So! We left behind us the piped-in sounds of a deconstructed Blackfuse Company death dealer in search of the second and final part of the key we would need.
I’m normally the last person to be accused of having too much sense. Again, I chose to sell my soul for a minion to fetch me beer because I was too lazy to get off the couch. Long range planning and thinking about tomorrow aren’t high on my ‘to do’ list.
Despite that, I can’t help but wonder. If I wanted to seal a door so nobody could get to me, I might give one part of the key to the Blackfuse Company, and force a giant bloodthirsty dinosaur to eat the other.
But that’s because I’m an idiot, and it would only occur to me later when I ordered pizza to wonder how the hell I was going to open the door to get the delivery. You can’t be telling me Garrosh was so short-sighted that he locked his ass deep inside an impenetrable vault, and never gave a moments thought to the consequences of feeding one half of the key to a dinosaur.
On the other hand, that would explain so much.
What kind of lunatic declares war on the entire world, right? I mean, come on, it wasn’t enough to attack his traditional enemies, it wasn’t even enough to seek out a whole new continent to declare war on, oh no, he had to declare war on his own side… and then promptly crawl into the deepest hole he could find, lock the door, and feed the key to his pet dinosaur.
Yeah, that’s forward thinking and a strategic genius of galactic proportions.
Or, you know, a bloody loony.
Musing over the shortcomings of our enemy doesn’t get the job done. And if we wait too long, we’ll be digging through piles of dinosaur poop looking for the other half of the key before the day is done.
Not that I’m a stranger to rooting through piles of poop for loot, in fact at this point I consider myself a poop processing professional, a true poop loot scooper, but I’d rather deal with the front end of the critter if at all possible.
Back across the bridge through the spoils storeroom we ran!
Down the rough corridor we trotted, descending deeper into Garroshland with the growing scent of animal musk rising all around us. The screams and cries of caged beasts assaulted our ears, and we could sense that feeling of vibration you get in the air when you are near a lot of pissed off critters in very small cages.
We stopped just short of the lighted cavern and watched as Thok fought against a mass of Kor’kron tamers trying to force him back into his blown out cage.
Yup. That there is one big ass dinosaur, that there sure is.
It seemed fully preoccupied with the fun of trying to eat it’s handlers, but I have to tell you, I didn’t like the gleam I saw in it’s eye.
It looked like there was more to it than simply animal cunning.
It looked, well.
What it looked like was a 200 ton appetite with tooth and claw bits tacked on, a spiked tail, thoughtfully applied metal accessories that all the fashionable dinosaurs are wearing this season, powered by a 20 ton brain keen enough to know that quantity has a quality all it’s own.
There was a bountiful bonanza of tooth and claw with a bodacious booty on board. I guess Kor’kron tamers like big butts, but the veracity of their statements cannot be verified at this time. Since, you know. He ate ‘em.
As the last Kor’kron tamer disappeared down Thok’s gullet, we all gave a little cheer. I found myself rooting for the dinosaur.
Is that wrong?
Pumpken spoke up with what I was thinking, saying “I don’t want to do this.”
Tom rejoined with, “But think of the loot!”
Pumpken was firm. “I don’t want to kill him. It’s not his fault. Can’t we go around?”
I had to stop and think about that one. I mean, we could find another way in, couldn’t we? Don’t we have, like, gnome tanks and shit? In fact, and this is just me, but I could swear we just left behind a room simply crawling with bombs and other illicit weapons of silly destruction.
Hell, I’m an engineer, Mibs is an engineer, it feels like half of our team are engineers because, hello, rocket belts and Jeeves, so I don’t see why we couldn’t just, um, appropriate a few of those portable tracking lasers. Maybe an electromagnet to rip the doors apart in some big hinge-warping time space thingie.
There is this term, maybe you’ve heard of it. Repurpose? I’d like to repurpose a tracking laser right through the locked door.
While I was lost in thought, Pumpken was fighting the good fight on behalf of dinosaur decency. I didn’t say anything, but secretly, my heart was with her.
After this, what will we have to do next? Kill our very bestest friends, all just to bring justice to one immature griefing orc with daddy issues?
But no, no, there is a way things must be done, and our feelings of regret must be pushed aside if we are to proceed further on our journey. We killed General Nazgrim rather than take the time to find the service elevators, so chances are good we’re not going to give a dino a pass.
