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Ephe Runetotem
07 July 2014 @ 10:35 pm
M'bad for the two-day downtime on TBDF, folks. Domain registration lapsed because I forgot to go click a button to keep on keepin' on.

The button has now been clicked. It'll be back soon -- might take a day or so to re-propagate the DNS addresses and such though. Thanks for your patience in the meantime!
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Ephe Runetotem
18 March 2014 @ 01:37 am
((Premise: A decent chunk of time has passed since the Horde and Alliance landed in Pandaria. If someone new were to be traveling through now, what would they actually see and hear? I'm playing through the 85-90 experience as someone who's exploring and interviewing folks to hear what has already happened, so this entry/series is just me extrapolating from that. Obviously, this isn't from Ephe's POV. :P))

Well, here I am. Land of mist and brews.

Real pretty, just like she said it'd be. Real mess too, but the fighting ain't so bad here. Not anymore. But you don’t need to be a shaman to see what was left behind. Like a bad wound, the kind of war those soldiers fought here can't help but leave a big, ugly scar behind. Bamboo exploded in blackened splinters. Animals driven beyond feral, but by what no one'll say. Debris washed up on shore, sticking out of riverbanks, red and blue all tangled up so bad you can't even see where it starts or ends – and that's when you make out the colors. And then there's the ditches. Oh Mother, those ditches are worse than the piles of bodies in northern wars. You know why? 'cause we set fire to those piles as a rule, and when everything around you is ice, you ain't afraid to light 'em up. Here, though, the whole region's a forest. You know, real pretty until you need burn something big. I reckon cooler heads jumped in and convinced someone or another not to burn bodies here or else there wouldn't be a forest still, but gods above and below, the white powder they dumped in these ditches did something real weird to these bodies. They don't smell like you'd expect, but at least the ones that ain't been covered with dirt are filled with bodies all wrung dry, like mummies if you unravel 'em. No, no, don't ask where I've seen that.

The point is, it’s a real mess here. Shame, that.

Worse, the locals gave me the stink-eye when I rode into one of their towns. Sounds like they got a raw deal the last time they had strangers staying over at the inn. Lady I spoke to didn't mention which side, but I reckon she didn’t care — both sides brought the gods-damned fight right through the front door. Over the owner's objections, like they do. Who started it? Who the hell cares.

Poor fellow, that owner. He's done a good job cleaning up the place, but I can still see the scuffs and scratches on the floorboards. He's still got a pile of smashed benches in the corner, partly covered with a blanket like he ain't too sure what to do with 'em now. I only notice because the owner looks there quick-like while he's trying to explain why he's real sorry, but I can't spend the night there. Those black marks around his eyes make it hard to get a read on the owner, but his voice is soft, polite. Maybe a little too polite. Anyway, I ain't here to cause trouble, so I tell him I'm just looking for a meal and then I'll be out of his fur. He points to a stool at the bar and so there I am, sitting with a plate of steaming dumplings, chatting with the fellow about his life, his food, his family. They're still alive, but he's quick to remind me that they're some of the lucky ones. The food's delicious, and the beer...I ask him what his secret is, and he says a true master pours his heart and soul into his work. Brewing's no different.

If that's the owner's soul, then I reckon he's a paragon of virtue.

Eventually, conversation turns to the outsiders, to strangers who came before me. He's real careful to tell me how much we’ve helped with their problems. Would they have wanted our help if they knew the price they’d be paying? I ask him if there's anything I can do to help.

"Stranger, it's very kind of you to offer, but your people have done much for us already. We must learn to stand on our own feet."

Translation: go away and leave us in peace. Can't say I blame him for that. On my way out I ask if I can buy some parchment, and he points me to another town not too far away.

I got in late and ain't seen much yet, but the scroll I bought has been mighty fine work so far. And the inks -- well, I'll save that for another day.
Ephe Runetotem
29 September 2013 @ 08:42 pm
If you don't care about the TBDF forums, feel free to skip this!

The State of the TBDFCollapse )

TL;DR: The forums chug on, if at a labored pace. If you're looking to contact me re: forum concerns, this is a fine place to do so. Leave a comment on this post and I'll get in contact with ya.
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Ephe Runetotem
14 November 2012 @ 07:53 pm
Hey folks, I'm happy to report that the TBDF is (somewhat) operational again. The DNS and domain transfers kicked in late last night, which means it may still take a while for the changes to propagate through to everyone. If you still see the old forums, don't panic just yet.

