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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:35 pm 
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It's an old journal, one that has been kept for years, with pages torn out and fresh ones hastily restitched into place. Passages have been heavily inked through t make them unreadable, as though the author speaks first and then reconsiders.

Stranglethorn Vale - Day 1

It's hot, it's steamy, and the smells would slay a diseased nightsaber, but Sanova insists that Ravenfeather Exotic Pets will get bought out by some nameless goblin menace if we don't get new breeding stock. So he sends me off to this stinking pile of vegetation to find the 'hyacinth macaw.' It's a good excuse for him to get me out of Darnassus and away from the family -- and after the last fight with my father, I really don't mind at all.

Hyacinth macaws....

I haven't seen one, and as far as I can tell, nobody else has either. With my luck, Ramses will find one and promptly eat the thing.

To add to my misery, as I stood on the dock and requested a gryphon to Ratchet, my aunt showed up with a list of herbs she needs me to fetch from there. She's taken over a small potions shop in Auberdine, and wants me to fetch things from the Eastern Kingdoms for her. She wants to undercut the human vendors who charge outrageous prices for things like peacebloom. After having to buy bullets for three times their real value from a human vendor, I'm wholeheartedly behind any scheme to grab their market share.

The down side of sending me off to fetch plants is that I can't tell one plant from another. They're all green. Or dead. Or dead AND green.

She gave me a beautifully illustrated manuscript to help me identify the ones she wants. They're green. Or dead. Or green and dead-looking. They look like every other plant around here except for the stranglethorn vines.

Come to think of it, every other plant around here IS a stranglethorn vine.

So, instructions and maps and gear in hand (with plenty of ammunition) I set out for Ratchet and caught the boat to the Eastern Kingdoms. The trip was surprisingly quick and free of adventures.

The port we landed in -- fetchingly named 'Booty Bay' -- is the most wretched hive of scum and villainy I've ever encountered. As I rode Icefang across the salt-stained docks, I was accosted by no fewer than eight people wanting to hire me as a mercenary plus fifteen others who wanted to sell me amulets, potions, no-fail fishing lures, and various relatives with improbable sezzexual talents. They laughed when I asked about book shops or libraries and then offered to sell me treasure maps.

I ducked into the inn and quickly ducked out. If you slept in one of the rooms there, you'd likely wake up with three kinds of diseases AND a bad case of Permanent Death. Icefang growled miserably when I saddled him again and rode out of that town, but Ramses seemed happy enough loping along beside us.

Tonight I'll sleep under the stars. I found a tattered old book beside the road and stopped to pick it up. That'll give me something to read before bed.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:04 pm 
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This page is blotched with water stains

It's raining -- AGAIN!

Found dry cave. Dry cave infested with big hissy scaly things that bite. Left dry cave.

Found ruined building. Ruined building infested by zombies and crazed trolls. Left ruined building.

Found some sort of mining venture. Mining area infested with insane goblins with axes. Axed mine off my list of places to stay.

Found dry spot under tree, was attacked by gorillas, killed gorillas, more gorillas showed up plus a Maelstrom-begotten panther or two that might be part demon. Left dry spot.

Firelight to the west of trail marked a camp of some sort. Camping spot belongs to someone named Nessiewary (Dwarves mumble. I swear they do it deliberately) who sounds like he's on a mission to exterminate all the wildlife in the area. After rain-soaked encounters with tigers, panthers, hissy things, goblins, trolls, and zombies, I'm beginning to think that might not be a bad idea.

Offered me a dry spot in the "guest area", which already had two Taurens and an Undead setting up camp. Human trader offered to sell me a tent at six times what it was worth. Considered selling the Human to the Undead (who looked like he could use a snack), but felt that this might get me kicked out of the only dry spot north of Booty Bay.

Mysterious tattered book turned out to be "The Adventures of BraBare Ella," which is... indescribable. If nothing else, I can throw it at the insane goblins over at the mining area (as soon as I finish reading it.) The chapters where she encounters an entire band of lonely and love-starved goblins should keep them distracted for hours.

Still raining.

No macaws.

