Aftermath… “Fog and Roses”/”Curses and Blessings” 2010/2011.

Late 2010.  Still recovering from the stroke, and the heart procedure, and growing more and more concerned.  I had never gone that long without something, no matter how stupid, wandering across my mind.   Sure, I’d never bother to give the dumb ones keyboard time, but they usually still showed up… snippets of previous works too small to settle down, things never to see the light of day… but I had nothing.   I was desperate.  I wanted to hear something, anything, yes, even another fanfiction, to let me know my brain could still manage to come up with the stories I’d always taken for granted.

And life was apparently determined to laugh at me.  It was during this time that I received the first notification… that “Remember When”  had placed well enough in the contest I’d put it in to guarantee its publication in the contest’s anthology.  I’d found a paying home for it.  It was followed by the first cautious emails from an e-publisher interested in “Fall of the Old Guard”.  So, I had someone finally interested in one of my full length novels, and I couldn’t write anymore.   I was both thrilled to death and embittered, I still felt like I was so close, and now there was another hurdle in my way.

But I had a neurologist telling me that my computer gaming habit was ‘therapeutic”, and some lovely coworkers who had given me a gift card to “Buy that computer game you keep talking about.  We don’t know which one, so we figured we’d just let you pick it up.”  They were referring to the latest World of Warcraft expansion:  Cataclysm.   I decided to immerse myself in gaming, and started Cataclysm with a brand new character.   I had a fairly strong reputation as a good player on my server, but was in no condition to deal with that.   I could play, but my focus was off and I didn’t think I was up to the level of play I had once enjoyed.   A new character, on the opposite faction (World of Warcraft characters have a societal allegiance, they pick ‘sides’, Horde versus Alliance.)  of my other, would ensure I was left alone for quite awhile.   After all, who would want to recruit a shiny new Worgen mage?

I chose a male character, because the females looked funny, and started.   The starting story line was compelling, and I was really enjoying myself, when the unexpected happened.   That shiny new Worgen mage began to talk to me.

Banastre was an aberration in two ways:  One, he was male.   Usually my stories start with a strong connection to the female main protagonist, her other half comes later when I know her better.   And two, he was an active character of mine.  The best of my fanfiction works had main characters I never played… Clarimonde has never been a game character of mine, and Besseth was played for a couple of days after I was done with “Servant of the One True King”.

But at that point, I didn’t care.  I had a story…one I could write.  And write it I did.  Banastre’s first segment, “Fog and Roses”, was not my longest and most complex fanfiction ever, (It came in at a respectable 40k words) but his voice was there and it was almost as true as Clair’s had been earlier.  And just as they’d always done before, it flowed right into the second part “Curses and Blessings” (31k).

I was writing again.   Sure, it was another fanfiction, but I was willing to take what I was given then.  My brain was not irretrievably lost, I still had the hallway, this time inhabited by a Byronesque werewolf and his irascible girlfriend.   It was all good, where the fanfics lead, the originals follow.

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