Like stars that shine more brightly against a dark and moonless sky, the life that blossoms in the Barrens does so with gusto. There are large, permanent wetland oases, the centaur-infested ones, and small ones that come and go with the rains; in either one, the plants are pollinating eachother pretty much seven days a week, like they’ve just come out of a twenty-year coma on New Year’s Eve. I bet you thought that the soothing, rustling sound you can hear while resting beside the fishing hole was just the wind, but it’s actually plants copulating.
Outside even these temporary shelters of shade and moisture, the few plants that survive are built Orc tough. These are not party plants. They copulate by mail, perhaps even using that marvellously efficient Horde Postal service that can deliver your repair bill to any village on the surface of Azeroth. Most importantly, they are very good at grabbing hold of any nutrition in the depleted orange ground and concentrating it to an explosive strength.
Which brings me to today’s topic. Almost. By this point in your journey, if you have been partying adequately, you should be a bit short on funds. There are a variety of ways to replenish your stocks before you take the long dusty road through Thousand Needles, and it is best to be well supplied. Freewind Post will be the last place where you can buy edibles, and most things have to be flown in so the prices are criminal. Beyond that, you will be surrounded by some of the most beautiful, dangerous and fascinating landscapes in Kalimdor, but there will be no greengrocers and I would think twice about drinking the liquor.
Of course, I will drink it anyway and then you can read about it, but that’s for another day.
One way to gather some traveller’s money while in the Barrens is to pick herbs. In this way, your sight-seeing can be self-supporting. It is hopeless to try to provide you with a comprehensive guide to herb-picking in this little journal, but I can give you a start:
What to look for:
Plants in the arid highlands like the same thing people do: shade and water. The most valuable succulents, such as briarthorn and swifthistle, along with the flowering shrub known as mageroyal, like to grow near watering holes under the shelter of the baobabs and ironwoods. Part of the reason they are so medicinally potent is that they share the cool liquid refreshment with the grazing herds of great Barrens herbivores such as Kodo, Gazelle and Zevra, and thus devote a lot of energy to producing nasty-tasting toxins in hopes of, if not saving their lives, giving their killers a seriously upset tummy. They also seem to thrive in areas where Silithid insects have deposited their leavings and crumbling egg-shells, but picking these herbs can often lead to gatherus interruptus, an elfish term for being jumped by savage monsters while having a peaceful frolic.
If you come across someone who is being eaten while gathering, is it a bit cold to go ahead and pick the herbs they were clawing for with their bloodied and broken limbs. Budget travel, however, is a bit of a cut-throat affair, and people who are being digested in the belly of a thunder lizard are not taking up space in the hostel baths, so it’s a bit of a dilemma.
Where should I sell the herbs I have acquired?
This is a tough one. If you trek, or fly, all the way back to Thunder Bluff you have access to the auction market, which reaches a very high number of urban customers with scads of gold to spend. It always feels a bit like cheating, however, to double-back on one’s tracks when one is not outright starving or missing a limb.
A little closer is the open market at the crossroads. Trading, partying and getting into a good rumpus at the Crossroads are all things that deserve their own entries, and in our second volume, tentatively titled Joining the Orcland Raiders: How to Lose your Pants and Find Them Again in Durotar, we will definitely be exploring it fully. Right now, however, although the Crossroads is another good market for fresh plants and bits of dwarf, it’s still way off our route. Camp Taurajo, sadly, is too small to support a real competitive market, and while you can offload your goods there you will be getting short-sold by those who plan to turn your goods over to the Thunder Bluff auction anyway. It’s only good for a last ditch measure; if your choice is down to eating your swiftthistle or trading it for some cheese, I would take the cheese.
What you need is a trading spot with tight supply and low competition, that’s also on your route. What you need is the Razorback Jamboree. So throw on your best ratty blanket, cover it with porcupine needles and practice your glottal fricatives, because we are going undercover…. amongst the pork.Next: Razorfun in Razorfen »