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Old 02-20-2015, 06:43 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Tome of Experience Scrapped Idea: Gone with the Æther

The surprisingly warm reception given to my character description on Balaa got me thinking about another story I decided not to write. Like A Brave New World (of WarCraft), this story got a cheesy title referencing a famous book. Let me assure you that the story has nothing in common with its namesake. Mitchell was a Romantic, and I am a Postmodernist. The title stuck largely because of the idea that, like the Antebellum South, the High Elves were a society that prided itself on being more civilized than everyone else yet were actually quite depraved. While I intend to put up a summary over the next few days, I will leave you with my hilariously cheesy introduction for now.

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There was a land of Magic and Cool Forests called Quel’Thalas… Here in this pretty world true Decorum took its last bow.. Here lived the last Elven generation of Lords and their Ladies, of Liege and of Vassal… Look for it only in books and tales, for it is no more than a dream remembered.
A Civilization gone with the æther…
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Old 02-20-2015, 06:46 PM
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...more?
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Old 02-21-2015, 12:03 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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...more?
Hey, the thread will get more hits if updated slowly, right? Besides, I discovered my notes file got corrupted at some point, so piecing this back together isn't easy. Not to mention that I'm trying to decide which events to put in what Dispatches, writing an original novella, and looking for a job. Not easy.

Anyway, this story is heavily inspired by Travels through Azeroth and Outland, so I must give credit where credit is due. It also has a few tie-ins to The Falconbridge Chronicles down the page. Unfortunately, due to the rough nature of these notes, most characters do not have names. However, since this story is primarily about a culture and the paths of four people through it, it is my hope you will forgive the shortcomings of this rough summary.

Opening Scene:
The children in a nursery are prepped for their parents' daily visit.

Introduce the four protagonists, currently children.
  • Renander Goldenmist
  • Drendron Skygaze
  • Erinana Goldensong
  • Fienra Everlight

The parents enter and have conversations to drop certain ideas.
  • Hint at Great Houses and Retainer Houses, though not yet fully explain.
  • No matter how many families may be part of a given household, all children are raised together.
  • Convential wisdom says this practice produces more loyal retainers.
  • Magic makes possible an entire society of aristocrats by eliminating manual labor.
  • The major exception is childcare, which cannot be automated.
  • It is considered a great honor for a retainer to be given this task.

The kids don't get to do much beacuse this is a "children don't speak unless spoken to" culture. They basically stand there in a line, holding as still as possible. The parents worry that Fienra, the youngest, is small for her age. However, they also note she has plenty of time to catch up.

NOTE: This story was concepted back when the RPG was still canon, so the kids grow up at roughly half the Human rate.

End of Scene
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Old 02-21-2015, 12:19 PM
Aneurysm Aneurysm is offline

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I must be experienced a case of severe déjà vu, because I can swear I've read this before.


Or wait, is this an old project you're revisiting?
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Old 02-22-2015, 02:53 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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I must be experienced a case of severe déjà vu, because I can swear I've read this before.


Or wait, is this an old project you're revisiting?
Unless I've been unwittingly sending out mind-control waves on someone, this should be new. The idea of Great Houses and Retainer Houses is lifted directly from Destron, so maybe that's what you're thinking of. Fienra makes an appearance in Nagrand, as well.

Objectives for Phase One:
  1. Fill out the culture (because children need to be taught these things)
  2. Differentiate the protagonists

Explain fully the three-tiered system of peerage that defines High Elf society. The Royal House holds absolute authority. A handful of Great Houses is deputized to govern various regions of the country. Most people belong to Retainer Houses, sworn to the service of a Great House. Each house has a Head of House, who takes vows of service to the next-higher tier.

Members of a Retainer House are addressed as "the Honorable Lord/Lady ____" in the third person and "your honor" in the second. However, the Head of House is "his/her excellency" or "your excellency." A member of a Great House is "your grace," while the Head of House is "your highness." A member of the Royal House is "your royal highness," and the king is "your majesty." Use of these honorifics is essential when making introductions so that everyone understands their rank. However, only someone who is above you in the "chain of command" would be "my lord/lady."

This estate happens to be a household of the House Goldenmist, a Great House. Renander belongs to the Great House, and the other children are offspring of his parents' sworn companions. (More on that later.) The first major plot event comes when the death of a childless uncle suddenly makes Renander's father Head of House. Renander is now heir to the throne, and he begins a years-long campaign to compel obedience from the other children. However, as he is constantly reminded, he has no authority whatsoever until he comes of age.

What happened to this uncle? I never did quite pin that down, but it was going to involve Trolls -- and a lot of clucking about how producing an heir should've been a higher priority.

As for the other children, Erinana constantly chafes under the rigid confines of defined social roles. Drendron plots to escape the estate and have adventures in the world beyond. While he occasionally collaborates with Erinana on this project, it is but a child's fantasy. Nothing ever comes of it. Fienra just tags along and naively tries to be helpful to everyone.

