Greetings roleplayers! Introducing a new series under the RoleCraft banner today, one I hope you will enjoy. As you know, creating and experiencing a solid story for a character is one of the main driving forces that keep us playing. I know it is for me, a fact evidenced by the total number of characters I have created across four MMORPGs, now holding steady at twenty-two. So many characters, so little time, as they say.

So what’s a roleplayer to do with so many characters and not enough time to play them all in game? Many turn to role-writing, that is, telling their character’s story through written form, most often on the forums of their respective MMORPG, or through online blogs dedicated to the life of that character. Some are of such quality that the writers could very well become book authors, maybe the next Robert Jordan or Margaret Weis!

RoleCraft: Storyteller will bring you one of my own written character stories, but with an extra twist. You the reader will have the opportunity to help guide the story of the character! Following is the introduction to a character in World of Warcraft, Wil’amae Sunrose, a blood elf priest who is initiated into the order and now has a world of options before her. At the end of the story you’ll find a link to a poll with some of those options. You cast your vote of choices for her, I will take the choices with the majority vote and apply them to her in game, and then play out those choices to see where they take her. What happens to her in game will be what appears in the next edition of Storyteller, and once again you will have the opportunity to continue to make a series of choices as to what happens to her next. This will continue until the end, when and however that may come about.

I’ll also be making use of the WarCry forums to continue discussion about her story and any choices not covered in the poll. Should the character’s appearance change, like a new hair style? Should she wear any specific RP clothing? What about any special idiosyncrasies she should possess? Feel free to open up any conversation topic you wish, just remember this is an RP story. For those so inclined, you may also keep tabs on her progression via her profile on The Armory. The goal is to see how grand or not-so-grand a character story we can craft. So, let’s role on!

Rose of the Sun

The sun rose early this morning, but you are already awake and about, long before the first golden rays stretched their warmth across Eversong Woods. Today is going to be a grand day, after all, and you have had two full days of rest already. Never hurts to get things started right away, and though today will have a bittersweet moment, you’re still anxious to see what else the day holds.

The air is always brisk and clean at Farstrider Retreat, some of the main reasons you have spent many days and nights in meditation and solitude here. The last couple of days have been no exception. You’ve passed much of the time in contemplation, about your past, and about your future. It is always very painful to think about where you’ve come from and what you’ve been through, but in order for you to be ready for today, it was a necessary task to face.

Wringing and brushing the water from your hair as you step from the creek that flows below the retreat, you stand for a few minutes and let the warming air dry the water from your skin before quickly slipping into your clothes. Matron Arena and Ponaris will be very pleased, no, make that ecstatic, to know that you have thoroughly washed all your clothes, especially your main priests’ robe you’ll be wearing for the ceremony. Walking up to the retreat, you give a sly smile as you wonder what they will also think when they find out that you didn’t perfume your robe, following suit like those other prim and proper female blood elves do. No matter, you think, they will probably do as they’ve done since you were a child in their care – just look at you under arched brows and say, “I’m so glad there’s only one of you, Wil’amae Sunrose.”

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Wil’amae. What a name. What were your parents thinking when they named you, you have often wondered? Then, as usual, you realize how much it fits you. Even your nickname, Wil, is a perfect reflection of you, or so you have often been told. You at first thought it was something the other orphan kids called you because they couldn’t pronounce your whole name. As you grew older, the priests who were guiding your learning would often remark in low tones about how much ‘will’ you have, especially when things just didn’t go your way, or a way you liked. Willpower, even to the point of being stubborn, has never been a trait you lacked. That is probably the one thing you have trusted above everything else to get you to this day. Softly whispering another prayer of thanks to you parents for naming you so, you slip on the brilliant blue and white graduation robe, gather your backpack, and begin the walk to Silvermoon City.

