Azryu posed the question that has been like a bug in my brain. "What if your character sudden became independent of you and gained a voice? What would happen? How would the conversation go?" It was introduced as a shared Topic. So from time to time during my hectic schedule these past few days I have been going over it in my mind, trying to wrap my head around the concept of separating myself from Daraia, to think of her as "independent". It was an interesting journey for both of us.
It started out like any other day, I just logged on to do the usual chores, I certainly wasn't anticipating having this conversation, and the setting could have been better. Deathspeaker's Rise in Icecrown she decides to let me know she is more than my alter ego, she has a mind of her own, feelings and it is time that I take them into consideration.
"I can't do that move yet and continuing to tell me to won't make it happen."
"WoW, they changed the emote!"
"What is an Emote? But more importantly WOULD YOU STOP STARRING AT THE BACK OF MY HEAD!?!?"
"Do you have any idea how annoying it is to always feel eyes following you around EVERYWHERE and it's even worse those rare times when your INSIDE my head."
"Are you going to help me get out of here so we can talk or just let me die?"
"Oh, yeah, right."
My numb fingers suddenly remember how to function as a voice I have heard for over four years is suddenly saying things I never imagined. With the usual efficiency cultists soon lay scattered like rag dolls at Daraia's feet, their corpses sparkling in the morning light. I swiftly guide her to each one, gathering her most recent reward before directing her to mount one of her Protodrakes and fly straight up. Slowly the angle of my camera changes and I am looking no longer over her shoulder but into eyes that suddenly seem to gleam with awareness.
"Well that is something I didn't expect, we actually kinda look alike." Daraia leans forward on her drake and stares at me, her chin jutting forward in an almost defiant pose.
"How did this happen? I mean...."
"Hush, I may not be able to direct all of my actions but for as long as this lasts I am going to be the one asking the questions. You owe me." Arms crossing, her balance is perfect on her lurching steed as she intently studies me.
Taken aback I can only nod but as the moments tick by she seems confused as to what to ask now that she is actually face to face with me. Her mouth opening and shutting several times, the process of actually verbalizing her thoughts seems to much. I decide I had better get the conversation going.
"I have to admit I have never actual thought of you having a mind of your own Dar. Is it alright if I call you that?" I am surprised to discover that I too am struggling to vocalize but find myself reassured by her quick nod. "I can only apologize. I guess I just considered you my alter ego and nothing more. It must be very uncomfortable having someone guiding your actions all the time, having no control over your own movements."
"Why?" Her voice is almost plaintive, pained, tension etched on her face. "Why are you doing this? Why can't I make my own decisions, direct my own actions? Who ARE you?"
My own thoughts are a jumble as I answer, "I guess you could say that I am your creator, though I don't like using that term. I crafted you in my image as you noticed, but it is not a perfect image, it is a fantasy, a dream if you will. Your entire world is an escape for me, from the world in which I reside. The adventures you have, the things you accomplish, by guiding you through them I find enjoyment."
Her head cocks as she considers this. Then eyes narrowed, her voice takes on a vicious bite as she snaps "Do you mean to tell me that YOU are the one responsible for the fact that the only jokes I know are about farting in the bath tub and losing control of my voice?"
My head falls to the desk as I groan. "No, I can't take responsibility for that stupidity. Believe me Dar, if I could change that I would...Actually I have tired in that I have gotten you those orbs so you can at least pretend to be an Orc or a Blood Elf from time to time. Even THEIR jokes are better I readily admit, their dances too. Unfortunately there are limits to what I can do, the things I can craft in you. Before today the words I could hear you speak were limited to just a few key phrases. It was only in my mind that you ever said more, that your story, your personality, had more depth."
"My sleeveless armor? The fact I spend a good portion of the time running around Northrend, IN THE SNOW with my elbows hanging out and FREEZING? I am NOT a Forsaken, it's COLD HERE! Or weapons that are SO huge they are almost LARGER than I am!" She pulls out an Axe and waves it around causing her mount to duck its head and veer. "LOOK at this thing! It looks like I should be using two hands and I have to carry it on my BACK but I can wield it like it weighs nothing more than a feather. Are our craftsman just that GOOD? My daggers look more like short swords, my swords don't even LOOK like swords..."
