Tag Archives: giska

Aptitude test

dominationpoint6

Since we’ve been back in Pandaria, the trainees have been putting in a fair amount of time with Shokia while I’ve been busy. At first, Shademaster Kiryn was helping take the kids on patrols, but she wasn’t exactly enthused about working with them. I guess she isn’t a people person like I am. Shokia, on the other hand, was all in. She volunteered to take them out more. Nothing major, mind you. Patrols, scouting trips, assorted odd jobs in the neighborhood of the base. Nothing you’d call heavy lifting. Just enough to keep the kids in practice and let them flex their muscles a little.

She gets it. Shokia remembers where her duty lies. Her real duty, not just her job description. She understands serving the Horde isn’t just what you do while you’re punching the clock. It’s what you ARE. She looks at those kids and she doesn’t just see the kids. She sees her mother and her grandfather and the next ten generations of orcs that’ll come after them. It’s the dedication you see in the truest orcs there are. Shokia and Nazgrim. Fallen like Bloodhilt and Krimpatul. It’s not about the job. It’s about the whole line. Not work. Duty.

Shokia’s been giving me quick reports now and again on the trainees. Mostly she’s just been confirming what I’ve already seen from them. Korrina’s high ceiling but tendency to be reckless. Giska’s contrasting discipline. Kulkesh’s nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic. All of them coming along.

The commentary that’s been sticking out, though has been Shokia’s take on Gurtash. She’s noted the same hesitance and awkwardness I’ve been seeing from him in combat. But she’s been more struck by his… I forget how she put it… his sense of space, I suppose. And while the kid’s always had a pretty good eye, Shokia thinks that he’s got particularly good aim on his Heroic Throws — so much so that she’s wondering if he might actually be better suited to fighting at range. So the end result is that she’d like permission to try giving Gurtash a really basic intro hunter lesson, and see if he takes to it.

I’ve got mixed feelings about the idea, to be honest. I mean, Gurtash already has a foot in the door — admittedly, a clumsy, awkward foot — to the bottomless pit of awesome that is being a warrior. Which he’s SAID he’s wanted to be ever since he wrote me that very first mailbag letter forever ago. And yeah, he might have an easier time as a hunter, but… I mean… from what I hear people saying about “huntards,” it sounds like that’s maybe the point. Mind you, I don’t know, so don’t all you huntards– erm, hunters — go getting your panties all in a bunch. This is just what I’m told.

On the other hand, facts are facts — the kid’s been having a rough go of it as a warrior so far. And maybe his skills DO translate better to a crossbow, or a… slingshot… or a… fucking explosive frisbee… DON’T GIVE ME A LOOK, I don’t know what the fuck they use. THEY JUST SPENT LIKE FIVE YEARS TELLING US EVERYTHING IS A HUNTER WEAPON, okay? It’s their OWN DAMN FAULT nobody knows what they actually fucking use. Also BESIDE THE POINT, because the ACTUAL point is that the goddamn hunters could use a little handheld catapult that throws frogs suffering from severe flatulence at you for all I care, because early returns on the kid say the fight-with-an-axe thing maybe ain’t happening. Or maybe it still is. I don’t know. Work in progress.

Anyhow, it’s only an intro lesson, I suppose. Nothing really binding. We can see how the kid does and go from there.

More soon.

 

From Hellscream’s heart, I stab at thee

ship1

So in case any of you were wondering after that last bonus poem the other day, YES, I got sick of Dontrag and Utvoch’s stupid yammering, and YES, I chucked their damn asses overboard, and YES, I’m making them swim the rest of the goddamn way to Pandaria. And before you get your damn bleeding hearts all bloody over them, don’t worry, we’re not just taking off and leaving them — we haven’t been making the best time to begin with, and trust me, the FEAR of getting left behind has kept them swimming at a nice brisk pace.

Now I can already hear your NEXT crybaby objection: “But Garrosh, you’ve been at sea for days, how can they sleep? Alas, wah wah, boo hoo, there’s sand in my hoo-ha.” Well first of all, thank you for taking an interest, Lor’themar, I wasn’t expecting to hear from you on this trip. Second of all, yes, for fuck’s sake, they get to sleep. I’m not a damn monster. The first thing I did after I chucked the idiot brigade overboard… well, hold up, let me be honest. It wasn’t the FIRST thing I did. First I had a good long laugh and took a few hours to savor the sweet, sweet quiet. So, okay, the NEXT thing I did AFTER that was toss a raft and some rope down to Dumber and Dumber Still. So, see? One of them can get on the raft and sleep while the other one pulls him along behind him. Just like a kodo pulling a wagon. Only without the kodo having to pull the wagon through ocean water or do it while wearing heavy plate armor. And also kodos are at least 67% smarter. BUT THE POINT STANDS. They both get to have their goddamn shut-eye. They just have to take turns or draw straws or whatever. So that’s covered.

Meanwhile, since we still have some time to kill before we arrive, that gives me a chance to go over business with the major players we’ve got on hand.

 

Garrosh, Captain Drok, Mokvar, and Malkorok stand near the stern of the ship, looking out over the sea.

GARROSH: So somebody remind me, weren’t we already supposed to be in Pandaria by this point?

MALKOROK: I do recall the last trip going faster, yes sir.

DROK: It can’t be helped, Warchief. We hit a windless patch the second day that slowed us down. Still waters. Not much to be done about it.

GARROSH: Can’t we go faster now to make up for it?

DONTRAG: <shouting from the waters just off the stern> No, sir! Not faster!

GARROSH: I THINK YOU TWO PINHEADS HAVE BETTER USES FOR YOUR BREATH THAN BITCHING AND MOANING!

UTVOCH: <also shouting from overboard> But sir!

DONTRAG: <overboard> Dammit, Ut, zip it before he starts throwing stuff again!

UTVOCH: <overboard> But my arms are getting tired!

GARROSH: HEY, jackasses — my EARS are getting tired!

UTVOCH: <overboard> Sorry sir…

GARROSH: <turning back to Drok> You’re sure you can’t pick up the pace a little?

MOKVAR: I’m a little confused, actually. Why are we taking a boat, rather than using a mage portal?

GARROSH: Oh, geez, THAT whole shit show…

MALKOROK: You had to remind him of this, didn’t you, scribe…

MOKVAR: Huh? What am I missing?

GARROSH: Yeah, so, we COULD use a mage portal, except for the fact that the mages who came back to Orgrimmar with us all managed to forget to train the damn Shrine portal before they left.

MOKVAR: I… oh.

GARROSH: Yeah, And I guess maybe some of Lor’the’whatever’s magisters might have gotten it, but they’re all camped out on that thunder place and Ponytail hasn’t been returning my messages.

While the others are talking, Giska and Korrina appear nearby and approach the side of the ship, carrying fishing poles.

GISKA: You never learned this at all?

KORRINA: No, never got around to training it.

GARROSH: <calling over from nearby> Yeah, there’s a lot of that going around.

KORRINA: Uh, yes, Captain.

GISKA: Of course, sir.

KORRINA: <aside> Do you know what he’s talking about?

GISKA: <aside> No, but that isn’t uncommon. I usually find keeping quiet and nodding attentively goes a long way, though.

KORRINA: Huh. Good tip.

GISKA: It helps a lot.

KORRINA: So how does this work?

GISKA: Well, first you need to bait your hook…

Giska opens a tackle box and takes out a brightly-colored lure.

So you take one of these and attach it…

Giska hands Korrina another lure and attached her own to her hook.

Like this, see?

KORRINA: Like this?

GISKA: Try to get it— right, there, like that.

KORRINA: <looking at her lure quizzically> The fish are actually fooled by these?

GISKA: Apparently.

KORRINA: Isn’t fish supposed to be brain food? Seems weird they’d be that stupid.

Giska shrugs.

GISKA: Okay, so now, when you’re ready to cast, you wind up like this, then…

Giska casts off the side of the ship; Korrina does as well, a little more awkwardly.

KORRINA: Okay… so what do we do now?

GISKA: We wait.

KORRINA: Oh.

Korrina looks around.

For how long?

GISKA: For as long as it takes for a fish to bite.

KORRINA: Huh.

Korrina looks overboard at her bobber.

Well geez, these fish better hurry up…

UTVOCH: <overboard> Oh hey, there’s like a shrimp or something here! I bet it tastes — aaahh! The shrimp is defending itself somehow!

Giska looks around awkwardly as her fishing line goes taut.

GISKA: Um…

KORRINA: Yeah, definitely not brain food.

DONTRAG: <overboard> Dammit, Ut, stop thrashing around so much!

UTVOCH: <overboard> I swear the shrimp had something sharp in it!

GISKA: Um, I’m not sure I’m going to get that lure back…

KORRINA: You can’t just pull it back?

GISKA: Well, not without ripping up… um… that one’s mouth, probably. Whichever one of them he is. I probably shouldn’t risk it.

GARROSH: <shouting over> Roll those dice, if you ask me.

MOKVAR: You know, boss, if you maim everyone who annoys you, eventually you will run out of people to maim…

GARROSH: Yeah, like I’m worried about the bottomless well of anonymous red shirts running out.

GISKA: Huh. Well…

Giska tries tugging back her line, setting off a pained wail from Utvoch out of view.

Right. So. I’ll just… let that one go and get a new lure…

Gurtash and Kulkesh enter, walking close to either side of Ruekie, who appears to be moving unsteadily.

