Clueless in Stormwind (Backbone of the Army)

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“This is an image of a slightly quirky draenei monk.”

 

“We need a mage.”
“Ye-eep.” Sergeant Rawlins took a few steps back, placed his hands on his hips and looked up at the towering pile of wooden boxes. “We need a mage, kid. Now where’s our port-a-mage?”
“Blinky?” Ravennah snickered. “Over there, under the furs. Poor girl’s overworked.”
“Ye-eep.” Sergeant Rawlins nodded. “Better get that mage functional. Be a doll and wake the gnome, will ya?”

Heroes depend on functioning logistics. This is a truth some people don’t like to think about. It’s easier – and more fun – to think of the bundle of rage storming the ramparts than the sad truth of so many failed heroics. Someone might have forgotten to check the straps to the armor on some unknown warrior who never got further than the enemy vanguard because his leplates fell off. Perhaps someone died in a field hospital because someone forgot to pack the priest on call a handful of sandwiches. A hungry priest don’t heal. So, while a frantic army did its best to stem the iron storm not far from the Dark Portal, Ravennah looked up at the tower of boxes and said:

“How the … I mean, seriously? Sarge? Two thousand boxes? Who the fu… I mean, who be like, y’kno’, su-uure, no problem, aight?”
“Ye-eep.” Sergeant Rawlins nodded, stroked his square chin and blew hard through his walruss moustache. “That’s magework allright. Snap a finger and viola! The front got’s it … ” He flipped through some papers. “Huh. Lucky charms.”
“Ain’t gettin’ paid to carry two thou boxes I’m not,” Ravennah said and hickuped. “‘sides, I should prolly not carry nothin’. Dem’s rum rassions we got fo’ lunsh … lucn… early dinner, dey really hit the spot.”

“Ye-eep.” Sergeant Rawlins nodded, slowly lighting a corn pipe, puffing it with a slow, somber look at the tower of boxes. “Wonder why they need a million lucky charms, though. You know, kid, I never understood why we imported those. Sure, the pandaren probably wanted to get rid of ‘em but y’know. I hear they paid forty gold per ten charms too or somethin’. Bad business, that is. My ol’ man should’a paid twenty, tops.”
“Guess we need all the luck we can find,” Ravennah said. She sighed and shuddered. Bad news had been streaming in through the gates of Stormwind as fast as mercenary regiments and regular grunts had been streaming out. People were boarding up their shops and houses. Again.

“Ye-eep.” Sergeant Rawlins puffed his pipe, squinting at her through the smoke and nodded. “Bad one, this one. Seen a few, you know. This is a bad one, for sure.” He nodded, digging out a tiny lump of earwax from his left ear and wiping it off on his shirt. “Still, not as bad as the Scourge War. Slightly worse than the Dragon War and only barely better than the latest war.”
“You sure seen somethin’ ‘aven’t ya?”
“Ye-eep.” He chuckled. “But I’m just a kid compared to you, kid. You’re decades older than me, ain’tcha?”
“Draenei don’t think ’bout age,” Ravennah said. She sighed, walked over to the sleeping mage but didn’t wake the gnome. A few more minutes wouldn’t hurt.

There’s two kinds of people. Those who won’t rest until they fall flat on their face from fatigue – and those who conserve their strength, who takes their time. Those, who abide. Blinky was one of the former. Fear, fervor and a dash of panic had kept her going almost two days straight until she just toppled over and fell asleep before she even hit the ground. She didn’t wake up, not even when sergeant Rawlins dropped a bunch of wolf furs on her. They were supposed to go to the front, of course, but sergeant Rawlins figured that the grunts at the front wouldn’t have time to sleep. They would get their furs, soon enough, but sometimes a well rested mage is more important than furs for the front.

Sergeant Rawlins was one of the latter, one of those who conserved his energy and worked slow but relentless. That as one of the reasons he had ‘misplaced’ the requisition order for one million charms and instead sent 2 million blunderbuss shells to the front (his habit of ‘misplacing’ useless items was the reason he was still a sergeant; anyone else would have had his own office by now but sergeant Rawlins only had an assistant – of sorts). No doubt shells were more effective than charms.

As for Ravennah, she was lucky enough to stay behind the frontlines as sergeant Rawlins assistant (of sorts). How she ended up in Stormwind – and how she ended up as an assistant logistics sort of assistant – was a bit sketchy. She clearly remembered having passed out on a pile of sacks from too many Nethergard Bitter but she couldn’t quite remember when. Undoubtedly someone must have either ported her to Stormwind or – wich in a sense was even worse – gotten her there in some other way. She had a vague memory of cold hands and someone grumbling angry eredar curses.

“Oh light!” She dropped a box of lucky charms. The box split, a stream of tinplated wooden coins stamped with pandaren symbols spilled out on the ground. “Zavvie!”
“Huh?” Sergeant Rawlins looked up from his paperwork. “Wassthat?”
“My sister!” Ravennah sat down on a box filled with bodybags. For some reason it seemed fitting. “My dead sister. Well, she’s unlivin’, death knight ya kno’kay? She like got me outta Nethergard! Before! Y’kno’, before all the shit hit the fan. Or portal. Eh, whateva’, ya’kno like?”

“Huh.” Sergeant Rawlins nodded. Then he smiled. “Oh, one of them.” He put his clipboard away and lit his pipe. “Huh.” Sergent Rawlins sucked his pipe and sat back against a pile of sack of beans. “Well I know how that goes.”
“Uh-huh. So’she kinda got me out yeh an’ I kinda, uh … I dunno. Y’kno?”
“Ye-eep.” Sergeant Rawlins nodded. “Been there, done that. Me, a dwarf got out. But not ffrom Nethergarde, some other stinkhole. Bad one, that one. but not as bad as … well, never mind.”
“Dunno where she at now tho’.”
“Guess that’s the one over there, glaring at you then.” Sergeant Rawlins pointed at a death knight hidden in the shade of an oak some feet away. “Go get your break, kid. Take some time off. You’ve been working like a gnoll to get his candle back.”