Maybe I should go beg Tyrande Whisperwind to let me have another chance at being a priest someplace that's dry and has a nice library. It's been two decades.

I wonder if the trainers have forgiven me yet.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:55 pm 
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Stranglethorn Vale -- Day 3

No brawls, backstabbings, or bludgeonings in the camp last night but I think that's because we kept having to wake up ever 30 minutes or so to beat off the giant crocolisks. They're similar to the ones north of Ratchet, but with more social problems and a lot more psychotic friends.

Breakfast was flame-charred crocolisk. I'm told lunch is curried crocolisk, with a side of crocolisk foot soup topped with barbequed crocolisk. Dinner is somewhat roasted crocolisk with whatever vegetable-looking things anyone can loot from the local trolls. Dessert is leftover burnt crocolisk -- which is also available for snacks, pet food, or building materials.

Entertainment is non-stop monologues from Nesingwary and Sir (he insists on this) S. J. Erlgadin, accompanied by the sound of frantic scribbling as some poor jugpot of a secretary named Stonepot tries to copy it all down. I think I'd have thrown myself to the crocolisks after an hour of listening to their discussion about which bullet gives better blunt force trauma, but Stonepot keeps on transcribing and the crocolisks languish.

I coaxed Wanderwing out of her travel cage and sent her flying toward Booty Bay with a note for my aunt and a bribe for the birdkeeper to entice him to send the note to my aunt and to feed Wanderwing instead of eating her. I escaped the camp just as the monologues about "the foirst time Oi was huntin' piggies wi' me faaathrrr..." were getting started and headed northeast where there was a town with a herbalist who could tell me if the grayish whitish plant I found was Silversage, Deathsage, or something that had gone mouldy from the damp.



At this point there's a skip of several lines, a blacked out sentence or two. The handwriting is irregular and somewhat shaky, as though it was being written while riding.
Duskwood

Icefang was complaining as we entered this district, so I slid the saddle off him and dried his back. He hissed and raised a paw as if to swat me when I loaded saddle and pack on him. I rubbed his ears and fed him a tidbit to calm him down and then lead him while I walked and looked for ore and small gemstones on the roadside cliffs.

I had picked up five or six good sized rocks that were mostly copper and was reaching for something that might have been malachite when a group of furry things which looked as though they won the Fang, Claw, and Sharp Pointy Stuff lottery came bowling down from a ridge and piled on top of me, intent on turning me into kaldorei kabobs.

I fumbled with my mace as Ramses charged into the fray, clawing and biting. Two of them pulled me down and I stuffed the head of the mace into the mouth of one while the other bit down hard on my bracers, treating them like an appetizer. Clawed toes raked my belly. There was a loud shout (something about kickers?) and one of my attackers went flying. Ramses rolled over me, snarling and smacking at another and I managed to pull my dagger loose and work mayhem on the thing still on top of me. Several new shapes landed on top of me, knocking the breath out of me.

I flailed with fists and mace, heard bone crunch as Ramses' powerful jaws crushed a limb. There was another shout (knickers??) and something hit me on the head. Things on top of me and to the side of me roared and howled and smashed hard against armor and flesh and then there was only a dwarf in chain mail, pulling the dead off me and Ramses sitting to one side, washing his face with his paw.

He asked me if I was hurt and I shook my head "no." Then he pointed to the dead and asked me if I wanted them. I had no clue what he meant, so I shook my head again. He casually cut away the clothing from the dead and rifled through the garments. Then he nonchalantly gutted the corpses and began skinning and butchering them, saying something about the inn and wolf meat.

I stumbled to the road and threw up. I heard him laugh mockingly as he continued with his work. I grabbed the pommel of my saddle and leaned against Icefang, urging him forward through this nightmare country.

A hand on my back startled me and a voice asked if I was okay. I nodded as the dwarf called out something rude about me not having the guts for killing and skinning worgen. A small flask was handed to me and I looked down at the human offering it. "Only water," he said. "To clean the taste out of your mouth." I mumbled a thanks and swallowed it in short sips.

He introduced himself as Antonio Pirelli, and said he was a traveling salesman who was headed to Darkshire.

