Effy’s Failed FFW: Part Two

FFW2012 logo

As promised, here is the other piece I wrote.

A quick background:

When asked to write a second piece, since recipient #1 disappeared 😦 I turned to some great friends of mine – both for inspiration and to kidnap them into this piece.

For the record, I am blown away by “cross-over” story pieces, and I had a great deal of fun including some ladies I respect and value into this piece.  So despite everything, I enjoyed writing this and I am very glad to have a chance to post it!

Despite circumstances, I had a wonderful time participating in this year’s Furtive Father Winter.  And I hope everyone enjoyed the gift posts as much as I am sure we all did writing them!  🙂

~ Effy

P.S. = Just in case any of my cameos are unknown to some, I will be sure to point them out as I go!  🙂  I also apologize that I am not as well versed in WoW Model Viewer and photo editing as some, but I was quite pleased with how the pic with my lady friends turned out!  I hope they forgive me for any liberties I have taken with this piece!  ❤ you all!

A Very Death Knight Winter Veil

FFW - Shrine of Seven Stars

Between prowling through forgotten crypts with Loremaster Cho, chasing down Sha, and working her fingers to the bone to get on the good sides of all of the peoples of Pandaria, it seemed like Effraeti only returned to the Shrine of Seven Stars these days to sleep.  And when she did, she slept like the dead.

Somehow Effy had managed to chisel out a small piece of time for a girl’s get together.  She was quite excited, as she could not remember the last time she had seen any of her girlfriends, let alone all together.

She was rushing through the Shrine, attending to some last minute items before heading off to Shattrath when the small item caught her eye.

It was per happenstance that she would be in the right place at the right time to come upon the smudged, partially crumpled envelope caught between the stone claws of one of the sculpted dragons guarding the Shrine.  Probably having blown there from elsewhere, the sad looking paper seemed to have seen a rough journey between its making and now.

Effy gave in to her curiosity, picking it up.

The envelope was addressed to Greatfather Winter, in a sharp but feminine script.  The return address was an Elizabella.  Effy did not know who she might be, but she certainly did not know all of the members of the Alliance.

After looking the envelope over for several moments, Effraeti put it in her pocket.  She told herself she would drop it in a mailbox on her way to Shattrath.  With some effort, she turned her thoughts back to her business.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

FFW - World's End Tavern

“Ohh, Effy’s here!”

Effraeti recognized Navimie’s voice right away, and hurried over to where she, Catwynn, and Aesadonna were already seated and chatting over drinks.  Waving and breaking into a big smile, Effy quickly closed the distance and embraced Navi who was already standing.

Despite how tall Effy was, Navi stood another head taller.  However, despite her imposing stature, the Tauren Druid was one of the kindest, gentlest people she knew.

“Hi, Effy!” Cat added.  The Night Elf Druid was dressed in her usual comfortable and simple attire, looking happy but always seeming like she would rather be somewhere less crowded.  At that thought, Effy glanced around and had to wonder, since the World’s End Tavern was never very busy these days.

“I hope you brought your Orb of Deception and your dancing shoes, lady, because there will be much Blood Elf dancing today!” Aesa said with a wink of one of her depthless blue eyes.  She was the most atypical Death Knight Effy had ever met, seeming to retain all of the emotion and energy of her previous life – much the opposite of other Death Knights she knew.

“Aesa, Draenei don’t wear shoes,” Navi giggled.

Aesa let out a echoey laugh.  “True!  It’s just a figure of speech, though.  At for those of us who don’t have hooves.”

“Where’s Matty?” Effy asked the rest.

“Going on her own brand of time as usual, I imagine,” Cat quipped.

“I heard that!” Mataoka sang over the snickers that followed Cat’s comment.  She continued in her most sarcastic tone, “Well, the rejoicing can officially begin now, because I have made my entrance and at my own pace even.”  At that, Matty shot Cat a dirty look, a grin tugging at her lips.

Matty was also a Draenei Shaman, but of quite a different flavor than Effy.  Where Effy was introverted, Matty was outgoing.  Effy was more of one to hang back, observe, and heal, whereas Matty liked to rush in and be more hands on.

