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Yeah, uh. This was supposed be a 3 parter, but part two ended up getting trimmed too small to warrant an entire post. So part three and two were combined, though there is a scene change partway through this one.

————======————

Arkenheart breathed a sigh of relief. Never before in her life had she ever done something as difficult as her brief interview with that damned Knight-Lord “I’m better than you at everything waaaaah” Bloodvalor. It had taken all her willpower and all the patience her mother had instilled in her not to punch that smug bastard right in his damned face.

She quite liked the orc, though. He seemed nice. She had used up all six orcish words she knew in speaking with him, but at least the hours practicing the orcish salute had come in handy.

Poor Bloodvalor, he would never find any information about her. Mother had taught her well about the ways and wiles of politicians like Bloodvalor, and she had called in a few favors (well, all of them, technically) in order to erase any and all information, official and blackmarket, about herself. Bloodvalor would find absolutely no information about her, no matter how thoroughly or deeply he searched. Not a birth date, birth place, nothing.

Help yourself to a weapon, he had said.

This was a test, she was sure of it. Not quite what her father told her was standard procedure for Blood Knight recruitment, but then again her father had joined the order many, many years before the Scourge arrived.

She quickly glanced around, but she didn’t see any weapons. Well… the two blood knights were armed… surely he didn’t mean… meh. She saw at least one priest on the way here.

She swiftly strode up to where the zombie and two blood knights stood. One of them looked extremely familiar. She must have seen him around before. She didn’t exactly know anybody too well these days. Maybe she’d slept with him a few times? Ah well.

She stole his sword.

The knight, caught completely off-guard, stuttered out “Wh-HEY!” and tried to grab her. Her left fist met his chin less than a second after she had taken his blade, the loud crack of his jaw breaking painful to even listen to. The second blood knight had just managed to grab the hilt of his own sword when Arkenheart struck his head, hard, with the flat part of her own stolen sword. He, too, dropped like so much unconscious stone.

Leaving her alone next to the now completely free enraged ghoul.

She expertly dodged its clumsy attack, kicked its right leg, easily snapping the necrotic limb in half.

Holy energy flowed through her, and bringing the now blazing blade crashing down on the ghoul’s head, she impaled it to the floor. The body of the zombie twitched once and lay still, holy fire quietly flickering along the edges of the sword.

Not even four seconds had passed since she had disarmed the first blood knight.

She turned to his royal stupidness Bloodvalor. “Well? How was that?”

Krukk answered first, in broken Thalassian. “You am be best knight of blood ever!”

For his part, Bloodvalor seethed with rage and merely pointed to the weapon’s rack that stood a few feet away from Arkenheart’s position.

She felt blood rush to her cheeks.

“Oh.” was all she could offer in her own defense.

It was then the famed Guardians of Silvermoon finally reached her position, their arrival announced by the resounding crack of shield against skull, and Arkenheart Dawnseeker collapsed, unconscious.

Arkenheart returned to the world of the conscious in bits and pieces.

The first thing she noticed was that her head hurt. Really hurt, like every hangover of the past five years had hit her all at once.

The second thing she noticed was that it was really hard to say “Owww”. Her brain fumbled with this little piece of information before deciding that she was gagged. Which would explain the general sense that she was biting down on a horseshoe.

The third thing she noticed was that she wasn’t able to move her arms. She tried, but her efforts were met with an odd resistance and a clinking noise.

She struggled with this information for quite some time as well.

Eventually, she concluded that her head really, really hurt.

Alright Arkie, she thought, let’s make sense of this, yeah? Our head hurts, we’re gagged, and our arms are chained behind us. What happened?

The first conclusion she reached was that last night must have been an amazing party. This hangover was brutal, and being bound and gagged were classic hallmarks of an extremely good one-on-one after-party. Of course! He, a handsome elf with a penchant for tying up pretty girls, she, a pretty elf with a penchant for being tied up; one thing led to another, and here she was in the bedroom of said handsome elf. Poor guy was probably just as hung over as she was.

It wouldn’t exactly be the first time this had happened.

She risked opening her eyes.

Apparently this handsome elf kept a room that looked suspiciously like a single occupant prison cell complete with anti-magic seals.

The fourth thing she noticed was that she could remember everything.

This was no bedroom the morning after a night of glorious kink, this was a prison cell after a misguided afternoon of punching the son of Lor’Themar Theron IN THE FACE.

She had thought he had seemed familiar, but she stole his sword and broke his jaw anyway. Only now, in a prison cell, did she finally recognize him. The only son to the second in command of the entire blood elven race, and she had tried to kill him.

