Meeting with Kagehi, shadow-fire - 2002-05-11

Having been granted permission for a visit I entered the estates of one Kagehi, self proclaimed shinto priest of Inari. Arriving at first in a strange misty area, where the only exit seemed to be the the transfer portal designed to allow one to return to the town of Loriah. Following instructions I entered the mists and found myself standing at a crossroads with faint image of the gates, leading to a series of similar gates and small courtyards that climbed side of the small mountain that was here. Following instead the path around the northwest side of the mountain I eventually passed through an herb garden, past a split in the path that led upward into another mountain and across the bridge over a large pond. Here I stopped for a moment to gaze at the tranquility of the place and sneak a plum from off the tree in the central island before continuing. Travelling from there to the south I reached the four way split in the path and as I had been told to, followed the scent of cherry blossoms westward to a small tea house set out over what seemed to be an endless expanse of sea. It is here that I found the one who had built, or perhaps more appropriately shaped this place, sipping a cup of tea. Momentarily startled at the intrusion he was never the less quick to greet me with a friendly, 'Konnichi wa, Nayeri-san'.

Personal Details:

Q: How did you get your name?
A: I have used the name Shadowfyr for years. When I started looking at this world as a place to live I saw the opportunity to let my Kitsunish tendencies out and seeing as the term originates in Japan (and it turns out China, though they are more properly the dark Nagitsune) I had to do a bit of research, thus Kage(shadow)-hi(fire). Just glad I didn't have a name that was harder to find the translation for.

Q: How old are you?
A: 31 and I find Fyxen's declaration of 3 years to be quite funny. For a fox that would be true, for a Kitsune... it is more a meta-physical thing. Do you claim your physical age of the form you favor or your true age, which may be centuries?

Q: What level are you?
A: 105 approaching 106 soon.

Q: How would you describe yourself?
A: Depends on my mood. But being the true servant of the Kitsune patron Goddess Inari I often take the form of a silver fox. I find that it is generally more convenient to use the interim half-fox shape though, since it is a little hard to wield a mace with a paw. Having read Fyxen's interview I would have to say that I agree with here about mugging things too. Specifically in my case I have often found those in our world deserving of some Kitsune punishment, sadly the gods of this world have chosen to correctly describe our prowess at illusions, but have chosen to weave the pattern of magic here in such a manner that those powers are not available too us. There are no real opportunities for mischief in other fashions that are not immediately punished by the authorities and in despair many of our kind have fallen to the guild of assassins as an outlet of their frustration. I find it quite sad.

Q: Where do you live?
A: I have through the expenditure of quite a sum of money managed to acquire one of the magic portals that are scattered throughout the so called 'residential' section of the town of Loriah. I would have preferred to place that portal in a more tranquil place, but sadly there are no offices for the particular branch of artificers that create them in any of the other places one might choose to place on. I have done by best though, linking the portal to what is commonly called the sea of dreams, since the strange mists in that place can be easily bent the the will and made to acquire any shape one wills. Imagine my surprise when trying to build a new room there and finding myself confronted with a representative of the artificers guild that makes the portals, demanding more money before I could continue building. These people seem to have a surprisingly long reach and it is quite annoying. Previously I lived for a time in a number of places on a world called Dirt or no.. Earth, the last being near a lake in a province called Arizona of the country of USA (don't ask, the people of this world seem to have a total lack of imagination).

Q: Describe your house a bit.
A: A the question that should have been asked of others after asking them where they live. ;) Currently I have no much more than a garden. In proper Japanese tradition I have shaped it to mostly reflect the world I have come to spend time in. There are many geographical similarities to the Nomis province, though it also spills over some distance into the other three, including the position of Loriah and three of the several groups of mountains that spot the real world we all have chosen to live in. So far I have yet to really get much work done training area all ready for hiring and training guards, should the artificers get tired of shuffling paperwork and actually let me hire some. The best work I have done so far though are the 5 elemental shrines. I am not entirely satisfied fire the one dedicated to fire, but the other four are true works of art. I have also, perhaps overly so, placed a number of plants and trees throughout the garden that hint at the fox nature of its owner.