KULKESH: Okay… just a little farther…

GURTASH: Watch this next step, Ruekie.

KORRINA: She’s not doing any better?

GURTASH: It’s even worse now. You know… morning and all.

RUEKIE: <trying to steady herself> Why…? Why would they do it…?

GISKA: What did I miss?

KULKESH: Well, she—

RUEKIE: <flailing> What kind of sadist stocks a galley like that?!

Gurtash and Kulkesh try to steady Ruekie.

GURTASH: Kafa withdrawal…

KULKESH: The galley ran out yesterday.

GISKA: Wait, she’s gone without kafa for less than a day so far, and she’s already—

RUEKIE: Seventeen nightmarish hours! Seventeen!

GURTASH: You do not appreciate how much of that stuff she drinks…

GISKA: And… I mean, wouldn’t eight of those have been spent sleeping anyway?

RUEKIE: They were nowwithout the wakeful buzz of my sweet haste buff! Oh… oh how I miss you, my wired caramelly haze…

KORRINA: See what you miss, being all early-to-bed and early-to-rise, Giska?

KULKESH: I guess the galley just stocked enough kafa to last a couple days—

RUEKIE: <flailing> who does that?! Why?! I— they— We— <whimpers> I feel so slow…

KULKESH: Right… so… We only had enough for a couple days, and now the trip’s ended up taking longer, so…

RUEKIE: They should have poured the kafa on the boat! For the haste buff! To— to get us there faster! Where… where the kafa is! But… but then there would be even less kafa left… and we wouldn’t… but… but we would get there faster… and… uh…

Ruekie flails wildly while Kulkesh and Gurtash try to steady her.

Aaaaaahhhhhh paradoxes! Fel with them!

GISKA: Uh, so… Ruekie… why don’t you just… get some fresh sea air and… and try to relax?

RUEKIE: <closing her eyes and swaying back and forth> Okay… okay… calming and relaxing… calming and… and… <whimpers< I swear if Gul’dan offered me a green cappuccino right now I’d be half tempted…

KORRINA: Uh. Yeah. Okay.

Korrina looks out at the ocean, then to Giska.

So… how long do these fish take?

GISKA: There’s no telling, really.

KORRINA: I mean, it’s been a while now.

GISKA: Not really. Sometimes it can take hours to get a bite.

KORRINA: Hours to…? Why do people make a hobby of this crap?!

GISKA: It’s not so bad. Think of it as a chance to clear your head and center yourself. I do some of my best meditating while I’m fishing.

KORRINA: Oh geez, here you go with that kung-fu panda stuff again…

GISKA: I’m just saying it can be soothing.

KORRINA: For you maybe! It’s already getting on my nerves.

Korrina’s line tugs a few times.

Oh. Oh hey, wait… That’s not one of those guys, is it?

GISKA: <looking overboard> I don’t think so… not sure, though…

UTVOCH: <overboard> Uh, Donty, don’t swim so close?

DONTRAG: <overboard> What are you talking about? I’m all the way over here!

UTVOCH: <overboard> You weren’t just over by me?

DONTRAG: <overboard> Ut, have you not noticed me swimming over here this whole time?

UTVOCH: <overboard> Then what just went by my leg?

DONTRAG: <overboard> I don’t know, a fish or something?

KULKESH: <looking over the side of the ship> Um, guys, do you see something down there?

GISKA: I’m not sure. They’re frothing around a lot. It’s hard to see.

KORRINA: <pulling back on her reel> Dunno, I’m more interested in this. I think I’ve got something!

RUEKIE: What is it?

KORRINA: I don’t know! Whatever it is, it’s putting up a fight!

KULKESH: A tuna, maybe? Those are pretty big.

GURTASH: Tasty, too!

RUEKIE: <grumbling> Kafa’s still better.

GURTASH: Well, yeah, but you can’t live on kafa.

RUEKIE: Don’t you even say that in fun!

GISKA: Whew, if we’re reeling tuna in, I’m glad Master Ji didn’t come along…

KORRINA: Must be a big one — it’s really putting up a fight!

DONTRAG: <overboard> Um… it looks like a fin or something…

UTVOCH: Yeah, well it feels like… it…

Utvoch looks over to one side as a large dorsal fin emerges from the water next to him.

Uh oh…

KULKESH: Hey! Look at that!

RUEKIE: Whoa!

KULKESH: I knew I saw something down there!

GURTASH: What kind of fish is that?

KORRINA: <pulling harder on her reel> A soon-to-be-dead one, if I can help it!

GURTASH: You’ve got that thing?

KORRINA: Dunno, but I’ve got something! And whatever it is is pretty strong for a fish…

Utvoch swims more frantically while looking over at the fin.

UTVOCH: <overboard> Uh, Donty… I think there’s… I think I feel something under me!

DONTRAG: <overboard> Well there kind of has to be, right, unless there’s like a troll wearing a big fake fin!

GURTASH: Uh, Captain, you maybe want to look at this…

GARROSH and DROK: What?

Garrosh and Drok look at each other.

DROK: Wouldn’t that be…?

GARROSH: I’m pretty sure he meant me.

MOKVAR: Honestly, I’m surprised we haven’t run into that issue before on this trip…

GURTASH: <pointing overboard> Down there, sir! Look!

KULKESH: Korrina caught something, sir!

KORRINA: I think!

RUEKIE: It’s a big one!

Dontrag and Utvoch shout as the huge dorsal fin descends then rises again, with a giant creature visibly swelling the ocean water from beneath them.

DONTRAG: <overboard> Uhh Warchief!

UTVOCH: <overboard> Sir, I think we have a problem here!

Garrosh goes to the side of the ship and looks over.

GARROSH: What the hell have you idiots done this time?!

DONTRAG: <overboard> We swear, sir, we didn’t do anything!

UTVOCH: <overboard> Honest, Warchief, we—

Another giant fin splashes up out of the water and knocks Utvoch over. After a moment, Utvoch emerges, gasping, nearby.

DROK: Ohh, wait a minute… Could it…?

With another large, loud splash, an immense fish-like creature emerges from beneath the surface of the water, then crashes back down, sending a large splash onto the deck of the boat — dousing Garrosh and Drok in the process.

GARROSH: DAMMIT, you fuckheads, you can’t do ANYTHING without making a big fucking clown show out of it, can you!

DONTRAG: <overboard, scrambling around in the waves> Sorry, Warchief! We didn’t mean to!

UTVOCH: <overboard> We’re sorry having you throw us overboard ended up causing an inconvenience for you, sir!

KORRINA: I think this might have been me, actually, Captain…

Garrosh and Drok start to talk over each other, then look at each other.

GARROSH: Seriously, dude. When one of them says it, they mean me.

DROK: Aye, sorry, Warchief.

GARROSH: And what do you mean YOU did this?

One of the fins crashes up and back down to the water again, sending Dontrag crashing into the side of the boat.

KULKESH: Oh, that one had to hurt…

KORRINA: Well, sir, I think I might have, uh, hooked it…

GISKA: I was showing her how to fish just now, Captain…

GARROSH: Oh. Oh sure. Of course. A member of the Saurfang line goes fishing for the first time, and what happens? She catches a fucking WHALE…

KULKESH: Is it a whale?

KORRINA: As opposed to?

KULKESH: A big fish, I guess.

KORRINA: How do you tell the difference?

GISKA: Well, if it’s a whale, it would have a blowhole and come to the surface to breathe.

RUEKIE: A blowhole?

GURTASH: Oh no. Here we go…

GISKA: Right, you know, whales don’t have gills, so…

GARROSH: How the hell did that thing wind up right on top of us?

MOKVAR: Other than the Saurfang thing.

GARROSH: Yeah, other than that.

DROK: Well, sir…

Another swatting of fins sends Dontrag and Utvoch crashing into each other.

UTVOCH: <overboard> Uh, Warchief…!

DONTRAG: <overboard> This is really becoming not fun down here, sir!

GARROSH: WELL MAYBE YOU GENIUSES SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF THAT BEFORE YOU WERE JACKASSES SINCE THE DAY YOU WERE BORN, NOW SHOULDN’T YOU?

DONTRAG: <overboard, struggling to pull his head back above water> Yes sir…

UTVOCH: <overboard> Sorry sir…

GISKA: Okay, so look, see, it’s got its back up above the water, so if it’s a whale…

RUEKIE: Oh!

Ruekie leans out over the side of the ship.

GARROSH: Rook, what the hell are you doing?

RUEKIE: Looking for the blowhole, sir!

GURTASH: Wait for it…

RUEKIE: I want to see all that stuff shoot out everywhere!

GURTASH: Aaaaand there it is.

MOKVAR: She does this on purpose, right?

RUEKIE: Does what…? <suddenly looks horrified> Oh gosh!

DROK: Actually, Warchief, I’m a fair bit sure I know what that thing is. Though I can’t say I ever expected I to see it again…

GARROSH: Well don’t just stand there being ominous, Drok. What the hell is it?

KORRINA: Is it a whale? I bet it’s a whale. I caught a whale!

GISKA: I don’t think I saw a blowhole on its back…

RUEKIE: <blushing> Could we not use that word anymore…?

DROK: It’s not a whale, sir. Whales… ah, they’re mostly harmless so long as you give them a wide berth. But this… aye, this is what whales would dream of if they had nightmares.

KORRINA: Oh so I caught something even more badass? Awesome!

GISKA: Well, I mean, you haven’t really caught it…

KORRINA: That’s just jealousy!