Again.

I mean, last time, they were just kids, and it was hardly her fault the spider was only playing dead, but still. Attempted murder usually didn’t go over well.

She would have wept in that cell if she wasn’t so mad at herself. Attacking a Blood Knight is bad enough, warranting the death penalty by itself, but attacking the son of the most powerful blood elf on Azeroth? Biting her tongue in half and choking to death on her own blood would be a merciful death compared to what was in store for her.

All that practice, all the training, the little private lessons here and there on how to not suck when swinging a sword, all that investment, gone in an instant because she couldn’t think about things before acting on them.

Panic had only just begun to set in when they came for her.

Four heavily armed and armored Spellbreakers, Knight-Lord Bloodvalor, Lord Solanar Bloodwrath, and… and Lor’themar’s son, seemingly none the worse for wear.

The Spellbreakers released her chains, forcing her to her feet and holding her there. She couldn’t have resisted if she tried, each one of them was more than a match for her.

Bloodvalor was absolutely livid, screaming and shouting and waving his arms about. She wasn’t really paying any attention to him, he was probably going to execute her any second now anyway. Bloodwrath looked mildly annoyed, and Lor’themar’s son looked… sheepish? She met his gaze, and he quickly turned away and blushed furiously. What the fel is going on here? Turning her attention to Bloodvalor, she finally bothered to listen to his ranting.

“..death! Death! Your life, forfeit immediately for such incredible insubordination! I cannot even begin to imagine the train of thought that would have led to such a rash decision! You realize the guards would have been perfectly within the law to simply kill you where you stood?! It was a mercy to arrest you to await execution!”

Bloodwrath cleared his throat, appearing for all the world as if what he was about to say was equivalent to touching rotten fruit.

“What the Knight-Lord is trying to say is, welcome to the Blood Knights, Recruit Arkenheart Dawnseeker.”

This is it, she thought, any second now they’re going to drag me off, lop my head off in frobwuuuuuuuuuuh?

Bloodwrath seemed pained. “Yes, I know, ridiculous isn’t it? Here I had gone to all the trouble of sharpening my sword so I could run you through, and now I’m going to have to dull it so I can hit you with it when you fail during basic training instead.”

She felt the gag being removed. Her tongue felt swollen, but she managed to squeeze out a faint “Buh… wha…”

Bloodvalor resumed shouting and flailing. “See?! She is an insipid, ungrateful useless waste of flesh! She is talentless, I tell you, talentless! A complete waste of time, we should simply execute her and-“

“Oh, would you please just be silent you arrogant moron!” Bloodwrath interrupted.

Bloodvalor turned to Arkenheart. “You have not heard the last of this, you frivolous apeling!” He stormed out of the room with one last “Bah!”

Bloodwrath sighed and gently rubbed his forhead. “Why oh why do I ever attempt to converse with that man? It is like trying to teach applied teleportation to a rabbit.”

He nodded to the Spellbreakers, and they immediately released her and left the room.

Turning to her once again, Bloodwrath said “Congratulations, little elf. By the authority vested in me by her holiness Lady Liadrin, I do hereby grant you the rank of Initiate in the Blood Knight Order.”

He produced a scroll, a pen, and a small dagger. “Sign here, and if you’d be so kind as to leave your blood mark here.”
Still not quite believing what was happening, Arkenheart quickly signed the scroll and piercing a fingertip with the dagger, left a single drop of blood next to her name.

“It is done, then. Let me be the first to say that this afternoon’s display of unmitigated bravado was by far the highlight of my year.” Bloodwrath smiled at her. “You show a great deal of promise, if an immense amount of ineptitude when it comes to not doing things that can get you killed. You will be sworn in tomorrow, I will inform you of the location and time. Theronidas, see her to her quarters and make sure she gets some food in her belly.”

And with that, Bloodwrath left the two of them alone.

Several seconds went by in awkward silence.

“So, uhm,” said Arkenheart, “Sorry about that whole… stealing your sword and breaking your jaw thing.”

“Yeah, yeah, don’t worry about it.” said Theronidas, “It was… nice. No! I mean not nice! It hurt a lot! But I mean… you were great, and you’re… you… well I mean you have a mean right hook… or, or left… I don’t remember which… anyway I got you this!” Squeezing his eyes shut, his face constructed entirely of blush by this point, he held out a handcrafted necklace to her.

It was a simple golden rope braid, with a tooth entwined in the center. A suspiciously elven looking tooth.

