Sunday, January 28, 2007


“Hello?” I said. A friend pearl must have rolled behind the cabinet and been lost. I didn’t know who to return it to. Using it seemed like the fastest way to solve the mystery.

“You are not Jenn.” A masculine voice said. “Who is this?”

“Oh I just need to find out who this belongs to. I’m don’t mean to intrude. She must have lost her pearl. My name is Alison. Jenn joined my linkshell last week. Exciting news about the engagement isn’t it?”

“Oh yes, that. Well my lady, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.” He said sweetly. “My name is Kjarbo.”

I had to pause. He had an odd way of speaking and had a bit of a Mithra accent though he clearly was not one. His voice was too deep. I was perplexed and curious.

“So, how do you know Jenn.” I questioned.

“She hasn’t mentioned me?” He chuckled. “I guess I slipped her mind with the recent excitement. We are very close but work keeps me away for long periods of time. I’m a deep sea fisherman and a mercenary of sorts. Great income but it is hard to keep in touch with family. I am her brother.”

“I see… I don’t mean to be nosey but you don’t sound like a Mithra.” I had to purse my lips a little while I waited for a response. I felt so rude asking so many questions to some one I didn’t even know but I was dieing with curiously over not only him but Jen, our newest addition to the ThumbMonkey family and current fiancĂ© of The Dread Pirate Beldin. Though now that I think of it, finding she came from a family of fisherman brought up more interesting questions. Sure she could be attracted to Beldin’s seaman side but pirates are not exactly loved by the more law abiding stewards of the ocean.

He just chuckled softly. “Well my lady. It sounds like we have Jen in common and should get to know each other. I have a small house in Mhaura and I am in port for a few days. If you would do me the honor of joining me tonight I would love to make you dinner and tell you our story.”

How could I resist? It was an occasion when I wondered if something other than armor would be more appropriate but I shrugged it off since I didn’t have that luxury anyways. I think my mother just momentarily intruded into my brain and whispered silly nonsense about social etiquette. I did have moogle wash up my armor and put a fresh polish on my boots so I felt spiffy. I had never been invited to someone’s home for dinner before and it was exciting.

Before I could even knock upon arrival the door swung widely revealing the excited Mithra within. Jenjen greeted me looking more mirthan than I had ever seen her. She clutched her hands together tightly and bounced up and down on the balls of her feet. “Alison’s here!” she exclaimed as if the entire village was waiting to hear. Jumping into my arms she hugged me tightly yet briefly and bounced back into the house.

I assumed I was to follow her so I closed the door behind me and stepped inside. The house smelled amazing. A rich mix of spices swirled around the small warm room. The home was cozy and decorated in strange exotic looking treasures I imagined he must have collected on his adventures to unknown islands and far off places. The larger living space was mostly kitchen and dinning area with two soft pillowy seating areas in one corner near a well stocked bookshelf defined by an ornate rug. An adjoining room was visible that appeared to have hammocks for sleeping and a small en-suite water closet.

Kjarbo spotted me and wiped his hands dry on a hand towel then set it down to greet me. “Jen, you didn’t tell me she was so beautiful.” He said without breaking eye contact with me. He took the flowers I brought as a gift for them and kissed my hand. “It is a pleasure to finally meet you. Jen has told me all about you today. And these flowers are exactly what we needed tonight. Thank you.” He said with a gentle smile and turned to put them in a vase for a center piece.

I had never been greeted this way before and as strange as it was I had to admit I liked it. I liked it a lot. “I’m glad you like them. I grew them myself. It’s a bit of a hobby.”

Kjarbo I must tell you is an amazing cook. I don’t have much skill in that department myself so a well cooked meal is very appreciated. My taste buds were in heaven with each bite of the amazing fish he prepared for us. No wonder Jen was so excited when her brother was home. I’d miss this kind of cooking too. She said he always made meals a big deal. I was envious.

“I hope I’m not being too personal but I must ask; how is it that an Elvaan and a Mithra are siblings?” I watched their eyes carefully checking for any sign of offense.

Jen was the first to answer. She leapt from her chair and cupped Kjarbo’s head in her hands kissing the side of his head and ruffling his slate black hair. “He was lost so we took him home. No parents turned up so we kept him as our very own. As a child he expected to grow a tail. It took a long time to convince him he wouldn’t. He was the cutest little thing.”

Kjarbo smiled warmly at his sister. “Yes, we were very similar in age so we grew up very close. I was only a toddler when they rescued me. I was wandering alone and nearly taken by the Yagudo. They were the best family a boy could have ever dreamed of having. I still expect to grow a tail by the way.”