A few notes on what to expect:
- Everything is still pretty rough, so please pardon the dust.
- I didn't transfer any of the accounts over because of issues with the database. Unfortunately, you will have to create a new account.
- To prevent the spam problems we were seeing before, your account will need to be approved before you can post. I'm going to let that sit for now and check as often as I can. Later, if folks prefer a CAPTCHA, holler here or whatever and I'll look into setting it up.
- Email notifications don't work right now. Looking into this.
- The forums are super simple right now to keep things streamlined.

If there's a feature you want, let me know either here or in the Forum Support section of the forums. Same with feedback, questions, etc. on forum structure, layouts, or whatever.

Thanks again for your patience!
Ephe Runetotem
12 November 2012 @ 11:22 pm
I'll be working intermittently this week (and onward if technical issues arise) to migrate TBDF to a new host. If you haven't backed up your PMs yet (for shame) I highly suggest you do so now, as they will cease to be available shortly.

Thank you!
Ephe Runetotem
23 September 2012 @ 04:12 am
Hey folks. As most of you know, TBDF's been down for a while.

First, thank you all for your patience, and I apologize for the mess this has turned into. Let me assure you that we've been working behind the scenes to resolve this -- first, to figure out what of the corrupted database can still be salvaged and restore that, and second, to evaluate and prepare for the next step. Now that the first step's been resolved (somewhat), I have some bad news for you guys.

1) TBDF is up again, but only account information (e.g. signatures), uploaded images, and PMs through June 2010 are available. If you'd like to preserve any of that, please back it up soon.

But Ephe, what happened to all the posts? The short story is that the database storing all of the forum info got partially corrupted. Unfortunately for all of us, the corrupted section was storing all of the posts.

Techy details.Collapse )

That said, if anyone has an older (or newer!) copy of the database, please let me know. With a backup version of the forum, I may be able to restore at least part of the forum posts, which would be fantastic.

2) Given TBDF's website woes, Thierry and I are planning to switch hosts, and probably forum software too. We don't have an ETA on this yet, but we'll keep you posted once we have more details. In the meantime, please feel free to throw out suggestions on either/both here.

Wherever we decide to go, I do plan on putting up whatever skeleton of the old forums up as well as a read-only resource. Just to be on the safe side though, please back up whatever you'd like to keep now. I don't foresee the move taking place before MoP (if only because that's terribly short timing for folks to back up their info), but we'll see.

Again, thank you so much for your patience and your understanding. I know it's been frustrating/sad to see it down; god knows I still check the site daily out of habit, so I totally understand. If you've got any questions, comments, suggestions, complaints, or whatever concerning the TBDF and/or its future -- please, please feel free to talk to me. I don't bite, and I'm not easily offended, promise. ;)
Ephe Runetotem
20 September 2012 @ 01:51 am
We heard about the bomb not long after it happened. In the healers' tent, we had already gathered, awaiting news, injured, casualties, and all in a night that felt so abnormally still. I can't even begin to describe the horror that rippled through the Bluffs as the news spread, the mourning at such a senseless, cowardly, destructive device being deployed anywhere, on anyone. And the pain that the land endured -- it's a sharp, heavy ache on my heart to consider what role our people may have had in this tragedy, to say nothing of the Earthmother's pain. The grim looks on the faces of those who've come home speaks much about Theramore's fate. And ours, I suppose, should we not comply with the Warchief's whims.

And on she goesCollapse )
Ephe Runetotem
20 August 2012 @ 01:22 am
I should have known by now that nothing ever, ever stays dead forever. What was I thinking?

Of course I wasn't at all. The anger I felt when I last saw her in the Barrens came rushing back the moment I saw her again, smug as ever. As if it were only yesterday that we had quarreled yet again over Lapu, over Grub. Gods, what a bitch. There's a part of me that regrets what happened: the fear of retribution which drove me the accept that awful botanist position with the Circle in Northrend. That look on her face as she fell out of sight, but never out of mind.

I don't regret taking a swing at her though, even if if meant she won the battle, but I wish my blow had actually connected. The other was ...the lightest of touches, a nudge in the right direction. Too bad it doesn't seem like she's lost much or learned much since. At least I managed to maintain enough of my cool this time, so maybe I've grown up some more since. Then again, it probably helps that I'm not mooning over some ridiculous bull these days. What did I ever see in him?

