Friday, July 12, 2013

Day Five, Part 2

Something happened today which made me question... well, a lot. Why I'm here. What this world is. What it means for me. For everyone. Maybe if I explain what happened, it would make more sense.

I took the fire extinguisher across the river and began putting out fires. For the most part, I avoided engaging any orcs when I could. But perhaps I had grown overconfident with these black magic spells. I felt too powerful.

One was close to a patch of flames I had in my sights. Rather than chance his ignorance, I sprayed him with a quick shot, then followed up with the shadow word. As he reached me, I used "smite". But then another joined, coming up from behind where I didn't see him. He didn't get the drop on me, but now it was a two-on-one fight, and I knew no amount of black magic would stop against the swords going into my side. I tried to run, but they kept hacking at me. One got a lucky shot in my back, right up my armor plate, and I went down. The sooty darkness started to brighten, I can't explain what I saw. But I got the sense that I was becoming lighter, or light-headed. Everything felt peaceful.

And then I was in the graveyard. The same one adjacent to the abbey. At first I thought someone carried me there, and what an unusual place that was to administer medical treatment. But the world was different. Lighter, but darker. Washed out. Ethereal. I can't describe it, much as I try. It was like I couldn't just see things, but sense them too. Like putting a hand on a guitar string and feeling someone pluck it. The only thing I could think of was that I had become a ghost.

I became gripped with panic. When I was a child I had a fear that death was never real. That we are all souls trapped in our bodies, and when our bodies fail, we just can't respond. So when we bury the dead we spend eternity in a box, staring into darkness. With nothing but our mind and memories. Then I realized I could move.

At the entrance to the graveyard hovered a giant floating woman with feathered wings. Her complexion was washed out too, like a living statue. Not quite dead and not quite alive. Like an aged tree. Something that simply exists.

Even though I could move, I stayed riveted to my spot, too scared to leave or even attempt to do something material. The floating woman, who I come to think of as a guardian of the dead, whispered into my mind. She told me I had two options. I could be healed, or I could seek my corpse. When she said that I thought "My corpse? I have a corpse?" I supposed my curiosity got the better of me, morbid as it is for a priest/healer. I followed the same path, through the trees and wading through the river. The stream felt wet, but not in a wetting way. Again, hard to describe.

I followed the landmarks and there, before me, lay the bones of my body, crumpled up and charred. Then just I realized what I was looking at, the world faded back into color. Into the material realm. The fire extinguisher was still on my back. It was like nothing had happened. But I knew it had because the skeleton was still right in front of me.

Not knowing what else to do, I quenched the remaining fires in a daze, and returned the device to Milly. She gave me a few closing words, told me that the although the land was incinerated she still might be able to recover. "Right? How bad could it be?" I mumbled some response. Something about those words and the death/near-death I had just gone through opened my eyes quite a bit. I couldn't take any more for the day, and I wandered back to the common room, hoping to avoid the gaze of McBride lest he task me with something, and fell asleep.

--Caden Watkins

Day Five

Milly - a good sturdy girl
Just a quick note to say I talked to her this morning.  Her name's Milly Osworth, she owns the vineyard (like I thought).  They're all she has (she seemed more stalwart this morning).  She wanted my help to douse the flames and handed me a "fire extinguisher".  It's a weird device with two tanks of concentrated water that you wear like a backpack full of concentrated water.  Then you shoot the water out with a stick/wand.  Must be alchemist-made.

I have an alchemist friend that would love to get her hands on this.

The blackrock clan is still wandering around, so I'll have to be careful to avoid them, but my magic is growing stronger each day.  I tried my slashing attack (I named it "smite", seemed appropriate) on a training dummy and then a worg.  Eviscerated in one or two hits.

She said something about the "cataclysm" opening a path to the burning steppes, and that's where the orcs are entering.  I wonder if the military knows that.  Just making a note here on that to follow up later.

--Caden Watkins

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day Four

Bad night's sleep.  Feeling terrible.  I wonder how much longer I have to stay here, but I really don't know when I could leave.  I'd feel bad about leaving before the invasion is fully contained, and I don't have much money, or much knowledge about the land.  I guess I keep staying here until I feel ready to move on.