"Me too," I mumbled. Icefang stood quietly as I mounted him and then reached a hand and extended a stirrup for Pirelli to mount up behind me. He swung up awkwardly, someone unused to riding animals.

"I hate this place," he said.

"Yeah." I slapped Icefang on the shoulder and he trotted forward, leaving the bloody field behind us.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:27 am 
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Darkshire - evening, day 3



Pirelli was silent for most of the trip, speaking only as we reached the tillled fields. "Will you be staying at the inn?" I think he knew the answer before he asked.

I shook my head. "Just staying long enough to talk to the herbalist and then..." I paused and fumbled in my pouches, fishing for the map. "... head out."

"I don't recommend it. Night is when the worgen and worse roam Duskwood. Darkshire's the safest place. The Watch keeps them at bay."

This was not good news. Maybe I'd stay at the inn and eat some of that burnt crocolisk that I picked up to feed Ramses if things got desperate. "Thanks," I said.

He was quiet for a bit longer. "Look, I've got a friend, Viktori, who lives on the east edge of town. He's a philosopher-astronomer-alchemist and doesn't mind company. I stay with him when I'm in town, partly because he doesn't use any of the Inn's recipes."

"Worgen-free?"

"Guaranteed. Spider-free, too, if that matters."

"Not really. They taste like crab."

Pirelli pointed to a house on the right side of the road. "Madame Eva's who you'll want to talk with. I need to stop and deliver merchandise here in the town square. Meet you in front of Madame's house shortly?" He sounded hopeful.

I nodded, still in a sour mood from the earlier bloodbath. "Later," I said as he slid awkwardly down from Icefang's back.

"Later," he replied.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:40 pm 
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Darkshire, Day 3, nightfall


Madame Eva was... unusual.

Knocked on the door and was admitted. I showed her my plants, which she identified as Bluestem Hogwart, apparently used to make dyes. She brought out a book of pressed and dried plants and showed me Silversage. Looks nothing like the lovely drawings Auntie Lindrale gave me.

(a sketch follows, with notes about the plant.)

She walked into a back room and returned with a traveling cage containing a very bright blue macaw. "Bluestem's used to make fake hyacinth macaws," she said and thrust bird and cage at me. "There's a big business in fakes. They can color the feathers but they can't color the claws and eyes. You take this one with you."

The bird eyed my necklace thoughtfully, as if planning a robbery. "I... can't take it."

"You'll need it," she said as the bird sidled toward me and then tried to pretend it hadn't moved. "It came from one of the pirates and has bad manners and worse language. Anyone who can train owls can find a good use for this one."

I froze, startled. Did she know about me training Ravenfeather Owls as messenger birds during the wars or was it just a guess? There was a slight tug at my sleeve and I looked down. The macaw had extended a foot through the bars of its traveling cage and was trying to unknot the bindings on my bracers. I set the cage on the table beside me, putting the larcenous bird out of range of clothing and everything else.

She handed the bird back to me and I found myself being ushered toward the door. "Bird's got bad manners, but it'll be useful." Then she handed me a small phial. "The scent in there is from Steelbloom, another plant your aunt will want. She'll want more at another time but for right now she'll be happy with the Silversage and Steelbloom."

And with that, I found myself outside.

I stabled Icefang with the other mounts (he was happy to have a nice straw box to sleep in). The stablemaster also had room and a nice fat fish for Ramses and I left, hearing the sounds of contented purring and chewing from both of my felines. He refused to take my pilfering bird -- apparently the thing was well-known here in Darkshire.

I should add "pest removal services" to my bleak resume.

Pirelli was crossing the square in front of the inn, so I waved to him and we headed to the house of his friend.

Viktor, a short human in a worn robe decorated with monoculars which he swaps out for whichever ones he's currently wearing, welcomed us. Pirelli helped himself to Viktor's wine and poured me a large flagon of the vinatge while we retrieved a monacle, three pens, two notes, six pieces of copper wire, two screws, and a knife from the traveling cage of my fine feathered larcenist. Then we hung her cage from a hook in the ceiling, making sure she couldn't get to the hook or rope or anything else. Viktor supplied a small padlock and I locked the door to the cage after making sure that the macaw had fruit and water.

