Thousand Needles: The Great Lift


Listen, there’s a possibility I’m going to get a bit sappy here.

Even the most drily humorous traveller is occasionally swept up in rapture at the stark beauty of Kalimdor. It’s my home and the home of my ancestors, and that adds another thick layer of rich, buttery nostalgia, causing me to view sunsets through a smeared haze. I am told there is no cure; but travel is a good form of therapy.

Make camp at midday near the end of the Gold Road where it begins to curve east through the Razorfen Hills. Find a fishing hole, punt some dwarves, collect some herbs, do as you like.


When the sun begins to lower in the sky, pack up your saddlebags and get ready to leave. Take your time moving through the Razorfen Canyon. The sky turns pink and gold, the red rocks deepen in their shade; the blood of the earth rushes to the surface to receive the day’s dying glory. The last foothills of the barrens twist and turn, isolating you in a whispering gulch without visible end.

Then you see it. An elevator. The biggest we’ve ever built, The Great Lift. If you’re a tauren, you’ll feel tears leap to your eyes. It goes up and down. Beyond the loading platforms, the Thousand Needles stretch into the south to the horizon. In the declining light, each one is gilded, the iron and mithril veins in their orange flanks sparkling like the letters on the tomb of a king.

The watchmen keep a stock of salt meat and Mulgore wheatmeal on hand to bake their own bread on stones in the embers of the day’s fire. They live out here for months, extending charity to all who pass by, even their enemies. To watch the Great Lift is part of the initiation of those destined for chieftanship in our people, for it teaches calmness of heart and endurance in the face of loneliness. And also sandwich-making, which is a much admired skill.

It is up to you whether you wish to linger at the Lift until morning. Certainly the initiates will thank you, for there is nothing supremely mystical about being bored, in my opinion, and you are certainly better conversation than they have had in some time. The passes between the Needles can be dangerous in the dark for those who do not know their way; the road is marked by torches maintained by the Tauren, but sometimes they are extinguished by the Grimtotem, who have never accepted our agreement to allow travellers to pass through our lands. More on them soon.

On the other hand, there is nothing quite like a night crossing of the Needles to Freewind Post. The night passes are filled with the mournful songs of the wind, and the towering columns above your head only emphasize the empty space between you and the distant stars. Riding through the Needles, you experience an exhilirating reverse vertigo, aware of the infinite space and time through which we move.

I recommend not chewing any pinesap gum while riding here, because an unexpected Vista may cause you to swallow it and choke. I absolutely do not, of course, know this from personal experience.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, January 16th, 2010 at 12:17 pm and is filed under Kalimdor, Travels. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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