Guide of the Month - Elyshka

Discussion in 'News and Discussion' started by Squeecha, Aug 1, 2018.

  1. Squeecha Elder Guide

    Congratulations to Elyshka!!

    1. Why did you become a Guide?

    I met a Guide on my play server who was running a roleplaying session, just telling stories and answering questions. I'd been playing EQII for a couple years at that point, but it was my first time meeting a Guide and it made a very positive impression on me. As a Southerner, I'd grown up in the time-honored tradition of spinning yarns (my maternal Grandfather was especially skilled at coming up with some real leg-pullers), and I felt drawn to the idea of creating a character that was dedicated to making people laugh and just enjoying the moment.

    2. How long have you been in the Guide Program?

    I first stepped foot into the Hold of Prexus, the home of the Guides in EverQuest II, in August 2009, so I've been with the Program for nine years this month. I can't believe how long it has been, though it still seems like just yesterday that I was a terrified Apprentice!

    3. What is your guide race and class?

    Elyshka is a Halfling Troubador, though she was originally a Warden. When she falls through the wormhole into the Norrath of old to visit EverQuest, she is a Halfling Ranger.

    4. What is your favorite land (zone)?

    Man, that's a tough one! There are so many beautiful places in Norrath and I love them for different reasons. The massive, flower-filled lands of Greater and Lesser Faydark are extraordinary in their detail. Blackburrow is home to my absolute favorite music in the game. The Easter eggs hidden throughout the game always make me laugh, particularly one which can be found in the Jade Tiger's Den in North Freeport (it is a perfect time capsule of 00s silliness and, while I won't give it away, I will remind you to always tip your performers). I love the tranquility of the Isle of Mara and I always feel that Luclin seems closer there than in any other zone. The night sky in any outdoor zone just takes my breath away.

    5. What was your best or favorite moment as a Guide?

    Any time that the players cut loose and roleplay along with me is the best! There have been so many hilarious moments that I've experienced as a Guide that narrowing it down to just one is difficult. There was one time that a druid tried to convince me that rocks which she had "painted red" were apples -- trying to stay in character and sternly "admonish" her when I was laughing so hard that I was crying IRL was challenging. Just recently, a player came to one of my quests in a gnoll illusion and just went full-bore doggo -- complete with tail wagging when being told he was a good boy and chasing sticks. It really brightened my day and it makes me look forward to seeing what creative things they'll come up with next!

    6. What is your favorite quest, event?

    Nights of the Dead is my favorite holiday, so I'd have to go with anything around that time of year. Though, I must admit that I do have a soft spot for those crazy Frostfell Gigglegibbers, too. (Gnorty is feeling some cabin fever at Santa Glug's workshop and is itching for Frostfell to get here soon!) Pretty much every time I run The Nebulous Newsies or The Guide's Guide to Thalumbra is crazypants. Haha!

    7. What has been your worst or least favorite moment during your time as a Guide?

    Losing Senior Guide Devenn and Senior Guide Keiona to the Ethernere have to be the worst moments during my time as a Guide. Many Guides have come and gone over the years, but these two women were both beautiful, kind souls and their loss, not only to the Guide Program but also to their family and friends, is still deeply felt to this day. I consider myself to have been very lucky to have the opportunity to Guide with them and my life will be forever changed by their friendship and the lessons which they taught me.

    8. As a player do you ever run into Guides, quests or events?

    Yes! And I'd love to run into more of them! (I keep a close eye on my play server's advertisements. You can too, by going here: EQ || EQII) Roleplaying with my fellow Guides is incredible, particularly when they don't know that it's me on a play character! It gives me an opportunity to practice my roleplaying skills from a different perspective and to come up with ideas for improving our Quest scripts. Many of my script ideas actually come from interacting with others in-game, both as a Guide and as a player, so any chances that I get to take part in a Guide quest as a player is especially exciting for me.

    9. What is your favorite thing about Everquest/Everquest II?

    Shiny things! Amazing lore! Breathtaking art! Pie! Shiny things! Oh, and most especially, YOU!

    10. Would you like to include a bio of your Guide character? If so, include that here:
    That's actually a long story... But you kinda expected that, didn't you? *grins

    The halfling sits at her desk, seated lopsidedly on one foot while the other dangles below her chair, with no danger of her toes ever reaching the ground. She chews thoughtfully on the end of a quill, lost in nostalgia until her eyes gain keen focus. With a nod, she dips the business end of the quill into some ink and begins scribbling furiously onto an unraveled parchment scroll.