The women all sat around the worn wooden table and wasted no time catching up.  It was not until Effraeti was digging through her pack for some gold for the next round of drinks that she rediscovered the crumpled letter.

“Oh, drat!” she exhaled.

“What’s that, Effy?” Navi asked, the curiosity shining in her big brown eyes.

“It appears to be a letter that missed the mailbox.  I found it in the Shrine, and I meant to drop it off.  I will have to remember before I leave Shatt.”

“Ohh, a mysterious letter!?” Aesa cooed.  “Maybe a love letter?  Lost!  And now the person who should have received it is all broken hearted and sad?”  Her eyes crinkled and a frown tugged at her lips as her exuberance morphed immediately into empathy.  She reached for the letter and held it delicately, as if it might break.

Effraeti snickered softly.  “It is made out to Greatfather Winter.  I doubt that makes it a love letter.  Though, if it does, that would be most interesting, eh?”  She raised her eyebrows and smirked.

“Greatfather Winter’s secret admirer, hmm?” Matty purred.  Effy could tell there were all kinds of thoughts churning in her mind over that.

“Scandalous!” Cat giggled.

“Wait,” Navi broke in.  “Winter’s Veil is over.  That means that letter never made it to Greatfather Winter.”

A hush descended as the women all pondered the implications of this.

“Open it!” Cat urged Aesa.

Effy would have spoken up against the privacies they were invading, but Aesadonna did not hesitate and split the top of the envelope with her finger before anything else could be said.  Then, she slowly removed the contents and unfolded them.  The attention of the others was intense, all leaning forward with curiosity.  The group was once more quiet.

Then, in her echoey but pleasant tone, Aesa read it aloud:

“Dear Greatfather Winter,

“I find myself unsure how to start this letter, as I have not written to you since I was very young and still believed I could grow up to be anything I wanted – like a princess and other silly things little girls dream about.

“I am not even sure if you answer letters like mine, for I am not a little girl nor even one to be considered living anymore.  I am a Death Knight.  Twisted by the Lich King and the Scourge to be something less than human.  Difficult was the path to gaining my independence and my very soul and sanity, but here I am.

“I do not really know what it is that I ask for.  No one can give me my former life back, but I think what I really search for is meaning.  Defeating the Lich King was empowering, but left me empty and without direction.  Destroying Deathwing was a boon to the world, but did not fill the hole.  Even Pandaria does not seem to contain the answer yet.

“I am not sure if you answer the wishes of Death Knights, but if you do, I seek only some meaning in this life and a reason to continue on.

“~ Elizabella”

Aesa’s voice was breaking by the time she finished.  Her face was a map of lines all pinching towards the center, and Effraeti knew if she were capable, she would be crying.  Effy hugged her friend.

The others were quiet, and it was not broken until Aesa spoke up again, her voice muffled in Effy’s shoulder.  “We have to do something!  She will think Greatfather Winter forgot her!”  Aesa looked up, her whole face a massive frown, and sniffled.  It was so out of place with her menacing eyes that it was almost comical were the situation different.

“But what?” asked Navi quietly, shrugging her wide shoulders.

“Maybe she just needs a dog,” Cat blurted.  She blinked, and flushed crimson when the eyes of all the others fell on her.  She stammered to explain herself.  “What?  Dogs are great companions!  They’re loyal and friendly and they never fail to get your butt out of bed in the morning!”

“Ohhh, yes!  Something fluffy!” Aesa squealed in delight.  “That is just the thing to cheer a person up!”

Matty laughed aloud.  “I never really thought Death Knights the type for ‘fluffy’ things.  Don’t you spend most of your time with ghouls and such?”

Aesa scrunched her face up.  “Yah, but I have pets too, you know.”  She whistled.

On silent paws, an aloof looking grey and brown colored cat strolled in.

“However, I am more of a cat person, personally,” Aesa continued as the cat measured them all in its condescending way and leapt to curl up in her lap.  Instead of green or yellow eyes, though, they were of a disturbing shade similar to Aesa’s, but far less friendly looking and they never closed, just scanned the room and the women.  Even more disturbing, the cat’s whiskers seemed to glow and twinkle with some kind of magical frost.