The wine is helping. The fire is comforting. These humans have greatly improved my impression of the race.

Pirelli says he'll show me his goods, and Viktor says that if they are to my tastes, he has a telescope that I might find of interest.

Could be an interesting evening.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:40 pm 
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(two pages of the journal have been hastily ripped out, leaving a gap of three days.)


Stranglethorn Vale, day 6

Trip to the camp was uneventful. As I rode up, I noticed that the camp looked busy and the saddle trappings on a Frostsaber mount at the camp looked uncomfortably familar. I reined in Icefang and dismounted and told Ramses to "stay." He promptly curled up for a nap. I checked Picaroon's cage to make sure it was still locked and that there were no straps, buckles, or bindings in reach. Gave her some pages from my journal to rip up while I was gone and she got busy shredding the paper to confetti.

I cautiously peered around the tree and found that yes, indeed, that WAS Cousin Sanova in the camp along with his mother Tyradranna, and Auntie Lindrale. Some sort of mass mutual admiration event seemed to be going between the three of them and Nesingwary and his cronies. The Horde watched with some amusement and bemusement. It seemed a good time to go look for a hyacinth macaw in an exotic location such as Westfall (which I'm told is miles to the west of Duskwood.) I started back to Icefang.

There was an excited squeaking and hooting and Whisperwing launched herself from the pommel of Auntie Tyradranna's saddle to light on my shoulder, rubbing my cheek and making quite a racket. All my relatives shouted at me, so I tugged Icefang forward and stepped into camp. Sanova slapped my shoulders heartily and introduced me as the one of the more promising hunters of the family. "Almost as good as ME," he announced. Whisperwing gave him a disgusted look and flew off to settle in Ramses' mane.

Nesingwary, whose family seemed to know about my family, grabbed my hand and shook it heartily. This seemed to be a signal to everyone else, as they all lined up to shake my hand -- including the Undead, which was a fairly creepy experience. Thankfully, I was wearing gloves.

"Ah, lad, it's good to have ye," Nesingwary rasped as he pumped my hand a second time. "Been needing some REAL hunting skill around these parts. It's satisfyin' to teach these younglings who are eager to learn, but haven't had any REAL hunters since my father left for Outlands and Northrend on the trail of the mightiest of beasts. This lot here needs some shaping up. It takes 'em twenty bullets just to take down one of the yearlings, y'know, and can't get 'em to sort the crocolisks out at all."

Stonepot dutifully recorded the words of the Greatest Hunter on Kalimdor.

Nesingwary would have probably gone on like that for the next hour with the occasional digression on ammunition, but we were interrupted by a loud whoop. "HE FOUND A HYACINTH MACAW!" Cousin Sanova had been rummaging through my packs and had just pulled the cover from Picaroon's traveling cage.

"But..." I said.

"This is great! Luminos, this bird is... amazing! What a beauty! Just look at the color!" He unbuckled the cage from the carrying strap. "Poor thing needs to get to Darnassus quickly to keep it safe. Don't worry -- I've got everything waiting for it!" He clucked at the bird, who stared greedily at the gems on his ring. "Told you he was nearly as good as me!" he shouted at Nesingwary.

"But..." I said.

"Listen, you stay here and finish off the work they've got for you."

"But..."

"Family honor to uphold and all that. Told them you were a promising hunter. This proves I'm right!" He hoisted the cage.

"But..."

"Luminos, this bird is PERFECT!" He hadn't noticed that she was chewing off the ribbons on his bracers.

"But..."

"Thank you, one and all," he called to the camp as he hastily mounted up, oblivious to the fact that everyone else was wondering why he was in such a hurry over a dyed cockatiel. "We need to get this one home by the fastest way possible!"

"But..."

"Take gryphon at the camp to the northwest! Just up the trail, turn left, can't miss it!" Nesingwary called after him.

"But..."

And with a last shouted thanks, Cousin Sanova rode up the trail at a fast gallop, Picaroon's cage clutched tightly in his hand. Bits of paper confetti fluttered in his wake.

