Calydonian changed everything. The moment porcupines were confirmed as a real new family, I realized that I finally had five main pets to run with. Then I ran an instance or two with them - Ursa, Atalanta, Orpheus, Hector, and Calydonian - and it was confirmed. I didn't want to run with anyone else. I had a full core to my active non-BM stable for the first time ever. And that was when things finally started to fall into place.
I could bring my favorites anywhere. Orpheus would lead the PvP charge and Ursa the PvE. But where would that leave all my other pets? Oddly, I'm more inclined to rotate the others in for fun or buffs just because I know that my core group can always be with me. Going casual helps; it means I'll most likely run with a BM offspec, which means all of those pets will get rotated in too. It's very freeing knowing that my main pets will always get a chance to come with me. Never again will I hardly ever see Ursa.
So with all of that in mind, I looked to my pets and saw who could shrink down to minipet size and which few were going to have to leave entirely. A couple surprisingly morphed to new forms as I was checking out new families on the beta. And still, even with new additions, I'm going to have empty stable slots. It's quite amazing. The whole process took me by surprise, so unlike previous journeys through my stable, it was undocumented.
Thanks to the five locked stable slots on the beta, I was forced from the beginning to decide who I absolutely couldn't live without. Space was at an absolute premium and I had to release a number of pets there just to ensure that I had space to tame new families. Though I cursed the additional limitations, ultimately, I learned a lot about my bonds with particular pets.
I was surprised that Andromeda wanted to stay. I was at a loss for a name for my fen strider, but she stepped right in - and suddenly, I saw her for who she really was. She was no dragonhawk, even the blue one with the pretty wings I am so fond of...from a distance. This was her. Tall, graceful, light on her feet. She even brings the stars with her. I got a completely different vibe from Blasto. How funny that Andromeda followed a similar path to Perseus, where the second form clicked after the first did not.
It was somewhat less surprising that Pygmalion eased my conscience about considering releasing him by easily slipping into basilisk form from his green crocoliskness. Most shocking was the revelation that we both wanted the purple rather than the green. He's been the boss of me since he got me to save him from becoming Gosh-Haldiir, so I suppose that if he wants to turn things to stone as a form of artwork, that's his prerogative.
Arachne was the first to volunteer for minipet duty. In fact, no sooner had I picked up the little green tarantula minipet, she had moved into that form and stayed there. Whenever I log in on live now, I'm surprised to still see her sitting in my stable as Kirix, waiting for MoP. Her transition of all of them has been the most seemless.
Circe was another easy transition. She'd already taken three forms with me, so shrinking her from Aotona into the parrot minipet was a natural evolution. Besides, I still had Icarus, who had been my #1 parrot from the beginning.
Except Icarus will also be transitioning to minipet form. I have adored Ol' Beaky from the first time I saw him. Out of all the birds, Icarus was my surprising top pick. Except in the end, I know in my heart that I never bonded with him as much as I did Perseus (who shares the same family buff). I just can't do flying pets. Castor and Pollux are the two exceptions. I find anything with wings difficult to idle with overall. At least he's reunited with Daedelus, who long ago took the form of my minipet seagull.
Psyche was a hard call. I tried to encourage her to morph, but she wouldn't have it. It was pink raptor or nothing. So she'll be shrinking. For some reason, Kalliope with a devilsaur works, but Kalliope with a raptor feels weird. Between Psyche and Andromeda, I'm losing two debuffs I won't be replacing. And because I'm casual now, I don't care. I'm bringing my bear, dammit.
The most difficult transition was that of Hippomenes. I would not have a blog if it wasn't for him. My 10 hour Loque camp prompted storytime to move here. And yet....I've finally admitted to myself that Kalliope only has room for one spirit beast in her heart and it belongs to Polaris. It's Arcturis's fault. I never wanted a spirit beast until he came along. And so Hippomenes will become a white saber kitten (snow leopard if one gets added) so he can be with Atalanta all the time. He always did like being fussed over and being a kitten will get him that sort of attention again. It's a little weird, but it'll work.
Linus and Pandora won't be staying. Both were essentially forced on me due to needing their family abilities and there are no minipet equivalents for them anyway. Kharon will most likely be joining them. I get the feeling that I have yet to find the right turtle/beetle for me, if there even is one.
Leo is a complete wild card. He never gets out; Atalanta has the monopoly on cat utility. And yet, because of his name and what he represents to me, I can't let him go so easily. Besides, he's still my good luck charm. No, I think Leo will be staying, against all reason. He's meant to be with me, no matter how much I try to resist. I do not know how or why this happened, but he has an unbreakable hold on me.
The newcomers are less numerous than those shrinking or leaving, but they seem to have already carved some niches for themselves. I've already written about Calydonian at length. I won't go into it again here. Suffice to say that he somehow manages to catch my eye during stampede, even though he's the smallest pet in there. There's just something about that porcupine.
Achilles was a bonding shock. His name came to me unbidden. Achilles has never been one of my favorite characters; he killed Hector after all! And yet, that's why he works so perfectly as a quilen. I tend to see my exotics as being somewhat at odds with my non-exotics, since they displace the latter when I'm actually in that spec; it fit perfectly for the Trojan-Greek rivalry! On the other hand, Achilles's parallels to Hector were quite surprising. When I saw him howl while still scooting forward at top speed, I knew I had another lovably goofy dog on my hands. I don't know what color he'll be in the end, but I do know he's staying, and not just because he has a battle res.
I was surprised about Pan too. His noisy combat antics amused me from the moment I sicced him on a poor, unsuspecting victim. He has so much personality! Very few pets get a smile from me just by entering combat. I feel like I don't really know him yet, since his wild version is not yet tamable. While Achilles is open to a color change, Pan is dead set on being the lone goat on his cliff. I don't know what color he'll be; I just know that he's mine.
Eurydice is one of the strangest cases I've ever seen in one of my pets. I'd tried taming her as a snake and on an alt as a tarantula, but never truly felt anything for her. The green crane keeping an eye on Dawn's Blossom strikes me as distinctly male. And yet, the two shall one day merge to become my Eurydice....Orpheus's Eurydice. In studying her, I realized why she's finally settled on this form. Orpheus needs a partner he would write songs about. He needs inspiration. And yet, this is my Orpheus. My right arm in PvP. He needs a lady with survival skills. Lullaby fits perfectly for the wife of the great poet. She'll join him on the battlefield.
With all the changes, I probably should not have been surprised that one pet decided to come home. But I was.
Tantalus returned! I can't explain why he came back any more than I could explain why he left. Our connection was forged, broken, and reforged. I thought he required more attention than he actually seems to. Perhaps he's trying to create balance in my dog situation (Hector and Tantalus being non-exotic; Cerberus and Achilles being exotic). Maybe he just knew that he had a place in my stable again. I don't know. I have never completely understood Tan. It seems we're on the same page now, though, whatever the reasons. It's good to have him back.
So thus far, I'll have three empty stable slots. All things considered, that's nothing short of a miracle.
After picking up Tan last night, I flew around Northrend for a bit. No one was up in the Basin (somewhat unsurprising). But Arcturis was. As was Gondria, who had chosen to spawn near Atalanta's new birthpoint. I'd never seen her there before, and I hadn't seen Arcturis in the wild in ages. I took both appearances as a sign of approval from the cosmos and the game itself.