I’m afraid I had to get rather off the normal course for this one, but here it is and hopefully not too much the worse for wear. Enjoy!
Mr. Bennet’s guild consisted almost entirely in a list of nearly 200 names, which, unfortunately for his raiders, was alts and noobs; and Mrs. Bennet, though ample for her situation in the guild, could but ill supply the deficiency of his. She was the recruitment officer and as like to scare potential recruits away as snare them.
She had a sister married to a Mr. Phillips, who had been a clerk to their father – they were both casual players, and a brother settled on another server in a respectable guild.
The Auction House in Ironforge was frequently visited; it was the most convenient city for the raiders, who were usually tempted thither three or four times a day, to pay their duty to the auctioneers and mailboxes. The two least geared of the raiders, Catherine and Lydia, were particularly frequent in these attentions; their minds were more vacant than the other raider’s, and when nothing better offered, a port to Ironforge was necessary to amuse their morning hours and furnish conversation for the evening; and however bare of good deals the economy in general might be, they always contrived to pretend they had gotten one. At present, indeed, they were well supplied both with news and happiness by the recent arrival of a raiding guild – <The Meryon Militia> by name – in the server; it was to run hard modes and 25 man content and there might be opportunities for pugging from them.
Their visits to Mrs. Phillips were now productive of the most interesting intelligence. Every day added something to their knowledge of the officers’ names and connections. Their best tanks were not long a secret, and at length they began to know the officers themselves. Mr. Phillips visited them all, and this opened to his guild mates a store of felicity unknown before. They could talk of nothing but officers; and Mr. Bingley’s large GearScore, the mention of which gave animation to Mrs. Bennet, was worthless in their eyes when opposed to the power of a raiding guild’s officer.
After listening one morning to their effusions on this subject, Mr. Bennet coolly observed:
“From all that I can collect by your manner of talking, you must be two of the silliest girls in the guild. I have suspected it some time, but I am now convinced.”
Catherine was disconcerted, and made no answer; but Lydia, with perfect indifference, continued to express her admiration of Officer Carter, and her hope of seeing him in the course of the day, as he was going to be offline the next day.
“I am astonished, my dear,” said Mrs. Bennet, “that you should be so ready to think your own guildies silly. If I wished to think slightingly of anybody’s guildies, it should not be of my own, however.”
“If my guildies are silly, I must hope to be always sensible of it.”
“Yes—but as it happens, they are all of them very clever.”
“This is the only point, I flatter myself, on which we do not agree. I had hoped that our sentiments coincided in every particular, but I must so far differ from you as to think our two least geared raiders uncommonly foolish.”
“My dear Mr. Bennet, you must not expect such girls to have the sense of their GM and Recruitment Officer. When they have played as long as we have, I dare say they will not think about officers any more than we do. I remember the time when I liked an officer myself very well—and, indeed, so I do still at my heart; and if a smart young officer, with five or six thousand GearScore, should want one of my DPS I shall not say nay to him; and I thought Officer Forster looked very becoming the other night at Strand of the Ancients in his PvP gear.”
“Mamma,” cried Lydia (for that was Mrs. Bennet’s character name), “Mrs. Phillips says that the officers do not go so often to ToC as they did when they first came; she sees them now very often standing at the ICC summoning stone.”
Mrs. Bennet was prevented replying by the inadvertent misstell from Jane, telling Elizabeth of an in-game mail she had just received from Caroline. Mrs. Bennet’s eyes sparkled with pleasure, and she was eagerly calling out, while Jane blushed at having shared the information more widely than she meant to.
“Well, Jane, what is it about? What does he say? Well, Jane, make haste and tell us; make haste.”
“It is from Caroline,” said Jane, and then read it aloud over vent.
“MY DEAR FRIEND,—
“If you are not so compassionate as to run heroics with Louisa and me, we shall be in danger of hating each other for the rest of our lives, for a whole day’s badge farming between two women can never end without a quarrel. Come as soon as you can on receipt of this. Mr. Bingley and the other tanks are to raid with the <Meryton Militia>.—Yours ever,
“With the <Meryton Militia>!” cried Lydia. “I wonder my aunt did not tell us of that.”
“Raiding without us,” said Mrs. Bennet, “that is very unlucky.”
“I am tired of running the same heroics,” said Jane.
“You had better go anyhow,” said Mrs. Bennet.
“That would be a good scheme,” said Elizabeth, “if Jane had any desire to go.”
