Tag Archives: cromush

Monday mailbag

mail19

So I was finally able to get a decent internet connection going again, long enough to get my mail sorted out, and I figured since I have a decent bunch of letters from you peeps, and I haven’t offered any mailbag love for a while, I might as well do just that. Because you know me – your Warchief is nothing if not all about the love.

 

Hail, Warchief!

It’s my first weekend back in Silvermoon in I don’t know how long, and man, is the mood different around here these days. Whether you’re going to think that’s good news or bad news depends on how you interpret that.

Remember my first letter? The one where I was basically advocating high treason against the Regent-Lord? A lot of us used to be dissatisfied that he was doing a whole bunch of nothing. The impression around here, at least if you believe the spin from the Silvermoon Star-Tribune, is that the Regent-Lord’s approval numbers are way up since he started getting jiggy with it down in Pandaria. Yes, the Star-Tribune is calling what Lor’themar’s doing down there “decisive leadership” and “proactive management”. And the public seems to be buying it.

Either that, or they’re just glad that he’s somewhere else, and hoping he eats a Mogu hammer somewhere along the way. That’s the other way to look at it.

To be honest, I’m not sure which one I’m buying, yet. That’s something I’ll have to think about when I get back to Pandaria.

–A Concerned Citizen

Hey, ACC. You know, my first reaction here is that people probably ARE a little happier about Lori because he’s been away. Problem is, if that were true, you’d think that I would start finding him less annoying since he’s gone BACK to Silvermoon recently. But…nope. He high-tailed it out of Pandaria, then promptly made a big ol’ cluster fuck of that whole business with the sha box…and the less said about the sideshow going on in my Earth Online guild, the better. I suppose it’s still a LITTLE less irritating, but only because I don’t have to listen to him live and in person. At least until he comes strolling back down here again.

Also, not for nothing, but are you sure the reports in your little dorky newspaper are reliable? Who’s doing the writing? It’s amazing what a little propaganda can do for a ruler’s perception. Or so I’ve heard.

 

Dear Warchief,

I’ve been following some of your interactions with Lord Theron and I was wondering if you limited your observations to him or if you think all Blood Elves are like that.

I’ve been in Pandaria just about since the beginning (but I can’t explain how Anduin got away–that was General Nazgrim’s job, not mine) and have tried to do my part for the Horde. Also: Pandaren don’t seem to have barbers. Anywhere. Not a one on this damn continent. You should give us credit for coming here anyways even with that sacrifice.

Respectfully,

–Vyrin Dawnstar, Shrine of Two Moons, Pandaria

P.S: If anyone told you about Anduin and the Temple of the Red Crane, I deny it all. Not me. Nope. Must’ve been someone else helping him. If that hasn’t been brought to your attention yet, please ignore this part.

Hmm…  Well, Vyrin, I guess that depends on what you mean by “all blood elves are like that.” I mean, like what? Spindly and break-easy-ish? Because, well, sorry, but you guys kind of are. A little too preoccupied with the uber-luxurious hair? I refer you to your second paragraph. (By the by, I think the lack of barbers in Pandaria is because the pandas just shed. Can you imagine the cleanup crews you’d need in Silvermoon if the elves were like that?) That said, I DON’T think all blood elves are like ol’ Eyepatch in the absolutely-completely-utterly-useless department. I mean, Lady Liadrin has always struck me as pretty sharp and on top of things, and…um…okay, give me a minute here, I’m sure I can come up with a second example.

Hang on.

Um…

Okay, I’m going to have to get back to you on this, but seriously, I’ve got a…reasonably strong suspicion there’s at least one more I can name.

Also, though, what? Anduin at the Temple of the Red Crane? I’ve heard some scouting reports about that Red Crane place, actually. I may have to do some followup on that place…

 

My Dearest Warchief,

That scar on your lip is so sexy. It makes you look very manly and tough. I’ve been wondering though how you got it. I’m sure there is some extraordinary tale of bravery and valor associated with it. I’d like to hear it.

Your devoted admirer,

–Wega

Hoo boy.  Here we go again with Wega. So…yeah… For those of you who maybe haven’t noticed, Wega is talking about the scar I have on the right side of my upper lip:

scar

So, okay, I know you’d probably figure I got the scar from some glorious battle, or one of the times I’ve squared off with Varian, or something else like that, but as it turns out, it was really more of a fluke injury. One night about a while back, I was trying to reorganize some of my junk in Grommash Hold, and I was stashing a couple boxes of stuff on a high shelf. While I was stretching up to reach the shelf, I lost my footing and fell over. Now, ordinarily that wouldn’t have been a big deal, except it just so happened that Mortimer was there with me, and was curled up on the floor sound asleep. Until I slipped and fell, and landed right on top of him, and he was so startled that before he knew what was going on, he snapped at me. And, yeah, got a nice chunk of my lip.

So, that was fun.

Gotta say, though, in a way it was kind of endearing afterward – once Mortimer knew what was going on, he DID act all sad and apologetic, and spent the next few days following me around trying to make nice. Once again, wyverns are better people than most people.

Now granted, having my lip cut open by wyvern fangs wasn’t exactly fun, but depending on how you look at it, I still don’t think I’ve gotten the worst of it from Mortimer. That honor probably goes to Malkorok. A few weeks ago, I was talking to Malkorok while I was getting ready to leave the Sanctum of Two Moons, then walked past him to the landing platform out front. Mortimer was following along behind me, and just as he was passing Malkorok, Mortimer stopped, lifted one leg up…and fucking peed on him. Oh man, you should have seen the look on Malky’s face. Especially when I pointed out, “Dude, considering what that usually signifies for a wyvern, you LITERALLY just got owned.”

Heh.

Hehehe.

<snort>

 

Mr. Garrosh, sir!

I want to thank you for helping us DPS kids and, you know, stuff.

I have a question though.

What happened to all your hair? I saw pictures of you and you had hair at one time, but now you don’t. Do you plan to grow your hair again? How would you wear it?

–Ruekie, Shaman-in-Training, Domination Point

What is this, fucking “Everybody Ask Garrosh to Explain His Personal Appearance Week”?

Oh, wait, hang on, it’s one of the kids.

What is this, blankety-blank “Everybody Ask Garrosh to Explain His Personal Appearance Week”? You kids – DO NOT read that first part from a couple lines up, YOU UNDERSTAND ME?

