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The morning sun filtering through the curtains of the suite of rooms which she’d been given in the Hall of the Guardian awakened Kaelinda from a jumbled dream of Silvermoon before Arthas, Silvermoon after Arthas, the Dawnstrider estate in Eversong Woods, and a certain someone* waiting for her to come home again. Sighing, she slid out of bed, tidying the bedclothes with an unvocalized handflick cantrip that she had been doing for so much of her life that she did it now without even consciously thinking about it. After bathing, dressing, and eating a simple breakfast of fruit, nuts, and quark** that she kept stored in her rooms, she went downstairs to the morning meeting of the Council of Tirisgarde.

Kaelinda was not entirely comfortable with her role as the First Conjurer of the renewed Order of Tirisgarde. It had only been a few short years ago that the Magisters of Silvermoon had granted her the rank of Magistrix, after all, and she hadn’t yet taken on even one apprentice. Until the Council was able to determine the cause of and cure for Meryl Felstorm’s debilitating illness, however, she would have to take his place.

First, the Council received the daily petition from an Emissary from one of the peoples of the Broken Isles. Next, Archmage Melis reviewed the notices she’d received in the past day about errands that required the skills of the other Archmages of the Council. They usually ended up assigning those errands to Kalec, Ravandwyr, Esara, or Millhouse, while Kaelinda requested that Archmage Modera accompany her. Then the Council discussed with Grand Conjurer Mimic the training progress and needs of the Apprentices and Invokers. There were potential improvements to the Hall to be considered with Chronicler Elrianne, armor and talismans to be requisitioned with Minuette, and the Focusing Crystal to be charged by Conjurer Awlyn and her staff. When all of these tasks were done, Kaelinda met with Modera to review the notices about various errands or opportunities throughout the Broken Isles. They selected which errands they would do to fulfil the petition of the Emissary, then decided if they wanted to do any of the other errands, as well. The business of the Council frequently took up most of the morning.

Sometimes, Kaelinda went back to her rooms to take lunch by herself. Sometimes, she went to the Purple Parlor with other Mages from the Hall of the Guardian. Sometimes, she went to the Ledgerdemain Lounge with her Sin’dorei relatives. Occasionally, she went to the Filthy Animal with her Tauren friends. Despite the revolting name and the outrageous rumors about Chef Lon’gomba and Gnomes, the food there was really quite decent — provided you ordered something off of the establishment’s traditional menu. There were two new sections on the menu since Dalaran had moved to the Broken Isles: Pandarian cuisine and Broken Isles delicacies. Actually, the Pandarian cuisine was also decent, but anyone who dared to order something from the Broken Isles menu frequently got a badly burned mess.

After lunch, Kaelinda usually did one of two things. Either she and Edirah delved into the the vast library in the center of the Hall of the Guardian, hunting down more information about Felo’melorn, Aluneth, Ebonchill, and the Mages who’d wielded them, or she worked on sewing projects*** in her rooms. Today, she decided to embroider another section of the elaborate decorations on the Imbued Silkweave Robe she was making.

In the late afternoon or early evening, Kaelinda and Modera set out to fulfil the Emissary’s petition. When that task was completed, Kaelinda visited Shal’Aran and distributed Ancient Mana crystals to First Arcanist Thalyssra, Arcanist Valtrois, and Chief Telemancer Occuleth. Although she now understood, as she had not realized when she first met Runas the Shamed and the exiled Leyweaver, Lyndras, that the dependence of the Nightfallen on condensed forms of mana was because it was literally food to them — not quite the same thing as the subtle addiction of the Quel’dorei to the flow of mana from the Sunwell — chasing after Ancient Mana deposits while she was in Suramar still made her feel vaguely like she had become a mana-addict again by proxy. If she had the time and physical energy, she would ask Thalyssra what else she could do that day to help the Nightfallen. If not, she would retire to the Hall of the Guardian and spend the rest of the evening studying magic and practicing her spellwork+. It wouldn’t do, after all, to be outperformed by one of the other members of the Order of Tirisgarde the next time that Mimic requested that she participate in an exhibition duel for the benefit of the Apprentices…

~*~*~

* Until just recently, I wasn’t certain what Kaelinda’s romantic status was. She’s begun hinting to me that she’s got a special male friend who lives in Silvermoon City, though where that relationship falls on the scale of “outwardly platonic, but desperately wishing for more” to “married with children”, she hasn’t told me yet (I suspect that it’s more toward the UST end).

