if to make sure he still had all limbs intact, then reached out to hug around his knees. Her voice was soft, a bit shy, but happy. “I knew you’d be back. Welcome home, Rheugan.”

___________________

Done at last! Rheugan has been home for about 2 weeks now, but I got stuck in the "writer's block cause I'm worn out from work" rut for a while. Holidays in retail, and especially in the grocery business, are crazy.

For anyone that doesn't know (and I only know 1 person that would know, no offense meant), the tauren he ran into is Taurros. I keep wanting to write about the old boy but never do, so I figured he deserved a cameo.

Rheugan has been much more comfortable since his return. I think we're both still figuring out exactly how he's feeling in regards to a couple things, but with time even that should be sorted out. And Bricu offering him a job at his first RP night back certainly isn't hurting things!

I did this whole storyline for a reason, and now that it's finished I ought to make a blog post about that. Yes, I made some things in his story vague (and maybe confusing), but it was deliberate. In some cases, it was the only way Rheugan would let me write anything at all! So, look for a future post about that, hopefully later today/tomorrow.

And finally, I hope I never get stuck like that ever again. Nearly 3 weeks in between blog posts? Yeesh.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pitch: Tracking

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Backstory for this one? The Riders have had a couple of their people turn up missing- namely Bricu and Shad. They disappeared under very strange circumstances, with fairly obvious SI:7 involvement, and the rest of the Riders, including Pitch and Lark, were getting stressed and jumpy. Bricu turned up again last RP night, fortunately, and while the "trail" was fresh, Pitch was asked to go track Bricu back to the SI:7 hideout he'd been held at.

There is a forum thread about it here.

Enjoy!
________________

The scent trail led to a grate set low in the Mage District wall. Pitch sniffed long and hard at the ground, making certain of where the trail led, before he finally went to examine the grate. He barely heard Bricu's motorbike start up again and move off, as the paladin headed for his home.

He had to go elf in order to move the grate, then he slipped through, pulling it shut again behind him, just in case. He returned to his cat form, picked up the thread of Bricu's scent, and padded down the tunnel. Kal'dorei night vision combined with his cat eyes allowed him to see in the darkness easily. The tunnel smelled musty, but had a "used" feel. It ran ahead of him for several hundred feet before he came to the first intersection.

Pitch paused and stared down each of the new tunnels for a moment, sniffing the air. The faint scent of humans reached him from one, and he wanted to explore them both, but on the other hand... Bricu's scent trail still went straight ahead, so after a brief debate Pitch continued on his way. He had a job to do, and he could always backtrack later.

He passed two more intersections, but Bricu's trail never left the main tunnel, so neither did Pitch. The tang of magic in the trail was getting stronger, however, and he wondered where exactly he was going to end up. Then he came to the door.

It was fairly unassuming, as doors went, but Pitch felt the faint crackle of warding magic in his whiskers as he approached. He stopped a safe distance away and studied the door, faintly regretting his own inability with magic. The tunnel was swept clear; there wasn't even a piece of trash to toss at the door, to try and trigger the ward that way. Finally Pitch left his cat form, then took a deep breath, sent a silent apology to Lark in case things went wrong, and touched the door.

Nothing happened, which was perhaps more worrying than if there'd been an explosion. The ward simply flared slightly, then faded, leaving the door free to open. Pitch wasted no time in searching for the latch, but the door didn't seem to have one. He muttered a curse under his breath, then started feeling around the edges for anything that would open the door. Seconds ticked by, and Pitch's imagination supplied him with various scenes of guards coming down on him, alerted by the ward. "Oh, by Ursol's left-"

Snick. Something gave under his questing fingers, and the door swung toward him, opening about an inch. Pitch let out his breath as quietly as he could, then shifted back to cat and warily poked his nose out. He was greeted by the scent of magic so strong it felt like a slap in his nostrils, and when he peered out he was confronted by a wall of pulsing green.

