Getting into the Lore… a teeny bit

No, I’m not going to pontificate about lore.

I did want to say that, after reading Arthas: Rise of the Lich King (during that whole contest thing for the book release, remember?) it inspired us to go seek out more of the books.

Cassie and I both read and enjoyed the Arthas book. This is kind of amazing, since Cassie, as a rule, does not like fantasy novels. I can’t speak for her, and maybe she’ll let us know what encouraged her to read it, but she did tell me she enjoyed it.

She enjoyed it enough that she tried to find Christie Golden’s other Warcraft novels through our local library system.

It took some cross-library requests to get it, but we got Rise of the Horde through the inter-library transfer system, and bought Lord of the Clans at a local used bookstore, along with (since what the hell, we were there anyway) The Last Guardian and Beyond the Dark Portal.

Edit… the spoiler section talks about a book due this month that, apparently, I am totally wrong about as to what the subject matter is and such. Can’t update it with good info yet, so just follow the link and check out the comments. There is no way for me to track down the truth, and figure out what book is about Varian Wrynn and what the Ashbringer graphic novel is about. Working Bear is working as intended.

Spoiler alert!
The collected graphic novel of the King of Stormwind comics, World of Warcraft: Ashbringer is due out later this month, and I’m hoping to get a look at that, because I’d like to see how they resolved “The King is Missing, Oh Noes!” quest chain from Alliance side into “The King is Back and Cranky!” that we see from doing the Dragonblight quest chain tand storming Undercity with the King, and being pissy with Thrall.
Spoilers over

Anyway… so we got these books, and Cassie read the Rise of the Horde, followed by Lord of the Clans, and then said I should get busy with them, that they’re very good.

I have been reading the Ian Rankin “Inspector Rebus” novels from 1 to whatever based on the recommendation of our friend Daak, so I’ve been distracted (I’m on The Black Book now, with four more in the series lined up on the table at home) but I took time out to read those two Warcraft books, plus The Last Guardian since I lived for so long in Karazhan that I wanted to read about it a bit.

I don’t know what Cassie’s thoughts on them are, but I have to say that I loved both books about the Horde. The Rise of the Horde was, obviously, a little richer in the lore of the Orcs, not surprising considering how many years of development passed between the two books, but Lord of the Clans kicked ass too.

Makes me want to run Escape from Durnhold again for old times’ sake.

I don’t know how many of you out there have read the books that have come out, but if you haven’t… I suggest you give them a try. They really are very good, and they tie into our game play events really nicely.

It does add an extra dimension to the game when you know so much more about the world and the people in it.

Hopefully Cassie will have the time to mention her thoughts about them as someone that only plays the game and doesn’t usually (okay, ever) read fantasy novels.

And let me know if you enjoyed these books too, or if they inspired your creation of a guild or changed how you did quests. I’m curious, because I can see how, if you played on the Horde side, these books could inspire all kinds of fun RP events and activities to flourish!

Arthas Book Contest update

I just wanted to let you know, I have received the books for the international winners, and will be mailing them out this week.

Hopefully, that means the US winners have already received their books, and are happily enjoying them!

Congratulations again, and thank you to everyone that participated.

You want a book? You still got a shot!

I do not have any copies left, but my contest was not the only one, nope, not at all.

For those of you that have not won a copy of Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, there is a contest still underway at;

Fantasy and Sci Fi Lovin News and Reviews

The contest is open to citizens of Canada and the US, and is still open, so if you have not been one of the fortunate winners here, there is yet hope!

Go! Go I tell you!

Thank you to the wise Asara Dragonness for the tip!

Arthas Contest Winner – Kraggette of Anvilmar

The fifth and last of our winning entries. Cassie remarked to me that she liked the way this one built up and was resolved. I just liked the story, I guess I’m a fairly simple person. Enjoy!

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The chill of death had been in my body for a long time, but this new chill was something colder, and far more sinister than even I had thought possible. I was standing before my master, Arthas, the Lich King, and he was speaking, to me.

“My dear Vyerimara,” he sang in his deep sultry voice, “come to me, tell me what bothers you my dear.”

As I stepped forward I saw his cool calculating blue eyes, staring straight at me, through me. I felt as though my soul had been ripped into and greedily fed upon by him. He knew me, he knew my treachery, he knew what I would do, and he would soon have my armor as a trophy.