Q: How long have you been logging on to AoD?
A: What a strange question! I seriously wonder about the sanity of some of the people here, they have this odd delusion that everything is somehow unreal, but if you mean how long have I been living in this strange land then maybe a year or two, I have a the same problem when someone asks me how long I have been working at a job. I don't pay nearly enough attention to when I start new endeavors and find myself often at a loss when asked how long I have been at them.

Mudding in general:

Q: How did you first get in contact with ages of Despair?
A: Having grown restless I decided to seek out a new place to explore. Staying in one place for too long can slowly grind away the sanity of a fox with too little to do. So if you are looking for aliens you go to the tabloids, but if looking for new worlds you search the portals that are maintained and cataloged by other Kitsune, often called the Wide Web of Worlds. Having looked at pamphlets from quite a few I finally spotted one that actually welcomed Kitsune and here I am.

Q: Are you a normal mudder, or do you seldom log on?
A: There's that delusion again. I have spent far less time outside of my house among the environs of this land in recent months than I did, but if normal means you spend a lot of time doing things and exploring the world, then yes I am normal. Some people strangely enough seem to enjoy simply standing around for hours in one place doing nothing, while I have meditated on occasion myself I feel that perhaps some people take it to unhealthy extremes.

Q: Have you met any fellow mudders in RL?
A: Now you are starting to make me uncomfortable. You really need to seek help for your delusion, but I think you are asking if on my travels to any of the other worlds, specifically Earth, where many of us seem to originate, have I met anyone from here during my travels there? If I have then I didn't know it.

Q: What was you first kill and if you ever died, what was the first thing that killed you?
A: Well.. The first thing I hunted here had to be snakes. The transition to this world seems to be draining and I found myself devoid of the natural skill that I had before, this made most things I would have easily dealt with quite impossible to kill. As to what first killed me... It had to be the Horrible Creature. While I am normally naturally cautious I am also prone to sometimes run the wrong way when I sense danger and it has gotten me in trouble quite a bit. During my initial time here I must have averaged 5-6 deaths a week, mostly due to stupid mistakes and the fact that caution is not a good substitute for good advice, something that I failed to seek early on do to the apparent inability of many people to control themselves on the various magical communication lines available in this world. Not being used to the constant chatter of voices in my head I tuned them out for some time before finally choosing to pay attention. I should have done so sooner.

Q: Did you ever get killed by a ("the") horrible creature?
A: I already told you that. ;)

Q: Who is you favorite and most hated npc respectively?
A: Most of the true natives of this world seem shallow and almost zombie like. As such I can't say that there are any that I find truly likable. As to the most annoying or hated one... I suppose I would have to pick from some of the stronger ones. Many of them scare the fur off me and I do hate being unable to handle something with a reasonable assurance of success.

Q: What is the most funniest/strangest thing that ever happened to you on AoD?
A: Hmm... Another hard one. I would say that in retrospect the horrible create was sort of funny. Someone also once stuck a sticker on my back I believe, but I really can't think of any event that truly stands out.

Q: Do you have any piece of equipment you just can't live without?
A: Is there any chance of my living without any equipment is a better question. Kitsune may be fast and clever, but we don't live long without something to hide behind, even if it is armor. Considering the limits placed on our natural powers in this land, this is even more true. I find everything indispensable, especially consider how impossible it is for me to replace most of it myself or buy it from someone else.

Q: Do you has a "special place" where you like to hang out, a private corner so to speak?
A A: Well aside from this being a slightly rude question I can't really say that I have one. Though I do sometimes drop by this tea house for a bit of contemplation or to work on ideas for my house and other projects.

Q: What is the best thing about Ages of Despair?
A: The fact that you can socialize when you want to. I have poked my nose into a few other worlds here and there and they often treat themselves as though they are the only world in existence, like they are the center of the multiverse and as such you must speak their languages, use their style of speaking and never ever even pretend that other places exist. I don't think I would be terribly comfortable in such a place.

Q: What is the worst thing about Ages of Despair?
A: While things have gotten quite a lot better in recent times there have been are the only world in existence, like they are the center of the multiverse and as such you must speak their languages, use their style of speaking and never ever even pretend that other places exist. I don't think I would be terribly comfortable in such a place.