Though it’s still early by the time you reach The Shepard’s Gate entrance into Silvermoon, the heat has increased a good bit, and the day looks to be quite a beautiful one. Thankfully, Silvermoon isn’t very far from Farstrider Retreat, and you welcome the magically cooled air that’s kept swirling through the city. You are also thankful you didn’t muss up your fresh clean robe with dust from a long walk.

As you step out onto the Walk of Elders, you suddenly realise it has been many months since you last set foot in Silvermoon, even though this is the place you currently call home. For one, you’ve been much too occupied with your priest studies over in Sunstrider Isle, Falconwing Square, and all throughout Eversong Woods, to have a chance to return home. There is also the fact that coming home brings back a lot of sorrowful memories of when your parents were alive. Even now, after much meditation and practice on emptying your mind and calming your heart to prepare for today, you can still hear their voices crisply over the din of the city, and it brings an ache to your bones you think you’ll never know a cure for.

A lumbering Arcane Guardian nearly knocks you down as you cross the Court of the Sun, snapping your attention back to the present. You are at the same time feeling both gracious and guilty for not wanting to think about your parents, even on a day like today. Ponaris, the Priest trainer at Falconwing Square with whom you’ve spent the last few seasons in training, warned you this would happen, on the day he said he had taught you all he could, and that you were ready for your first rite of passage as a priest. The scroll he gave you then, with the official summons from Lotheolan, Priest Trainer at Sunfury Spire, is safely tucked inside your backpack. You quickly begin to recite the prayer that was also written there, which you must know for the ceremony, and hopefully forever after, provided you pass the final test.

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Making your way slowly up the broad expanse of red carpet leading into Sunfury Spire, you cast an approving glance at the spotless soldiers flanking the path. Letting the feelings of honor and courage they display push away your last thoughts of everything but your duty at hand, you step inside the Spire, carefully setting your backpack down in the anteroom and pulling out the scroll.

Smoothing your robe, and straightening the band holding your hair in place, you grasp the scroll with a purpose, close your eyes, and –

“Well, come on in, Wil’amae Sunrose, no need to stand out there all day. If you’re not ready by now, you never will be.”

Startled by Lotheolan’s voice calling you from inside the Priests’ antechamber, you take a quicker deep breath than you had wanted and step through the blue sheen draping and into the room. The tall glowing statue of the female blood elf in the center of the room, who’s name you do not know, still manages to inspire a sense of wonder, no matter how many times you’ve seen it. Books of every type, color, shape and size surround the rest of the room, purposefully lined on the wall shelves, and quickly stacked in piles on the floor.

Priest Lotheolan clears his throat from amidst the largest stack of books on the floor, and stands glaring at you with a cocked head and an expecting look.

Not wasting another moment, you step up and hold out the scroll for him. “I am Novice Acolyte Wil’amae Sunrose. I have come to test my worthiness for the first priest rite of passage.” You stand motionless, barely even breathing after introducing yourself according to the ceremony rites, and look into Lotheolan’s eyes.

For a brief few seconds, you think to yourself that he could be your brother, since both of you have deep red hair and almost the exact skin tone. His eyes do not burn as emerald as yours do, but the discipline and life you see in his more than makes up for that. Taking the scroll from you, he methodically unrolls it and quickly scans it, mostly as if merely making sure the usual details are in order. Placing the scroll back in the case and setting it down, his attention turns back to you, and you feel a peaceful, easy feeling wash over you as his gaze takes in not only your physical stature, but also your spiritual being.

“Wil’amae Sunrose,” he intones, his voice reaching out to fill the entire room, “you stand before me having endured nine seasons as an acolyte of the priesthood, and steadfast have you remained in that time with your tasks. You stand before me as a willing pupil to continue in the ways of holiness, shadow, and discipline. If allowed, will you endure the next seasons as you have the last, steadfast, with faith and honor?”

“I will,” is your answer, followed with a deep bow of your head, which you hold as you were instructed.

Placing his hand on your shoulder, your cue to look up, Lotheolan gently guides you to stand in front of and facing the gleaming statue.