“Oh … ” Ravennah took a deep breath and, very slowly, stood up, turning around. Then she raised her hand and managed a weak, embarassed wave and said: “Hi, sis.”
“Don’t you hi me, you little … ” Zavannah scoffed. “Have you any idea what I’ve been through just to keep you out of the Stockade!? Again, I might add!”
“Oh. Uh. Sorry?”
“You’re damned lucky you barely know how to hold a sword. Or else you’d be on the frontline like any other poor sucker. Come on, let’s go. We’re late allready.”
“Fo’ wut?”
“For. What.”
“Yeh I kno’. Sorry.”
“Light … ” Zavannah sighed. “Why do you insist talking like … like that? You’re a smart girl, a bit daft perhaps but that’s something different.”
“Eh.” Ravennah just waved her hand a bit. It usually worked. People rarely had the patience for more than that.
“Get on with it,” Zavannah said. She turned around and started walking. She didn’t want Ravennah to see her smile.
“Where we goin’?” Ravennah said as she hurried after her sister.
“The palace,” Zavannah said and turned an angry frown upon her sister. “The king wants to see you.”
“I’m in trouble again, ain’t I?”
“I’m quite sure you are more aware of what you might have done than anyone else,” Zavannah said.

That was the problem, of course. Ravennah was perfectly clueless.

The lamp – a Legendary writing quest

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This pic has nothing to do with the words below. But I thought a scantily clad draenei and a prince … uh … anyway!

Introduction: The other day in WoW Insiders The Queue I made a comment that to some people was a bit confusing. All of it is too meta to actually explain, so just accept the following: One of the replies to the comment I made suggested that I should create something surreal based on a single sentence. For some reason the idea of starting with a horrible sentence – horrible in every sense – took hold of me.

There are things worse than ”It was a dark and stormy night” … for some reason I am constantly intrigued by the thought that maybe one could do something good with all this horror.

You see, I am a writer. I’m not a very succesful writer (so far) but it’s the only thing I know. Sometimes, in my darkest hours, I think that the way things are going right now I will probably end up like my mothers uncle. He left behind hundreds of notebooks with poems and unfinished novels (a handful of them survived; most of them was tossed on an april bonfire because his family thought that the Written Word was junk; I’m a descendant of hardcore intolerant working class – you either sweat or you’re nothing).

I published a Real Book – the paper kind – in 2006,wich was the end of a very long struggle in many ways. It wasn’t much of a success, mostly because of extremely poor marketing from the very small independent publisher I hooked up with, but its actually a pretty good tale about the afterlife. Anyway, I’m not giving up. Fuck sake, if a guy with a beard in Maine can do it, so can I (and I’m a lot more interesting! Well ok, not really).

So I’m simply going to put this one out for you. This is as much as you will ever read without paying for it, in some fashion. Sorry ’bout that, but writers need to eat as well, you know. I have no idea if this will ever be a completed project, but I have high hopes that it will. You want to know a secret? Sure you do. I have no idea what will happen.

This is the beginning of the surreal and legendary quest of … you know, I have no idea where it will end. That’s the beuty of imagination gone wild. No wonder there’s things as “project managers”.

(It’s not even WoW-related.)

- – – – – -

”The lamp was hanged from the ceiling.”
Sandra Eriksson bought a lamp. It wasn’t a fancy one, just a lighbulb in a socket on an oldfashioned cord. The lamp was the kind of lamp you could find in any basement and … Wait a second. Did Sandra just hang a lamp?

Sandra did.

The lamp was hanged from the ceiling. This horrible sentence set things in motion that later would be, well, horrible.

”The lamp was hanged from the ceiling.” Those were the first words that Jaynee on the other side of a 911 call … but let’s not get ahead. Sandra will soon get one, you better trust that.
This. Is. What. Happened:

The internet is a fantastic thing. In its infancy there were movies about hackers and crime and terrible terror. Sandra Bullock starred in one of them and that’s how Frida Sandra Amara Alia Eriksson got her name. It just happened – one of those things that just happen. Boy meets girl (don’t worry, they were well beyond their twenties). Then girl asks boy to watch a video (this was back in VHS times). So boy and girl watch a movie. Girl hopes that boy will kiss girl. Now … It goes like this:

This is very frantic. You have been warned. Parental advisory. It’s pretty much SFW of course because this is a book (even if you probably read it on Kindle or something).

Boy is too embarassed and to aware of his hard dick and only puts an arm around her shoulders and tries to eat popcorn in a way that’s not too embarassing because honestly have you ever tried to eat poppies when all you want is to push yourself against her body to feel her breath and breasts and press your lips against her lips and and and oh my God and then somewhere you think ”what the fuck did that one I can’t remember the name what did he do in that movie I need to fucking get my shit together and be just like him and oh fucking hell I’m gonna come in my pants and” yeah well you know what happens right everything just gets messed up and you can’t do a fucking thing because you’re so fucking in LOVE and HORNY and all of a sudden you think you’re a looser because. This. Is. Not. What. Happens! In movies.

In movies.

So girl thinks ”fuck sake just kiss me motherfucker!” and boy just sits there staring at a movie he don’t even like and truth be told girl don’t like Sandra Bullock that much either and so she leans over and kiss the boy because the girl not Sandra Bullock who’s famous byt the girl is just you nobody she’s not even sexy except she is so fucking sexy RIGHT N OW and it’s terribly confusing.

It’s LOVE. Dude, godammit! Bitch, please. You know it! Love is confusing. Love in the early stage is just a messed up bowl of chemicals and invisible naked babies in a linen diaper armed with a bow and arrow – the baby, not the diaper. See? Confusing.Can’t think now. Horny and in love! Oh m_y God why my knees shake!? Much emotion, very love. Wow.

Some people claim God is involved. It’s all very … it’s not something you have time to analyze when Shit Just Got Real.

Dear God she’s so warm and wet and dear God he’s so hard and it feels so good I have to say it but I can’t because you probably seen the porno and I don’t want to be a slut so I shut the fuck up and what if he worries that I will go to the popo and say he raped me and I just want him to be fucking HARD on ME right NOW but srsly what the fuck oh my God I’m coming no not yet sluts come amma just go EEEEE like inna fucking Seinfeld show or FUCK ME!!!

(Did I just say that out loud? Sorry.)

It’s over now. Have a smoke. Or vape (it’s healthier, they say).

