This year I’m actually attempting to complete 50,000 words in 30 days and nights of literary abandon. You can find my novel Catalyst, here. See you there!
If you follow me on twitter (which you should. If not go and follow me right now, go on, I’ll wait) you’ll know that I could immediately log on to play the new expansion. Why you may ask? Well since Akabeko from Red Cow Rise spent most of the morning with me on twitter, I dedicate this post and it’s style to her.
Was swamped with homework so I was up till 11pm working on it. When midnight rolled around I thought about logging but I could only imagine what it would be like so I decided to wait until morning, instead I:
I went to sleep. I woke up at 7 the next morning and decided that instead of getting on Anslym I would wait until I can actually dedicate more than a few minutes to playing. Instead I rolled (*snort* see what I did there?) a draenei monk named: Niaal. I got him to level 4, 1 level away from learning “roll” and noticed that it was time to head on out to class:
I make it to campus at around 8:05, grab a coffee, and head over to my calculus class and get seated and pull out twitter. So the tweeting begins:
Anslym: Tell me of your Pandaria experiences! I’m living vicariously through you!
Redcow: @Anslym I’m salivating over MoP while not having logged in since yesterday! *__________*
Keep in mind that before I left for class I contemplated long and hard about skipping my math class. I figured that if I skipped once it would happen again and I want to be a good student so I went. At this point in time now we’re already started the class and it’s all a basic, BASIC I tell you, review of trig.
Anslym: @redcow I’m ready to throw my math book and storm out of this place screaming: “PANDARIA NEEDS MY TOTEMS!”
Redcow: @Anslym I KNOW THAT FEEL “flips every table”
Anslym: @redcow *Every single table. Every one.*
We had just begun talking about graphing trig functions, something I’ve done every year for the past 4 years. I knew this stuff. I shouldn’t have come to class. I was sitting here loathing the prof for not telling me in advance not to come to class because I already knew what he was teaching. If the tables weren’t bolted down:
But we carry on…
Anslym: @redcow What a terrible idea coming to school today was. I’m going to be useless.
I swear this was one of those classes where the clock goes ahead 2 minutes and back 1.
Anslym: @redcow this is what I’m going to be doing very shortly.
Redcow: @Anslym oh lord that is spectacular
Anslym: @redcow The pandas need us, Akabeko, they NEED us!
Redcow: @Anslym *screaming*
The conversation then goes on to talk about writing this post, about naming our inanimate objects, and about adding each other on RealID. Math class FINALLY finishes and I mosey on to wait for my English lecture to start at 11:30. Keep in mind that my math class ends at 9:45. I pull twitter out again and imagine my shock and horror when I read this:
Redcow: Oh I’m pleased to see all these female npcs on shen zin su.
Anslym: @redcow you’re playing T_T
Redcow: @Anslym I….I didn’t want to say anything. But I have to go to bed soon anyways ;-;
My feels on the inside were:
Just trying to get a little sneak peak into Pandaland!
English finishes rather quickly, it’s my only class that requires me to take notes from dictation so my fingers were a’ flyin’ over the keys and I tried to get in everything Prof said. I had a 2 hour break before my physics lecture so I took up refuge in the science building and began dealing with recruitment stuffs. Finally my last class, physics rolled around, and I was almost home free. Two downsides, the class is an 1:30 hours AND it’s physics. Regardless I manage to sit through the lecture on centripetal force and we’re about to be dismissed when the prof. asks “Does anyone have any questions?” horror strikes when a girl raises her hand. I almost:
But I resist. Finally we’re let out and if you’ve ever been at my campus you know that trying to leave a room with 150 people while another 150 people are trying to get into the class makes the whole ordeal a clusterfuck. I missioned on!
I made it to the bus stop and waited for my slow ass bus to arrive:
Finally made it home and got my laptop:
Logged in and experienced Pandaria:
Stay tuned for part 2 where I talk about zoning into Pandaland, with a lot less gifs.
I assure you that this post does NOT have any spoilers pertaining to the new race, Pandaren.
With the new expansion: Mists of Pandaria in the foreseeable future it’s time to start thinking about how your character’s story will progress into this new and unknown area of lore. For some people even, they’ll be moving into completely unknown lore territory when they roll their new monk characters. This isn’t like going into Wrath where there was plenty of Death Knight lore in the previous games and novels, these are BRAND NEW classes! Or are they?