I assume he was kidding about the tail. The relationship between Jenjen and Kjarbo was very interesting. She was full of boundless energy in typical Mithra fashion while Kjarbo seemed to almost move in slow motion by comparison with his gentle patient ease. It was as if they attempted to balance each other out by covering two extremes creating an oddly perfect harmony. They were more family than many siblings I knew that had blood relation.

When the time came to go home I found I didn’t want to leave. Kjarbo tucked one of the flowers I brought behind my ear and kissed me sweetly on the cheek as he said goodnight. I was so twiterpated by it I don’t even remember saying good night to Jen. They were such fun to talk to and so easy to like. They welcomed me in like family in a beautifully genuine way. I felt like I had struck gold with these two new friends and Altana willing I hoped to keep them around for a very long time.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Dynamis, Awake

“Oh yes, here you go.” Airamis said as he dropped the new linkpearl in my hand without even looking up from his clip board. “Welcome to the linkshell.” He said as he took a moment to glace up at me and smile before going back to whatever he was looking over. It seemed a bit odd to me to see a ranger wearing reading glasses but I wasn’t about to say a word but thank you for the pearl and sit down to wait for more instructions. He looked a bit busy.

Naturally since this was my very first dynamis Paganlorre was home sick and we were going to the area known for being the most difficult of all of the cities. Figured. Dynamis-Windhurst was going to be a challenge for a first run but I knew I could tackle it no problem.

“You’re going to be knocked out cold… a lot. We don’t call it Die-in-mass for nothing.” An Elvaan with long slick black hair said as he looked down at me with a mischievous grin. “Don’t worry, we wont leave you there. We’ll patch you up and drag you out in one piece.” I just looked up at him and a worried expression escaped. “You don’t remember me do you?” he asked. I shook my head no and he tilted his head back and laughed. “I’m called Sinlessrogue. Let me know if you need any help.” I think I did recall an incident in Lower Jeuno but before I could give it any more thought I heard them call for me.

“Alison, you’re in my party.” Wheeldog said as he waved to me from across the group.

“That means you jump to your feet and go line up behind him.” Sinlessrogue instructed with a chuckle. I wish I could remember why he would find such delight in teasing me but I didn’t have time to worry about it. I didn’t want to hold up the group.

Wheeldog was much more optimistic and helpful. He gave me a run down of how it would go. “I am in charge of leading us melee fighters to the immediate target. Just keep assisting me when I call for it. Never attack on your own even if something swings at you first. Stay focused and listen the instructions on linkshell chat and you’ll do fine.” He instructed with a soft smile. He did really make me feel good about it. I had heard really bad things about end game linkshells being not so fun and full of arrogant mean people but Wheeldog was very warm and helpful.

I was a bit concerned when I realized I was in an alliance with Airamis and all the other big dogs of the linkshell including Sinlessrouge who seemed to be delighted to play on my apprehensions. I was sure Airamis was watching and waiting for me to mess up horribly so he could boot me out. I was not about to give them a reason.

“Trading hourglasses.” Airamis called out to us. I was given my own hourglass and used it to enter my first dynamis.

It just looked like regular boring Windhurst until the first group of beastmen came running in a large pack. My eyes grew wide as they approached and I could only hope this was how it was supposed to go. In experience parties I’m expected to bring one target at a time back to my group. This certainly was not one beastman.

“Attacking Vanguard Liberator. Melee, assist me!” Wheeldog shouted out. Clutching my daggers tightly I ran to attack with him. This was not a small linkshell. Counting nearly fifty people here did bring a sense of security but I found myself struggling to get my hits in without nicking one of my comrades by mistake.

They just kept coming and coming as fast as I could move from one beast to the next. Beads of sweat formed on my brow and adrenaline pumped through my blood. This moved crazy fast. I had to pause on occasion to wipe off the beastmen’s blood that dripped down onto the hilt of my dagger to keep them from getting too slippery.

In the zone I almost didn’t notice when Airamis called out my name. “Alison, lot on the bonnet.” I did as instructed and went back to killing. The group got really excited and congratulated me on my incredible good luck. I was a little confused. I thought that was the point of coming here was for special items.

“Wow an artifact hat drop for you on your very first run. Congratulations.” Gainsborough said. “Is that unusual then?” I paused to look at him. He grinned, “Yeah it is. Some people wait months to get theirs. It’s a big deal.” He laughed and went back to work. I shrugged shyly and looked my new hat over. I couldn’t use it for another five levels but I was very pretty and looked like it would come in handy. Smiling and thanking the group and put it away to keep from staining it before I even got to use it properly.