During this period, the estate is visited by a Direct Retainer. Direct Retainers are Retainer Houses that serve the Royal House directly. While a few perform state functions too sensitive to be entrusted to any Great House, most travel constantly among various Great House households, seeking grumbles of disloyalty or other misdeeds. Everyone exchanges pleasantries, but there is tension because of his purpose.

Creating even more tension is the fact that the visitor is accompanied by Lordaeron's ambassador to Quel'Thalas, who thought tagging along on the rounds would make a good vacation -- and a good way to show his son life outside of Silvermoon. Again, the household is unfailingly polite, but his presence is merely tolerated. They are pleased to learn the ambassador is of noble stock, and hope his son will learn the Decorum that defines their lives. (For last few centuries, the embassy has been effectively hereditary.) They see fit to put the boy in with their own children, who have much greater difficulty hiding their prejudices. Only Fienra agrees to play with him.

EDIT: Emphasize at this point that Elves bow to each other rather than shake hands. In fact, they don't really touch each other at all; and as such, any tactile contact is thought of as a violation.

Perhaps you can see why I shied away from writing this. I envisioned this as what anthropologists call a "high-context culture," i.e. one in which people prefer to say things by implication. There is also a honne vs. tatemae tension that, as an American, I can't even hope to get right.

Tomorrow: Career Paths
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Last edited by DarkAngel; 02-22-2015 at 04:24 PM.. Reason: Forgot detail
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Old 02-23-2015, 03:16 PM
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Phase Two: Adolescence to young adulthood

Objective: Nudge the protagonists onto the paths that will define their fates

The first plot event of this phase chronologically belongs in the previous one, but I place it here because of its importance to character trajectory. Newly-elected Archbishop Alonsus Faol happens to pass through the area, providing a catalyst to discuss the national religion.
  • It is traditional for a new archbishop to visit each national diocese.
  • The archbishop's itinerary is a break from the usual, however, in that he is also speaking at local parishes along the way, not just the cathedrals.
  • Lightism was established as the national religion by royal decree centuries ago.
  • Church attendance is officially not required, as that would go against the tenets of the faith.
  • However, due to the rigid social expectations of the culture, it effectively is mandatory.
  • The centerpiece of every Elven church is a stained-glass window depicting the Ecstasy of St. Ireesa, the nation's patron saint.
  • The Thalassian church has a distinct musical tradition in which choirs are used in a flowing, beautiful way; not the grandiose style seen in Human churches.
  • Also, a string ensemble is used in place of an organ.
  • Parishioners sit in box pews according to family.
  • Members of the Great House, if present, sit in the front.
  • This arrangement creates problems for visitors and non-officiating priests, so an extra bench is provided in the back.

I put a lot of thought into how much of real Christian practice could be adapted to Light theology. While a symbolic meal would perfectly express the spirit of, well, sharing the spirit, it comes with loads of Unfortunate Implications. I eventually decided to call the ceremony a 'liturgy,' not a 'Mass,' and just be really vague about what they actually did. The sermon is the important part.

Fienra notices that, unusually, the back bench is completely filled with strange Elves who are dirty and poorly dressed. Her mother explains that these are ranrim (a word I made up from Sindarin roots meaning 'lost people'), individuals "expelled from their Houses for conduct unbecoming their station." She indicates that acknowledging the existence of such people, let alone allowing them in church, is almost sacrilegious. Faol, however, explains that he invited the ranrim to church today as reminder about church teaching on outcasts.

The reaction from the congregation is both impeccably polite and violently hostile. After the service there is much grumbling about "Who does he think he is to change our traditions?" and how entering into any degree of association the the Human church was a grave mistake. There are also a lot justifications about how the system binds the nation into an ordered whole, which is the more important part of the Light. However, Fienra, ever sensitive and naive, is deeply affected. She sees the hypocrisy and begins working against it in subtle, socially acceptable ways.

Some time passes. Okay, a lot of time. Erinana begins to demonstrate magical talent head-and-shoulders above the other children, leading her to begin special tutoring. Lord Goldenmist finally gets through his denial and realizes his son has become an honorless thug. He assigns [Veteran Retainer] to look after Renander, with explicit instructions to "teach him the true meaning of honor."

As the children become adolescents, their parents begin exploring options for suitable mates. This becomes a catalyst for discussion about marriage customs in the society.
  • While final choice is left with the individual, they must choose from a carefully vetted field selected by their parents.
  • Heads of House must also sign off on the match.
  • Great Houses prefer to choose mates from their Retainer Houses whenever possible, as marriages among Great Houses come with unseemly political strings.
  • Marriage among Retainers of different Great Houses is vanishingly rare, and requires both Heads of House of the Great Houses to approve.
  • Marriage of a Great House to a Retainer of another Great House is "simply not done" -- and the subject of a good many romance novels.
  • Retainers who "marry up" are never considered members of the Great House, and their own children outrank them.