In this post I’ll be detailing some lesser-known-about or sometimes even hidden lore behind the monk class. This should help you get some of the backstory in order before you even click on that “create character button”
As it turns out, the new expansion won’t be the first time we encounter the monk class. Take a step back-in-time with me to when we were level 30 and we zone into a random dungeon.
The first time we meet a monk that isn’t a panda comes in the form of a Scarlet monk in the instance Scarlet Monastery. Which arguably makes sense, a monastery is where monks are typically found.
Taken from the WoW World Dungeon page:
The Monastery was once a proud bastion of Lordaeron’s priesthood – a center for learning and enlightenment. With the rise of the undead Scourge during the Third War, the peaceful Monastery was converted into a stronghold of the fanatical Scarlet Crusade. The Crusaders are intolerant of all non-human races, regardless of alliance or affiliation. They believe that any and all outsiders are potential carriers of the undead plague – and must be destroyed. Reports indicate that adventurers who enter the monastery are forced to contend with Scarlet Commander Mograine – who commands a large garrison of fanatically devoted warriors. However, the monastery’s true master is High Inquisitor Whitemane – a fearsome priestess who possesses the ability to resurrect fallen warriors to do battle in her name.
While zoning into the monastery and doing battle with Mograine and Whitemane (heh it rhymed) we really don’t see the monks do anything other than punch us and fall as we kill them. The same can be said about the crimson monks that reside in the Scarlet Bastion within the burning streets of Stratholme. While some see this as a flaw, others might see it as a clean slate to start with. Through the entirety of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion we saw the Scarlet Crusade, then the Scarlet Onslaught begin to splinter and fragment until it was utterly broken apart by the players hands. Then going into Cataclysm we saw minimal changes within the Monastery itself but with the future changes coming in Mists of Pandaria it might be time for a human or dwarf or possibly another race to defect from the Scarlet ranks.
For a more detailed description of the Scarlet Crusade’s history click here and for a more detailed description of the Scarlet Onslaught’s history click here. And finally for a more detailed description of Stratholme, click here.
Moving on from a corrupt crusade to a nobler one:
Note: this part pertains specifically to the Argent Crusade and not to the old faction of the Argent Dawn.
Another time we see a monk again is when we defeat the faction champions at jousting, beat them down, and loot their treasure chest. Enter in Eadric the Pure or Argent Confessor Paletress. They spawn with three packs of trash that each has three mobs. One of these mobs being an Argent Monk. Here’s some short back ground information on the Argent Crusade:
Taken from Wowpedia:
The Argent Crusade is a faction created from the union of the Argent Dawn, a few survivors of the Scarlet Crusade who didn’t follow Abbendis to Northrend, and the Reformed Order of the Silver Hand. It was formed shortly after the Battle for Light’s Hope Chapel, as played out during the death knight quest The Light of Dawn, in which Tirion Fordring — leader of the reformed Silver Hand — reclaimed (and evidently purified) the Ashbringerduring a confrontation with the Lich King. He assumed a leadership position over the Argent Dawn and united the two factions in order to take the fight against the Lich King to Northrend.
A particularly important line from the above text states that “a few survivors of the Scarlet Crusade” joined the Argent Crusade; this opens a whole slew of possibilities. Was your monk stationed at the Argent tournament grounds and picked up a few abilities from a scarlet monk? Were they stationed at any of the other Argent Crusade outposts? Once the Lich King had been defeated and Deathwing remerged into Azeroth the Argent Crusade withdrew a majority of its forces from Northrend and stationed them all through the Eastern and Western Plaguelands. With its main base now in Hearthglen, Western Plaguelands this makes it a little more accessable for lowerlevel roleplayers. It’s also worth mentioning that Hearthglen acts as training center for new recruits who are intent on joining the Crusade which sets the perfect scenario for a monk in training.
Finally there is one last faction that hosts monks, this one is a little less known and a little more obscure, the Auchenai.
This faction of draenei comes in two parts, pre-corruption and post-corruption. I’ll take a moment to comment on both.
Long before players arrive in the Outlands the Auchenai were a noble sect of priests and light-wielders that acted as grave keepers. They took care of the large necropolis city known as Auchindoun as well as the the graves of the dead found there. One grave was of particular importance, of the naaru known as D’ore, who perished when the Oshu’gun crash landed on Draenor.
