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No Grimtotem
07 December 2012 @ 05:08 pm
I am going stir-crazy in this place.  The second time is no easier.  I'm surrounded by reminders of what came before and I have practically no distractions to keep from dwelling on the mountain of what is and what might be.

It doesn't help that we've been placed in the same quiet cabin Pook and I found ourselves in.  Thankfully I'm able to use the bed this time, at least.  Every line of the place holds memories that are difficult to shake.  There was where Pook slept.  There I sat and brooded while she slowly lost herself.  We're forging new memories here, aye, but the similarities are strong enough that they bleed together.  Here I am, watching over my hugely pregnant mate while she wrestles with instinctive responses she can't quite control.

Seb's done well in managing her reactions.  She dislikes having people close, but hasn't truly lashed out at anyone.  Her condition worsens by the day, however.  She's started drinking a tea for the pain on top of all the other potions they're giving her.  She's constantly sore and can barely move, which is driving her to the ends of her patience.  She's always been an active person, and with the wolf, it's only grown stronger.  No matter how stir-crazy I may get here, I'm certain she has it worse.  Every twitch, every tiny groan, every hitch of her breath has me on edge as I wait for something terrible to happen.  My nerves are frayed.  Still, I put forth the best face I can for her; she doesn't need to fret about me.  She has a great deal more to worry about.

The mage we visited in Dalaran when seeking aid for Seb's magic addiction has been skulking around, as it turns out.  He told Kylevar, the young druid aiding the healers, that he was her brother, come to surprise her.  Ghost tracked him down and I gave him a little surprise in turn.  I distrust magic users and can't truly counter them, so I did the only thing I could think of in the moment -- I kicked him in the groin to be certain that concentration would be difficult.  He tried to put on a brave show of it while I pinned him to a tree, but for all his supposed intelligence, the idiot had brought with him the seeming only copy of his life's work contained in his notes.  He panicked when Ghost started to shred them, and it didn't seem faked.  I traded our privacy for the slow doling out of his notes, one page at a time.  He won't be getting back anything related to us, and I plan to read what I can of the rest of it.

I would have killed him, but he knows who Sebrawyn is -- and her situation with Silvermoon.  He had a plan in place should he die, sending her current whereabouts to those who would hunt her down.  Just another concern on top of the rest of them.  Netah's foolishness will have to be dealt with as well -- I find my thoughts drifting now and again to what I plan to do with her.

Mostly, however, in the quiet moments when I'm not worrying over Seb or thinking about Kele, I dwell on Daltrien and Isha.  We'd just found them when I left, and guilt has taken root in me that I haven't been back.  Isha was so withdrawn, and Daltrien and I... we were just finding our feet with each other again.  I've missed so much of their lives, and now that I know where they are, there's a part of me aching to be with them.  Once Seb is well and Kele is settled I plan to travel there again, speak with Pook and Ming Wa, and see what we can do moving forward.  There needs to be a plan... some form of resolution.  And I need to know that Pook can handle herself with the children.

It won't be long now.  Just a few days.
No Grimtotem
12 November 2012 @ 01:15 pm
Daltrien and Isha are alive, safe, and whole.

To say that a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders would be an understatement.  I've been searching for some sign of them for years, and had given up before Pook turned up out of nowhere.  Even with the new hope, the probability of two children surviving the ordeal was so low.  To survive a shipwreck and ending up in a land with many strange and hostile factions... I was preparing myself for the worst.  They could have been sacrificed in a troll ritual, or experimented upon by the Mogu.  They could have been killed in a raid.  Any one of a number of environmental issues could have claimed them -- Isha is so fragile, after all.  But despite all the dangers, despite all the dark possibilities, both children are well.

What do you MEAN 'another castle'?!Collapse )
No Grimtotem
02 November 2012 @ 11:50 am
That went about as well as I expected it to.

A professional critique.Collapse )
No Grimtotem
01 November 2012 @ 01:23 pm
I am about to face one of the greatest trials before me in this strange land.  It isn't the spirit-binder holding my children, or the mantid, or any one of a number of new and unknown threats looming in the shadows.

No, I need to share the same space as someone I absolutely loathe while not falling prey to the spirits that feed on such feelings.