Anyway, yeah, Ruekie, I used to have a ponytail, right up through my time in Northrend. I wore my hair like that going all the way back to when I was a kid. To tell you the truth, it was pretty much the best of iffy options, as far as something I could do with my hair that would look maybe-sorta decent. See, while Grom had a really thick, full mane of hair, I guess I must have gotten mine from my mom’s side of the family, because my hair was always fairly coarse and stringy and just…patchy all over my scalp. Even as a kid, I pretty much had the beginnings of male pattern baldness going. And really, it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise that I wouldn’t have that great of a head of hair – you know the old saying, grass doesn’t grow on a busy street.

Anyway, the ponytail was just a way to yank it all together that didn’t look flat-out terrible. Eventually, when I moved to Orgrimmar, I figured the hell with it and just cut it off. Which first of all, is much more low-maintenance. No more spending ten minutes every morning tugging it all together and trying to bind it up and then having the band be too loose so you start feeling it slipping out little by little all morning, or getting that one strand caught halfway through the pull-through and then feeling your roots getting pulled every time you look to one side, or…ugh, yeah, whatever. Way easier this way. Not to mention it’s way more practical in battle – it’s one less thing to get caught somewhere, and one less way for an enemy to grab you from behind.

Besides, much better to just embrace the baldness and go with it, rather than try to compensate with something that looks maybe-not-quite-terrible-if-you-squint-a-little. This way, it just announces to the world, “Yes, I’m bald. DEAL WITH IT.” Confidence is very sexy, don’t you think?

(Maybe I shouldn’t have put it that way. I can hear Wega scribbling out another letter as we speak…)

 

Heya Garrosh,

Cool little web form you have here. Sometimes those techie goblins do have some good ideas. (Not often, but sometimes.)

Anywho, my question for you this week is this: If you were to retire from warchiefin’ tomorrow, who would you choose as your successor and why?

Thanks!

–Kaija

You know, Kaija, this is actually a pretty decent question. For all the good things about the Horde, we don’t really have a clear line of succession. I mean, obviously if I were going to retire – presumably years down the road when I’m a gray-haired (FIGURE OF SPEECH, RUEKIE, DON’T GET EXCITED) old man basking in the triumphant glow of my many glorious victories – I would be in a position to sit back, think it over, and pick out an appropriate successor as Warchief. But what if something happens before I have the chance to? What if I get sick or injured? What if somebody decides it would be a bright idea to throw me a surprise party for my 70th birthday, and the ol’ ticker finally gives out? What if – I know this is a long shot, but still – what if I die in battle somehow before we even get to the wrinkly stage? What then? WHAT THEN, I ASK YOU?

So, it’s probably not a bad idea to put a little thought into who a good successor would be, and maybe establish that that person is next in line, just in case something happens.

And then, you know, make it very clear to that person that I’ve left the Kor’kron with special instructions to follow in the event that I should die under circumstances that are in any way even remotely fishy. Such instructions including, but not limited to, the agonizingly slow execution of the successor, their siblings, their friends, their relatives, their next-door neighbors, and anyone who’s ever been seen being polite to them in public.

You know. Just FYI.

Anyway, we might as well be systematic about this, so I’m going to review some of the likely candidates to follow me as Warchief – and just for shits and giggles, I’m going to group them into suitable categories and even give my best estimate at their odds of getting the nod. Place your bets now.

 

THE “OH SNAP DID I SAY THAT” DIVISION

VOL’JIN
1,000,000 to 1

Not really an option, because guess what, bitches? HE’S DEAD. HAHAHA <snort> that cracks me up more than it probably should.

 

THE “I GUESS I’M OBLIGATED TO AT LEAST MENTION THEM” DIVISION 

JASTOR GALLYWIX
999,995 to 1

I mean…I guess he’s technically leader of the Bilgewater goblins, but… Well, like, does anybody even know where the fuck he IS half the time? I’m pretty sure the only times I’ve ever seen him were at the meeting of Horde leaders to prepare for the Theramore attack, and the celebration in Orgrimmar afterward. And, well, with the meeting, I pretty much sent notices to every goblin I could think of and then crossed my fingers hoping that word would reach him. And at the celebration…yeah, mountains of free food and booze, so of course he was going to show up for that. Honestly, I don’t get why the guy’s so low-profile. He had a fucking pleasure palace built in Azshara, and you can’t even find him THERE. Believe you me, if I ever commissioned the construction of Garrosh’s Pleasure Palace, you could call off the search parties, my ass would be there.

Hmm. Hang on a second, I need to jot something down on next month’s agenda planner.

 

LOR’THEMAR THERON
500,000 to 1

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA… Yeah, sure, this guy as Warchief. Do I really even need to elaborate here? Come on.

 

SYLVANAS WINDRUNNER
200,000 to 1

You know, she would actually be a pretty strong candidate – to her credit, she IS intelligent, charismatic, and competent – if she didn’t creep the living FUCK out of everyone. Not to mention make you worry that she might then replace that aforementioned living fuck with some kind of weird-ass UNDEAD fuck under her control.

 

BAINE BLOODHOOF
150,000 to 1

He’s a great warrior, he takes good care of his people, and you can practically see Cairne when you look in his eyes (not that that makes me at all awkward, no sir). He’s also freaking Vol’jin Lite what with the bitching and the moaning and the OMG Garrosh how could you. Because if there’s one thing you don’t want to stand for, it’s actually GOING TO WAR with the people you are ALLEGEDLY AT WAR WITH. Last thing the Horde needs is a fucking carebear in charge. And Thrall me no Thralls – Guy Smiley sat on his hands way too much too.

 

THE “I BET YOU DIDN’T THINK I KNEW ABOUT THIS MEME” DIVISION 

A BASIC CAMPFIRE
5000 to 1

HAHA SEE I BET YOU ASSHOLES DIDN’T THINK I HAD A SENSE OF HUMOR ABOUT THAT SHIT.

 

THE “DIDN’T YOU RETIRE LIKE TWENTY YEARS AGO” DIVISION

DREK’THAR
500 to 1

Chieftain of the Frostwolf clan and friend to Durotan way back in the day. Lived through the corruption of the orcs, but refused to drink the blood of Mannoroth – granted it was largely because Durotan ordered the Frostwolves not to, but it still shows a certain level of principle AND loyalty to his clan all at the same time. Greatmother speaks about him just fondly enough to make me feel uncomfortable. The main down side, other than being blind and spending most of his time getting rolled around in a wheelchair by Captain Galvanger these days, is that since the Cataclysm…well…not to be mean, but let’s face it. Dude has just gone batshit senile. And that’s not even getting into the whole thing with him shitting himself. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Old age is not kind.