GARROSH: Yeah, so, Captain, I’m still hearing too much ominous and not enough answers.

Drok continues looking out at the sea without comment.

Uh, Captain?

Drok looks back to Garrosh.

DROK: Oh. The “Captain” was for me this time?

GARROSH: Dude, try to keep up. I was the one SAYING it. I’m not going to be talking to MYSELF, am I?

DROK: Aye, I reckon not, sir.

GARROSH: Right, so—

More crashing waves — accompanied by more panicked shouts from Dontrag and Utvoch — send the whole ship bucking violently. Everyone tries to steady themselves while deckhands scramble around.

DROK: <shouting toward the bow> Helm! Try bringing us around portside and give us some distance!

DONTRAG: <overboard> Warchief? Um, a rope maybe?

UTVOCH: <overboard> Please, sir?

GARROSH: YOU TWO SHUT UP WHILE I’M WORRYING ABOUT MORE IMPORTANT THINGS THAN YOU, IN OTHER WORDS ANYTHING.

DONTRAG: <overboard> Yes sir…

GARROSH: So do I get an answer here, Drok, or do we have to play fucking charades or some shit?

DROK: It’s not a whale, Warchief. It’s a whale shark. The kind we saw in the deep waters around Vashj’ir, back when I first served under General Nazgrim. Legionnaire then, sir. They don’t often venture this far south… or far north… but this one… Ah, yes, this one, sir. This one’s an exception.

GARROSH: Wait, you know this one specifically?

DROK: Aye, sir. I’ve seen him before. Never expected I might again. At least I would have hoped…

MOKVAR: How can you tell it’s not just some other whale shark?

MALKOROK: <calling below> Gunners! Get up here and man the cannons!

DROK: Look… on his next pass… aye, there!

The whale shark emerges again, setting off waves that send the ship tilting to one side; in the process, it also lifts Dontrag and Utvoch on its back, where they flail around frantically.

There, see, Warchief, the great white hump on the beast’s back…

GARROSH: Dammit, you idiots, get out of the way — you’re blocking the view!

DONTRAG: <sliding around on the whale shark’s back awkwardly> But— but sir…!

GARROSH: BUT NOTHING! Don’t make me tell the gunners to aim at you FIRST!

UTVOCH: <spilling off the side of the whale shark> Yes si— oof!

DROK: And there, Warchief… see the wrinkled white forehead… and along the one side, that long scar, left by ill-fated attempts in days long past to bring the monster down…

UTVOCH: <invisible amid the crashing waves> I really don’t like the sound of this, sir!

GARROSH: Neither do I, if by “this” you mean “your endless bitching”!

While the whole shark sinks and rises again amid the waves, Utvoch manages to climb onto its back and grab onto the dorsal fin.

UTVOCH: Donty! Up here! If we hold on to the fin maybe it won’t be able to bite us!

GISKA: So Captain…

Garrosh looks at her.

Um, Captain Drok, I mean.

Garrosh shrugs.

How do you know about this shark?

DROK: Ah, young’un, this beast has a name for himself, ’mid those of us sail the oceans. Mobius-Dick, the great white whale shark. Told in whispers, mostly, a ghost story for the seas, but for me, and a handful of others, well, we knew all too well he’s real.

The whale shark breaches and crashes back down on the water, rocking the ship again, then dives below the surface. Korrina’s fishing pole gets yanked out of her hands.

KORRINA: Wha— Oh dammit!

DROK: I’ve seen the beast once before, Warchief. You remember, Warchief, back before General Nazgrim found Pandaria in the southern seas, you remember I’d gone on an expedition for him to the northern ones.

GARROSH: Right, I remember. The force we sent to Northrend.

DROK: To pick up a certain arcane trinket. And deliver it to your blood elf friend a ways east.

MALKOROK: Hmph. Bite your tongue, Drok, calling that pompous elf a friend.

DROK: Ah, but he was good at his job in any case, though, wasn’t he.

GARROSH: Did a good job on the mana bomb, true enough.

DROK: Yes, sir — I like to think we had a hand in it as well. Sure, by the time Thalen was working his magic — heh! — we were setting said back home through the northern seas, but I like to think us delivering… well, Warchief, you know… I like to think, in a way, that we delivered the mana bomb.

GARROSH: So, what, on the way back is when you saw this thing or something?

DROK: Aye. On the way home.

Drok goes quiet moment while the crashing of waves around them goes more still.

Mobius-Dick slammed unannounced into our side, Warchief, barely a day out of our rendezvous delivering the mana bomb. 110 orcs went into the water. Ship went down in minutes. And of course, Warchief, our mission had been so secret, no rescue was bound to be coming, not right away. First light, Warchief, Mobius-Dick come cruising back again. So we formed ourselves in tight groups. <chuckles grimly> You know, like maneuvers from basic training, closing the ranks… <waving toward the trainees without looking at them> You young ones learning all that, I wager… And the idea was, whale shark comes near a the group and they’d start pounding and hollering… and sometimes the whale shark would go away. Sometimes he wouldn’t go away… So, 110 orcs went in the water, 31 come out, Mobius-Dick took the rest, twelve days before Theramore. Anyway… we delivered the mana bomb.

MOKVAR: Spirits.

KULKESH: <aside> Remind me never to sign up for naval duty.

GISKA: <aside> Yeah. <beat> Also, don’t phrase it that way too loud around Ruekie.

KULKESH: <aside> Could be entertaining, though.

GISKA: <aside> True.

GARROSH: How did I not hear about any of this?

MALKOROK: We had reports of an incident at sea and recovery, Warchief, but I don’t remember being given the details.

GARROSH: Because I REMEMBER you commanding one of the ships in at Theramore, Drok.

DROK: That I did, Warchief.

GARROSH: In fact, I’m pretty sure you delivered the small strike force we sent in to extract Thalen.

DROK: I suppose I’m a veritable delivery man, sir.

MOKVAR: So you mean you came home from… from that, and turned right around to take another mission?

DROK: I’m a soldier of the Horde, sir, and Nazgrim trained me well. I’m a soldier and I had my duty, and so long as I still have legs, I’ll perform it.

GARROSH: Well, whatever it is, if it—

With a loud crash of waves, Mobius-Dick — with Dontrag and Utvoch still hanging desperately onto its dorsal fin — emerges close to the ship, causing a surge of waves that sends the ship tilting sharply to one side. Deckhands scramble around while Drok barks orders.

DONTRAG: <sputtering for breath> Guh— we— Ut? You still there?

UTVOCH: <sputtering as well> Yeah— I— blurg— I can’t see you, though, I think I got like some salt water in my eyes somehow…

MALKOROK: Get those cannons armed while we have a clear line on it!

DONTRAG: Warchief?

DROK: Aye, sir!

UTVOCH: Sir?

GARROSH: OPEN FIRE!

The cannoneers open fire at Mobius-Dick; the whale shark thrashes violently and splashes water heavily over the deck, dousing everyone nearby.

KORRINA: Guh!

MOKVAR: Dammit, I just dried this suit…

RUEKIE: Ack! That big Dick got me all wet!

KULKESH: Uh…

KORRINA: Uh… Ruek…

GISKA: It’s… it’s not even worth getting into.

MOKVAR: Are we sure she’s not doing it on purpose?

Another round of cannon fire pelts one side of the whale shark — with Dontrag and Utvoch visible still clinging to the dorsal fin.

DONTRAG: <sputtering> You know, Ut, I’m starting to think maybe this fin idea might not have been the best plan…

UTVOCH: <gasping for breath> Well geez, would you rather get swallowed?

DONTRAG: It might be better than getting pulled under till we drown!

UTVOCH: But then we’d get… like…. slowly digested for a thousand years or something!

DROK: Helm, keep us alongside! Don’t let him close on us!

MALKOROK: Kor’kron! Maintain fire!

DONTRAG: Wait! Sir!

UTVOCH: Warchief, please!

Dontrag and Utvoch clamber in tighter against the dorsal fin, partially trying to use it for cover amid the increasing hail of cannonballs.

GARROSH: I’M HEARING WAY TOO MUCH NOISE FROM THE FUCKING EXPENDABLES. <bellowing below deck> Get some shaman up here to try to steady the waters! And while we’re at it, hey, how about some of those beastmasters we brought get their damn asses up here, what with we got a goddamn beast that could use some mastering! Unless they’re all working at the frigging Steve level!

UTVOCH: Poor Steve!

DONTRAG: Spirits rest his soul — I can’t believe he’s gone!

UTVOCH: Yeah, I know — he owed me like fifteen gold…

DONTRAG: Dammit, Ut, the poor guy’s dead! Eaten even!

UTVOCH: <hanging on to the whale shark desperately as it thrashes> Yeah, well, better him than us!

DONTRAG: Ut, there were never any devilsaur gonna eat us!

UTVOCH: Spirits’ sake, Donty, look where we are right now!

GARROSH: OKAY, THAT’S IT, I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF THE PRATTLING IDIOT SOUNDTRACK ON CONSTANT LOOP WHILE WE HAVE LITERAL BIGGER FISH TO FRY!

Garrosh grabs a harpoon from a weapons rack and runs back to the edge of the deck.

DONTRAG: Warchief! We’re sorry, sir!

UTVOCH: We really mean it this time, sir! Cross our hearts and hope to —

DONTRAG: Dammit, Ut!

GARROSH: SHUT! THE FUCK! UP!