“Aww,” Cat cooed, leaning forward and stretching out her hand.

“You might not want to pet him, though,” Aesa warned.  “Mr. Bigglesworth is not really big on strangers.”  To accent her point, the cat lifted its head and hissed.  When it did, the whole room seemed to drop in temperature by several degrees, and Effy shivered.  Aesa just smiled and petted the strange cat.

“Creepiest cat ever,” Matty said as she scooted her chair a little further away.

“I don’t know,” Effy murmured.  “I think it does give me an idea.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

FFW - Chromatic Hound Momma

Since Effy had found the letter, she felt a personal obligation to answer it.  She did not believe in coincidence, and so this letter had made it to her for a reason.  She discussed her idea with the others, and though they offered her assistance she assured them she could handle the details.

She traveled to Stormwind, and steered Xarzith toward Blackrock Mountain.

Ever since the crazed black dragon, Nefarion, had set up operations in Blackrock, he had experimented on many living creatures, but mostly other dragons.  His ultimate goal was to continue his father’s work and create the “perfect” dragon, with all of the strengths and none of the weaknesses of the other dragonflights.  Some of his twisted creations were horrid abominations, and many did not survive his tortuous testing.  But some of the poor creatures proved useful, and Nefarion had kept them around.  Since his demise – not once, but twice at the hands of heroes of Azeroth – those creations had made home in the various corners of Blackrock Mountain.

One such creature was the chromatic hounds that hunted the corridors and walkways.

Effraeti had no interest in meeting face to face with one of the beasts.  She only wished to find out if there was a possibility of younger hounds.

Her luck stayed with her; soon after beginning her search, Effy came across not pups, but eggs!  She could hardly believe it, but she was certain they belonged to one of the chromatic hounds.  The only other denizens, with the black dragons gone, were the Dark Iron Dwarves and the mostly scattered Blackrock Orcs.

Effy tucked the precious egg into her pack, making sure to protect it with the tatters of an old adventuring blanket.  As she secured her pack’s straps and went to stand back up she heard an ominous growl.

Uh oh!  Momma had not been very far away!

The chromatic hound howled and Effy ran for all she was worth until she reached an open enough area to call Xarzith back to her.  Then, they flew to Stormwind like the very wind as Effy counted her blessings for Xarzith.  She patted the drake’s neck affectionately.

Since Effy did not know how to find Elizabella personally, she let the magical mail system do it for her…

———————————————————

Dear Elizabella,

I am sorry to say that your letter to Greatfather Winter never made it to him.  I came across it purely by chance, and could not ignore it.  Through the assistance of some great friends of mine we came up with something we hope will make your (late) Winter Veil a happy one.

May he give you some form of happiness, companionship, and meaning.

~ Effraeti

———————————————————

Then, Effraeti slipped the note inside the envelope, attached it to the box she had carefully wrapped the chromatic hound egg inside of, and shipped it off to Elizabella.

Merry Winter Veil!

FFW - Chrominius

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Effy’s Failed FFW: Part One

FFW2012 logo

So, those who followed the Furtive Father Winter posts hosted by Akabeko may be thinking, “What a slacker that Effy is!  She received an great piece and even a pet from Cymre, but she never wrote a post of her own!”

Well, I am posting this to try and prove otherwise.

Through an odd twist of events, I wrote not one but TWO FFW posts, neither of which will ever see the light of day on another blog, but I was encouraged to share on my own.

Here is the first post, for my original recipient.

A quick background:

I have always found the Tauren fascinating, especially when the Sunwalkers were added to their lore.  I used a wee bit of poetic license in writing this – both in the character’s story and in the Tauren and Sunwalker lore I included.  I attempted to write this with a voice leaning towards those used in Native American oral traditions.

This was fun to write and interesting to research.

~ Effy

EDIT! OMG, I forgot the NOTE: Research was done in game (straight from the Tauren starter quests), and through various online resources: references to Tauren, Sunwalkers and A Humble Task on WoWWiki; an older Tauren culture forum; an article on Native American animal totems; and a post about Tauren funeral rites on the blog Kamalia et Alia!

The Firebird and the Sunwalker

FFW - Heraqawa 1

This is the tale of how the People learned to walk with An’she and harness his light.