 

EITRIGG
200 to 1

He’s been around for ages, advised both me and Thrall, has watched over Orgrimmar while I’ve been down here in Pandaria, and has always been staunchly devoted to the well-being of the Horde. If we had some kind of lifetime achievement award to dole out, I would sign him up for it tomorrow, even if he DID get a little grumbly with me over the Theramore thing. Who didn’t, right? Shows what those fuckers know. Anyway. The point is, though, as much as I like Eitrigg, he’s pretty much one of those guys who’s basically a permanent lieutenant. You know the ones. Year after year, they’re always second in command to one general after another, and somewhere along the line, after like the fourth guy gets promoted over them to take command, you realize there’s a reason for it. Perfectly good at his job, but he’s just never going to be suited for the big chair.

Also, if he were in charge, can you IMAGINE how much time freaking Tirion would probably be spending in Orgrimmar? Do you really want to subject people to THAT?

 

VAROK SAURFANG
100 to 1

Veteran of two wars. Served as Thrall’s right hand and as my executive officer in Northrend. He even served as acting Warchief for a little while, that time when I was off the grid. At the age of nine zillion, he’s still one of the biggest badasses around. He doesn’t sleep – he waits. Death once had a near-Saurfang experience. Mannoroth became more powerful by drinking HIS blood. There was going to be a street named after him in Orgrimmar, but the plan was canceled for safety reasons because nobody crosses Saurfang and lives. When warlocks make someone run away in fear, they pay a royalty to him. He’s considered an honorary shaman because he commands the element of surprise. I’m at least 50% sure some of these facts are made up. But you get the point.

So what’s the case against? You mean, other than at least two or three occasions that he’s threatened to kill me? You mean OTHER THAN THAT? Frankly, he’s a holdover from a Horde that’s a thing of the past – too old, too sentimental, too backward-thinking when we’re trying to move our people forward. Too willing to extend an olive branch to the Alliance when we need to be smashing them over the head with the whole fucking tree.

Mostly the threatening-to-kill-me thing, though. I don’t want to tempt fate. (Along similar lines, by the way, fate doesn’t want to tempt Saurfang.)

 

THE “I MIGHT ACTUALLY CONSIDER PICKING ONE OF YOU PEOPLE” DIVISION 

WARLORD CROMUSH
50 to 1

This one is a dark horse candidate, no question. But the dude did yeoman’s work in Gilneas when he had the thankless job of keeping Sylvanas marginally under control, he’s run a tight ship in Hillsbrad at a time when the Horde finally secured a firm hold on the region, and he’s been our primary command officer in the Eastern Kingdoms going on a couple years now. The fact that he’s been able to work with the Forsaken with some measure of success is a major plus – yeah, they’re creepy and sketchy and just plain ol’ EEEESH, but they’re handy to have around. He probably needs some more grooming for higher things, but he’s worked his way into the conversation for future high-profile assignments.

 

MALKOROK
25 to 1

You know, Malkorok really has most of the bases covered: he’s smart, uncompromising, and relentlessly devoted to the Horde, with a sharp tactical mind and an indisputable ability to get shit done. He’s reshaped the Kor’kron, tightened up security, and demonstrated he’s one of the people you want fighting beside you on the battlefield.

Down side? Well, let me put it this way.

About a year ago, some goblins tried to start up a business making wyvern food. They did all kinds of tests to find a good formula for it as far as ingredients, they did focus groups to give it the most appealing packaging, they launched a huge advertising campaign for it and made sure it was easy to find at all the vendors…and absolutely nobody bought it. How come? Because for all the things they had going for them and all the effort they put into packaging it just right…wyverns just didn’t like it.

Draw your own conclusions.

 

GENERAL NAZGRIM
10 to 1

You all know this guy, and have probably worked with him on at least an occasion or two. And really, if being Warchief was purely a military matter, this would probably be the guy. He’s an excellent strategist and tactician, he adapts well on the fly, and since he came up through the ranks the old-fashioned way (I remember him serving under me in Northrend as a piddly-ass sergeant…and to put that in perspective, remember, freaking DONTRAG made sergeant), he appreciates what it’s like to be one of the grunts in the trenches and isn’t afraid to get in there and get his hands dirty by their side. Okay, there was that whole disaster where he shit the bed on security and let Anduin get away, but maybe he can delegate. But here’s the thing: being Warchief isn’t solely a military job. It’s also the political head of the Horde, which means that as Warchief, Nazgrim would essentially be steering the ship of state. And, well…we all know what happens when that guy gets near a ship.

 

WARLORD ZAELA
5 to 1

Leader of the Dragonmaw and a no-kidding-around badass warrior. She took command of the Dragonmaw clan after helping to overthrow the nutjob “Warchief” Mor’ghor – gotta admire someone who has the stones to take down a corrupted leader for the good of the clan. She was new to leadership at the time, and I’ll admit I was probably a little tough on her in my assessments early on, but she’s really grown into the role, and she’s been stepping up to work on some more projects for me the last few months. I’ll also admit I might be swayed by seeing how she went about her business in that other world. Still a little green, though…I mean, green in the “inexperienced” sense. Not green in the fel-magic-drinky-drinky-demon-blood-grr-rarr-proud-ancient-culture-down-the-drain-oops sense. Was that insensitive? Anyway, she could probably stand to have a few more years working closely under the Warchief before she’s in line for the job herself. But she’s definitely on the rise.

 

WARLORD BLOODHILT
2 to 1

Bet you didn’t see this one coming, did you? Just goes to show what an outside-the-box thinker your Warchief is. Hell, sometimes I’m so far outside the box that I don’t even know where the fuck the box is. What box, anyway? Fucking metaphors.

Anyhow, some of you might remember Bloodhilt from the southern Barrens, where he assumed command of our operations after former Warlord (and current zombie sous chef) Gar’dul managed to make a giant mess of things down there. Bloodhilt cleaned up Gar’dul’s fuck-ups, secured our position in the area, and made it possible for us to make our move on Theramore. Since then he’s made the trip with us to Pandaria, where he’s been commanding officer at Domination Point. Just a solid, stand-up officer who’s done nothing but impress from day one. Any way you cut it, you can get used to seeing his name cropping up, because he’s not going anywhere.