** A cultured, thickened and strained, slightly sweetened dairy product intermediate in texture between yogurt and cream cheese; a regional specialty of Eversong Woods.

*** I have more or less always imagined that the 5 – 10 seconds it takes to craft an item in-game only represents putting the final, finishing touches on it. All the real work of the crafting — the preparation of materials, the shaping and assembly of pieces, the meticulous labor of fine detail work — is something that the character occupies herself with when she’s not busy questing — that is to say, when I’m offline.

+ Although I, the player, almost never spend time with the training dummies, I imagine that my characters do practice their skills and train themselves in new techniques regularly. One can’t stay skilled enough to remain capable of being the leader second-in-command of one’s Class Order if one rests on one’s laurels, after all.

~*~*~

This story was brought to you by the challenge of the fortnight from Z & Cinder:

We want to read about a day in the life of your toon. This one is an opportunity to get as creative as you like. You can simply write about what you get up to in WoW each day. Or maybe you would write it like a diary entry from the point of view of your character, telling the story of their day to day life, going in to battle, fighting the Legion… it’s up to you!

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Upon teleporting back to the Hall of the Guardian to put some new traits into Aluneth and Felo’melorn after doing some questing in Suramar, Kaelinda observed something odd…

When she went to investigate, the portal to Suramar had an unusual green glow around it. She hadn’t used the portal to Suramar yet, so she was curious to see where it would go anyway. (I forgot to take a screenshot of the green glow before I clicked it, though.)

It didn’t go to Suramar.

Apparently she was somewhere in Frostfire Ridge? On Draenor?

What a strange experience…

I’m not particulary keen on this appearance (or any of Ebonchill’s appearances, really), but now I am reminded that I should take some time to go get the Hidden appearance for Aluneth. Hopefully the Hidden appearance for Felo’melorn will just drop while I’m working my way through the Suramar storyline and I won’t have to come back and grind for it.

I’ve got a couple of other things to do in Suramar besides the zone storyline itself that I think I’ll clear up before I continue much farther in the mainline questchain. I need to go visit that tailoring guild guy in Suramar City, and I’ve got a Mage Order Hall Campaign quest to make some trouble in Felsoul Hold with Kalec.

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Kamalia’s forays into Suramar were scattered and disorganized, and I felt like I’d done a few things out of order. When Kaelinda reached level 110, I resolved to go through Suramar with her much more carefully and methodically.

I tackled the introductory questlines one or two in a sitting. First, meeting Thalyssra and discovering what Kel’danath had been up to with the Withered. Next, meeting Occuleth and Valtrois. Finally, going into the city to meet the Lunastres and bringing the arcan’dor seed to Shal’aran.

I liked Occuleth the best of the three lead Nightfallen characters when I finally got around to meeting him with Kamalia. After doing the introduction to Suramar again with Kaelinda, I still like Occuleth the best. He’s such a hoopy frood. I really enjoyed the puzzle-game feeling of his workshop — figuring out where all the teleporters go and which sites are connected — and the amazing views of the zone and the city from each of his cliffside terraces.

The next step, before going too much deeper into Suramar City, was to activate all the leyline feeds.

Now, what should I do next?
I see exclamation points on my map for Jandvik, Tel’Anor, Moon Guard, Irongrove Retreat, and Felsoul Hold, so I can probably just go do those side-quest areas without waiting/needing to get breadcrumbs for them from Thalyssra. But I also know that there are two other quests in Felsoul Hold and one quest near Crimson Thicket that aren’t showing up on the map… maybe I should wait to get breadcrumbs for those from Thalyssra?
Or should I focus on doing the main storyline in the City, and leave the side-quest areas for later?
I should at least go do Jandvik so that those vrykul will be friendly the next time I have to run through their town on my way to Occuleth’s undersea survey.