On the brighter side, they finally removed the cast a couple days ago. I nearly panicked at first when a chunk of fur fell away too, but then I remembered just how itchy the recovery process can be. The matron reminds me to work on returning strength to my hand -- as if I needed to be reminded. She means well, and she's been very kind to send soup over to my tent, but I suspect it's to keep me from attempting to do too much before my hand is strong enough. But gods I've dreamed of this happening for so long. Now that the dream's a certainty, what's a few more days or weeks?

Right now, I'm only using my hand to keep the page open. Even so, I feel the rough fibers of the paper underneath my fingertips, cooler to the touch than I'd expect. Grass. I should try running my hand through the grass sometime.

Tomorrow is as good of a day as any.
Ephe Runetotem
07 August 2012 @ 08:06 pm
Any excitement I might have had about seeing Pook quickly soured when No proposed that I try bringing Pook back to her Elf form, using my knowledge of druidism. That moment, with my hand around the moonstone

It's been many, many moons now since I turned away from the druid's path, and longer still since I first became disillusioned with the Cenarion Circle. Even now, I wonder sometimes if my brother's shadow had soured the whole experience for me. Once, I idolized him: he had no end of talent, skill, and wisdom, especially to my much younger self. That much was obvious to my parents, who could speak no wrong of him, and to the elders, who were eager to give him opportunities to grow and shine. To my knowledge, he never squandered those opportunities, but because he didn't, he was always so busy.

I'm getting ahead of myself, though. I don't even know how much of a connection I still have to any of the spirits, let alone the Cat. At least I'm attempting to commune with the Cat rather than the Bear or the Seal-Walrus-Sea Cow, though. I don't actually recall ever having met the latter spirit, come to think of it, but I was also close to drowning at that point in my Trials. I hear that young druids these days don't need to go through that particular trial, not since the year that a student actually drowned because he was too embarrassed to admit he had never learned to swim. Students these days.

It's daunting to try.


Gods, of all the things I did not want to know.


Obligation, more than anything else, led me back to the Kodo these past evenings.

To Pook, for the friends we once were, for the years we had faced and endured together, for the lessons in Common, and on bananas and other ways of the world. To Sebrawyn, for the friendship I'm afraid to lose, for the child she carries. For No, to whom I owe a debt I can't truly repay, and for everything, even with our differences. To all of them, for their help when I was in need.

We've had an unspoken code for a while, those of us from those times. We may not like each other personally, but when there's trouble, we help where we can. It sounds maybe too romantic, but adversity has brought us together time after time after time. And gods know we've faced a lot of terrible things.

So I keep going, I guess. On those nights, I get myself strapped into that awful leather harness on the wind rider, invalid that I am, and hope that the Alliance aren't looking to shoot down civilians today. I mean, you still hear reports from time to time about that happening. Sorry, ma'am, we've recovered your husband's corpse from the Barrens and brought it to the Elder Rise, and maybe his muzzle's been smashed in during the fall, but we need you or a loved one to come verify his identity before we can release the body to you. And then the wife or mother wails and demands to know where the Horde was when her husband was going to gods-damned Orgrimmar, and all we can do is shake our head and point to the zeppelin. It hasn't blown up, it hasn't blown up, and Earthmother be kind, no one's mentioned 'yet' in all of this.

Not, of course, to make light of Pook's situation, which is also awful. It didn't take much to strike up a conversation with the cat, who told us that she (meaning the cat) had emerged to protect the elf. That kind of behavior isn't unheard of, particularly with untrained druids, or druids who, like Pook, have wholly given themselves to a particular animal. But then, the cat gave us a brief warning, once we had convinced her to lead us to the elf, before abruptly handing control to the elf.

Gods. The elf's loud screams of agony was nothing to that mad, agonized shriek over the moonstone and into my head. I caught no thoughts, but the raw emotions were more than enough to manage: terror, pain, grief, agony. Madness.

No and I channeled An'she's power to muffle the pain, but in that moment, the cat took control once again. "Broken" was the term the cat used to describe her. We discussed some plans before No (of all people) suggested a gods-damned dreamwalk to solve the problem. A dreamwalk. Worse, No and Sebrawyn were talking about contacting some priest with a very Elvish-sounding name to conduct the walk. I can't even begin to fathom which part is worse. Next thing I'll hear, they'll be anchoring to a mystical creature instead of something sensible like the gods-damned land.