The plan is the latest in the long line of gambits to get information that might help us get the children back.  I previously sought out the aid of a spirit walker, who told us the children were not in the spirit world.  (Pook was thankfully there with us, but stomped off after an emotional episode I couldn't even begin to quell.  She didn't give me the chance.)  With the knowledge that they're most likely alive, I started seeking out former pandaren slaves, on the thought that they were likely to have noticed children of Daltrien and Isha's description if they'd seen them at all.  I've heard bits about their capture, but little I didn't already know; I've yet to find anything more recent.  Pook, in the meantime, has apparently been working with the Zephyr Crew to find clues of their own, and they've found some trolls that might have information.  Since I said I wasn't eager to torture another troll, they've apparently come up with another method.

Strike that.  Bloodaxe has come up with another method.  I have been told that while I can be present, I am there as an observer only.  I am going purely to hear whatever information they get, and if it's solid, perhaps be able to give my input on that.  Considering the participants, however, I doubt very much this is going to be productive past the information gathering.  I've already promised Seb I'll leave the instant I feel like the Sha might be taking me... not that I know what that feels like.

Of course, Pook being there just complicates matters further.  When did I lose the ability to speak with her at all?  Have I just forgotten the arguments we used to have like this?  Surely it wasn't this bad.  Emotions are running high right now but, gods, I don't know what I'm doing wrong.  Every time I do anything it's the wrong response for her.  The slightest turn of phrase tips her off, and so I try to be careful around her, but gods, maybe that's tipping her too, I don't know.  At some point I truly need to sit her down and speak with her, try to get an even keel for us both.  We can't do anything together if this continues.

Gods, and I'll be leaving Seb behind again.  She's worrying me more and more.  She's had to call for the village healer to tend to her... our son, Kele, has grown too large for her and it's starting to affect her lungs if he's in the wrong place.  I had to carry her up the stairs last night.  She's putting on a brave face, but I know she's afraid she might not live through this, and I'd be lying if I said I don't carry the same fear.  So much could come tumbling down.  If she dies when I'm not there, I'll never forgive myself, but she's right when she says I'd feel the same if something happened to the children while I was at her side.  It's a fight I cannot win, either way.  All I can do is hope I'm doing the right thing.

Still, I hope this interrogation business isn't tonight.  Seb celebrates the Day of the Dead as a very solemn occasion, and she has a great deal of departed loved ones to honor.  I assured her that the spirits of the spirit world can find her no matter where she is, but that's small comfort if I cannot be there for her as well.  Even if, by some misfortune, I'm told tonight's the night, I hope I can get back in time to help her.

I haven't forgotten that it was a year ago tonight we shared our first kiss in that room in Dalaran.  I should do something for her tonight, no matter what comes.

An'she, may your golden light keep the black hatred at bay long enough.
No Grimtotem
15 October 2012 @ 11:10 am
Have I truly not picked this up and written things down?

Information dump.Collapse )
No Grimtotem
10 October 2012 @ 10:28 am
I'm not certain what I was expecting when I came to Pandaria, but it wasn't this.

I wish this was an exploratory mission or a vacation.  I'd like nothing more than to walk the forests I've seen, hunt in the wilds, and take in all the new experiences.  I'd like to take my time savoring this land.  In different times, I could be very happy here.

Intro to Pandaland.Collapse )
No Grimtotem
06 October 2012 @ 10:39 am
I've been presented with a path forward, and soon I'll have to take it.

Pandaren aren't real, man.Collapse )
No Grimtotem
24 September 2012 @ 03:32 pm
Gods, I feel wrung out.  Drained.  These last couple days have been a trial, and it isn't over yet.

Goddamn wolves.Collapse )
No Grimtotem
21 September 2012 @ 08:03 pm
I just had to grab her with my writing hand.  My wrist is still sore.  I'd best keep this brief.

Erenar materialized at the Kodo yesterday.  Seb thought him dead, but I was never so convinced.  Death knights have difficulty staying down, but more than that, this tends to be my luck.  This is perhaps the worst time for a former love of Seb's to turn up -- she's pregnant and hormonal, and now her head is muddled with the instincts of a wolf.  I let her go to him and watched tensely, waiting for a sign that she might slip, but she managed herself very well.  I had no real fear she'd go back to him.  In the back of my mind, perhaps, but realistically there's no chance.  He reeks of undeath, something she wouldn't be able to tolerate now, and the way she feels about me has deepened considerably of late.  And of course, I remember how she spoke about him.  I know how fulfilled she is with me.  I wasn't worried, but I watched and listened anyway.  She asked typical questions of why he let her think she was dead.  It felt very familiar, in fact, and I exchanged glances with Pook more than once.

