31 August 2012

Healing Rotation

"So how is Had doing?" After the thorough dressing down a few days prior, Katza had dropped by Akabeko's workshop under the guise of checking up on the new recruit.

Akabeko appreciated that her raid leader at least attempted to hide her snooping into the druid's extracurricular activities. Besides, she would have an airtight alibi when it was actually time for the plan to be put into action. "He's doing fantastic. He has incredible potential and learns very quickly. Just don't tell him that - it hinders the teaching process."

"That's very old school of you," Katza remarked. She casually glanced at the ledger on the desk. There were, of course, no incriminating scribbles. "When do you suppose he will be ready to join a raid?"

The workshop bell began ringing frantically. Akabeko leaped to answer the door, Katza trailing behind.  "Probably by the time something crops up that actually requires a raid," she muttered wryly.

The door opened to reveal an unusually short troll woman in Cenarion Circle livery. Without preamble, she handed Akabeko a sheet of bright red parchment. "Urgent summons," she said unnecessarily. "Report at once." With a nod, she turned away, already on the way to the next recipient.

"Odd," Akabeko murmured, scanning the page. "This summons is for the Orgrimmar center."

Katza attempted to peek over Akabeko's much taller shoulder. "Is this from the healing rotation?"

Akabeko rummaged in the cabinet by the door, finally pulling out a patched backpack. She ushered Katza outside, locked the door, and strode off through the Drag. "Yes, and this is extremely serious. There's usually some warning, and we are typically summoned to the Moonglade." She folded the parchment and slipped it into the front pocket of her backpack. "Listen, does Had look familiar to you? I keep getting the feeling that I've seen him somewhere before."

"Familiar? Not that I know of. Maybe you saw him at some druid gathering or other?"

"Oh, that's probably it," Akabeko huffed irritably. "Sometimes he quirks his mouth a certain way, or gets this really intense look..." She gestured helplessly. "He probably used to work in my favorite tavern and that's why I recognize him."

Katza shrugged, and they continued on in silence. The Cenarion hospital was just coming into view across the pond in the Valley of Wisdom. "Have you tried to teach him how to reach Tree of Life?" she asked abruptly.

The druid missed a step, catching herself ungracefully. Her carefully neutral expression managed to be more morose than a frown. "I haven't. If he's going to learn, it will have to be from a druid more powerful than me. I don't even try to reach it myself anymore."

They stopped outside the hospital. Katza opened her mouth as if to offer some consolation.

"I have to get in there," Akabeko said quickly. "I'll see you around."

Inside, she fished out the parchment and handed it to an assistant. She was immediately summoned by a full-time healer, who whisked her down a hallway. They were soon joined by Hadakha and a troll Akabeko didn't recognize. She nodded to her guildmate.

The healer sized up the pair appreciatively. "The patient was just ported in this morning. He's a leatherworker and was badly mauled while working in the field. There weren't enough experienced healers in the Moonglade, so they decided to send him here. We weren't sure he would survive the transporting." The tauren paused and shook his head. "Frankly, I'm not sure how long he will survive. We will need every available healer."

He pushed open the door to one of the patient rooms. Inside, three druids were standing around a pallet, constantly casting healing spells on the still mass of the injured tauren. The fur along the bridge of Akabeko's nose stood on end in response to the healing energy clouding the room. She half-expected leaves to spontaneously sprout from the tips of her ears.

The other druids barely glanced up when the newcomers joined them. The healer retreated to the door. "Once we get enough healers, we'll set up rotations to allow you to rest. Thank you for your service."

It was crowded in the small room, but the soft hum of healing energy was relaxing. Akabeko settled in beside Hadakha and delved into the unnaturally still form on the pallet. The severity of the wounds made her stomach clench, and she understood the urgency of the summons. Hadakha would get a trial by fire. She began to cast.

29 August 2012

#Dragon*con: Who's with me?

This weekend is Dragon*con! Some of my friends are going and have talked me into it. I've never been before, and have only ever been to one anime convention some years ago, so I don't know quite what to expect but I sure am excited!