The draenei studied him, those large eyes unblinking, and Danath knew the stranger was somehow testing the truth of his words. At last he nodded. “That is a noble goal,” he stated, and stepped out of the doorway to stand before Danath. “I am Nemraan, one of the last of the Auchenai,” he introduced himself. “We were the priests of our people, and cared for the dead here in Auchindoun.” Danath introduced himself…
“There are others,” the Auchenai replied, his staff raised to light the way. “Several of us survived the Horde’s attack and fled into the tunnels. Other draenei joined us later, seeking refuge from the Horde’s sudden onslaught. Many of them died in the explosion [which happened when the remenates of the Shadow Council summoned Murmur into the Shadow Labs which shattered the Auchindoun into the scattered wreckage we see in game today], and others have been lost since. Only a handful of us remain.
Danath glanced around, wondering where these other might be, but ahead of him Nemuraan shook his head.
“You will not see them. Though you seem noble and true, it would not be wise for me to put the rest of my people at risk. They will remain hidden while I aid you so that if you betray me, our race will yet continue.”….
Danath turned to Nemuraan. On impulse, he said, “Come with us. This is no place to live, and you can serve your people more by leaving here and returning to the world. We would even take you to Azeroth with us, if you liked.”
Nemuraan smiled. Truly your world must be a wondrous place, to have produced such a people,” he complimented, and I appreciate your offer. But no, my place is here. Our dead remain in this world—honorably laid to rest in Auchindoun, or scattered in the forest, even paving the path the orcs misname the Path of Glory. Here they lie, in Draenor, and here I stay, to tend them. The Holy Light has placed us here for a reason and some day it will triumph over all.” -Beyond the Dark Portal, Aaron Rosenberg and Christen Golden
During the time span from when Draenor suffered its own cataclysm and became the Outlands to when the dark portal opens again and players venture forth the Auchenai became corrupted.
Taken from Wowpedia:
The Auchenai are a draenei faction who can be found in Terokkar Forest. They are opposed to other draenei groups, and hostile to both Alliance and Horde. While they are similar to mainstream draenei society in that they are a theocratic society, their religion is very much unlike the Holy Light. Little is known about their cult and what they worship, but they seem to be obsessed with a coming apocalypse, and indulge in dark practices like necromancy. Their corruption is most likely caused by the void radiated by D’ore.
While this is all fine and dandy we cleansed the Auchenai crypts during our raids across Outlands so it stands to reason they are no longer corrupted. Or at the very least those that saw the error of their ways fled to Shattrath where they could teach others of their monk-ly ways.
There you have it, the three factions that have monk NPCs. It’s up to you what you do with this information. What kind of backstory will your monk have? Will you be a human that defected from the Scarlet Crusade? A tauren that was stationed in Dawn’s Light and learned the ways of the monk from someone else? A draenei who ran from the Auchenai Crypts when you saw how you’re people were falling into corruption? Or maybe even a blood elf who spent their free time hanging around the lower city of Shattrath City, listening and learning from the refugees? Or quite possibly just learning it all from the panda’s. The choice is yours.
Just whipping up this mini-post –while waiting for my lfr que to pop- to tide you over until I start rolling out some more posts. This week I’ve been doing a lot of raiding, both in lfr and out. I managed to get my priest, Chmelyk through both halves of lfr by Wednesday afternoon but not before running into this gem. We wiped just as we were killed the third plate piece. Someone stood too close to one edge and Deathwing rolled us right off his back. We zoned in and this warlock started the encounter before we were ready, someone initiated a vote kick and it failed. Here’s what he had to say:
Thankfully I had qued on my priest earlier and beat Madness already so I left once spine had been looted. I managed to snag tier shoulders and a wand for my priest.
On my shaman I ran Dragon Soul with my guild and we finished the entire thing. I got my title! I snagged the belt of Morchok and some snazzy tier shoulders. This is what I look like unmogrified:
I recently ran the first half in lfr, things didn’t go as planned. This was probably the messiest lfr I’ve ever been in. On the final pull before Morchok someone pulled him, but we managed to get through without wiping. We let the void hit with only 2 bounces on the next boss. We allowed 3 slimes to reach the third boss TWICE! But we still hadn’t wiped at this point. And finally on Hagara it took us 8 MINUTES and 32 SECONDS! We hit the enrage timer but because she enraged during frozen tempest we killed her while she was dazed. I got me some tier pants. All that’s left now is to do the second half and then do it all again on my druid. Why do I do this again? Oh yeah, I spec’d into masochism.
How about you? How have your raids been going?
