Category Archives: fantasy

To Die a Slow Death; The Catastrophe of Cataclysm. Part 4

Thanks for coming back for the forth and final part of my history with World of Warcraft. Sorry it took so long.

Brilance and Brallinoth soon followed the success of my Warlock hitting level 80. My Hunter, Drushi, was still stuck in the Outlands. Except for the Death Knight, these were the characters I made in my first month.

The grind continued, when I didn’t get bored with my Hunter I worked on getting him to 80. Every once in a while I would get tired of WoW and experimented with other MMORPG’s like Eve Online, Star Trek (which I couldn’t wait to play and sadly wasn’t pleased with), Lord of the Rings (another disappointment) and Rift. None of them compared to WoW, and I always came back.

One of the greatest things about World of Warcraft was the lore. In WoTLK the questing and dungeons were immersed in it. The normal quests of gathering supplies and odds and ends with a lousy drop rate were still there, but they were always the same quests, always the same dungeons. Even with the guild I joined things were going a little slow and it was beginning to deteriorate.

With all my travels to different realms, and my habit of starting new toons when I got bored, it wasn’t hard to notice that things changed. The beginning areas, where everyone went from level 1 to level 10, were easier. Someone took a nerf stick and started tapping at the Tree of WoW. It felt like they were making the whole game simpler for people that never played MMORPG’s, like me when I first started. As bad as I was at playing this game I really didn’t think it needed “fixing.” The idea of upgrades is to make the game better not easier, in my opinion anyway.

Just as I was getting fed up with the game, they decided to announce Cataclysm. In this expansion everything changed. The story goes that a giant dragon escaped imprisonment and scorched Azeroth, changing it forever. It also introduced two races you could now play, Goblins, for decades they worked with the Horde as indentured slaves. When they get the chance to make their own name in the world they take it. The other race was the Worgen, a werewolf type race that came out from the scourge attack on Gilneas. I wasn’t as excited about this as I was WoTLK. However – when I heard they were taking applications for Beta testers I jumped at the chance.

Two months before its release I was playing it. In less than a month I got a toon Worgen from level 1 to 60. Next was moving Artlu over to the beta server and I took him from 80 to 85. I enjoyed being a beta tester – where you give your thoughts on the quests and notify Blizzard of any bugs, and there were a lot of bugs. I was beginning to think that Blizzard was getting it right this time. The greatest new thing they added was the ability to fly on your own mount in Kalamador and the Eastern Kingdoms, where you leveled from 1 to 60. It came with a hefty price. The starting out quests in Gilneas were fun, a little easy to figure out. I was surprised at all the people in chat asking where everything was. I also started out a Gnome and worked my way out of the startup area. I played the beta for about a month before it was shut down to get ready for the release. As much as I disliked the first 80 to 81 leveling area I worked through it quickly, and the next and the one after that…and so on. There are a lot more breadcrumb quests now, taking you from one place to another, along with the usual delivery ones – now to a NPC standing ten feet away.

A few things that I loved about Cataclysm: the art work and the new profession of Archeology. Here was a gathering profession that no one could swoop in and grab from

One of the best new areas of the game.

you at the last minute. Speaking of the gathering professions, now you earned experience points from the herbs and ores you gathered. These are radical changes – since those are points you use in leveling you could go all the way to 85 just gathering things, but it wouldn’t be much good at getting reputation points and take way too long. There was that nerf stick again – it seemed to be doing more harm than good.

Soon after Cataclysm came out – I moved everyone I could to a different realm to meet a more mature guild – I got tired of the idiocies of the young.

I don’t know why, but after the grinding of dungeons and everything else looking for better gear, I have finally given up on this game. I will stay away until they put down the nerf stick – it isn’t making the game better. It feels like they took a huge nerf stick and beat the tree of WoW to a bunch of splinters.

I can still play till the middle of October, I don’t think I will. I did jump on to clean up a little; I’m down to two realms and eleven toons, including my originals. If I ever decide to go back, they will be there and I shall dust them off and try to remember how to play them.

But until then, rest in peace WoW, I’ll find something else to entertain me when I need a break from the real world.


Life in the fast lane?

