This is part two of a short story that may or may not lead to some epic conclusion.
Keep in mind all of this is head canon and should not be considered lore. It’s basically a Stream of Consciousness; a type of writing I really enjoy. I have no idea where the story will lead. It runs on its own, free from plans and plots and everything else. In fact, it might not even be very good writing. Still, somewhere in the expansive universe of World of Warcraft I guess there’s a small shelf marked “Pulp fiction”.
You’ll find me there, probably.
I was somewhat inspired by the talk about virtual realms. Also, there’s probably some hints to the upcoming patch 5.4. Most of all it’s sort of a look at Cross Realm Zones from an azerothian view. You know, once upon a time it seemed as if you were all alone in the world. then nametags started popping up everywhere. Now? These days?
The world is crowded.
– – – – –
Outland used to be empty.
The voices came from a long way away. Filtering down through a haze of pale yellow ache and bloodred pain. The first coherent thought for a long while read ‘Really, you had to pass out on a bloddy rock!?‘. Then the voices. there were two of them. Speedtalking but careful, almost fearful. One voice said:
“Is it dead?”
Another voice – slightly darker – said:
“I think it’s a blueskin.”
“It’s too dark for a D. That’s a fel orc if you ask me.”
“Yeah? Since when do orcs have horns?”
“Maybe it’s a tauren?”
“Not enough fur.” There was a snicker. “Well, except you know. There.”
“I didn’t know they … uhm …”
“It’s a D. Definitely a D.”
“She’s not blue?”
“Maybe she’s dirty.”
“Yeah. Or she’s been dead a long time. My my … “
“Better not touch her, dude.”
Zavannah tried to moan. At first the only sound she could make was a faint whimper. Then she moaned; aching head, sharp rock in back, cuts and bruises everywhere … and she didn’t remember how she’d got them.
“See? Bit of charm and I’ll get even a dead dollface like that giving me the O-face.”
“You – what?”
“You know? Oh! Oh! Oooh!”
There was a sound; a “whack!” followed by a “clink!” and an “Ooouwww! Ya’itme!” Zavannah coughed. She really didn’t want to but she opened her eyes nevertheless. Sharp sunlight, hazy through the ever drifting clouds of loose mana and duststorms hundreds of miles up in the sky. she croaked:
“It’s … ” She coughed. “It’s Hellfire.” She rolled over on her side, grunting. “What the duck am I doing here!?”
“Beats me,” said one of the voices – the darker one. “Uhm – duck?”
“Speach … ” She coughed. “Impediment.”
“Oh, allright then.”
Shapes pressed through the blur of reality.She became increasingly aware of her lack of clothes. A pile of armor some feet away, two swords thrust into the red earth on either side of her. A pair of boots. And two goblins.
“Whoreyou!?” She coughed. Something came loose in her throat. She spat a gob of greenish slime. the faint wiffs of rotten eggs (and something far more pungent) turned the air around her into a yellow haze. “Who are … you!?”
“Man, you smell like a dead Idunnowhat!” One of the goblins said.He had a pair of welding glasses on his forehead, heavy black- and yellow workmans gear. he took a few hurried steps back. The other one – he had a yellow helmet with a candle in front – turned decidedly pale.
“Unholy,” Zavannah said, moaning. She rolled over on her back, grimased when she struck the jagged rock and rolled over on her other side. The goblins retched. For a few minutes nothing happened. She kept stinking, the goblins kept retching. Eventually she gathered enough of her faculties to mumble something.
There was a wooshing sound of air sucked in. A sharp bang like a pistolshot. A cloud of frost and tiny snoflakes rained down from nowhere around her. The earth around her glittered but the frost melted away. Hellfire Peninsulas red earth drank. A small bud of Felweed sprung up; emerged, straightened up … came alive. Death was everywhere. Life lived fast. no one had time to spend months slowly creeping up through the earth, least of all Felweeds.
Zavannah sat up, slowly. Joints creaked, her skin shimmering from frost, muscles growing tense and hard. But just for a few moments. Soon she was as agile as ever. On a positive note she didn’t smell like a rotting undead. She smelled more like, well, a frozen un-alive corpse. She blinked, looked at the goblins and tried her best to smile a friendly smile.
Her grimace turned both of them even more pale.
“Hot damn, a death knight!” the dark-voiced goblin said. “Been years since I saw one.”
“What about that chick in Shat? she was very much dead.”
“Nah, that was just a Forsaken. Had to do her carefully. bits an pieces kept falling off her.”
“Oh. Eh – what!?”
“You know. ‘Ride ’em baby! Yeah! Oops, you lost a finger I think’. Kinda.”
“I sometimes fear for you, Grebs.”
“No worries, Crebs. Come on, live a little.”
“Could one of you two gobbs please tell me exactly what I’m doing here?” Zavannah said, cutting another story of sexscapades short. “I have no memory of this place.”
“Yeah, well. That’s usually what happens when you drink like a hundred bottles of gutrot, doll.”
“Don’t call me doll.”