Glances and rare words are all we've exchanged lately.  Walking up and initiating a conversation with her while Seb's in this state would likely unbalance her in the extreme.  She continues to dwell in cat form; I haven't seen her get out of it once.  Even without the current situation, I don't know what to say to her.  I received a few letters back at last from the inquiries I sent out to priests and the like, and they're all the same -- explaining voidwalkers and shadowfiends.  I saw them with my own eyes, thanks to Pook, and they're unlike anything I've witnessed.  I'm not very well going to walk up to her to tell her that I have no new information.  That would be worthless.

I still have things to talk to her about, but I don't know when I'll do it, and it's growing less likely with each passing day.  Bloodaxe was scratching her head, and that speaks to me of a familiarity I am not comfortable with.  Pook has never been friendly with discretion, and I don't want to explain things to her, only to turn around and receive a lecture from a green-skinned, newly-minted authority on my life and what I've done wrong.  She shows no inclination to speak to me anyway.  I'm not about to unbalance her again.  I'll continue to be careful with what I do while I'm at the Kodo and I will make myself available if ever she does want to cross that gap, but if she wants to continue to sulk on the stoop for the rest of her life, that is her choice.  I'll still keep my eyes out for the children.

Seb's bond with Ghost is deep and dangerous.  She's controlling herself as best she can, and I admire what she manages to accomplish, but she still needs relief.  It's like holding onto something.  If you clench your fist and cling to it as tightly as you can at all times, when it truly matters for you to hold onto it, it will slip through your exhausted grasp.  To that end, I've been telling her to relax at home and let her instincts go.  She's been doing just that, and for the most part things have been all right.

I do need to watch what I say, however.  I mentioned that she could ward others off her territory, and she took this to mean she had to patrol.  I caught her before she got far, and she reacted very poorly, biting me.  I took her, biting and clawing, back into the hut and pinned her on her back until she calmed down.  It was oddly reminiscent of another time, long ago, but she was immediately remorseful at least.

Still, seeing her lose herself completely made me all the more committed to letting her have an outlet.  She's been struggling with it too long without release.  At least her outburst was at home rather than at the Kodo.  She'll balance out eventually -- I hope -- but until that time I have to remain constantly vigilant.
No Grimtotem
19 September 2012 @ 01:22 pm
War has a way of bringing out the stupidity in everyone, somehow.  It's like a disease.

Stupid stupid stupid.Collapse )
No Grimtotem
16 September 2012 @ 01:41 pm
Last night involved a long exploration into the bond between a hunter and their companion.

And on he goes about instincts.Collapse )
No Grimtotem
14 September 2012 @ 04:45 pm
Loyal members of the Horde are starting to receive muster orders in the mail.  Horde forces are mobilizing, and it sounds as if somewhere on Kalimdor might be a target.  That is exactly what this land does not need: more war.

The scar across the Barrens bothers me, but the true ugliness comes from the orc and human forts scattered around the once-pristine plains.  They've brought their enmity onto our ancestral grounds and defiled land that once fed and sheltered many tribes of tauren.  Their war stinks up the air and pollutes the water.  I've watched my homeland come to ruin under their mindless slaughter.  And now that idiot warchief is gathering forces to smash into his enemies again.  They're all invaders; none of them belong here.  I barely manage to hold my tongue about him when people speak of him; I don't want to bring down Kor'kron wrath upon my family.  But that does not mean I do not oppose this war in my bones.  I would kill that orc in a second if it meant they would leave our shores.

The problem lies in the fact that my name is on some Horde registers from the time I was hunting for Pook.  I was under a mercenary company, so nothing particularly regimented, but if Hellscream gets zealous enough he'll pull every name he can find.  Sebrawyn, too, was a soldier.  Despite the fact that we're interested in raising our family right now, we may get called regardless.  I'm not answering the call, and of course she isn't, either.  We have our son to think about.  The only possibility might be if our home is threatened.  Then -- and only then -- would I march off... as long as it took to secure our home.  I'd desert the next second.  I owe no loyalty to the Horde or its idiot ruler.

