EDay 2016: Differing Views

Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air and feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done but clouds got in my way
I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow it's clouds' illusions that I recall
I really don't know clouds at all ...
--(Joni Mitchell, (Both Sides Now")

It was well-known that Niami DenMother would do almost anything for her closest friends. Today's pre-dawn winter trudge through New Halas, however, was stretching the bonds of that friendship quite a bit ... at least until the caffeine kicked in!

The flame-haired halfling had never been a fan of the cold, and as the years went on she'd grown to loathe those nasty things called "morning", too. This pre-morning thing, when the sky was just barely thinking about coloring the night sky, was completely and utterly for the birds.

"Well, I guess that makes me a soft-hearted dodo, eh?" Mum mumbled to herself as she trudged quickly up the hill from the Frostfang Sea docks into New Halas. "Goodness but these auld bones do nae like this cold anymore at all. I hope she's got the kitchen well-warmed by now!"

The shops might be still dark, the signs mostly hidden in the weak light of the streelamps, but Mum headed unerringly for the newest building in the bunch. A warm glow pouring out of one window indicated that, yes indeed, the kitchen part of "Gnorma's Gourmet Goodies" was already active on this first day of the Erollisi celebrations.

In a few short hours, poorly-prepared young lovers would be (hopefully) swarming to the shop to purchase last-minute heart- and/or rose-themed confections of all types. Mum had warned Gnormajean to expect a wedding or three during the holiday as well, and that's what brought her to the shop at this ungodly hour.

The shop was new, and while Gnorma was now a master confectioner, she still could use the support of her former mentor on one of the days that could make or break her budding business. Mum knew that Gnorma could handle it all with poise and grace, but if it would reassure her to have Mum there helping prep a few wedding cakes and other goodies, Mum would do it.

There had better be coffee ready for her though.

As she let herself in with a copy of the key to the shop, she mentally amended that thought to include clean, dry handkerchiefs as well. Definitely lots of hankies, from the sounds of crying coming from the kitchen.

As she slipped into the kitchen, sniffing appreciatively at the smells of baking, her blue eyes found Gnormajean crying up a storm as she slapped frosting onto ... the greatest wreck of a wedding cake she had seen in over a decade.

"It's a mess, just like my love life!" {sob} "Darn her, why does she have to stick her nose into his business anyway? She's his sister, not his mother!" Apparently, the purple-robed gnome was just passing out of the crying fit stage, and was moving into the righteous indignation stage.

Mum took another quick look around as she shed her winter outerwear and tied on an apron. The rest of the goodies in various stages of baking or cooling looked to be salvageable, but the cake was a definite loss. Or maybe it could be cut up and given out as samples, if the shape was the only thing wrong with it. So much for a cup of coffee before diving in.

As she set to work frosting some heart-shaped cookies, she finally spoke. "I take it Kendra is causing problems again, lass?" Agnor's sister had made it clear that she'd far prefer that her brother date a "proper coldain lass", rather than some "flighty gnome bit of fluff" and Mum decided then and there that it was high time that she interfered again to help the romance that had grown between her dour former apprentice and his vivacious girlfriend.

Normally, she'd rather not get in the middle of it, since considered them among her closest friends. Too often well-meaning meddling made a muck of such romances, so she'd (mostly) watched from the sidelines. But if the always-sunny Gnorma was this upset ...

"It is bad enough she's been finding ways to make me look bad when we visit Thurgadin, but now she's coming here for a visit. I just know she's going to be turning up her nose at the shop and doing what she can to steer customers away from it and such. And she's got me in such a tizzy I can't even think straight on a day when I need all my wits and skills about me!" Gnorma set down the icing applicator and clutched at her short white hair. "Argh! The worst of it is that she liked me until I started seeing her brother. Then, poof, instant harpy mode."

"Och, lass, I may be th' reason she's left the chilly confines o' Thurgadin. I'm finally cleaning my auld home here an' I was going tae let her go through th' yarns that are in storage there. BUT, that gi'es me an idea. When she arrives, I'll jus' "happen" tae be in th' shop, an' will steer her o'er tae my place right away."

"Meanwhile, I ha'e an idea sa'e that cake won't be a total loss. It is jus' a visual mess, right? It tastes jus' fine?"

Whatever Gnorma's reply would have been was lost as the bell on the entrance to the shop chimed. "Och! I forgot tae re-lock th' door. Who could be coming at this early hour, though?"

Mum picked up a nearby rolling pin, as Gnorma grabbed a large wooden spoon and turned to march out of the kitchen to chase the intruder out.

"Be at ease, ladies, I mean you no harm." The pale man was just suddenly there in the middle of the kitchen, staring avidly at the cake that Mum had mentally named "The Wreck".