“Kneel,” Lotheolan whispers to you, and you settle down softly and place your hands palm down onto your legs. Standing at your side, Lotheolan places a hand reverently atop your head and looks up to the face of the statue.

“Wil’amae Sunrose,” he says, again in the same encompassing voice, “there is only one question that remains, and it’s answer is known only to you. Your answer will decide if you are to be deemed worthy of this rite of passage, or if you are not yet ready for the tasks beyond this point.”

This part of the ceremony is the test you were told of, the part that is different for each acolyte, with no question ever asked twice. This is why you spent the last two days meditating on a pure mind, heart, and soul. The one deciding factor towards whether you received the blessing of the rite of passage lay in how you answer the question.

Suddenly sensing that you have been holding your breath, you force yourself to exhale, and with a sudden feeling of understanding and astonishment, you answer: “To accept life is to accept death. To honor life is to honor death. To accept the living is to accept the dead. There is not one without the other.”

A sensation in your spirit makes you open your eyes and look directly at the face of the statue towering over you. A glow builds from the statue’s eyes, building in brightness and distance as it steadily reaches out to engulf your face in its touch. Thoughts, emotions, feelings, of every kind, and from everywhere, come flooding into your mind. Images of your parents when they were children, scenes of new leaves sprouting and growing, turning the most brilliant colors until becoming brittle and carried away with on the wind, the screams of the undead and the dying all along the Dead Scar, all these cascade through your mind and body like a waterfall that you wish you could escape and that would never end.

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Lotheolan’s gentle voice at your ear cuts through your being, and you open your eyes yet again to feel tears streaming down your face and your laughter echoing around the room. “Wil.” Lotheolan speaks to you again, and you turn to face him, feeling as if you could jump the width of Silvermoon, but yet not sure if you can even stand right now. With a look of grand respect on his face, he helps you to your feet and turns you to face him.

“Wil’amae Sunrose, you have been granted to ability to resurrect the dead, to bring the soul of another back into the physical realm of their body. Indeed, it is no small thing, as you will come to know. However, there is another, more important task given to every priest, and that is the ability to help keep the souls of the living in their place. This is what you will find the most challenging of your profession, and it is what sets us apart from all others. These last seasons have shown you worthy to care for the souls of the dead. The next seasons, and from now until your own soul departs on its final journey, you will find out if you are worthy to care for the living. Are you ready?”

Wiping the tears from your eyes with the sleeves of your robe and gathering your composure, you breathe deeply and look right into the kind face of Lotheolan. “I am ready,” you bravely proclaim.

“Very well!” Lotheolan claps his hands together, nearly causing you to jump clear out of the room. “Now, as I understand it, ” he says, walking back to sit amongst his stacks of books, “you have not yet taken on any skills?”

“No, I have not,” you answer. “I thought it better to stay with my training until finding out whether I would pass the rite of passage.”

“Well, you have passed, so waste no more time, Wil.” Lotheolan grabs a blank parchment and quickly begins writing. “This is directions to every trainer we have in Silvermoon; herbalism, jewelcrafting, tailoring, cooking, first aid, all of them. Before the day is done, your first task as a newly appointed Priest is to visit each teacher of your choice and choose the skills you wish to learn. During your travels, you will have need of every skill available, so choose wisely. When you are done, return to me, and we will discuss the three branches of priesthood which now lay at your feet. You will begin to direct your priestly skills as you see fit, granted you remain steadfast and focused.”

Handing you the parchment, you bow to him once more before turning to follow his directions. You have a thousand questions running full tilt through your head at the moment, but you also need some fresh air and to stretch your legs, the answers may come on their own once your mind slows down.

Lotheolan calls out again as you are retrieving your backpack. Looking around, you see him standing with a smile and nodding at you. “Your parents are very proud of you, Wil.” With another nod to you, he turns away and goes back to his books.

A gentle warmth wraps around your body, a feeling you’ve not felt since you were a small child, and you know exactly where it comes from.

“I know,” you say, as you hurry out into Silvermoon City.

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