Under normal conditions, members of Retainer Houses would study a trade and marry as soon as they come of age. Alternately, they may become Sworn Companions of a same-sex member of their Great House. These individuals take a special vow to be ready to serve their lord or lady at all times. It is traditional that the spouses of the Sworn Companions will act as defacto Sworn Companions to the spouse of the Great House member. Together, they form a household of the Great House.

All four protagonists are repulsed by the idea of being forced to marry, and seek ways to delay the heir-producing requirement. The primary way to do this is by joining a Royal Charter, special services under the direct control of the king. While the king appoints the heads of the Royal Charters, longstanding tradition has put them under the effective control of the Great Houses. The Ranger-General has always been a Windrunner, for example.

Erinana throws herself into her magical studies, hoping to earn a place in the prestigious Magister's College. Drendron begins an intensive physical regimen to become a Ranger. Already having strong ties of faith, Fienra joins the priesthood.

[Veteran Retainer] takes Renander off the estate entirely and begins training him as an officer in his father's part-time army.

The other three protagonists make their goals, and all the necessary Heads of House sign off on everything. Erinana not only qualifies for entrance, but earns a personal apprenticeship to one of the top Magisters. She promptly snubs everyone by opting to study at Dalaran instead. The necessary authorities accept this, but are not at all happy with that girl...
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Old 02-24-2015, 01:04 AM
C9H20 C9H20 is offline

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I like it, needless to say I wish actual WoW lore was this attentive and immersive. However I hope you are not overextending with all these projects, going for too much at once can make every work suffer.
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Old 02-24-2015, 01:24 PM
Khyrberos Khyrberos is offline

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Old 02-24-2015, 02:20 PM
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I like it, needless to say I wish actual WoW lore was this attentive and immersive. However I hope you are not overextending with all these projects, going for too much at once can make every work suffer.
I've always been overextended, which is probably why I can never finish anything. This little write-up is actually an attempt to alleviate the problem by 'writing' a novel in a few days.

Phase Three

Theme: the protagonists adapt to their new lives

Unfortunately, because this story began as "the story of how Erinana got that scar," I will be focusing much more heavily on her than the other protagonists. Sorry about that.

Erinana finds the free-wheeling meritocracy in Dalaran to be much more to her liking. Other Elves find the culture's openness to be disorienting, but she feels she is finally free. In fact, she resolves not to return home upon graduation. She further finds that, as an Elf, she is considered highly attractive by Human standards. Her combination of looks and excellent grades leaves her swamped with suitors vying for attention. While other Elves snub these advances, Erinana makes a game of seeing how many men she can string along without committing to any of them.

Erinana is very surprised to overhear one of her suitors seeking advice from another Human about High Elf culture. She is even more surprised to learn the advice-giver is the son of the ambassador's son, whom she ostracized as a child. She inserts herself into the conversation and makes some unflattering remarks about the Decorum, much to the approval of her audience. Unfortunately, another Elf overhears her, and she soon finds herself excluded from Elven social circles. She compensates by spending more time with Humans.

Fienra takes her vows as an initiate. She quickly falls in with a group doing mission work with the ranrim. The church higher-ups consider the group undesirable -- even subversive -- but the theology of the faith forces them to tolerate it. However, they have virtually no budget. Fienra joins knowing she is forgoing all hope of career advancement.

Erinana wakes up to find herself naked in a strange room. Though highly distraught, she returns to her dormitory and tries to act as though nothing happened. The last thing she remembers is having some wine at a party...

Drendron begins to have some second thoughts about his path. All this crawling through mud and sleeping outside at night is neither comfortable nor glamorous. He concludes, however, that the loss of dignity is worth the gain of variety. An officer promises to show him some Troll ruins when his training is complete.

Erinana comes to the horrible realization that she is pregnant. She consults with the one friend she has who will understand the gravity of the situation: the ambassador's grandson. (Actually son, since there's been a succession by now) Together, they hatch a plan for her to study abroad in Stormwind. It's far enough away to avoid prying eyes, and he even has a cousin on the diplomatic staff there. She makes some public noises about wanting warmer weather and signs the necessary paperwork.

In retrospect, maybe I should've added some ideas about the Kirin Tor being organized like Cambridge or Oxford. What if there are Six colleges within the university?
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Old 02-25-2015, 12:52 PM
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Climax
(aka the reason this story exists)

Erinana travels to Stormwind under a false identity. Her contact helps to forge the necessary papers, but even she is deliberately kept ignorant of who the pregnant Elf actually is. She has the child, a boy, and deposits her shameful secret at the orphanage in the dead of night.

Since I don't really have other stories to intersperse here, I'll lay out some ideas that probably should've gone in before. Each Great House governs a region of the country, populated almost exclusively by its Retainer Houses. All citizens between certain ages serve in a part-time military under the control of the Great House. Together, all of these forces form the country's regular army, the Aegis.