MOVIE: We had two movies on our list to watch this weekend, Friday was Little Fockers. To be honest, I was playing Civilization V and didn’t even watch the movie. The wife said it was cute. I always loved Robert Di Niro when he plays tough serious guys, and the humor he does in those roles makes me laugh, but I thought the first one was stupid and I knew this one would probably be worse. I find it hard to believe they made three of these movies. I never could get the humor of Ben Stiller and I simply hated Zoolander. I know sometimes a silly stupid comedy is what you need. I suppose this is something I never really got into. I have always gone by the theory that if a movie doesn’t make me laugh in the first ten minutes I won’t like it. Maybe I should change that to thirty. I bought Civilization two nights before just so I would be ready.

LIFE: Saturday morning, as I was trying to conquer the world instead of writing, my mom called and said she wasn’t feeling good so I took her to the ER, alone. To make a long story even shorter than it needs to be, she was admitted and is currently having a large amount of tests done to figure out why. The thing about Medicare is that since she doesn’t have to pay for it the hospital insists that they run every test they can, she doesn’t pay for it but they get their money either way. And they wonder why Medicare is having financial problems. She has improved since she has been in. This isn’t the first time she had heart issues that the hospitals never seem to find anything when she goes in. I was there from 10 AM until 5 PM, and I needed to be. When I got home – the wife couldn’t come because she was playing taxi service – we settled down and watched another flick:

MOVIE: Unstoppable (2010) is the tale of a runaway train speeding through Pennsylvania. (This is based on the true story of engine 8888 from the CXS stables which ran away in May of 2001. It traveled from Walbridge, Ohio to a town about 55 miles north of Columbus reaching speeds of up to 47 MPH.) This had enough nail biting suspense I had to stop playing my game and actually watch it. Chris Pine and Denzel Washington star as the two heroic engineers, actually Washington was the Engineer and Pine was the Conductor. (Is that type casting from Star Trek?) They ended up stopping the train and saving a city from almost total destruction. Type casting again? This is a great movie with enough action and suspense to keep your heart racing and your toes tingling. Writers did take advantage of a few plot twists I am sure, like making it go faster and carrying more than just two cars of dangerous chemicals, not to mention a steep curve they had to negotiate. I’ll have to dig a little deeper to find out more and wonder if my favorite line in the movie was real dialogue:

“How’s Will (Pine)?” Connie asked when he made it back into the cab.

“He’s ahh…He’s different. Over” Frank (Washington) replied perfectly straight.

Guess you will have to watch it. I did find this new clip from the real incident:

And this trailer:

TELEVISON: Sunday was a little different too. This time the wife was gone all day and I was stuck at home. You would think I would get more writing done wouldn’t you? I watched my Star Trek marathon; I’m just now finishing up the second season since the kids have an issue with Sci-fi, as I continued conquering the world on Civilization V. I think I have three more nations to kill before I manage it.

WRITING: As I might have mentioned in a previous post, I signed up for the NaNoWriMo, the grueling month of November when the only thing I will be doing is writing. I have three plot lines in mind:

1)      A sequel to Journey of Tara where Dirk and Tara search for someone behind the killing of thousands of people.

2)      A Sci-Fi story that involves time travel and dimensional shifts.

3)      A Fantasy that sends a Prince on a journey to find the murderer of a King that leads him into a land of dark black magic (maybe – I think this has been done before.)

One thing I have been trying to do is type at least 1667 words per day, that is what you need for 50,000 a month, and I got close Friday on a small piece I was working on, 1250 words. Need to do better.

As a side note, I would like to thank everyone that downloaded my books last week – it was a record breaking week for me and that always makes me feel good, as do positive reviews. (Hint) {If there are any negative reviews please send them to me so I can add comments as needed and I will return them.

Just kidding…


It was a joke. }

Answer me this;

Are you signed up for NaNoWriMo? I’m looking forward to it myself, just need to do it!

“What are you doing?”

That’s what my wife texted me with yesterday as I sat in front of my computer NOT writing.

Names and businesses have been changed on this blog to protect me from unwelcome lawsuits.

The truth of the matter is, you hear about it, but for some unknown reason you never really expect it to happen to you.

I’m talking about fraud. It’s a dirty little word, and in these times I understand why it is worse.