Since I am driving up with some friends, my schedule is at the mercy of the driver. We will be arriving sometime Friday afternoon and leaving Monday afternoon. There is a Warcraft trivia event/meetup on Sunday night, which I am hoping to attend. Aside from that, I will be moseying around with friends I haven't seen in a while and probably lusting after nerdmerch.

Is anyone else going? I would love to meet some more WoW players and bloggers in ~meatspace~!

27 August 2012

[Shared Topic] Headcanon

This week, yours truly wants to know:
Canon refers to the actual events and characters that exist in a fictional world. Headcanon refers to any situations or characters that are imagined by fans of said fictional world. Sometimes they are silly, like the fact that Garrosh's favorite treat is lemon squares. Sometimes they are serious, like positing that tauren store grief in the lungs. For my writing, I've come up with a lot of headcanon. Got a theory about a torrid romance between your favorite auctioneer and the patrolling guard? Given any thought to where mounts and pets go when they aren't summoned? Do you know how your characters do their laundry, or what Baine Bloodhoof does in his free time? What are your headcanons, and where did you get the idea?
Since I do enjoy writing in the WoWverse, it's important to me to think about the weird details in Azeroth that will make my stories seem cozy and livable. Some of my ideas come from my own wild brain, but a lot of them come from listening to others' theories or reading others' fanfiction.

If possible, I like to tie together other fan-created characters and experiences with my own. Running into other bloggers is entirely something that could happen to my characters. I like writing cameos into my fiction, and I especially like appearing in that of others!

I learned about Aka's tauren culture thanks to Kamalia's investigation of tauren funerary rites. This story gave me inspiration to tie my Insane grind into Aka's plot, and the funeral scene is now part of my tauren headcanon. Apple showed a way to make even out-of-game things like race changes fit into in-game plot. Rades enriches Azeroth by reminding us that even the most minor NPCs can have engaging stories.

Despite game limitations, I think that most characters can speak multiple languages, including those of the opposing faction. Otherwise how would we be getting quests from certain factions? Because orcs and humans have the dominant languages and therefore don't need to learn other languages this has the potential to create some interesting conflicts.

I think goblins, dwarves, and pandaren privilege fat bodies over skinny ones. Goblins like the physical representation of luxury and wealth, and dwarves and pandaren like showing how much booze they can put away. Plus, who ever heard of a skinny dwarf?

Although the goblins seem happiest in their steam-punk-inspired engineering workshops, I think they might also have developed a taste for fancy blood elf leisure culture. It's fancy, it's imported, and it's extravagant.

Bosses drop loot in game, but I like to think that sometimes they drop materials rather than items. That way they can be crafted into outfits that fit the characters, and you don't have to break your brain wondering why dragons have size 6.5 human boots on their person. Tier gear is developed by class experts after studying the newest threats to Azeroth and designing the most suitable armor for it. Then, the design goes through a long list of checkpoints, from design to gathering to crafting to suiting up.

Boss Mida is the real power in the goblin world, and she has a secret something going on with her personal assistant Kazit. Also, she is a connoisseur of Steamy Romance Novels.

Since Cataclysm, druids have been unable to shift into tree form without serious strain, and as a result it is happening less and less.

Hmm, I guess I have less headcanons than I thought. And they are mostly on the Horde side. What do you think?

24 August 2012

Training (guest post!!)

Once again courtesy of the talented Dahakha!


Training. Hadakha sighed as he struggled to repair the wounds being inflicted on the pacified, desensitized deer in the enclosure before him. The savannah lion that was currently trying to dis - ooooo that will need more than just a regrowth - trying to disembowel the deer looked simultaneously confused and increasingly angry as the meal it was trying to bring down refused to die. He stifled a chuckle at the waves of frustration emanating off of the lion then cursed as he felt the deer weaken drastically. Scowling in concentration, he accelerated his casting. Swiftmend. Nourish. Rejuvenate. Healing Touch......Dammit!