Continuing like this for awhile we didn’t seem to have any major problems. We even managed to pass the “death house” without attracting unwanted attention. Airamis had us walk slowly single file along the opposite wall away from the death house as the called it without even a wrong sideways step or even a hard look in the direction of the building in question. My nerves causes me to reached out and clutched Gainsborough’s robe at one point without even thinking about it but he just looked back and smiled at me.

It was all fun and games and I was feeling pretty confident that I had the swing of things but when people started dropping around me in large numbers I became a bit concerned. Worried chatter started to bounce around the group. “Stay focused and keep fighting.” Airamis instructed. I did just that but it wasn’t long before I took a hard blow and was knocked down too.

We all lay in the dirt. Mounds of us moaning, some of them laughing like men gone insane, but all of us down for the count. Once the beastmen wandered off to celebrate their vengeful victory the mages who keep reraise spells on themselves at all times began to raise us up too. “Death number one.” Sinlessrogue whispered to me. “Congratulations you are now nearly broken in.”

I fought till the end and with my evasion skills and ability to not attract much hate from the beastmen I was one of the very last down. It brought a sense of pride that I did pretty well under pressure even if the beastmen won that round.

We did have one last thing to do before we were finished for the night. The mega-boss had to be taken care of if I was to get credit for clearing this area so I could move on to the bigger ones in the future. Ironically this would be the easiest part of the run for me.

“Whatever you do, don’t look at it or it will doom you to death.” Airamis warned us. All melee faced east as the ground shook to announce the coming of the mega-boss. This was for the mages to handle. The most squishy and fragile had the responsibility of defeating the most powerful advisory in the entire area. Go figure. They stood to the front of the group and with their combined efforts nuked the life out of it in a surprisingly short amount of time.

Once it was down I turned to get a good look at it. Huge as it was it just looked like a great bird statue. I examined the place where it had fallen and that was it. I had what I needed from it without so much as glancing it’s direction. Again, I thanked the linkshell for helping me with my first dynamis. They were all so friendly it made it easy to enjoy myself and feel confident.

All and all not a bad experience. Yeah, Sinlessrouge was right. I have died many many times doing these but I have also collected some very lovely new articles of clothing and one ugly rusty looking dagger and I do adore cute clothes above almost anything else. And of course there is the fun. I do love to go out with Digital Back Spin and kick butt on a weekly basis. It’s a bonding thing. There have been some ups and downs but I think I’ll tell about those another day.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dynamis, Attempt One

“You know what you need now don’t you?” Paganlorre said with a wide smile as he wrapped his arms around me in one of him famously warm hugs to congratulate me on reaching level 65 as a thief.

“What’s that?” I asked as I pulled back to look him in the eye. I admit I was hoping he was talking about something divine like white chocolate dipped sugar cookies. That’s the kind of congratulation I could really sink my teeth into.

“You need to join me for dynamis two nights a week.” He said. I had no idea what dynamis was. I had never heard of it or had any idea why people would do it but I was thrilled to have a new thing to do with him. It always seemed like he was the one helping me and I wanted to spend time with him while pulling my own weight for once.

“Oh that sounds very exciting and grown up. Anything to spend two nights a week with you. How do I get in?” I asked trying to hide the disappointment of not getting a sweet. He laughed as if he could read my mind and pulled a cookie out of his bag for me. I nibbled the cookie in my usual circular pattern savoring each taste as I temporarily forgot Paganlorre was there.

“Come with me.” He said as he took my hand and yanked my arm as he ran off. It felt exciting like a secret mission and I followed him eagerly. He took me to each person I needed to talk to and each location I needed to examine and then finally to a message board for DBSDynamis. “This is the hard part.” He said. You have to read all of the rules and instructions then sign up once you’re done. He sat down next to me and tilted his red mage hat over his eyes to take a nap.

“Why would this be the hard part?” I thought to myself as I started to read, and read, and read some more. These were the longest list of instructions and rules I had ever seen. It was amazing in its length and detail. You must understand reading puts me to sleep. Maybe it’s because Dad always read to me before bed as a child but I can’t get past about one page of reading before I get drowsy. It was indeed the most challenging part of the entire quest that day but I was determined to finish. I couldn’t let these rules keep me from joining my first upper level linkshell with Paganlorre.

Despite my head feeling fuzzy with sleep and my eyes losing focus from time to time I managed to read the entire thing. I signed my name with my last bit of energy and slumped down next to Paganlorre wrapping my arms around his arm and leaning my head on his shoulder. Drifting off to sleep myself I dreamed.