While we were hearing about this at the Kodo I noticed a few more instinctual, wolfish behaviors from Seb (as the idea of killing humans excited her), and they only intensified once we got home.  I've been carefully testing her here and there, seeing what affects her and what doesn't, posing questions to her about certain things she's doing.  Despite the increasing frequency, there isn't much cause for worry, I think -- at least, not yet.  She's able to hold a conversation about very complex things without a problem, and seems to be rationalizing most of her behavior away, which shows me she isn't really losing herself in the wolf.  It's more of an adoption of instincts.  The vast majority of the behavior changes are harmless.  The few causes for concern lie in her occasional desire to go running off after a sound, as well as a lack of memory retention about certain things she's doing.

I'm going to have to guide her onto a more even keel, at least in public, but I'm not going to act until I understand more about where this is going.
No Grimtotem
11 September 2012 @ 12:55 pm
We're home again.  We spent some weeks in the calm, peaceful plains of Garadar, letting Seb heal.  It took some time, but she's better now, and a bit more aware of how hazardous activity can be for her.  It was a quiet time.  I hunted and gathered food, swam with her, and tended to her needs.  She slept a great deal, but towards the end she was more and more back to her old self.

Once we returned home, she mentioned she'd been having strange dreams.  I was immediately wary.  Countless times "strange dreams" have turned into horrible situations.  But when she started describing them more, it was clear they were something I'd heard of before, something I knew of from my training as a boy.  She's been having wolf dreams.  Her bond with Ghost has strengthened, and since she has been unable to hunt or be as active as she's used to, she's seeking out his freedom when she sleeps without realizing it.  He clearly loves her a great deal and won't bring her purposeful harm, but there's a good deal to worry about.

She's only going to become more immobile.  Eventually she'll be bedridden entirely.  The call of his simple, free lifestyle will pull on her greatly, and her bond with him is only going to get stronger.  And the longer she stays in his mind, the more the lines will blur.  Ghost may love her, but all the complexity she brings with her is confusing and distracting.  Ghost, not realizing what he's doing, will soothe her and encourage her to think as he does, and she may well succumb to it.  I don't have a bond with her.  I have an idea or two of how to extract her from his mind if that happens, but I'd rather it not come to that.

Still, she is going to be abjectly miserable if she's forced to lie in bed until it's time.  Careful, judicious use of her bond with Ghost will likely help her immensely.  As such, I guided her a bit on how to do it, and she managed while she was awake.  I can tell that Ghost is still very dominant in the process, still -- it's easy for her to be overwhelmed by something he needs to pay attention to.  Hopefully she'll find a balance and be able to guide him while remaining separate.

She's picked up a few mannerisms during the weeks she's been doing this, apparently.  I noticed she looked away and laid her ears down when I looked at her once.  Still, that sort of thing is hard to shake when you're new to it.  As long as she keeps her core safe, she should even out.

When I went to town today I found a letter from Wiley, the innkeeper at the Kodo.  Apparently Pook wants the chest.  Well, she'll get the damn chest.  I'll just keep one of the toys in storage.  No matter what her reaction, I'll have something to remember the children by.
No Grimtotem
18 August 2012 @ 02:46 pm
It happened.  I was waiting for it.  I knew it was too good to last.  Sebrawyn was so certain, so confident.  She knew there might be problems academically, but I don't think she ever truly perceived the threat as real.  I'd tried to impress it upon her but there's only so much I can do before I start to sound overbearing.  I didn't want to stifle her.

And now I sit by her sickbed, watching the occasional healer come in and check on her before leaving silently.  The pallor of her skin nearly matches her hair.  There was a great deal of blood... too much.  She was on the brink of death.  Things still aren't certain.

I sit here, watching her chest rise and fall slightly, waiting for the moment when it stills with sick dread.

The risks of the pregnancy were massive.  I knew that.  It's for that reason I didn't want to have children with her when we discussed it.  But when the opportunity presented itself... maybe I should have encouraged her to turn away from this.  We would have missed the chance to have a child of our own, but the alternative... I could lose them both.  She could slip away from me at any time.