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Kaelinda dinged 109 doing profession quests at the Darkmoon Faire last Sunday. I didn’t feel like she’d really done very much Legion stuff yet, so where did all that XP come from?

Hmm… she did all of Val’sharah. She did the first chapter in Azsuna and the first two chapters in Stormheim. She did her Mage order hall stuff at level 103 and got all of her Artifacts. She did the Exodar scenario. She did the Tailoring questline up until she got the first quest to go into a dungeon. She picked some flowers — aethril, dreamleaf, fjarnskaggl — and did the first quests for those herbs. And oh yeah, she did a couple of the bonus objective areas in Azsuna while working on the Tailoring and Mage questchains. So I guess that’s quite a bit of Broken Isles stuff, after all. But did she really get almost all of the rest of that XP from doing the Thunder Bluff and Old Dalaran fising dailies until she got the Jeweled Fishing Pole?!

Seeing that Kaelinda was so close to level 110, on Thursday night I decided to go questing with her instead of starting the Legionfall campaign with Kamalia or taking someone to the Thousand Boat Bash. She started by going to Azurewing Repose to help the blue dragons.

At Azurewing Repose, Kaelinda was nearly overcome by the raw, unfiltered mana radiating from the fully exposed ley line.

It had been challenging to break free of the addiction to the flow of mana from the Sunwell, that addiction that she hadn’t even known that she had until the Sunwell was destroyed… She had managed it eventually, sooner even than many Sin’dorei, despite — or perhaps because of — being a Mage and interacting with and shaping mana more frequently and intimately than those with other careers. Once, some years ago, she had gone to the Exodar in Human disguise; she had rapidly fallen into a daze from the haze of mana in the atmosphere there. She had thought, at the time, that she had mastered the addiction, and she had been somewhat ashamed of herself for succumbing so easily. This… this was a hundredfold… maybe a thousandfold more potent and difficult to resist. She struggled to stay focused and clear-headed. It would have been so blissful to just lie down in those shimmering pools, resting her head on the shore, like soaking in a nice hot bath, and dream for awhile.

It didn’t help that Aluneth kept greedily siphoning up the energy.

She had a great deal of empathy for Runas, because he reminded her of those first terrible weeks after the destruction of the Sunwell.

He also frightened her, because he reminded her of what she could have become if she hadn’t been able to begin recovering from the addiction as soon and as well as she did. She was both fascinated and horrified by her introduction to the Nightborne elves at Zarkhenar.

Completing the Azurewing Repose storyline got her over halfway from 109 to 110. That was also a good stopping point, so I continued on Friday.

After she had helped them defeat the Nightborne attack, the dragons sent Kaelinda to meet a ghostly Prince of the ancient Highborne elves, saying that he would be able to help her obtain the Tidestone of Golganneth. Kaelinda had spent many years studying what was known of the Highborne, so she was keenly interested — excited, to tell the truth — to learn about them more directly.

Kaelinda wondered what the rest of the Starlance family’s story was. Where had the children been, that they were not in Nar’thalas when Azshara cursed the city? What careers had Kallistia and Olothil pursued before they decided to become Mages? Or had they been Mages all along, hiding in Eldre’thalas? How had they remained so juvenile youthful over ten thousand years?

Nar’thalas Academy… I loved this place the first time I came through, with Kamalia, and I loved it just as much the second time through. I’ll have to get Kaelinda the Key to its past the next time that Archaeology quest comes up.

Kaelinda continued on and finished the zone after she dinged. The abrupt change of heart of the denizens of Nar’thalas toward their Prince stymied Kaelinda somewhat. For ten thousand years, Farondis’ subjects had hated him for what his defiance of Queen Azshara had cost them. Yet when Azshara confronted Farondis and dangled before him the hope of releasing his people from their curse, he defied her again… and now they suddenly respected him again?

It didn’t seem to make any sense. Could it have been because the revelation that Azshara was behind the Naga made them realize that Farondis cared for them and Azshara did not? And they’d rather be ghosts with a Prince who cared than properly alive (or dead?) with a Queen who didn’t? Or had they entirely misunderstood what Farondis had done and why — for ten thousand years? She would have to spend more time with the Court of Farondis, learning their personalities, history, and culture, to understand this thing.