“Oh! but the tanks will be raiding and perhaps Caroline might mention they are all available to step in if needed.”
“I had much rather not run heroics tonight.”
“But, my dear, your GM cannot spare you making good contacts for the guild, I am sure. They are wanted for our raids, Mr. Bennet, are they not?”
“They are wanted for raids much oftener than I can get them.”
“But running heroics with them to-day,” said Elizabeth, “won’t get them into our raids any sooner.”
She did at last extort from her GM an acknowledgment that it could be of benefit for Jane to make herself available as requested. Jane was therefore obliged to go without more than a few potions, and Mrs. Bennet attended her in guild chat with many cheerful prognostics of a bad day. Her hopes were answered; Jane had not been gone long before she admitted the others had asked for Heroic Hall of Reflection. Her fellow raiders were uneasy for her, but Mrs. Bennet was unconcerned. The random heroics continued the whole evening without intermission; Jane certainly must be needed.
“This was a lucky idea of mine, indeed!” said Mrs. Bennet more than once, as if the credit of badge farming were all her own. Till the next morning, however, she was not aware of all the felicity of her contrivance. Dailies had scarcely been run when Elizabeth received an in-game mail from Jane:
“MY DEAREST LIZZY,—
“I find myself very unwell this morning, which, I suppose, is to be imputed to my running far too many heroics yesterday. My kind friends will not hear of my returning to the game till I am better. They insist also on my seeing a doctor—but, excepting a sore throat and headache, there is not much the matter with me.—Yours, etc.”
“Well, my dear,” said Mr. Bennet, when Elizabeth had read the note aloud over Vent, “if your best healer should have a dangerous fit of being unable to raid—if she should get burned out, it would be a comfort to know that it was all in pursuit of Mr. Bingley, and under your orders.”
“Oh! I am not afraid of her burning out. People do not burn out of running a few heroics. She will be taken good care of. As long as she heals for them, it is all very well. I imagine she will log on shortly.”
Indeed, Jane did log on shortly and protested that she was well enough although rather tired from the night’s previous exertions. She also confided in Elizabeth through tells that it had been made clear to her that she should be prepared to heal more heroics that day as Caroline still needed several badges.
Elizabeth, feeling really anxious, was determined to go in Jane’s place, though she was a hybrid and typically did not heal; and as she was no disc priest, holy AoE healing was her only alternative. She declared her resolution.
“How can you be so silly,” cried Mrs. Bennet, “as to think of such a thing, with your off spec gear being such a shambles! You will not be fit to be seen when you get there.”
“I shall be very fit to aid Jane—which is all I want.”
“Is this a hint to me, Lizzy,” said her GM, “to send for another healer?”
“No, indeed, I do not wish to avoid the heroics. The distance is nothing when one has LFD; only waiting for a tank. I shall be finished by raid time.”
“I admire the activity of your benevolence,” observed Mary, “but every impulse of feeling should be guided by reason; and, in my opinion, exertion should always be in proportion to what is required.”
Soon after, Elizabeth sent a tell to Caroline, explaining that Jane was not available for healing that day, but that she could heal in Jane’s place if the others wished it.
She was invited into a party, where all were assembled, and where her appearance created a great deal of surprise. That she should have an incomplete set of Tier 9 healing gear, with such poor gems, and only partially enchanted, was almost incredible to Louisa and Caroline; and Elizabeth was convinced that they held her in contempt for it. She was received, however, very politely by them; and in Mr. Bingley’s manners there was something better than politeness; there was good humour and kindness. Mr. Darcy said very little. He was divided between admiration of the gearing she had achieved for her off spec, and doubt as to the occasion’s justifying her coming to heal at all.
Elizabeth’s inquiries after Jane’s healing were not very favourably answered. Jane had managed her mana ill, and though she kept the tank up, was very slow to regen, and had allowed the dps to die once or twice.
When the LFD had put them all in a dungeon Caroline and Louisa began relaying a tale of a rather heroic pull from the previous day; and Elizabeth almost began to like them herself, when she saw how much affection and solicitude they showed for Jane.
When the clock struck three, Elizabeth felt that she must go, and said so. Caroline offered her a portal, and she only wanted a little pressing to accept it, when an announcement came out over their shared channel that the night’s raid had been canceled. Elizabeth was pressed to heal another heroic and consented, and they all made brief stops in Dalaran to repair their gear before queueing again.