Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Shattering: Conclusion

Three days later, she opened her eyes. But she had not come back to me.

Too much damage to her brain, the healers of Gadgetzan told me. It could no longer hold her spirit, which had retreated to the Emerald Dream.Yet her body yet lived, tethering it to this world, where she belonged. And so she was trapped, stretched between two dimensions, unable to truly be in either. Was it my fault? If I had gotten her here sooner, if my amateurish attempts in the desert to heal the damage caused by the rock that struck her skull, would it have made a difference. Probably not, they told me, although they could not be sure. Would she ever recover? They could not say. Maybe. Possibly. Possibly not.

I held her in my arms and cried all night long. Once, she looked at me and blinked and almost smiled for a second, and then she went back to staring straight ahead, eyes unfocused.

The next day, the goblins presented me a bill. It was of course terrifyingly huge - several times what Feral and I had saved away. Fortunately, that afternoon, before they switched from polite requests to forceful demands, a courier arrived with a chest of gold from Ratshag. It was Mouse, but an unnervingly quiet and subdued Mouse. Things were bad, she told me. It wasn't just Feral and me who had gotten caught in what the world was now calling The Shattering. Orgrimmar had been burned. Deathwing had attacked Stormwind itself, and when Kinnavieve had tried to face him down she was horribly burned. Alayda had last been seen trying to hold back a huge onslaught of Twilight's Hammer cultists with the Earthen Ring in the Highlands, and the few reports back sounded grim. All communications with Northrend, where Jinnik and Kalishna were, had been broken. Even Thrall himself was missing and feared dead. Mister Ratshag, at least, was all right, and had just departed on an expedition with the Kor'kron to try to establish a foothold on some new islands that had been thrust up out of the ocean. What she didn't tell me until later, and what Mister Ratshag had instructed her never to tell me, was that the river of lava that had destroyed his ranch in the Barrens had destroyed most of the wealth he had accumulated over the years. The gold he had sent down to pay for Feral's treatments had come from hocking Ashkandi, his prized sword, that he had taken when he slew the dragon Nefarian. It, and a few other rare artifacts had been safe in the Consortium's void storage system. Had I known, I .... I .... I don't know. But I love him all the more for what he did for us. And yes, he was able to get his sword back. War pays well.

I took Feral back to Teldrassil. The druids there could nothing more for her - they could only confirm the goblins' diagnosis. She had no family to take care of her, and with the ferocious assault on Mount Hyjal I had no choice but to return to the fighting. But the Priestesses of Elune accepted her into their care, as they did with all those victims of these wars who had nowhere else to go. They keep her fed and clean and some days, when her spirit is somewhat closer to our world and she is active, they take her for short walks amongst the trees. I come back to visit her whenever there is a lull in the fighting. I would stay with her always, but my people are fighting for their survival now and I am needed. It tears me apart, but if our armies fail then Ragnaros' elementals will burn Teldrassil and everyone on it just for his amusement. Some days, when I visit her, it is almost as if she is back with me, only regressed to early childhood. She smiles at me and touches my face and giggles delightedly when I shift to my cat form. But somedays she just lies on her bed, unresponsive, staring at the ceiling.

There is nothing I can do for her. There is nothing anyone can do for her. Either she will heal someday, and come back to me, or she will not. Until them, nothing matters. Nothing changes.

Well, there is one thing I can change. I always thought 'licious was the strong one, and I was happy just to be able to help. She told me I was strong too, maybe stronger, but I could never see that. But I've been without her for eight months now, and I have learned that I am strong. That even though I miss her more than anything, I can survive on my own, and be strong. I have grown very strong indeed. 'licious, you'd be proud of me.I have fought our enemies on the slopes of Hyjal and pursued them to the depths of the Maelstrom. I have fought them in the dungeons of Tol Barad and the dark tunnels of Blackrock Mountain. And tonight, I am going to take my power and change one thing. It is a little thing, but it is important to me.

Hey, Big and Ugly! Three years ago my girl didn't like the way you were looking at her, and there was nothing we could do about it. Well, tonight, it's my turn to kick your ass!


I miss you 'licious. Please get well and come back to me.

RL Avatar's note: Last year Blizzard shattered Azeroth. Volcanoes and earthquakes ripped the land apart, entire towns were wiped out, even the pillar that supported the world was broken. Yet it all happened behind the scenes, while the servers were down. We logged out one night, and when we logged in the next morning it was all over. What was the worst thing that happened to us players? Having to look for where they moved the Org AH to? I strongly believe that the gaming experience is enhanced when our characters are at risk, when they feel real pain, when they suffer real loss. So, since Blizzard denied that to us, I have tried to write some stories to explore and experience what it must have been like for this group of square pegs I am so fond of. They have suffered and lost, but there has also been humor and, in the end, some opportunities for payback.


Sephrenya said...

Oh good grief, I LOVE your writing. I could read it for days. Thank you for not keeping it to yourself and letting us all read it. Tis a wonderful thing to have a gift and even better to share it. Hugs!

Zinn said...

Great text! :)

Kayeri said...

::sniffling and grabbing a tissue:: As always, you make me cry, Ratters.

Kharbrydis said...

As usual, great writing. I'd love to hear more from some of the others.

Coranada said...

I hated how Blizz handled the transition... we were apparently all in comas for years? My characters have stories and it felt like chapters were just ripped out. I'm glad others have tried filling theirs back in. And this is the story I've been patiently waiting to read all of. Thanks.

ZombiePirate said...

Ratters, I love your version of Cataclysm more than the Blizzard version. If we'd have had more experience of the shattering other than a few quests finding hidden Twilight Cultists and despatching elementals I might have lasted more than the first few months of the expansion.

Anonymous said...


Your characters are always great and your stories fun, but this was your tour de force. Well done, indeed.

I will always look at Pali differently now whenever I see her log in.


Jamin said...

I agree with the above comments. Such a beautiful piece.

I actually didn't expect this, alongside your usual postings.

Really inspiring in a way :)

- Jamin

Angelya said...

So sad :(

I always thought that denying us the stories behind the actual Cataclysm was such a shame and a wasted opportunity for great storytelling... thanks for sharing some of yours Ratters! <3

*runs off to hunt for tissues*

theanorak said...

You're a monster. A genius monster. Monster genius.

Something, anyway.

Ratshag said...

Thankee fer lettin' us know what ya liked it.

Yeah, it ain't the usual silliness, but every now and then there be a story what needs tellin'. And they ain't always gots a happy endin'.

I's down with "monster genius"