The Ranger Corps is officially outside of the house structure, but has always been led by a Windrunner. In fact, the House Windrunner is second only to the House Sunstrider in the influence it wields, and counterbalancing it is a constant concern for the other Great Houses. The Rangers are charged with patrolling the borders of the realm, and they are always the first responders to any Troll incursions. The Ranger-General commands a handful of Ranger Lords, who command the Ranger Captains that lead individual units. Unlike other areas of High Elf society, promotions are based primarily on merit -- well, except for the Windrunners.

If the Ranger Corps is an elite force, then the Farstriders are the elite of the elite. These Rangers operate outside the borders of Quel'Thalas -- with or without the permission of other nations. They are generally based out of lodges concealed in remote mountains or forests. The commanding officer of such a lodge is automatically a Ranger Lord.

Erinana comes back to Dalaran to find an urgent message waiting for her. All members of the House Goldensong are to convene at the Goldenmist estate to discuss a family emergency. She knows that her grandfather has been in poor health for some time -- and that Lord Goldenmist despises the uncle who is to succeed him as Head of House. She returns home, eager to watch everyone squirm as they try to navigate the succession crisis. (Probably should've seeded this idea earlier.)

She returns to her childhood home to find her grandfather very much alive. SHE is the family emergency. Her gambit has failed, and, in her absence, proceedings have been initiated against her. All that remains is the final hearing before she is expelled from the House. Entitled clerical counsel, Erinana calls upon Fienra to aid her defense, but this only seems to make things worse.

Normally, a proceeding like this would be overseen by the Head of House, but Lord Goldenmist presides because Erinana is still considered a member of his household. He acts as both judge and prosecutor. Lord Goldensong sits beside him on a slightly lower chair. The charges are read, ringing a small bell after each one. This bell is used as a sort of gavel throughout the proceedings.

Erinana is charged with:
  • Shunning her own kind
  • Fraternization with the lesser races
  • Having a child out of wedlock
  • Duplicity to conceal her misdeeds

At Fienra's urging, Erinana makes a full confession, trying to be as contrite as possible. However, her claim to have been drugged is met with deep skepticism. The fact that she told no one is taken as proof that it is a lie. The assembled members of the House Goldensong go into another room to deliberate -- for a mere ten minutes. When they return, Lord Goldensong reads the unanimous verdict, finding her guilty on all counts and ordering her expelled from the House.

Lord Goldenmist steps forward and asks Erinana if she has anything further to say before the sentence is carried out. Pushed over the edge by the injustice of it all, Erinana begins to tell the assembled family exactly where they can stick their precious Decorum. Lord Goldenmist backhands her to the floor. As he does so, the large jewel on his ring digs deeply into her cheek. Fienra begins to heal her, but Lord Goldenmist orders her to stop, lest another hearing be convened for her.

Erinana is hauled to her feet. One by one, the assembled members of the House Goldensong file past, slapping her, spitting on her, splashing drinks in her face, and otherwise demonstrating their contempt -- including her own parents. Even Fienra is compelled to take part in the ritual shaming, for she too is part of the household. Sobbing uncontrollably, she cannot bring herself to watch what she is doing. After a moment's hesitation, she tears the neckline of Erinana's dress down to an indecent level.

When all have done their part, Erinana is carried to the edge of the estate and dumped in a pit of mud that someone conveniently made just outside the gates. The gates clang shut in dramatic fashion. She stays there for hours, endlessly crying.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:43 AM
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Phase Four: Trials

Theme: The protagonists face obstacles that prove they have the correct paths.

Erinana struggles wrap her mind around her new reality. She is a non-person. No one will allow her near them, much less buy, sell, or rent anything. The ranrim are subject to constant intimidation and harassment. In fact, anyone could kill her at any moment and face no consequences whatsoever. Handouts, whether from the church or from panhandling, are the only means she has to survive. However, most donors want to see some groveling before they will give so much as a cracker. Erinana resolves she will have get quite a bit hungrier before she does that.

Nor can she simply leave the country. As she is no longer considered a citizen, her passport has been revoked. Another ranrim tells her of what happens to those who do manage to escape the country. They are deported back to Quel'Thalas, where the border guards immediately arrest them for illegal entry. After a few days in jail, they are deported to Lordaeron. The Lordaeronian border guards are waiting for them, of course, and immediately take them into custody. After a few days in jail, they are deported back to Quel'Thalas, and the cycle repeats.

The ranrim live in shantytowns just out of sight of towns. These communities are periodically cleared and burned by police, at which point they reform somewhere else. Even among those who have nothing, there are bullies, and thugs are a constant menace. Erinana initially resists contacting the mission, blaming Fienra for her part in the ordeal. Her mind begins to change, however, as she A) grows hungrier, and B) realizes that knowing a reliable giver grants a substantial amount of social capital among the ranrim.

