Time for a new book. This time it’s Illidan by William King.
Yep, I’m taking a short break from my Witcher craze to read a World of Warcraft tie-in novel. After all, WoW was my first gaming obsession and I’m still not through with reading all the books I have acquired over the last 14 years. And since Illidan is one of my favorite villains/antiheroes, I decided to read another one about him and hope it goes better than War of the Ancients.
(Hint: That one ends with the world being ripped apart and Illidan thrown in prison for 10.000 years…)
by William King
The Burning Legion has returned, and there is only one champion who can truly stand against it. Released from his bonds, Illidan prepares for the final confrontation in the alien realm of Outland, gathering an army of fel orcs, naga, blood elves, and demon hunters to his side. He alone knows what motives guide his hand; he alone understands the price that must be paid. Yet as before, he is assailed by those who see his schemes as a cynical quest for power, including the night elf Maiev Shadowsong. Warden Shadowsong will not rest until Illidan is in her custody… or in his grave.
I feel like Artemis and Illidan would get along just fine. If he was able to, this tiny owl would also be yelling “You are not prepared!” at his enemies every chance he got.
I have always been a very cheap person. The only thing I ever voluntarily spend a lot of money are PCs, and even then, I’m currently keeping the lid on my laptop together with laundry clamps because it goes against everything I believe in to replace a fully-functioning laptop, just because it happens to be falling apart.
So when I decided to sign up for Witcher School and go to Poland, I spent a lot of time telling myself that it was worth the expense because it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
As you will no doubt know if you have been following my blog posts, I just got home from this once-in-a-lifetime experience less than a month ago.
And less than an hour ago Witcher School released the tickets for another LARP event in October. I already bought mine.
Once-in-a-lifetime, my ass…
It’s not even the follow-up to the event I went to in April, but instead the first episode in a brand new season. Apparently, the individual events are part of seasons where each episode continues the story from the last one. And these seasons have 6-7 episodes, roughly one a year.
The event I went to in April was episode 5 of a season. Meaning that I have 2 episodes left of that one, then 7 of the season I just signed up for.
I might as well move to Poland.
Not to mention I had planned to dedicate 2019 to working on my books, so I could get both my new book and the new editions of the old ones released. I was so certain I would have them all done with lots of time to spare before the summer convention season.
But I’m not even close to being done. From January to April, my sole focus was preparing for Witcher School (but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it was okay, right?), which, for one thing, meant I spend a lot of time exercising. It’s no wonder so many writers take up drinking instead. Being healthy does not leave you a lot of time to get work done.
If I end up going to Witcher School twice a year from now on, I will never get anything else done.
I’m just going to put all the blame on Andrzej Sapkowski and CD Projekt Red and call it a day.
Yes, you’re finally getting a post that’s not about owls or cosplay, and yet it’s STILL terribly geeky. Bear with me.
I’m going to Poland this week to enroll in Witcher School. This is a huge LARP event where people from all over the world spends 3 days at a castle, acting out a story based on the Witcher books by Andrzej Sapkowski and the popular Witcher video games. We’re talking more than a hundred players as well as a huge crew of organizers who’ll play instructors, monsters and other cool characters over the course of the event, where we’ll be completely secluded from the modern world. The players will get lessons in fencing, archery, survival and alchemy, and whatever else they might need to become experienced monster hunters.
I did a bit of LARPing (“Live-action Roleplaying” to those unfamiliar with the lingo) as a teenager, but this will be my first time as an adult and of course I’m jumping in at the deep end.
When signing up for the event, we all got a form to fill out. A lot of the info was so that the organizers could make a custom character for each of us. We had to fill out prior skills, wishes and ideas for our characters’ backstories, etc..
As I have next to no physical skills, and since there wasn’t a box for that, I just checked “from a noble family” under the character background section, knowing that, as a petite woman with noodle arms who gets winded going up more than one flight of stairs, I would have trouble believably playing someone from a rough background. I figured a backstory as a pampered noblewoman would give me some excuses when struggling to swing a sword, so I didn’t specify anything else for my character.
Let’s just say that… backfired.
I got my character sheet last week and the organizers did respect my only wish. My character, Eydis of Clan Tordarroch, is indeed nobility.
To everyone not familiar with the Witcher universe: They basically made me a viking.
I barely weigh more than a hundred pounds soaking wet, and my friends accidentally injure me on a regular basis just by hugging me. I’m also not a fan of the cold. Despite my Scandinavian blood, I’m the least viking-y person you’ll ever meet.
Also, I’m horrible at accents, and all the Skellige characters in Witcher 3 have Irish accents.
Don’t get me wrong. While reading my character sheet, I immediately fell in love with Eydis as a character. I’m just in for a hell of a challenge bringing her to life.
At least they made her bitchy and brutally honest. Now THAT I can do.
As is often the case with my cosplays, I used a couple different references and picked the parts I liked from each. With Morrigan, this was mostly because she wears NOTHING under her very, very open cowl in Dragon Age: Origins, but she was a bit more fortunate in her concept artwork.
