Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category
After shopping and sight-seeing in Everlook (try the snow peas!), if you’re anything like me you desperately need a break from goblins and goblinkind. Fortunately, unlike Azshara, Winterspring is still largely wild and offers a great supply of silence and peacefulness away from the bustle of the town.
Relative peacefulness – we’re still in Kalimdor, after all, where even the sunniest pasture is mandated by divine law to contain at least four rabid, territorial top-predators. Does everything want to eat you over in the Eastern Kingdoms? Perhaps I shall find out one day.
A cobbled road goes west from Everlook towards the famous hot springs, but on the way I take a detour north to Starfall, having been advised by a reader that I will not be spitted by the resident elves. Along the way I impulsively plunge off the track into a broad, gently-inclined basin covered in deep, ancient-seeming snowfall and dotted with ferocious bears. I inform the bears that I have decided to refer to these deep gullies as “snowrroyos” because even though “arroysnows” rhymes better it is not euphonious. But then I begin to suspect that some of them might recognize my outfit as having previously belonged to their Uncle Gladpaws. I would ask them, but despite public confusion regarding our mutual trades, shamans – unlike druids – cannot talk to bears. Or date them, hurr hurr.
So let me tell you something you might not know about Winterspring: it’s pretty cold.
It’s not as cold as Icecrown, thank goodness. The sheltered valleys and abundant tree-cover break the force of the wind, and the great soft heaps of snow everywhere do something to insulate the place. It’s a quiet, civilized sort of freezing. Still, it is called Winterspring for a reason, and particularly if you’re just coming down from the burning (or magically-temperate) reaches of Hyjal, It can be a shock to your system.
My first few days in Everlook are troubled by the difference between my usual travelling garb, and the continuing mysteries of goblin hospitality. How can they be so keen to make a gold coin off of the slimmest of opportunities, sharpening their considerable intellects on the grindstone of profit, and yet have never had the thought cross their mind that some people are bigger than they are. So they establish nice cozy hotels in out of the way places just perfect for a hunting trip – filled with goblin-sized beds, goblin-sized chairs at goblin-sized trestle tables, and most uncomfortable – goblin-sized latrines out back.
It’s time to go north. We’ve stuck pretty close to “civilization” for a while now, and consequently we’ve been leaving behind a lot of the things that make travel so enjoyable. Silence. Reflection. Fishin’. Scenic Vistas. And more fishin’. Here you will find a spasmographical account of flying from the heartland of the Horde to the very edge of remoteness, in not-so-great a distance. Despite the machines of industry and the flames of war, Kalimdor remains a place of one hundred wildernesses, and high above its central plains the Steamwheedle Cartel has built a research station and provisioning centre, at Everlook. No one can fault their ingenuity or bravery — but let’s try, shall we?
It’s nice that, when we meet under a flag of truce, Alliance and Horde can now freely compare notes about the dangers of living next to very intelligent, small people. For a while the Alliance was miles ahead of us in the business of employing terrifying midgets with enormous brains. They chuckled at our rustic, backwards lack of mad, world-ending science. Well not no more.
I’m given to understand that gnomes are, if anything, more dangerous than goblins, and that at one point they lived as hobos along the Dwarven tramways, carrying their adorable little bindle-sticks and playing adorable little steam-powered harmonicas, because they’d blown up their own city and turned half their own species into flesh-craving zombies. Which is one way to make an impression on your erstwhile allies, I suppose; if I were a human monarch I would certainly be enthusiastically loading gnomes into very fast sailing ships and throwing them at the Horde in as great a number as possible, both in the hopes that they would somehow demolish my enemy’s civilization, and so they would be as far away from me as fucking possible.
The big difference, I conclude from my note-comparing, is that gnomes are chiefly dangerous by accident and because they are not paying attention, and goblins are chiefly dangerous because they think it’s funny. Yes, they do think that making super-intelligent raptors will somehow (???) lead to profit, but I suspect that’s just a rationalization they use to get funding for things they think are going to be a good time.