Garrosh hurls the harpoon toward Mobius-Dick — hitting it square in the middle of its wrinkled forehead. The whale shark thrashes violently, shaking Dontrag and Utvoch off its back; the duo fly toward the ship. The whale shark’s thrashing causes a wave that douses the deck again, just as D&U crash into Garrosh.

DONTRAG: <sprawled, with Utvoch, awkwardly on the deck> I… I don’t think I like seafood anymore…

UTVOCH: My hands are all pruney…

GARROSH: <drumming his fingers on the deck> You know, I’ll bet you anything this kind of shit didn’t used to happen to Thrall…

 

So… yeah. That was a thing. More fun than you’re ever going to have without lighting your own head on fire. On the plus side, turns out that whale shark steaks are pretty tasty. Although overall I don’t know if I can recommend them, what with the accompanying side order of moron jackassery. Or do they count that as a garnish? Tough call.

Either way, we should be reaching Pandaria soon. Cross your fingers for no more outbreaks of stupidity.

 

 

Horde Iron Chef (part 2)

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[This is usually the part where a writer would try to build in some catch-up exposition for the benefit of anyone who missed the first part, but you know what? Screw it. If you’re here at all, you’re probably on board with the idea of continuity. Nobody’s fault but your own if you’re confused! Moving on!]

 

LIADRIN: I wouldn’t mind trying some of that myself, Warchief.

GARROSH: Coming up.

LIADRIN: Would you like some, Salandria?

SALANDRIA: That’s okay. You can be the guinea pig for now.

While Garrosh serves up a bowl of noodles to Liadrin, Korrina and Kulkesh enter.

RUEKIE: Hi guys!

KORRINA: Hey.

KULKESH: Greetings, Captain. It’s–

Kulkesh trails off as Garrosh turns to them. He and Korrina stare for a moment.

KORRINA: Um.

KULKESH: Uh… that is… hi, sir. It’s… you really did get into the spirit of things, didn’t you, Captain…?

KORRINA: All I’m going to say is, um, you must be incredibly secure in yourself, sir…

GARROSH: Why is EVERYONE reacting like this?

SHAYARI: Would you like the reasons alphabetically, chronologically, or in order of how much they make me want to wear a bucket over my head for the next thousand years or so?

GARROSH: Okay, that’s it — NO NOODLES FOR YOU!

KULKESH: How are you feeling, Gurt?

GURTASH: Not bad. I mean, I’m still a little sore. And I’m still checking in with the healers every couple of days. But I’m pretty much recovered at this point.

KULKESH: Cool. You know, if you hadn’t come around soon, we were going to head over to Blackrock Spire and go dragon hunting ourselves.

KORRINA: Yeah, we were going to go all Wrathion on their asses.

GURTASH: Heh. I appreciate it, guys.

LIADRIN: I’m glad the healers are nearly done with your injuries, Gurtash. If you ever think it might help, I’m happy to cast a Flash of Light or two, although, granted, my areas of expertise are more in the realm of protection than healing.

MOKVAR: Too bad you weren’t with us in the Spire. We probably could have used a tank up there.

SHAYARI: Pip especially.

RUEKIE: Speaking of which, kind of, has anybody seen Mirembe?

KORRINA: She’s around here somewhere. We ran into her at one of the noodle stands.

KULKESH: I don’t know if she was going to stick around, though.

GURTASH: How come?

KORRINA: Oh, something about that Lantresor guy.

KULKESH: I think she ran into him while she was trying some food, and he made some comment about her weight, or something.

KORRINA: “Potbelly,” was it?

KULKESH: Yeah, I think so.

SHAYARI: Oh, spirits, THAT guy.

GURTASH: You know him?

SHAYARI: We’ve talked a couple times since he came to Orgrimmar. He’s a piece of work, let me tell you. Always going on and on about “oh, children of two worlds,” and “oh, we are alike, you and I,” and “you are not alone,” and “you are not alone,” and “ohh — did I mention? — you are not alone,” and I’m like, okay, I get it, I’m not alone, you’re making me wish I was, Professor YANA.

KORRINA: Old people are weird.

SALANDRIA: How old?

LIADRIN: Don’t start.

Ji enters, accompanied by Spazzle and Giska.

GARROSH: Ah, perfect, just the pudgeball I was looking for.

JI: Hello, Garrosh! Everyone!

SPAZZLE: Hey boss.

MOKVAR: Afternoon, Ji. Everything finally set up?

JI: Almost. Not quite. There’s an even better turnout than I’d expected!

SPAZZLE: Which means even more setup for us to do on the fly…

MOKVAR: How did he rope you into this anyway, Spaz?

GARROSH: Yeah, Pea Pod, I would’ve figured he’d have plenty of pandas to call in on this, seeing as, you know, this IS a panda festival.

JI: Oh, many of the Huojin have been busy working on the festival, sir. But they’ve mostly been cooking.

SPAZZLE: Which left plenty more setup work that Ji needed me to lend a hand with. At an hourly rate, anyway.

JI: Wait, you meant that? I thought you were joking!

SPAZZLE: Hey, I’ve got billing rules to follow! I’m in a union, you know!

MOKVAR: I thought it was a cartel.

SPAZZLE: We’re goblins! Same difference!

JI: But we’re friends!

SPAZZLE: Yeah, well, time is money, friend!

GARROSH: So listen, Deep Dish, you have somewhere I can set up? Probably with some space around it, for when people start flocking to get a taste of my stuff here.

Korrina, Gurtash, Kulkesh, and Giska all turn to look at Ruekie.

RUEKIE: <aside> I’m not saying anything!

KORRINA: <aside> You’re sure? You looked like you were about to say something.

RUEKIE: <aside> No no no, I’m keeping my mouth shut from now on! Every time I open my mouth, somebody sticks– hoooooo boy I almost did it again! Whew!

JI: Well, Garrosh… hmm. I still need to set up a few stations, but…

GARROSH: <pointing> What about right over here? Looks like you’ve got a couple spots.

JI: Well, yes, one of those is reserved, but I suppose you can take the other. Do you need a hand setting up?

GARROSH: Pfft, what’s there to set up?

Garrosh drops his pot on the table with a heavy thud.

OH HEY, we’ve got a cooking fire here and everything.

JI: Oh yes, several of the stations have them. Many of our participants are cooking right here on the premises!

GARROSH: Ah, nice, this way I can whip up a little MORE of this stuff, seeing as we’re probably gonna go through it pretty quick, even before we figure in Mokvar’s little pink friend.

MOKVAR: Uh, yeah, sorry about that again.

GARROSH: Actually… here.

Garrosh reaches over to Mokvar and yanks a page from his pack, sending some of his inscription gear spilling to the ground.

MOKVAR: <gathering his belongings> You know you could have just asked.

GARROSH: <scribbling on the page> Yeah, yeah, boo hoo. You two, front and center.

Korrina and Kulkesh go to Garrosh.

KULKESH: Yes, sir!

GARROSH: Giska, you too.

Giska joins them.

I assume you’re done with her now, Lunchbox.

JI: Actually, Warchief, we still–

GARROSH: My trainee, your student, I outrank you, done, boom.

JI: Oh bother…

GARROSH: <handing the paper to Giska> Okay, you three. Zip over to the market by Grommash Hold and pick up the stuff on this list for me.

KULKESH: Yes, sir!

GISKA: <scanning the list> Uh, just one thing, Captain. This looks like a lot — what do we do for money?

GARROSH: You tell the vendors you’re there on orders of the Warchief, and boy this is a nice little shop you’ve got here, and it sure would be a goddamn shame if somebody went and got blood stains all over it.

KORRINA: <clapping once and rubbing her hands together> Talkin’ my language, sir. On it!

GARROSH: Okay. Off with the lot of you.

While Giska, Korrina, and Kulkesh run off, Faranell enters, sporting a jaw that’s conspicuously mismatched with the rest of his face.

LIADRIN: Doctor! Good afternoon. You’re looking… um… well.

MOKVAR: Edwin! It’s good to see… see you… erm… you… Uh, yeah… so I guess we’ve both gone through some changes since last time I saw you, but…

SHAYARI: Difference is, Beardy, your changes get a lot less obvious once you dip into the back of your closet…

FARANELL: Ah, yes, the ideal person to comment on the current state of my appearance.

SHAYARI: Hey, it’s not my fault you don’t know how to duck fast enough, Eddie!

GARROSH: Hey, Doc, you…

Garrosh stares at Faranell a moment.

Okay, so…

Garrosh stares a moment longer.

I know I might end up regretting I asked this, but…

FARANELL: It’s a loaner. I’m just using it while my regular jaw is in the shop.

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GARROSH: I… see.

MOKVAR: Gotta say, Edwin, you Forsaken have a really weird way of life sometimes.

FARANELL: Fancy that, that a community of reanimated corpses might have certain oddities in their cultural norms.

MOKVAR: Uh… right.

SALANDRIA: Wait, his… his jaw is in the shop? Did I hear that right?

LIADRIN: Yes, Dr. Faranell had a bit of an incident involving his jaw.

FARANELL: Yes, much in the same sense that Theramore had something of an incident involving the Focusing Iris.

SALANDRIA: What happened?

GARROSH: Oh geez, here we go…

FARANELL: Mana bomb.

SALANDRIA: No, not that!

GARROSH: Oh for FUCK’S sake.

SALANDRIA: I know that part! I mean your jaw!