Arkenheart took the necklace, gently fingering the tooth. “Is… is this your tooth?”

He nodded.

“So… I punch you in the face, knock your tooth out, and you make it into a necklace for me?”

He nodded again.

She laughed. Oh what a strange universe this is. Not one minute ago she was preparing to be killed for assault, and now the very person she was to be executed for attacking was attempting to court her in the adorable fashion of a clueless virgin.

He was blushing so furiously. “Oh! Oh you don’t like it well that’s ok I’ll just take it back it was silly stupid idea anyway I mean who wants a tooth right it isn’t just not stupid it’s ok I’ll just go and-“

“Hey.” Arkenheart interrupted him, and gently placed her hand on his arm. “I like it. It’s pretty stupid, yeah, but it’s also very sweet. If you wanted to date or something, I’m game for that. Besides, if you don’t like me, you can always have me killed right?”

He laughed. “Hah, yeah, that’s true! I mean I could always just tell father I changed my mind, and…Oh! Oh no! No I didn’t mean- that wasn’t supposed to be- no I would never! That wasn’t meant to be a threat I just meant I mean you I could no never…” he trailed off into silence.

They stood there, possibly the most awkward situation either of them had ever been in.

Finally, Arkenheart whispered “Try plan b.”

“Right, right yes.” Theronidas cleared his throat, and extended his right arm. “Hi. I’m Theronidas. I find the way your hair cascades over your shoulders to be immensely attractive and you also have breasts which are attached to your body. I find that attractive too.” He stood there, hand extended, completely petrified, eyes squeezed shut.

Arkenheart took his hand and gently shook it. “Hello to you too, I’m Arkenheart, and the way you have arms connected to your torso is neat.”

“HAAAAAAH YES.” He responded, entirely too loud.

“You’re not very good at this, are you?”

“Is it obvious?”

“Painfully so.”

“Permission to go die in a corner somewhere?”

“Only if I can come too.”

“Nerp.”

“… You’ve never even held a girl’s hand before, have you.”

“…”

“Me and you? We have a lot of work to do.”

————======————

Ugh, combat. You know, I was always disappointed when combat made up such a small part of text growing up. All this build up, hundreds of pages spent building up to a huge battle, and then only two or three pages, maybe, would actually dwell on the battle. Then it was back to the heroic speeches.

Lord of the Rings comes to mind. Thousands of lives decided in two or three sentences. Gah, hated that.

Now, on the other end of the page, as it were, I see now why combat features so little.

Suffice to say, combat is a visual thing. Combat is extremely difficult to write, somewhat boring to write, and absolutely brain trauma inducingly dull to read.

I take back all the mean things I said as a boy, reading and writing combat is flat out pointless. Nothing wrong with some combat, but it does need to be tightly controlled. Very tightly controlled, perhaps more so than anything else.

I tried to emulate Arkenheart’s speech patterns in the writing for this section. She isn’t pompous, not even sort of, and speaks much more simplistic and uses more colloquial phrases and slang than, say, I do. For example, she would never say colloquial, she’d just say “Words are hard” and then probably punch you for using colloquial in a sentence.

This isn’t to say she’s not educated, her mother was very nearly a mage after all. Instead, she suffers from Buffy Speak, having been bored to tears by subjects such as english and history. Ask her about the merits of cobalt or saronite for purposes of explosive projectiles, however, and she could talk your ears off for hours on end.

Yes, Arkenheart is the Wrench Wench. Two links to tvtropes in as many paragraphs. Guys! Try not to get too lost in there, mk?

Speaking of things that are difficult to write, awkward romantic dialogue. That is pretty much the most difficult thing to write ever. I mean, it is awkward to write, which is the damn point, but it also needs to still be readable (and thus, entertaining), so it still needs to be clear, and and and aaaaagh.

I never thought I’d say this, but George Lucas deserves some props for writing all that terrible romantic dialogue. That stuff is hard to do!

The character of Theronidas Theron (yes, that is his name, and yes, he is the son of Lor’themar Theron) is of course totally made up. He’s normally nowhere near this assertive, but you see…

LORE

Way I see it, things that work by magic are not free of various side effects. In this case, I’m talking about healing magic. How does it work? Why does it work? What, precisely, does it do?

Obviously it is magic, but what it is doing is healing wounds that would ordinarily take days, weeks, months to even heal, and healing that near instantly. An injection of healing magic makes you high, releasing various endorphins and other feel good chemicals that would ordinarily accompany. It doesn’t do this directly, mind you, but indirectly. The injury itself fires the anti-pain drugs, and when the injury is removed, the rush of endorphins from that hits too.