See, this is how babies are made. It’s … Vibes. That thing. The thing that just FEELS. RIGHT. Besides, boy was a very polite swedish boy. Sure, things are gonna get fucking real for Sandra but it honestly started with love, her parents loved and still love each other. It was tenderness and no one made a movie that 4Chan later hacked. It was happiness and cool and everyone involved Wanted To Do It. Repeatedly, because that’s what people do.

As things happened that wonderful night, neither of them dared to say it. It’s embarassing, going ”you got a condom?” when it’s all about to go down, ok? You KNOW you have to ask but … So yeah, you’ve been there. Everyone has. Wich is how Sandra came to be. Yes, mom and pop is still a couple. They’re married, too! Just one thing – one thing that annoyed Amara.

Stefan lacked a lamp. At least one she liked.

Sandra came to be. Stefan fucked Amara and oh boy was it good. You know in the early 1990’s everyone knew you had to protect yourself but, yeah. No one fucking cared. No one fucking still care. Besides that, Amara (born in Lebanon) had cool parents (even though they are muslims). They didn’t care because as her father Ali said – ”We’re free now, we need to be free”. One night someone kicked him in the head because he wasn’t white. Ali took it in stride; ”They’ll get used to us, you just wait.”

They never did. Sandra found out that white people didn’t care even though she was, more or less, white. So yeah, you know, all this backstory is pretty fucking boring so let’s get on with it, shall we?

Sandra went to the USA when she was twentyeight. It was a big deal for her. She went to a place where her dad had tried to go to for years. He never got there. He got stuck as a teacher in the Stockholm burbs and then he died. Just like that. Once morning he stood in front of class and pointed at a picture of Victoria Woodhull with his pen. He wasn’t there, not really. He just went through the thing he always did. Curriculum currahee!. So he stood there, pretending to teach young people to think for themselves allthough everyone knew no one fucking cared. He got paid to do it. He thought about last night as his pen mowed and he said stuff a teacher says. He thought about the Land of the Free. He thought of how he drove through New Orleans. He drove, using Google Maps last night. Point and click. Zoom in on a sign. Oh man, I need some po’boys!

Fantasy travel.

Then he twitched, blinked, looked at nothing in parrticular and then he died. Poof! Gone! Just like that. Like a DC from the server. Like God had pushed a button, a circle broken by a straight line. The off button of life.

His iPhone rang, it was the principal, but it was a crying student who answered it.

Bruh, that’s so fucked up.

So Allah moves in mysterious ways. In the end Amara ended up in the sack with Stefan and later on they had two marriages – one christian, one muslim. It was just them, some close friends and that kind of thing. Because neither family wanted to ”mix races”. Stuff like that is important to a lot of people. Especially when you buy a lamp.

Geffrey ”Tone Def” Jayson discovered the lamp shortly after midnight, august 21.

By then it was too late.

The lament of farmhand Geist: Geist on a Trek

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*from the last pages of a diary, found

somewhere in Jade Forrest, Pandaria, Azeroth*

This is the last record of farmhand Geist, signing off: Master has been funny these last couple of days. Funny in a no-fun funny way. Funny in a confused kind of way. Funny in a should I stay or should I go … kind of way. Tima, my brain (what’s left of it) is struggling to find words that once came easy but now are hard. My muscles are trembling. I’m keeping close to the floor. My pinkies twitch and this time not even velvet can calm them.

We are afraid.

Oh, it has been such a long time since we were this afraid. We’re not scared. To be scared is to give up a yelp and hide, then creep out with a nervous smile and laugh the scaredy stuff away. We’re not terrified. To be terrified is to huddle down in a lump of dirty cloth pretending nothing hurts but everything HURTS SO MUCH because Master just hit you twenty times with a bullwhip, yelling you were a useless piece of dead meat (and much worse). We’re not fearful. To fear is to hope that The Boogeyman, He Whow Smells Like Death, won’t find you.

We are afraid.

It’s a slow and creeping feeling. A chill running over your skin. A cold, slowly sinking into your muscles. A sudden spasm of an elbow, a knee, making it hard to stand. An invisible chain of iron slung around your chest, tightening, making it hard to breathe until you panic because you can’t draw air … if we could breathe. We just move our chest out and back a bit. We are the dead (because this is the kingdom of the Scourge!). We don’t need the breath of life. But that is a lie. We do need the breath of life. Only our life is not your life. Soon it will come to an end. You see, friends … that is why we are afraid.

Our freedom is about to end.

Little Virmen is twitching his nose. Alan the Ghoul gave Virmen a piece of carrot the other day but Virmen had no appetite. Poor little Virr glanced at Master, sitting by a table sharping her swords, and just … whispered.
“Who will comfort Toffle now?”
“I … Will …” Alan the Ghoul said. Well, garbled. “Toffle.”
“Not even Death can comfort Toffle.” Virmen said (only Alan calls Virmen Toffle and only Toffle calls Alan Death).

Master sharpened her swords. Master polished her armor. Master did all those things a death knight does before going to war. Preparing, buffing up (as Master calls it). Master stood up and whispered Terrible Words, coagulated blood trickling out of her pores where I saw her naked skin, blood that hardened, became an armor – blood becoming a presence.

It was not right.

She went out to the pond, scrubbing it off. I snuck up to a window and looked out, Alan the Ghoul hanging by my shoulder and Little Virmen Toffle climbing on top of Alans head. We saw her speak the unholy chant and we smelled the stench of death … a green, faint cloud, a miasma of unholiness.

It was not right.

Master srubbed again. Scrubbed so hard her skin got cut. then she turned, a single word and the waters of the pond was frozen solid. We heard her whisper “hard as iron” – that’s when we knew why Master buffed up.

“Master is going home … ” My words could hardly be heard, it wasn’t even a whisper. It was the faintest of sounds. Yet Master turned and her deadeye light shone upon me and then she said:
“I’m setting you free, Tim.”

“I am free.” I said. I don’t know where I found the courage. I walked out of the house, I straightened up. My pink dress was slightly dirty and my hair was all a mess, but sometimes you just need to say things even if you look like a piece of waste: “I am free, Master. You are not my master because I fear you. You are my master because I … Love. You.”