I can deal with revealing costumes, but I draw the line at flashing an entire convention because fabric slips in reality, as opposed to video games 😂
Story behind the costume
Not much to say here. I got Dragon Age: Origins for free one day, played it for about 15 minutes, got obsessed, met someone even more obsessed who was already making a Dragon Age cosplay, and suddenly I had decided to cosplay the bitchy witch wearing way too little clothing.
Morrigan is the mistress of Sass, and there was no way I could get away with NOT cosplaying her.
How It’s Made
With Morrigan I didn’t experiment with as many different materials as my other costumes… which might also be why it’s one of the only cosplays I have that I can move almost freely in.
The cowl is made entirely from normal fabric. Nothing fancy going on there.
For the skirt, I used a plain pencil skirt as a base and sewed faux leather around it. The patch at the top is made from EVA foam, covered in the same pleather and with rabbit fur attached around the egde. It’s attached to the skirt with push buttons, meaning it’s detachable, because it covers the zipper for the skirt.
All the “belts” hanging from the skirt were made separately and from scratch, all in the same pleather as the skirt and with metal rings hammered in (I love getting to use a hammer when I sew stuff).
The bra… Now THAT is something I’m weirdly proud of. I didn’t even sew the thing from scratch, instead Frankensteining it from 3 different bras that I slaughtered. I bought two simple bikini tops from eBay, one white and one black, and took the straps from the black and the cups from the white. The fabric used for the white one was waaaay too white, but it turns out that soaking a bra in black tea for a few hours is a great way to dye it.
With the straps and the cups put together I technically had a fully-functional bra. But seeing as I’m a little paranoid, I thought an extra bit of security was in order. Which is how I came to slaughter bra nr. 3. This time, it was a self-adhesive silicone bra that I sewed into the cups of my bikini top, so that I could easily glue the whole thing to my chest and not worry about anything slipping.
(Turned out to be a very good idea, since a friend accidentally untied the bikini top in the middle of a convention hall one time…)
The staff was a lot of fun. It was also an experiment that I had expected to fail spectacularly, but which somehow turned out great.
The base is a completely normal wooden broom handle. At the top I nailed some foam strips on some wire onto it and covered it in PU foam. From that, I carved a couple of “branches”.
I covered the whole thing in acrylic sealant, making the surface bumpy like a rough tree branch. Still can’t believe that I randomly grabbed some stuff you use to put in windows and somehow it all worked out…
Then, of course, I painted and varnished it. I tied a piece of leather with some feathers around it to give it the finishing touch.
On to the necklace. This was made by making a base of black pleather and attaching the separate pieces onto it. It’s closed in the back with push buttons and the gold pieces are made from spray-painted EVA foam (the pendants also have Worbla covering the foam). The pearls are also attached directly to the necklace, instead of being a separate piece.
The sleeve is made from stretchy pleather and kept on with elastic at the top. The patch is made from pleather-covered EVA foam with sewn on feathers, attached to the sleeve with push buttons.
I had a lot of fun with this costume, both making it and wearing it.
I worked on the cosplay together with a friend (she was cosplaying Anders, also from Dragon Age) and we usually did it at her apartment. That led to a number of funny situations, for example one day when we talked about the latest game in the Dragon Age series, Inquisition, which I hadn’t played yet, so I was a bit confused when my friend’s boyfriend stuck his head into the room, yelled “Fuck Solas!” and left.
After playing the game, I get the sentiment, but it felt rather random at the time.
Another classic moment was when we had decided on how to dye my bikini top. My friend’s boyfriend came home some time after and went to his own workshop and my friend called out to him “Just so you know, there’s a bra soaking in tea in the kitchen.” There was silence for a while, before we heard “Wait… what?!”
I have also had a lot of good times wearing the cosplay. Not only have I won two contests with it, I also got a group of amazing friends that I would never have met if we hadn’t all been cosplaying from the same game franchise at the same convention.
That’s the magic of cosplay. You suddenly find yourself in a group of complete strangers, just because of your shared love for a game, and spend hours hanging out and taking pictures. That’s usually the end of it, but not for this group. Half of these people are the ones that now make up my Dragon Age tabletop group and I can’t even describe how much fun we have.
Side note: You can also have a great lot of fun when you suddenly have three people cosplaying the same character.
I’m getting a lot more reading done ever since I started doing these posts. If only owl photos could improve my writing speed as well!
Next up on my reading list is Before the Storm by Christie Golden. It’s a media tie-in for World of Warcraft and I’m waaay behind on my WoW lore these days. I need to up my game if I want to stay the undisputed champion of World of Warcraft Trivial Pursuit (yes, that’s a thing and I’m embarassingly good at it).
This book deals with the conflict that sparks the story in the latest expansion to the game, Battle for Azeroth, and seeing as the expansion has been out since last summer, it’s probably about time I figure out what’s going on.
Artemis clearly doesn’t understand what’s going on, but he’s looking suitably fierce in the photo (mostly because he doesn’t understand why I kept putting back the book he kept knocking over…)
Also, sorry: It's not the tasty kind of cookies. We're all out of those. Alrighty!