 

So, there’s your breakdown. On that note, I’m going to call it a day as far as answering the mail goes, but keep those letters coming and I’ll try to answer more of your questions as time allows. Since Spazzle’s form doohickey worked pretty well for this batch of e-mails, here it is again:

 

Dying of the light

adalliadrin

I haven’t talked about this much, but ever since Cromush and his people recovered that light crystal fragment from Southshore a few weeks ago, I’ve been in contact with Liadrin about it. At first I let her hold it for safekeeping, since she was there from the get-go, and she seemed to have a better handle on what it was and what it can do than any of the rest of us. Since then, she’s kept it with her up in Quel’thalas.

Not long after I handed it off to her, she brought it with her on one of her trips up to the Sunwell, so she could compare it with the holy energy radiating from the Sunwell ever since it was reignited by M’uru’s spark. She says the two have basically the same feel, only that the fragment isn’t as potent. Liadrin is pretty much convinced that the original dark crystal was the spark of a dying naaru, which the Knights of the Silver Hand partially restored by pouring holy magic into it. Which means, now, that she believes the fragment she’s holding is a piece of a naaru’s soul.

Liadrin contacted me earlier this week and said she thinks that rather than holding the fragment, we should return it to the naaru, since it’s basically the spiritual remains of one of their own. At first I wasn’t so sure about this – considering what we’d seen these crystals do, they could be incredibly useful against the Scourge or any other undead threats that might come along. But then I got to thinking about what she says the fragment actually is – and, more importantly, thinking about the reason I was hesitant to give it up: basically I’d be saying we should hold the spirit of a once-living being captive, to leverage as a weapon against our enemies, rather than letting its kin lay it to rest, or do whatever they do with their dead.

I’ve been on the other side of that scenario. Not long ago. And I may be a lot of things, but I outright refuse to become THAT.

So, I ended up agreeing to her suggestion. Liadrin said the best option was to bring the fragment to A’dal himself, and she invited me to go with her for the trip. So yesterday morning I met up with her and had one of our mages portal us directly to Shattrath.

It wasn’t the first time I’d been to Shat, obviously, but usually when I’d gone there, I’d passed through fairly quickly. I never really stopped in at the Terrace of Light or met A’dal before. Liadrin took it as an occasion to give me a proper introduction – I think she kind of enjoyed showing off the fact that she on semi-kinda-sorta-friendly terms with our big glowy friend Captain Chandelier – and play up what a valuable “ally of the Light” I’d become, whatever the hell that means.

Liadrin did most of the talking. She approached A’dal, got out the crystal fragment, and started giving the short version of where we’d gotten it. Every so often she would pause for a minute, then go on talking some more. Seemed like she was having a conversation, only I was hearing just one side of it. She’d warned me beforehand that A’dal communicates through telepathy rather through actual audible sound, so I understood what was going on, but knowing in advance didn’t stop it from being a little unnerving to watch.

Still, watching it wasn’t nearly as unnerving as EXPERIENCING it. After Liadrin ran through the story of what happened to us in old Southshore, I started to…well, “hear” isn’t the right word exactly, but I don’t really have a better one. So…I started to hear this echoing, musical chiming in my head, strange and soothing all at once. Then a calm voice forming words – except, as an echo, almost. It was like I THOUGHT of the words myself, as if I were reading them, only without there actually being a book there to read, and then AFTER I already had the words in my mind, just by half a second, THEN the voice would echo them, flowing through my thoughts like a river.

Like I said, Liadrin had warned me about this, but no amount of warning could really prepare you for what it’s like. I wonder if anyone ever really gets used to it. A’dal echoed some words of thanks into my head, and a few other comments about it being good that I finally came to meet him, that he’d been aware of my passing my passing passing gnas my eh passing aware emit passing ot edo passing of latrommi na of emit ot edo na ni secalp rieht ot sevlesmeht hcatta youre ot welf dna sdrow elbahsirepmi etihw drah meht gnikam sih the tuohtiw enalp a morf sgnivahs ekil sllehs ekil llef spil boss sih morf dna mih revo sehcir sti deruop ksuh sti tilps emit drow stone eht aizer stone dias cracking stone emit cracking si cracking ti cracking cracking stone cracking stone while the floor shook under us. Shatari guards raced across the Terrace to hold the breach, only to have half their number immediately taken out by a shadow volley. As they fell, a demonic laugh echoed through the chamber – another thunderous crack, and an enormous chunk of the wall crumbled away.

From the other side of the fallen wall, Doom Lord Kazzak stepped into the Terrace. As he took his first step in, he lashed the Warblade of Archimonde through a dozen more Sha’tari guardians, slaying them immediately, and he let out another laugh as he fed off their deaths to swell up that much larger. Dozens of doomguards and man’ari rushed into the Temple from behind Kazzak. Beyond the walls all I could see was smoke and flame. Screaming voices came from every direction.

Liadrin tore through a wave of demons with a Divine Storm – barely even taking notice of them as she plowed through – and I took down a few myself with a whirlwind while we both closed in on Kazzak. He deflected a few of our blows with his blade, while some of them glanced off his legs without seeming to hurt him much. All the while I could hear a sound, higher and higher pitched, bubbling up in my mind, flowing and piercing all at once, coming from everywhere and nowhere. I took another swing at Kazzak, then looked over my shoulder.

A’dal was turning to face the Doom Lord. All the times I’d been here, I’d never seen him move before. But there he was, turning, rising, floating toward the fight, that white glow around him growing larger and brighter. And then that musical, liquid voice echoing my thoughts back at me.

It is not your time. Go. Now. Leave this place, and never return.

A blinding flash of white and yellow swelled out from A’dal and burst over part of Kazzak’s body. The demon lord recoiled, and you could see half the flesh from one arm and shoulder and part of his face had been burned away by the holy light. Kazzak bellowed angrily and lashed his blade into A’dal. The naaru lurched back and you could hear a harsh crystalline chiming from his body – then he straightened himself and unleashed another blinding burst of white light around himself and Kazzak, this time leaving most of the demon’s body burned and scarred, muscle and sinew exposed.