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” –Nelson Mandela
The quote about perfectly articulates how I feel not only about returned to Azeroth but also returning to this blog right here. While the posts, pictures, and comments all remaining the same –well, other than the ones I’m going to change after this post is written- I do feel that some things are different. One of the changes is I feel less introverted, I suppose. A shared topic that finished up recently tasked us with bringing to light all the bloggers of the community we feel star struck by. People listed bloggers such as Rades from Orcish Army Knife, Vidyala from Manalicious, and Ophelie from Bossy Pally as people that they feel star struck by –No one listed me…because they are so star struck by me, yeah that’s it!.- and I too feel star struck by them. Another thing in common they all have is that I have them on my Real ID friends list. I’m pretty sure I snagged Vid and Ophelie because they were advertising for Troll runs, how Rades ended up there I have no idea. Having them there means I could strike up a conversation any time I wanted –other than when they’re raiding, that’s a no-no- but did I? Nope. In a silly way I was terrified that I would say something or make a fool of myself and I would blacklist myself from the community. Which is absurd because those three are some of the nicest people I’ve met in all my journeys across Azeroth. Being away from the game and the blog for so long, it isn’t that I’ve developed an “I don’t care attitude” towards it all but something has changed. I now strike up conversations with them every time the log in –whether they want to chat or are just logging in to see if they’re needed for a raid-. Other changes are guild related, before my break I would have given an arm, a leg, my first-born, and my soul just to become an officer. Now I’m content being where I am and what I do there. But enough about the changes, let’s get to how I’ve spent my two weeks back:
On Anslym I managed to farm up the Cyclone Raiment set (Shaman Tier 4) within the first few days back. I also managed to jump in on a guild Dragon Soul run. We wiped Ultraxion once and on Blackhorn once but in the end we got all the way to spine in just under three hours. I did grab a few nice upgrades, so all-in-all it was a good night. More recently I put together an awesome transmog set for Anslym’s elemental set. As for the day-to-day activities I haven’t really been doing that much on him. Although I did sell all my 34 volatile airs to make a pretty profit.
On Chmelyk, I’ve picked up PvPing. There’s just something satisfying about mind spiking an oncoming horde to death. I changed all of my Valor Points into conquest points and had enough to get the conquest shoulders which got me my “Cataclysmically Epic”. I have a really nice red and gold transmog set planned for him too –you can only wear Tier 6 for so long-. Unfortunately the robe and gloves come from patterns from Sunwell Plateau or I can exchanged the gear dropped from that raid with a sunmote to upgrade it into the design I want. Long story short I tried to solo some trash in there and it didn’t go over well. I’ll be pugging it later today.
On Grygor, I ran a few LFRs with my restoration druid and got myself two-piece T13. On my first down of Madness on him three of the healing maces dropped, and I won one. I also took the off-hand from Ultraxion and I now have myself a nice little healer. I volunteered for an Ulduar run with the guild so I now have my drake on my druid –it’ll carry over to my shaman in Mists anyway- and another piece of Tier 8 for his transmog set. I now have the helm and the gloves, just need the chest, shoulders, and staff from Kologarn and I’ll be done –I don’t really need the leggings because they’re hidden under the robe-.
On my other alts, I’ve leveled my Death Knight to level 82 and run a few randoms as blood. I use his frost off-spec to quest in –I had a few issues with dying really fast when I got to Vashj-ir but I got some help in that area, Thanks Rades!-. My paladin has officially gone Holy and is now healing randoms in the Hellfire area at level 63. My hunter dinged 50 in Alterac Valley. My mage hit level 40 in Thousand Needles, I also transmogged some of her heirloom set into something less Warlock-y. I started a blood elf rogue –to try some horde stuff out, haven’t gotten a horde character past level 30.- He was quickly put on hold when I managed to suck my aunt back into the game –She’s only four years older than me (23 years old) it’s not weird!- We rolled goblin characters, she’s a hunter and I’m a priest we are currently sitting at level 24 and about to tackle the Stonetalon Mountains, can’t wait!
So that’s what I’ve been up to. How about you? What have you been up to as Cataclysm winds down?
I’ll write this post anyway, even thought there hasn’t been any notable SQUEE-ing done on twitter, like I asked.