"We'd better go with him," Auntie Tyradranna said and whistled her mistsaber over. Auntie Lindrale made smoochie faces at Sir S.J.E. (I do NOT want to know why) as she hopped up to ride pillion behind her sister and then they were off, riding fast to catch up with my cousin...

...who'd just ridden off with a dyed cockatiel with criminal tendencies.


Life just doesn't get any better.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:41 am 
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Stranglethorn Vale -- Day 7

I was wakened from a very interesting dream by an insistent rapping on my forehead. I opened my eyes and found myself staring into a big yellow eye surrounded by feathers. Whisperwing had a message in her pouch and was tired of sitting around and waitng for me to wake up. Our birds were trained to deliver all messages as soon as they reached their owner. It occurred to me that we also needed to train the birds with a signal that said "do not disturb owner." In hindsight, it's amazing that more of them didn't meet with unfortunate accidents involving a cooking pot.

"You've been drafted," Nessingwary announced as he strolled by, with a gun almost as big as himself tucked under his arm.

I sat up hastily, clutching the blankets around me.

"Not THAT kind of draft, ye noodle. Yer to report to the army at Gnomergan." He paused and gave me an amused stare.

"What? Where?"

He rolled his eyes. "Don't get out much, do you? Read the letter the bird's got for you."

I pulled the note out of her carrying case. It was indeed a notice to report to someone named High Tinker Mekkatorque and lawyers were involved. "How do you know that?"

"Eh, don't be so suspicious. Everyone here but us trainers got one. All said the same thing." He pulled a piece of toasted crocolisk of a spit and gnawed on it. "Besides... there'd been rumors that the gnomes were tired of our hospitality."

He was right... I hadn't really been away from Teldrassil in the past century and the situation between the gnomes and the dwarves was not something that'd been talked about much in Darkshore or Darnassus. Ajeck Rouack made a comment about tigers and trolls and I quit listening at that point.

As I ate my breakfast meal of crocolisk on toast in the almost deserted camp, I thumbed through my maps. Ironforge was far north, through areas where I didn't have enough firepower to handle whatever was there.

Rouack, who apparently drew some conclusions from my map fumbling said, "Ride to Stormwind and take the tram that's in the Dwarven District. It'll let you off in Tinkertown section of Ironforge and you can talk to Mekkatorque there. Don't go all absentminded and forget to pick up your travelpoint tokens in Westfall and Stormwind and Ironforge. They only need your help for a bit, and we need you back here and finishing your work." She stalked on down to the river before I had a chance to reply.

I sighed and stared at Whisperwing, who stared right back. Ramses butted my back with his broad head; a sign that he was bored and wanted attention or a romp. So I saddled Icefang and headed off to the wild unknowns of Westfall, hoping I'd see someone I knew on the road -- like Antonio, perhaps.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:36 pm 
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Westfall - towards evening, day 7

Next time, I'll look into this "trip insurance" that one of the goblins was trying to sell me. I'd like a refund on this last journey.

Perhaps it's just that I haven't really been around humans in over a hundred years -- maybe longer. Certainly not since the Wars began. What I remember of them is that the ones who came to Auberdine were brash and loud and a bit like Nesingwary -- obsessed with killing things and obsessed with goods and gold. Worst of all, their visions were so ... short. Perhaps things with such brief lives can only see a short time in the future. Whatever the cause, it made them seem very rash and prone to unexpected violence.

The trip started not with birdsong and quiet breezes, but with a sudden attack by some of Kurzen's brigands. Ramses was the first to spot them and charged them, but they had been studying me. They were well prepared. Ramses went down, snarling and struggling, entangled in a strong net.

I slid off Icefang and grabbed for my sword, only to find that someone had cut the scabbard straps as I turned. They yanked, pulling the sword and scabard from my belt and tipping me onto the ground.

I shouted "kek-kek" and Whisperwing responded, diving out of the sky and flailing at their faces with her wings. That was just enough distraction for me to slide the knuckle-claws over my gloves. And then I was in the midst of them, wild and bloody, and armed and druid-savage.

I will never forget the sweet wild ways of the cat and bear that I trod on the path of the Druids -- even though I was forced to renounce my calling. Once more I felt the blood fury run through my soul, felt alive with the blood and the rage, felt things I thought were lost forever.