SHAYARI: Cue the QQ. Or, you know, Q^3.

FARANELL: Suffice to say that my freshly harvested and installed jaw suffered some structural damage when I attempted to dissuade my would-be erstwhile apprentice from racing after her newly discovered father to a ruined dragon’s lair.

SHAYARI: And you know, there isn’t one single part of that sentence that would be possible if any of us led normal lives.

FARANELL: And, incidentally, just to put the button on the whole sordid affair, I am still waiting for certain reimbursements to be made.

GARROSH: Oh, for fuck’s sake. I… okay, FINE. After we’re done with the whole noodle thing here, I’ll get your damn gold. Are you fucking HAPPY now?

FARANELL: Beside myself with delirium. Bear in mind, also, that in light of the time that’s passed, certain sums of interest have accrued.

GARROSH: Fucking hell, are you kidding me? INTEREST now?!

SPAZZLE: Hey, don’t look at me. He came up with that on his own.

GARROSH: Please don’t tell me you trudged out here just to be a pain in the ass over this.

FARANELL: Oh hardly.

GARROSH: Yeah, good.

FARANELL: I’m a mage. I can teleport. I didn’t have to trudge at all.

Speaking of trudging, Malkorok returns doing just that, with Garrosh’s extra pot of noodles still in hand.

SHAYARI: Anyhow, I don’t think Eddie popped over to join the party, Pops.

Malkorok approaches Garrosh’s station and drops his pot on the counter.

MALKOROK: <aside> I’ve spoken to the guards who were charged with overseeing this area.

MOKVAR: Well, if I remember right, undead don’t really have that much of a sense of taste, so…

GARROSH: <aside> Good. What did they have to say for themselves?

MALKOROK: <aside> Very little. I’ll speak to their widows tomorrow.

SALANDRIA: Oh wow, you can’t taste anything? That must suck.

GARROSH: <aside> Yeah, send them a ham or something.

FARANELL: Not quite. We Forsaken have a sense of taste, just a muted one. It’s why I typically favor spicy foods, since the stronger flavors are more perceptible.

GARROSH: Huh. Well, in that case, Doc, you’re probably gonna like these. <spoons out a serving from his pot> These ought to have enough of a kick that you should–

Garrosh starts to hand the bowl to Faranell; as he does, Deliana unstealths and grabs it from Garrosh’s hand.

DELIANA: Another helping? Don’t mind if I do!

Deliana stealths again and vanishes.

MALKOROK: What–?!

GARROSH: Um.

MOKVAR: Don’t look at me.

GARROSH: <spinning back to Malkorok> HEY, MALK, IT SURE WOULD BE AWESOME IF WE HAD A LITTLE SECURITY IN THE FUCKING CAPITAL CITY!

MALKOROK: <grumbling> Yes, sir… I’ll be back again…

Malkorok starts to storm off, passing Mokvar.

One day you’ll be called to account for your odious taste in friends, scribe.

MOKVAR: I don’t know where you got the idea we were friends.

Malkorok grumbles more and marches off.

GARROSH: Okay, well, I’ll hook you up with another serving in a second here, Doc…

FARANELL: No need, really. I’m mainly here for work reasons.

GARROSH: Work reasons? How?

MOKVAR: You’ve known him long enough that you should probably know better than to ask that question.

FARANELL: Research, and potential sample collection. I figured that at an event like this, someone was bound to produce something usefully toxic, just by the law of averages.

GARROSH: Ah.

JI: Oh, no, Dr. Edwin, I can assure you everyone here is being very careful with their food.

FARANELL: Yes, I suppose, but one can always hope.

Faranell reaches into his cloak and produces an empty vial.

Now don’t mind me; I’m just going to hover around a bit in case someone — cross fingers — turns green.

MOKVAR: Hmph. Or turns chalky white and drops dead?

FARANELL: Touche.

GARROSH: By the way, Lunchbox, are there any kind of prizes for this shindig? Any judges who’ll be coming around that I should be looking to impress and not at all threaten with physical violence, no not at all?

JI: No, sir, no prizes. The only competition in an event like this is with oneself!

GARROSH: Yeah, I should have figured you pandas would be a little too touchy-feely for a straight-up contest.

JI: Not so! The Noodle Festival is meant to be a day of community and sharing, yes, but there’s a long Pandaren tradition of competitive cooking as well!

MOKVAR: You guys really do take your food seriously, don’t you?

SPAZZLE: You wouldn’t have to ask that if you’d been with us shopping this morning.

LIADRIN: What kind of cooking contests do you have, Ji?

JI: Well, one of our most honored customs is… well, the name doesn’t quite translate precisely, but I suppose the nearest approximation would be… “Iron Chef.” It’s a competition in which challengers are given a secret ingredient without notice and must prepare a gourmet meal with it in a limited window of time.

SPAZZLE: That actually sounds kind of cool.

MOKVAR: Spazz, you live on cheap take-out.

SPAZZLE: I know, but this has a whole mad scientist angle that I can appreciate.

FARANELL: Indeed, not to mention that rushed food preparation leaves ample room for hazardous contaminants to come into play. Not that anyone would wish for such a terrible thing, of course.

JI: Based on how well the festival is being received, perhaps we could adapt the competition for the Horde as well!

MOKVAR: Sort of a Horde Iron Chef? Or… Iron Horde Chef? Or… I don’t know, something like that, I guess.

GARROSH: I don’t know about the contest, but fuck, I LOVE the ring of “Iron Horde” — that sounds fucking BADASS, dude.

SHAYARI: Maybe you should look into rebranding, Pops.

GARROSH: MAYBE I SHOULD.

Dontrag, Utvoch, and Taktani enter, carrying boxes.

Don’t think I won’t get right on that shit and…

Dontrag et al start putting their boxes down at the station next to Garrosh.

And…

UTVOCH: Greetings, Warchief!

GARROSH: <turns to Ji> You’re fucking kidding me, right?

TAKTANI: Ooh everybody’s here! And we get to be next to Mr. Warchief! This is going to be so fun! Yay!

GARROSH: Oh fuck me…

RUEKIE: <aside> Oh, sure, he says that and nobody bats an eye…

DONTRAG: A pleasure to see you as always, your supreme Warchieferousness, sir!

GARROSH: Maybe if I don’t make eye contact they’ll assume I don’t know they’re there…

UTVOCH: Sir?

TAKTANI: Mr. Warchief?

JI: Yes, sir. <turning to Dontrag and Utvoch> Well then, Utvoch… Dontrag…

DONTRAG: I’m Dontrag. He’s Utvoch.

UTVOCH: Oh man. I knew I should have brought the letter…

JI: Oh. Okay. Well, your cooking station is ready. I’m looking forward to finding out what you’re making for us!

DONTRAG: Yeah, so are we.

JI: Pardon?

UTVOCH: Well, we don’t really have a recipe that we’re using.

JI: Oh…?

MOKVAR: Uh oh…

DONTRAG: We don’t know any noodle recipes, so we figured we’d just grab a bunch of ingredients and see what we could come up with on the fly!

GARROSH: Yeah, I don’t see any way that this could go wrong…

FARANELL: Now now, let’s not be hasty. I may be about to hit pay dirt.

TAKTANI: Oh hiiiiii Dr. Zombie!

FARANELL: Oh dear.

TAKTANI: I’m super happy to see you again!

Shayari giggles.

MOKVAR: Wait, she knows Edwin?

LIADRIN: I believe she met him a time or two when I first accompanied Shayari to Orgrimmar.

MOKVAR: And I missed this?

SHAYARI: I might possibly have maybe brought her with me a couple weeks ago when I went to the Undercity for a mage lesson, too. Possibly.

GARROSH: Oh, yeah, piss off the creditor even more.

TAKTANI: It was fun! I like Zombie Town! It’s kind of stinky, but that’s okay — it’s like a big haunted house! BOO! Hee hee!

SHAYARI: Kind of like it’s Hallow’s End all the time, right, Tak?

TAKTANI: I knowwwwww!

FARANELL: Must you encourage her?

GARROSH: Right there with you, Doc…

TAKTANI: Ooh! Ooh! Do you do Hallow’s End costumes in Zombie Town, Dr. Zombie? What are you going to be this year??

FARANELL: Far, far, away, Dark Lady permitting.

TAKTANI: Oh. <scratches her head> I don’t know what that looks like, but I bet it’ll be fun!

SHAYARI: You’ll have to go with me again so you can see, Tak!

TAKTANI: Yay! I get to come visit again! Won’t that be fun, Dr. Zombie?

FARANELL: Oh yes. My heart is utterly overflowing with joy.

TAKTANI: Yay! Hee hee!

FARANELL: Or possibly infectious bile. It’s hard to tell. My heart hasn’t beaten in over a decade, after all.

TAKTANI: <blinks> Huh?

FARANELL: Nothing to trouble yourself over. Just think of my heart as you would, say, your brain.

GARROSH: Lot of that going around with this crew, Doc.

DONTRAG: I don’t get it.

GARROSH: Case in point.

FARANELL: Indeed.

Giska, Korrina, and Kulkesh return with several large packages, which they put down at Garrosh’s station.

KULKESH: Good news, sir — Olvia just got some fresh talbuk steaks in.

GARROSH: <sorting through packages> Good deal. You kids get everything?

KORRINA: I think so, Captain. The vendors kind of fumbled their way through the whole order.

GISKA: Maybe next time don’t start breaking fingers right away?