We still have so long to go.  The child will only get larger, and she can't pull any tricks from her sleeve.  I'll have to be incredibly stern with her on what she eats, where she goes, and what she does... and gods, she's going to be miserable.  I'll end up her jailor more than anything.

But that is in the future.  For now, all I can hope for is for her strength to return.

I hope I'm done with unpleasant surprises.  I've had enough for a long while.
No Grimtotem
16 August 2012 @ 10:08 pm
We've reached a point where we're information gathering, now.  We have a starting point to look for the children.

I'm getting ahead of myself.

A long recap.Collapse )
No Grimtotem
01 August 2012 @ 12:41 pm
I don't know what to do anymore.  I'm helpless, back in that worn, hateful nook I find myself in so often.

The children have been taken somewhere, taken by some darkness, and the person who saw them last is being the most impossible I have ever witnessed her to be.  You would think, with how much she's obsessing about being a good mother and focusing on kittens and the like, she would be interested in finding them now that she has support.  But no.  No, she's apparently not here for that.  Not here to do anything that might be considered helpful or sensible.

No, all she's been doing is twisting the knife.

Cats are so frustrating.Collapse )
No Grimtotem
27 July 2012 @ 12:53 pm
It was supposed to be a simple day.  We went to Moonglade to have Seb examined, and saw our growing, beautiful child.  She's growing a little quickly -- which isn't a surprise -- and needs to mind her diet and be careful about exercise.  I have a feeling I'll be the one telling her to slow down once she gets her energy back.  As we were leaving, she mentioned wanting to stop by the Kodo, and I agreed.  We hadn't been in some time, after all.

The Kodo was unusually full for an after-hours crowd, though there were a number of odd expressions as I showed up.  The dead troll who came to our home showed up and passed on some messages from Tizze.  Everything was normal until a cat walked up to me.

A night elven cat.  With a chewed ear.  Rubbing up against me.


On he rambles.Collapse )
No Grimtotem
25 July 2012 @ 09:36 pm
I've been living in my head a while... time to put some of it down on paper.

A long overdue entry.Collapse )
No Grimtotem
04 July 2012 @ 03:59 pm
Haven't picked this up in a few days.

Seb tried to get me to apologize to Ephe.  I refused, of course, because the last thing I'm going to do is vindicate her behavior.  However, the conversation ran on a tangent when she insisted that Ephe and I were friends.  I explained that we weren't, and tried to find an analogue she'd understand.  I settled on two soldiers -- you may not like your fellow soldier outside of the battlefield, but in the heat of battle, you know that person will make the right choices, the hard choices, and do what needs to be done.  I don't think she was able to wrap her head around the idea that death would be preferable to some fates I've seen no matter how I tried to help her understand.

I still haven't apologized to Ephe and I don't plan to.

A few days ago we traveled to Dalaran to see if we could find an expert in mana consumption to help her with her problem.  We found one -- a blood elf -- but as he spoke it became very clear his motives weren't altruistic.  He had the same look on his face that I've seen on a number of Apothecaries.  As soon as I was able, I steered Seb away from there.  Thank the gods she had the foresight to give a false name.  His suspicious motives combined with his obvious link to Silvermoon mean we're not visiting him again regardless of his offer of aid.

That said, we still do need to find someone to help -- someone, apparently, who isn't affiliated with Silvermoon.  Seb came up with the idea to contact two elves who owe her a great debt... and they're apparently the elves I drugged when Pook needed to fulfill her obligation to the Blue Dragonflight.  The mage I kidnapped.  I remember vaguely that she'd mentioned he was still alive, but I wasn't aware he owed her anything.  I am very nervous about this whole affair.  She mentioned that they're trying to avoid Silvermoon, and the last thing they knew, she represented the city.  They might try to kill her on sight.  And I can't be by her side, because if they see me, there's a far greater chance they'll remember what I did and not help her.  I'll need to skulk around in the vicinity while she speaks with them and hope to all the gods I can get there in time if things turn foul.

If she finds them, that is.  They've apparently gone to ground.  But if what she says about the Wretched are true, they no doubt left some form of trail of the mana they use.  She's written inquiries.  Perhaps we'll get a bite.