Kazzak reared back and screamed out in pain, letting loose another shadow volley that knocked me back and left another dozen or so Sha’tari troops lifeless on the ground. Kazzak burst into that booming laugh as he fed off the souls of the fallen. He swelled up larger again, some of his wounds regenerating, and, growling angrily, he lunged at A’dal, tearing his Warblade through the heart of his crystalline shape – which shook, buckled, and finally…cracked.

The screaming in my mind was the most awful thing I’ve never heard.

The shattered pieces of A’dal spun in place, pulsing, as he started to glow even brighter. Liadrin rushed to his side while Kazzak stepped back, shielding his eyes with his arm. Finally the white glow erupted as broken crystal fragments split and scattered around the temple, strewn in every direction in the wake of a shimmering white shockwave that knocked Liadrin and me back.

I pulled myself together and ran over to check on her. She was sprawled out on her back, eyes wide with shock. Before I could offer my hand, she’d pulled herself up, staring across the room at Kazzak while muttering “He…he…” She steadied herself, tightened her grip on the Ashbringer, then screamed out as she charged at the Doom Lord, her back glowing with holy wings while her eyes glowed with murderous rage murderous rage rage sllaf murderous emit rage glowed tnemides rage emos htiw rage with yvaeh ssalg with a morf sllaf pord a sa tniop a ot srepat youre emit tnadnep semoceb yaddim ta dleif a sa daerpsediw si hcihw the emit thgil gnicnad a htiw derevoc erutsap ynnus a si boss hcihw emit tniop a ot gnirepat emit si gnillaf pord siht htuoy ym gnisol htiw od ot gnihton times sah ton times si trying times gnillaf trying pord trying siht trying trying times trying times, he said, he had hope that I would see them through. I wasn’t sure what to say back – can’t say I’d ever had an actual conversation with my own head before – so I just sort of nodded and thanked him, and by this point Liadrin looked to be ready to go, so we gave the big guy a last respectful bow and turned to leave.

As we were about to exit the Terrace, I heard – felt? – that chiming, flowing sound swelling up in my thoughts again. It was A’dal offering a final thought, calling me by name as if it could be anyone else’s head he was reaching into. One last sentence came echoing back to me, then silence.

If you go to Kypari Zar, you will die.

I have no idea what that was supposed to mean. That is, other than the obvious. I get the dying part. But I’ve got no idea what the hell “Kypari Zar” is, or why I would go there, or how I’m supposed to make sure I don’t. Mostly, though, I’m really starting to get sick of people being all fucking cryptic.

I started to ask Liadrin about it, but she stopped me and said what A’dal chooses to share with anyone is for that person alone. Fat lot of good that does me, right? Oh well. Not going to lose sleep over it now. I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it.

More soon.

 

Special delivery from Southshore

faranell

I’ve got two pieces of news fresh from Cromush in Southshore, one on the state of the anti-plague and reliquary, and the other…well, it’s complicated.

The simple part first.  Cromush reports that our people in Southshore have finished deploying our counter to the anti-plague magic…which is sort of a counter in itself…is there a special term for a counter-counter? I feel like there kinda should be. Anyway, from what they can tell, the effect has dissipated, and once they make one last sweep or two of the area to be safe, Helcular and his Forsaken peeps should be good to move back in from Tarren Mill.

Cromush also sent a few of his scouts to search the cellar of the Southshore inn, and they successfully recovered the reliquary that Isilien and Doan had planted there a decade ago. By all appearances, the holy magic that was bottled up inside has been dispelled, although the crystal fragment inside is still intact, and apparently not entirely spent. Like I think I mentioned before, I’ll probably let Liadrin hold it for safekeeping, once we get it safely out of Forsaken territory.

That’s not the complicated part, though. Cromush’s scouts returned with one other tidbit: while they were digging around in the cellar, they also found a small wooden box lodged into the stonework near the reliquary. Inside were three sealed letters – one addressed to me, one to Sylvanas, and one to Faranell. By all indications, the box had been there, undisturbed, for about as long as the reliquary, and the oddity of all this gets a little worse – or maybe better? – when you know who the three letters are from.

Faranell.

Here’s mine:

 

Hello Garrosh,

From my point of view, I only just saw you last a few hours ago, but by the time you see this note, I imagine quite a long time will have passed. As you no doubt already know, I’ve written similar letters to the Dark Lady and, well, to myself. Or rather, to the version of myself who is with you now.

So, about him.

I imagine you’ve probably already come to suspect this, but I’ll confirm it for you now: the version of me that you’ve brought with you to the future isn’t the one who traveled with you to the past. Who you have with you now is the past, younger me. The human me. This did not, however, happen as a result of any mistakes or carelessness. It was my doing. I orchestrated the events leading to your bringing him with you. I’d started planning to do so midway through our journey.

It really wasn’t difficult to manage. After finishing his work with Doan, my brother told me that with Kel’Thuzad hovering about, Doan had grown paranoid (even for Doan) about someone interfering with the reliquary; he’d placed a warding spell on the canister that would stun anyone who tampered with it, knocking them out for hours or even days. I realized that this could provide me the window I needed to do what I’d been contemplating for the previous few days.

When I left the inn the next morning, I found the child Herod playing with the frog he’d taken from Taelan. Which is to say, of course, my younger self, whom Mokvar had hexed.  A quick polymorph spell took Herod out of the equation; at that point I needed only break the hex on my younger copy, pop invisibility quickly, and get away from the inn. From a distance I watched myself go back inside.

When the other me returned to his room (since, naturally, where else would he go?), he would find a letter I’d left for him, along with the chameleon shard. In the letter, I “explained” that I – that is, he – had learned that an inexplicably unhinged Kel’Thuzad, suddenly obsessed with Mograine and the rest, had planted a magic explosive in the inn’s cellar; that if detonated, it would kill anyone in the inn or nearby; that I had volunteered to have my most recent memories erased to prevent any mind-reading to reveal to Kel’Thuzad that I’d revealed his plans. That the crystal I’d left there for myself, used as directed, could deactivate the explosive before it was set off. There was more to it, further details to ensure the story would ring true, but I doubt I need to belabor it with you; if anything, I suspect the letters “TL” and “DR” are already dancing around the edges of your thoughts. Suffice to say, remembering that I had already begun to grow wary of Kel’Thuzad by this point in my life, I knew which buttons to press to convince myself.

And so I sent my past self on his way to the cellar to unknowingly attune the shard and be rendered unconscious by Doan’s warding spell. And before you ask why my younger self would trust this story left for him in a letter, much less follow its instructions, let me pose this to you: faced with gaps in your memory and uncertainty over whom to trust, how many sources would you trust above your own handwriting? I know myself, and I knew I would take the bait.