It took him a moment to realize he was behind the portal in the Mage Tower. A cautious sniff proved there was no one else in the room, so he eased out of the hole in the wall to look around. The teachers and portal masters all appeared to have gone to bed, and there was no trace of anyone else, so after a brief inspection Pitch slipped back into the tunnel.

He now knew where the Sevens had brought Bricu from, so it seemed like a good time to go back and explore those side tunnels. He trotted back down into the darkness.

* * * * *

Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Pitch watched warily from the shadows as a pair of guards squinted down the tunnel. Their voices echoed faintly down to his ears.

"Are you certain you saw something? It might've just been a rat."

"Pfah. Rats aren't three feet tall with glowy eyes. I'm telling you there's something there."

Three feet tall? Pitch didn't know whether to laugh or growl, but knew better than to do either. He held his tongue and waited for their next move.

"Well, I don't see it." The first guard spat, then turned back to his post. "If you're so frightened of being down here, why don't you go up to Gallina's and help yourself to the wine?" He gestured toward the door they guarded with his hand crossbow.

Gallina's? Well, at least he had a rough idea where he was now. As the second guard returned to his post and the two continued their bickering, he turned and slipped back down the way he had come.

The next door he came to was also guarded, so he didn't even try to get close. The one beyond that looked promising, however, with the tunnel ending at an unguarded, tiny stairwell. The rickety steps- more ladder, really- led up to another hidden door, which led to...

Cool night air hit his nose, although his view was blocked by a stack of crates. No matter. Pitch marked the place in his mind and continued on.

The next tunnel he found was a long one, ending at a stout wooden door guarded by no less than five men. Pitch gave a frustrated huff and turned to go back.

"What was that?"

He froze as the voice rang out, then heavy footsteps started heading in his direction. Without looking back, Pitch quickly slunk down the tunnel toward the nearest branch-off, but the persistent guard stayed on his heels, followed by at least one of the others. He reached the crossing tunnel just ahead of their torchlight and ducked in, his black fur melting into the shadows. He shut his eyes to hide their glow, tracking the guards by scent and sound.

"It was probably nothing. We would have found something by now." Yes, listen to your buddy, Pitch thought, but the leading pair of boots kept coming closer, bringing the torchlight with them.

"You know what Shaw will do if anything gets into the Keep," the first guard replied harshly. "I'm not going back til I'm sure." The Keep! No wonder they were jumpy. Pitch held his breath, his muscles tensing involuntarily as the footsteps came closer; five yards, then three. Then they were right on top of him, and Pitch waited for the shout of discovery, preparing to dash out and try for that door he had found earlier...

Then the boots were retreating back down the tunnel, the other guard cracking jokes to the first about "dedication to duty," and Pitch slowly let out the breath he'd been holding. He waited until he heard nothing from the guards, then cautiously made his way back to the unguarded door.

It exited out into an alcove, the door hidden from the outside by the stack of crates. Pitch made sure to replace the crates exactly the way they had been once he was outside, then took a moment to get his bearings. He quickly recognized the Cathedral looming up nearby, and fixed the door's location in his memory, in case any of the Riders wanted to see where it was. Then he shifted to a bird and made his tired way home. Maybe Lark would still be up, waiting for him.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

They come in bunches...

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I seem to be making all my tames in bunches lately. This means that either Booggah will find his blue Madexx in a day or so, or else I won't see him for another month...

I had Boo out checking for Magria earlier today, and I randomly just said "I want his blue kitty!" to my sister. NPC_Scan went off just a couple seconds later.


*cues "Hallelujah" music*



This makes me so happy. I was more-than-half-expecting to find Ankha again- I swear that kitty has a thing for Boo.

And here, have a screenie of Lark with her new buddy-



Just... don't say anything about the name. >.>

I've been feeling better the last couple days, although I don't want to say I'm getting well yet, since when I did that before I caught a second cold...

Feathermoon has seen some more RP recently, I'll have to do some posts on that soon. Pitch in particular has his own role in part of it, and I will try to write that up ASAP. I've also had Rheugan's final chapter poking around in my head again, so maybe I'll get that finished up too. Then he can finally come back home!

Til next time, Happy Hunting!