“Yeah sure, no problem do–”
Her arm shot out, quick as a snake. She grabbed Grebs the dark voiced goblin by his throat. He squealed.
“Call me doll again,” Zavannah said. “I dare you, I double dare you!”
“What am I doing here?”
“Am I strangling you?”
She let him go. Grebs stumbled back, got his feet tangled and fell. There was a puff of dust. It settled nicely on his heavy leather miners clothes.
“Crazy bi… you’re crazy!”
“I’m un-alive, what do you think?” Zavannah said.
She stood up, slowly, huffing and puffing. A few hundred feet to the south faint streaks of smoke rose towards the bloodred sky. The wreckage of some sort of caravan; broken wagons, slaughtered domesticated hellboars. A twenty feet high pile of dead fel orcs. Peons, from the look of it.
“Oh,” she said, looking down on her bruised, bloodsmeared body. “Ah.” She chuckled. “Guess I ravaged the land, huh?”
“We, uhm … ” Grebs sat up, careful not to make any sudden moves. When Zavannah yanked the swords from the ground he made a tightlipped “Eeep!” sound.
“Go on,” Zavannah said while she strapped on her armor. “You were saying?”
“I, I … Uhm … Look, do–. Look, miss. You’re a miss, aintcha?”
“Look, we were just passing by you know. Nice little ride and all that. We’re miners see, looking for stuff. Uhm … mostly fel iron. There’s not much left but sometimes you get lucky and the prices have skyrocketed and our uncle Stixx Stickitup told us he said ‘son’ well he’s not my da just an uncle but he said ‘son’ you … ” Deep breath. “He said ‘son, yuss go get some gold from dem flotin’ rocks yonder the Dark Portal and we split the profits’ and you … ” He trailed off, panting.
“What Grebs is trying o say, miss … ” Crebs waited.
“Zavannah. Zavvie to my friends.”
“Miss Zavvie, he j–”
“You’re not my friends.” She put her hands on the hilt of her swords; dried resin, camouflaged as Treacherys Bite. Both of them.
“Miss Zavannah, he’s a bit nervous around sharp objects. It’s a childhood trauma. He, uhm … Never mind. Anyway!”
“We saw you dismount your flyer like fifty feet up, drop down right on their heads you did. Then there was a lot of dust, and snow. And flashed of steel. And someone screaming ‘Not the face!’. And then, uhm … Then you dragged boxes out. A lot of them. We thought maybe you had struck gold you know, but … uhm … Did you know they were hauling brandy?”
“I kind of hoped they were hauling gold, to be honest.”
“Did I drink all of this?”
“Uh-huh. Took about twelve hours. Then you passed out – after yelling at a bug. I think the words were ‘What do you mean to high level!? I’ll show you level you ducking duck!’. Speach impediment?”
“Oh.” Zavannah twitched. The headache wich had subsided from the frost presence flared up again. But not for long. “They screwed something up when they re-purposed me. I can’t say f… f… I can’t say duck.”
“So what then? After the bug?”
“You kinda … stripped. While you drank. And ate a hellboar. Raw. While it was alive.”
“We hid behind that rock over there. See that tarpaulin? That’s the Zeppelin Crash Site. Haven’t been a zep around for ages though. So we hid there. We found bacon.”
“And … well. We kinda … thought … you … were dead.”
The last word was a mere mumble. Crebs scratched his boot in the dirt in front of him, hiding his hands behind the back, head lowered. Eventually he looked up at her.
“And that’s, well. that’s how it is. Grebs wanted to du– wanted to touch you. He’s weird, in a charming way, mom says. But you woke up and here we are, having a nice chat.”
“Does he have a thing for corpses?” Zavannah said, intrigued.
“They don’t protest,” Grebs said. “Usually.”
“That’s … ” She was at a loss of words. Then she shivered. “That’s sick even by my standards!”
“Hey, gotta catch the moment yeah?”
“Mining!” She laughed. “I was going prospecting!”
“What? Like gems and stuff?”
“No no no, looking for fel iron. don’t ask why.”
“Vintage armor, amazing stuff!”
There was a faint crackle from somewhere down by her waist. For a second a ghostly image of a heavy duty trillium armor flickered on her body. Then the pitch black iron ‘breast plate’ and the iron leggings with red details came back.
“That’s a faulty modulator,” Crebs said. “I did som community service with them Ethereals in Orgrimmar. I know my modulators.”
“An unfortunate misunderstanding visavi ownership of a Kor’kron guard captains wallet. Ahem.”
“You know, you should have that looked at. Those little buggers can send fifty thousand volts through you.”
“Thanks,” Zavannah nodded. She looked around, found nothing of interest and mumbled a few words. A ratehr angry black Netherdrake emerged out of nowhere in a cloud of dust and smoke. She stroked it across a wing, calming it. Mounts – whatever race – really didn’t like the ‘nether storage’ spells. But it saved space.
“Well, thanks for … Uhm … Thanks for waking me. See you around, eh?”
“I really hope not,” Grebs and Crebs said in unison.