Then I ran and hid, scurrying across the ground as low as a rat. I felt ashamed, but fear is the curse of the Scourge. We often whispered “I’m sorry”, our final testament, when some argy pal used to kill us. Sometimes, some of us raised our hands, as if that would save us from the white knights. It never did. Not even had my lasts words left my lips before I remembered the time in Zul’Drak and the bullwhip. Long time ago now, a time when Master was a monster.

I am afraid.

Master sat hunched down close to the chicken coop in wich I hid for hours, hand stretched out. She didn’t say a single word. She just sat there, looking at me, sometimes smiling. cold air rising from her body like a mist. Frost presence, she calls it. She don’t function in any other way but the way of ice. Like Master often says when she’s in a good mood: “I might be a bitch but I’m a cool bitch”.

The sun rose. Haohan – he’s an early riser and wants “biz” to be taken care of right after breakfast – came by. He waved, he stopped, he lowered his hand. Wich is why I spent most of the morning shivering in a chicken coop while Master sat there with her hand outstretched and Haohan leaning forward with his hands on his knees. Then, hours later, her straightened up and and said:
“Leave it be. Sooner or later it’ll be hungry.” (Haohan is the ony one who still calls me an “it”, I don’t mind. He’s old and it’s hard to change when you’re old. Li-Li says so, then she usually point at her uncle.)

You know what? That pandaren really piss me off! You don’t want to make Scourge angry, you know. Even redeemed scurgies, like me. So I got a bit heated. I scrambled out of the coop and stood up to him. I poked one of my saronite claws – gently! – into his chest and said:
“MHAAAA HAAA HAAAA!!!”

I’m telling you, that pandaren ran so fast he left a trail of dust behind! Needless to say, Master decided that Halfhill was a bit too hot. Them Halhill milita are prone to poke you with their pitchforks even if you have surrendered, yelling “Hands up! Don’t Shoot!”. If the pitchforks don’t get you, their bags of pandaren spice will. They call them pepper bullets.

In the end, Master decided that maybe it was time to go. I even remember her, we were on our way down to Jade Forrest then all tucked into a yak-wagon, me and Alan and Toffle and the Boney Twins (M and K) and Champs and Stinker … the whole undead family … we were on our way. When Zavvie pointed at the sky and said, in a cheerful tone:
“That’s where we’re going, guys.”

I remember her finger. Her long index finger, skin allready worn down so hard her bone and nail looked like a talon. I looked at the sky. I looked at her finger. I looked at her face – it was the happiest death knight I have ever seen. Then I raised my saronite talon, stretching the joints, pointing at the sky, and said …

“Home?”

Little Virmen Toffle twitched. Then Little Virmen Toffle smiled. There was a sound, from far behind us, echoing across the silken fields and the rolling hills and the misty forrests of Pandaria. Dog was barking. Dog was catching up. Dog was coming along. We’re on the road now. Off to another world. Or, as i like to think of it:

To boldly go where no Scourge has gone before!

Zed, the talking raptor

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“Greetingssss … “

Ssssss …. *coughing throaty sound*

I will try to keep my hiss..sss… ing to a bare minimum. Ah, there we are! Hello, humans. My name is Zederecatorix the Bloodthirsty. Zed, for short. Now, it may come as a suprise to some of you that I am a talking raptor. There’s a perfectly simple reason for it. I’m sure you will understand. My partner – some would call it love interest – was a bit suprised one night many moons ago when I said “thank you, kind lady” ass she dropped a fresh carcass in front of me and, so to speak, ruffled my feathers. No doubt you will be as suprised as she. The reason I can speak to you is simple:

A wizard did it.

I have often wondered why the kingdoms and realms of Azeroth don’t keep their wizards in a tight leash. There’s “mysterious mages” roaming here, “rogue wizards” roaming there – and there’s a notorious ghost of a wizard hiding in Karazhan. Yet no one bats an eyelid at this obvious threat to the very fabric of nature and reality. There’s mages and wizards of all kinds, too! Why, my partner has a sister who is a wizard, I mean a mage. Yes, some people can get very upset if you call them the wrong thing.

My partners sister turned me into a cat!

I got better.

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“Sure been to some crazy places, right … Ass?”

It happened not long after my partner had found me. Honestly, I was feeling rather peckish at the time. There’s not much to eat but scorpions and rats and the occasional orc in Durotar, you know. So when this young lady with horns turned up I decided it was time for some “exotic snacks”. Then I stared into those brilliant eyes and … well, you know. Raptors do have certain needs. I figured it would be a lot easier i I let het catch my dinner. I’m smart like that, see.

So a couple of nights later I was dozing a bit away rom her campfire. She had gone of into the dark – this was in Ashenvale. I suppose I should have accompanied her but, well … To be perfectly honest: I’m a bit lazy. I had just picked my teeth clean. There had been a particulary stubborn splinter of an orc femur stuck between my teeth. It was all part of the job, you see: Us raptors have a simple creed, once we have found someone who will fetch us dinner:

To protect and be served.

Yep, that’s me. So she dumped this deer in front of me, skinned a bit of it and cut out a good chunk of meat she grilled for herself. I can’t ever get used to people not eating raw foods. It can’t be healthy, rubbing salt and herbs on meat and then destroying it with fire. I took a bite out of the deer, chewed carefully, and said:
“Thank you, kind lady.”

I swear, she jumped three feet into the air! But she took it in stride, I have to hand it to her. Once the initial pleasantries was done away with we talked about this and that for a long time. If I were less raptor than I am I suppose I would have ended up kissing her. But, yeah you know, I let her ruffle my feathers instead.

It’s a very intimate thing among raptors. She should be honored I don’t bite her hand off. Allthough … it would be a rather stupid thing to do, no? Biting the hand that feeds you? That’s something the primitives of Un’Goro do. I don’t like that kind of raptors.

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“May I call you Ass? I’m going to call you Ass.”

Oh, we have had some wonderful adventures, me and my partner. She told me her name is Cassanna. I call her Ass (she doesn’t like it but I mean, come on! Check out that … Yeah, anyway!) I told her my complete name. She insists on calling me Zed. We are a team, Ass and me. I’m honestly grateful she crossed my path. If not I would either have ended up with a stone arrow inside me or worse – getting tamed by an orc.