McBride told me to meet Willem behind the abbey.  He'd set up a small post with a wagon or two, and the dude had the fanciest armor I'd ever seen.  Giant gold shoulder pads with wings, like eagles perched on his shoulders.  Guy's not one for subtlety.

Willem the Fancy

He told me about some goblin assassins the orcs had hired.  And, of course, wanted me to take out as many as I could.  They were like miniature orcs.  A little more skilled, but still fodder as my skills have been growing.  After I killed eight of them, he sent me back to McBride who, with no hesitation, sent me over to the vineyard.  Finally, I thought.  The thing's only been burning for three days straight.  It's like a mini-war zone over there.

Goblin assassin

For some reason, McBride told me he wanted eight orc weapons, just to prove I had done my duty.  I have no idea where this sudden mistrust came from.  Did he think I was lying about the slaughter I was racking up?  I had plenty of witnesses.  Did he think I was ducking back behind the tree for a smoke of sicar and coming back saying "oh, yeah, got them all, no problem."  Come evening, I trudged back across the river with eight heavy swords on my back.  A volunteer's work is never done, I suppose.  I'm looking forward to the reinforcements, if they ever come.

Before I went back into my spot of the common room (giving McBride the stinkeye), I noticed a woman crying near the entrance, looking longingly across the river.  Scuttlebutt in the commons told me she was the owner of the vineyards, now up in smoke.  I felt like I should've gone out to talk to her, I felt bad that I was being ordered to quell all this mischief, I forgot real people were being affect.  But I was too exhausted to continue.

--Caden Watkins

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day Three

Finally, it looks like I might be making progress on actual magic training. McBride told me he got a letter from Priestess Anetta, who wants to see me. Finally, maybe I'll find out what I was sent here for. I'm not sure about their healing magic being tied to religious worship. That worries me. I'm not religious myself, and even though all the religious people I knew back home were nice, I'm worried about zealotry. I don't expect any "bathing in blood" rituals, but sometimes the ones bathed in holy light and goodness can be worse than those who perceive what they really are.

Priestess Anetta was on the second floor of the abbey, past all the bookshelves. (There are a ton of books in this place. If that vineyard fire spreads over here, this place is going to go up like a trash fire). She gave me a prayer book of spells, and one was already in it. It was under the heading "Shadow Words" and called "pain". I thought, another black magic spell? Another spell to harm people? Somebody was bad at naming magic here. Who does what in this world? Do the mages have healing spells? The alchemists get swords? I'm sure it works for them, it just boggles my mind.

After she gave me the spell, she told me to practice it on the straw dummies outside. I tried, but who knows if it did any good -- scarecrows don't feel pain. A woman with two daggers was practicing at the same time. I tried saying hi to her, but she brushed me off. You'd think new recruits would be looking for socialization, but I've been having the damnedest time making any new acquaintances.

After that, McBride was busy. I guess they were doing fine on containment. So I explored a little of the abbey and the surrounding area. I found out there are other trainers here as well, for other magic-users. Two of them were standing in the graveyard, and they seemed to tolerate me, but had nothing to say. Good to know some things never change.

--Caden Watkins

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day Two

In the morning, the soldiers were still fighting worgs outside. It must be taking its toll on moral, but they seem to have plenty of capable volunteers to rotate in. I rarely see the same face twice.

Breakfast was a plate of warm grits and water. I don't expect much from a makeshift outpost, but I hope the food gets better once the invasion's quelled. I'd hate to be thrown into a different dimension and this is their idea of fine dining.

Socializing hasn't been very successful. There are some recruitment soldiers at a table outside, lieutenants wandering around the grounds. They say hi and "King's Honor", but I can't get any information from them. I'd say they were too busy to talk, but they're not. The soldiers have the fight contained. Other recruits are just as taciturn. I tried striking a conversation with someone who had the same robes as me, asked if he was a hælmancer too. He said he was a mage, then just walked off.

I found McBride again. Instead of going back to killing worgs, like I thought he'd do, he told me about the spies seen wandering around the grounds. I guess they're not as incompetent as I thought they were. Well, I guess that's not fair. I don't know much about this world. Although I will say they don't have as much diversity as I'm used to. It also might explain why they're sending a healer out to perform the tasks of a warrior. They must be overstocked on people like me. If only the guys at home could see me now.