He turned away in disgust as the lion's triumphant roar echoed through the air. Akabeko stood there, arms crossed, a disappointed frown on her face.

"What?! I kept it alive for at least ten minutes!"

Her frown deepened. "Then why did it die now? You should have had it under control if you'd been healing it for that long. What happened?"

Hadakha shrugged. "There was too much damage too quickly. I did all I could."

Now her eyes narrowed. Hadakha suddenly felt uncertain. It was not a trait he was familiar with. Years of covert, dangerous work for the Cenarion Circle had given him the utmost confidence in his abilities, yet this druid - this veteran of many battles, who had faced down some of the greatest threats Azeroth had known for centuries - was making him ask questions of himself. When he had accepted this mission, he had imagined that he would be the one teaching her, assessing her, questioning her. Yet it seemed that he had not known as much as he had thought.....he cracked his knuckles guiltily, grimacing as memories of those exact words came to him from the mouths of many an archdruid over the years.

"No." Akabeko was looking at him strangely. Then she shook her head and the frown was back. "You forgot Lifebloom. Again. At the end, it would have given you enough of a cushion to finish that Healing Touch. You would have had it stabilised."

Bugger. No wonder it had been a struggle for the last few minutes. He bowed his head in apology. "I will do better tomorrow." But Akabeko shook her head.

"No, I will be busy tomorrow. I have.....plans......to make. But that doesn't mean you can't practice on your own. When you can keep the deer stabilised for, let's say, an hour...", at that Hadakha's eyebrows rose in consternation, "...then you can try keeping two deer alive at once." Cocking her head to one side, she mused, "I still don't understand how you could be so strong and yet haven't grasped the basics of team healing....."

"My previous guilds were more survivalist than cooperative, I guess. I never had to look after anyone but myself."

"Hmmph. Well. As you will discover, keeping your comrades alive is a lot more difficult than keeping yourself alive. Once you grasp the basics," gesturing to the enclosure from which happy lion sounds were drifting, "then we can start the real training! Hubwahahahaaaaaa!" Hadakha shuffled back a step. "Sorry, I have had revenge on my mind a lot lately...."

As he turned to walk away, Akabeko called after him. "Hadakha? Something has been bugging me lately. I just have this weird idea that......well, have we met before?"

Hadakha's thoughts went back to his brother's funeral, the place he had first seen her. That was the main weakness of his mission cover, that she might have noticed him then. Just have to play it down, avoid the topic as much as possible.

He shrugged. "No."

22 August 2012

Upgrade your OS, Macs!

There was some news about patch 5.0.4, which will usher in some changes from Mists of Pandaria and in general get us ready to welcome our pandaren friends. In particular, I'm excited about the sharing of mounts and pets across toons, AOE looting, battletags, and talent changes. HOWEVER, sad news! When I opened the launcher to start my background downloader, I got a message saying that the next version of WoW will no longer work on my ancient operating system! For the record, I'm running Leopard 10.5.8 on a 2008 macbook. Yes, I live under a rock. And I'm cheap.

Some searching around online brought me very little information. Best Buy and the Apple store both wanted to sell me Mountain Lion which isn't even supported on a machine this old. Lion, which came before ML, is available in the app store, EXCEPT that I need a Snow Leopard install before I can upgrade. Finally I called up apple support to see what could be done. They hooked me up with both Snow Leopard and Lion for $20 each, although I have to wait for SL to come in the mail. The customer service lady told me she had already sold 10 copies of SL that day, leading me to wonder why Apple doesn't still just list it in the store. It would save lazy assholes like me a lot of panic and waiting on hold!

So soon my pokey laptop will be compatible with my programs for at least a few more years. Except that this morning when I booted up the computer and tried to start writing this post, both the keyboard and trackpad stopped working. I thought maybe I had turned on universal access, but it was still off. I'm using a USB mouse and keyboard just fine at the moment, but since the beauty of a laptop is the portability I'm afraid I'll have to take it in to be repaired. I don't want to pour more money into this thing -_-

20 August 2012

Some #random stuff while I'm in NY

This weekend I am hanging with my cousins in NY after a too-long lack of contact so hooray!