I have seen the world thanks to Ass. Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms, Outland – arrakoa taste like chicken – and Northrend – and Pandaria. Of all the places we have been to I enjoy Pandaria the most. The cuisine is excellent. I never cared much for goat before. The goats of Dun Morogh are rather tough and tasteless (I guess that’s why the dearves boil their meat in beer). Other goats are just as bad. but Pandaria goats …

Excuse me if I salivate.

Fatty goatsteak. That sure put some meat on my bones! I dare say, I was twice the size when we eventually returned to a long stint of frugal living back on mainland Kalimdor. Memories of mushan ribs, goat, of saurok flesh and an occasional pandaren – that sustained me though all those dusty nights in Silithus, culling the bugs. All those night elves had to offer was cured ham. I’m not that picky with food, mind you, so I ate it, but if I have to eat another ham I’ll disembowel the next person I see. I guess Ass knew what would happen. So we relocated to Witnerspring eventually. Yeah, like that was a vacation … I mean, come on! I’m a cold blooded raptor!

I don’t like snow.

Still, someone has to pay for my upkeep I guess. If Ass needs to hunt bears in Freezerville, I’m right beside her … well, okay, five steps behind her.

The view is excellent from there.

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“Assssss… oh, ssssorry!”

Diary of a warlock

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From the diary of Sharenne the Warlock (born Gawry):

I wrote a letter to you the other day, father, a letter I never mailed. Besides, where would it be delivered to? There’s no “place of residence” for you anymore, is there – “dad”? Instead I burned it. I watched the flames eat my words – eat, as it were, my hate. It’s not that I am evil, wich I am not. It’s not that I want to hurt you (wich I want but won’t). It’s not that I wish revenge for all those time you hurt me – and more than that. It’s simpler than that. You see, father:

I want you to cry.

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Pain won’t matter. Words like, oh I don’t know, like “Do you see me now!? I AM somebody!” – that won’t matter either. You don’t care about that, do you? Sure you don’t. You cared more about yourself and your own needs than you ever cared about me. Pain is not revenge. I could kill you, I could snap my fingers and watch as Metaril, “my” Void Lord (we have an understanding), tore you limb from limb. Or I could afflict you with terrible curses, excrutiating pain, boils and venom, haunts of impending doom. I could set you on fire with the twitch of an eyelash. I could watch you burn. I could hear you scream. I could exterminate you. But no, father.

I want you to cry.

You see, the whelp grew up. Yes, the “bitch” you never fed. The “brat” one you never told a bedtime story to. The “slut” you hurt in ways I couldn’t imagine, back then. You showed me the meaning of True Power – and what I had to do to get it … It won’t matter to you. You wouldn’t understand, you wouldn’t care. While you were busy drinking with your buddies I destroyed such unspeakable evil that it would even have your silly little ghouls of Duskwood run crying back to mommy. That doesn’t matter either, I know that. Of course I know. You taught me a good deal about evil. I could call forth that ancient evil, if I wanted to. I could watch as it turned your flesh into green goo. I could listen as your soul was slow roasted over fel fire. I could destroy the very essence of your being, have it raised anew and then destroyed again. It’s within my power … something you so often told me I would never have. You called me worthless one time to many, old man. Wich is why, father …

I want you to cry.

You did one thing right in your wretched life. You sent me to cousin Gawens family in Lakeshire. Of course, you made damned sure I wouldn’t forget you first. I know that. I still bear the scars, both inside and out. If nothing else you taught me what men expect – ah, yes. I have the greatest power of all: To deny them what they want. I guess I was the only woman who didn’t have the courage to tell you to go fuck yourself. It’s hard to be ten, you know. But i grew. In years, in power, in knowledge. “Uncle” Valence taught me a great deal – things a kid shouldn’t know, of course, but that doesn’t matter now. I summoned imps while kids were busy splashing around in the lake. I read books of ancient power while kids were busy chasing each other, trying to get laid. “Uncle” did what you were supposed to do. He protected me from evil, he fed me, he read me bedtime stories, he loved me. He … forged me. That is why, father …

I want you to cry.

But I won’t. It’s too late or revenge. It’s not even worth it. You’re a miserable waste of life, you can’t even remember me. You didn’t recognize me the other day, did you? Sure you didn’t. I look upon you now and I see nothing but a pathetic collection of bones, covered by skin. You’re nothing. No pity, no remorse. You are not even worthy of my hate. So you know, father:

I want you to cry.

But I won’t make you cry. That would be to give you to much. I will deny you the satisfaction of knowing that your daughter is alive, and well, and more powerful than you could possibly imagine. Instead … I will go back to Darkshire. Instead … I will burn down your house. I will watch the flames engulf that grey cottage I once called “home”. I will set Metaril on them; I will watch as his strong blue arms of shadow rips asunder the very thing you took great pride in: The house you built, once when you were young and good and in love. I will watch as it turns to soot, the place where you drove my mother into an early grave. The house where you hurt me. The house where you taught me a valuable lesson about life: Sometimes the greatets evil isn’t a monster. Then I will spread salt upon the earth. Let nothing ever grow there, again. So you know now, father. I will get my revenge. One of these days, as the news of the fate of your rotten house slowly sinks in, as I stand on the other side of the canal, watching you beg for scraps of food, for a few coppers. One of these days I will get what I want:

I want you to cry.

I earned my wings (as people I roll with these days like to call it). I prevailed. You didn’t break me, you never will and I won’t let you. I have seen things you couldn’t possibly imagine: Ulduar in moonlight, the wailing banshees of Straholme, the secrets of Scholomance, the wonders of Pandaria and beyond. I have slain bandits and monsters, demons and Old Gods. I have killed men for less than what you asked me the other day as I walked past you; you dind’t know who I was. I have seen the magnificence of the world and despaired. I have felt pity, guilt – but most of all: Love. The very thing you did your best to destroy within me lived – and burned stronger than any flame I could ever conjure up.

I want you to die.

