Greetings. My name is Palintera, and I am the newest member of Team Ratshag. May the Goddess watch over you.
Last week I received a message from Mister Shag, informing me that my probationary period was complete and that I was now a full member of the team. Elune be praised! No longer would I have to live in fear of being DELETEd, as had befallen so many of my brothers and sisters. I could continue on my journey toward EndGame with confidence now.
That night Mister Shag hosted a party for team members to welcome me. I was a little nervous as I knocked on the door of his apartment in Shattrath; I felt rather plain and awkward wearing patched leather I had taken off of a furblog and holding the only gift I could afford - a bowl of fragrant herbs. I knew some of the others had been with him almost since the beginning, and would have acquired much nicer and more appropriate items. However, as the team's only druid I was determined to be pleasant and cheerful and not look for a dark corner to hide in.
It turned out I was being worried over nothing. As soon as I walked in, my new teammates made me feel welcome and completely at ease. At no point did I feel like anyone was looking down on me (well, I'm taller than most of them, but I'm sure you know what I mean). It was a cheerful, somewhat raucous party - much like Mister Shag himself - and I soon felt completely at home.
"Helllooo....." said a raspy voice. "Would you like a cookie? I baked them mysself."
I looked down to see a young Forsaken woman holding up a plate of what looked like butterball nut cookies. I was a little leary, since the girl looked (and smelled) like she'd been lying dead in a ditch for several weeks, and I was very unsure of her ability to judge what tasted good anymore. Her lack of eyes was particularly creepy. But I did not wish to seem rude, so I took one and cautiously nibbled. Mmmmm! It was delicious. I quickly took a much larger bite, and then told her so.
"I know," she said. "I got the recipe from an egotistical priest." I had no idea what to make of that, so I just nodded. "I'll be setting them over there. Help yoursself if you want more."
"Thank you," I said.
"Embrace the shadow, Palintera," was her rather cryptic reply.
Later in the evening, a pretty blonde (and rather inebriated) blood elf was kneeling on the sofa next to me, chattering away and working my hair into a series of small, tight braids, cheerful and amiable as if we were long-lost friends. I wasn't saying much, just content to listen to her pleasant voice chatter away, when out of the blue she said "I like you so much, Pali! It's like you're my sister. When the time comes to drain your soul into a crystal, I'm going to place it on the shelf I have for only my very favorite posessions!"
I turned to stare at her, my eyes very wide. She giggled, and then, ever so slowly and gracefully, she leaned sideways and slid to the floor, where she lay with one arm reaching up. "Minion!" she cried. "Assist me! I've fallen and I can't reach my beer!" A big shadow elemental mumbled "Send me back..." in a tone of utmost despair and anguish, but it did drift over and hand her her glass.
A minute later Mister Shag walked over and clapped me on my shoulder. "Don't worry about it, Palintera. Ellspeth says that to everybody what joins the team. But she ain't done it yet, has ya, Ellspeth?" he asked the horizontal elf.
"Yet ain't over, Ratter!" she replied, and giggled some more.
Later, Mister Shag brought over a rather dirty-looking bottle, with a label sloppily pasted on which said Uncle Bonechompers Day-Old Piss. "Is the good stuff fer ya, kid," He said. "Just like we get back in Durotar. Enjoys!" I looked at the bottle with no small degree of trepidation, but I was not going to risk disappointing my boss, and I'd had enough to drink already that I was feeling rather bold and adventurous. So, silently whispering a quick prayer to Elune, I picked up the bottle, pulled the cork out with my teeth, spat it out, and took a long pull. There was a general cheering from around the room, so I figured I had made the right move.
Unfortunately, I must confess that much of the rest of the evening is rather a blur. I do remember at one point that I was sitting in the lap of a rather handesome young Night Elf warrior and stroking his ears (or maybe I was nibbling on them - I'm really not clear on that) when Mister Shag called out, "Hey Dak! Watch out fer Sudden Bear On Top syndrome!" which caused everyone in the room to laugh.
"No worries, Rats!" my companion replied. "I brought protection!" and everyone laughed even louder.
I, however, was completely confused, and it must have shown on my face, because the ghost wolf which had been chewing on a bone in the corner got up and turned into a tall blue-haired troll woman. She walked over to me, leaned in close, and explained. Oh. Oh! Oh my! I'm sure I must have turned seven shades of purple at that, but fortunately things get pretty blurry again after that ...
The next morning I awoke with my head feeling as though two Grells were beating on it with staffs, and my mouth tasting like an incontinent creature of the night had relieved itself therein. I would have much preferred to remain unconscious, but Mister Shag had just thrown a bucket of cold water in my face and the option was not available to me.
"Rise and shine, kiddo," he said. "Got some nice folks fer ya to meet."
He took me down the street to a small but pleasant-looking adventuring guild shop, with the name Sidhe Devils on a shingle outside the door. Inside were two well-seasoned adventurers, another druid and a human rogue. He introduced them as Windshadow and Cassieann, "although fer reasons I's never understood, they also goes by Mr. and Mrs. BBBBB. Or BBBBBB. Sumthin' like that. You know I can't be bothered ta remember the details."
Windshadow grinned. "Yes, Rats, we know."
Mister Shag explained that, as an experienced druid, Windshadow would be able to give me useful advice as I worked my way through the world. Plus, she "were dang pleasant folk." They exchanged a few more pleasantries, then he took his leave. Ms. Shadow showed me were I could store my few meager belongings, and then we talked a bit about specs. She told me that, even though I wanted to be a healer, that I would hate myself if I put my points into the Resto tree while leveling. "Feral is the only sane way to go," she said. She also told me that, if I kept my nose to the grindstone and got to my fifteenth season, that she might reward me and and some of the other new guildies with a naked Deadmines run. I am beginning to suspect that Mister Shag has left me with someone who shares his low sense of humor...
So that is my story so far. Thank you for listening, and to Mister Shag for giving me the opportunity. Elune bless you.