    I wasn’t always like this, you know. A halfling, I mean. The Gods have a curious sense of humor, as I’ve learned over the years. If you’d told the young Teir’Dal from Longshadow Alley that one day, she would be… well, this, she would have told you that you were crazy. Actually, it would have been a bit harsher, but you’ve met dark elves. You get the idea.

    I suppose, if we’re going to get to the now, we should go back to the beginning.

    Many seasons ago, in the early summer of 2009 (to go by the standard reckoning), a Teir’Dal whose name has now been washed away from the shores of Norrath by the waves of time, was out harvesting in Antonica. I can assure you that she was absolutely there harvesting and was completely innocent of any accusations that she was observing the comings and goings of the Qeynosian Guard in an effort to infiltrate the city and assassina… but, I digress. These things are not important now.

    During her travels, she came across a campfire near the Qeynos griffon tower. A motley crew of adventurers was assembled there, laughing and carrying on a conversation with a woman dressed in curious, verdant armor. The woman seemed confident in holding court with those sharing her camp, answering eager questions and passing out rations to her hungry, travel-weary companions. Her curiosity piqued by the presence of not only the expected assembly of snooty Koada’Dal, loutish dwarves, and insipidly chittering fae, but also surprising company of ratonga and even a particularly smelly troll, the dark elf feigned exhaustion and made her way toward the campfire. She might learn new ways to enter the city if she played her cards right.

    “Welcome,” the green-clad woman cheerily beckoned to the newcomer, “Come join us by the fire! There’s plenty of room.” Caught off-guard by the unusually sincere greeting, the dark elf hesitated, quickly scanning the area for an ambush. The patient woman just smiled, recognizing that the traveler had never before met a Guide. “This is a safe place. You are welcome here.”

    The Teir’Dal, still wary of a trap, settled herself near the edge of the gathering and sat quietly, observing the goings on. Cookies and milk were foisted upon her, as the merry band of Norrathians continued their conversations. The gathering continued on for quite some time, with people coming and going as their schedules permitted, but the woman in green remained the center of attention. She graciously welcomed travelers as they arrived and bid them farewell when they departed, all the while chatting with those who wished to stay and mingle at the fire.

    After the flames grew low and many of the curiosity seekers had departed, all that remained were a few sleeping heroes, the dark elf, and the strange woman who called herself a Guide.

    “So, what exactly is a Guide, anyway?” the puzzled Teir’Dal finally asked. “What is your purpose? Do you serve Antonia?” The Guide laughed, pleased that she had finally cracked through the young dark elf’s steely resolve.

    “A Guide is a player, just like you, who volunteers their time to visit and interact with others in Norrath,” the Guide explained. “Sometimes we might put on a disguise and offer simple tasks to adventurers, or we might just show up as ourselves and spend some time talking to players, sharing stories, and answering questions… like today.” The Teir’Dal nodded, eager to glean more valuable information from the woman who seemed very eager to part with knowledge.

    “So, you’re a GM?” the dark elf prompted, watching for signs that a smite might be forthcoming after so bold a question.

    “We’re not GMs, so we don’t have godly powers or anything like that, but we are given tools which enable us to do our duties. We are not employees, merely volunteers who love Norrath and want to give back to our community.”

    The dark elf pondered this carefully. She too loved Norrath, and while she wasn’t precisely a giving person, she did recognize opportunity when it sat squarely before her. This was her ticket in. These Guides could move about, regardless of their allegiances, completely unhindered by pesky details like guards. If she were to infiltrate their ranks, it was only a matter of time before she could complete her mission.

    “And you take volunteers, you said? Teir’Dal volunteers, perhaps?” the dark elf carefully prodded.

    The Guide smiled brightly, eager to find another potential recruit in such a strange young elf who didn’t say much but spoke countless volumes with her actions. “Sure! Here, take this. It will tell you all you need to get started.” The Guide pulled a scroll from her bag and slipped it into the waiting hands of the dark elf. “For what it’s worth, I think you’d really enjoy the Guide Program. Good luck with your application!”

    When the Teir’Dal looked up from the scroll, the Guide was gone. She’d vanished without a trace. Turning her attention back to the strange symbols on the parchment, it appeared to be some sort of address. The dark elf quickly made her way to the location in the address and was met by a rather intimidating door, blocking her progress inside. Beside the door was a basket filled with scrolls and a sign indicating that visitors should complete the tasks listed on the parchment and slip it through the door. If the applicant was accepted, the door would be opened. It made no mention of what would happen to those who failed, but hailing from Freeport, the dark elf had some idea and gave a quick shiver. She carefully selected a scroll from the bottom of the basket and made haste to her inn room to begin the process of forever changing her life.

