Escape from Lion’s Arch

Caetwyn prepares to rescue the people of Lion's Arch and slaughter her enemies!

Caetwyn prepares to rescue the people of Lion’s Arch and slaughter her enemies!

The latest chapter in the ongoing ‘living story’ of Guild Wars 2 has the central city (Lion’s Arch) under siege by a typically diabolical foe and their equally diabolical minions. I regret that I’ve been too preoccupied of late to participate in the recent story arc, so I’m not as familiar with the background behind the razing of the city as I’d like to be, but I damn-well made some time to see it happen and do what I can to save Lion’s Arch!

I was afraid that this event would be a repeat of the Karka catastrophe, that was mostly available only to people who were fortunate enough to live in the right time zone. It was a one-time affair that people could only repeat if they could score an invite into a group on an overflow server. The constant creations of overflows helped drag the event out for several hours, enabling people who wouldn’t have made it a chance to play. I, myself, barely made it onto an overflow and was having such a great time bringing down the beast, but just before its demise the game was patched and the event was over.

Suffice to say the Karka catastrophe left a bitter after-taste, so I approached the razing of Lion’s Arch with a mix of trepidation and enthusiasm and heartbreak. But the masterful masterminds behind Guild Wars 2 have done a spectacular job. Taking onboard all the feedback after such a disastrous event, they’ve created something that both contributes to the story in a one-time-only fashion, but are dragging it out through the course of… Actually, I don’t know how long this will last, but it’s already been several days longer than the brief window for the Karka catastrophe.

It happened in a cut-scene (actually this is the event trailer):

Now the city is too hazardous to enter at times, and certainly too hazardous to linger too long. The complement of story content in gameplay windows like this is fantastic for enabling everyone to access and experience the event without having to resort to trickery. Bravo, ArenaNet. Bravo!

It was hard to watch, especially as a cut-scene doesn’t let you react. Being a passive observer through a minute (or less) of watching an invasion of the city was rough, but to then land in the thick of it and see the extent of the destruction… It was about as eye-watering as that first swim to find the ruins of the Old City under the bay.

Lion’s Arch is a character unto itself, having been at the heart of the story since it began (at least as far as game play goes). It’s the central hub where all the races converge and trade (sometimes goods, sometimes insults). It’s brimming with pirates, which gives it a salty edge, and every cave seems to harbour some ‘secret collective’. And yeah, there’s a jerk in a well. It hosts Winters Day and Halloween, and DragonBash, drawing everyone from everywhere to participate.

Lion’s Arch is the backbone of Tyria, and it’s just been broken.

Though Caetwyn is still a young character, not even half way to 80, she’s been digging through rubble and herding refugees out of harms way, all the while lamenting the damage done to her home away from the Shiverpeaks. The air is hot and poisonous, raining sparks and ash and full of great plumes of smoke. Buildings lie in ruins, centres of trade smouldering. The shore is overrun, and the horizon is consumed by a great and dastardly machine.

It’s awesome and awful, and I am full of awe.

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Caetwyn faces the blackened horizon from Lion’s Arch.

Smudge Vs GW2

Smudge doesn’t like to be left out of anything.

I’ve never had a cat who pays this much attention to what’s happening on my screen, yet pays no attention to his reflection in a mirror.

This time my phone was within reach so I could capture his cuteness for posterity!

Ode to Anne McCaffrey

I wrote this in the days after I received news of Anne McCaffrey’s death. I’m not a fan of poetry, to read or write, but I was so struck by grief to lose my childhood idol I could find no other way to get through it. She often introduced her chapters in the Pern books with verses, so it seemed appropriate, in a way.

The Holds are quiet;
the Halls have dimmed.
The Weyrs are grieving;
their banners trimmed.
Drums are covered,
pipes laid down;
a dark day passes
without renown.

Holders raise a glass
and take a moment or two,
give thanks, rejoice, remember
the words that made you true.
You shall live on, and over again,
your stories oft retold,
your sickness and defeats,
and conquests bright and bold.

Harpers sing a soulful tune,
Weavers thread her story,
Miners and Smiths take up your crafts
in homage to her glory.
By thread or hide or smelted steel,
your grit, your blood, your sweat;
give praise to she who wrote you,
for Pern must not forget.

Weyrfolk lament,
your dragons too.
A moment of reverence
is asked of you.
Gold and bronze,
brown, blue, and green,
take flight, give voice:
Anne McCaffrey has gone between.

– Amelia Beare (24th of November, 2011)

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His name is Smudge.

Three weeks after Monster died, Spirit (my dog) alerted me to this little guy in my back yard. He couldn’t have been more than three weeks old.

Spirit probably interrupted his mother while she was relocating her litter, and she wasn’t likely to come back soon. Spirit would have picked him up and brought him to me if she could reach him. Instead, at 2230 on a chilly night, she called me out in my jammies and slippers.

I think this belongs to you!

Smudge is doing great. Against the odds and without his mother he’s thriving and moving in to my broken heart. He’s not my beloved Monster, whom I miss every day, but he sleeps on my pillow and follows me everywhere. I fed him special formula at all hours of the day and night, kept him close and warm, and stopped crying for a while.

He’s just what I needed when I needed it most.

I’ve been meaning to write a farewell post for Monster for almost three months now, but I can’t. I can’t even face his ashes just yet. But there will be a picture-laden ode to my old friend soon.

 

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