Arthas was not always this way, he was once much kinder to his undead subjects, but he expected no mistakes in return for his kindness. He had grown distant from his once human kindred, and emotion no longer existed in him. He was fighting a war, a war he could win with a wave of his hand.

I was once a loyal subject of his, but, like Windrunner, I had kept my mind. I loved Arthas, he was my king before and after I died, but I was always just out of reach of him.

Now, I have chosen to betray him, to join Windrunner, and end his reign as king of the undead.

Everything was ready, the holy magic encompassing the dagger in my breastplate would be enough to kill him. All I had to do was put it right between his ribs, nothing too hard, considering how close I had been to him these past few months.

I stepped in close, and as I came closer the dagger gained weight in my heart. I had to be calm, but I needed to be quick.

“My Lord, I have brought you news of the front against the Banshee, we have lost one platoon of our soldiers, her voice seems to free their minds. She is the only real danger to our victory. Why do you not just go and destroy her, my King?” My voice cracked on the last word as his eyes lit with a firey rage.

“I don’t because I wish to toy with her, she is a nuisance, but she is cornered,” he growled at me, “She will not stay alive much longer. I have sent orders to the Awoken Ones. She will die TONIGHT!”

I must act more quickly then, I thought to myself, missing the first part of what Arthas was saying, as he concluded with “And so shall you.”

I had only heard the end of that sentence, “so shall I what?”

“Yes my lieg…” My voice trailed off as I finally understood what he had said.

“And for yourself Vyerimara, so shall you.”

I would not be finished so easily though, with the holy magic coursing through the dust in my own veins I ran to him, pulled out my kris, and plunged as hard and fast as I could toward his armor’s side, the weakest point. The holy magic burst forth from my eye sockets. The kris shattered on his hardened armor, and what little had been left of my mind was now gone.

And now I am his puppet, I AM SCOURGE!

Arthas Contest Winner – Hannelore

The fourth of five winning entries we received for the BBB Arthas Book Contest! This one may seem very short indeed… until you remember that this came in after our draconian announcement of an entry being two paragraphs, and before we opened it up to whatever you needed. Cassie and I absolutely loved this one, for the powerful emotional impact it has. Enjoy!

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Hannelore froze in place, there on the dais of Utgarde Keep.  Hundreds of feet below, there was the constant sound of rushing water crashing against the craggy cliffs of the Howling Fjord.  All around, the cries of the protodrakes and their riders filled the air, blending together to create the illusion of some even more fantastical creature of hate and violence.  The sounds of battle still rang in her sensitive ears, from the clash of weapons on armor to the haughty shouts of the now-dead vrykul, Ingvar.  Nevertheless, Hannelore could swear she had just heard someone whisper her name.  It had been the most malevolent, twisted sound she had ever heard.

“I could use a plaything like you, blood elf,” it continued, haunting her mind with its echoes before the sound ever came.  “You are far from ready, yet.  The potential is within you for great things.  Terrible things.  You have caught my attention with your constant interferances with my works.”  The priestess tried to control a shiver, unsure why she felt such pride at those words.  “Perhaps you will prove yourself worthy to me in time.  I will set you on the path to join me, and you will come to me of your own volition.”  There was frost forming on her upper lip; she could feel it, and could hear the crystals crackling as the moisture froze in the suddenly arctic air.  “Or you will fall, and become a mindless minion to swell my ranks.  I look forward to seeing you again, Hannelore…”

She spun in place, sending the skirts of her robes swirling about her ankles.  She licked her lips, found the frost gone, and prepared a spell.  The gleam of magical energies faded and fell from her fingers as the priestess realized she was alone on the dais with a quickly rotting corpse that still lay bleeding and broken against a column.  She glanced around, faintly glowing emerald eyes searching the lengthening shadows for a sign of the Lich King, Arthas.  It was he that destroyed her city, turned its population into a broken people, and tainted their very lives with his foulness.  He wasn’t there with her, though.  Hannelore’s legs buckled and she dropped to her knees, confused at the tears running down her cheeks.  That voice had been pure evil, but she found herself desperate to hear it declare her worthy…

Arthas Contest Winner – Malphailuron

The third of five winning entries we received for the BBB Arthas Book Contest! Since the first two were quite long, you should be relieved to see that our last three winning entries hewed closer to our request that entries be short little scenes, brief encounters, a taste, a teaser if you will of your vision of your character meeting Arthas. Each of the three approaches the idea from vastly different directions, and this one from Malphailuron of Eredar was one of Cassie’s first favorites. Enjoy!