“On your feet solder!” a Ranger shouted at me.

Startled awake I grabbed my daggers and looked around to discover I was surrounded by other adventures of every race and occupation. Only similarity was their great experience evident by armor only worn by the seasoned.

“Sleep around here and you die. I will not loose good men to come back for the careless. Look alive.” He said as he glared down at me. Somehow I knew this must be Airamis, leader of the DBSDynamis group, and I was ashamed to be caught sleeping at a time like this. With a rush of wind he was airborne above our heads wind rushing around him like a storm. He pointed west and the group charged in that direction.

I heard screaming from the back of the group. Confused and terrified I stayed as far in the middle as I could. “They’re picking us off one by one from the rear.” Dagas reported calmly. Members where simply disappearing in a cloud of dust. I couldn’t see anything attacking. “The penguins…” Airamis said solemnly. “All turn and attack!” he commanded from his airy perch.

As I stabbed at the air my dagger met its mark in something soft and squishy and the great beast suddenly appeared. A massive penguin it was imposing in its size and stony expression. We surrounded the exposed attackers and took them down in a blaze of magic and melee until they were no more.

Before we could celebrate the earth began to tilt as if the entire city were being lifted like a boxed diorama in the hands of a child. We slid along the stones of the city walkway towards what appeared to be an enormous mouth with great yellow teeth. Catching a light pole I dangled until I saw Paganlorre slide by. “Come with us! This is fun stuff!” he called.

I dropped into the abyss and landed on the back of a great orc. Larger than anything I had ever seen, he shook with rage as I tightened my grip around his surprisingly thin neck. Hand to hand combat was not my way but desperate times called for desperate measures and I put everything I had into strangling the life out of it.

“Alison let go!” it cried. “How did it know my name?” I thought to myself as I continued to squeeze. “I can’t feel my arm. You know I love the cuddling but do you have to cling so tightly?” he asked.

I opened my eyes and realized I was still by the message board with Paganlorre and my victim was not very orc-like at all but rather dashing. Paganlorre rubbed his arm when I released him. “You are much stronger than you look.” He said with a warm smile. “It’s late and I’m hungry. Care to join me for dinner?” he asked.

“Sounds wonderful. I have a crazy strong craving for poultry.” I grinned.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Welcoming a New Member

The door flung open widely as a tall Corsair stepped with long purposeful steps stopping in the middle of the room as to announce himself with his stance alone. “I’m back.” Beldin belted out.

I had been reading quietly and enjoying a hot drink when he entered. I was thrilled to see him back after a long unexplained absence. A little crazy and reckless he may be but never boring and I felt a special connection with him I didn’t have with anyone else. I missed him.

He had disappeared after the shooting Brodie incident, not that I had been around to notice much anyways. I did find myself feeling a little disappointed when I came home to find him gone. Somewhere in the back of my head I had considered him a bit of a back up plan though I wouldn’t dare say that out loud.

Reaching down and taking my hand he pulled my up into his arms and lifted me off the floor in a warm embrace. I gave in and let myself openly enjoy it as I leaned my head against his and hugged him back. It felt so good to see him.

He set me down and kissed the top of my head. I tried to discourage the casual kissing but trying to get Beldin to do anything but exactly as he pleased was impossible. “I brought someone for you to meet.” He said with a wide smile. On cue an unusually attractive Mithra came in the doorway with a shy smile. “This is Jenjen, my wife.” He said.

“Future wife.” She corrected. “We haven’t been married yet. Nice to meet you Alison, I’ve heard a lot about you.” She smiled and gave a small wave.

Surprised would be an understatement but I was delighted to have another female member in our family. Reaching down and hugging her I smiled, “Welcome to the linkshell. We are so happy to meet you. Tell us how you found this scoundrel pirate of ours and brought him home to us. I want to know everything.” She sat down between me and Beldin to start her story.

“I felt sorry for him.” She said as she smiled and reached over to take his hand. “We were in a linkshell together and he was kicked out for being himself. It didn’t seem fair. I went to him and we haven’t left each others side again. I don’t know what I ever did without him.”

With that he scooped the tiny Mithra up in his arms and bent his head down to kiss her passionately. Jealous? Me? Yeah a little but I knew I’d get over it and I am always happy to see the people I care about happy even if it means enduring P.D.A. when I myself had no one to be annoying with. I bit my lip.

“Well he certainly does ensure you will never be bored with him by your side.” I said as I handed them a platter of cookies to break them up. This only led to watching them feed each other. I was sure I was going to have to stab myself.