If you want to experience this goblin propensity for scientific tragicomedy I cannot recommend highly enough a diverting tour of the (world-famous) Secret Lab, located in Southern Azshara. […]
One problem with sightseeing in Azshara is deciding whether or not to hire a guide. Without a guide, it’s possible that you will inadvertently walk into a mine field, or be shot by elves. With a guide, you will have to cope with the twenty-four hour a day worry that they, too, may be trying to kill you. Well, not exactly trying. There is, after all, a strange innocence to the little bastards, a good-natured glow to their habit for either destroying everything in sight or turning it into an implement for destroying everything else. They don’t mean you any harm, per se, but if you happen not to survive the round of mortar-frisbee they arranged (at great expense) for you this afternoon, there’s no point in letting all that ground-chuck go to waste, is there? In your memory, they will offer buyers of the world-famous Taurenburger a one time special discount of five percent, not to be combined with any other offers, family members of the deliciously deceased ineligible.
My guide’s name is Mitzi, and today she informed me we are going to play “golf”.
“Golf” is a beautiful thing and I recommend it to anyone who has a few weeks to spare between bouts of trying to stop the world from literally falling apart at the seams. Like the Barrens, it is best experienced while intoxicated. Unlike the Barrens, you don’t have to get loaded before you set out, because they’ll bring the stuff out to you while you’re puzzling over the rules, or the short pants they make you wear.
Mitzi gets me up at the crack of ten by pushing me off the roof. Then, semi-conscious, I am loaded into a wheelbarrow and propelled by constructs to the rocket-station. I properly wake up around the time we stop to take in the sight of Trade Prince Galliwix’s looming visage being burned, chopped and carved out of the living rock. Shakily I make a pot of starfire coffee up under his vulpine grin, reflecting more kindly on dwarves; dwarves may put holes in all of my favourite hillsides but at least they don’t fill the thing with dwarf-shaped beanbags and then toss in dozens of bawling, terrified children to fend for themselves, perhaps by eating eachother. Goblins think this is a child-minding service well worth paying-for.
Editor’s Note: The enormous changes wrought by Deathwing’s Appearance have placed considerable strain on the author’s mental and emotional stability, as will be explained below. However, we can assure you that, on pain of horse-whipping, he is going to get back to writing an actual travel-oriented journal RIGHT SOON and no more of this meandering nonsense. Please look forward to purchasing your copy of THE GOBFATHER: A Traveller’s Guide to Azshara and the Steamwheedle Cartel, very shortly.
So, when I heard that the leader of the Bloodhoof clan, Grandfather Cairne, had been assassinated by the same fuckers that used to push me into mud-puddles at camp, I made a face like this:
When I discovered that some gigantic-ass dragon had deformed the continent of Kalimdor, thus rendering all of my carefully-researched, personally-vetted, extremely reasonably priced travel advice obsolete, a mere curiosity, I made a face like this:
Another windswept night of ash and rain. Thunder Bluff is built high up, exposed, no canyon’s shelter or mouldering walls here – a huge vista across all our territory. That was the way we liked it, wanted it. After so long of having nothing of our own, we drunk in the sight every morning of all that land. Not out of greed, or pride – or not just that. We felt a tremendous responsibility, just as deep as the one we owed Thrall for organizing the effort through which we took this land. A responsibility to the land.
Mulgore weather was still and sunny – when the rains came, they came straight down from ponderous, heavy anvils of cloud that marched, slow as a herd of kodo in calving season, from one end of the endless sky to the other.
Now, even between the attacks, a blistering, howling gale cuts across the exposed surface of the mesa. The rain, angling in on us, is a mass of bees.
Okay, I’m done with the metaphors for now. Stop hitting that bottle for a bit. Leave it alone. The metaphor coach is pulling into the last metaphorical station; all passengers exit the metaphor in an orderly manner, on the left.
*boom* *BOOM* *boom*
The rafters shake in the Chop House, possibly the most unfortunately-placed business in Orgrimmar. Olvia, the cook and tablematron, runs to the door for the dozenth time this evening.
“YOU WEAK-LIVERED CURS! USE THE ROAD, GROM TAKE YOU! I WILL CUT ALL THE LIMBS OFF OF YOUR PRETTY TALBUK AND SERVE THEM TO MY GUESTS!” Then, the side of her brain that runs a business catches up with her orcish warrior blood, taps it on the shoulder, whispers a suggestion in its ear. “TRY OUR LUNCH SPECIAL, ONLY FIFTEEN BRONZE!” she adds, before letting the dirty fur door-flap fall back into place.
“You have some mixed messages happening there,” I comment politely.