So you’ve got a double dose of “feels good, man” rocking through your arteries. This effect is greatly amplified in blood elves, due to their inherent addiction and reliance on magic.

You ever see holy paladins standing around spamming heals on themselves? Those guys aren’t seeing how long their mana pool can last or doing any testing whatsoever, those guys are getting stoned out of their minds.

In this story, Theronidas is simply drugged up from being punched in the face and then having his broken jaw repaired inside of a single minute.

That, and he’s still pretty much cripplingly nervous too. Zero experience with women does not confidence make.

Arkenheart, of course, is the polar opposite. Confident, ridiculously assertive and aggressive, and well deserving of the title “town bicycle”. She’s had a lot of sex with a lot of dudes, is what I’m trying to say here. And maybe she likes to be a little… fettered when that sex is taking place.

Bondage is so common it hardly even counts as a kink anymore. Stop being so squeamish guys. And if you are into that sort of thing, then sorry for the accidental smut?

You can’t actually tell to well from here, but Bloodwrath and Bloodvalor are actually pretty good friends. They argue and fight alot, verbally sparring and all that, but really the guys are great fellows. If you want to make a buddy cop movie about these two, feel free.

One last LORE NOTE: assault against a Blood Knight is considered about as bad as killing a police officer in the real world. Except in Silvermoon, it’s generally punished by death, with few exceptions. Arkenheart’s case being one of them, but fortunately she seems to have impressed somebody with a certain level of clout with a certain extremely high ranking blood elf.

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You may remember my previously published Arkenheart story. It pains me to link to my earlier, significantly shittier work, but there it is.

Writing fiction is, itself, rather easy. The problem is, I am the writer. I created this content. It is an intrinsic part of me. It is something I love, something I care for, something I cherish in the heart of hearts. I am my biggest fan. The problem is, how the hell do I manage to transfer that slavish love to the audience? Rereading my current written works is a joy. I love myself.

Reading my old work is like meeting an old ex again (or so I’m told). It is a strange, bitter reunion.

I’ll probably rewrite Birth of a Retribution Paladin at some point. A couple retcons are necessary.

If you don’t wish to read my old story, here’s the backstory necessary to “enjoy” the following fanfic, complete with retcons:

  • Silvermoon is a lot like Sin City, in terms of rampant sex, violence and drug use. Naturally the government puts on a facade of civility. Truth is, the entire blood elf society went to hell overnight. Silvermoon took (is taking?) years to recover from that.
  • Arkenheart is my paladin, these stories are based on HER life. She had a father, who died defending Silvermoon from the Scourge. She had a sister, who disappeared one night at a party. Turns out she was drugged, kidnapped and shipped off somewhere to be a drug addled whore.
  • There was some confusion last time. Arkenheart is a girl. Though she is open to experimentation.
  • Arkenheart tracked down the guy who performed the kidnapping, and murdered him in a back alley.
  • It was then Arkenheart decided to join the Blood Knights, in an effort to be a little better at preventing such tragedies.
  • Arkenheart did not stage a rescue. First off, it was logistically impossible, and technically at this stage in her life her only combat skills come from prepubescent “training” from her father. This amounts to little more than one on one dueling and various killing blows. She isn’t Liam Neeson; trying to chase such kidnappers is pretty much impossible for her.
  • The fact that she didn’t stage a rescue despite the above does haunt her (she considers herself a failure because of it), eventually fueling a massive spree of vengeance some time down the road. Bear in mind Arkenheart, age wise, is in her twenties. How many drug and sex addicts do you know that make morally good decisions in their twenties?

On with the story then. My “writer’s commentary” follows. Leave any comments you desire. Bear in mind I am trying to get better at writing, open and biting criticism will hurt my feelings but I’ll get over it. I promise.

————======————

Knight-Lord Bloodvalor sat, a scattered array of papers and parchments gazing at him from the heavily worn desk he sat behind.

Like most recruitment days, today had been one trial of patience after another.

One would think there would be a limit to the number of insipid morons allowed in a single city, but sadly there were no laws against being an idiot. Perhaps some day, on a day much like today, Bloodvalor would get the chance to introduce such a rule. And oh how the stupid would wail as he laughed at their plight.

The massive orc Krukk stood next to him. An old, experienced warrior from the Warsong orc clan, he shifted his shoulders slightly, signaling another potential recruit approaching his desk.