"I sensed the delicious distress wafting out of this shop, and couldn't resist a bit of a peek. Of course, even a locked door wouldn't have kept me out if I had a mind to come in, but it is so much easier this way," he drawled languidly. Red eyes flicked from one suddenly nervous woman to the other, before he turned his attention back to the cake. "Really, you can put those up now. I just wish to buy this cake for a rather unconventional wedding. The miasma of grief, heartbreak and righteous anger is SUCH a delicious blend, that I simply MUST have this cake. I had come to town, fully prepared to rouse you out of bed if I must, due to stellar recommendations. I'd heard that the DenMother was no longer taking baking orders, and had hoped that her finest cooking student ever might be up to the task of making a very special cake for me ... and here it is."

"If I didn't know better, I'd say that you were mind-readers." He smiled, showing a mouthful of very sharp, pointed teeth. "Ahhh, and there's that frisson of fear to imbue in the frosting. Perfection!"

"I shall, of course, pay handsomely for delivery to Unrest. There's no way I can get back there before the sun rises if I am slowed down with a parcel." Again, there was a flash of pointed teeth, and a glint in his red eyes.

Showing considerable composure that was at odds with her earlier crying fit, Gnorma quickly settled down to taking care of the unorthodox transaction, while Mum continued the baking and frosting binge. Her only comment came just as the stranger was about to slip out the door. "Make sure there's someone tae collect th' cake from her at th' entrance tae Unrest, tallstuff. She's got enough on her plate today withoot making her wander aroond in there wi' some o' yuir ... friends ... looking at her like she's th' blue plate special."

"Of course, madam. No harm shall come to your skilled protegee."

With that he was gone, even as Gnorma whirled to face Mum. "You can't mean for me to deliver it personally, even if he just did hand over more money than this place normally makes in a week!"

"Och, breathe, lass. Firstly, I've heard aboot him, an' he's a decent sort, for all that he's an odd type o' undead. Secondly, ye need tae calm down afore Kendra arrives in a bit, an' th' fresh air will do ye well. Thirdly, I can handle the rest o' this prep in my sleep, e'en as ye could if ye weren't sae wound up. Fourthly, I expect ye tae be back here by th' time th' shop opens sae I can prep summat afore Kendra's visit. Now, shoo!"

Normally Mum wouldn't order someone around in their own kitchen, especially someone she liked and respected as much as Gnorma, but old student/teacher habits died hard, and Gnorma did need to clear her head a bit before doing much more in the kitchen.

In short order, Gnorma was out the door with "The Wreck" and Mum was doing her best whirling dervish impersonation in the kitchen and the front of the shop, getting everything ready for the big day.

She still hadn't had any coffee, though.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

By 10 in the morning, the shop was a bustle of activity. Cookies, cakes, pies and candies were practically flying off the shelf, and it was all that Gnorma's shop assistant could do to keep up with the sales. Gnorma had returned was making some more batches of chocolate dipped anything and everything (fruits, candies, cookies, and even some bugs that were a huge hit with the frogloks) to replace the rapidly selling stock.

Mum, meanwhile, was finally taking enough of a breather in the kitchen to take her first sip of coffee when she heard a distinctive voice coming from the front of the shop. "Well, isn't this ... quaint."

"Och, lass, th' things I do frae friends," Mum muttered as she clutched her mug in a death-grip and headed into the shop. "Kendra-lass! Jus' th' person I was hoping tae see! Would ye mind horribly if we headed o'er tae my place now, an' then ye come back tae do yuir shopping an' visiting? These auld bones o' mine are grumbling summat fierce, an' I' like tae heard frae th' warmer Vale as soon as I can."

She didn't really let the stern-looking lady coldain get a word in edgewise, but practically dragged her out the door. Kendra had always given her a high amount of respect, both as a reknowned master crafter, and as her brother's employer, and Mum was now going to use and abuse that fact to her advantage.

She kept up a storm of chatter all the way to her Frostfang Manor, continuing to dominate the conversation. She made sure to sing Gnorma's praises repeatedly, and rave about how well the shop was doing, pretending not to see Kendra's face get more and more stony with every word.

Mum was mentally chortling with glee, however, as she set the stage for dropping a small verbal bombshell on the blue-skinned dwarf. "I was planning on selling this place, now that I've moved somewhere warmer, but time keeps getting away wi' me an' I never finished sorting everything. Now I am glad that I did nae. Here, hold oot yuir arms, lass, I need tae be sure th' dye on this yarn took properly from start tae finish afore I gi'e it tae ye."

