I was about fifty/fifty on whether or not to log into EQ1 or WoW and raid last night; the coin came down EQ1, and so I logged in and made my extremely slow way to the Demiplane of Blood. This is the most cleric-unfriendly zone in the game; to get there safely, a good invis and a nice lev is vital. Sure, I have “cleric invis” – my 18 seconds of invulnerability – and I have used that when invis wore off at a bad time.
They let clerics in the back way, though, at Dreadspire Keep, if you have a formal dinner invitation, which I do. So it’s not as bad as if I had to climb through the Hive to get there.
But it’s pretty bad.
And standing outside the portals to the Demiplane was Kraskisst, who informed me that my WoW guild, Prophetic Fate, had died. Stalled at Onyxia, a mob we killed just once (and I was there!), the leader and a score of other people fled to an unnamed Eastern bloc server, there to restart as a sort of guild-in-exile. I am sure a war crimes tribunal is calling for their extradition, and there can be no end to the civil unrest among the Horde of Kirin Tor until they are brought to justice. Kay, the leader, has almost certainly disguised himself as a warrior, and I would not hesitate to guess he has fallen into the fleshy arms of the Alliance, as well.
My son called, coughing and sick, and asked to come home. These are words I longed to hear ever since he ill-advisedly moved out. So I went and got him, and he told me of his new job. He is going to train to renovate kitchens; he has always wanted to be a carpenter, maybe this will be the entry he needs.
I’m just glad to have my son back, and miles from his thieving friends.
After supper and a little bad TV, he slept. I crept stealthily to my room, my clawed hands gently cradling the albums Amazon had sent me earlier that day; Blue Oyster Cult’s latest, “Curse of the Hidden Mirror” – good rock, but nothing as transcendent as their first three albums, or the Al Bouchard-written “Imaginos”. Dream Theater’s “Images and Words” (pretty sure Allyson has my copy; she has all my good prog-metal), and their follow-up, “Scenes from a Memory”.
Progressive metal probably isn’t the best music to play while someone is sleeping, sick, in the next room… but I kept it low… put on the headphones and descended once more into Oblivion.
I prayed there at the shrine of Sanguine, a Bacchus-like deity who thought it would be funny if I traveled to a very distant castle in a very distant land and cast Stark Reality on the hostess and her guests. Intrigued by a nearby Oblivion portal, though, I explored the alter plane some, and opened the gates to several natural disasters before escaping into the Caverns of Goblin Jim. Goblin Jim was a human, running around. I don’t know if he was benign or not; I killed him from stealth, arrows whispering death in the dark, and his corpse said nothing of his intent.
I arrived early. Residents warned me of an Orc who insisted he was a knight, and I promised to look into it. The mage guild there was in typical disarray, hive still stirred by the new Archmage’s prohibition of necromancy. The guildmistress set me a task to gain her recommendation.
It was late by then, and time for bed.
In dreams, I climbed through a tower in ruins, still stretching to the heavens. On the inside, this time, so it was progress and not death I sought. Creatures dressed in crimson red and midnight blue struggled on the tilted floors as I climbed. The bright light creeping around the edges of the shuttered windows into the unlit rooms made it hard to see any of them clearly.
I didn’t fight them. I was following someone – a man – and he was to fight me at the very top. I expected to lose.
At the top, the man I was to fight was playing cards against a stunted creature dressed in blue. I took the blue creature’s cards, but the cards were stacked against me, and I lost.
The man chased me down the tower and into a parking lot in front of some abandoned storefronts. I knew this place – this was Concord, New Hampshire, and we were in front of the old Kings department store. When I was little, this used to be a bustling place, but when Concord changed from a sleepy town to a bustling city divulging condos and traffic jams, it left this outlying shopping plaza stranded between downtown and the Heights behind.
Still being chased, I fled into the suddenly re-opened department store, and it was a department store from forty years back; full of racks of clothes in which to hide, endless aisles in which to lose myself. He found me, and in defense, I understood only German, trying to stammer out what was happening before I forgot English entirely.
And then I started to speak a language in which Kvatch is a word.