Run, little human, run. The nightmare comes for you.

I raised my head, my steel knuckle-claws red with their blood, and roared. The bear spirit rose in my soul.

"DEMON!" someone screamed, and with that they were gone. Whisperwing came fluttering back as I cut Ramses free and looked around for Icefang, but my riding cat had vanished.

That was annoying. The Kurzen brutes couldn't have taken him or killed him -- he'd ghost-form and vanish when they touched him. He didn't stay to fight -- the riding sabers have a pacify geas on them that makes them suitable for mounts but unable to fight. I tried the summoning spell with no luck, which meant he was here somewhere but not close enough to be seen. He might be trapped.

I started scrambling over rocks, searching for caves, calling his name. Eventually I heard him roar and found Ramses sitting at the base of a large tree, staring upward.

The stupid cat had managed to climb a tree.

Creatures that weigh 1200 pounds are not natural tree climbers, but Icefang, like most cats, never let logic or physics or gravity get in the way of what he wanted to do. He was up in the branches of one of the largest trees, some 30 feet above ground. I tried bribing him down with fish, but he just stood on the branch and moaned pathetically. I didn't have a rope long enough to reach him, and even if I did, pulling a 1200 pound cat down on top of me from a 30 feet height was obviously not going to be good for my health. But I had to get him down before Kurzen's men came back.

I called Ramses over and had him help haul me up the tree -- which he did, protesting at the top of his voice. Icefang added to the feline symphony of discontent until I finally yelled at them. They shut up -- but I should have known this was a sign of feline connivery. When I was close enough to touch him, Icefang gave me an aloof stare and jumped down to the ground, landing with an audible thump. Ramses hopped after him, and they both watched as I clawed and flailed my way to the ground, saying unkind things about Elune's creatures and cats in particular.

I'd swear they both were smirking as I fell the last ten feet and landed in a heap. But Icefang stood quietly as I mounted and Ramses walked beside me, solemn as a priest, as I rode into Duskwood.

The woods seemed watchful as we entered and the human guards in at the crossroads stood and blocked the path to Darkshire. I paused, but the Captain said, "go on your way and quickly. You can't pass through to go to Darkshire. Go on to Westfall." He braced his legs and put his hand on his sword hilt and that was all the information I got.

Very troubled, I rode toward the Westfall tower, hoping to see Antonio along the way. Maybe he can explain it to me.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:59 pm 
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Gnomergan - Day 8

I really should get out more.

Stormwind was a disturbing place, full of noise and smells. Ramses seemed interested in everything, but the shouts of vendors and trophy sellers and shrieks of human children and the howl of unhappy beasts gave me an immediate headache. I stopped at a cloth goods store and bought some soft wool pads that I stuffed into my helmet and added ear flaps. That cut out some of the noise. I stuffed some of the cloth into my ears. That cut out a bit more noise. Then I had a big gulp of wine that a vendor offered for sale and another gulp after that, and then I didn't care so much about the noise.

And with that, I confidently rode into the Dwarven district. Then I rode out and bought a scarf to cover my nose and face and had another two drinks of wine... and rode back in.

The smells of Stormwind were not appealing, but this sector was rank with coal and tar and ore smelting and the sky was gray with fumes. I urged Icefang into his fastest lope -- he didn't like the place and kept sneezing -- and we were shortly at the portal to the train. No mounts allowed, so I dismissed Icefang and Ramses and went into the station. It was marginally clean and less smelly but made up for those qualities by adding a lot of noise. Even the slightest sound bounced off the metal walls and echoed around the rooms.

It has possibilities for a torture device. Except for gnomes. I'm not sure they stop talking long enough to notice bouncing noises, and even if they did they'd just want to use the noise in a game or use it to target a bomb of some sort. I stuffed another wad of wool in my helmet and pulled my surcoat up around my ears just as the train-thingy-platform-whatsis rolled in. I stepped on board and grabbed wildly as it lurched off, managing to catch one of the conveniently placed bars, clinging to it like it was my last hope. When it lurched to a stop and nearly threw me off the platform, I figured we'd reached Ironforge and abandoned the device.