Oh joy of joys.

“I’m here to join the Blood Knights.”

Hm, thought Knight-Lord Bloodvalor. He gave not even the slightest hint he had heard the speaker.

A female voice, obviously quite young, definitely under a century, probably under even fifty. More than likely an impertinent child trying to rebel against her parents.

Oh look at me father, I’m a paladin now, you can’t make me clean my room anymore.

Bloodvalor remembered a time when the elven youth attended advanced alchemy classes, discussed cutting edge mathematics or spent hours honing their respective weapon skills. Now they collected posters of Sig Nicious and held wild, drunken parties every week. No discipline whatsoever. Positively revolting.

Then again, runaways were usually meek or pretentious, sometimes a disgusting combination of the two. This voice held neither quality. There was definitely something… different. There was nervousness, yes, but he was a Knight-Lord, and a powerful one at that, in every definition of the word. The number of people who spoke to him without being nervous numbered in the dozens.

Previously numbered in the dozens, he mentally amended. Every member of the greater Horde he had met hadn’t so much as averted their gaze in his presence. Krukk, looming over him as he had been doing all day, had attempted to smell his hair when they first met.

“Real warriors don’t smell like bananas.” Krukk had sneered.

The nerve! The conditioner was far more complex and subtle than simply bananas. The intricacies of proper hair care was utterly lost on every non-elf, it seemed.

Krukk did have one use, however. He was positively excellent at spotting solid warriors. Not trained warriors, mind you, anyone can spot a trained warrior. Krukk was adept at spotting potential. The old orc warrior could take one look at a blood elf and tell immediately if the elf would whimper and cry in the face of death, or fight and laugh.

Krukk grunted. This meant an example of the latter had been found.

Bloodvalor concurred, though it pained him to agree with the orc about anything.

Most idiots who tried to join the Blood Knights stammered, hesitated, shuffled their feet. Some started with “H-hello… uhm…”, some asked meekly “Is… is this where the blood knights recruit?” No, the huge sign that said “Blood Knight Recruitment Today!” was advertising a muffin sale.

Not this girl. This elf had simply stated that she was here to join the Blood Knights. No hesitation. Not one ounce of self doubt.

It wasn’t even phrased as a question, she said it as if she was simply stating fact.

He let thirty seconds go by before he deigned to look at the scrawny elf standing before his desk. Not once did she even twitch. Most potential recruits would cough or repeat their question, as if he was somehow deaf. Yes, being in the presence of orcs did tend to damage one’s hearing, but how could they possibly possess the gall to think he had missed them standing right in front of him?

This was the first lesson of being a Blood Knight.

You are nothing.

You do not matter.

You are an insignificant speck.

You do not get to demand the attention of a Knight-Lord, you do not even deserve one second of a superior’s time.

This one seemed to have already learned this lesson.

He slowly shifted his gaze, letting his eyes slowly drift up her youthful form. Standard procedure to leer at all possible female recruits, just to see how they’d react. This one didn’t react at all. Excellent.

It would seem he was correct about her age. Extremely young, she hadn’t even filled out completely yet. Possibly not even thirty! And yet, here she stood with more discipline and self control than anyone else he had seen all day. Her eyes were even cast respectfully to his left side! Incredible!

“Look at me.” He finally spoke.

Her eyes flicked to his immediately.

“Tell me, girl. Was your father a paladin?”

“Yeah.” A hint of pride and sadness. So he’s dead then. Bloodvalor nearly winced at the use of ‘yeah’, however. What an uncouth word.

“And your mother was a priest.”

Her eyes flickered with surprise. “Yeah.” That same hint of sadness.

So she’s an orphan. That explains her motivation.

“I suppose your motivation in coming here today is one of vengeance, yes?”

“Yeah.”

Not even an attempt to lie, nor shame in admitting it either.

Outwardly he kept his expression of barely concealed derision, but inside, Bloodvalor was smiling for the first time all day.

Switching to the orcish tongue, he said “What say you Krukk? Does the whelpling have what it takes?”

Krukk grunted. “She is fearless. A predator. The rigors of war will merely hone her hunger.”

“Thank you, sir orc.” the young girl said in fluent orcish.

Krukk let out a short bark of laughter.

Bloodvalor was utterly flabbergasted. His face, of course, gave away nothing, even as his brain scrambled to find a foothold on a situation that had left his control faster than a goblin fleeing with a sack of gold.

“It seems you are full of surprises, little elf.” Krukk rumbled out. “Throm-ka! I am Krukk!”

