A Hide in Plain Sight

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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.

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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.

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Without proper winter garb, I listlessly wander between one cramped interior and the next, listening to the exaggerated tales of other, more snugly-attired adventurers. They chortle good-naturedly in their layered furs, sipping on hot pine beer and exchanging stories of gnarlpine villages plundered and enormous cats wooed. Oh to be one of them!

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Finally it occurs to me that I may as well see if I can put the goblin entrepreneurial spirit to my advantage. “Look,” I said to the innkeeper. “Recommend me a tailor, I want to get some winter clothing.”

Therefore I find myself on the front lawn – actually just a snowbank, of course – of one Elle Bonespittle, goblin coutureuse and seamstress. She makes me sit out there for quite some time for reasons that never become totally clear to me, although from the sounds of thumping and clattering that come from inside her hut I gather she must be making room for me. Finally she brings me inside and sits me in the middle of the floor, and then proceeds to examine me closely from all angles as if trying to decide how I should be defused.

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“Hm, maybe something in mauve?” she asks.

“I’m not sure mauve is really my colour, but sure, whatever. I am in your hands,” I say.

“And are we doing something about–” she says, and gestures vaguely at my face. I shrug, indicating by my expression that I don’t understand what she means. She shrugs back, more emphatically, and then makes the same gesture, only with elaborations this time. She seems to be taking in my beard, face, and hump as well as the upper region of my shoulder.

“I’m really not sure I understand,” I say.

“It’s just that you seem like such a lovely modern gentleman,” she says, laying a hand on my bicep in a manner I suppose is meant to reassure me about her intentions. I can feel a headache knotting behind my forehead. “And, well –” And there’s that gesture again, getting more curlicues on the end of it every time she makes it.

I’m not a stupid guy; I mean, I’m sure you’ve noticed I’m lacking in common sense, but I can write a travel journal, so you have to figure I’m capable of some higher cogitation and I don’t habitually drool while staring for hours at penguin-patterned wallpaper. But I know that I’m getting that look on my face, very beetle-browed and pinched up, the kind of face that Tauren make when they’re thinking very hard about something that’s beyond them.

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“I, uh. I just want some warm clothes, you know – furs.” This is firmer ground. Stick to my guns.

“Yes, and that’s adorable, I mean – I really love spirituality.”

“Yeah?” I say. “Uh. That’s good. Yup.”

Suddenly she’s three inches from my face, standing on her tiptoes with a pair of enormous shears in her hand. “FANTASTIC!” she shrieks with glee.

“Absolutely.”

“I know just the thing!” and she runs out, before sticking her head back in. “It just came in this morning!”

For a moment I stare at the wall and drool, which aids immeasurably in reestablishing my sense of reality, and then I follow Elle outside, to where an enormous dead bear has been rolled out onto the snow.

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“Marvellous, look – it doesn’t need a thing. It’s just perfect for –” Elle gestures at my upper parts again, with both hands now, conducting a symphony of the inexpressible too delicate for my ears.

“My thing.”

“YOUR THING!”

“So.” I poke at the bear. It’s definitely dead. “So, should I just… just like … throw it over my shoulders, I mean… is there any tailoring going on here?”

Elle looks vaguely hurt. “I thought we had an understanding,” she says.

“Yes, I, erm. I apologize.” Apologies seem safe. Can’t go wrong there.

“Fine,” says Elle with leaden emphasis, grabbing the bear by the scruff and cutting the jugular with her enormous shears. I step back out of the way, trying to warm myself by the bellows next door as Elle gets to work. There’s blood all over the place in short order and the little tailor is gradually disappearing into a mass of ex-ursine components. At one point it looks like she’s building a kind of pillow fort out of meat.

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“So what’s it like living with goblins?” I ask the Dark Iron dwarf who runs the forge, one of the few permanent non-goblin residents at Everlook. He just gazes at me evenly beneath his bushy brows, and then slowly shakes his head. One glance over his shoulder at Elle and the remains of the bear and he mutely gets back to work. I’m not even sure he’s building anything, I think he’s just resmelting the same stuff over and over.

That’s a bit weird.

Elle doesn’t even seem to remember that I’m there or what she was going to do with the bear, but she’s making elaborate diagrams on the snow. I mumble something about going inside for a bit and she grunts an acknowledgement, glancing up at me as if seeing me for the first time. I retreat into the hotel.

My dreams were uneasy that night, filled with images of shears chasing me down long furry corridors, but I was pleased to find that in the morning a pile of excellent winter garments had been delivered for me along with an only mildly-terrifying bill (spattered with bear blood). I wasn’t really sure how I would feel about wearing them given the scene of the day before, but warmth amends all faults, as you can see:

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Next: Blarrrghhh »

This entry was posted on Saturday, March 5th, 2011 at 10:58 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.

4 Responses to “A Hide in Plain Sight”

  1. Asenath Says:

    Adorable, as always. So glad you’re back. :)

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  4. Abominus Says:

    We Forsssaken cannot wait for you to come and visssit the Sssightsss and Sssoundsss and Sssmellsss of Tirisssfal and the Undercity, yesss!

    *readies cooking utensils and a cauldron*

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