Fienra begins a desperate search for Erinana, asking everyone she can find. She feels horrible for participating in what she considers an atrocious act of cruelty. Eventually, they find each other, and the two make up.

Drendron's training is cut short by a major Troll incursion. The recruits are declared "graduated" in a hurried ceremony and rushed to the front lines. Okay, a guerrilla war has no front lines, but you get the idea.

[Veteran Retainer] tells Renander about the House Goldenmist's traditional rivalry with the House Goldenbough. Word comes that the king has activated the Aegis to repel the biggest Troll incursion in a century. Renander and [Veteran Retainer] begin calling out the troops.

Tomorrow: This can't get any worse, can it?
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Old 02-26-2015, 05:09 PM
Khyrberos Khyrberos is offline

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No, I'm liking it, continue.

The only thing I don't like is getting (basically) the whole story ahead of time of the actual writing. I'm big on stories, to the point that I won't really read/see/watch/play it if I already know the story.
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Old 02-27-2015, 12:40 PM
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No, I'm liking it, continue.
I had meant worse for the characters, Erinana in particular. She just can't catch a break.

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The only thing I don't like is getting (basically) the whole story ahead of time of the actual writing. I'm big on stories, to the point that I won't really read/see/watch/play it if I already know the story.
Well, that's kind of the point. I'm basically "dumping" this story. Were I truly writing this, it would take years to get where we are -- and we're only halfway through!

In retrospect, I really needed to start that Troll battle thread earlier. Renander and Drendron were sitting around with nothing to do, and now I have to get it over with before the next big event.

Phase Four, Part II

Drendron's totally green unit proves to be no match for the Trolls. In one particularly bitter skirmish, the cohort loses all of its officers and is cut off from the main body. Stranded in enemy territory, Drendron convinces his fellow novices to lie low and wait for the main army to stage a rescue.

Renander and [Veteran Retainer] arrive on the scene with the House troops. Someone has seen fit to group the House Goldenmist retainers with the House Goldenbough retainers, much to the chagrin of both commanders. [Veteran Retainer] uses this as an opportunity to teach the importance of respecting rivals. The Goldenbough retainers are closer to home, know the land better, and have been engaged in this fight longer -- but Renander is determined to find a way to show them up. Breaking orders from [Veteran Retainer], he leads a detachment in a furious push.

Drendron despairs of escaping alive. Attempts to hide are proving futile, and his unit is being steadily picked off. When he sees an Elven army making a drive in his direction, he rallies what survivors can be found and makes a break for it. The unexpected rescue is a coup for morale, but [Veteran Retainer] is furious. He suspends Renander's command. Renander simply watches the rest of the war, still convinced he was right. He resolves to punish [Veteran Retainer] someday.

Off screen, the Elves beat the Trolls back into the wilderness from whence they came.

The survivors from Drendron's unit are hailed as heroes, primarily for propaganda purposes. Once written off for dead, all of them get promotions simply for surviving. When someone comments that Drendron's particular combination of caution and daring would make him a good Farstrider, he jumps at the chance. When the war is over, he enters an even more intensive training program.

Lord Goldenmist, still afflicted with a blindspot for his son, orders Renander reinstated at the conclusion of hostilities.

Erinana's ability to conjure food and drink makes her a lot of friends among the ranrim -- even if her "food" usually consists of an edible paste. One mentions she is traveling to where, rumor has it, a business owner is hiring ranrim. (These are things you can't just let slip to anyone, as it creates a stampede of competitors.) Erinana joins her, and the two land positions as VERY scantily clad waitresses in a disreputable establishment. When it becomes clear that the proprietor intends for his staff to "service" the patrons in other ways -- and Erinana declines -- the he drags her outside to beat her into submission.

However, in his drunken state, he forgets she is a mage. When he comes at her, Erinana blasts him away. Unfortunately, in her terror and desperation, she overdoes it. When the dust settles, the proprietor is dead. Emerging from the shadows, one of the patrons makes her an offer she can't refuse: in exchange for hiding her from the lynch-mob that is sure to come after her, she will serve as his magical assistant.

Erinana spends the next several months locked in his basement, helping to perform demonic rituals. Whenever she protests the disgusting acts in which she must take part, he threatens to throw her outside. Out of fear for her life, she complies.

Tomorrow: The prince comes knocking.
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:46 PM
Khyrberos Khyrberos is offline

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Well, that's kind of the point. I'm basically "dumping" this story. Were I truly writing this, it would take years to get where we are -- and we're only halfway through!
Yeah, I guess... *sigh*. My story dumps are more on the order of a couple paragraphs or a pertinent quote. Maaaaaan.

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Phase Four, Part II

Drendron's totally green unit ...
...
Whenever she protests the disgusting acts in which she must take part, he threatens to throw her outside. Out of fear for her life, she complies.
:'(
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:25 PM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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DarkAngel—this is a very interesting story. What's so great about it is the way it explores what happens to people who slip through the cracks of society. As valuable as the social mores are, they still cause problems that, in turn, exacerbate others.