Approximately one million years ago I heard about a fabulous creation - a druid themed ring! I got one because: disposable income, but ran into trouble with the material. You may know the creator, the esteemed blogger Tesh. If you don't, I can tell you that he is completely wonderful and accommodating and worked with me for a very long time until the design was able to be transferred to a metal safe for my irritable skin! There were many trials and tribulations along the way, but now I am very pleased to report that I have the BEST (Jerry, the best) ring of all the rings, perhaps the one ring, and I may never take it off again. Except for this picture here. Thank you Tesh! Thank you thank you thank you!!

In other tree-related news, everybody come play Tree World with me! You get a tree and some critters come to live on it. Then they poop out food to feed the tree so you can grow it taller, creating space for more critters to live! It's simple and adorable and CRITTERS!!!

17 August 2012

[Shared Topic] How has WoW changed your life?

From Effraeti, via MMO Melting Pot, from Syl:

How has WoW changed your life?

How indeed! I've talked about my out of game experiences with fellow players, something that never before seemed possible. I've talked about how much I appreciate the community of bloggers and Twitterati, and how important that it is for me to have something to stimulate my creative brainmeats and keep me writing fiction, even if it is fanfiction.

But today I mostly want to show you this:

As much as I love the idea of the Horde symbol, or even a Naaru (come on, that's an awesome design) I wanted something much more personal and also more obscure. To illustrate: I showed one WoW friend the design and got "Cool! What is it?" and then showed my warlock BFF "Oooh, the treant chest design!" Even I was surprised that she recognized it because I don't think she even has a tree druid...

The actual pattern in game has rounded, paw-like tips on the crescent, but I liked this version where they are sharpened like claws. I spent a few days drawing and redrawing it until I had a good idea of the shape and size that I wanted, and then I just had to wait until I was back in the States!

The artist I worked with said he prefers to do big, colorful pieces, but I requested him because he had a lot of game-related work in his portfolio. A lot of it was console game characters, but when we got to talking he said he had played WoW from launch until Wrath and he had a druid. Score!

If the details of the procedure gross you out, you can skip this part:

15 August 2012

Causing trouble

Previously: Downtime, Plans
Next: Devious Design

"I'm concerned with the...logistics."

"Well, we would obviously have to stealth to the pen, but I think we could go safely most of the way outside of the fairgrounds. Then, we wait until everyone has closed up and left and make our move. If we can't flip Dubenko on our own I figure one of us can go bear form for the extra power. Then, we just have to drop by the bullseye and escape through the portal without being caught!"

Akabeko leaned over her project, eyes comically large behind her magnifying goggles. Her worktable was strewn with repair tools. "The plan I understand. What I'm more concerned with is the fact that my guildies have forbidden me from visiting the Faire anymore." She carefully removed a panel on the side of the mechanical rabbit.

"I...did not realize that. Did they put a spell to prevent you from traveling through the portal?" The other tauren looked on curiously as Akabeko puzzled over the tiny compartment underneath the panel.

"No, I don't think so, but I know they would be very upset with me if I did. Also, they would know I was involved if anything happened to Dubenko." She shrugged minutely and flipped a switch on the panel.

Suddenly, the mechanical rabbit gave a great shudder and began to beep. The green glass eyes lit up, bathing the small room in watery light punctuated by the flashing red lights installed in the tail. "H E A T - S E E K I N G - M I S S I L E S - A C T I V A T E D," the rabbit informed them, ceramic teeth clicking in the semblance of speech. A compartment on the back opened, revealing two bright red rockets. They twisted this way and that, hunting for a target. "A C Q U I R I N G - T A R G E T," the rabbit placidly continued.

"Oh dear," said Akabeko. Her companion merely watched with interest.

The rockets spun completely around and settled on Akabeko. "T A R G E T - A C Q U I R E D," the rabbit chirped helpfully.