Thankfully, my task is done. Should they have need of me, I've already made the offer to help. Really, though, the less I know of No's love life, the better. Provided, of course, that he has one.


Dreams are dangerous.

I'm dreaming again. Wind ruffles my feathers, the smell of pine and prey, paws sinking into dirt after a rainstorm. My arm aches and itches. But

I feel like I can scarcely breathe.
Ephe Runetotem
17 July 2012 @ 01:44 am
hoped he would find confidence when i brought sebrawyn to talk to him. she said she needed help and that he was the only one who could help her. it sounded like addiction, her problem, and that is information he has not lost completely. he might have felt better about having being able to help with that small bit of information because it proves that he has not lost everything yet. even with the many many risks, i heard her out and trusted her and hoped she would not abuse it. her story seemed true at the time but its true, she could have told that to me because she thought i would sympathize. still she had details and they were things that i could see happening but there was no time to check and the camp had too many ears. lucky that there were no elves around to overhear us.

she seemed earnest about how she had come to leave the city at least, and if it is true then the position is cursed. or maybe it makes sense for guards to have these problems. as a guard you face what is foreign and threatening to what you love every day because its your job to do that and protect your people. no one can face that every single day and not come out of it changed by the end. even the stress of needing to always be vigilant will grind you down after a while. you start to see how horrible even your own people can be. you see how ineffectively the system youve sworn to serve operates. you see how little the other races care to understand or even respect your people. the people of the sun, the highborne, who have fallen so far. in that position you cant be blind forever.

you see the worst and cant help but be changed by it.

as i have been, so has she i think. but i havent changed so much that i could turn her and her request away in the end. we owed her our lives. we knew the day would come when the debt would be called in. so i led her home, trying to warn her but i dont think she believed me or maybe she thought i had exaggerated. the entire way i could see a million ways for this go to wrong. but then everything fell into place i suppose. he agreed to see her to clear the debt and she agreed to be careful. and true to his word he made every effort to help her and it sounded like he was well enough to explain. better. remembered enough from what he was saying so it had to be right. i still remember the oatmeal.

at least she stayed for dinner. hard to tell but i think she liked it. its been so long since i cooked for a guest. the joy of crafting a meal for someone else... but maybe it was too simple. our people have always liked opulent food. she wont be a guest again though. i knew something was wrong when her bull husband didnt escort her. should have known she was hiding something. stupid stupid stupid. but they dont know me well if they think to hide someone whos brighter than anything else.

when i saw her husband lurking nearby my heart nearly stopped. it was the bull who kidnapped him and gave him to the dragons, his voice his face his form so like the memory that haunts me, feed sack and all. my anger was so strong that it burned through my hunger, told me to run that figure through like how i couldnt in my dreams. stop the dragons from ever taking him and then its just a fever dream to wake up from. it would be no less than the bull deserves. not apologies. no apology will ever make up for what he has endured. but i hadnt paid my part of the debt and there was him to consider too, especially when sebrawyn was foolish enough to run outside and tip him off that something had happened.

so i let the bull leave with her in the end, as much it hurt to do that, and returned to the cabin to tend to him. whatever i may feel about this, he cant ever know what happened. its clear any positive effects from her visit have been lost. and sun i know it isnt reasonable to be angry with him, especially since i must be responsible for everything thats happened with this visit. he cant usually help how he is. after all some days he is well enough to get by.

and then some days i have to watch him fall apart and try to help him put it all back together again. but the pieces dont fit like they did before. slivers lost like dust into the wind and more and more cant be found the next time he crumbles. all i can do now is try to carve out a safe place for him and help him keep some measure of dignity still. sun, who am i who can guarantee another sunrise, let alone safety from all of our enemies? i cant do that. i cant even protect him from himself. not the times he closes himself in his room or the times he tries to remember. sun knows its not any of the intrusions either. he forgets more than he remembers and then feels worse and worse. and then we work on putting everything together again. thats all i can do. of course i can say the words still like i used to. but we both know better than that now. once maybe. i believed once. now its enough of a struggle to keep every from coming apart again.

how many times can you pull a man together again before there is nothing left to put together?