A good example is the way you tie Erinana's legal status into the practice of infernal magic. The warlocks know she has nowhere else to go, so they can reel her in.

One of the big themes of the travelogue was that every society, no matter how good it is, has people who either don't fit, drop out, or are kicked out. This is built into every system, to some degree. While in some cases the misfits deserve their position, in others it's a matter of bad luck or a few bad decisions for which the person suffers disproportionate retribution.

It's very interesting and gratifying to see your own approach to this.
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:15 PM
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One of the big themes of the travelogue was that every society, no matter how good it is, has people who either don't fit, drop out, or are kicked out. This is built into every system, to some degree. While in some cases the misfits deserve their position, in others it's a matter of bad luck or a few bad decisions for which the person suffers disproportionate retribution.

It's very interesting and gratifying to see your own approach to this.
And to think I was only going to point this out when it was done... Well, really, the core concept of the story was to explain why Erinana is such a bitch by the time she appears in my other story, ie. she's been through hell. That my fixation on girls with issues dredged up a commentary on the outcast was purely coincidental. However, I'm glad you like it.

Action Interlude: The Fall of Quel'Thalas

Upon completion of his most recent round of training, Drendron deliberately requests assignment to Quel'Danil Lodge, the most far-flung Thalassian outpost. He finds it is considerably larger and less secret than expected. In fact, it operates as a trading post of sorts. After fighting against the Trolls, he is astonished at how a "barbaric" culture like the Wildhammer Dwarves can coexist peacefully with High Elves. While Drendron savors his childhood dream of seeing distant places, word soon arrives that Quel'Thalas is under attack by a seemingly endless army of zombies. Drendron joins much of the Lodge's garrison in rushing back to defend the homeland.

Erinana is trapped in the warlock's basement, picking what she can out of the scraps he sees fit to feed her. Explosions and screams from upstairs prompt her to hide. If the police are raiding the house, her life is as forfeit as his. However, the strangers who break in are purple-robed Humans who seem intent on looting the magical artifacts kept here. With the advantage of surprise, she is able to overpower them and make a run for it. Outside, she finds only burning buildings, dead Elves, and lots and lots of Undead.

Renander and [Veteran Retainer] are engaged in the defense of their homeland. Though fighting fiercely, the Aegis is forced to give ground again and again under the unrelenting tide. [Veteran Retainer] falls in battle. Shortly thereafter, Renander is summoned to Silvermoon, where King Anasterian stages a hastily arranged ceremony to install him (and some number of others) as Heads of House. He resolves that he will honor his father and all the other dead by fanatically keeping the oaths he just took.

Fienra is holed up with other refugees in the mission. What was once a shelter for the displaced is now a prison. Everyone agrees they need to move north as soon as possible, but they no longer know which paths are safe -- or even if their position is now behind enemy lines. When an explosion tears the barricaded door wide open, the refugees think they are about to die -- until Erinana steps through. Fienra is overjoyed to find her alive after all this time. Erinana says she has come to collect Fienra only, and is more than happy to leave everyone else to die. Fienra pleads with her to help them, "if not for them, then do it for me." Erinana reluctantly agrees to help.

Renander dies a hero's death, fighting beside his king in the final stand on Quel'Danas. Symbolically, his death represents the death of the old ways. You know, in the sense of "God is dead."

End of Arc I.
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Old 03-01-2015, 03:28 PM
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Phase Five: Aftermath

Objectives:
  • Push Quel'Thalas into the WoW era.
  • Push the protagonists into their final destinations.

Though initially uncomfortable about including Erinana in their ranks, the refugees warm up to her once her knowledge of the secret paths and hiding places used by the ranrim proves invaluable for evading the Scourge. Fienra is dismayed by her cousin's newfound desire to make others beg as she was once made to do, but says nothing.

Drendron and other Farstriders return to Quel'Thalas, but they are far too late. They attempt to locate and protect as many survivors as they can. Strangely, the Scourge pushed through to the Sunwell, then immediately turned south again. Only stragglers remain, which are easily dispatched in small numbers. A strange sickness spreads through the survivors, and a priest whispers something to another about the afflicted being infused with necromantic energy.

Morale gets a boost as word spreads that Prince Kael'thas has arrived from Dalaran. The prince orders everyone who is able to assemble at the ruins of Slivermoon, which he has secured. Around this time, the death sickness suddenly stops. All three protagonists converge and meet.

Kael gives a spellbinding speech. In it, he explains the death sickness as the Sunwell being corrupted. He has ended this threat by destroying it. Instead, he says, it must be the people who are the center of society. Sin'dorei, he calls them, for it is blood that ties them all together, regardless of House rank. No longer can they afford for there to be any divisions among them. All must work with one purpose until the glory of Quel'Thalas is restored.