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“The Bronzes aren’t going to like this.”

“I know.”

“Light guide your steps, Dalgren.”

“Light bless you, Luri, and all you’ve done.”

Dalgren watched as the archmage faded from view, leaving only the quiet, sun-dappled woods of afternoon Tirisfal. It was almost unrecognizable, untainted by the Scourge, and then the Forsaken. The air was fresh, the trees were strong and healthy, the sky was clear and blue. It will be this way forever now, thought Dalgren.

A noise to the southeast drew his attention, and Dalgren instantly recognized the newcomer. The boy was a perfect copy of the ghost-child Matthias Lehner, running headlong through the woods, slashing at phantom orcs with a crude wooden sword. Noticing the imposing, armored figure of Dalgren, the boy stopped, his crusade forgotten as his eyes and mouth grew wide.

Dalgren drew his sword and resolutely approached the child.

How many thousands had died at the Lich King’s hands? How many disembodied spirits wandered the Plaguelands even now, unable to find rest? How many noble soldiers had given their lives in defense of their loved ones, only to be raised in a cruel mockery of life as they turned their blades on their former comrades?

The boy stared up unflinchingly, his face fixed in an expression of admiration and awe. He gave the paladin a shy smile, unaware of Dalgren’s intent.

The glory of Lordaeron, forever shattered by the Scourge. Unthinking cruelty, unmitigated rancor, unimaginable treachery, a hundred sins and vices committed … for what? For earthly power? For dominion over a dead and sundered world? All life, all light, extinguished to sate the ambitions of a single madman?

Dalgren kneeled before the child, sinking his sword into the soft loam, and placed his gauntleted hands upon the kid’s shoulders, and gazed into the blue eyes of his future nemesis.

To undo it all—the needless deaths, the endless months of war, plague, and suffering, the looming threat in the north, his mentor’s defection to the Lich King’s ranks, transformed into a Death Knight. The power was in his hands. Everything he had worked for …

He spoke.

“One day, young prince, you too shall wield a sword Never forget that true strength does not come in arms, nor power in a kingdom, nor valor in command … true strength, true power, and true valor will always rest in a good heart. And nothing—nothing!—will ever change that.”

So saying, he rose and turned from the boy, and walked off through the woods.

“Why didn’t you do it?” Luri asked, dismissing her spellwork.

Dalgren was silent for a long time.

“If I had done it … He would have won. He’s still a child, still innocent of his future crimes. But if I kill him … I’m no better than what he will be. To do this, to be a monster in life, is no better than becoming a monster in death. This is how the Lich King works. This is why he must be stopped.”

Dalgren sighed. “Let’s go home.”

Arthas Contest Winner – Cowsareus

The second of five winning entries we received for the BBB Arthas Book Contest! I enjoyed the point of view, and the thought behind this one quite a bit, and I hope you enjoy it too! I made a few minor spelling and grammer corrections, to ease the readability a bit. I hope that Cowsareus, a self professed native French-speaker living in Switzerland will forgive me the impertinance.

As told by Cowsareus

“What? Sit and wait?” I asked him. “Why should I sit here and wait?” 
The reply came, quiet and assured. “I have heard of your future, and I know who you are”.

The beast spoke slowly, with a deep voice that identified him instantly as a male Tauren. Some find their voice intimidating, I just think of them as animals with the ability to speak. How could this beast know me and ask me to spend time chatting with him? Did he not see I had merely paused to regain my strength? Did he not understand my pressing need to keep moving?

The Tauren sat down, as if to invite me to join him into listening to his speech.

“You are still yet a young prince, and your presence has been noticed.”

“I’m glad to hear that, Tauren”, I said, interrupting the creature.

“I heard your race has become quite good at spotting the obvious, over the ages. You druids and all your ancestral religion means nothing to me. I believe in myself and the Light. If you came to tell me about Cenarius and the Earth Mother, you are wasting my time.”

The beast continued on, seemingly unbothered by my observations. “I came to find you, young prince, to maintain balance. Your acts are about to have a greater impact on yourself than you know, and the Earth Mother gifted my sight to see further than this day, and I saw you. I speak the truth, young prince.”

You are a fool, Tauren, hours of meditation in your smoky hut turned you senile. You know nothing of me!”

