Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category


Last Call at the Chop House


*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.

Brewfesht Mem… Memorish… Memoriesh


One day in Quel’thelas
I met a comely lass
with eyes as green as Lordaeron’s canals!
Her glances and perfumes
attracted would-be grooms
but one by one she found them all banal.
She said, “one must be neat;
a girl is what she eats.”
She disdained all their victual offerings.
But she consented to dine,
with a shaman friend of mine,
when she heard his totem was a Mana Spring!


I’m an Elf Lover
(he’s an elf lover)
I fancy the long-eared
(he’s got us all quite worried)
I’m an Elf Lover
(he showers in mana potions)
I’m afraid I can’t be cured
(he grooms with sparkly lotions)

Once in Auberdine
(I was trying to go unseen)
when I stumbled on a pair of gorgeous scouts.
It was a perilous close shave,
but fortune my bacon saved–
for it happened that the two were making out!
(well done, ladies!)…


[and so on, and so on, and so on, and so on, until most of the participants are horizontal and incapable of carrying the tune any longer]

The Great Echo Isles Jam Session


It’s been a while, Thunderers. I got caught up in a little bit of a war, and it’s taken me a few weeks to sort everything out, put the experience in order. I know you demand a high level of coherence and informativit– informationali– knowing stuff, from me. So I wouldn’t want to deliver an inferior product.

And this is definitely something you deserve to hear about, because what was to be my piece on Sen’jin village turned into a diary of Vol’jin’s campaign to reclaim his tribe’s homeland! There’s no great loss there — I was mainly babbling about how sick I got from the super-spicy food, and how this one guy did a faceplant trying to bust a move:


So —


When all of a sudden these big drums start up, and I notice all these trolls moving towards the beach. Right on, I say. It’s only ten in the morning but we can get started.

I really like trolls. I hear they like to eat people but I’ve never met someone who got eaten by a troll and who didn’t deserve it. In the meantime they’re just so cool. They have cool hair. They know the coolest dance moves. You go out hunting with a troll for dinner, and a crocolisk gnaws his legs off — he’ll make a drawling joke about how he’s only half as a hungry as he was an hour ago. And let me tell you, no one shoots you down with the cool disdain of a trollish lady. She’ll walk away, your heart’ll be in pieces, you’re going to go into hiding for a month, but you’ll still be like… “damn. That was cool.”

So, they’re all heading for the beach and I assume it’s going to be a party. I know something must be up because Sen’jin is… well, ordinarily a bit of a sleepy backwater. Young troll adventurers feel guilty for skipping a visit and just heading for Razor Hill, but they still do it (and of course, the locals act all cool about it, like it doesn’t hurt. natch.)

But now, good lord. Elves, mammoths, ghosts, druids, three different colours of orcs — and there was Shadow Hunter Vol’jin, who usually just hangs out with Thrall up north. And he told us we were going to take back the Isles.

Quaint Customs of the Practice Humans


So I turned south. There was still a lot of Durotar I hadn’t yet seen, and this is the perfect time of year for it. Most of Kalimdor is insufferably hot right now, and Durotar is no exception, but it’s a dry heat and more importantly you are encouraged to suffer with everyone else. It’s part of the national character. Water tastes better because you’ve earned it. And in a few entries we’ll have hit the Echo Coast and we can cool off with a nice swim.

First though, the main-trunk road south from Orgrimmar connects us to Razor Hill, through a very tactically-dubious route along the bottom of a ravine. I suggest you actually stick to the edges because it’s hella easy for people to drop rocks on your head from the overhangs. Particularly if you, say, drove your Mekanohog into their workshop during a soaked Dursday evening out on the town.


Razor Hill. I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but I am compelled to give a call-back to my words about orcish naming practices. Razor Hill is not on a hill, and you cannot shave with it. There, okay. It’s out of my system. phew.

In fact, there isn’t much more to say about Razor Hill — it has one virtue: it exists precisely where you would expect a town should exist, geographically. Halfway between Sen’jin and Orgrimmar, it serves little purpose other than as a kind of speed-bump for enthusiastic up-and-comers inbound from the Valley of Trials, each of them with a heap of bloodthirst and little common sense. They come into Razor Hill, say to themselves “oh, a town!” and wander around for a bit pestering people for quests. Thus the burghers of Orgrimmar are spared their chattering influx into the bars and auction houses for another few weeks.

Does anyone speak dwarf?

Okay, some odd things have happened to me since I started publishing this journal.

You may remember that I’ve held forth on my Problem with Dwarves. I may have even advocated murdering them for sport in various ways. I have nothing in principle about any of my fellow Azerothians, and frankly would rather hang out with my racially-diverse brethren in the Cenarion Circle than, say, people who are theoretically my allies but who want to exterminate all life. Yeah, okay, guys. How about we just have a beer, instead, huh? Oh, the beer’s coming right out the… let’s just… oh, geez, it’s really just running right through… ugh, and some tumours are washing off with it… look here’s a bucket, we’ll just slip it under the tabard… there — no one will notice. Just… stand still.

Nevertheless, dwarves. I wouldn’t think any of them would read my journal, let alone enjoy it. But apparently copies are circulating in Alliance towns, and I seem to have picked up a — a stalker? I guess?