Destroying the spies wasn't too difficult. They were always focused on their targets, never on me. So I could destroy them from long range. Taking a life feels different than restoring one (obviously), but I really felt no compunctions about it. Maybe because these orcs seem more animal than man.

As a reward, McBride gave me a nifty new robe, colored in green. I was thankful for that -- I am so sick of white.

One more thing, while I was in the east on my hunt, I saw a fire across the river in a vineyard. Blackrock warriors were setting fires where others had been quenched by recruits. That made me wonder what kind of attackers we were dealing with. A vineyard's not a very strategic holding. What was these orcs' purpose here? Just marauding and trouble-making? They hide in broad daylight, they set fire to land. If this is an example of their battle prowess, I'm not sure why the Alliance is so worried about maintaining their holdings. Unless there are bigger threats I don't know about.

--Caden Watkins

Monday, July 8, 2013

Day One: Orientation

I have successfully arrived in Azeroth, having appeared at a place called the Northshire Abbey. My superiors sent me here with no promise of returning, but that didn't matter much to me.  I hardly had many friends to begin with.

I was never expressly told what my purpose here was, but they seemed interested in gathering information. On what, I don't know. They told me I would be learning a new type of magic, but I've already graduated the academy with certifications in hælmancy (old world term for healing magic). They wouldn't tell me much more than that, except a little background on the world.

A group called the "Alliance" has just overthrown a "lich king". The Alliance seems to be mostly composed of other humans and they are working on reenforcing their holdings following this war. Another group, called the "Horde", is their chief adversary now, and they are prepared for conflict.

So my primary mission is to describe everything I see and do and learn while in this world, with the hopes that it will be useful to someone. I suppose they wouldn't send me here to learn unless they intended to bring me back... right?

The first thing I noticed when I arrived was that my body didn't feel much like my own. I expected to wake up in a bedroom, or somewhere out of the way, but I was in front of a church.  No one noticed my appearance. I was wearing a different robe. Fancier than the one back home, but still primarily white, more layers, and light armor underneath. A bent stick was on my back.  I suddenly missed my old staff.  I resented it, but at least I know it was capable of magic. This one, I'm not sure.

The Northshire Abbey

I approached the entrance and met a man who introduced himself as Marshal McBride. He was nice enough for royal military (and to someone shown up from thin air).

Apparently my arrival wasn't uncommon, they were taking volunteers as recruits to beat back the forces bearing down on them. He thought I was one of them, from a place called Stormwind (wherever that is). Whether this was told to him or assumed, I don't know.

He welcomed me, told me this was Northshire Abbey, and showed me a common room within. The spot of hay I claimed was cleaner than I expected from a church-turned-refugee camp. No bugs or nits that I could see.  A few wounded men hunched around the halls, recovering.

Before I'd flattened down my patch of straw, he gave me my first assignment. Some animals called "Blackrock Worgs" (a wolf-pig animal) had flanked the building, and the soldiers needed help. I was about to protest that I was only a healer, when I felt something spring inside me. Still trying to understand this sensation, McBride led me out and shoved me in the direction of the fighting force's circle.

A worg

Armored knights held swords against these wolf-pigs, using tall oaks for cover. As I approached the fray, I realized a few things. One: this new feeling was a magic spell, one I had never felt before. Most of my magic took great practice and confidence--belief.  Two: this magic spell could harm. I'd never known any magic but restoring a broken system.  Now I could do the breaking.  That in itself was worth the trip alone

After a few fumbles, I could create a slicing blade of energy. It wasn't worth much more than a short sword, but it gave me a sense of satisfaction.

My big concern was why the worgs were attacking. I could wander through their ranks without inducing any wrath. They didn't attack me, or anyone, unless attacked first.  Were they wild? Badly trained? A trap or gambit? I don't know, and won't likely ask.

Sunset came and I was fatigued.  I was about to return and retire for the night when I saw some humanoids hidiing behind the trees. They had green skin, pointed ears, and wore roughshod armor and weapons. Some were spying through telescopes and others were sneaking from tree to tree. If they were spies, then they were the worst ever (if I could spot them). However, I think I got my first glimpse of what others referred to as an "orc". If that's what they were, then there's going to be big trouble for this little abbey.

Some kind of spy or assassin?

--Caden Watkins