My first experience involved an internet application where I got a lot of my music from.  (When you’re a security guard you need your music.) A few months ago someone hacked into my account and used all of my store credit. Luckily for me I use prepaid gift cards so technically I didn’t lose anything. After a week worth of emails I was finally refunded the amount. It happened again a month later and again after a week a got a refund.

Along with a letter that stated this would be the last time I would receive compensation for any further breaches of my account. Since I change passwords so much I get confused I need to say this, “Uhh….if you had better security on your site this won’t happen again!”

The bad part, I still can’t find music I want to listen too. Not to mention the fact that my mp3 player was stolen a few weeks ago (since replaced).

My most recent experience with this was last Friday. Of course I didn’t realize it until Saturday, but the exciting part happened Friday.

For reasons that shall remain secret, we were looking for my debt card Saturday night and after about 15 minutes I hopped on line and checked my account. I knew the last time I used it was Friday. Since then, someone else had their way with my card.

After I used it for frozen pizza, Friday is always pizza night but I have to buy it Friday or it will disappear. (My wife claims there is a black hole in the freezer… I think it’s someone….er, something else.)

I was positive I put it back in my wallet, or maybe not. I might have put it in my pocket and it fell out when I pulled out my phone.

The culprit must have been following pretty close because it was grabbed and used 5 miles away within forty-five minutes.

I don’t know what they bought, and I sincerely don’t think I will ever find out, but they spent $1400.00 at a major retail store. I’m thinking a large HDTV. On the way home they stopped and got gas too.

It wasn’t the fact that I was short this money, I am sure I will get it back…eventually. What raised my blood pressure so much was that a few weeks ago my wife and I were in this same store and bought some Five Hour energy shots and the cashier asked for ID, yet a cashier forgets to ID someone for $1400.00

Of course there are a lot of variables, it was probably busy since it was the Friday before Mother’s Day and all the dads that were waiting for the last minute were out.{To the mom that got a brand new HDTV: Be sure you hook it up right.} Not to mention the fact that it was Friday, I can see how someone would forget to ask. But they shouldn’t.

I discovered Monday that they also tried to use it at yet another store, but this time the transaction was denied.

After a few calls the card was canceled, a police report was written, and I waited till Monday to call the store manager.

He wasn’t too happy about it either. I did take the opportunity to tell my unemployed step son about a job opening coming there soon.

I am surprised at how all the financial Companies I work with on a monthly basis, phone, credit card companies, are being so accommodating. It’s all turning out good at this time and I learned a lesson, Keep all plastic at home.

Update on hobbies ~ WoW is coming along good, I have moved my high level characters onto one realm (Shadowsong) so they can become better acquainted and assist each other when needed.

I did break down and make another Horde on Gilneas. I had a few there once but they all caught a bug and died.

And I discovered a new game called Portal. I know it really isn’t new, but it is new to me. If you ever need a game to stretch your brain this one is it. It’s a one person shooter, which I normally don’t play, where you wake up in the Aperture Science Labs testing facility as an android. Here, you are guided along your way by GLaDOS, a friendly computer voice that just wants to bake you into a cake.

You have over 18 levels (I know there are more but this is a far as I am.) of rooms with pits of  bubbling liquid that will kill you, energy balls that may kill you without warning and maniacal machine laser turrets that only sound friendly.

But don’t worry, along the way you find two portal guns that will help you in your journey, the difficult task is figuring out where to put them. WARNING: This game is extremely addictive and should be played with caution.

On the writing front my wife has been kind enough to proofread The Set’la, it’s amazing what you miss when you rush something, and I missed a lot.

I haven’t touched The Benock Chronicles for a while – still needs a lot of research.

Sunset is still in the process also, it is getting close. The first part is here and the second half is over here.

My main project right now is writing a short story for L. M. Stull’s latest contest. It’s a tough one, but I have the first part figured out. I wrote it at work and emailed to myself, just can’t remember which email.

I guess this is long enough. Hope I didn’t break a blog rule by making it over 1000 words.

So, how is everyone else doing on your stuff?

Oh, and if you happen to click on any of my story links up there, let me know what you think.

The Bracelets of Enaid

I don’t remember how I found this, I am sure I was surfing the net one day in a fit of uncontrollable boredom, but it caught my attention  The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam . It is basically what this person thinks should not go into a Fantasy novel. To be honest, I at first found this confusing because I thought all these or at least a few were great ideas for a novel. Then I realized the guy that wrote this just plain does not like Fantasy. (He is about like someone I know that hates Sci-fi because it is fiction, duh!)