I can’t say I’ve never lied to myself, but I don’t think I’d ever done it quite so literally.

And here’s where you’re asking why I would go to all this trouble. Or, maybe you don’t need to. In the end, it’s really fairly simple. Since dying to the Scourge and reawakening in undeath, I had never given much thought to the life I had lost. I accepted my new existence fairly readily. I didn’t have particular occasion to look back at the old life I’d lost until we traveled to old Hillsbrad, and at that point, I wasn’t merely looking back on that life. I was actually living it again.

I never really missed being alive until I was reminded of what it’s like.

I want it back.

I’m far from greedy or ambitious, and my wants, in tangible terms, are simple ones. I want to look in the mirror and see my own face. I want to feel sunlight on my skin without it burning. I want to taste food again. I want to smell that food cooking and feel my mouth watering without my jaw hanging off one hinge. I want to smell baking bread and freshly cut grass.

I know that’s not in the cards for me, in the long run. I’m not naïve about the necessities of time, and I know I can’t cheat fate. My being here represents a reprieve, a brief window to literally smell roses I didn’t bother smelling while oblivious to time running out for me. Now I know I’m living on borrowed time, and I can soak it in while I can, but I understand that that’s all it is. I can’t live out my human life that might have been.

That is, this me can’t. But the one you brought with you to the future can.

And that was the real point of it all. To save myself, probably in the most indirect way imaginable.

I’ve thought through the logistics, and everything should line up. You and the others came to the past with a version of Edwin Faranell. You’ve brought one back with you. One was already here, and one continues to be here. The scales are still balanced. I still remember everything I was supposed to have done, all the events that need to happen, and I can make sure they still unfold the way they always did. I realize this raises all sort of questions along the lines of “How can I remember the events I did in the past, if my past self no longer did them?”, but from the conversations we’ve had with Nozdormu, I’m fairly sure that will simply be one of those oddities of time rewriting itself.

Meanwhile, I know that I can’t make major changes to history, or try to stop Arthas, or anything of the sort; while I won’t pretend it won’t pain me to watch some of those events happen again, I can at least take comfort in the knowledge, for instance, that the Lich King will be stopped, so history doesn’t need me to try to.

And then, soon enough, I’ll come to the end that was fated for me. History says that a human named Edwin Faranell died in Lordaeron and was risen into undeath; a human named Edwin Faranell will. As Liadrin pointed out, as long as I’m here, I literally am human again. I can die as I was meant to, continue playing my part among the Forsaken, and, when the time comes, be there again to travel back with you to Southshore.

I’ll become the closed loop, holding my own place in history, while the other, younger me will be free to live – live – his days in a wide-open future.

In the letter I will have written for him, I will explain all of this, and lay out the basic facts he will need to know about this new world. I’m sure he will be frightened by it, and rightly so. I would only ask, Garrosh, that you look out for him early on. While I have great admiration for Lady Sylvanas in a great many ways, I suspect she will be none too pleased with this turn of events, and she may not be above taking steps that would, let us say, undermine what I have sought to do here. I suspect, though, that you will understand why I’ve done this, and may even sympathize; I would only ask you not allow it to be for nothing.

I do not expect that I will see you again. Live well, Warchief. I hope I will do the same.

–Dr. Edwin Faranell
Once and future Master of the Royal Apothecary Society

 

Not going to lie. I don’t even really know how to respond to that.

I’m not exactly thrilled about this, for a whole bunch of reasons, but at the same time, Faranell got the job done, end to end, both when we were in Hillsbrad and before. And as twitchy as this whole switcheroo makes me, on all kinds of levels, as far as I can tell it’s not like he’s setting out to screw with the timeline or mess something up or whatever. And I have to give it to him, he’s one of the few people around this dump who’s got the brains to pull off something like this AND go forward with it without causing some kind of stupidity-fueled collateral damage. Plus, he’s just a good dude. Or was. Or, well…will be.

Faranell was right — Sylvanas was less than thrilled when she got her letter. She right off started talking about how it would be easy enough to “correct” Faranell’s condition. I didn’t like the sound of that at all, so I’ve charged Liadrin with guarding him, and had Bragor Bloodfist divert a few of his Kor’kron up to Brill to help make sure nothing fishy happens. Because here’s the thing. For all intents and purposes, for the Faranell we knew, this was a last request. And last requests that don’t bring harm to anyone, where the only thing at stake is the person making the request? They should be honored.

I think I have an idea of how. Stay tuned.

 

So far, so good

southshoreruins

Quick update from Southshore – Helcular and his people at Tarren Mill have gotten the chameleon shard that we attuned in old Southshore, and after a couple days of experimenting, they think they’ve come up with a way to dispel the anti-plague effect. Not a moment too soon, too, since those purple ribbony haze lines were creeping further and further out from the town, and had almost reached the Forsaken operation over at the Sludge Fields.

Obviously, Helcular didn’t want to chance sending his own undead people down to Southshore to test out the final product, so Cromush had a small detachment of warlocks and mages from Orgrimmar head down to start applying the fix. I’m not too clear of the details of it, seeing as most of that hocus-pocus stuff is pretty much just gibberish to me.

Bottom line, though, is they started doing their thing yesterday, and the early reports are that it seems to be working. I’m told that the locks and mages are going to have to follow the haze lines out from the town and do some more casting in order to completely purge the anti-plague effect. But from the sound of it, the town itself is mostly secured now, so it looks like we’re on our way to getting everything back to normal. Or, you know, what passes for normal with those Forsaken.

While Cromush has his people in Southshore – and before Helcular gives the go-ahead for the Forsaken to head back in – I’m having him send one or two of his top people to scour the cellar of the old inn. One, to make sure they’ve completely locked this thing down at its source, but two, to locate and secure the reliquary buried there that started it all. I don’t want any extra surprises from that thing…not to mention, considering its likely source, I don’t want it floating around unaccounted for. Once we have the crystal fragment, I may have Liadrin take custody of it, seeing as she seems to know a lot about it, and has her head on straight, and, you know, actually has a brain INSIDE the head she has on straight. Unlike very many of my underlings (he said with a great sadness).

More soon.

