2012 in the rearview mirror

Were I a sensible person — the sort who plans ahead for stuff and thinks about Things Of Signficance like the weighty tread of the old year as it drags itself out the door — I’d have thought about this sooner and have a very nice, reflective, insightful post about the past year. I’m not that sort of person, though, so instead you’ll get a bit of rambling and then an otter gif.

In early February, when Rubi left to join the Dark Side, I was given the incredible opportunity to fill her role as Massively’s GW2 columnist. I’ve blogged about the game before and been involved in the community for quite some time, but this was, uh, a whole ‘nother level of dedication. Massively’s been such a tremendous joy to be part of, and such a huge instigator for personal growth. I can’t imagine the last year without all the awesome people there. About the same time as I joined Massively, I started making regular appearances on Gamebreaker TV for GuildCast (which I was a fan of long before it made the conversion to live vidya). Between those two venues, I’m just flabbergasted by the number of cool geeks I’ve gotten to know and talk to.

Going to PAX East for my first convention as an ~*official press person*~ was a real treat, mainly because of Eliot and Matt, two of the awesome Massively people I was just talking about. Between East and Prime, I was delighted with a number of opportunities to geek out and be around really, really neat people.

It’s a little bit difficult to think and talk about this year without using Guild Wars 2 as a sort of framework. Going from signing up for the GW2 beta to pre-purchasing a copy the first day I possibly could to actually being able log in and play (while blogging those experiences weekly) has been quite the fun journey.

I’ve made significant progress toward some life goals that I’ve been aiming for for quite some time. The year certainly hasn’t been a walk in the park — quite the opposite, at times — but I’ve been so, so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, the people who’ve made it a stellar year, and all the good and marvelous things that have happened.

A whole year is a big thing to tackle. There’s plenty of stuff, big and small, that made it awesome — like solving some kick-ass investigation missions in The Secret World, a fantastic 24 hours of livestreaming video games for a fabulously successful charity fundraiser, watching the season finale of Game of Thrones or hearing The National’s The Rains of Castamere cover, and spending quality time with amazing people (both in- and out-of-game).

tl;dr: 2012 was great and I have high hopes for 2013; here have an otter.


the world that still lacks a name

Of the godless ones who wandered far from the company of others, little was heard.  When they left in pursuit of fulfillment, they were driven by their thirst for peace.  As two great hosts they set out – one to the North, and the other to the vast stretches of the South.

It was those who wandered North who first saw the Endless Sea, which stretched before them as they emerged from the northern jungles.  They sent what river-craft they had out upon it, but such were never seen again when once they floated out of sight across the glimmering expanse.  Rebuffed by the sea, most of the godless retreated to the inland jungle, though some small few remained along the margin of the eternal waters.  Those who retreated reveled in the closeness of the trees, and grew learned in their secrets.  Those who stayed beside the Endless Sea were content, at first, to be observers.  They began to chart the stars above them and the patterns of the restless waters.  In these and other studies they passed many generations, until at last they began to work towards the creation of seacraft, and to set out upon the waters – though, due to their long memory, they never again tried to cross the Sea, but accepted it as limitless.

The host which left for the South grew quickly divided.  As they passed through the densely wooded mountains , some felt their thirst for travel dulled, and made for themselves a home where the clouds gathered on the face of the mountains.

in which there are Golden Ages

Out of the valley of the West, upon their snow-white steeds,
and into ancient legends passed grave men with shining deeds.
Their heralds, made of cloth-of-gold, trailed bright banners in the seaward breeze
that spoke of hoary years of old, and a history of times unseen.

Bright kings of ages past were they, who ruled beyond the Western Sea
and slew great daemons, and lived with fey, in years of unknown centuries.
Their look was wise, their carriage proud, their armour held a starry sheen,
their silver trumpets echoed loud as they rode in from the sea.

Through hanging forests, dank and cold, upon a winding, unknown trail
they rode – noble, proud and bold. Dark were the shadows upon their mail;
bright were their eyes and deep their brows, their hair was gold, their faces pale-
they passed through grove and under bough; out of the West, where dreamships sail.