Ironforge is only somewhat quieter than Stormwind's Dwarven Sector -- at least the hammering is kept to a place near the noisy forge which sort of drowns out the hammering. A "good-news, bad-news" type of situation. The smell of hot metal is everywhere unless you're in an inn and then the smell of beer is everywhere. Unforgettable. I removed my scarf and took the plugs out of my ears but left the cotton batting in my helmet. And I had another sip of wine.

I stepped out the tunnel and found gnomes. This was a good thing, because the letter had been sent by a gnome. The bad thing was that there were about a hundred of them, and when I peered down the corridor I could see dozens more skittering about. Telling one from another is difficult for someone at my height... basically all you see is a head of hair about six feet underneath your nose.

Ramses solved my dilemma by leaping over a pack of gnomes and flinging himself at a passing Dranei, purring like a thunderstorm. Luckily, his victim turned out to be Ishovan, who didn't mind being assaulted or purred on by a large lion. I waved and showed her my letter and she said she and was here on the same mission. I was also introduced to her companions -- a human priest named Ioressa and a human warlock named Lydiane. The warlock's accent sounds very much like the Common speech of 200 years ago. Her village must be very small and distant because it's hard to understand her accent and she had trouble reading the invitation -- which was, I should add, in a very florid scrawl with so many flourishes it looked like a diagram.

Ishovan pointed out the leader of the gnomes... Mekkatorque, he's called, and we all reported for duty. He handed us small boxes called "motivate-a-trons" and told us to go motivate gnomes. I stood and stared at it for a moment and then pressed a button.

Fifteen gnomes standing next to me turned into rabbits and began...err... doing what rabbits do. Ramses crouched and waggled his hindquarters. It looked like fur was going to fly, however he did respond to my frantic "STAY!" and sat, alternately glowering at me and staring at the bunnies until they turned back into gnomes again. Then he looked at me hopefully, waiting for me to turn more of them into bunnies.

Ishovan was busy waving her device at gnomes, most of whom came running up to her, bright-eyed and chipper, asking if they could bring their personal wrenches, screwdrivers, and so forth.

This was getting creepy. I wished I'd bought more wine. Ioressa and Lydiane were busy collecting their crew, so I pointed at a group behind Ramses and pushed the button.

More bunnies.

One of Lydiane's gnomes wandered over. "Oh, THERE'S your problem," she said, and leaped up, snatched the thing out of my hand, whipped out her screwdriver, pried the thing apart, and crossed a pair of wires before I could stop her. Then she pointed the device at another gnome. That one ran up to me, announcing that they were eager to join my group and serve Mekkagnome.

The whole experience had just hit the "beyond creepy" phase and was moving into the "I'm not sure there's enough wine on the continent to deal with this kind of thing" state.

"Rightey-o!" she chirped and handed it back. The women were already finished with their recruiting. Ishovan gave me the sort of stare my mother gives me when I'm a fraction of a second too slow passing the starberries. I waved the motivator-thing around, pressing buttons at random, and by some miracle ended up with a group of five recruits.

"Let's go," Ishovan said. They mounted. I mounted. The gnomes mounted and as a pack, we thundered forward through the gates of Ironforge.


Last edited by Byrd on Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:26 pm 
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For Gnomergan!

Our thundering herd of mechanostriders swept into Steelgrill's Depot just behind two other thundering herds. The recruitment drive seemed to be going well. Long arrays of machines waited, gleaming palely, as a small army of gnomes rushed around and fussed over them. A disturbing number of them seemed to be in pieces, and as we pulled to a halt, a spidery device to the right of us collapsed in a spray of splayed legs. A small platoon of cheery Gnomes (each, I assume with their own personal wrench) ran up and began swarming over it.

This was not a very auspicious sign.

Ishovan presented us to the officer in charge, who told us to go motivate our gnomes while they trained. "Motivation" consisted of listening to 2 sentence lectures and then cheering, saluting, roaring, and dancing.

I must have skipped the lecture on tactics that showed how to take down large and dangerous things by cheering, saluting, roaring, and dancing. If they use these tactics on the troggs, it explains much about their predicament.