Wire cutters in hand, Akabeko frantically began snipping connections inside the rabbit, hoping to deactivate it. The rockets began to hum. "Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear," she muttered, snipping away.

Calmly, her friend leaned forward and flicked the switch off. The rockets powered down, withdrawing into their compartments, and the panels slid back into place with a snap.

"Thanks, Navi," Akabeko said, putting down the wire cutters.

The other druid grinned. "Anytime. Back to our plans, though. I heard something else through the wildvine that might get you in trouble with your guild and ruin our plans further."

Suddenly the picture of nonchalance, Akabeko contemplated all the wires she had severed. "Oh?"

"Rumor has it that a druid has been harassing inexperienced adventurers in Stranglethorn Vale." She watched her friend closely for a reaction. "The story goes that she stealths along behind them, revealing herself either to kill their target or pretend to be a wild beast herself." Navimie leaned forward. "Aka, the druid had your exact description."

Despite her scrutiny, the wires did not magically knit themselves back together. She sighed in resignation. "All right, I may or may not have gone to Stranglethorn Vale with the express intention of playing practical jokes on hapless adventurers." She glanced at Navimie's face, hoping for sympathy.

"To be honest, at just about any other time I would be out there with you having a laugh, but not now, not so close to our mission! You know they only let visitors into the Faire once during each moon!" Navimie sighed in amused exasperation. "I thought Dubenko was your real goal, but you've been doing things to get you in even worse trouble with your guild instead!"

The doorbell Akabeko had rigged up in her workshop chimed accusingly, and they heard the front door opened with a bang. Moments later, Katza stalked into the room, looking thunderous. Navimie gave Akabeko a meaningful look and stood.

"We'll be in touch," she said ambiguously. She nodded politely to the forsaken. "Morning, Katza. I was just leaving."

Akabeko looked pleadingly after her friend, then turned guiltily to her raid leader. "I don't suppose you came to talk politics?"

13 August 2012

Technology is bringing me down

I realize that for people who regularly play on slow/sad computers this will probably just sound like some entitled whining, so feel free to skip that if you don't want to spend the next few paragraphs rolling your eyes at how pathetic I am.

Many moons ago, I started playing WoW on my macbook (Lappy). When I bought it, I didn't do much gaming, and as such graphics cards didn't figure into my comparison of Windows vs Mac laptops. Then I got into WoW and played exclusively on the macbook. I leveled several toons and raided almost the entirety of Wrath on this computer. Stats like 8FPS were not uncommon, but I made it work and was quite successful in my casual raiding group.

Then I built a PC (Voyager), because isn't that the next logical step when it comes to gaming addiction? I wasn't rocking the settings on ultra - I was, after all, still a jobless college student - but 60FPS were not unheard of in the frozen plains of Howling Fjord.

And NOW. Now I've been gaming for years on a PC that snaps to attention when I click on spells, mounts, and targets. I can appreciate the difference between the model quality of my character and her highly detailed armor because the graphics can actually display both. I can run addons - SO MANY ADDONS - to make my screen lovely and useful.

But a PC isn't something you can just toss in your carryon, and I wouldn't trust it to baggage handlers. So I've got Lappy at home with me this month...and it's actually deterring me from gaming! At first I thought, well, I'm just having so much fun shooting the shit with Mom, or I can't help falling asleep at 8:30. But even when I am awake and it would be so easy to quest on an alt, or grind archaeology, or maybe do my Tol Barad dailies, the laggy movement and murky graphics wear on me and I find myself logging out! My mouse jumps spastically across the screen, missing the target or clicking too many times while the game decides if it will choose the target or not. I can't do the Darkmoon dailies as efficiently as usual and even *scream* Dubenko's daily is giving me less success.

How was I able to grind endlessly and raid Ulduar and all that good stuff before? Was not knowing that it could be better the reason why I happily logged in day after day and had no trouble? Maybe I was just a worse player...or perhaps a better one, because I managed so many more difficulties? UGH WHATEVER THIS IS MY SPOILED RANT. I MISS MY BEEFY PC.