The Lament of Farmhand Geist – Ghouls don’t cry

“I give you fair warning before you attempt me further,
I am not what you supposed, but far different.”
– Walt Whitman, Whoever You Are Holding Me Now in Hand

WoWScrnShot_020314_231057

‘Retrieved Incident Report: Naxxramas Security detail 02567. Unknown time and date (source material partially destroyed). Retrieved by Recon Team Alpha Charlie, Argent Crusade, with support from Wintergarde Garrison, 7 Legion (engineering detail), investigations completed at the fall of Naxxramas (Northrend). Report signed off: Shuanna of the Exodar etc etc, time and date: Classified.

Breach in middle section secured. Containment area still active. Intruders tracked and neutralised. Extra rations of meat met with cheers. Chief Administrator requires bones for further experiments. Residual morphic memories detected – suggested method of disposal: Burning. This order is hereby cancelled as request by [inelligible scrawled letters]-uzad. Experiment to resurrect Cat (animal) deemed more important than Geist Alpha (creature). Chief Engineer complaint overruled (Ch. Eng. body to be repurposed at convenient time).’

This is the first recollection we have of me. All of us. I like to read those few lines, jotted down on cheap paper (because the Argent Crusade thought the pen wasn’t mightier than the sword). I think this is our … my … for I am legion … This is my birth certificate. More or less.

I know the words by heart (a shriveled lump of dead tissue that once belonged to a dwarf named Hamadin; it tries to throb but it won’t but morphic muscle memory is stubborn; they filled my chest with body debris and coarse wood shavings). But it doesn’t matter if I can recite the words to anyone who asks for them. On long lonely nights I lay there in bed and read that piece of paper. I don’t know how Master got hold of it. Perhaps her sister was a good sport?

It has been a lot of lonely nights lately. I’ve been tossing and turning, trying to sleep. Now … Scourge never sleep. As such. We rather – power down. It’s like flipping the switch of a machine – we are machines, more or less – and some of us close our eyes. Others don’t. I close my eye, you know. Bonny K and Bonny M, well, they can’t close their eyes because they are skeletal constructs but anyway! We … sleep. Even an undead servant need to wind down, you know. Get som shut-eye. Charge up, that sort of thing. Most of us that am what I am likes this rest. Oh, especially Tink, she loves to sleep and relax. just like Alan the Ghoul.

Z_family

Ah, yes, perhaps I should tell you a bit of what it means to run a farm? don’t worry, it won’t take long. I will tell you in a minute what happened when Master came back. Hang out with me (as we Scourge like to joke with those who’s been lynched before we raise them).

Alan loves to tend the flowers. The Songbells, to be precise. He’s very good at it too! He keeps the birds away through his smell alone. He keeps the virmen at bay through, well, let’s say … ingenious inventiveness. Ask him what a virghoul is, I dare you!

In his own way – ghouls have a very rough and simple language not many understand – he’s told me exactly why I have to wake him up. He likes to sneak back behind the shed and … power down. you want to know why?
It’s the songbells. They … sing. The wind flows through their tiny stems and bulbs, gently shaking the fruits, and they sing. A faint, eerie sound as of tiny slivers of glass clinking. When you harvest a songbell the concentrated mote of harmony inside makes this beutiful sound, like tapping your nail on a crystal glass, very fast. Emma, my ears, like that sound. She used to be a … wassisname … ah! A hearthsinger. In Stratholme. She sang with a good friend of hers. Until He came …

(My ears don’t like to think about that.)

So the flowers makes him sleepy but he loves them. He feels … harmonious. So Alan sleeps on duty. He used to love to sleep. He’s told me he spent more time in the Wintergard brig than on look-out for Naxx. You know, some people are just like that. He was unhappy, and tired. The first years as a ghoul he spent most of his time wailing. Because, you know.

Ghouls don’t cry.

Creator, who also created Alan once the lazy peon was caught and killed (it wasn’t hard, he was afraid of death back then and still is), well – Creator was going to “repurpose” Alan. But then someone did an administrative error in the depths of Naxx and Alan ended up in “84th Inf Regt”. He was shipped off to Borean Tundra to turn mammoths and bugs. That’s how Master found him; a lowly ghoul, sleeping when he wasn’t wailing, on duty not far from the entrance to Ahn’Kahet. Master saved him, she did. Master saved us all. Gerard and “the bonny twins”, Alan and Ogrash and Fart and Stinker … all of us.

We help out around the farm now. But no one but me dares to speak to the living.

Did I tell you about my hair? Oh yes! Yes I did! It’s not actual hair. It’s a whig. A blonde whig (Tess remembers heir blonde hair; it used to turn her lovers crazy, when she lived in Eversong). So my hair is blonde. It’s a nice whig. Long strands of golden hair, spun from yak hair (not real humanoid hair!). Gina, though she pretends to dislike me, made the whig herself. Then she told me that “fashion” had changed. So one day she brought a pair of scissors and once I stopped screaming she “bobbed” my hair. I don’t know what that means. But it’s pretty.

I … love my hair. It’s … I don’t know. It’s me. I may be smelly (if I forget my mogu perfume). I may be stiff and coarse – but I. Am. Alive. Like I said, some time ago: “Life. Such as it is. Is the mogu alive, yet the do not draw breath? Is Master alive, yet she has no heartbeat? Am I alive, yet I am many?”.

Hair. Is life.

But enough of that (as the pandaren say). Let me tell you about Master. just a moment, I need to wake Alan up. Again. Prod you, ghoul! Get back to work – but don’t work too hard! Remember, Alan, you are free now. You don’t have to be afraid no more. The songbells keeps you company, friend.

(“Muuuraaaah! He-aaa! Haaa… rmony!?”)

Yes, Alan. Be safe.

(“Eeeah! Aaaurggghhh!” Mhr-haaah!”)

Ghouls are not that bad once you get to know them. Honestly!

Master’s been busy for weeks and months lately. Master’s been sad, and angry, and cruel. At one point we started to think that Master was like … Him.

But the Bad Orc far away is in prison now. There are no more battles to be ought. Master have drunk her filling of blood. But she’s been very busy even though no one has any need of an Alliance death knight no more. Bad earth talkers, Dark Shamans, caused a lot of trouble with Haohan and others not long ago. A kinfolk of Master, a draenei male, and a night elf, helped to sort it out. Mercenaries and adventurers and soldiers going home has attacked farmers and each one. So our good friend Mudmug and some other pandaren fellows asked Master if she could kill some orcs. Because it’s tuskfaces with no manners that’s usually cause a stir.