Ishovan took the lead in most of this, Lydiane provided the liquid courage, and Ioressa tried very valiantly to heal my motion sickness after three rounds with exploding, Kaldorei-flinging devices. Frankly, I think the best strategy is for the Gnomes to leave these devices outside Gnomergan. The troggs that squeeze into them will find themselves stuck in position with their knees jammed against their ears, rapidly getting seasick as they try to figure out which button does what. Eventually the Troggs will figure out the 'eject' button, which will toss them (seasick and with their muscles and joints frozen into position) right at the feet of the Gnomes and their allies, ready to be rounded up or stacked like cordwood, waiting for transport.

We had just finished an errand where we played part of a proposed speech to a test audience (we went as a group in case one of our victim-listeners decided that the monologue was intolerable and wanted to shoot or bunny-ize the messenger) and were standing around Lydiane, who still had something interesting and drinkable left in her bottle when there was a loud shout nearby. A huge human male -- nearly as large as a Dranei -- came rushing up with a shout of "I found you!"

While I was still trying to figure out if he meant *me* and what else that might imply, there was sudden squeal of joy and all of my companions pounced on him, kissing and hugging him and laughing gaily.

I began to suspect that this could get complicated.

I back off slightly and start practicing my "bewildered bystander" expression. It's been nearly 200 years since I was around humans for any length of time, and I'm not sure of social customs. He was dressed in the same colors that the Aydeei (a religious sect that lived on the Zoram Strand and believed in plural spouses) usually wore, and the females were greeting him with a great deal of affection.

My experience with the Aydeei was... memorable... since they didn't believe in "artificial healing" and deeply resented Maestra's Post sending them a priest. Delgren the Purifier told me that the Aydeei enclave had been destroyed by Naga and that the Aydeei had all died. So I stood back, trying to figure out how many of my companions were his wives and if he was gong to pick a fight or turn me into a bunny with the gnomerizer-thing for hanging out with his females. While I was still considering a strategic retreat into the nearest spider-tank thing (figuring it was safer than a berserk human), Lydiane introduced him as Shadrick, her brother. I was still pretty woozy from the gnomish devices and her accent is still strange to me. so I'm not entirely sure. It began with the letter "S," at any rate.

She didn't mentioned anything about sibling marriage, so I smiled (harmlessly, I hope) and shook his hand. Someone suggested we all go off for a drink in Kharnos.

The inn was considerably warmer -- a good thing, since the females all seemed to suffer from the cold. I bought a round of warmed drinks to get things started and sat and contemplated the menu (featuring pig, pig bits, bits of pig bits, more pig, and even more pig with unnamed bear parts) while Ramses sat on my foot and the others caught up on what they'd been doing.

While I was trying to decide whether I'd have rat sausage or pig slices, Auntie Lyndrale's owl, Winterwing, swooped in with a cheerful call, pleased to have found me. The news from home was mixed -- Sanova is in a foul mood, quite a bit of jewelry had disappeared from the household, and Auntie Lyndrale wanted more herbs and sent sketches of things that were dead, green, and drawn by an artist who drank heavily.

Drinking heavily seemed like a good idea. I sent Winterwing on her way (after explaining her presence to the others). They nodded and went back to gossiping.

After examining the drinks menu... featuring beer, near beer, almost beer, lots more beer, and ale and calculating exactly how much it would take to make the whole experience better, I came up with an idea to short-cut the process. I bet if I take beer to the Gnomes and offer them my copy of "Adventures of BraBare Ella (part 2)", they can process it into something a bit stronger.

I wonder if one keg will be enough.

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Last edited by Byrd on Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:46 pm 
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Three lines are scrawled (lengthwise) on a page that appears to have been slept on... and is slightly singed.)




Note to self: Drinking gnomish rocket fuel -- even if they swear it's potable -- is not an optimal survivable tactic.

Note 2: Gnomish rocket fuel has something in it that turns off the "This Is A Really Bad Idea" part of your brain.

Note 3: It is really NOT a good idea to attempt to light bodily gasses (yours or anyone else's) when under the influence of drinkable rocket fuel.

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