There is a perverse part of me that can’t WAIT to see what he has to offer in the way of upgrades.No, not because I lust for power. Well, maybe just a little.
No, I’m curious to see what we find, where it’s at, and to settle a private bet I have.
I bet everything we find is Kor’kron-sized.
So into the jaws of certain death strode the ten. No, not the ten thousand. TEN.
Well, not into the jaws. In front of the jaws? Beside the jaws, but a little to the rear, near the leg closest to the center of the room, maybe.
Ten people without siege engines or war machines, strolling into a big room lined with cages full of cranky people, all to kill a ten story tall dinosaur.
I’d like to say that we had learned from all that we had endured up to this point.
I’d LIKE to say that we approached cautiously, analyzed the situation, and proceeded with a clear goal in mind. Short term tactical objectives, fire and manuever to use terrain and line of sight to our advantage, creative use of improvised materials found at hand.
But no. All that came later.
What we did at first was to charge in wands a’blazing to see what would happen.
What happened was, Pankration the Megamonk got out in front of it, waving his arms over his head to draw it’s attention, and the rest of us, and I do mean ALL the rest of us charged in to stand right in it’s blind spot behind it’s left foreleg and started pounding it in it’s side as hard as we could.
Right away, we had problems. It kept shouting, and shouting, and every single damn time it shouted the shock of it broke our concentration, interrupting whatever we were trying to do. Anything, anything that couldn’t be done in an instant would just get knocked right out of our heads. I found myself carefully synchronizing my spells, timing it so immediately after a shout I would cast a few times, then pause for a shout, then cast again, fitting in either a Chaos Bolt or a couple of Incinerates depending on how fast those shouts went off.
Thok kept speeding up, shouting faster and faster until it was all we could do to stand there and not cower in terror. About the only people who could do shit were Arrakeen and her axe, Monstre and Pankration. Trajar the hunter got in some good hits too, but for most of us this was not fun.
Every time that shout came out, it seemed the concussion was knocking us around or something too, because we all started bleeding out the ears, and the scent of it sent Thok into a rage.
It wasn’t long before we were all bloody appetizers, the healers couldn’t keep up anymore, and Thok went all Jurassic Park on us.
As soon as he roared and went nuts, we ran for it.
Most of us had something else to occupy our time. When Thok went wild, some kind of half-assed dino tamer came running into the room to try and regain control. Yeah, good luck with that.
Our more close-in fighters went after the tamer, while the rest of us chased after Thok, running like hell back and forth across the chamber.
Oh, did I forget to mention why we had to run around chasing after Thok?
One poor soul, it seemed, had a special destiny in store; dino chow.
As soon as Thok went bloodthirsty, he fixated on someone and just went barreling tail over talons after them.
The first time this happened, sadly enough, it was Pumpken, who paid for her attempts to spare Thok’s life by having to run like hell.
She quickly changed into a wolf and went blazing down the hall for dear life, 200 tons of angry dino hot on her paws. Tom followed to try healing her on the run, and we all shouted encouragement as we realized that in his bloodthirsty haze, Thok was slavering and chomping and looked ready to rend and shred anything in his path.
We soon found out how true that was.
When the tamer died, we rummaged in his pockets (yes, in the middle of a fight, what part of loot and scoot don’t you get yet?) and found a key to the full cages around us. We looked around and saw a group of Waterspeakers in a cage off to the side. We realized maybe we could free them, and they could help us in this fight!
We ran over to the Waterspeaker cage just about the same time as Thok was growing tired of chasing Pumpken all the way down that long, long hallway, and for whatever dino-brained reason he fixated on Chron, who was back in the big chamber. With us. Like, standing right next to us where we were opening the cage.
Thok came running like hell after Chron. The speed that dino made on flat ground was terrifying. No, really, the more he chased people around the faster he got. It was insane how fast he was getting, clearly every time he fixated on someone he got faster. We had to do something and like RIGHT NOW or there would be no way to stay ahead of him.
Chron saw a wall of dino bearing down on him, made a move towards the left, saw that Thok was about to cut him off, so he swerved to the right instead.
Running, coincidentally enough, through the rest of us.