Furthermore, he is assembling a cadre of the Elves' strongest remaining fighters to march south and exact vengeance on the Scourge. The Sunfury he calls them, in honor of a Direct Retainer House that was once charged as the king's personal bodyguard -- and literally fought to the last.

He concludes by gallantly declining to be crowned king, saying there should be no king until their nation is rebuilt. Instead, Lor'themar Theron, once chief lieutenant of the fallen Ranger General shall rule as regent lord until his return.

Erinana laps it up. Drendron questions the wisdom of a revenge attack against a superior enemy, but keeps his reservations to himself. For the moment, the priority is on clearing the rubble and cleaning up the bodies. This makes a good excuse to discuss burial customs. In the time before, every family had a House Crypt, which was continually expanded as time went on. Now, there are so many dead that this is impossible. Crews are forced to burn the bodies, often without identifying them. There are many more missing than confirmed dead.

Anguish, sorrow, and helpless rage are the zeitgeist of the times.
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:55 AM
Khyrberos Khyrberos is offline

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You word so good, man. Keep continuing the wording.
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Old 03-02-2015, 02:13 PM
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I'm liking this quite a bit, keep it up.

Also any news on when we can expect more of Nova?
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Old 03-02-2015, 02:50 PM
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You word so good, man. Keep continuing the wording.
I had fun with Kael's talking points, there. What leader wouldn't strike a nationalist tone when trying to rally people after a disaster? Yet, even as everything he says sounds perfectly reasonable, it is layered with foreboding of what happens later.

Phase Five, Part II


Word comes that Dalaran has also fallen to the Scourge. The Sunfury march forth with great fanfare. The three protagonists do what they can to help rebuild, Erinana through her magic, Fienra through her healing, and Drendron through scouting and foraging. Reconstruction of the city has to be delayed until reliable food production can be established.

Erinana becomes an enthusiastic proponent of the new, egalitarian ethos. She pushes too far, however, when she says the Scourging was "the best thing that ever happened to Quel'Thalas," because it changed people's attitudes. This prompts a shouting match with Drendron, who eventually storms off into the wilds. Caught in the middle, Fienra tries to smooth things over.

As time passes, the reconstruction is increasingly hobbled by a strange lethargy falling over the survivors. It is accompanied by an indescribable thirst for...something. Erinana is hit hard, but discovers casting spells makes her feel better for a few hours. Drendron hardly seems to notice, and at first denies there is even a problem at all. The relationship continues to degenerate.

Word comes that the Prince has joined with Human resistance fighters in Lordaeron. He is aware of the listless apathy overtaking the Sin'dorei, and assures everyone that his best and brightest are actively searching for a cure.

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I'm liking this quite a bit, keep it up.

Also any news on when we can expect more of Nova?
Well, I've resolved my impasse on when to use my Brightwing gag. Putting up this summary is actually taking quite a bit longer than expected. Dispatches will resume when this is done, I promise that.
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:11 PM
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Phase Five, Part III

Months pass. The condition afflicting the Sin'dorei becomes steadily worse -- and more prevalent. Rumors leak out that the Sunwell's destruction has exposed some hitherto unsuspected flaw in their biology, but the authorities studiously avoid confirming or denying this. Contact with the Sunfury becomes increasingly sporadic, and finally ceases altogether. Reconstruction efforts grind to a virtual standstill because so many people can't muster the will to get up in morning -- or worse, are driven mad by a hunger they can't explain. Farstriders such as Drendron, who seem to be the least affected, become the only functional military/police force. The whole effort looks as if doomed to fail.

Until, that is, a massive portal opens in Farstrider Square. Through it steps a vanguard of the Sunfury, led by a man who keeps his face covered. They bring with them a number of strange artifacts, including an enigmatic crystal-being. The emissaries are quickly rushed off to meet the Regent Lord, and the portal collapses. Erinana remarks on the astonishing feat of opening such a large portal without help from the other side.

That evening, all the people who can be assembled gather at the square. Lord Theron introduces the arrival as Grand Magister Rommath, but lets him take things from there. It is clear from body language that Rommath considers himself superior to the existing leaders. Rommath tells everyone that he comes as an ambassador for the Sun King, for Kael'thas as built a glorious new homeland for their people. He tells them of how the Sunwell so empowered their ancestors that their very bodies adapted to it. Thus, its loss has left a hole they cannot fill. In Kael's new homeland, however, they will never again suffer from lack of magic. It is situated among the ruins if Draenor -- yes, it still exists -- a place called Outland. All Sin'dorei are invited to this promised land as soon as a means can be found to get them there.