Well I set out on a mission and created the following, a rather humorous look at what not to put in a Fantasy. I wrote this about five years ago and it isn’t my best. I was going to change a few things around and pass it off to The Splintered Lands but I didn’t think it would work – have to do something else for that one.

Onward as they say, introducing The Bracelets of Enaid (formerly known as The History of the Bracelets) Book One, Chapter One.

             The wings seemed to be getting heavier, and his shoulders have been aching for over five hours. For one day, he flew across the Dragon Drop Sea before he spied the large landmass. Three miles from the beach, he spotted an outcropping of rock rising above the waves. Here he rested until nightfall; he had no wish to become target practice for these strange Humans. As darkness fell, he could make out the lights of the tall city as they reflected off the choppy waters of the harbor. 

                He avoided the city of the Humans and flew south, over one of the man made roads. He considered himself lucky that no Human had spotted him, as far as he knew. Nevertheless, he did not really know what a Human looked like. All he knew was that they were bipedal and big, some as tall as seven feet.

                This land was much more flat than the rocky island he called home. The Humans even kept their food in little fenced in areas. Brallinoth thought that was a good idea, at least it helped save energy – but it was not fair for the animals they used as food. The animals enjoyed the hunting part as much as the Humans did; after all, it is survival of the fittest.

                As the moon rose in the west, he reached the edge of a dark forest. He got a feeling from this place, a cold – dark repressed and eerie sensation. As he decided to avoid the forest entirely, he spotted a figure he did not recognize walking through a clearing.

                ‘Could this be a one of those Human things everyone had warned me about?’ he thought. He had seen a few Orcs before when they tried to invade his home. They did not succeed and disappeared as fast as they could. A few Orcs caught on fire during the process. However, this person seemed too small to be a Human. It looked more like a child. ‘And why is a child traveling in the dark?’  It was not any of his business why this child was walking along a stone path in the middle of the night. However, Brallinoth had a curiosity for all things. He glanced ahead and saw the air current he wanted. ‘This would be perfect for observation,’ he thought. Spreading his wings, he let the current carry him off, circling this odd creature for twenty minutes. It seemed to be walking with a purpose, although he could not figure out why it would be walking without one.

                The child suddenly stopped in half step and slowly turned her head. Brallinoth quickly spotted the creature hunting her. It was ten feet from its prey and moving very quietly. He recognized the long toothed cat that was his favorite meal, and knew it was about to attack this Human, if that is what it was. He just did not think that was right. The only defense this child had was an arched piece of wood with a string attached to it. ‘Is it going to play it a song?’  He wondered.

                He could not let that happen. The song, he could handle, but to attack a defenseless child! He readied himself for a dive and headed to the ground. He could already feel the fire burning within him. By instinct alone, it erupted from his nostrils and he scorched the land.

                As the cat was screaming in pain, the child screamed and ran into the darkness of the surrounding forest. After a few minutes, the cat stopped screaming and lay still. Brallinoth made one more pass over the scorched clearing and breathed a soft cool breath on it.

                ‘Well’, he thought, ‘it has been a few days since I ate anything. No better time than now.’  The only thing he was missing, as he sat down to his midnight snack, was his special sauce.

                Just as he hunched down over his fresh cooked cat, something poked him in the tail. Turning around, he saw the little child thing that had run away into the woods.

                It was holding that arch shaped piece of wood and it had a sharp needle in it, aimed right at him.

                “If you make one move toward me I will send this into your head,” she said.

                “Ha! That little thing won’t harm me,” Brallinoth replied. “Plus I have had my fill with this cat. I am in no mood to eat a Human tonight.”

                The child looked at this twenty-foot tall bronze Dragon. She really hated it when she was mistaken for a Human. Her grip on the bow tightened as she glared at the huge thing crouched over its food.

                “Human! Who are you calling a Human you…flying lizard?” she said.

                “You’re not a Human? I…I’m sorry. I just assumed you were. I never really met one before…” Brallinoth said as he dropped the hot leg he was about to munch on.

