Monday, August 3, 2009

On Death Knights and Reunions

Note: this is the final part of a series.

Credits

I don't often step out of character, but to finish off the Faiella arc, I feel I need to essplain mahself a little more. So read on if at all interested.

Afterword

Sometimes those voices in my head really get rowdy. This five-story arc was one of those times. Grimm, Flora, Jas, Fai, and Amus got all in my face on this one.

It started back when the 3.0 patch hit. I had Fai set up as my experimental Survival-spec project, knowing that in order to roll a DK I'd have to kill her off, eventually. But, as with the other characters, she came into her own and became a fixture in my WoW universe.

Let me illustrate how this can work. At one point I was thinking strongly about changing Jasra's gender and bringing "Jazreal" into the world as a male Nelf priest. Same great taste, but with more testosterone. But then I found out that I just couldn't do it. She had become, for lack of a better term, fixed in this universe. I could no more change her than kill her off and reroll her. Jas was Jas, and that was all there was to it.

So the same thing happened with Faiella. I could no more kill her and replace her than I could Grimm himself.

At some point I read a little story over at Need More Rage, in which his Death Knight Vyprania is adopted by Ratshag's family. A little light bulb popped on and I realized I had the solution!  Thus we lost Fai the Hunter, and gained Fai the Death Knight.

The original plan was that I would wait until Yarley hit 55 to roll out Fai, but as time has gone by, she's really been insistent. I started jotting down details that I'd want to bring out. What Amus would do was the first thing to pop up, thanks to Kinnavieve's reaction. Grimm dropped hints of his concerns through various posts, not directly saying he was looking, but that she was on his mind. Surreptitious trips to the North: check. But then I realized that if Fai was alive, she'd find a way to come back or tell him she was OK, unless she had reason to fear doing so; Arthas' interests in the clan: check. So that left the question of how Grimm might discover her and get her back. And thus the Flora / Jasra conspiracy was born.

I have to admit, Flora's one of my favorite characters. She's acquired much more personality than any of the other toons. But even the glimpses I've had before have been relatively superficial. For example, early Warlock quests involve a little bit of cloak-and-dagger stuff, and that made it apparent to me that she would be one of the best choices for burrowing into the underworld of Stormwind short of dragging Slithmere out into the open. Thus her involvement with "Milo" was invented. I also wanted to see if there was a ... person ... hiding under all that snark and attitude. She didn't let me down. The thing with the demons was kinda inspired by Looking For Group's "Hctib Elttil" character, which by the way is an outstanding web comic (link above).

In the end, Flora almost derailed the whole thing. Grimm, Fai, and Flora's stories flew off my fingertips, but then I found out that Jas and Amus had been drained of energy to make the small book that amounted to Flora's story.  Jas actually got delayed a while as I wrestled with my thoughts on that, on what she needed to say. On the one hand, maybe Flora said it all for both of them. On the other hand ... Jasra was the central figure of the conspiracy. I still don't know if I did her justice.

Amus almost got cut, but while I was wrestling with Jas' issues I found his voice hiding in the corner. So it turns out that Amus was the last to speak, but Jas was the last to be given voice.

I enjoyed the interaction with my toons like this. I know this might not make sense to anyone but me, but finding the voices for them is extremely satisfying to me. These are game characters, yes, and I'm not on an RP server. However, the inner voice of each toon informs how I play them. They all have their quirks and I enjoy finding them.  When I started this venture, I had no idea that, for example, Flora would be such a snarky b!tch most of the time, or that Amus would be such a hard-ass. Orly went from being some sort of oddball lark of mine to my version of the Sluggy Freelance character "Oasis".

(But without the psychosis, kthx. Well, OK, I'm open to that, I guess. Orly? You know, that's kinda interesting ...)

Finally, this finally gave me the opportunity to explore Grimm's place in the world, and how he came to be hanging out with such a diverse crowd. Casa de Grimmtooth had already made its debut; what I didn't count on was his backstory emerging as part of that, or in the way that it did. In a war-torn world such as Aziroth, though, it makes perfect sense.

This was a fun exercise. It's given me a reason to look for more stories hiding just beneath the surface.  Flora especially intrigues me with her dealings with the seamier side of the Alliance's infrastructure, but maybe one of the more quiet ones will pipe up as well.

I can only hope. Thanks for reading this far, you're a good sport. :)