In the meantime, however, the king bids them rebuild their powerbase in Azeroth. He expresses disappointment with the state of their progress, but tells them of how Kael's search has yielded techniques they can use to feed their hunger. A great cheer goes up among the crowd, for they feel hope for the first time in a very long while.
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:12 AM
Khyrberos Khyrberos is offline

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Interesting. You know, I never actually figured out how there were still Blood Elves on Azeroth after the whole "TFT" thing. Or how they became to be as well-built & stationed as they were.
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Old 03-04-2015, 10:47 AM
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Interesting. You know, I never actually figured out how there were still Blood Elves on Azeroth after the whole "TFT" thing. Or how they became to be as well-built & stationed as they were.
I developed a theory that many of the blood elves people see walking around might actually be illusory—put in place to create the illusion of a vibrant, thriving nation-state.
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Old 03-04-2015, 02:42 PM
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Phase Five, Part IV

The new arrivals begin distributing mana crystals to the populace. They ask for anyone with magical talent to help them so that production can be ramped up as quickly as possible. Naturally, Erinana volunteers. While watching a demonstration of the production process, she notes that the technique bears a striking resemblance to certain demonic magic -- and accidentally lets slip enough detail that it's obvious she has actual experience. During a break, she notices the teachers speaking in hushed tones and watching her. Fearing the worst, she attempts to slip out quietly, but is caught. Her attempt to fight her way out is easily overpowered by the trained magisters.

Erinana is taken to the makeshift office of [Senior Magistrix], the leader of the impromptu school. She calmly offers Erinana a drink and laughs that she has it all wrong. Rather, Grand Magister Rommath intends to rebuild the Magisters' College -- and the responsible handling of demons will form a major part of the new curriculum. [Senior Magistrix] offers free lessons if Erinana will take a student teaching position. Both stunned and elated, Erinana eagerly agrees.

A few weeks pass, and mana crystals begin rolling out by the dozen. The new Magisters don't hand them out for free, however. Instead, they are used as an incentive to work on the reconstruction. Thus motivated -- and supercharged by the excess magic -- progress proceeds at astonishing speed.

Drendron, on patrol in the Ghostlands, stumbles across a stack of crates left in the wilderness. They are filled with what appears to be perfectly usable foodstuffs. His partner remarks that someone has been leaving food in places where the Farstriders are sure to find them, but is expertly able to erase all trace of their passage. So far, the policy has been to leave it be, but that seems increasingly wasteful. While the Elves now have magic, they are still rationing limited food supplies. If only they had the numbers, they could keep watch to find out who the would-be benefactor is. They decide to start taking samples and send them to the Magisters. If it all comes back clean...
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:26 AM
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Phase Six, Chapter Three

Some people are unsettled at how Rommath and his Sunfury Magisters have glowing green eyes -- the same glow that comes from the mana crystals they distribute. However, the need for those crystals keeps the vast majority supportive. This concern hits Fienra personally when she notices Erinana is beginning to develop them too. Erinana casually brushes her off, saying "it's just a side effect of handling demonic energy." Fienra is horrified, but Erinana gives her a lecture about how demons can be handled responsibly and how the Sin'dorei must let go of any superstitious taboos that might hold them back. Having always regarded her cousin as a "big sister" figure, Fienra cautiously agrees.

At Rommath's behest (and with the blessing of Lord Theron), the Elves begin a campaign to expand their sphere of influence beyond the ruins of Silvermoon. There is a corresponding uptick in skirmishing with Scourge and Amani remnant forces. Interestingly, the next supply cache found in the Ghostlands includes not just food, but weapons. An analysis notes the weapons are made using Human forging techniques, but their design indicates whoever made them had an intimate knowledge of Elven fighting style. Still, the order from Ranger General Brightwing is to leave them.

These Parts keep getting closer and closer to chapter summaries. Maybe I need to change my heading notation.

EDIT: Since I don't want this to drag on forever, I'm putting some more up today.

Chapter Four

Through a series of brilliant Machiavellian maneuvers, Grand Magister Rommath gains effective control of nearly all organs of the state. Apparently unable to resist this coup by stealth, Regent Lord Lor'themar Theron is reduced to a figurehead role. The last holdouts are the Farstriders under Ranger-General Halduron Brightwing and the church remnants under High Priestess Aurora Skycaller. Political tension begins to mount.

More and more people are beginning to develop green eyes, yet fewer and fewer think it a problem. Once-unthinkable things like growing beards and getting tattoos start to become commonplace. High Priestess Skycaller begins to speak out against the developing culture of anything-goes hedonism, calling for a return to traditional values. Fienra is initially supportive of her boss, but Erinana is livid. She points at her scar and reminds her cousin of what the Old Ways meant. Suddenly furious with herself, Fienra apologizes profusely. Still, she can't help but be disturbed by the way rumors of drunken orgies increasingly inspire more envy than revulsion. Might there be a middle path?

The order finally comes to begin making use of the supplies being dumped in the Ghostlands -- only after being thoroughly tested, of course. Rumor has it that Brightwing and Theron are desperate to find anything they can use to counter the Magisters' crystals in winning loyalty. Reports surface of purple-clad Undead harassing the Scourge from the shadows.
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