    The candle on her desk had long burned itself out, and the murky morning light filtered through the window, as the Teir’Dal studied her work. Ensuring that all Ts were crossed and Is dotted, she cautiously rolled the parchment to prevent smudging the ink and secured it with a dot of wax, imprinting it with a ring bearing the crest of her House. She returned to the massive door, lifted the mail flap, and slid the scroll inside. Impatiently she waited, watching the door and willing it to open. After a few torturous hours, she returned to Longshadow Alley, fuming that her plans to infiltrate Qeynos and complete her mission had been delayed. But, each morning, she would make her way back to the door to sit and wait some more.

    After a few long weeks, and just as the Teir’Dal was about to abandon this fool’s errand, something unusual happened. This time, when she approached the door, a small female gnome appeared. “Hiya! I’m Naylie! We’re just running a quick background check on you, and if everything checks out, we’ll be seeing you soon!” No sooner had she arrived, she had already vanished again, leaving behind a very confused dark elf. What was with these people? Several seasons of practicing the art of stealth had trained her in the ways of seeing things that seemingly weren’t there, but the way that these Guides could just disappear left her astounded. She just had to get accepted now.

    More days passed, and still, the dark elf traveled to the door to wait. It was odd that she never saw any others make their way here, and yet, she could see telltale signs that the path bore many footsteps. Were there more of these vanishing Guides around, watching her stew in the agony, waiting for a sign that… And then, just as Malice had gripped her cold, dark heart, the door swung open wide. A bright light shone through the entry, blinding her as she stepped inside. She did not expect to fall asleep.

    Several days elapsed in a blur, though it felt as though no time had passed at all. Vague flashes of faces appeared before her, obviously people of some importance, but her mind was clouded by a haze. Had she been coerced? She felt no danger, but there was certainly something happening to her. She recalled sitting in a room with several others, soothing voices reciting passages from what appeared to be some sort of code of conduct. Desperately, the dark elf attempted to restore some sense of normality to her thoughts, but the green-robed ones would come by and pat her reassuringly on the shoulder, telling her to relax and just take her time. All would make sense soon.

    And then, one day in early August, it did.

    She awoke in a strange bed, in a strange stronghold. She threw back the blanket which covered her, and sat up to place her feet upon the floor. They did not touch. She looked down in horror to realize that her long, lithe legs had been replaced with stumpy, furry ones with comically oversized feet. Before she had a chance to scream, her mind was assaulted with memories which never before existed -- growing up in the Baubbleshire, learning to cook at her Gran’s side while carefully perched atop a wobbly step stool, playing with the little gnome girl who lived across the river. How was this possible? What had they done to her? Where was the seething Hatred that fueled her soul? Why was she craving pie?

    “Ah, so you’re awake then?” the iksar standing in the doorway observed with a grin. “Welcome to Crushbone!”

    The dar… urm, halfing eyed the iksar suspiciously, but the voice that escaped her lips was not one dripping with Malice, as she was accustomed, but rather, it was irritatingly cheerful. “Yep! Just woke up!” the voice chirped, leaving the former Teir’Dal wondering from precisely where it had come. She had never uttered anything as simplistic as the word “yep” in her life, and yet it leapt forth from her tongue as though it were a child’s first words. In a way, I suppose, they were. “What is this place?”

    “You’re in the Hold of Prexus, the home of the Guides of the Shattered Lands. I am Senior Guide Twizel, a member of the Crushbone Senior Management Team, and I’m here to walk you through your Orientation. Are you ready to get started?”

    “Yep!” the halfling replied boisterously. Seriously, where was that voice coming from? With a small hop, the halfling bounded from the bed and skipped (skipped?!) over to join the grinning iksar. The pair toured the Hold, the iksar patiently answering questions and the halfling bursting with an unfamiliar feeling of excitement.

    The two went over the basic requirements of the Guide Program, the different roles that Guides play in Norrath, how to get in touch with more seasoned Guides for mentoring sessions, and other things which are necessary to a fledgling Apprentice Guide who is just making her way in the world. “Just remember to always keep your policy manual with you, and we’re only a message away if you have any questions or problems!” Twizel reminded the little halfling. And, as she had now realized was customary, the Senior Guide vanished into thin air. Man, she couldn’t wait to learn how to do that, so she could… could… wait.

    What was it she was supposed to do? She couldn’t quite remember. Perhaps a bit of breakfast would jog her memory?