“Your name is Arthas, and you are to become the next King. The nature of your kingdom is not yet decided…  Today you are on a mission to kill many innocent lives. You are heading toward a town infected by the plague, and you intend to kill each and everyone of its people.”

“How dare you speak those words! Are you foolish enough to call me a murderer?”

If you are that well informed about the plague infection, why do you not use your wisdom to find a cure for it, so that we may save this land? And even if I have to slay infected people, can’t you see that it is the only thing to be done to prevent them from turning into mindless zombies, slaves doomed to fight the ones they loved?”

“It is in the balance of life for these people to die. It is not for them to die at your hands, young Prince.”

The Tauren looked at me silently, sitting right in front of me, defenseless. I could slaughter him right here and now, should I see the need to do so. 

I was getting tired of this encounter. I had to reach Stratholme, and this beast that had approached me as I gathered my strength to continue the chase was wasting my time with his meaningless opinions.

“Should I just end his suffering and move on?”, I wondered, growing ever more irritated at the delay. No, a Paladin, a follower of the Light, shall not kill for such reasons.

“So what are you suggesting, Tauren, how shall I save Stratholme and the rest of the country, if I do nothing to stop the spead of the plague, and they are all infected” I asked him. 

“I asked you to sit right here, and wait”.

I was getting irritated. This animal showed no respect, and seemed to have lost his mind long ago. 

Tauren, I have had enough of you. I am leaving, and I suggest you never stand in my way again. I might not be as merciful”. 

It was then, that I noticed a change happening. The sky darkened above us, the grass around us started moving as if shaken by an invisible hand, and yet I could feel no wind on my face. I felt something moving behind me. I felt unsettled, as if nature itself was watching me. 

Then the Tauren stood up and spoke. The voice had changed. No longer did he speak with his ridiculously calm and soft voice. It was as if I could hear a thunder during the most violent storm talking to me.

“Young Prince, I came to find you here before you reached Stratholme, for I have seen your deeds, and I will not allow it to happen!”

“Foolish Tauren, if you came to challenge me, I will fight and defeat you. I am not afraid by this sorcery!”

As I looked around, I saw a multitude of animals had gathered out of nowhere. Deers, wolves, bears, even the branches of the trees were filled with hundreds of birds above us. They all stood or perched quietly, watching us. 

Gathering my strength, I resolved to push aside this beast that dared to try to prevent me from doing my duty.

“I shall grant you a clean death. I hope for you that you are ready for this journey in the afterlife. May the light take you, Tauren!”

I raised my hammer overhead, and unleashing my battle cry, I charged forward. “For the light!”

He did not seem prepared to fight. He never moved. My hammer crushed his bones as I hit him, and before his own blood blurred my vision I saw the pain on his face.  

At that moment, I felt a needle piercing my chest. A very slight, meaningless pain.

I cleared my eyes, and as I looked down, I saw the Tauren’s arm falling to his side, cluthcing a small branch. He had managed to hit me on the chest between the plates of my armor, on the left hand side.  

“What have you done, foolish Tauren? Tried to fight me with a piece of wood?” 

The wound I had received was not even painful. He certainly did succeed in striking me, but if it wasn’t for the blood on my side and the branch he was holding, I would barely have noticed his feeble effort.

“Now, young Prince, you are ready for your journey,” he whispered as he fell.

As the massive body hit the ground, I heard a sound as of a thousand creatures in mourning ripping through my ears. It was as if all the wild creatures that had gathered around were crying at the death of their champion.

A moment later, they became silent and departed, leaving me in peace.

Shaking off the strangeness of the encounter, I shook off my fatigue and prepared for the final push to Stratholme. “People of Stratholme, your Prince is coming to your aid!”

~0~

The young Prince was, indeed, now ready for his journey, not knowing that he carried a seed inside him. A seed planted into his heart, through the death of a noble son of the Earth Mother. 

“For the King’s heart shall be frozen for a time. 
Then the ice will melt, and the seed will bring a new spark of life into him.
And he shall redeem his name and become the King of Lordaeron.”

It was I who wrote those words of prophecy with my own hand so long ago. I have foreseen all of this happening with my own eyes. For the Earth Mother gifted my sight, and I see further than the events of today. 

She saved Arthas, like she saved me. 

From the journal of Medivh, the Last Guardian of Tirisfal