“Throm-ka, Krukk!” said the elf, executing a perfect orcish salute.

Bloodvalor saw his chance to regain control of the situation, and he seized it with both hands.

“It would seem pertinent,” he interrupted, in Thalassian, “to know what your name is. Despite being an orphan, I assume you do have a name of some sort?”

“Yes, sir Knight-Lord, I do. Arkenheart Dawnseeker.”

Bloodvalor raised an eyebrow. Outwardly, it was an expression of incredulity, but inside, he found that he was so far out of control of this situation, he didn’t even know what the situation was anymore. She hadn’t even flinched at the accusation of being an orphan. And as if that was not bad enough…

Dawnseeker? As in, THE Dawnseeker? The last wielder of Quel’Delar?

Thalorien did have two daughters, both of which would be roughly this Arkenheart’s age.

Asking directly, of course, would be socially ruinous. He would make quiet inquiries later. If this Arkenheart (what an abhorrent name, fusing the human tongue and… was that dwarvish?) truly was the daughter of Thalorien, the possibilities were endless! Think of the status that would come from training the daughter of the last wielder of Quel’Delar!

He snapped his fingers, a quick command.

Two Blood Knights stepped forward, holding a chained scourge ghoul between them. It twitched and growled, trying to claw something despite the magical chains that rendered movement impossible.

Bloodvalor gestured at the zombie.

“Help yourself to a weapon, let’s see how you fare against the scourge.”

She was, of course unarmed. No one thought to bring a weapon to recruitment day. This was test number two. Some simply burned the zombie down with holy magics. Some helped themselves to a weapon on the conveniently located weapons rack not twenty feet away. Some simply destroyed the zombie with their bare hands. Some managed to die to the vicious thing.

In all cases, recruits took a few minutes to either succeed or fail.

Time Bloodvalor desperately needed to come up with a plan.

————======————

If you’re confused by some of Bloodvalor’s reference lines, that is ok. Silvermoon is not a nice place to be. It is a place rife with social politics, continuous posturing and the whole idea of appearance of various social norms is paramount. If you’re at all familiar with the work of Stendhal, the political and social framework of Silvermoon is supposed to be evocative of 1820s/30s france, as best portrayed in the Red and the Black, or however you wish to refer to it.

For those unfamiliar with this particular work of fiction, it’s pretty much this: everything is political, even romance, appearance is completely paramount, and there is no higher aim or goal than your own social status relative to your fellows.

Imagine a world where absolutely nothing mattered but your social status. Now imagine that social status could be irreparably ruined if you drank tea the wrong way or said “hello” wrong to your own mother. That is the social world of Silvermoon after the Scourge invasion.

I have obviously taken a fair number of artistic freedom in my portrayal of Silvermoon. Obviously little of this is canon. Bloodvalor does exist in-game, but he has not developed anything. Thus his entire character is rendered here.

The revelations that Arkenheart is possibly Thalorien’s daughter, and can speak and understand orcish, present potentially disastrous situations for Bloodvalor to handle. Handle it right, he gains much prestige and respect. Handle it wrong, he faces social ruin.

I also have no idea how the Blood Knights actually do recruit for their order, or really any details at all about how the order works, nor have I been particularly successful in finding any official information on the subject.

So most of it is completely made up.

And yes, Arkenheart is indeed the daughter of Thalorien Dawnseeker. Rabble rabble!

To me, this fits. Arkenheart currently wields Quel’Delar herself, it had already been established that her father died defending against the Scourge in her backstory… it all fell together extremely nicely.

It also neatly allows for some extremely personal and intimate moments when full-grown and experienced daughter gets a chance to speak to father one last time before he dies.

Plus there’s no official information that contradicts any of my claims. :D

More random trivia:

There are several ranks in the Blood Knight Order.

Initiate, the rank given to brand new, in training Blood Knights. (In-game, if you play a blood elf paladin, you were considered an Initiate upon achieving level 12 and completing some of those class quest thingies.)

Adept, a step up from Initiate, but still considered a knight in training. In-game this coincides with the sword quest and leaning how to summon your non-epic mount.

Knight, a full member of the Blood Knight order. Both in-game and in my fanfic lore, you become a Knight when you receive the reins to your Charger, signifying becoming an independent warrior.

Master, an honored, accomplished member of the Blood Knight Order. In-game this is the level 60 quest to gain the Charger, and is symolized by receiving the Blood Knight Tabard.

There are a few other ranks. Of course, Matriarch, The Lady, whatever, refers to lady Liadrin, the commander in chief of the entire order.