    And thus, Elyshka came to be. She would often wonder why it was that her form had changed so drastically, from dark elf to halfling, but eventually, she would come to realize that some part of Elyshka had always lived inside of her -- just a little spark of something frolicsome and joyful. When she went through the transformation from adventurer to Apprentice, the Gods harnessed that spark and helped to mold it into someone who would find delight in the little pleasures in life -- warm pies fresh from the oven, dipping your toes into a cool stream in the summer, finding unexpected treasures twinkling in the grass, and realizing that every stranger is just a friend that you haven’t met yet.

    Weeks would pass, and the little halfling would diligently study her book of rules and spend time out visiting with the citizens of Crushbone. Sometimes, she would show up with cookies. Other times, she’d slip on a costume and pretend to be someone else, giggling to herself the entire time, knowing that no one knew who it really was behind the mask. What glorious fun it all was! The unbridled rage of the Teir’Dal was nearly forgotten, its remnants seemed like only an odd dream that you have once every few months, that catches you off guard. The memories of a life in Longshadow Alley were tamped down beneath the rich soil of the Baubbleshire, providing fertile ground for fanciful tales but nothing more. The proud halfling beamed radiantly on the day that she passed the mythical Test of Doom, earning her place among those good folk known as Guides.

    The winds of time have taken Ely from land to land, wherever she has been needed at the time: First Crushbone and, later, the denizens of Lucan D’Lere who joined them in that realm; then off to Permafrost for Senior Guide training in 2013; a new home on Everfrost after that, which then found itself sharing lands with the good people of Guk and Unrest in the realm which became known as the Halls of Fate. Still, further places beckoned and Ely was called once again to serve the heroes of Norrath -- Stormhold, then to Fallen Gate.

    Distant shores are sometimes tempting, as well, and Ely also found a place waiting for her on the beautiful Isle of Refuge. No matter where the winds may blow, it always feels like home.

    We love welcoming new recruits to the Program, and hopefully, perhaps someone reading this might be interested in stepping up to the imposing door and sliding their application through the slot. I’ll even jot down the address for you:

    The halfling carefully studies the impossibly long scroll, blowing on the ink to help it dry without smudging, then rolls it up and seals it with a drop of wax. She digs through a small box on her desk and withdraws a ring bearing the crest of a noble Teir’Dal, smiles wistfully, then returns it to the box and removes a ring marked with a quill and rolling pin. She presses the design to the wax, remembering a day just like today, that was not so long ago after all.
    Zendel and Gediva like this.
  2. Miriele Senior EQ Tunare

    Whoo hoo! Way to go Ely!!!! :D
    Elyshka likes this.
  3. Kellin Senior EQ2 Valor

    YAY!! :)
    Elyshka likes this.
  4. Matille SWAT EQ

    Well deserved, Ely! Congratulations!
    Elyshka likes this.
  5. Norika Policy Team Member

    What an amazing story, Ely! Thank you for giving that to us, I cherished reading it. And thank you for giving so much to the Guide Program. Congratulations!
    Elyshka likes this.
  6. Elyshka Well-Known Member

    :oops: Thank you all, so very much. I am deeply touched to have even been considered for this honor.

    I am grateful to the Guide Program for allowing me the opportunity to meet so many people all over the world and for welcoming a silly little alt-o-holic like me into the fold.
    Gediva likes this.
  7. Kaithren Voditi SWAT EQ2

    I remember when I first came to the Guide program, you saved me a chair with your backpack. The chair where you once were is empty and every now and again I take a glance at it and remember.

    Congratulations to you, Elyshka! *cheers*
    Elyshka likes this.
  8. Yakinti Guest

    Congratulations you wonderful giver of stories! I enjoyed that splendid tale of how you became a Guide. I am happy for your recognition and dedication to this wonderful and witty side of Norrath!
    Elyshka likes this.
  9. Riviere SWAT EQ

    Congrats Ely!!! You are the best!! I've been blessed to work with you on the Quest team! I know first hand how much hard work you do so that all of us can have fun! <3 <3 <3
    Elyshka likes this.
  10. Saenyer Senior EQ Povar

    Congrats Ely! It was a very good story! Thank you for being there to lend a hand when needed! <3!
    Elyshka likes this.
  11. Kaukumu Senior EQ2 Skyfire

    Wonderful Ely!
    Thank you for your stories and helping improve the guiding experience every single day!

    Elyshka likes this.
  12. Wylloe Guide EQ2 Halls of Fate

    Congratulations!! {{{{HUGS}}}} Well done! You make us proud!
    Elyshka likes this.