She started deftly winding the end of the large skein of yarn around Kendra's outthrust arms as she chattered on. "Anyway, as I said, I am glad that I did nae sell it. While I do nae ha'e any children, more's th' pity, there are folks that I consider tae be my family. I am thinkin aboot giving this manor tae Agnor an' Gnorma as a wedding gift when an' if they decide tae tie th' knot. It'd be wonderfully close tae Gnorma's shop, which looking tae be a rousing success. It lets Agnor be close tae his new research in th' area on th' intersection o' coldain an' barbarian crafts, an' it lets me gi'e them summat a bit extravagant tae help them oot withoot it bein' thought that I am an interfering old biddy." She tilted her head, blue eyes twinkling merrily as she watched the coldain. "What do ye think?"

If she didn't know better, she'd swear that Kendra had steam coming out her ears as the coldain surged to her feet, struggling with the yarn now firmly wrapped around her arms. "I think it is a HORRIBLE idea! There is NO way I am letting my brother marry that, that ... gnome!"

Before Kendra could let loose with the flood of words that Mum just knew were waiting to be let out, Mum did some shouting of her own. "Sit back down, NOW! Afore ye say one more single hateful word, it is time for YE tae do th' listening frae once."

"I hae waited an' waited tae see ye come tae yuir senses, frae months, an instead, ye're just getting more an' more ornery an' hidebound wi' e'ery passing day! Ye from being, like yuir brother, one o' the BEST examples o' th' coldain race tae displaying th' WORST o' their traits, an' it has tae stop! So ye WILL listen, afore I get truly angry wi' ye!" Mum was practically vibrating with anger as she glared at the coldain, shaking her finger under Kendra's nose. While they were the same size, more or less, and Kendra was a fighter by nature, at that moment she felt like nothing more than a small child facing a parent's wrath. The shock of it kept her momentarily mute, allowing Mum to plow on.

"I am beyond disappointed in ye, lass, an' I want ye tae think long an' hard on this. "Ye were actually getting tae be guid friends wi' Gnorma, an' wi' guid reason, afore she an' yuir brother started tae see each other. She's a respected master in her own right, is a truly nice person, she's got a lively sense o' humor that can make rocks like ye an' yuir brother laugh an' smile, an' she's one o' th' most safety-conscious gnomes I hae e'er seen. Ye ought tae be proud that yuir brother has found a beloved that suits him sae well, an' makes him sae happy. Instead, ye've become ... a bigot."

"Well, let me tell ye, lassie, pairings due tae race or family pressures are just as fraught wi' troubles, if not more sae, than pairings due tae love. Ye could do far, far worse frae a sister-in-law, an' nae any better."

What followed was an hour-long lecture that contained several examples of relationships and marriages gone wrong. Mum almost felt sorry for Kendra by the end of it ... almost.

First she talked about their early morning caller who had courted a mortal woman because of some almost-forgotten contract between their two families. He had "slipped" one day, resulting in her death. He'd been compelled by guilt and duty to have her raised as a shade, and they were going through with a wedding neither of them really wanted, that would tie them together for a miserable eternity.

From there she wandered through tales of spouse abuse, family members who were never forgiven for "ruining" relationships between unlikely pairs, various suitors who clearly were clearly not proper mate material (such as the brownie mayor in Lesser Faydark who thought that gifting knives to the leader of another kingdom was a good idea) and so on.

This last actually had Kendra asking in a horrified voice "But, doesn't he know that in most cultures, sending someone a knife is considered a death threat?"

"Apparently nae, lass. I am afraid tae see how Queen Amree will respond tae it. But, as ye can see, ye should count yuirself lucky that yuir brother hae found a woman who loves an' understands him as well as she does."

"Anyway, now ye hae tae ask yuirself th' tough questions: Do ye want tae see yuir brother happy? An' are ye sae opposed tae this that ye're going tae force him tae make a choice? Because I'd nae be sae sure he'd choose his sister o'er th' woman he loves, or if he'd e'er forgive ye e'en if he did choose ye o'er her. They may or may nae last as a couple, but that is frae them tae work out, nae ye. Instead o' looking at th' negatives o' an interracial couple, look at th' positives, and remind yuirself why ye liked th' lass sae much in the first place. Yuir brother hae verra guid taste."

"Besides, at least she's nae a dhalgar!" she added impishly.

"Oh blessed Brell," Kendra began with a shudder.

"... those eyes!" Mum finished for her, also shuddering.

~ ~ ~

An hour later, Mum finally trudged to her home on a tiny Vale island. She never had managed to finish her cup of coffee, and she dearly needed a nap, but she'd given Kendra quite a bit to think about. She wasn't truly a bad person, she just got a bit ... wrongheaded ... at times, and like most coldain, that meant much verbal bludgeoning to pull her out of their mental rut and to truly make her start thinking.

All in all a good day's work, and she definitely deserved a bit of a nap in reward. She was mentally patting herself on the back right up until the moment that she saw the Sootfoot goblin on her doorstep.