There is also Champion and Knight-Lord,  neither of which are ever adequately explained anywhere.

So my lore says this: Champion is a title awarded for heroics. Essentially an additional title awarded to a Blood Knight of any rank who displayed immense courage, bravery, whatever blah blah, usually in war time.

Knight-Lord is an advanced rank of Knight, essentially filling in the gap between Knight and Master, except partially separate. Knight-Lord is a rank that can only be held by nobles. Commoners cannot become Knight-Lords. In addition, every single noble house of Silvermoon is required to have at least one Knight-Lord, regardless of their occupation.

If a noble house is very small, with only one surviving member, and that member is a grave digger, they are given the title Knight-Lord, and have full authority over Knights, Adepts and Initiates.

Knight-Lords are, however, subservient to knights of the Master rank, though Knight-Lords can be promoted to become Master Knight-Lords, and thus become the superior to regular Masters. Champion Master Knight-Lords command even more respect than that.

New noble houses can be created, old ones can be destroyed, but that’s enough elven politics for now.

As to the fic itself.

The temptation to info dump was extremely strong. The original version actually started with a description of the weather. How horrible is that?!

I think it’s edited okay now, much faster and snappier to read overall. I hope.

Krukk, by the way, actually is an in-game NPC. He’s the battlemaster for Warsong Gulch in Silvermoon. There is absolutely no information for him, so again, character completely made up.

I wasn’t sure how much humor to put in here. I tried to put in just enough to not be boring, yet not so much that the narrative vanished in a sea of giggles. I have no idea if I succeeded. I mean, some stuff, like a highly pompous postering ass like Bloodvalor, combined with something as simple and direct as Krukk is a ripe field for comedy. If anyone wants to make a buddy cop movie of these two, go right ahead.

Obligatory goblin bashing.

Obligatory L70ETC reference. It’s interesting to me that this band is fully acknowledged in-game. It only makes sense that they’d have merchandise, and of course the handsome elf Sig Nicious would feature prominently in the bedrooms of teenage elf girls.

Part two comes tomorrow!

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Friday Fiction: A Thousand Things

This is a story. I wrote it. It is WoW fiction, read at your own risk.

I’m sure I have mentioned this before, but like many bloggers I have certain aspirations to, perhaps, write things in a more professional manner at some stage in my nebulous future. Thus I practice things, so here is some of my practice.

Any and all criticism is worthwhile. I also have a “writer’s commentary” at the end of the story, so you can hear my thoughts on my own work.

=========

Once upon a time, they had made a cute couple.

Two young things. The Man, perhaps having drank slightly too much dwarven ale, grinning like the love struck idiot He was. The Woman, Her cheeks so full of the vigor of life, coloured both by alcohol and the undeniable intoxicant of love.

He thought it was just for fun. Perhaps a little fling on the side, just a summer thing. He, a knight in the service of King Terenas on well deserved leave; She, the daughter of a baker from Stratholme. Brought together by sheer chance at the Darkmoon Faire, where Her father had hawked his “world-famous” cinnamon buns.

They were excellent cinnamon buns, that much was true. Probably the best He had ever tasted. Being a young single lad on vacation, however, He had a whole different set of buns in mind, and the baker’s daughter had enthusiastically complied.

When His leave ended, He didn’t want to leave. He tried to tell himself it was nothing, that He would get over it. The universe had other ideas in mind. He cried. She cried. But She, the baker’s daughter from Stratholme, returned home, and He, the brave knight from Lordaeron, could no more shirk His duty to the king than could a stone sprout a mouth and sing songs.

He wrote letters to Her. She wrote letters to Him. He cherished the only photo He had of Her, not once letting it leave His immediate person. He even bathed with it, pleased to discover the goblin wasn’t lying about the waterproof properties it had.

He and She would visit the other as much as possible. Every time the Darkmoon Faire was around, He made excuses, She made excuses, and then several hours later those excuses were repeated all over again, only with more rumpled clothing the second time.

And so it was that He had made numerous excuses, gracefully exited service of the king, and left for Stratholme. He wasn’t stupid, He had already purchased a nice home for Himself and His bride to be and had lined up a position as a journeyman blacksmith.

A thousand things He wanted to say. A thousand thousand days He had planned to be with Her.

The dreams of His dreams had been realized, but as with all tales that begin with once upon a time, the nightmares of His worst nightmares were soon to follow.