KORRINA: Maybe next time mofos don’t get lippy.

GARROSH: Yeah, well, here, now that you’ve all earned your keep, have some grub.

Garrosh passes bowls of noodles to Giska, Korrina, and Kulkesh.

GISKA: Thanks, Captain!

KULKESH: Smells good, sir.

LIADRIN: I must say, Garrosh, I’m surprised — these are quite good.

GARROSH: Why is everyone always shocked out of their minds any time they find out I can do something other than punch people and scratch my ass?

MOKVAR: To be fair, you don’t exactly project complexity…

LIADRIN: You said these were a family recipe, Warchief?

GISKA: They’re not bad, Captain.

GARROSH: Kind of. I sort of improvised around something Greatmother used to make back in Nagrand.

LIADRIN: Did she teach you?

GARROSH: Not really, I just — what’s with you, Korrina? Something wrong with your food?

KORRINA: Uh, not really, sir. <poking awkwardly at her noodles with chopsticks> I mean, they look good, and they smell good… I’ll let you know how they taste once I figure out how to use these damn things.

KULKESH: They’re a little awkward at first, yeah, but they’re not so bad once you get used to them.

SHAYARI: <reaching back and adjusting the chopsticks in her hair> Oh, hey, is that what these things are supposed to be for? I was wondering why they were giving them out.

Korrina starts to pick up some noodles with her chopsticks, only to have them slip loose and drop back into her bowl.

KORRINA: Ugh — yeah, this isn’t so bad at all

GISKA: No no, try like this… see, you keep one of them balanced against your thumb, and…

Korrina takes another stab at her food with the chopsticks, but loses her grip, sending one chopstick — and most of the noodles she was picking up — spilling onto the ground.

KORRINA: Dammit! <throws her other chopstick down> Oh hell with it…

Korrina reaches over to Ruekie and snaps one of the ornamental forks off of her shoulder guards, then uses it to pick up some noodles.

RUEKIE: Hey!

KORRINA: There.

RUEKIE: Aw, man

hordeironchef4

DONTRAG: Uh, Ut, what did you put into those?

UTVOCH: Huh? I didn’t put anything. I just cooked the noodles.

DONTRAG: But they’re all gooey or something.

TAKTANI: That was me, Mr. D!

UTVOCH: You added something? What did you put in there?

TAKTANI: Cheese!

DONTRAG: Wait, what? Cheese doesn’t… I mean, how does that even work?

TAKTANI: <blinks> Um… I like cheese!

UTVOCH: You know, this doesn’t smell half bad…

TAKTANI: So noodles are good, and cheese is good, so now they can all be good together!

DONTRAG: Tak, you can’t just… I mean, who puts cheese in noodles?

TAKTANI: I’d take it out if you want, Mr. D, but it’s all melty now!

UTVOCH: It actually smells pretty good…

DONTRAG: Noodles and cheese? Really?

UTVOCH: <eating some of the noodles> Donty, seriously, try some of this…

TAKTANI: Do you like it? Yay!

KULKESH: Hey, you know, that does smell pretty good over there…

While Kulkesh, Korrina, and Giska make their way over to Dontrag and Utvoch’s station, Malkorok returns.

MALKOROK: I’ve put additional patrols around the gates, Warchief. It would of course be easier if so many of these… people… weren’t wandering around, but it should suffice for now.

GARROSH: Yeah, well, we can’t exactly barricade off half the city.

MALKOROK: Yes, sir.

KULKESH: Oh wow, this really does taste good!

GISKA: Noodles and cheese — who would’ve guessed?

Ji leans over Dontrag, Utvoch, and Taktani’s pot while Gurtash, Ruekie, and Salandria gather around.

JI: <sniffing> Ooh, a triumphant culinary experiment, I see! Don’t mind if I try some myself…

Ji reaches over Dontrag’s shoulder and scoops some noodles into his (cartoonishly oversized) bowl.

GARROSH: What the… does that crap even have any damn MEAT in it?

TAKTANI: Oh don’t worry, Mr. Warchief! Nobody had to hurt any poor animals for this!

GARROSH: For fuck’s sake, the murder’s the tastiest part!

MOKVAR: I don’t know, boss, looks like they’re starting to draw a following.

Spazzle eyes the passersby who have started to gather around D&U&T’s station, then leans up to try to peek in their pot.

SPAZZLE: Huh… Uh, Tak?

TAKTANI: Hi, Mr. Goblin!

SPAZZLE: Uh, yeah, hi. So… what kind of cheese did you put in there?

TAKTANI: Oh, nothing fancy, Mr. Goblin. Just regular old cheddar!

SPAZZLE: Huh… that stuff barely costs a few silver…

TAKTANI: We could use another kind if you’d like it more!

SPAZZLE: No, it’s not that, just… Uh, Utvoch? Aren’t those noodles the kind they have in those little packets from Pandaria?

UTVOCH: Oh, yeah, that’s why I got them. They’re crazy cheap — they’re only something like eight copper a pack, so you can get a ton of them and barely spend anything.

SPAZZLE: Yeah, uh, that’s what I thought.

Spazzle looks at the growing line, then thinks a moment.

So… how would you guys feel about a business venture…?

UTVOCH: Uh… maybe?

GARROSH: Okay, fuck it, I have to see what the big fucking deal is with this crap.

Garrosh shoves Utvoch out of the way and scoops some of the noodles and cheese into a bowl.

It doesn’t even SMELL like anything special, I don’t know why there’s people coming out of the damn woodwork to–

Deliana unstealths and lifts the bowl out of Garrosh’s hands.

DELIANA: Oh, you need a taste tester? Sure thing, Garry!

Deliana stealths again and disappears.

GARROSH: <spinning back to Malkorok> WHAT AM I PAYING YOU FOR?!

 

So, you know. That went about as well as anything else I fucking try to do around here. I really might have to look into that “Iron Horde” thing, though. It seriously does sound fucking badass.

More soon.

 

A day in the life

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So, the last few mailbags have gotten me thinking. I’ve been getting a bunch of questions about pretty regular day-to-day things in my life — nuts and bolts about what I do and why. Just another part of being a celebrity, I guess, and a pretty damn awesome one at that. Point is, with all the crazy crap that goes on around here, I think I might have gotten so busy keeping everyone updated on the BIG NEWSY stuff that I haven’t bothered talking about anything else. Which, you know, was kind of the POINT of writing the damn blog in the first place. You know. THOUGHTS AND MUSINGS AND SHIT.

Well, maybe not shit. Not literally. Because gross.

Point is, though, I’m going to try to be a little better about posting on the NON-BIG-GIANT-WORLD-ALTERING stuff that’s going on or that I have in mind or whatever. So, for those of you interested in more of an inside look at what it’s like to be me (short version: way better than it is to be you), here, have a peek into a sample of a day in the life of everyone’s favorite Warchief.

(That would be ME, you UNGRATEFUL SMARTASSES out there.)

 

8:09 AM – Woke up. Rolled out of bed. Pulled razor across my head. (I try to be diligent about shaving. Wouldn’t be a big deal if I only had some stubble on my FACE — the tattoos would make it hard to see anyway — but if it starts getting visible on top, you start seeing what a bad draw I got as far as middle-aged hairlines go. I’ll tell you, my mother’s side of the family must have had some fucking awful hair, because I sure as hell didn’t get mine from Grom.)

8:16 AM – Morning jog around Grommash Hold. Worked up good sweat but noticed several vendors conspicuously absent. Unable to amuse self by slapping them on the way by. Possibly vendors getting wise. Two years later. Never said they were sharpest tools. Disappointing nonetheless. Post-slap reactions always good for chuckle. Especially troll.

8:43 AM – Bacon. Also: more bacon.

8:51 AM – Kafa. Really not bad at all. Maybe should have listened to Ruekie about Starbulls earlier. Remember to check with her about other blends later. Potential application of haste buff stacking with Recklessness.

9:00 AM – Budget review meeting with Eitrigg. Gramps raised some concerns about an increase in the “Warchief discretionary spending” category. Don’t even get me started.

10:00 AM – Staff meeting with Malkorok, Overlord Runthak, and Overseer Elaglo. Updates on a number of projects, plus a few security oddities from Malk. Mokvar working with Xorenth today, so Taktani recording notes. Malkorok less than pleased. Can’t really blame him. Some sensitive topics, so not publishing transcript.

11:32 AM – On way out after meeting, had to suffer through, and minimize, small talk with Dontrag. Or Utvoch. Not sure. Apparently waiting for Tak after meeting. Luckily escaped when she came out.

11:36 AM – Note to self: Check on which one of D&U is which.

11:37 AM – Followup note to self: Don’t really give shit which is which. Disregard previous.

11:45 AM – Shayari gets back from morning of mage training with Faranell in Undercity. As per recommendation, Doc showed her Ice Block today. Apparently never bothered picking it up because she’s a fire mage. Dalaran, Shmalaran. Don’t know what those fuckers were teaching her.

Shay also delivered (another) invoice from Faranell for his jaw replacement. Can’t possibly really be that expensive. Also not crazy about Materials; “headhunting” and acquisition line item. Bad feeling about this.

12:20 PM – Lunch at Broken Tusk. Pretty good special, “Agamaggan’s pulled pork.” Needs bacon, though. Then again, what doesn’t?