"Mum! I need your think thinkerer!"

Naps would wait. It was time for a pot of coffee.


The above sort of ran a bit longer, and in a bit of a different direction, than originally planned, so you'll have to wait until Bristlebane Day to see if anything comes of the goblin on her doorstep or not. The muse is like that sometimes. :P

Meanwhile, welcome to Erollisi Day 2016 in EQ2! This event will run on all non-TLE servers from the start February 4, 2016 to the end of February 17, 2016. (TLE servers will have a special Erollisi Day themed merchant in Freeport and Qeynos Province District.)

In addition to a new book of crafted goodies (plus the returning books from past years), there are two new quests, nine new achievements, and several new buyables from the Erollisi Day merchants in Qeynos Harbor and at the Freeport docks. The various quests from past years will also return, including the three new ones from last year.

New Craftables

Merchant Steven, who is located just off the docks in the Qeynos Province District as well as on the docks in Freeport, now sells “Romantic Gifts to Craft IX". Note that the merchant sort feature does an alphanumeric sort that views the roman numerals as letters. As such, the book will be in the middle of the book listing on him, not at the end, like you would expect from the 9th book in the series. :D

This book contains the following items, all of which require an Erollisi Day love note or hard candy as the primary ingredient. (For those who are unfamiliar with this holiday, the love notes and hard candies are body drops on various intelligent creatures throughout the lands. Your upgraded pack pony can also bring back 10 of them per 2-hour holiday harvests run.)

See the bottom of the page for information on an after-release addition to this book!

Cursed Wedding Cake
Denim Heart Pillow
Gilded Palatial Bed
Gilded Palatial Bedside Table
Gilded Palatial Candlestick
Gilded Palatial Incense Burner
Honey Lace Shrub
Jasmine Shrub
Love Potion Sack
Passionate Filgree Heart Rug
Personal Note*
Romantic Filgree Heart Rug
Stone of Adoration
Triangle Tile
Oval Heart-Stained
Window Pane
Added Feb 9!

*=The Personal Note is both animated and a notebook. It is a sheet of paper that flaps as if in a wind, and you can write in it just like you would a player-made notebook.

New Quests

There are two new quests this year. They're pretty quick and easy to do, even for low levels, as long as you keep an eye on where you're wandering. If you're especially squishy and can't fly, you'll want to watch your step in Stonebrunt. :) These quests, as mentioned, are pretty fast to do, and I know there will be some complaints about that, but with all the repeatable quests, and these two quests, and the new achievements, there is quite a bit that even folks without alt-armies can do during this short-duration event. There is enough to do, in fact, that Casdoe of Maj'Dul (who put together a Frostfell quest tracker for us) has put together an Erollisi Day quest tracker spreadsheet for folks to use as well. (Spreadsheet was updated on Feb. 3, so if you grabbed the file before then, you'll want to re-download it.)

Note: it should also be mentioned that, while these can be done solo or with a merc, they can also be done in a group for a group update. As with other mobs that are proximity triggered, they'll aggro on the level of the person who triggered (got close) to them, but they may pounce on someone else due to aggro control. Stay relatively close together so you don't have to chase them down AND so you make sure everyone is in-range for the quest update.

While the in-game email you get for the event mentions the Stonebrunt and Butcherblock Mountains, most folks are going to appreciate extra spoilers on these two. "Cuts Like a Knife" is from a brownie named Trelawny in BBM, almost to the Lesser Faydark zoneline at /loc -758, 101, 407. "Vision of Love" is from the gazer Illixxol in Stonebrunt, near SE of Quel'Ule at /loc -338, 400, 866.

I strongly recommend reading the quest dialogs for both carefully the first time through for a bit of added humor.

Lover's Purse
"Cuts Like a Knife"
A Gazing Lover (plushie)
"Vision of Love"

New Buyables

Merchant Douglas, who stands directly beside Merchant Steven (just off the docks in the Qeynos Province District as well as on the docks in Freeport), sells a few new items, which can be purchased with Erollisi coins. This currency is given as quest rewards, and you can also convert love notes and hard candies into coins, via Liannya Heartswell , who is located near Douglas and Steven in both cities. (Note that once you change the notes and candies into coin, you can't change it back, so make sure you have saved some of your materials for crafting as well as coins for shopping.)

Blue-Patched Heart Pillow
5 Erollisi Coins
Erollisi Mantrap**
20 Erollisi Coins
Love's Blessed Defense***
50 Erollisi Coins
Petamorph Wand: Mutated Butterfly
20 Erollisi Coins
Rainy Day Knoll****
20 Erollisi Coins
Sparking Romance (fluff pet)
20 Erollisi Coins
Varnished Jar of Passion
5 Erollisi Coins
Vivid Rainbow Knoll
20 Erollisi Coins