Among all of this, we've managed to find quiet, blissful moments.  Times when she isn't ill and I haven't raised her ire or brought her to tears.  She asked me for a story the other day.  The first one that came to mind was obvious, and though I hesitated, I did tell her the story of the Stag and the Moon.  We don't match the story nearly as well -- Seb may be my beacon, but her people are of the sun, not the moon, and I am not nearly the free and independent spirit I once was, to be compared to Apa'ro.  She caught me looking wistful and I lied to her about the reason, but there was no need to tell her the truth.  Best not to mention my last relationship at all, considering how she reacts whenever I do.  No, there was no need to explain that my telling of it was, in a way, a last farewell to what was... letting go of something I'd once held as ours and ours alone.  The time for coveting such things is long done.  It was a release, setting that story free of its trappings again... letting it simply be a story.

I am not Apa'ro, dancing away from being captured or tied down.  I am a protector, a bulwark against all that might threaten... and that is a very different story indeed.
No Grimtotem
27 June 2012 @ 01:40 pm
It was supposed to be a night to relax.  Seb went to Ephe's for a visit after spending most of the day in the bedroom -- I'm uncertain if she was feeling poorly physically or if she was troubled about the previous day.  I let her go without a fuss; space was what I think we both needed.

I went for a run in the forest, and around the time I was returning, looser than I'd been in the past week, Ephe started asking me about the smell of nausea herbs on Seb.  I almost told her precisely why, but all I could think of was Seb's crestfallen face as Ephe tried and failed to look surprised at the news, and the argument that would ensue when she returned.  So I told her to let Seb tell her what was happening, figuring she would figure it out anyway but I would be in the clear.

Once I was back and cooling off, she asked if I could receive a package of mana potions without Seb knowing.  I assured her I had it well in hand and didn't need her potions, but a suspicion stirred in me. A suspicion she confirmed a few minutes later when she explained she'd given Seb a mana potion.

I exploded.  She could check with me about nausea herbs but she couldn't ask about Seb's odd behavior?  Had she ever acted hungry for mana around Ephe before?  Unless she's been remarkably good at hiding it from me I'm going to say no.  I wasn't able to block my anger from the ring, and quickly told Seb I'd tripped -- but Ephe, of course, did something to indicate that I was lying, and Seb grew upset.

And of course she couldn't spend any time perhaps apologizing for what she did, calming Seb down, and having a nice visit.  Oh no, now that she'd managed to upset her and the damage was done, Ephe determined it was the best time to send her straight back to me.  I stopped arguing with the stubborn cow because I didn't want to be in the middle of an idiotic argument when Seb came home.  I gave up any hope at having a peaceful night and resigned myself to what I was sure would be more yelling.

The first thing she did when she arrived was try to defend Ephe's behavior, which didn't dignify with a response.  Ephe was in the wrong for doing that without consulting me, she knows that, and Seb wasn't fully in her right mind.  The fault lies with Ephe.  The last thing I want to do is deprive Seb of a friend, and I do think that when she has a functional brain Ephe's good for her.  If for whatever deranged reason Ephe takes this as a sign that she can't do things with Seb, I'll fix the problem, but hopefully she'll come to her gods-damned senses.

After that, though, Seb did show a surprising amount of restraint, and in the brief period we talked, I mentioned the potential problems the child might have with her mana consumption.  I had to.  I don't think she understood why I was so worried about it, and if I let it continue to go unsaid, she would just have had slip after slip where she didn't care because it sated her in the moment.  I hated it, making her feel terrible about the actions of the night, but it had to be done.  We went back into the hut and she helped me relax a bit -- something I sorely needed.

Now, in the morning's light, I keep going over and over in my head how I might have handled last night better, and there's nothing I can see.

-- If I'd not commented about the mana potion at all, Ephe would have continued on as if she'd done the right thing (which she didn't) and Seb would have returned with more mana in her.  It's possible she wouldn't have mentioned it to me at all, and a little rift would begin to form.

-- If I'd mentioned that she shouldn't do that in a calm and rational way (which would have been difficult through the moonstone in the first place) Ephe wouldn't have handled it well regardless, Seb would still have been upset, and the visit would have ended early regardless.

-- If I'd flown there myself  That would have been incredibly stupid.

We can't keep going like this, she and I.  We need to find our footing again.