Of course, Kaelinda was showered with things to do as soon as she returned to Dalaran and her Order Hall. Do World Quests! Go to Suramar! Take the Tear of Elune to Light’s Heart! Continue the Mage campaign! Go to the Broken Shore! I was surprised that she got pushed the Legionfall opening quest — I thought that she would have to complete the 7.0 Order Hall campaign first. She also needs to run the Eye of Azshara dungeon both to get the Tidestone and for her Tailoring quest. Because it was World Quests bonus week, I did World Quests — all the Emissaries that came up, plus a few extras to get to twenty. I had Kamalia send to Kaelinda the Artifact Knowledge catch-up thingy to get her to AK 20; then she spent most of the Order Resources she acquired from WQing to get to AK 25. She very quickly accumulated enough Artifact Power to fill up Aluneth from a handful of traits up to 20-some-odd. I think this AK/AP catch-up mechanism for alts works quite nicely!

So now I will be asking myself each evening: Suramar with Kaelinda, or Legionfall with Kamalia? Or be lazy and just do Emissary World Quests? 😛

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By the time Kamalia got all of her Artifacts to 35 traits in mid-February, I was so ready to be done with World Quests. I went off and rattled around in legacy content, merrily bullying old raid bosses for their pocket change (seriously, Nefarian, just give my Priest her robe, okay?). After awhile, that began to get boring, but I wasn’t quite ready to jump back into Legion content, either — I couldn’t quite bring myself to do endgame stuff with Kam, nor could I quite bring myself to go level with any of my alts.

Now, though, the Legionfall campaign is fully unlocked. People are getting their class mounts and parading them around the streets of Dalaran.

I’m sure I will eventually do all the class mount quests for the stories. After seeing them in action, the class mounts that I’m most excited about getting, the ones that will get their own space on my characters’ action bars, are the Rogue raven and the Mage disc. The Paladin horse, Priest owl-gryphon, Monk tiger, and Warlock demonsteed will go into those characters’ mount macros. The others may not ever get used at all.

Now I can start the Legionfall campaign and progress through it at a rate limited only by my ability to complete the quests in a timely fashion. Plus, it’s World Quest bonus week. I skipped the last couple of those because I wasn’t doing anything with Order Resources. I wasn’t even running missions using the mobile app. I’ll need Order Resources again once I get started on the Legionfall stuff, though. This seems like a good time to come back to Legion content.

So I started doing World Quests again the other day, just enough to complete my Emissary quests, and lo and behold, what should fall out of the Suramar cache but my second Legion Legendary!

I got my first Legion Legendary, the equally generic and even more lackluster Sephuz’s Secret, from a Suramar Emissary cache, too. So I guess I should keep doing those Suramar Emissary quests, and maybe one of these days I’ll get a Legion Legendary that’s class & spec specific.

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To make it easier to review my screenshots of the Order Hall Campaign stories in the future, I’ve divided the Order Hall Campaign into four chapters. Chapter 1 is the establishment of the Order Hall through the recruitment of the first pair of champions at level 101. Chapter 2 is the level 103 stage of the campaign, ending with the recruitment of the second pair of champions and getting the fourth tint for the default Artifact model. Chapter 3 is everything that happens between recruiting the second pair of champions and recruiting the third pair of champions. Chapter 4 is the last stage of the 7.0 campaign, ending with recruiting the fourth pair of champions, getting the achievement for completing the campaign, and getting the upgraded Artifact model. Patch 7.2 will bring at least three additional chapters — one for the Legionfall activities on the Broken Shore, one for the questlines to recruit the new champion(s), and one for the class mount.