10 August 2012

Thunderlord Stronghold (guest post!)

Dahakha sped through the night, barely registering the receding lightning storms as he weaved his way between dragon corpses impaled upon the spears of stone that gave Blade's Edge Mountains their name.

His mind reeled. What in the name of Mu'sha had happened back there? Why the....the goblin...netherstorm.....ethereals.....it made no sense! He realised that he was automatically winging his way towards Evergrove. After thinking for a moment or two, he decided that although the comforts of a druid grove were tempting, what he really needed were answers. Banking south, Dahakha headed for Thunderlord Stronghold.

Flying in low over the moonlit treetops, Dahakha landed on the walls of the stronghold. He scanned the buildings.....there. The distinctive shapes of the windriders led his eye to the nearby hut. With a hop he glided down to the open doorway and shifted into his birth form. Inside was a young orc sorting through scrolls on the candlelit table. At Dahakha's sudden appearance, he gasped and shot to his feet, hand going to the handaxe at his belt. Dahakha spread his hands wide to indicate peaceful intentions, and as his tauren shape registered on the orc, the tension in the air dissipated.

“Agadai. I need to speak with your master immediately.”

The orc's face creased in confusion. “Have we met?”

“What do you mean, have we met? It's me, Dahakha!” At the orc's blank look, he sighed. “I helped you with that windrider problem last year! You said that you would be in my debt for eternity!” Still no flicker of recognition. He twitched. “I brought that little orphan boy to see you a few weeks ago? You showed him how you look after windriders? No?” He threw up his hands in exasperation. “Is Unoke here? I need to speak to him urgently.”

Agadai looked uncertain, but as he caught the dangerous glint in Dahakha's eyes he quickly nodded and motioned for him to wait. Disappearing upstairs, there was thumping and grumbling which resolved in the clump of hooves on wood as a tauren climbed down the ladder-like stairwell.

Unoke turned and froze at the sight of Dahakha. His eyes darted around the room, to the doorway, out into the night. Seemingly satisfied, but still very wary, the tauren inspected Dahakha carefully. Uncomfortable under this unexpected scrutiny, Dahakha found himself cracking his knuckles nervously. With a mental shake he stilled his hands, and spoke to the windrider master.

“Unoke. You do recognise me, right?”

“I.....am not certain.”

Dahakha twitched, frowning. “What is that supposed to mean? We trained together back in Mulgore! How could you not know who I am?!”

Unoke was still regarding him suspiciously. “I know who you look like. I know who you claim to be. But I do not believe it.”

“Gahhhhh! This is ridiculous! First Agadai pretends to not know me, now you doubt your own eyes? You know I am Dahakha! Why would you think otherwise?”, he bellowed in frustration.

Unoke met his eyes calmly. “Because Dahakha is dead.”

Dahakha gaped at the windrider master. “What. Are. You. Talking. About.”

“I watched Dahakha die, in the Orgrimmar arena. Hundreds of others saw it as well. You – he – Dahakha was slain. There is no doubt about it.”

“But here I am!”

“But here you are.”

He twitched again. “Okay, I don't know what the fel is going on here, but I need some answers. What is this I hear about Cairne being dead and Baine becoming Chief of Chiefs? Who is this Hellscream pretending to be the Warchief? It had better not be that young idiot Garrosh.....”

Unoke looked at him strangely. “You really don't know, do you?” At Dahakha's low growl of frustration he waved to the table. “Okay, okay. Sit down. I will get us something to drink. Then we can try to sort this out.”

08 August 2012

Reading Material

First up, two absolutely delightful reads from WoW Insider. Know Your Lore: Getting into the Lore of Mists is a nice spoiler-free reminder of what you should know going into the expansion, and explains where and how you can find and appreciate the new lore. I am really excited for the Lorewalkers faction and all the new excitement it entails!!

