Friday, February 4, 2011

Our destinies entwined


I didn't think I could possibly capture my bond with Ursa in words, but when the Which of your pets is most special to you? thread appeared, I realized that no matter what happens with me, him, or any other pets, Ursa and I are linked.  He brought me here and he brought me back when things were at their lowest and I had lost everything.

He is....mine.  As much a part of me as Kalliope is.

Our story is reproduced below.


I have many pets who are special to me in different ways, but there is only one pet who will always be with Kalliope, the one who's been there since before she was born: Ursa.

I had resisted the pull of WoW back in vanilla. My bf at the time had a hunter and I was interested enough in his pets, but I was keeping my distance from the whole MMO thing. Time passed and BC came out. I got a better internet connection. I decided that it was time to give WoW a shot. He sent me to Petopia and it was there that I first saw him. Out of all the pets pictured, there was only one that I had any interest in: a black bear. I decided to name him Ursa, after a friend of mine from another game.

Since my options for a hunter were either a night elf or a dwarf (I didn't have BC yet), I opted for a night elf. For some reason, I'm just not into playing a dwarf hunter myself, though I love my dwarf characters of other classes now. My first name of choice (Atalanta) was taken, so I ended up with Kalliope after some trial and error. I learned the basics of WoW and that I would have to reach level 10 before I could tame my bear. I loved the taming quests and was a bit disappointed that we didn't get to keep those three pets. But it was time! I could go get my bear. Sadly, I had no clue where Dun Morogh was and my then-bf was less than inclined to take me there at level 10 so Ursa could be my first pet. Feeling naked without a pet, I tamed a gray owl, the closest I could get to white, and named her Hedwig. She was definitely a temporary tame, hence the easy Harry Potter reference. We quested down to Darkshore, where I happily released Hedwig for one of the brown thistle bears, who became a temporary Ursa. But it wasn't the real Ursa. Eventually, finally, somewhere between levels 13 and 16, we took the long trek across the Wetlands, which was very dangerous as a lowbie with no mount and on a PvP server. But then we got to Loch Modan....and there they were: black bears. I wish I knew which specific one I tamed; I was just so happy at the time to finally get the real Ursa.

Time went by, and both Ursa and I reached level 70. Life with him was good. However, my bf and I had grown apart and things ended. This was a sad thing, of course, but what made it worse was that he'd originally set up my account...and it was in his name. I contacted Blizzard to see if it could be changed, but it couldn't. So I was faced with a terrible choice: go on with his name and the past forever haunting me or start over from scratch. I chose the latter, but it was not easy.

I cried buckets at having to give up my pets, especially Ursa. I created a new account, this one completely mine, and went through all my characters one at a time, meticulously recreating them exactly as I had before, and in the same order, deleting each as I went to ensure that I would get to keep all my characters' names. I dove in quickly, leveling the new Kalliope with fervent passion so that I would be reunited with Ursa and Atalanta, my ghost saber. I planned ahead; I knew which of the black bears I would tame this time around. One of the most traumatic experiences for me on the original Kalli was doing the quest in the Wetlands that turns you and your pet into ghosts...and Ursa was turned into a female ghost. That was why I specifically chose a Grizzled Black Bear from eastern Loch Modan - I wanted to know my Ursa was male. (As it turned out, I have avoided that cursed ship ever since anyway, but it still influenced me at the time.) Surely I brought a temporary pet with me, but I cannot remember if it was Hedwig again or if it was temporary Ursa. He was the first one I saw as I headed south along the east side of the Loch. The joy at being reunited with Ursa was indescribable and the great pains I had taken in finding him forever changed how I viewed pet taming.

Ursa hasn't left my side since then. He may not always be my most active pet, but he's always there waiting for me. When it comes time to level to the next cap, he's the first pet to reach it with me. When I releveled to 70 the first time, it was a level 69 Ursa who came raiding with me. I named my Amani War Bear Ursa Major and my Dun Morogh Cub Ursa Minor after him. When going back into Karazhan in late BC, it was Ursa who off-tanked Moroes. Cataclysm has been good to Ursa; I actually bring him with me for Tol Barad dailies more regularly than I ever did in Northrend or on the isle, despite having tanking pets who are more practical for PvP. He's taken Kalliope's transformation into a human in stride. He knows it's me. After all, we've been apart before and he knows how to find me.

Ursa is my one pet, regardless of how much any of the others defines me. We share a different bond, a deeper one, one that others may not see or understand. But that's okay. We know it's there.

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