As Kamalia is still my only level 110, she’s the only one who has completed all four chapters of her Order Hall campaign. With the others, I’ve been working my way through Chapter 2. I finished up the twelfth one today, and I’ve been quite pleasantly surprised and delighted at how not formulaic they have been. Unlike the Harrison Jones quests in Warlords, which all followed the same pattern, I feel like no two of the Order Hall campaigns have had the exact same pattern. Many of them do conclude Chapter 2 with getting two new champions and then begin Chapter 3 with a series of five champion missions, but how they get to that point varies, and they don’t all do that. Sometimes the two new champions aren’t recruited at the same point in the questline — one offers their fealty a few quests earlier than the other. My Priest got her two new champions in the middle of Chapter 2, and then she had to run a dungeon before she could complete the chapter — something none of the others had to do. The amount of Chapter 3 questing immediately available upon completion of Chapter 2 has varied from class to class, too. Some of them are just “do a series of five champion missions” and then you’re stuck looking at a silver exclamation point on someone’s head until you reach level 110 (or maybe 109? my highest level alt is Kaelinda, at level 108) — but others have had quite a few things to do. My Warrior only had three missions in the “do a series of champion missions” quest that began Chapter 3. My Priest has two quests for Chapter 3 in her log, and neither one of them is “do a series of five champion missions”. My Rogue has been able to recruit her fifth champion already!

My next Legion progression goal should probably be to get my Mage up to level 110 and go do Suramar with her so that I can complete Broken Isles Pathfinder, Part One reasonably soon. From what I’ve read of the Wowhead Patch 7.2 previews, it’s sounding like I’ll want to have that done before I start doing any of the Legionfall stuff.

I’ve decided that I’m going to invoke Webcomic Time for my headcanon of my characters’ experiences of the events of this expansion: although in Real Time all the leveling and questing to complete all of the Order Hall campaigns will take several months, in my characters’ personal timelines, all of them were doing their Order Hall Campaign things more or less simultaneously within the first few months after the events of the Broken Shore (just like all of them did the Battle of the Exodar together).
When I’ve completed all of the campaigns, I think I might try to outline a unified, concordant chronology of when everything happened in relationship to everything else.

Meanwhile, when I signed into WordPress this morning, I got a toast that today is my seventh blogiversary. I’d forgotten about that, distracted by other things going on my life. Seven years is pretty good, I think. We’ll see if I can keep this going for another one.

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After collecting all of the Artifact weapons, my next goals were to recover a Pillar of Creation and to do the Order Hall Campaign chapter that opens up at level 103.

I’m grateful that the devs put at least one of the Pillars of Creation outside the end-of-zone dungeon… but it still took awhile to decide to run Val’sharah a dozen times.

My Druid went through Val’sharah with the sound on and watching all the cutscenes completely, of course. Most of the rest of them, however, did it with the sound off — I got tired of listening to Malfurion and Tyrande wail at each other pretty quickly — and skipping the cutscenes. Nevertheless, most, if not all of them have screenshots of the moment where Tyrande asks “Have you ever loved as I have?” because it has given me something to think about for their RP backstories.

By about the third time, I’d figured out which areas were entirely side-quests. By the fourth or fifth time, I’d figured out which bonus objectives were easily completed in the course of doing the main quest in the area, and which ones I should just skip in the interest of getting to the end as soon as possible. By the sixth time, I’d streamlined my route through each area. By the seventh time, it occurred to me that the repeated appearances and taunting of the Shade of Xavius throughout the zone were very much like the repeated appearances and taunting of the Lich King throughout leveling in Northrend. By the eighth time, I was asking myself why the Druids, etc, in the zone hadn’t already noticed the creeping corruption of the Nightmare.

I came to the conclusion that what the player is supposed to experience — especially if they do the three Archdruids in the order Elothir, Koda, Thaon, which I think must be the intended order — is the sudden eruption of the Nightmare from out of Shaladrassil — the thoroughly corrupted areas having been overcome as swiftly as Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius erupted. The player comes to the Grove of Cenarius for the first time just as the Nightmare is beginning to spill forth from underneath Shaladrassil. As the player goes deeper and deeper into Val’sharah, the Nightmare has had longer to take over, but it still hasn’t been very long — a matter of hours or days at the most — before the player arrives on the scene. With the help of the player, the NPCs halt the Nightmare at its leading edge, preventing the places that were only relatively lightly touched by the Nightmare from becoming any more corrupted.

One of these days I’ll have to run my Druid through Emerald Nightmare LFR and find out what happens next.

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