He later learned they were called the Scourge. Nightmarish creatures from across the sea, they swarmed across Lordaeron like… well, like a Scourge. He had died fighting on the road, alone, against an enemy He did not even begin to comprehend.

Many months later, He wandered a plagued and destroyed countryside, His right arm still holding His sword, His left arm clutching a faded photograph. A zombie with purpose, He searched with an unwavering will that only the undead can possess.

As fate would have it, He found Her.

There She stood, on a hilltop, the sickly sun silhouetting Her armor clad figure. There She stood, her red armor stained, Her white tabard spattered with blood and gore.

He tried to call to Her, but all that came out was “Aaawwwhh!”

When She sank to Her knees, wracking sobs ripping through Her body, He tried to comfort Her, but all that came out was “Hhhh”.

When She drew Her blade and attacked him, tears still flowing, He tried to stop Her, tried to tell Her it was Him, but all that came out was “Wwhrrruuu”.

When He defended himself out of instinct, when His sword ripped through Her body, when She bled to death on the road, He tried to say every one of the thousand things He wanted to say.

Will you marry me.

Stay with me forever.

I love you.

But all that came out was “Hh… hh… uuuuhhh!”

=========

The difficulty with writing short stories is that they are supposed to be short. Something light and sweet, something you can sit down and read in a couple minutes. There isn’t a lot of room for anything besides the core of the story.

Picture a scoop of ice cream. This is the story. You can add jujubes, sprinkles, chocolate sauce, change the flavour of the ice cream if you want. It’s still a scoop of ice cream, no matter how many details you add.

With a short story, you can’t add sprinkles. There just isn’t room. You need to cut out as much as possible and simply tell the tale you want to tell. Anything else is a waste of time and space. You’re trying to eat ice cream here, not a bunch of sprinkles and cookie crumbles with some ice cream buried underneath, and you are trying to eat this ice cream in one bite.

“A Thousand Things” was significantly longer in its original version. Instead of one continuous romantic tragedy, it was made up of multiple scenes and even had multiple characters. The core story you see above, for instance, was originally a flashback. The Man character had a name, was a Forsaken warrior, and was visiting a graveyard on the anniversary of the first time he met the Woman.

The story I wanted to tell had nothing to do with that graveyard or the forsaken Man. It was about the tragedy itself, and there was no point in using a flashback to tell the story when I could just tell the damn story straight up.

Eliminating names was a tough decision, but again I felt it detracted from the story, so they and all dialogue got the old backspace button. There was also originally an old forsaken man by the name of Ogie who acted as a sort of guide for the Man character when He regained consciousness. As much as I like Ogie, the story wasn’t about him, so heave ho! Ogie and his undead mule got cut.

I hope it was fairly clear that the Woman character was a member of the Scarlet Crusade. If it wasn’t, well, now it is. At least it was clear that She hadn’t been turned, had survived, at least long enough to die at the blade of Her true love. There was originally an explanation of how She survived, what She was doing when He found Her, there was a bunch of other crusaders present, etc.

Delete, delete, delete.

The dialog at the end (where He tries to talk to Her) was extremely difficult to get “right”. It needed to be sad, heartbreaking if possible. It needed to show that communication is quite literally impossible in this situation, which you’d think would be pretty easy with a starring character having no lower jaw.

The difficulty came in trying to make this dialog serious and sad rather than hilarious. I’m not writing a story about Galertruby. So, His dialog ended up matching phonetically the sounds one makes when they are about to cry. It seems to work from my perspective.

Overall I’m pretty happy with this one. Easily near 80% of what I had originally written was cut, and I think this little story is much, much better for losing the excess weight.

I’m also very proud  of “sickly sun silhouetting”.

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Hey Look! Fanfiction!

This is probably going to turn out stupid. Meh. In honour of NaNoWriMo, I’m going to try it anyway.

Boorand Plainswind was a long way from his youth. “Wrinkled”, as a troll would put it; perhaps “over the hill”, as a rather polite forsaken told him once. What was her name again? Such a nice girl. Liked flowers. Smelled nice, which is an unusual quality for a corpse. No matter.

Whatever euphemism one wished to use, the facts remained the same. His backed re-enacted the Third War every time he sat up; his left knee gave him trouble whenever it was raining, snowing, windy, sunny, or night time; his neck made an odd clicking sound whenever he looked to the left; speaking of left, he had been unable to see the colour green out of his left eye for nearly three decades now.

Oh yes, and his memory was going. It is very hard to remember all the details and… hmm… ahh yes! Facts. Difficult to remember facts. (more…)

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