Once an addict always an addict I suppose. There are days where the urge to play is pretty damn strong, and when I mean strong I mean GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY WAY I NEED TO SLAY SOME INTERNET DRAGONS!!!!!!!!!! The way I usually quell such an urge is I find myself on MMO-Champion going through all the Mists news which doesn’t really help the cause, just makes it stronger. After I’ve gone through all the new on MMO is start reading some of the forum posts on how people think WoW is dead, blah, blah, blah. Finally I find my way onto this here blog and I go through my teenie-tiny blogroll which isn’t enough. I go through all the blogs on it, am outraged that the authors haven’t been bothered to update with a new post since the last two hours I’ve read their posts. By the time I reach the end of my blogroll I curse myself for not having more blogs. I begin whoring myself out on other people’s blogrolls. Windsoar from Jaded Alt, Vidyala from Manalicious and Rades from Orcish Army Knife has a pretty fantastic one. Has TONZZZZ of blogs and they move to the top of the list depending on how recently a new post has been released. AMAZING! I read through those precious lines of font about the journeys in Azeroth as if a crack addict is snorting lines of cocaine. By often times even that isn’t enough! There was one time that the craving got so bad I had to turn on my old lug of a computer (I deleted WoW from my laptop) and play on the free to level 20 account. But it isn’t the same. Is it too much to ask for a person to take a video of them playing WoW? Just doing dailies or something? Preferably as an elemental shaman that happens to be a draenei? No? I didn’t think so. I’d be happy to say that I’ve filled the void with another game but honestly…. I haven’t. I replayed my Pokemon games. I redid Pokemon White and Pokemon Leaf Green (although I’ve only made it to Island Three, Berry Forest). I haven’t even had the slightest interest in picking up D3, I guess that’s because I haven’t played D or D2. Maybe if they make an MMO out of them like they did with Warcraft I would. Long story short, I’m completely better off without WoW………… right.
I should mention that while my life has been spiraling into a downwards turn of WoW-withdrawals and the like I have been productive on other fronts. From my last post you probably know (if you A. read it, or B. remember it) I’m working on rewriting my book. Which I must say is going amazingly. I’m actually proud of this version. The previous version had 30 chapter and was approximately 72,000+ words. I worked my ass of throughout May and I managed to get to chapter 24 thus far. The word count currently is 75,000+ words, I’m expecting to reach 100,000 words by the time I’ve finished. I also plan to start trying to publish fairly soon after completion. Writing has it’s ups and downs (thankfully more ups), it was just the other day that I wrote in a new character (one that wasn’t in the first version) he’s a little boy of the age of four, you know the kind of character. One that is on SPEED!!!!!!!!!!!!! and bounces off the walls, has no societal filter so whatever pops into his brain, pops out of his mouth? When initially wrote little Mateo to mean a tragic end, you know to invoke the readers sympathy yadda yadda. Well it turns out that I liked this little character SO much that not only is he going to live, I’ve decided to write a new chapter (chapter 24.5 if you will) just so this character gets more page time.
That’s it for now I guess, I totally had a good ending for this post I assure you but as I was posting the picture of the piglet, it deleted this post so now I have to remove this post from the trash and rewrite the ending. I think it went something like this: I’ve been thinking about starting a reading/writing blog (the tone/voice of it would be must like this post) so if you’d be interested in following me there I’d love to hear it. To reward you for reading this post I’ll leave you with two presents the first is that bastard but adorable piglet that made me write my ending and the second is a cute elephant-let.
You may have noticed that I haven’t been around much lately. I do apologize for not writing this post sooner but a few days ago I cancelled my World of Warcraft subscription. I’m not going to sit here and list all the reasons why I left the game and if Blizzard did this I would, blah, blah, blah. The main reason for that being was because there isn’t one. I’ve stopped playing this game because this chapter of my life is at an end. Sure the guild issues, the raiding issues, etc, contributed to it but to be honest I feel that it’s time.
It was a hard decision to make. I almost made it a month ago but a few days before my subscription lapsed I played a bit again and I decided I would extend it again by a month and in that month time I’ve logged in a total of two times. But to be honest I’m not that heartbroken about it. I picked up my old pokemon games so that’s filled the video game void, but I’ve also started reading again….FOR LESIURE! I know, it’s crazy right? People actually reading for fun? Who has the time for that? This guy! And as I recently learned: the amount of reading I do directly influences the amount of writing I do. You must be sitting at your computer screen thinking: What. The. Fuck. He hasn’t written a damn thing in nearly two months! This guy is full of crap! Well as some of you may know I started blogging in the first place because I wanted to keep my writing skills sharp after I finished my first book (I use the term book loosely it requires a metric fuckton (legitimate Canadian measurement of matter, ask any Canadian, they know) of editing). Surprise, surprise once I started blogging I’ve barely written or edited anything. So with regret I say I will no longer be writing on Bag Overflow.