Heraqawa was a young brave of the Shu’halo, we who are called Tauren by the younger races.  He was just coming of age when the Quillboar attacked Camp Narache.  Never before had he fought anyone but his brothers and sisters in the games young ones use to train for adulthood.

A large two handed hammer was given to him to fight, and it sat well in his hands.  It was passed down, but well taken care of and well crafted despite its simple construction from stone and wood.  Heraqawa swung it several times before leaving the camp, both to better acquaint himself with its balance and to warm his muscles for the coming battle.

He also prepared his mind, molding and shaping the feelings writhing inside of him over the savage butchery of some of his own people – including his village’s elder, Greatmother Hawkwind.  No longer would her lessons teach.  No longer would her wisdom strengthen.

Heraqawa was young, but already he was strong in spirit and body.  He used his anger, instead of letting it use him, and fell many foes during the battle.  There was no regret in what he did, only grim resolve.  Like many of the People, Heraqawa was slow to action but fiercely committed to following through and preserving the balance.

The battle was long, but the Quillboar were driven back by Heraqawa and the other braves.  It was not until his hammer found no more enemies that Heraqawa became aware of the weariness of his body.

But there was no rest to be had that evening.

Upon returning to Camp Narache, there was still work to be done.  The Quillboar had attacked suddenly and viciously, but the Shu’halo had proven their strength and now they demonstrated their perseverance.  All that was damaged by aggression or fire was attended to, the injured were healed, and the dead were laid out on raised biers to give back to the Earth Mother.

Heraqawa worked alongside his mother, a tribal Shaman, and assisted in the recovery of the People both physically and spiritually.

On the dawn of the next day, all of the Shu’halo of Camp Narache, along with many from the surrounding tribes and even some from Thunder Bluff, came to send off the dead.  Most prominent among those given back was Greatmother Hawkwind.

Heraqawa had little to offer, but had fetched a pitcher of water from the village well.  He set it beside the Greatmother’s bier, and it was in a moment of sorrow that he realized he would never again fetch water for her.

He remembered her words and they seemed long ago:

“Remember that even the most humble task can gain the recognition of elders.“

Once more, the young brave was humbled by her wisdom.

Chief Hawkwind spoke then, both proud and true:

“Earth Mother, into your arms we give one of our own. She is Unaya Hawkwind, my mother, and Greatmother to us all; the wisest of our tribe.

“May her spirit fly to you swiftly; may the winds carry her gently, and the grass whisper her name.

“Watch over her as she has watched over us; let her look down on us with joy, through the eternal gaze of An’she and Mu’sha, until we too join her in death.

“For we are all born of you, and shall all return to you.”

Chief Hawkwind bowed his head in silent reverence and reflection when he finished saying the words, as did those gathered around him.  A peace descended on all, and they knew the Earth Mother and their ancestors were looking down on them as they lovingly embraced the dead and guided them into the afterlife.

Now, even though Heraqawa had proven himself in battle, there was still much more for him to learn.  Long had been the training of his body.  Now his spirit needed guidance as well.

FFW - Heraqawa 2

As with all young Shu’halo, he journeyed high up onto Fargaze Mesa.  It overlooked all of the lands of Mulgore, home to the once nomadic People.

There he met with Elder Dyami Windsoar who told him:

“Drink deep of the Water of Vision and let the spirits guide you onward.”

It was time for Heraqawa to discover the animal spirit that would guide him through his life’s journey.

Heraqawa’s parents were both greatly respected in the tribe.  His mother, a Shaman, walked alongside the gentle spirit of the Deer and it guided her in healing wounds and curing ailments.  His father, a Druid, soared with the ever-mutable Raven and gave insight and counsel to the elders with the help of its wisdom.

Sitting inside the ritual circle on top of the mesa, Heraqawa drank.

With his eyes closed, Heraqawa waited quietly, he sought to temper his excitement over what the spirits might show him by focusing on his other senses.  He listened to the soaring birds as they cried while hunting and the crackling of torches.  He breathed in the smoky fragrance of burning incense.  He tasted the tangy, bitter after flavor of the Water of Vision on the back of his tongue.  He felt the solidity and coolness of the ceramic bowl in his hands.