I can’t complain. She buys really expensive shoulder and helmet inscriptions and mails them to me (apparently this is okay). But every so often I get weirder shit, like the following, which I have reproduced here in case any of you, dear readers, can make heads or tails of it.

I think it means she just helped kill the Lich King. I heard something about that. Beyond that, though…



And I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but I wish she would stop stabbing me to death whenever she sees me. The rose left on my corpse really is… something, but I could do without it.

I’m All Ears


Back to Orgrimmar in time for the weekend. Have an interview with the Grom’s Machine, a group of Mekano-hog enthusiasts who tear up the Valley of Honour with impromptu races every few Freysdays. The interview is likely to turn into a very heavy evening of drinking and possible property destruction, with all the payoffs that implies, so I stop by the bank to pick up some money. You know, line your pockets with a few gold, break in case of emergencies.

The teller is gone for a long while, and when he comes back his face has a dark cloud over it. No one can furrow their brow at you quite like an orc, particularly one who has contact with your finances.

“The Adjuster of Bulk Accounts would like to speak with you,” he rumbles.

“Oh, that’s okay — I don’t have an appointment,” I reply.

Exotic Orcish Customs


While I was at the Crossroads, interviewing some lame-ass night elf too cowardly to pick on someone his own size, Footman Golmor’a of the First Customs Inspection Bloodhowlers was up on Farwatch tower — I know this because he’s up there most days, staring east at the smoke and flame of the periodically-burning town on the horizon. Stamping his feet and waving his axe over his head, he screams fruitlessly “COME ON YOU FILTH! I DARE YOU TO FACE ME! ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE MORE THAN THE LEGALLY PERMITTED NUMBER OF FOREIGN GOODS ON OR ABOUT YOUR PERSON!”

It’s a hard life among the customs warriors of the Farwatch post. Whatever the Alliance is after in the Barrens, they’re apparently not very interested in its eastern border; mostly the Bloodhowlers sit around waiting for passing quilboar merchants they can push around, rifling through their sap-gourds for non-permitted vermin. This isn’t the kind of glory most brothers and sisters swear their oaths for.

Interview with the Grief Chicken


Before the introduction of the extremely efficient (and transdimensional!) Horde Postal Service, the Tauren tribes would often use smoke signals, created with green-wood fires and blankets, to communicate messages across long distances. One of the difficulties was to know when a message was completed, so you could go back to fishing or whatever else it was you were doing.

By convention, the last sentence of any given smoke-message was “And the Crossroads is Under Attack.” This, back in the earliest ages of the Earth, was a call to arms, urging all Tauren and their allies to take up the defence of one of our sacred sites which — due to its central location — was a favourite target of centaurs, quillboars, anyone who happened to be walking by.

But after this had been going on for some time, and no one could really remember why the site was so sacred in the first place (and after orcs had dumped a lot of garbage on it, like malfunctioning siege engines and some ogres), everyone started to just ignore this bit, regarding it as pure formality.

And so it continues to this day. But why is the Crossroads Under Attack? Does anyone even know? How badly do you have to screw up to be nominated as the next Crossroads Flight Master?

Lumber Party!


A traveller to Durotar might well ask “where does the wood come from for all these palisades and delightful covered bridges (which are a part of our Horde’s heritage)? There don’t seem to be a lot of trees in Durotar.”

Well, Jimmy – let’s pretend this visitor’s name is Jimmy – well, Jimmy, the story of Durotar’s wood starts far to the north, in the forests of Ashenvale. First, a seed is planted by wind and nourished by rain. Then, for hundreds of years, the growing tree is tended by elves, dryads and other spirits of the forest, reaching high up to join the great canopy of its elders. Then an orc comes along with a big axe and cuts it down.

And do you know what that makes elves, Jimmy?

Too slow, say the orcs.

On Riparian Fury Deficits


The Southfury is the longest river in Kalimdor, and only one river surpasses it in length in all of Azeroth. It starts beneath the high plateau of Winterspring, fed in large part by meltwater as the massive drifts of snow native to that region fall through sheltered cave networks or roll down to lower altitudes. It marks the border between Azshara and Ashenvale, and over many thousands of years it has cut a deep, wooded gully to run through. If you have the misfortune of being clumsy and falling in to the Southfury close to its source, you have a very long swim ahead of you before you can climb out again.

I wouldn’t know anything about that, of course.

Well, that’s all very interesting. Let’s talk about the name, shall we?

First of all, the Southfury is entirely contained within northern Kalimdor; it ends in Rachet Bay, comfortably close to the continent’s centre of gravity. I suppose it does flow south, but I’m still irritated by this.

Second of all, there’s the fury aspect of it. You can tell it was named by orcs. I like to picture an orcish surveyor, bespectacled, calmly drawing topographical contours and marking the course of waterways, when all of a sudden the demon blood starts acting up. RAGE RIDGE OF RAGING FIERY RAGE, he scrawls across a gentle, grassy incline. FURIOUS FISSURE OF A THOUSAND SPIKED HORNS OF FURY; what Tauren would probably call “Nappin’ Pond”. The Orcish Surveyor blinks several times, his braids and beard all sticking out at funny angles, his glasses on vertically, a bit of drool on his doublet. Shaking his head, he goes back to tracing the contours of the Southern Azshara Reach, and Kalimdor is all the more interesting for his episode.