That begin said I won’t be giving up Twitter, and who knows, maybe one day I’ll be back on Bag Overflow. But for now WoW doesn’t hold any pull on me. I check MMO-Champ for Mists news and I realize that it just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I have thought about starting a reading/writing/personal blog after I saw Angelya’s Oaken Bookcase blog. But for now I leave you with a hearty thanks for sticking with Bag Overflow for however long that you did and I also leave you with Chapter 1 (recently edited) of my novel: (Title still pending)
Chapter 1: Conscription
Lightning cracked across the clouded sky over the lake. Daniel awoke when the back of his eyelids flashed scarlet from the light that streamed through the grim encrusted window. Rats scuttled overhead along the rusted girders that nearly touched the ceiling. He sat up off the mouldy couch, that he dragged here himself, stretching his arms high above his head. With a quick movement of his head to the right and to the left, his neck let off several audible cracks. Deeming himself fully awake he reached over and pulled his t-shirt over his head. It was already damp from the humidity that emanated from Toronto on the hot July morning. Kicking over a pizza box, that the rats hadn’t reached yet, he pulled out a cold piece and began munching on it.
“It isn’t much of a breakfast,” Daniel thought as he took another bite, “then again I don’t have much of a life now, do I?” He ran through his plans for the day as he shouldered the door open. Daniel frequented an abandoned warehouse right on the lake when he didn’t want to stay at his group home, which was often. Daniel needed to check in with the social workers or else they would “enforce” their rules on him. Daniel still had bruises from his last “enforcement”. Instead of taking the bus, Daniel decided, he would take a more scenic route that would take him through his favourite place in the city, downtown. Daniel had lived in Toronto for the entirety of his sixteen years. The social workers said that they opened the doors one morning and there was a man standing their telling them he couldn’t take care of him. Ever since then, Daniel’s been walking around the city hoping to stumble across this man, but so far no such luck befell him. Although something was always drawing Daniel to Toronto, once he was taken to a summer camp just an hour north of Toronto and he felt sick for the entire time he was there, almost like a hollowness had moved into his chest. The moment he passed the city sign he felt better. It wasn’t odd for him to be spending hours walking around the city taking in the sights, smells, and sounds of the city. Little did he know that this was all about to change.
Police were closing down streets in the downtown core for some event that would be bringing all sorts of celebrities to town. Luckily he knew his way around the city, so he just by-passed the police and ducked into an alleyway that reeked of garbage and filthy rainwater. He hopped onto a garbage can, then onto a stack of old loading pallets, followed by a dumpster, and then finally up and over a wall that divided the alley.
With a sharp intake of breath Daniel hopped down from the wall. He had scrapped his wrist; blood slowly seeped from the torn skin down the tips of his fingers.
“Dammit!” Daniel swore, “I’m going be hear about this from witch one and witch two.” He had an arrangement with the two social workers that ran the house he lived at. They let him have free run of the city if he agreed to return in time for the weekly inspection of house by the province. Any injuries must be documented such as a scratched wrist. Luckily he had a first aid kit stashed under his mattress back at the home so all he needed to do is make it back before the provincial inspector came knocking and he would be home free.
Daniel distanced his hand from the rest of him, a first aid kit wouldn’t help much with blood smeared clothes, and continued his walk. Fortunately it was only a three block walk from the alleyway.
When he looked up and the clouds seemed to be darker with each passing step, he managed to stem the flow of blood and gave himself a few moments to compose himself. He looked out across the street to the place he had to call home. It was a standard building for Toronto: the first metre from the ground was a study gray coloured concrete that made the foundation. Above that were red bricks made up the majority of the wall but a few blues dotted themselves up to the roof. Daniel supposed that the contrast was supposed to make the building look like a fun place to live. That if parents were ever unable to look after their kids, this would be a great place to leave them. Daniel laughed bitterly. He knew the secrets of this place better than anyone. The only fun thing about this place were the arts and crafts that hung in the windows of some of the rooms, Daniel has been there the longest and he doesn’t remember anyone making them, they must have been made when the building first opened. Daniel sighed, as perfect the exterior was; the interior was anything but.