 

Back to the future, part 2

cavernsoftime3

Okay, looks like the blog is FINALLY caught up with the here and now, and, gotta say, it was fucking TORTURE watching those last few posts dribble on through. I would say that The Noz has to do something about the lag in his wireless network, but then again, considering I was able to get a why-fly connection from frigging ten years ago, I guess I really shouldn’t complain.

Also, watching the posts loading gradually like they were, and reading them myself, eventually I started getting this weird detachment, like I was reading something that someone ELSE had written, not events I had lived through myself. I was starting to get strangely invested – like when you re-read a book, and you find yourself rooting for things to happen one way or another even though you already KNOW what’s going to happen, you know? Which, by the way, is EXACTLY WHAT TIME TRAVEL IS LIKE.

So anyway, now I can finally start updating you guys, because hoo boy, have things been interesting since we’ve been back. Like, starting from the MINUTE we got back to our own time. Because check this out – when we took Erozion’s portal back to the Caverns of Time, we all reset back to our normal, non-human selves, right? Except…Faranell didn’t. We arrived back in our own time and place…and he still looked human.

Obviously, this was made that much more complicated by the fact that he was still unconscious – there’s a limit to how much poking and prodding anyone could do while he was out cold from a shock to the system that we still didn’t understand very well. What’s more…he’s STILL that way. Not just the human-looking thing, but the unconsciousness. He still hasn’t come around. We had him transported back to the Undercity, and Sylvanas has put her best people in charge of looking over him. After the first couple days passed with no sign of change, she moved him up to Brill, the idea being that maybe the atmosphere up above ground might be a little better for his human constitution. On top of Sylvanas’ people, Liadrin’s volunteered to stay on for a while to help take care of him. Right now, though, that’s mostly consisting of a whole lot of waiting.

Nobody really knows what to make of what’s happened. We’ve got lots of theories, but until he comes around, he’s not going to be in stable enough condition for us to do a lot of testing on him. The best we’ve come up with so far – this was Liadrin’s best guess – is that the holy magic from the bomb might have produced the anti-plague effect on Faranell and purged him of the necro-whatsis magic that’s the source of his undeath. The same as it had been doing to the Forsaken around Southshore, only in his case, since strictly speaking he was human at the time rather than undead, it didn’t kill him. At least that’s the working theory right now. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, we’ve sent the chameleon shard along to Helcular and Cromush in Tarren Mill. With any luck, they’ll be able to use it to work out a way to dispel the anti-plague effect and get things under control out there. They’ve been at it for a few days now, so one way or another I’m expecting some news soon. Updates as they come.

 

Ruins of Southshore

southshoreruins

Okay, so remember what I was saying about the Undercity smelling bad? Well I would happily spruce up the aroma of Grommash Hold with some Undercity potpourri before I took too many deep breaths around Southshore the way it is right now. Holy shit, it’s like somebody went down to the Apothecarium, put together an olfactory mix tape of their greatest hits, distilled in into some kind of glowing green porridge with a side of asparagus, force-fed eighty tons of the shit to a gang of syphilitic ettins, then locked them all in a closet for three days and let them fart it all out. Like THAT bad. That’s what it’s like down here. I seriously think this is what atrocity must smell like. A piquant blend of genocide and child abuse.

I knew Sylvanas’ people had used Southshore as a test site when I gave them the go-ahead to start up their plague research again, but even I wasn’t prepared for the sheer scope of what they had going on here. It isn’t even a town anymore so much a slimy green puddle, with these living goop thingamajigs squirming around the place. It’s actually kind of scary to imagine they were able to crank all this out so quickly in the window I’d left them to resume work. I can only figure some of the apothecaries were so fired up to be able to get back to it that they really threw themselves into it in a huge flurry of activity right off the bat.

Anyway, the bunch of us – myself, Drok, Cromush, Mokvar, and a handful of warlocks and alchemists who came with – spent some hours scouring over the place looking for any clues about where the anti-plague effect had come from. It wasn’t until some of the locks (who, by the way, actually aren’t big fans of socks – apparently we’ve got a bunch of hippie sandal-wearing warlocks these days…terrific) tried some kind of incantation spell that we started getting somewhere. They were able to make these shimmery purple ribbons visible around the town, almost like hazy purple flames. Kaal Soulreaper, one of our locks, explained to me that the haze was made up of the traces of a potent magic effect, which you could see spreading and scattering all around the town – most likely, he said, leaving those purple traces along the paths the effect took bouncing from one undead to the next. So what we were looking at was the hazy footprints of their deaths. Or re-deaths. Or whatever.

So, tracing back to where the haze was at its most dense was the most likely way to get to the starting point. That brought us to the old town inn – specifically, underground, beneath the cellar. From somewhere down there, all the purple ribbons came spreading out, up through the cellar and out of the ground along the outer walls of the building. Whatever it was exactly, it looks like it detonated there. And according to the warlocks’ best guess, the haze will continue holding the “contagion” until it dissipates. As for how long that will take, they ballparked it somewhere between hours and centuries. So, lots of help there. Really, guys, I appreciate the info so far, but couldn’t you give me a LITTLE better idea of when it’s going to be safe for the Forsaken to come back down here? Is it tomorrow or the end of time, or what?

The next question that comes to mind is, you know, how the fuck this magic doohickey got there. And since we have a fairly powerful magic-user on staff who actually has a pretty long history with Southshore, I’m thinking it’s time I had some face time with our man Helcular. He had been supervising things in Southshore before everything went kablooey, at which point he was evacuated to Tarren Mill with as many other Forsaken as they could pull out in time. I’m having Cromush and Drok continue the work down here in Southshore while I fly up to see him. More soon.

 

Arrival at the Undercity

undercityarrival

I’ll say this for Sylvanas, she’s a gracious hostess. I arrived in Tirisfal Glades this morning by zeppelin (along with Mokvar, General Nazgrim and his attaché Captain Drok, and a few other support people), and Sylvanas rolled out the welcome wagon. Mounted Forsaken royal guards lining the path up to the ruins of Lordaeron, full banquet arranged to welcome us, VIP quarters, the whole nine yards. She definitely knows how to treat guests.

On the down side, HOLY SHIT does this place smell.

No, I mean seriously.

At one point while Sylvanas was showing us around, I said to Mokvar, “Fuck, did something die in here?” And it was one of those deals where right as soon as you say something, you realize what a bad idea it was, and Mokvar gave me the big wide “Seriously?” eyes, right as Sylvanas was starting to give me one of those uncomfortable “I’m not going to call you on it but you and I both know what you just said” looks, and yeah.