12:36 PM – While eating, interrupted by Dontrag. Or Utvoch. Not sure. Not the one from earlier. Other one. Yammered on about something. Difficult to follow as I wasn’t listening. Can only assume that sounds of me eating sounded to him like “Tell me about your life.” Really crossed the line, though, when he started going on and on about wanting to set up a double date for him and the other one.* Thought of those two on dates led to prospect of them breeding. Lost appetite at that point and left. See, proves my point about bacon. Would have still been worth it in that case.

* Not with me. Double date for them and two someones (sometwos?) else. Not me. Even bacon couldn’t have salvaged that shit if so.

1:30 PM – Combat drills with trainees. Focus today on defensive maneuvers, parrying, mitigation skills. Overall decent performance. Korrina still a little reckless. Rook possibly a little too quick to hit “oh shit” buttons, but growing more adept at self-heals. Bodes well for group use, maybe occasional off-healing. Giska doing well with unarmed combat, blocking especially, skill less successful while using a weapon. Possibly check with Lunchbox on this. Tuekie, Zorekk coming along well, performance gap remains but growing less conspicuous. Mirembe and Tov’osh still on training maneuvers in Northrend.

3:00 PM – Extra melee practice with Gurtash. Trying to ease him back in but he’s still a little slow to pick things back up. Very hesitant. Hit accuracy seems uncompromised by injury, so that’s good. Kept to short session today. Don’t want to discourage him but combat skills need to take major step forward if he’s to perform honorably. And survive. More side sessions to follow.

4:00 PM – Hop onto Earth Online. Not going to bother logging guild chat — only getting on for a few minutes to check auctions and knock out a few dailies, then I’ll be logging off.

6:11 PM – Finally logged off of Earth Online. Man. Game really goes have a way of sucking you in and burning the day. Didn’t even really do anything especially fun. Didn’t even really do much of ANYTHING. Two hours gone anyway. How the hell does Genesis do it? Check on this — could have potential mind control / military applications. Make mental note for next meeting with Blackfuse and/or Draz’Zilb. And of course, Shay had to pop in and snarky comments about nerdy gaming. Again.

6:20 PM – Tried to take Shay to this new barbecue place over in the Drag for dinner. When we arrived, found Dontrag and Utvoch there.

Positive: Both there, so no need to worry about who’s who.

Negative: Both there.

Double negative: Don’t CARE who’s who, which cancels out positive above. (Math nerds: Yes, in this case double negative cancels the positive and not the negatives. Don’t get panties in a bunch. Also: HEAD HURTS.)

Triple negative: They were chatty.

6:22 PM – Got the fuck out of there and headed home. I’ll send for takeout, dammit. Fuck that noise. (Literal noise.)

6:27 PM – Passed by Kodohide Leatherworkers on way home. Had to drag Shay away to avoid shopping spree. She stuck head in doorway, entire staff greeted her by name. Fuck me.

7:21 PM – Shay tries to conjure lemon squares for dessert. Not something that usually promises much success but she decides she wants to try it anyway. Goes about as well as you might expect.

7:34 PM – Leave note for repair crew to come by tomorrow to take care of damage to kitchen. Not looking forward to bill. Also make mental note to talk to Faranell about the lemon square thing or failure thereof. What the hell am I paying for. Remember this next time he tries griping about the bill for his damn jaw.

 

Training wheels

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So now that Gurtash is up and about again — mostly — I can finally stop worrying about WHETHER he’s waking up, and get back to a few pieces of business involving him that have been on the shelf for a while now. Side note, by the way — I don’t know who was more relieved when the kid finally came around, me or the healers I had working on him. I might possibly have said something that left them with the impression that if Gurtash didn’t recover, they might be staring down the barrel of a “physician, heal thyself” type of situation, promptly followed by a “dead man, bury thyself” type of situation.

Anyhow, moot point, now that the kid is awake and mostly mended. The healers tell me he’s going to need a little more recovery time, but that doesn’t have to stop me from doing some planning for his training regimen going forward. Because obviously, the fact that he wound up where he was means I haven’t been doing a good enough job whipping him into shape with the warrioring. Which is kind of strange, seeing as I was giving him combat pointers, off and on, before the trainee program even started, and yet, somehow, he’s ended up being less advanced than a bunch of the other kids. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like he’s got no skills whatsoever — he’s got some pretty good aim when it comes to precision strikes, which lots of people struggle with early on, and he moves around well in combat. Generally. When he’s not, you know, getting blindsided by spectral spook dudes. But, speaking of that, he also has all kinds of problems keeping his guard up, and…well, a bunch of issues.

Meanwhile, we have other trainees in his unit who’ve come a lot further a lot faster. I’m not even going to count Korrina, because hell, she comes from the fucking Saurfang family tree, and let’s face it, good luck to the first lumberjack who to get any bright ideas about THAT tree, because the tree would take one chop the lumberjack and then cleave his fucking head clean OFF. With a branch. Which would also somehow be an axe.

So, yeah, not even counting Korrina. But then you’ve got kids like Kulkesh, who’s been shaping up really well with the dual wielding — which served me pretty damn well back in the day before I had Gorehowl passed to me — and even Mirembe, who’s been bouncing around on training assignments since she wasn’t able to come to Pandaria, and seems to embracing the whole shield-slam-tanky thing. Or even someone like Giska, who isn’t even a warrior but has some pretty good moves from her whole Kung-Fu-Panda monk business, and by the way I seriously need to get her to show me how to do that crazy knock-you-out-cold neck pinch thing.

Anyway, point being, I need to come up with something to do with the kid to get him caught up, so this stuff doesn’t keep happening. I might try talking to Lantresor while I’m at it, see if he’s got any suggestions for alternate training methods. He’s pretty seriously badass in his own right and he must have had to train a few apprentice blademasters in his day, so we’ll have to see.

But, there’s still time to worry about calling in Lantresor. I can start easing him back into training by myself the next few days, then go from there. For the time being, it’s just as well for me to lay off and let Gurtash get himself recovered. In the meantime, we were finally able to get around to one other bit of business that was on the shelf for too long.

Some of you might remember that a few weeks ago, one of our kennel masters here in Orgrimmar, Ogunaro Wolfrunner, wrote in to my mailbag and offered one of the wolves he’d been raising — a young worg named Grimjaw — to serve in the Kor’kron mounted forces. He’s a fine wolf. Strong and agile like Ogunaro promised. Still a little on the small side, but then he IS still pretty young, with some more growing to do. But that just puts him that much further ahead of the game.

I brought Gurtash down to the Kor’kron stables earlier today. What with the good job he’s done helping take care of Mortimer the last year or so, I told him, it made sense for him to have a mount of his own to take care of. He was going to be coming up on his riding training soon anyway, so I figured he might as well start right off with the worg he’d be riding for a while. A young one, barely past being a pup — not unlike the kid himself — that could grow with him. Hopefully for a good long while. Well, for however long worgs live, anyway.

I’d planned to give Grimjaw to Gurtash ever since Ogunaro offered him. Obviously, that plan ended up having a big monkey wrench thrown into it for a while, what with Gurtash’s whole fiasco up in Blackrock Spire. As it turns out, though, having the kid out of commission for a couple weeks might have been a blessing in disguise. The one thing I’d been concerned about with Gimjaw was whether he would take to Gurtash. Worgs are pretty strong-willed by nature, and even as a young one, Grimjaw was pretty strong and formidable. And seeing as Gurtash wasn’t exactly an experienced rider yet, it made sense to be a little wary about what would happen if Grimjaw was standoffish and Gurtash maybe tried to force himself on the wolf too much too soon. While Gurtash was out cold, though, I took the opportunity to try to stack the deck for him. After the first few days the kid was resting, I had the healers swap out one of his blankets. I took it over to the stables, and used it to line the bedding in Grimjaw’s stall. Every few days after that, when they changed Gurtash’s sheets, I did the same. Kept a fresh-ish blanket with Grimjaw. Let him pick up the kid’s scent.

It ended up paying off. When I brought Gurtash over to the stables, Grimjaw was napping on his pile of furs and blankets. When he woke up, he made his way over to Gurtash and started sniffing at him. He warmed right up to the kid and kept hovering around near him the whole time we were there. Well, the whole time I was there. After a little while, I needed to go to get to a meeting with Overlord Runthak. At that point, I was going to take Gurtash back over to the Valley of Wisdom to drop him off… only he was too busy playing around with Grimjaw to notice me trying to get his attention. So I figured I’d let him hang out there while I went to my meeting. It was a secure building, after all, with Kor’kron all over the place, so it’s not like he wouldn’t be safe enough by himself.

I was gone for a couple of hours. When I went back to pick him up, he was still at it with the wolf. This time they were running around together in the fenced-in pen they have out back, chasing each other in circles. Gurtash had managed to grab a pigskin somewhere, and every so often he’d toss it across the pen and let Grimjaw take off after it. He didn’t even notice I’d come back at first, so I just hung back and watched them for a little while.

When I finally rounded him up to head back to the Valley of Wisdom, he spent the whole walk over asking me about coming back to the stables tomorrow, and when he can get started on his riding training. Even when I tried to go over the plan for his return to combat training, the kid kept dragging it back to riding instead. Guess I can’t blame him. I dropped him off and checked in with the healers, then tried stopping by the orphanage to see about some other leftover business. Matron Battlewail wasn’t around, though, so I guess I’ll have to try again some other time.

Pretty good day overall, I gotta say. Pretty good.

More soon.

 

[Header image provided by Khizzara from Blog of the Treant, used here with permission and many thanks.]