So she did.

She let our farm before daybreak and didn’t return until the wee hour of dawn. Weeks on end. I was very worried. She didn’t as much as look at the flower beds, we had to keep them tended and harvested without her help! Sometimes she was angry and tired, sometimes covered in blood. She hit us, once and again. Me and Alan and even Hossie (a hozen that was shunned by his hill-dwelling brothers and found his way to our farm, hungry and scared since there was a good silver for grabbing hozen heads; it was a daily quest for many brave hero to kill hozen,who really were just hungry – but anyway!). She never changed out of her armor. She just sat there, by a table for a while, staring at nothing. Sometimes she gently touched her locket, the one with two portraits … and sometimes she mumbled “I’m sorry, Menea, I will find you, I will find you, I am so sorry … “

She didn’t even play with Dog.

Dog was sad and afraid. We were all afraid. Alan couldn’t even sleep. As if the songbells had stopped chiming, so too were our life – such as it is for a redeemed Scourge – withering. She hit us, all of us, so many times.

Master called me a monster.

Master reminded me of that time when she had just found me. One night she brought a bundle with her – this was in Zul’Drak when we were helping trolls to survive. I was curious (because that’s how geists are!) so I ripped the bundle open and …

No, I’m not telling you what happened. Even Scourge know what pain is.

Master was “under pressure”, as Gina called it. “It’s like when harvest is in full swing,” she said one day as she combed my hair (uhm, my whig). “Sometimes you don’t have time to be polite and friendly. Sometimes people do things they regret, and you either forgive and let it be gone, Tim. Or the Sha will get you.”

Pehaps how to learn to forgive is what life is all about?

One night Master threw me out of the house, yelling in a drunken voice that “you sleep with the pigs, bitch!”. Then she broke my bed (it’s a nice bed, Mudmug fixed it up the next day while whiping away tears but it is a nice bed). I was terrified. Angry. But most of all sad. My skin crawled (my skin always crawl when I get nervous; then my arms start shaking – it’s residual memory interlapse, as my Creator called it).

Master came back one day, not long ago. A few days ago. She had been busy – so people said – on an isle that time forgot (I don’t know what it means and I don’t want to know what it means!).

This is how it happened:

Thunder rolled in from the north. The weather of the Valley has taken a turn for the worse since some year ago, there’ a lot of thunder going on even though Lei Shen – my Masters sisters helped defeat him – is no more. I have never liked thunder. It reminds me of fire – one of the things the Scourge fear more than Him.

I heard the footfalls on soggy ground outside long before she opened the door. A wind swept through the house as she did. When Master is away I keep a frostfire burning in the fireplace. Master don’t like that, but we are afraid of orange fire and blue fire won’t burn us the way the red-and-golden flames might do. I wasn’t asleep – I only pretended. I hid hal my eye under the whig, curling up under the blanket that Nice Li Li gave me (it has unicorns on it!). I peeked out thorugh strands of golden hair. Master was a shadow against the doorway, her swords drawn. She never enters a room without her weapons drawn.

Then her dead-light eyes stared at me.

We lived in fear then. I was sure she would throw me out, hur me, maybe even rip my head off. Alan whimpered and hugged a tiny little virmen he had rescued a few days earlier from drowning in the pond and the virmen squeeked with terror. It’s not afraid of Alan, it loves Alan. But it is afraid of Master.

Then Master closed the door. Then Mastes sheathed her swords. Then she sat down by the table with a sigh and then she waited for quite some time and then she said:
“I’m dead, inside and out.”

Tiny virmen snuck away from Alan and very carefully, trembling so hard its whiskers almost fell off, snuck up to the calf of Masters leg and whispered: “I have carrot, mother?” Alan very carefully shuffled out of his corner and with a scared smile placed a teracotta urn filled with moist soil and a tiny, green but gently singing, Songbell on the table in front of Master. Champs – you got to hand it to Champs, he never fails to entertain! – removed his helmet and in a skeletal wheese told a dirty poem about a hedgehog and a knob.

I just trembled.

Master sat there for quite some time. Eventually she stood up, strapped off her armor and put it in the wardrobe. She didn’t loose her swords, of course. She closed the wardrobe doors and then stared at them, for a long time, then whispered “I’m home, mommy’s home again.”

Then she went outside. We heard her splash around in the pond. I snuck up to a window and watched her standing there, in the golden light of dawn, naked, rubbing her cold body down with pumice and the sharpened leaves of Spiders Root. Caked dirt and blood, old vomit and still glowing green sludge – it fell from her skin. I don’t know where she had been, what she had fought, and I don’t care.

momshome

Master is home again. She dressed in a blue overall. She cut her hair short using a sickle she had sharpened on a piece of stone. As daybreak came and Halfhill started to wake up with the sounds of goats and market-goers, she walked up the stairs to the porch and gave all of us a long, hard, dead look. Then, I don’t know how I could have missed it, she placed her hand on a bundle she had placed on a small wooden table right next to the door.

“I brought you a present, Tim,” Master Said. “I have been … angry. My sister says one should ask for forgiveness, because the Light forgives.” Master sighed, fingering her locket. “Maybe I don’t believe in the Light no more, but the Light still believes in me.”

Alan glanced at me. Tiny virmen twitched and found a piece of carrot. Champs hissed, he always feels uncomfortable if something can’t be hit with a sword (he has no brain, just an empty skull, cut him some slack, okay?).

I slithered out of bed. Fear kept me close to the floor. As I came close to the table close to the door I shot a glance at Master. I was certain she would hit me. It was as of old, right then, at that moment. Just a slave to someone more fortunate.

Master knelt down. My whig had gone askew as I moved. She corrected it. Then she smiled – one of those … living smiles.