Just like super heroes, Yamari and Zhirin showed up together. Zhirin was a good friend of Brodie and only recently around more often. Soft-spoken and easy to miss when so many of our members are so… how do I say it? Energetic, he tended to blend in. Yamari was a newer member. She was shy and conservative and I adored her like a sister. A pretty Hume girl, I found I felt the need to slap around some of our boys when they got too anxious for her attention but she always seemed confident and at ease when Zhirin was with her.

Beldin jumped up when he saw them, launching the Mithra on his lap to the floor with an un-cat like thud. Drawing his gun he took aim and shot Zhirin in the leg.

“Beldin no!” I shouted as I took his gun from him.

“Why did you shoot me?!” Zhirin said with a bewildered look.

“I’m just shooting the intruders.” Beldin said with his best innocent look.

“Beldin, these are linkshell members and Zhirin has owned a pearl longer than you he just hasn’t been here when you were around.” I scolded.

Yamari quickly healed Zhirin’s wound before it could do any more damage and glared angrily at Beldin.

Jenjen found her feet and yelled “Sit! Now!” To my indescribable amazement Beldin dropped to the floor so quickly I’m sure he must have hurt his hind end. “Be good.” She commanded and with that said, settled down in his lap.

“Wow” escaped my lips and I looked on in a bit of shock. I had never seen anyone successfully tell Beldin what to do. I had to admit this must be a match made in heaven. Well, for me at least. I didn’t know how she did it but I was impressed. Laughing a little to myself I smiled at the new couple. How could I be anything but thrilled for them?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


It was time to take my newly tanned self back to the linkshell lobby. My little vacation felt great but I missed my friends. Well honestly they were more than friends. The ThumbMonkeys had become my family and it was time to go home to them where I belonged.
I don’t think I could have prepared myself for what I would find. As I approached the building I could hear a very unusual amount of ruckus coming from inside. I meant to be quiet as I opened the door and peered in but a bucket propped against the front door made my appearance well known.

The room went deathly quiet as they all turned to look at me. Garness was standing in the middle of the room holding Petru upside-down by his ankle with an apple in the little taru’s mouth and in the other hand a puppetmaster’s puppet. Moltov, Marrcus, and Apocolipse, and others were scattered about the room looking a bit disoriented. Garness dropped the limp puppet on the floor, tossed the Taru behind the sofa, and smiled warmly at me.

“Welcome home fearless leader.” He smiled as he sheepishly removed a roughly made crown from his head.

Foxx burst into the room and yelled, “Thumbgalka!” as he tossed Kammy into the room bound, gagged, and face painted in reds and yellows. Tall dinner candles where tucked in the ropes around her body and she appeared to be listless and drooling. Garness cleared his throat loudly and Foxx stopped in his tracks, looked at me, and left the room without a word.

The entire house looked sindged and disheveled. I noticed Garness had one foot on a sizable lump under the carpet and his lance was lodged in the wall.

“Thank you Garness, it’s good to be home.” I said as I continued to survey the damage. My nose wrinkled at the smell. “Is our maid on vacation?” I asked.

“Umm… Yes, well I had to fire him.” Garness said as he shifted nervously. “He made terrible cookies and I know how important quality is to you when it comes to sweets. I’ve already started to look for a new more qualified candidate.” Rover peeked his head out from around an over turned table and ducked back when he made eye contact with me.

“Yeah I think we should be quick about it. I looks like you went to war in here, and what is that smell?” I questioned.

The lump under Garness foot started to shift slightly and the Galka reacted by stomping it vigorously until it stopped. Garness started nudging me off to my room as he answered, “Yes, maid, and umm cookies in the kitchen for you. Welcome home. You should go relax. I’ll take care of the lobby. Needed a new look in here anyways. Don’t want to let the look become stale.” He gave me a final shove into my room and shut the door behind me. “Did I say welcome home?”

All I could do was laugh. As much trouble as I knew they all could get into I trusted them to be able to handle whatever was going on without me if that’s what they insisted. At least my room was as I left intact. Moogle did an excellent job of keeping it secure from intruders. “Welcome home Kupo” he buzzed.

I smiled at the familiarity of being home again and fell backwards onto my bed. “Thank you moogle. Any news?”

He chattered on about something but I was lost in thought and didn’t hear a word. I had a good trip. I wiggled under the covers and fell sound asleep in my dusty clothes despite the increasing clatter outside my room that I assumed was my linkshell mates trying to hide evidence of whatever they were up to while I was gone.