You moved in stages through the home. Babies were sent to the nursery meanwhile the older kids that had the misfortune of being sent here were put in the arrival room. To all the members of the home it was just known as the “A” room or just “A” for short. The “A” stood for the phases the inhabitants went through. The first stage was abandonment, their families and whatever high power they believed in abandoned them, leaving them there. The second stage followed a few hours after the first, this stage was known as agony. This is usually the first time the children have to themselves after whatever incident put them there. Whether it was a matter of the court or if it was just a car accident, this was the stage where it dawned that they probably won’t be seeing their parents again. The Agony stage usually lasted a few days, till the child cried themselves out and all came to the same conclusion, they would get out of there, no matter what it took they would. The stage after agony was anger. Anger for the other driver or for the judge who sent them there. Chairs and punches would be thrown. The A room was covered in posters covering the various holes in the walls. There’s even one on the ceiling which Daniel has yet to figure out how it got there.
After the A room, members of this home moved through the age rooms. The nursery was close to the entrance of the building, where the witches roosted. He hated them. Passed the nursery was the bathroom and shower. It was pretty standard as far as bathrooms went. When the door opened immediately to the left were two sinks with a large mirror above it, covered in grime as usual. Right behind the door was a tub with a shower head that most of the younger kids used. Right beside the tub were two stalls. Just like the rest of the building, the stalls were broken and gray. When Daniel had a roommate in his earlier years he would often spend all night sitting in one of the stalls reading. The bathroom was the only room that still have the lights on, even after lights out. Passed the bathroom the children lodged, usually ages from four to ten. Passed them was the kitchen. Up a flight of stairs and this is where the preteens lived, ages eleven to thirteen. At the end of the preteen hallway was the common area where petty squabbles primarily played out. Finally on the third floor is where the teenagers lived, but since most children were adopted before then, it was only Daniel who resided on the top floor. He didn’t mind because at the end of the teenager hallway was where Daniel’s favourite room was, the library. Although since the library ran on such limited funds, Daniel often went to the larger one downtown, which means he often took books back to his room. They littered every flat surface they could find. He had them stacked up in three separate piles on his desk. He couldn’t sit on his desk chair either because of the same reason. His bed was only functional if he curled up as tightly as he could, which was often. Daniel would rather wake up aching than damage a book.
A car door slamming snapped him out of his reverie. Daniel swore. The man from the government just walked in the front door while he stood like an idiot on the other side of the street thinking about books. He hurried across the street, with any luck he could sneak upstairs and bandage his wrist, or at least he could change into a long sleeved shirt to cover up his gash.
“And where are you coming in so early on this dreary morning?” the inspector questioned as Daniel walked in the front door.
“Library, had to return those books on the French revolution. Those library fines are killers,” Daniel lied casually, it wasn’t the first time he had to make up a lie on the spot and he had a feeling it wasn’t going to be the last either.
“Say hello to Mr. Johnson,” the social worker named Deborah said. She was a large woman. She was fairly thick and thrice as tall, she was pure muscle. She had short, thick curly brown hair and below that her eyebrows would play tag. Often times one would reach across her forehead to touch the other and vice versa, depended on the day if she had a unibrow or not Daniel supposed. She had thin, narrow lips that always had a thick coating of lipstick. Daniel assumed it was to make her look feminine, but he never asked. Her most defining feature was her large hook nose that she often used to sniffing out those children who disobeyed her and broke her rules. It was no wonder she was nicknamed, The Bear.
“Hello to Mr. Johnson,” Daniel said lazily to the man who wore a trench coat, oblivious to the sweltering heat that was plaguing the city.
“No need to get smart,” Replied Janet, the other social worker. She was the complete opposite of Deborah, Deborah resembled a bear meanwhile Janet was more like a tree, tall and lanky. Her face was like that of a large beaked bird. Long, sharp pointed nose with small beady eyes and her eyebrows weren’t nearly as entertaining.
“What happened to your wrist?” Inspector Johnson enquired as he snatched Daniel’s hand.
“I caught it on some thorns when I was in High Park studying the flora of the city for a report due,” Daniel replied quickly.
“In the middle of July?” the inspector asked icily, digging he nails into Daniel’s wrist.
“Well Ms. Deborah and Ms. Janet ride us hard, even in the sum- What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Daniel asked as the inspectors nails dug into his wound, making it bleed again, “Let go! That hurts!”
“Is he packed yet?” the inspector asked turning to the social workers as he eyed the blood dripping off his fingers onto the linoleum floor.
“W-we haven’t had a chance to tell him yet,” Deborah asked.
“Tell me what?” Daniel asked as an icy chill ran up his spine.