"Yes I know, but I select your gear based upon what will give you the most benefits, allow you to dispatch things quickly because you do the greatest amount of damage in the shortest period of time, seldom on what LOOKS the best. While personally I like the appearance of the gear you are presently wearing, I suppose I should warn you that the next pieces you will be getting....are not quite so attractive."
Wariness laces her voice as she responds, "What do you mean? How bad can it be? I looked like a stinking RAG BAG when I was running around Draenor wearing the stuff I had gotten out of Zul'Aman."
"Umm.....well....your going into Icecrown Citadel right?"
"Yeah? What about it?" Sitting straighter she continues as if delivering a Tirion worthy speech, slamming fists down on her saddle for emphasis. "We need to finish what we started, take care of Arthas, the Scourge and rescue Bolvar. I owe him, as a comrade in arms that I LEFT at the Wrath Gate, abandoning in his greatest time of need. He deserves better for all that he has done for our people than to be subjected to torture at the hands of the Lich King!"
I can't help but squirm in my chair as I hear her talk, knowing as I do what awaits her. Hopefully I can keep her focused on CLOTHES and not have her start asking me about Bolvar or Arthas, I don't want her to realize that I already have an idea what is going to happen there.
"Well, just that the gear you find tends to reflect the tastes of the individuals whose home you are invading is all. You are getting it off of their corpses generally or from patterns found there. So what you see Yili wearing is what you will be sporting soon."
Daraia's nose wrinkles in distaste. A moment later her brow farrows and she asks, "How does that work anyway? That a creature can be carrying something four times its body weight, it can't possibly wear and that even when I kill it a few moments later it comes right back?"
"That is another thing I have no control over. I agree with you though, it never has made much sense to me either. It is just the way your world works. Shows you're a bright woman to question it, since it is the only world you know."
Daraia smiles at the compliment but then gets pensive again. "Am I the only one like this? Being controlled all the time?"
"No Dar, in fact EVERY other thing you interact with is controlled by someone else like me. Just some more directly than others. Tirion and Jaina, for example are controlled by the same individuals who limit my abilities to change things, those responsible for your poor jokes and dance moves. Therigwin is controlled by my Husband."
"Yeah, about Therigwin..." To my shock I realize that a blush is slowly burning its way up Daraia's face as she fiddles with the harness on her Protodrake. "What exactly is he to me anyway? I mean, it seems not that long ago we were ALWAYS together and now a days I hardly ever see him..." Her voice trails off but I can't help but notice the underlying sadness.
"In our minds he is your spouse. His loyalty is to you. While he has under gone a great many changes since you two were first created, you have as well. His are just more obvious." I watch her fidget for a few moments before asking the obvious question. "What are you worried about Daraia?"
"So much has changed.... I use to spend most of my time in Alterac Valley and Arathi Basin, now I seldom see those places. I once used Daggers ALL the time, now I am switching weapons and how I use them at a moments notice. I even use AXES of all things, like some sort of lumberjack. Even poisons have changed. I'm not complaining mind you, some of the changes have been great!" Sighing she continues, "I guess I just need to know that some things will stay the same since I am finding I have no control over ANYTHING in my life." She raises her head searching out my eyes, seeking reassurance.
I can't hold back my smile. "Daraia you are my first and most beloved creation in this world. Yes, more change IS coming. Some of it quite dramatic. Don't fear. I have no plans to leave you nor does Therigwin. The transitions may not be smooth but we will get through them together and I will continue to do the best I can to care for you to the best of my limited ability." A matching smile spreads across Daraia's face.
Suddenly my screen goes blank and my heart sinks. The computer has crashed and I know the magical moments I have just shared with my Avatar are over, most likely never to be experienced again. I will treasure this unexpected time for the insight it has given me.
Azryu, thank you for casting your spell in our direction.