But still, fucking hell. Cannot possibly overstate the stink. Then again, I suppose that’s what you get when you build an entire city in a fucking sewer.

This also gave me the chance to check in with Bragor Bloodfist face to face for the first time in ages. Worth noting, by the way – even though he knew we were coming in today, for some odd reason he couldn’t be bothered to get his ass out to the front gates to welcome us with Sylvanas and, you know, the half-dozen other semi-quasi-dignitaries she brought with her. Which you would think he might make a point of doing, what with (a) it being his JOB to keep an eye on things and (b) it being his BOSS showing up. Anyway, our face time also gave me the chance to have one of the mages on hand cast a glowy shimmery glamour effect around Sylvanas’ head, point it out to Bragor, then smack him around a few times while making the point, “Her eyes are up THERE, fuckwit.” I seriously need to scrape up some better lackeys. Taking applications now.

We’re stopping by the Apothecarium (They actually call it that? Is that even a fucking word?) this afternoon to meet with Faranell and the rest of his people and see where things stand on their research. While that’s going on, Nazgrim is sending Drok down to Southshore to coordinate with Warlord Cromush and check on the state of things down there. More updates soon.

 

 

[Header image provided by regular reader and commenter ZugZug, used here with permission and many thanks.]

 

So much for the Frostwolves

drekthar

Cromush has moved down to Southshore with some of his people, and has started trying to get the worgen back under control. Meanwhile I tried contacting Drek’Thar this morning to see if I could convince him to send some Frostwolf assistance down there. Granted, the last time somebody tried calling on him for aid, it didn’t especially go well, but I thought maybe the current situation might persuade him to reconsider.

So…yeah, so much for that idea. I tried making my case for sending some help, and he launched into this big epic speech about the honor of the Horde and the atrocities of the Forsaken, and how what’s happening to them now is just comeuppance for the crimes they’ve committed against all decency, and how he’d be damned before he so much as lifted a finger to help breathe life back into the rightfully dying embers of their misbegotten existence, and it was all really powerful and moving and badass. And then he shit himself. Man, old age is not kind.

At that point he got into this yelling, screaming argument with somebody who wasn’t even there, something about whether or not they’d stolen the last of the boar kabobs and given them to the man in the hat, and then he yelled at Galvanger to wheel him back to his room because it was time for his stories. And seriously, I really truly hope I die gloriously in battle at some point in the relatively near future, because I positively do NOT want to roll the dice on growing old.

Meanwhile, Sylvanas has been doing some more testing on the undead who’ve been…well…re-deaded? by the anti-plague thing. Her latest effort has been seeing if her Val’kyr lackeys can re-reanimate one of the bodies. No go there. Seems that whatever this anti-plague does, it not only purges the body of necrotic effects, but actually immunizes it against any more afterward. So no going all Ner’zhul on them.

So…still working on it. In order to help with the process, I’m going to make a trip to the Undercity with a few other key people. Hopefully between the bunch of us we’ll be able to come up with something.

 

 

[Header image provided by Rioriel from Postcards From Azeroth, reproduced here with permission and many thanks. Click here to see the souped-up Postcard version!]

 

Death of the dead

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I swear it’s just one damn thing after another around here. I guess when you’re Warchief there really is no rest for the awesome. I hadn’t even finished unpacking from my trip to Nagrand, when Sylvanas gives me the latest news from her neck of the woods, and it’s a doozey.

Just before I had left for Outland, Sylvanas’ people – or whatever the hell you want to call them – started running into some problems down in Hillsbrad. According to her, they started experimenting with some new strains of plague down there based on my orders…you know, when I was fuming and kind of, well, crazy. Anyway. While they were at it, though, and running some tests in Southshore, seems they set something off. Not like a bomb, that is, but for lack of a better word to describe it, it’s like they triggered some kind of anti-plague.

You know that thing in physics about how for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction? Yeah, me neither, because I wasn’t a fucking science nerd in school, but still. From the way Sylvanas tells it, it’s like this thing that hit them in Southshore was the equal and opposite reaction to their plague. Any Forsaken who were in the vicinity of the experiments got slapped back by it and…well…anti-infected. That is, it swept through those Forsaken and basically neutralized the necromantic magic that had reanimated them in the first place. So those undead got the “un” slapped clean out of them, and dropped right then and there, restored back to the forms of their original, pre-risen human and blood elf bodies. What’s more, the anti-plague has started spreading through Southshore just like a plain ol’ regular plague, which is turning the place into a growing pile of Forsaken corpses that aren’t even recognizably Forsaken anymore.

I’m having High Warlord Cromush send as many of his troops as he can spare down from Tarren Mill to try to secure the area while we work on figuring out what’s going on. In the meantime I’ll be trying to coordinate with Sylvanas’ apothecaries to figure this out. I’m guessing this might be the kind of thing some of the goblins especially might be able to sink their tinker-happy teeth into. As far as the Forsaken are concerned, Southshore is now a quarantined area.

And I know what you’re probably thinking, why am I going to knock myself out to keep this thing from taking out the undead? It’s not like I’ve ever been much of a fan of them, right? Well, for one, if you take the Forsaken out of the equation all of a sudden, now you’ve got a huge void in Horde forces in Eastern Kingdoms without orcs or tauren in place to maintain our holdings. Hell, as it stands now, even with this thing just taking out a chunk of the undead in Southshore, we’ve got worgen swarming in trying to make their move on the place already. Can you imagine what happens if it spreads up through Silverpine into fucking Tirisfal Glades? What do you think the Alliance will do if they catch wind that the Forsaken are weakened and Lordaeron is vulnerable?

So that’s one thing, the tactical side of it. And then there’s this: it’s my fault this is happening. Whatever this thing is, Sylvanas’ people set it off after I ordered her to start up her plague research again. I gave the order, she got her apothecaries going in Southshore, kaboom. By the time I came to my senses and ordered her to put a stop to it, it was already too late – news of the anti-plague was already on the way. If I hadn’t given them the go-ahead, there wouldn’t have been any plaguey business going on down there in the first place, and none of this would have happened. I basically ordered Sylvanas’ people to their (un)deaths without even knowing I was doing it. So I think I owe her on this one.

Updates to follow. I have a few meetings to get to today concerning all of this. I’ll keep you all posted on where this goes.