 

Battle scars (part 4)

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[Since this multi-parter has been interspersed between a few other posts, here are quick-reference links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. And, in case you need a reminder of how Gurtash ended up here, take this one, too.]

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Monday mailbag

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Okay, kids, time once again for everyone to gather round while I see what kinds of forays into ridiculousness await in this round of mail. Here we go…

 

Dear Warchief,

I’m just curious, is there a particular reason you tend to go shirtless? Not that I’m complaining. That is, obviously it’s your choice how you want to armor yourself, sir. But it doesn’t seem like it would provide much protection for you in battle.

Purely concerned about the safety of our leader,

–Tandeleina, Silvermoon City.

So, I think we can safely file this one under #TheLadiesLoveGarrosh, right?

I mean the letter. Not my answer. Necessarily.

But, let’s put it this way. I don’t think we’ve ever met in person, Tandeleina, but all your letters have come from Silvermoon. So, seeing as you’re most likely a blood elf, let me ask YOU a question: why is it that when it’s time for YOUR people to pick out some armor to wear, more often than not it’s some kind of plate bikini? Or mail. Wouldn’t want to discriminate against the hunters. Or rogues, because when you add leather to the mix, hoo boy.

I was actually going to give a few examples here to illustrate my point, but I ended up deciding against it, because (1) you should be so lucky, (2) we’ve ALL ALREADY SEEN THEM ALL, like every time we freaking GO OUTSIDE in a major city, and (3) I already get enough creepy search terms in my Google traffic, and why court more attention from weirdos?

Still, the fact remains, it seems like every other the blood elf out there feels the need to run around in gear that could double as swimwear. Even when she’s a tank. Take a second and think about that one, by the way. Her WHOLE JOB is to be WELL-PROTECTED. She TAKES and MITIGATES damage FOR A LIVING. And what outfit did she pick out for this endeavor? The ol’ plate-kini.

See, this all comes down to a strange principle of physics that most people don’t know about. It’s called the Focus Distortion Field. Here’s the basic equation:

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Where your opponent’s chance of hitting you gets reduced by an amount that can be calculated using your total body surface area, St, the surface area of skin coverage, Sc, and that whole mess of stuff in parentheses, which represents your personal hotness level as determined by body observational optimality times exhibitional enticement, or, if you want to can treat the surface area fraction as your Nudity Index, you can just remember the whole damn hit penalty calculation as Nudity times BOOTEE squared.

Bottom line: the hotter you are and the more you’re showing it off — you know, without leaving yourself TOTALLY vulnerable to a really really bad glancing hit — the harder it is for anyone to concentrate enough to actually hit you. So, see, it’s actually just all about the math.

So there. That’s your technical answer to why I don’t wear a shirt.

The REAL answer, though?

With abs like this, why WOULD I?

<waggle>

 

Dear Sir?

Why haven’t you replaced your well worn, torn, and stitched back together again pants? I would think there would be plenty of tailors that would be more than honored to stitch you a new pair of pants.

–Ruekie, Shaman-in-training

Nice to hear from you, Rook. I mean, it’s only been like twenty minutes since I saw you IN PERSON, but you know what? I’ve given up trying to figure out this thing with you writing me letters all the time.

(By the way, this whole letter-writing thing with Ruekie is even weirder and more endemic than you guys get to see. I pick and choose which of these letters of hers I use in my mailbags. She sends me like three a day. Half the time she’s asking stuff that it doesn’t even make sense to be shy about, like what combat drills we’re going to do today, or what’s for lunch at the mess hall. Your guess is as good as mine.)

So anyway.

Item number one:

I WILL THANK YOU TO STOP STARING AT MY PANTS, ROOK. I don’t want this to be a conversation we keep needing to have, dammit.

Item number two:

What the fuck is this, “EVERYBODY TAKE A VAGUELY CREEPY INTEREST IN WHAT GARROSH IS AND ISN’T WEARING” WEEK? I mean really, between you and Tandeleina, what the fuck gives? Yeesh.

Item number three:

Look, I’m going to be straight with you here. Yes, sure, I can get a tailor to stitch me a new pair of pants. You think I never tried that? I’ve had I-don’t-know-how-many pairs of pants made. And I could do it again, sure. I could head right over to Magar’s Cloth and have some new pants made. And you know what would happen then? The same thing that’s happened every OTHER fucking time I’ve had new pants made: they’ll just wind up being ripped and worn from my many and sundry female fans flocking and grabbing and otherwise just… you know… trying their damnedest to get at the good stuff.

Because, you know.

#TheLadiesLoveGarrosh

#ToAnUnhealthyDegreeActually

And I mean, after a while, when that shit keeps happening, it starts getting expensive buying a new pair all the time. It’s just easier to patch them up and get a little more mileage out of them. LET IT NEVER BE SAID THAT DEAD SEXY DOESN’T COME AT A PRICE.

 

Hi again, Professor G.

I have it on good authority that you like tomatoes. True or false?

–Valinora “Lightshorn”, Stormwind City

…Professor G?

I mean, okay, it’s not like it doesn’t have a certain ring to it, because it does. But it makes me sound like… I don’t know… like I’m the brainiac mentor of some team of superheroes, and we have our underground compound with a Proving Grounds-type training room with animated target dummy illusions, and I’m all guiding them to get them ready to fight the good fight. Which actually isn’t completely detached from reality, come to think of it, so maybe I should get Gurtash on that.

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Hmm. Nah. That shit would never take off. Also, fucking hell, I need to stop spending so much time around Spazzle. His geeky bullshit is starting to rub off on everybody.

Anyway. What was the question again? Oh, yeah, tomatoes.

And you know what? I don’t know where these rumors get started. First there was the talk about me having a half-draenei daughter (which, okay, that one was totally true), then there was the story about me getting lapdances now and again from a Zandalari troll (fine, guilty as charged on that one, too), THEN there was that business in all the Silvermoon gossip rags about the thing involving Thalassian Brandi (I will neither confirm nor deny this one)… and NOW, people are telling tales out of school that I like tomatoes?

Well, you know what? I have to draw the line somewhere, because FUCK tomatoes. You know what a tomato is? It’s a fucking food decoy. It’s some overhyped garnish that they throw into your food to make it look like you’re getting more food, only all it does is fuck everything up. You ever try taking a perfectly good burger and putting a tomato on it? You know what ends up happening? It just makes everything else in there all soggy and slippery until every part of the burger is sliding in a different fucking direction every time to try to take a damn bite, and to make matters worse, it’s taking up space that could have been devoted to something else that could be crisp and stable and actually give a little traction to help KEEP the damn thing together, like, oh, I know know, BACON.

You tell me: if someone told you you could have bacon or tomato added to your sandwich, which would YOU pick? Yeah. I thought so. FUCK THE TOMATO.

And that seems like as good a note as any to end on. More soon.

Seriously, fuck the tomato.

 

[Garrosh’s next mailbag will be Monday, February 1. And I promise I’ll be getting the last installment of the comic mini-arc of Gurtash’s return up ASAP. In the meantime, be getting those letters in to the Warchief — use the email link at the top of the right sidebar, or the handy form below:]

 

Monday GUEST mailbag: Gurtash

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Okay, so remember when I announced this guest mailbag by Gurtash, and wondered if I was going to have to find him his own text color? Yeah, well, as it turns out, the kid found a way to make that question moot. Here, let me kick it over to him and let him explain…

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Hey, Gurtash!

Where did you get into art?

What’s your favourite piece you’ve drawn? Get well soon!

–Valinora Lightshorn, Stormwind City

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Dear Gurtash,

My name is Sarlin. I’m not sure if you read Warchief Hellscream’s blog or mailbag much. I’m a new reader, myself. Not sure if you’ve heard of me at all. It’s nice to see that you’re finally up and about! Well…up, anyway. Healing, I think is the word.

What you did a while ago was really brave. Putting your life on the line for a friend (who I honestly don’t have time to whine about; according to Garrosh, I’m still on the limit with you, too) and coming away with a badge to show for it? That took guts. You’ve done more than the Horde proud, and I really hope you see it.

Incidentally, if the scar is still a bit strange to you, maybe you’ll take a little comfort in the knowledge that I have one in almost exactly the same place. You’ll get used to it over time, don’t worry. Plus, you have a pretty damn good tale to tell whenever you get asked about it! Trust me, they LOVE hearing those in the taverns. Not that I spend much time in them, of course.

Wishing you a speedy recovery. Light be with you.

Rest easy and get ready for your training with Garrosh! Give the rest of the DPS my regard, also.

–Sarlinia-Grace Starstriker, Argent Crusade

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Spirits be wit’ ya, Gurtash! I heard what happened ta everybody’s favorite artist and praise da Loa that ya recovered. 😀

Since you’re on mail duty while your body still be healing, do ya do any haiku or epic verses of your own besides the art?

–Alayea

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Battle scars (part 3)

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* When Gurtash was injured in Blackrock Spire, he had just intervened to help Spazzle fight off a spectral assassin.

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{ONE MORE INSTALLMENT ON THE WAY, AFTER MONDAY’S MAILBAG…}

 

Battle scars (part 2)

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* Yes, it’s been a while from our point of view since Gurtash was injured here, but within the world of the blog, it’s “only” been ten days. Think comic book time, people! (You know, where three issues of Batman come out over three months from our perspective, but narrate the events of two days from Batman’s point of view.)

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{CONTINUED SOON…}