                “What kind of excuse is that? I’ve never met a Dragon before, but I didn’t call you a Troll. For future information, I am a Wood-Elf! A female Elf! You can usually tell by the pointy ears and the smaller body.” The Elf spoke loudly, placing her hands on her hips and puffing up her chest proudly.

                “Well, in that case, I am a Dragon.” Brallinoth mimicked her stance, with his wings spread out beside him. “Not a flying lizard or a Troll. In fact, I really don’t think we Dragons are even related to Trolls, maybe not even lizards.” Brallinoth bowed his head toward the Elf and introduced himself properly, “My name is Brallinoth.”

                The Elf looked at this Dragon bowing before her, thinking, ‘He’s going to eat me before I wake up in the morning.’

                “No! I will not eat you. Dragons only eat unintelligent species.”

                “You heard that?” she stumbled backwards, almost tripping over a tangle of burnt grass. “I didn’t say that, I thought it.”

                “You thought it was what?”

                “Never mind,  my name is Lytai.” She walked closer to the enormous Dragon before her. He seemed friendly enough. ‘I wonder if he will share his dinner with me.’

                “Yes I will. Please sit, and join me. I hope you like your meat rare; it’s actually a little stringy. It’s still good.”

                “You can hear my thoughts!”

                “No. You were talking.”

                Lytai looked up to the heavens and shook her head. Careful not to think anything the Dragon would find offensive.

                “Don’t worry, I have a tough hide, it’s not easy to offend a Dragon.”

                The two sat until the sun climbed over the mountains ahead. During the early morning hours, Lytai asked her new Dragon friend a question, “Brall, why did you fly out here across the sea?”

                Brallinoth looked at the small Elf by his side, she seemed harmless enough – although a little scatter brained. He had a feeling he could even trust her a little. “I have been having strange dreams for the past fifty years. I have seen visions of castles, lakes with huge flying birds, armies of Orcs burning everything in sight. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I am on a quest to discover why these thoughts and visions come to me. Why are you away from your homeland?”

                Lytai was quiet, if only for a moment, before she answered, “Last year, while I was walking through a marsh near my home, I saw a strange old man sitting on a boulder in the middle of the swamp. He was dressed in a long white robe and carrying a tall staff, it had to be taller then he was. He didn’t see me at first; I actually scared him when I said, ‘Hi!’

                “‘Oh little girl! Don’t sneak up on your elders like that; you could cause a heart to stop beating.’ He said as he placed a hand over his chest.

                ‘“I’m sorry. I’m not a little girl. My name is Lytai. I’m an Elf. A Wood-Elf!’

                ‘“And what is the difference between a Wood-Elf and any other kind?’ the little old man said.

                “To be honest with you, Brallinoth, I wasn’t really sure. But, I told him the first thing that came to my mind, ‘We’re better looking.’

                “He really just looked at me and smiled. Then he said, ‘Do you know where I can find a Marsh-Elf? I seem to have lost my way in this bog soup. I think a Marsh-Elf would be much more handy right now than a Wood-Elf.’

                “That’s when I noticed the bottom of his robe, it was covered in mud and swamp grass. ‘I can show you the way out. Follow me.’

                “I started walking through the secret path that my Grandmother taught me long ago. He followed along pretty good. It only took an hour to get him back on solid ground. The old man didn’t say much the entire way. Actually, he was a little funny looking, the way he walked hunched over, holding his staff.

                “When we reached the hillside, leading out of the marsh, I turned around and, for a minute, I thought someone had taken his place. He was much more taller now, at least ten-feet. There was even a bright light surrounding him.

                ‘“Wow,’ I said. ‘You changed.’

                ‘“Lytai of the Wood-Elf. My name is Gadorn. Thank you for guiding me out. I sense you have a kind heart, for that I will make you a Chosen One.’

                ‘“What is that?’ I asked him. ‘Some kind of cult?’ He just laughed with a real deep loud voice.

                ‘“I have a mission for you little Wood-Elf. This world needs some leadership. There are, located on the smoke enshrouded Isle of Flame, six silver bracelets. One for each race on Enaid. I offer you this quest. Search out one person from each race who is as worthy as yourself.’ He grinned a lopsided smile as he said that, as if he was teasing me or something.

                ‘“Now how am I supposed to tell if they are worthy?’ I asked him as he stood there.