Perhaps more importantly, the WI folks have unearthed more information on my very favorite Steamy Romance Novels!!! There will be two new items in Mists, although I'm In Love With a Robot is too smudged with oil to read. ("oil"? SORRY NM) The other novel, Hot and Misty, is a 5 page romp in which Marcus flirts with not one, not two, but three ladies on his way to a blood elf pair. Wait, what? Isn't this the pandaren expansion? SHAKE DAT BEAR. I guess I'll just have to write it if I want to read it. If you need a refresher on who Marcus is or which races he's tapped so far check out this post!

I also bring you an article from Forbes responding to the recent rash of articles tearing down "fake gamer girls". These callouts have interesting implications regarding the concept of gatekeeping admission to a hobby and only questioning one half of the population, and I am more than willing to challenge them. This guy is not having any of that nonsense and makes a good case for allowing geeks to define themselves and being as inclusive as possible.

Last but not least is a very strange twitter conversation that occurred earlier. It began with an offhand comment about how many damn roaches there are in my house, led to completely understandable discussions of bug nervousness with Aralossien, and evolved into a full RP session about defeating zombie bugs (zombugs) DMed by Rades. If you are interested in such a tale, you can read Resident Weevil: the novel (thanks to Pixellated Executioner for the fantastic name!)

06 August 2012

Quilin: Guardians of ~my heart~

The Mogu's guardian beasts are known as Quilin (or quilen?) in Mists of Pandaria. The name is taken from the mythical creature known as the qilin (kirin in Japanese). Qilin are chimerical, mixing horns with dragon heads or scales or horse hooves or deer bodies or ox tails. Its appearance is a good omen, and although it may look fearsome, it is a peaceful creature. It doesn't even eat meat! Qilin only punish the wicked, and may bring out their fire-breathing side if a pure-hearted person is threatened. In China, it is the third-most powerful mythological creature. As such, the Qilin dance is ranked third most important, after the Dragon and Phoenix dances. In Japan, the kirin is considered the most powerful mythological creature. (fun fact: kirin is also the Japanese word for giraffe.)

Check out some pictures of these fantastic creatures:
Qilin-shaped incense burner 1 CAC

Now you may be realizing that although WoW's quilin shares a name, its model doesn't really look like a mixup between dragon, deer, and lion. It looks more like the Chinese guardian lions (shishi, "stone lion"). Sometimes called Foo Dogs, these lions are always created in pairs. The male rests his paw on the sphere of the world, and the female has a playful cub on her back (isn't that always the way??).

The shishi were brought to Japan via Korea and are known as komainu. There are a few types, most notably - and my personal favorite - are the a-un komainu. These paired statues are nearly identical, except that one has its mouth open, pronouncing the beginning of the Sanskrit alphabet "a," and the other has its mouth closed, pronouncing the final letter "um." In Japanese this pair becomes a-un.

In Okinawa these pairs are called shisa, which is, according to wikipedia, a shortening of shishi-san. Shinto shrines may feature other paired guardian creatures like foxes, boars, and tigers.

Why did I tell you all that? Not to teach you, oh no. You see, I really love these lions. I am definitely getting the Mists ~Deluxe~ version if it means I get to have a momma mount and a baby pet. Whenever I see a-un lions out and about, I try to take a picture of each one. And now you have to look at them all!

outside Gyeongbukgung in Seoul
somewhere in Hong Kong
outside an Okinawan restaurant in Kyoto
at Itsukushima Shrine
somewhere on Miyajima
somewhere along the Philosopher's Path
also Philosopher's Path in Kyoto
Philosopher's Path again
At Ginkakuji
somewhere in the middle of nowhere, Hyogo
also in Hyogo
my friend's display from Okinawa
near one of my kindergartens
somewhere in Kyoto
in Nara Park
at Nikko
also Nikko
found while shopping in Seoul
a gift from a friend who went to Okinawa
my friend's set from Okinawa

01 August 2012


Every day I kill Anzu, and every day I get everything but that which I most want. At least I have a lot of extra stuff now, though.