I very carefully opened the bundle of coarse linen cloth she had placed on the table by the door. i took great care not to puncture the cloth with my saronite talons (nails, it’s called nails, even though they are quite long – and sharp). I grabbed the cloth and the hemp string … I pulled. As my trembling hands, part of me still sure Master would flog me, carefully removed the cloth and looked at the contents of the bundle, Master said:

“I’m not going away anymore, not for a long time. I was a fool to think I could go back and change what has been done. My home is here now, Draenor is gone. I am so sorry, Tim. I am so sorry …”

I opened the bundle. It was a dress. A pink dress. I looked at Master. Then I said, with a voice bereft of breath but it didn’t matter because at that very moment I ceased to be a geist – and became Alive:
“Master brought me a dress!”

Alan did his best to draw a picture of me, a bit later, as I jumped with joy across the fields and Dog chased me, barking like mad. Here it is

r2xefaM

It wasn’t until late that night I knew things will change, when I heard Master whisper to herself, as she sharpened her swords with slow and gentle strokes:
“All those stones the dragon asked for better be worth it.” She glanced at me, over her shoulder, smiling as my hands carefully stroked the pink silk dress: “We’re going home, geist. In a month or two …

We’re going home, at long last.”

- – – – -

Credit for Geist in a Dress-image goes entirely to commenter Razwick92, in the WoW Insider Queue, 20140829 . I asked for an image of a geist in a pink dress and I got it – in short time and all that. But I’m happy, so all is good!

In fact, this entire story depended on that very image – of a geist, in a dress. Isn’t it funny how your brain works? This story had been festering within me, I lacked an image to let it go – but no more!

Thanks, Raz!)

When worlds collide – How I met my paladin

char_image

“This is an image. It’s believed to catch your attention.”

(Inspired by a breakfast topic on WoW Insider.)

“Right, Shu,”
“Shuanna. My name is Shuanna. Only Vass calls me Shu. And the dead one.”
“Yeah, so anyway! Welcome to Earth! Let me show you how some of us enjoy ourselves! This is how we play World of Warcraft. You ready?”
“Uh-huh.”
“Ok, this button here … ‘§’, wi… ok, you just hit the keyboard with your mace.”
“Oh.”
“Ok, uh … Right!”

*replace keyboard*

“You see that drawing on the brightly lit painting in front of you? The painting is called a ‘screen’ or ‘monitor’. It’s hooked up to this machine here, wic… oh, allright, you just dropped a holy hammer of light from out of nowhere on my computer, babe. Ouw!”

*later*

“I thought you never would wake up.”
“That mace of yours really, I mean it really hurts! Now I feel sorry for all those murlocs and ordon …”
“Phah!”
“Where’s my aspirins. Oh God, I’m bleeding from my ears. That can’t be good! Shu, call 911!”
“NINE! ONE! ONE!”
“No! Don’t call nine one one. On that … magical device. There. Press those buttons. Please, I think you cracked my skull. I can feel my brain throbbing. It hurts …”

“I didn’t hit you that hard … just, you know, a normal one. We call it a white hit.”
“I’m … going … to … fa…”

*light*

“Whoa. What the hell was that!?”
“I healed you.”
“But … What about ER? Bandages? All the stuff?”
“Eh. Light protect you.”
“So, uh … This healing thing, does it also come with a hard-on? Ouw!”
“Stop looking at my boobs, nitwit!”
“Sorry.”
“You should be.”
“They’re just, I mean … I’m a guy and … well allright, I am a feminist a–“
“What’s that?”
“What?”
“Fem… inist?”
“Oh, uh, it basically means that some people think of females as people. Other don’t.”
“Like people who stare at my breasts.”
“Yeah, exa– what? No! Ouw!”
“Oh hey, this is fun! What’s in this little yellow square. Why’d you call it ‘boring’. Oh. Ooh! Uhm … Oh.”
“Never mind that.”
“So this is how you … earthlings … procreate?”
“Uh … not exactly.”
“What?”
“Contrary to popular belief, you can’t get pregnant from a facia… Oh now I’ve done it!”
“Done what?”
“It’s on the internet now! Everyone will know!”
“Know what? That you’re a fem… inist?”
“Not quite.”
“I don’t understand this world.”
“None of us do, Shu. That’s why we kill each other because of how we look, or what we believe in.”
“I’m confused. And you don’t even have murlocs.”
“So, uh, anyway! Stop looking through my porn, you rascally paladin!”
“Oh, but this is … oh, I never done that!”
“No?”
“Well there was this blood elf who asked me once in Dalaran but I had had a heavy meal of beans a few hours earlier a–“
“Oh God … “
“What?”
“Oh nothing. Nothing at all.”
“Tauren don’t mind a bit of gas, you know.”
“Ok, you know what? I’m very uncomfortable with this topic right now, so why don’t we stick to teaaching you how to play World of Warcraft, allright?”
“Ok!”

*smirk*

“Oh my, you got a lot of these moving pictures in this … folder.”
“Shu!”
“Sorry. just curious!”
“Bad draenei!”
“Well it appears you have a thing for bad girls, mr righteousness.”
“I … uh … Anyway!”
“Oops, looks like I beat up Garrosh.”
“Wait what!?”
“Uh-huh. Oh, isn’t that sweet. He gave me a token or his gloves!”
“But … that … I … wait, was that on heroic?”
“Not sure. What does 25 HC mean?”
“Oh God … “
“Right, Im not sure who this ‘God’ is you’re praying to everytime I do something you thought I couldn’t do, so what is this … God?”
“It’s … uh … something that we humans have been fighting over for the last 3000 years.”
“Is it an old god?”
“No … not exactly. It’s just. You know. God. you know?”
“You don’t sound very smart now, I’m just saying.”
“I have an intellect of 119, thank you very much!”
“Yet you insist on staring at my breasts.”
“They’re ni– ouw!”
“Should I press this symbol?”
“Please.”
“And this line? The one? Two times?”
“Please.”
“Hi, this is Shuanna of the Exodar, Kingslayer, Firelord, Flame Warden and … excuse me? No, I do not know what ‘Russia’ is? Why do you … my accent? It’s a perfectly fine draenei – hello? Hello? Huh.”
“What ..? My head … You maced me, Shu … Help … “
“I think they … what was that you said before … ah. They hung up on me.”
“Oh God.”
“Need a light?”
“Please.”

 

*Mental note: Don’t ever let a paladin sift through your folders!*