Q: What is the worst thing about Ages of Despair?
A: While things have gotten quite a lot better in recent times there have been disturbing trends among both the immortals and mortals in the past. Most of these trends appeared to be frustration on the part of both sides over various issues. This seems to be mostly subsiding, so is no longer something that truly concerns me. However I do agree with Fyxen's assessment that many things that where intended to help us find our new path in life on this world are often due to the very restrictions imposed to help with that discovery actually making such a search more difficult. A case in point is my previous statement about the very un-Kitsune behavior of becoming assassins for despair of having a better option. While there are a great many things that different path have that are uncommon to one another all paths do cross one another on occasion. The inflexible branch eventually breaks.

Other / Strange:

Q: Have you ever engaged in so called "mudsex"?
A: I once read a book about a world on which the mud was of a consistency where such a thing was possible, but I can't say that I have tried it.

Q: Favorite quote?
A: Well there is the one that I use in place of a plan in my finger info (the gods of this world have strange mind when it comes to names). I thought it was much more appropriate than the usual prattle about conquering the world some people use, but I am also partial to some things Robert A. Heinlein wrote, including "When the fox gnaws - Smile!".

Q: Is there anything else you would like to mention about yourself or your life?
A: What is this a job interview? But seriously, I can't really think of anything at the moment.

Q: Name one of the questions you think is missing from this interview:
A: Can't really think of any.

Q: If you where made an Administrator for AoD tomorrow, what is the first thing you would undertake to change in order to improve the game for all?
A: Well that is a very hard one... Stepping out of character for a moment (unfair making me do so): Frankly there are a lot of things that could be nice to add, both for admin and players, but most would require a 'major' rework of everything. For instance, 'smart' npcs. At the moment you can do things one of a few ways. One method of making them more real is the Ultima style. Fixed paths, specific times and places for things, etc. This could be done very easily, but it was decided to have most stand around and the rest wander more or less aimlessly within a specific number of rooms. The more interesting alternative to both methods is to let them be 'aware' of how close they are to things and places and use an A.I. like in The Sims, where each npc has a set a things it desires to varying degrees and wanders about doing things according to which of these various desires is strongest at the moment and/or most available to them. This however also requires a serious reworking of the way things are done and thus won't work here outside of any new areas that are coded specifically to support it. :p It would also be nice to make them smarter, but that would require something built into the mud driver that supported COM like interfaces to 'talk' to a real A.I. some place. You couldn't 'build' one in LPC and have it even come close to being fast enough to be able to have it respond well, learn from the players and try to 'think' in any but the most primitive fashion.

That said and going back into character here: I have a number of things I have considered that may be useful to the world as well as one thing that I greatly worry we may need to deal with. Having dwelved a bit into the ways of magic on this world I have concluded that both an Alchemist guild and some form of Elemental Mage (not a woodland) could be useful additions to our defense. There is also a possibility of the introduction of martial arts. Sadly I am at a loss as to how to both allow the mage the flexibility needed and actually find the means to form the threads from the veil of magics around this world upon which their spells would be hung. It is a very complex matter and not one I have been able to solve. Alchemists are less of a problem, but not being a student in such arts I am far from ready to tackle the task of founding such a thing in the near future, the same is true to a lesser degree with the martial arts. I can only hope that someone else does not open such guilds while I continue to work on the means of understanding them, and found in the process a far less flexible and versatile form of magic for them to use. It is a great worry, though not as great as the danger I fear we may be facing and for which such skills may prove invaluable to defeat. There is a small community of Kitsune I have heard rumors of who have been long plagued by warlords seeking to conquer them. The rumors indicate that an exceptionally powerful warlord has set his/her eyes on them now and that they are seeking to like the five elemental gates to a new world in order to find heroes capable of defeating this new threat. We are I suspect ill prepared to meet them, but the presence of so many other Kitsune on our world may cause the gates to settle here, rather than someplace better prepared to deal with danger they hide. May Inari keep us safe from this danger.

Q: Do I have your permission to make this information public on the People of AoD website or any other media?
A: There would be little point in my having been interviewed if I said no. So I suppose the answer would need to be 'yes'.

>>> This interview brought to you by Nayeri <<<

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