The Great Tickbird Caper, Part III: It Looks Like a Proto-Finish.


So, the third reason to go to Gadgetzan, on the edge of the waste, is the Arena.

You know, if you want to fight some humans or… short humans… or whatever the Draenei are… you don’t have to go through all the trouble to come here. We always need spirited volunteers in Warsong or any of  a dozen other trouble spots.

Some people, however, prefer to kill and die for less geopolitically-significant reasons, and in a place where others can picnic while watching the blood fly.

And some people want to make money off of it. Generally the arena gladiators these days are such types, basically another kind of tourist. Some collect vistas, others recipes, some collect dwarf beards, some people collect arena kills.

The Gadgetzan arena, however, was originally an artifact of the lack of any powerful authority in the wilds of Southern Kalimdor.

Bluntly, it was a prison with very short sentences and very stringent release conditions.

The goblins realized that an ingenious way to resolve disputes between visitors much larger than themselves was to throw them into a pit and make money off the resulting spectacle.

They also like to throw people in there who have been less than honest in their business dealings.

That would be me.

“You have to get me out of here,” I remember saying to Raudona, my blood elf attorney and sometime travelling companion. “That human polishing his sword over there has more chest hair than I do. Are we sure he isn’t a gorilla they kidnapped from the Ungoro Crater? Can we use that? Get D.E.H.T.A involved?” I was gripping the bars of the arena rather tightly. Rau is a whiz at talking people out of hurting me, by now, but he was easily distracted by anything offensive to his nose or clothes – right now he was shuddering with disgust at the close press of the interested onlookers. I was having doubts about his concentration.

Use it where? There’s no tribal council here, Ten. There’s… ugh, will you let go of that!” A bookie was tugging at his embroidered sleeve, trying to get his attention. “Listen, you’ve got your totems and wolves. You’ll be fine.”

“Cairne’s farts, don’t start about the wolves. I’m not sure how Drools and Fleatail got in the employment line for spirit companions, but you may have noticed they’re not the most reliable fighters. Light help me if they let a squirrel in here during the tussel.”

“The wolves are fine – here, throw some cheese on the human, they’ll go for him.”

“Oh my god, I haven’t eaten in-”


Yes. Now go do something before I get stabbed.”

Raudona pushed his way out of the crowd and made for the arena master. I overheard some things about the dignity of the Horde and tribal custom and terrible Shadow powers. A few minutes later they opened the gate.

Then they threw him in beside me and started calling for Alliance volunteers to make up a second for the opposing team.

“What did you do?” I said to him.

“What did you do?” he replied.

I really didn’t do much. I just tried to pass off a load of tickbird eggs – what I thought were tickbird eggs – as hippgryph eggs, to an adorable little gnome who turned out to not be blind and to have a lot of friends.

They looked like good forgeries to me, but I believe I’ve mentioned that Tauren eyesight isn’t fantastic (see the episode where I confused a pack of night elves for blood elves and there ended up being a bit of a punch-up).

Actually, they were fine forgeries, and Tankspin was so happy with the paint job that he let Crosseye keep one of the eggs. The last time I saw him he was sitting on it in the hopes of making it hatch faster.

The problem is that while she was counting out the gold for the shipment, the tickbirds inside decided to make an appearance. After that it was all feathers and shouting. Then some cudgels.

Then this.

As you can see, however, by the fact that I’m writing this to you, we didn’t die.

It was pretty close. Warrior/warlock does a good number on Shaman/priest when the latter are really more lovers than fighters. Actually, really more nappers than lovers, come to think of it. Drools the spirit-wolf did a great job digging a hole in the sand looking for bones, and Fleatail had a brief but passionate tryst with the warlock’s extremely surprised felhound.

It was pretty much all over for us when Crosseye’s brand-new Green Proto-drake tore the roof off of the whole arena and then ate the warrior, platemail and all. Goblins, gnomes and spectators spread screaming in all directions, and the ensuing dust storm blotted out the city. The big lug grinned and waved to me from his saddle.

“Couldn’t believe when he popped out!” he called. “Biggest tickbird I ever saw!”

“That’s great, man, big thanks,” I coughed out, before asking the ancestors once more to help keep my arm from finally falling off.  He took off, heading for glory.

You see, everyone’s luck turns around eventually.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, March 25th, 2010 at 10:51 am 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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