We had just about enough time to scream “Oh Chron no!”, but it was too late. Buford T Dinosaur ate four of us before the rest had time to scatter, and, well… let’s just say that even if we could have recovered, the survivors were so shocked at this turn of events that we could barely get our hands up in time to scream in horror before becoming a mid-afternoon snack.
Thok ate us, ate us one and all.
That might seem disconcerting to hear, since, you know. I’m sitting here telling you the story of how it happened, but what can I say? We got better. Our dry cleaning bills are freaking EPIC.
This is a protip, but when you see 200 tons of dinosaur bearing down on you, get the hell out of the way, because if you get between him and a meal you will get eaten, right then and there, no waiting, no secret sauce, no sesame seed bun.
A corollary to the protip, if the lunch Thok is fixated on happens to be you, do not, ahem, DO NOT run Thok through the group of your friends.
And if your friends are like my friends, make sure you owe them all lots of money. You want your friends to have a vested interest in your remaining alive and earning wages.
We had plenty of time to face Thok again, this time better prepared to run. Also, we looked forward to opening the cage and releasing the Waterspeaker to help us.
As soon as we opened the cage, Thok took one whiff of fresh fish and forgot all about his fixated lunch. CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP. Who knew Thok was British? Fresh fish and chips sent him around the bend.
While Thok was temporarily sated by his dinner, we piled up on his flank and went back to work. He started yelling and screaming, just like before, but there was something new added to the mix. Ice!
Plumes of icy blood began to spurt from Thok’s wounds, and he started spraying Monstre with an icy breath that threatened to entomb him in a solid block.
Seriously? He gains the powers of whatever he eats? You can’t tell right now, because I look all fierce, but I’m crying on the inside. Fierce crying!
That’s kind of the way it went, though. If he ate one of us he just kept going, but if we unlocked a cage, he would eat whatever was inside and it would calm him right back down.
But whatever he ate, he became. Or some such portentous crap.
After letting the Waterspeakers out (sorry, Gorai!) we tried to look for assholes to release. After all, if you’re just looking for saurian supper, why feed him friends?
Fish should be friends, not food.
We let a bunch of skumblades led by Akolik out next, and sure as heck as soon as he was done munching them, it was acid acid everywhere. Blech.
Towards the end, we could tell we were getting to him. Thok was weakening, but he was still an incredibly fearsome foe. We dared not lessen our efforts. We had one cage key left, and we released Warmaster Montreal Fire Festival into the park.
Bonus. Our weapons caught on fire! All extra burny and stuff. But after Thok ate them, um… his blood caught on fire.
He started breathing flame like a dragon, his blood burst into flames, we all caught fire and puddles of burning blood pooled under our feet.
I know, right?
When I woke up this morning, I never thought the day would find me saying to anyone, “So there we were, fighting this giant fire-breathing dinosaur covered in flaming blood, and then we….”
On second thought, I seem to have those kinds of days a lot lately. I might need to upgrade my life insurance policy.
And borrow more money from all my friends.
Arrakeen spun into the air, twirling her two massive maces like drumsticks and played a Lars Ulrich-sized solo upside his scaly head. BAM! Down he goes!
Wait, when the hell did she get that mace? I thought she had axes. Good lord, the thing is the size of Thok’s leg!
Great, so now instead of filleted, the bosses be getting tenderized.
Once Thok had fallen, nothing stood between us and Garrosh. FINALLY!
We staggered to the massive door, broken, burnt and bleeding and missing several important bits.
We unlocked the door and kicked it painfully to the side.
We strode forward, determined to put an end to this fight and ensure the continued safety of Azeroth.
For my part, I was no longer fighting for king, country or revenge of the Vale.
I was fighting for one thing, and one thing only.
Time off to have an all day spa.
Mud bath, manicure, pedicure, and oh lord hot stone therapy. Massage.
I will fucking KILL for a massage.
Aromatherapy? I have smelled, RIGHT UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL, the halitosis of a building-sized dinosaur. I want some fucking aromatherapy.
Yeah, I’ve found something worth fighting for.
Why do we fight?
You really want to know why we fight, Lorewalker Cho?
I’ll tell you.
An herb-infused heated wrap around my face, hot stones on my back, and a steam tub for later.
With rose petals. And maybe a nice biscotti with tea.