Oh. Hai, friends. Let me tell you a story.
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Last weekend was highlands fest, this weekend(yesterday in fact) my group of buddies this side of the fence got together for Nerd Night, and a business meeting, the details of which are sooper seecrit because of reasons. So, I’ve been around people like crazy, more than I’m used to for a month normally. However, I have been brushing up on my Stuff All Noobs Should Know, which I apparently didn’t(much to my own chagrin); this included things like wards, cleansing, and shielding. Now, wards and cleansing I’m very good at. I can ward small objects so tight that people won’t see them sitting in front of their noses(I tested this), and I am quite fond of blast-cleansing my room with fire when there’s been Shtuff going on in it(thanks to my scaly arm, I am actually fireproof Over There, at least in part. I call it Clean It With Fire). Shielding is where I fall flat on my face, because I really, really super-suck at keeping the focus needed to maintain something like that. Val offered to help out on that front recently, but I keep forgetting to ask him about it in situations with which I might need an extra pair of talons
and I don’t want to bother him if he’s busy. My solution thus far has been a squarish oak talisman carved with the aegishjalmr, or Helm of Awe. My “Oakenshield.” (heehee) It worked quite well when I was working at my old job, I never got assaulted or anything at Stupid O’Clock AM, except by mosquitoes and the occasional curious owl, so I’ve taken to carrying it around with me if I know I’m going to be around a lot of people.
Now, there’s a key phrase there: “if I know I’m going to be.” Highlands fest was fine, since I had it with me. I got through it with minimal freak-outage, which means it was pretty much working that whole time. Good things! I’ve worn it around town and been able to go into busy stores and restaurants without flipping out and running away, which is excellent. The only problem is that if I keep it on my person for too long, it makes me nauseous, and I really need to figure out why that is so I can fix it, but like I said, I super-suck at this and have no clue what I’m doing most of the time.
So you can imagine why I didn’t want to take the Oakenshield with me for Nerd Night, which involves being around 5-6 other people, at most, all of whom I know and am friends with(except one, but he hasn’t been around in ages, thank all the gods), plus one excitable puppy, in an environment I know and have actually done wards for(on the owner’s request). It was a fun night, awesome as anything, we got a lot done, and I’ve been introduced to a pathfinder party that may be the most fun one I’ve GM’d for yet.
However, about a quarter of the way into the business part of everything, one of my close friends got a call from one of his close friends, requesting help cleaning up his apartment because they’ve been having a bit of a clusterfuck in life and need it safe and tidy by Monday. Naturally, this friend of mine was the one who gave Bran and I a ride to his town from where we live, which is about half an hour to 45-min away, depending on which highway you take, and was going to give us a ride back in the morning. So, he asked all of us if we’d help out with the cleaning, many hands make light work and all that, and I immediately got the Super-Nope feeling in the back of my stomach. I was the only one who told him, “uh, well, you know me and my social anxiety, I’d be more of a mess than their apartment in two seconds.” Naturally, in the morning, he, Bran, and I all towed ourselves over to this guy’s apartment to help clean it.
At first, it wasn’t so bad. I had the heeby-jeebies at being in someone else’s house without their explicit permission, but only one other person was there, and she and I hit it off almost immediately, for whatever reason. I was a bit lost though, because Friend already knew the place and Bran is much more capable of dealing with physical weird shit than I am. Then the owners walked in, and there were the six of us in a tiny little place that was full of both physical, mental, and emotional Crap, and I didn’t have my shield with me, so my ability to cope went from 60 to about 5 real damn fast. Bran and Friend were both trying to comfort me the whole time, and I was feeling completely useless because basically there were too many of us in the same place to be at all helpful. I’m scowling just thinking about it. It wasn’t a good time for anyone involved. It was a mistake, we weren’t supposed to be there, and while I’m still grateful that I got to lend Friend a hand with his gas expense on the way out of town, it still would have been a better idea to wake up Host guy and have him give Bran and I a ride back home.
It wasn’t till later that I realized I’d just been in a house that was full of all sorts of pollution and hadn’t done anything to shield myself from it(though to be fairto myself, I was in too much of a panic at the time to do much more than stand out of the way and stare at the ground). Today, I’ve got the sniffles, a sore throat, and can feel the makings of a good headache/perhaps a fever coming on. I’m not full-on sick yet, but I can tell I fugged up. It occurred to me a little while ago, while I was sitting on my bed doing a bit of tarot, and because of said tarot, that I need to be thinking of my body in terms of the planet itself. I am a very earthy person. Capricorn rising with a Taurus sun. The dirt is strong with this one. So if I’m a planet, my shield would be like a magnetosphere. Thus, my body reacts to ‘pollution’ the same way a planet reacts to solar wind. Without a shield, I end up like Mars: with a cold, and lacking any sign of life. With too much shield, I end up like Venus: none of my natural outlet can be let out, so I end up with a headache and nausea. With just enough shield, or away from people who can screw with it, I’m like Earth: nice and balanced and healthy. Problem is…I don’t know what I’m doing, for the most part, when it comes to shielding. It’s my biggest weak-point, where the Basics are concerned. I’m going to end up asking Someone for help, after I get over the crud, and see what happens.
So, I consider this grossness to be the consequences of A) not listening to, and enforcing, my own intuition, and B) walking into a highly funked-up and gunked-up situation with no shield. Frankly a Venus-level shield probably wouldn’t have been too much in that place. Jupiter-level would have been useful, even. It was bad. It was a bad time. Nope nope nope. Thankfully, I heal fast. If I were a Pathfinder character, my highest score would probably be Constitution. Hopefully I’ll be on the back side of this thing in a few days. Until then…