A new noise joined the others, which were muted now.  It was a both like the fluttering of wings and like the warm crackle of a campfire.  Heraqawa opened his spirit eyes.

Before Heraqawa was the most majestic creature he had ever seen.  No woodland creature nor plains beast nor even the hunters of the sky could compare.

Heraqawa had heard of the great Thunderbird that guided some, had seen the totems carved in its honor, but even the thunder and lightning held no dominance over the creature before him.  It was a bird formed of fire, as if the sun itself had grown wings to come down and speak to Heraqawa.

FFW - Heraqawa 3

Then, the Firebird spoke:

“Heraqawa, long have the People flourished through their reverence of the Earth Mother and their balance with nature.  I come in the name of An’she, the sun and once right eye of the Earth Mother, and I come from him to foretell trouble for the People.

“The balance is shifting and the People will need to adjust with it to continue forward.  For that reason, I come to offer you and other chosen brothers and sisters guidance through the dark.

“You will learn to walk with the sun ever at your shoulder and call upon An’she’s light to assist you.”

Heraqawa was quiet as he worked to absorb the information.

“I shall be your guide in this journey,” the Firebird said, “as the Deer to your mother and the Raven to your father.  You shall walk the path of light, and you shall be among the first of the Sunwalkers.

“There is much to do and much to learn.  So now, you must awakem.”

And Heraqawa did, but he awoke changed.  He felt the warmth of the Firebird inside his breast and from there forward, even during the storm and the dead of night, Heraqawa always felt the sun upon his face.

#FFW – The Guest Post!

I was so very, very excited to see a more interesting addition to the usual updates and ads in my email this morning – I received my Furtive Father Winter guest post!  And who is my very own guest writer for this great event then Cymre, of Bubbles of Mischief!

~ Effy

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When I first learnt that Effraeti was my Furtive Father Winter recipient, I was pretty excited since I’ve gotten to know her pretty well over the past year. Her blog is filled with several things we have in common – healer, transmogger, D3 dabbler and more recently pet collecting.

Although when it came to deciding which avenue to pursue, it proved harder than I had anticipated. In the end, one stuck out as the obvious choice – Pet Battles!

I know, I know, it seems to be a pretty common theme these days but you stick with what you know, right?

Effraeti - Water bender

Effraeti – Water bender

Not only are shamans ‘masters of the elements’ but as resto, their water-based spells bring several pets to mind – including the Pandaren Water Spirit, Fishy and Pengu.

Hmm, water… dancing… legwarmers… I’m suddenly having a flashback moment to a particular incident while channelling my inner Alex.

Now you know what would have made that moment even more perfect? Riptide! …and a chair …or maybe a pole. But Alliance and Horde weren’t meant to work that way, so never mind. It still made me wonder though – are there even poles in Azeroth? Perhaps they could add one to the Goldshire Inn…

But I digress.

Nalash and Cymre

Did the water tell you of my coming?

I couldn’t help thinking that Effy needed to add some sort of aquatic pet to her collection so I went looking for a very special addition. Nalash Verdantis (one of the Champions of the Dread Wastes) can always be found in the middle of the Lake of Stars but he’s not always willing to part with his Hollow Reed (giggle). As luck would have it, I did manage to eventually persuade him which meant the Aqua Strider would soon be in Effy’s possession.

All I needed was a mailbox…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Squee!  Cym, however did you know that I spent until the wee hours last night pet battling and – ironically – lamenting over my lack of the perfect aquatic pet!

And I absolutely love the pic of Effy with all the elements!  ❤

Thank you so much!  I know what I will be doing until family time!  🙂

As soon as I opened my in-game mail, I knew I had to fins the perfect place for a screenshot!

As soon as I opened my in-game mail, I knew I had to find the perfect place for a screenshot!

The Aqua Strider is even blue! (My fave color!) And has Resto Shaman spells! She is just too cute! So I hope Cym does not mind her namesake on my team being a healy bug! <3

The Aqua Strider is even blue! (My fave color!) And has Resto Shaman spells! She is just too cute! So I hope Cym does not mind her namesake on my team being a healy bug! ❤