This is from more than five years ago. I was, as I ever am, quite taken with high fantasy, and trying to recall some of that in this. It is likely similar (though a poor comparison) to a great many works.

this world might need a name, if I’m to write any more about it

There were five gods in the time before the world, and as the seed of the world grew, they dreamt of what it might become.  To better accomplish this vision, they created beings, like themselves in aspect and nature, but tied to the world in a way that the elder gods were not.  With these they worked side-by-side to shape the world, raising mountains and carving marvelous caverns in the abysses below the waters.  Each shared in the original bright hope for the world, and each creation added to the glory all about them.

In time, the world was completed – seasons brought about bounty and splendour, and there was ever the music of the winds dancing through the trees.  So they dwelt awhile in the new-formed world, rejoicing in the beauty of the waters and the strength of the mountains.  Still, in time, the dream of the elder gods renewed, and they determined to bring forth creatures to share in the world.  Patiently they laboured over the whale, the fish, the krill – taking equal pride in each.  Diligently they wrought the eagle and the shrew, finding each equally delightful.  In time their dream was fulfilled again, and they rejoiced as the cry of the wolf mingled with the voice of the wind.

So the world abode in peace for some time, as life flourished.

After more seasons passed, the dream of the gods was deepened, and they discussed among themselves the change in their vision.  The race of Man they discussed, and man’s place in the world they had created.  The elder gods were hesitant of this branch of their dream, but so impassioned were the younger gods and so compelling was the dream, that they consented to shape humans to walk within the world.

After the creation of mankind, the older gods prepared to withdraw, content in the beauty of that which had been created.  The younger gods remained, however, as the foundling race of Man held great interest for them.  A few attempted to make new wonders to enrich the world – they brought about the unicorn, the winged horse, the brilliant phoenix, and other wonders.  In their enthusiasm, however, they created also the basilisk, the chimera, and the dragon – and these and other unnamed horrors were corrupted, until they pursued the beautiful creatures into the corners of the earth.  Thereafter, the unicorn and unseen wonders were rarely found by Men, and the winged horse and phoenix nested in mountains where mankind was afraid to venture.  In the face of the chimera and other shadows, Men were stirred for the first time from their peaceful content, and they knew fear and death. Through this knowledge were Men diminished, and the shadow lay on their hearts.

Before then, there had been no war.

A few of the younger gods, saddened at the pride of their brethren and the change in men, drew apart from company, and retreated into the quiet places of the world.  They associated no more with mankind, although as generations passed, some few would seek them out and become their disciples.

Those of the younger gods who remained called certain families to themselves, each picking traits they most admired.  These families they blessed and protected.  As time passed, the chosen families of each god drew more and more apart, until each of the younger gods took their followers and removed themselves from the company of the whole.  Apart, each god’s followers prospered, and societies flourished where squabbles had distracted them before.

Of the families who were not chosen of a god or goddess, some set out in search of fulfillment, and though their wanderings took them to the reaches of the jungles and to the frozen wastes, they found no god of their own, and lived apart.  Others remained behind, content to live godless, and they visited at times with the chosen of the gods.  These godless ones blossomed, and maintained trade and harmony between the new-founded kingdom-states.

So generations passed quietly as each people grew in the understanding of their god and the world about them.  They learned, too, of the elder gods who founded the world, though few learned of the vanished gods who did not ask.

The vanished gods, for their part, communed constantly with the elder gods, and were often gone from the hollow hills and high places where they dwelt alone.   Consumed with the keeping and education of their people, however, the other gods spoke little with their elder gods, nor spoke often with their brethren.

As the families of the chosen grew and increased they expanded – and the wonders and horrors, created in error, drew back to more and more remote places, and the vanished gods with them.

Just an excerpt from some creation-myth writing I did not too long ago.  My main interest lies with the gods of the hollow hills, and the few Men who seek them out. It might be developed further, at some point.

I came upon an empty field that shimmered in the night
with soft reflections of the stars and silvered moths in flight.
I settled in the dewy grass and stared up at the sky,
hearing echoes of the ages in the breezes blowing by.