                ‘“Your heart will tell you. It is your destiny. Meet me in Kroy-Wen one year from today and I will give you the ship that will take you to the Isle of Flame. Good luck!’

                “Then he disappeared in a cloud of smoke that made me cough for about an hour. Once it cleared, he was nowhere around. The year is up next week. I’ve been walking up and down this road for the longest time; you’re the first Dragon I have ever seen. But, I can’t seem to find any Dwarfs or Orcs. There are plenty of humans around, but when they see me, all they want to do is capture me. All the Trolls I have found lack the brainpower to know the difference between a rock and a clump of dirt. And, I didn’t even know I had a destiny, this is all so confusing”

                To Brallinoth, this seemed odd. ‘Why would someone hide bracelets and then, give them away like that?’ However, he was a little curious. “Have you tried searching the mountains? I think that’s where the Dwarfs and Orcs live.” He inquired as he scratched an ear with his long toe.

                “The last time I was in the mountains, I was attacked by about five of the ugliest creatures I have ever seen. They stood about as tall as a Human stand, but had an ugly green tint to their skin. They barely wore any clothes at all and their eyes were an evil looking white.”

                “Uhm…Lytai, those were Orcs.”

                “You’re kidding! The way they were drooling all over the place I didn’t think they were intelligent.” She thought back to that day, remembering the way she had left them; all dead with an arrow through the head. A few of them needed more than one to stop them. “I know they have thick skulls.”

                “The words ‘intelligent’ and ‘Orcs’ really don’t go well together.”

                Brallinoth was in deep thought; steam seeped out of his ears making little hissing noises as he sat there on his haunches, listening to her story. He knew where the Isle of Flame was. When he was younger, he played there often. He remembered it fondly, relaxing in the pools of water scattered across the island, heated by the lava that flowed underneath.

                He also remembered other things, legends, tales told of riches, vast caverns beneath the volcano filled with silver and gold. His great great grandfather even told him of witnessing a strange parade of Dwarfs that showed up there long ago. They snuck in quietly and left one year later. No one really knew why they were there, but that was how the legends sprang up.

                However, this Elf woman would need help on this journey. He had his doubts about a wizard though. After much deliberation and the headaches that always followed, he decided to sleep on it for a few days. After all, Dragons have a lot of time on their hands and do not rush into anything without thinking it through.

                The two companions moved off into the forest, where they could sit and Brallinoth could continue his thinking without interruption.

                Two days later, they were still sitting in the forest, only a few hundred feet from the road when Brallinoth’s head went up and he sniffed the air.

                “Something is coming. And they need a bath,” he said as he rose on all fours and looked to the road. Lytai stood right below his mouth, wishing for a large leaf she could put over her head as she tried to dodge the drops of saliva.

                Now, she heard them, there seemed to be a lot of them. After a few minutes, the noisemakers came into view. Twenty-one men, marching in tows, side by side, except for one. If they were trying to surprise anyone, they were doing a bad job of it. They sang aloud, none in the correct tempo or key. Lytai shook her head in disbelief. ‘How could anyone sing that badly?’ All wore dirty blood stained cheap armor, hanging from each belt was a long broad sword, and a few of them had bows strapped to their backs.

                Only one was not wearing any armor. He was bringing up the rear, dressed in simple leather skin pants and a dirty stained white linen shirt. Chains shackled his ankles together that wrapped around one of the forelegs of a black stallion, which pulled a wagon loaded covered with a canvas tarp.

                They watched from the cover of the forest as the group walked along the road.

                ‘Those are men.’ Lytai thought, since she knew her Dragon friend could read her mind, it was the best way to communicate. However, they still had a small problem. She could not hear Brallinoth’s thoughts, unless he let her.

                In addition, Dragons were never very good whisperers. “Oh! Those are Humans!” His voice carried all the way to the road and the soldiers froze in their tracks.

                Yeah, chapter one, there is more coming if you feel like being tortured anymore, let me know. (Don’t worry, it is only 27,532 words)

The first

Years ago, I started two different stories. I didn’t know where I was going with either of them until I put them together.

This may become an ongoing series, thoughts are beginning to form.
In the mean time, I’ll be working on a detective series that has been crawling through my head trying to get out.