Written In Sand

Vorona Corax av Coraxal, MMORPG character circa 2003
Due to recently having necrolinked elsewhere to something I wrote while playing Shadowbane six years ago, I think I might as well admit that I'm a serial blogger when it comes to games; here's "Written In Sand":
I do not live in a City. I live in a Vir'akt. Our Vir'akt'al may have many cities, or one, or none.

My life is bound to a Tree, but it dwells & burns in my Body and in those of my Children.

I do not live in a House. I live in a Tent.

Had I a House, it might be destroyed. What I have is a Home, and it is wherever I feed my Children and sleep by my Husband's side-- thus, my Home cannot be destroyed.

I do not place my back to a Wall and fight. I place my back against the backs of those in my Family, my Tribe, and my Kin both far and near. Thus, wherever I am, a Fortress is around me.

As long as I have the Vir beneath my feet, I am where I Belong.

As long as the Krykhalin is in the sky, it is a Good Day.

The above is the one thing from that time I hope I never forget. In fact, as of yet I haven't; seeing Lawrence of Arabia the other night reminded me of it, as did the destruction of the Kingdom of Hyperion in Darkfall.

Pictured above: Vorona 1.0
Pictured below: Vorona 2.0
Vorona, the Sequel-- coming soon to a North American Darkfall Server

When Sundown Pales The Sky

A #Poem

Sitting in a quiet spot in the Keep of Long March, listening with half an ear to the others practicing outside-- waiting for the moment when the clashing of swords turns into real battle, as it very often does-- Laylah looks out the window to the west, where over the wall she can see a patch of sky. She sighs and pulls a parchment closer on the table in front of her; it is stubbornly blank though she holds a pen and tries to think of what to write to Spaw Kindred, so far, far away. "Dearest Spaw", she begins, but the news to send eludes her.

Then, her thoughts collect themselves into a poem of sorts, the kind that doesn't rhyme, and she writes them down as they come, not letting herself wonder if he will smirk at them or if he'll ever even see them.
When the winds rise and sweep the heavens
and the clouds cannot scatter the light of Auros
And His radiant splendour departs to enlighten the realms of Night
and sundown pales the sky to the color of your eyes­
I hear a whisper like a knife drawn across the flesh
Of a girl's palm, if she were to be a woman soon,
and belong to no-one else, ever, only you;
and I feel a sting that cuts across my Heart,
My Fortune, My Life and then the press of your hand;
Our blood mingling, like ink and flesh, like flesh and bone,
like two alone who find each other in the dark
Each a spark of flame fated to burn together
until the last drop is spilled and dried. I feel you
in the sun on my face, the rain on my cheeks,
the ache of the mark of your kindred upon me.
Among the glad company of my beloved brothers
it is you I miss and yearn for, you for whom
I am the best that I can be. You are the destiny
my mother saw for me among my father's people,
the man for me, the one I love; I would not move
to the highest and best place without you by my side,
nor would I face one moment longer in any world
that you departed.
Laylah looks at it only long enough to sand the ink so that it will not run, then folds and seals it using the single candle, pressing her thumb into the wax. She addresses it and adds it to the other papers that will be handed off to someone else to deliver, and then rests her head on her folded arms. "I miss you", she whispers to no-one who can hear her. Her right hand is throbbing in a line that crosses her palm; she presses it to her left forearm and thus staunches the blood that oozes from it, unseen.

Here's an bit of roleplay writing from near the end of my time in the Duchy of Wessex in Darkfall, containing a nugget of a poem I am not sorry I posted. I wrote it in-character but was inspired by how much I really miss "Spaw's player" in-game (he and his clan left the city of Long March some time before this, and then he lost the account he was playing on three days after this, and won't be back for the rest of Darkfall) and by the remarkable colour of his very own real-life eyes: a hazel consisting of very pale blue with a tinge of gold around the iris. It is truly the colour of some sunsets where there are no clouds to turn the sky bloody. Depending upon the lighting and the background, they can seem to be almost any colour at all. Come to think of it, they really quite suit his personality.


A Clockwork Orange Guildleader

Don't worry if you don't understand a word they're saying. They're British, and speaking what Anthony Burgess (who wrote the novel, A Clockwork Orange) imagined would be the language of that country's youth-of-the-dystopian-future. The book is even harder to get (and yes, I did read it).

The movie is old (almost as old as Malcolm MacDowell, who was 24 or so playing 17-- in the best movie tradition-- when this was made) but scenes like this still get it recommended. It really should be part of everyone's pop culture education, along with the books Animal Farm and 1984 (for reasons which will become apparent once you've seen the one and read the other two). But let me digress from the original film's merits (and ultimately from its plot) to apply this scene as a metaphor for a certain specialised category of human relations.

This scene reminds me of how some internal Clan discussions go in Darkfall, and the remedy applied by the clan leader for his dissatisfied comrades is what I was trying to get at in the post linked to the title, above. Violence [is] inherent in the system


Alex wants to continue the group's successful formula of random PKing and opportunism, and his droogs want to do big raids and grind for cash. He thinks about it for a minute or two, then kicks their asses (to the tune of Rossini's 'Thieving Magpie', a fun classical piece that you can whistle around the house). It could have gone either way; they could have kicked his, if they'd been more organised and taken some initiative.

I believe organisation to be a good thing, but not when it is imposed from without and replaces initiative.

I also want to note that Malcolm MacDowell had world-class blue eyes, and still does.


Darkfall:Star Wars Galaxies

OMG, Star Wars Galaxies Killed Kenny
Image by modowd via Flickr

When I think back to SWG, I recall that even with a lot of information about wonderful changes to make a game even more wicked awesome very soon, it's well to not hold your breath until they happen and aren't undone shortly thereafter.

And somehow, Darkfall always makes me think back to Star Wars Galaxies.
Ceterum autem censeo, Goons esse delendam.

Sun Tzu re Darkfall

III. 3.
  • Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy's plans;
  • the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy's forces;
  • the next in order is to attack the enemy's army in the field;
  • and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.
For the purposes of pursuing conquest in Darkfall, this translates well to
  1. Attack their people, their reputation, their forums, their bank;
  2. Accuse them of zerging to anyone who will effectively care¹;
  3. 'World' PvP, raids, harvesting the harvesters, or any other PK'ing activity;
  4. Sieges. Nasty expensive things that make you late for dinner or bed.

A screenshot of a city siege

In fact, it's really not hard to tell, by how closely some have stuck to this formula for success, which folks have been reading their Sun Tzu and which have not.

¹ Although there is no force superiour in numbers that an enemy will not characterise as a 'zerg'.
² Also, where any single player has a better prospective kill ratio than the group he is facing, there exists a Zerg of One.

Ceterum autem censeo, Goons esse delendam.