“We’re moving you out of the city, further north. It’s close to a military base. It’s become evident that if no one has adopted you by now, no one will. Once you turn eighteen the only natural option for you will be to enlist, thus eliminating the need for us to help you get on your feet.” No one said anything for a few moments, letting it all soak in. Daniel eyed the man standing before him. He hated every inch of him. All the way from the top of his balding head, right down passed his glasses, passed the plaid shirt under his jacket, right down to his cheap Italian knock-off shoes.
“Well alright then,” Daniel said as he turned away from the three of them and calmly strode out the front door.
“Where’s he going?” the inspector asked the two workers.
“Running away?” Janet suggested politely.
“Well then I suggest you go after him, or I’ll make sure both of you get extended unpaid vacations. Permanently,” he said, still inspecting the blood running along his hand.
* * * * *
Daniel began running shortly after he actually understood what was being offered him and what he was doing. He didn’t know for how long or how fast he had been running but all he knew was he couldn’t move out of the city. He only began to really understand what moving out of the city would mean for him when he sat down on a bus bench to contemplate it. There wasn’t a doubt in his mind that eventually that hollowness he felt when he left the city before would kill him. He leaned back in the bench and stared at the sky. It was the exact colour he felt, a deep, dark gray. He looked at a man sitting in a red Cadillac, and more importantly he looked through the man’s windows and on the other side of the street were the two social workers looking dutifully for him and their vacations.
Again he didn’t know how long or far he ran till he was tripping over some garbage cans in an alleyway. When he last saw the workers they were right behind him, and as luck would have it this alleyway was a dead end. Thankfully Daniel had created enough of a racket that the store owner opened the back door.
“Get inside quickly.” Daniel cautiously stepped inside, the old man bolted the door closed behind them, “What were you doing in my back alley?”
“What are you doing letting me into your store?” Daniel asked.
“You’re quick. I liked that. You can call me Mr. Frydel, and you are?” Mr. Frydel asked.
“I’m Daniel and I guess you could call me a runaway. Are you going to turn me in?”
“I suppose that depends on what you’re running from,” Mr. Frydel observed. Daniel spent the better half of the next hour telling Mr. Frydel everything about himself. Daniel couldn’t help it., once he looked into those green, inquisitive eyes he couldn’t help telling Mr. Frydel everything. Something about the old man made Daniel feel calm and safe. While Daniel was talking, the man bandaged up his wrist and made him something to eat. Mr. Frydel’s eyes gleamed particularly bright when Daniel mentioned searching for someone and the feeling of longing for the city. Just as Daniel was going to start talking about this morning the front bell of Mr. Frydel’s Polish deli chimed. The workers had walked in searching for Daniel.
“Stay here,” Mr. Frydel whispered. He went to the front of the store where he found Deborah and Janet.
“I’m assuming you’re not here because you heard how good my Kielbasa is?” asked Mr. Frydel.
“No we’re looking for a boy, he’s run off when he was informed he was going to be joining the military,” Janet replied with pursed lips.
“And here I thought we lived in a peaceful country where conscription wasn’t enforced.”
“Well this boy belongs to the province meaning he belongs to the country as well. It’s time he grew up and faced the fact that no one is going to take him. We would like to look around. He was seen running this way.”
“Well as you said, if no one wanted to take him what makes you think I would take him? And even if I did you would need a warrant to search my store.”
“We’ll call the police!” Deborah threatened.
“I implore you to do so.”
After a tense stare down between the three adults in the front of the shop, Daniel heard the front bell chime again, signifying the departure of both workers. Mr. Frydel hurried into the backroom.
“You need to hurry, they’re going to be back. It seems they aren’t so eager to forget about you.”
“Their vacation time, more like it.”
“Regardless, there’s an abandoned house on the western side of the city, let me write down the address for you.”
“Not to be ungrateful for all that you’ve done for me. I don’t really know you and sending me to an abandoned house,”
“Daniel, you said that when you wander the city you have this feeling of longing and searching, do you not?”
“Do you have that feeling now?”
“I…” In all his years of searching Daniel had never quenched the feeling of longing until now. Was it possible that this was the man he’s been looking for his entire life? Could this be the man that dropped him off at birth?
“I’ll meet you there tomorrow morning and answer all your questions of how you came to be in here. Take this money for the bus,” the old man shoved money into the hands of the boy with the astonished look upon his face, “Keep your head down and head straight there.” Mr. Frydel unbolted the door and unceremoniously shoved Daniel out of it. Daniel was so deep in thought as he walked down the street he hardly noticed when the clouds let loose with their torrential downpour.