Archive for the “Raiding” Category

Thokunchained

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.

Um, no.

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.

Ouchie!

Buttflame the Fierce

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Thok the Bloodthirsty

There is a trend I’ve noticed through the years.

I know, I know. I mention all of these things, and it probably sounds like I spend my days peering at the world from under the brim of a tinfoil hat.

It’s not true. My hat is lined with truesteel. Provides a lot more protection from the Titan mind control rays, plus it’s a lifesaver when those impromptu bar brawls break out.

But back on topic. My friends just blunder in and out of trouble and don’t think much of it, but I pay attention to these things.

Here is the thing I’ve noticed.

It seems as though the dinosaurs we fight keep getting a little bigger, a little faster, and a bit better armed every year.

Every. Single. Year.

I can’t quite explain it. I mean, sure, my suspicions were aroused the first time I descended into Un’goro Crater. I had barely stepped foot into the leafy green thickets and I was jumped by a raptor.

Only thing is, this raptor was wearing jewelry. Feathers and beads and shit. Makeup, claw polish, that kind of thing.

This concerned me.

I figured there were one of two things going on.

First, maybe these raptors were smart, had some form of primitive tribal society developing, were in the process of developing a rudimentary tribal structure. They were beginning to value ornamentation in efforts to attract a more discerning mate, took pains about their appearance, you know. Dressing themselves up. Checking their appearance out in still ponds and puddles.

Vain dinos.

Or, and here was the alternative that kept me up at night…

Maybe somewhere out there is a dinosaur fancier that crept around, dressing them up. Making them pretty for his own sick, twisted purposes.

Maybe somewhere out there was some errant Troll looking at a saurian fangéd maw thinking, “Mm you got a mighty purty mouth.”

That’s a thought to keep you awake on a cold, lonely night of camping in Un’goro, I shit you not.

Since that day, as I said, I’ve kept my eyes open. I watch, and I study. And I’ve seen the trends.

Dinosaurs with ornamentation, dinosaurs in bondage gear, dinosaurs with laser beams, shoulder fired cannon and even in one case a baby dinosaur learning how to trick his way to freedom from the trolls of Zul’Gurub with torches and stuff.

The creepy dinophile trolls of Zul-gurub.

I’ve come to the conclusion that both of my original ideas were true.

The dinosaurs are intelligent.

And there are people out there, specifically trolls, that, well… fancy them.

Wait, I know, I know, the idea of a special interest magazine called “Dino Fancy” is disturbing, but look at the facts!

Look at the facts.

The trolls, they keep getting caught with tied up dinosaurs, trying to get them to do things that are against their nature.

There are even trolls who, and I hesitate to mention this…

There are trolls that have gone so far down the dark road of dino depravity to have taken the time to learn how to transform themselves into dinosaurs.

I know, that sounds cool at first. Right? And for you and me, it would be. An innocent afternoon daydream from Calvin and Hobbes, romping stomping dino fun. Rawr!

Based on the evidence, I think those Trolls have staked out a darker territory.

You’re probably wondering why I bring all of that up.

No reason. No reason whatsoever.

 

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Siegecrafter BlastfuseIt was with a sigh of relief that we left the roar of pissed off dinosaur behind us to see what lay behind door number three.

We trotted back the way we had come, passing quickly over the bridge only to stop dead in our tracks at the entrance to the huge cavernous room.

“Okay, there were two armies here just a bit ago. Anybody see where they went?”

“Nope.”

“No, seriously, how do you lose an army? Hello?” I stepped further out into the echoing, empty chamber, and yelling louder called, “Hello!?!”

Huh. You know, if I were given to introspection, this might worry me a little. Fortunately, I can rarely stay focused on one thing long enough to start wor… “Oh hey, is that door unlocked?”

The others had moved on without me, crossing the vast room to the big door opposite the bridge. With a gentle push of the hand, Monstre sent the imposing doors to swing open, revealing a long, wide corridor lined with pipes and tubes.

At the far end of the corridor were several large sewer pipes, their uncovered openings angled upwards towards us.

Their gaping, oh so very large uncovered openings.

I muttered “Badeba ba bop doot doot doot doot” under my breath, hearing others in the group utter similar charms against pipes and evil flowers at the same time.

As we approached the pipes, several foes jumped out at us from inside them, and began to launch missiles and tracking lasers. We sprung into action, hurling arcane energies, fireballs, explosive shells and in one case a slightly rabid badger at our foes.

Then the first of our strongest, most durable teammates went down to a laser, homing robot bombs began scuttling towards us, and Chron uttered those fateful words of ancient wisdom, “Run away! Break for the door!”

I took off back the way we had come as fast as I could, the rocket exhaust leaving a plume of flame behind me. I took pleasure in leaving the last of my team in the dust. One more speed bump for my enemies to stumble across before they can get me!

For truly it is said, I do not have to be faster than my pursuer, I just have to be faster than the rest of the pursued. Verily, they are the appetizer and, if I’m lucky, can also serve as the main course.

As soon as it seemed safe, or rather as soon as our more durable companions came through the gateway to rejoin the fight, I slowed and added my assistance.

We made our stand there, in the massive chamber where not long before High-Tinker Mekkatorque and his army of gnomes had held their ground. Is this what happened to them? Were they out fought, outthought, out improvised? Did they fail to adapt and were overcome?

With Monstre and Pankration once more leading the way, with the full support of Pumpken, Callaghan and even Tom, we began to push them back and take them down, one at a time.

Then our feet got damn hot. I heard a sizzling sound, I smelled the too, too familiar scent of warlocks roasting on an open fire, and I started running around in circles, screaming “Mah biscuits is burning! Mah biscuits is burning!”

“Where the hell is it coming from? OUCH! Run! Damn it, it’s following me! Where is it? What’s doing this and make the bad man stop….”

“It’s a tracking laser from the original room near the pipes, it’s shooting up at us through the floor!”

“Arrgh! CHARGE!”

We sped back through the door and down the corridor, our sights set on taking down our deadliest foe to date; a gnome wielding a massive shoulder-fired laser cannon that could apparently cut through a mile of steel decking with unerring accuracy.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I want one of those.

We broke her toy and she went down fighting, Arrakeen’s firmly planted axe finally silencing her snarls.

Geez, tough crowd.

Looking out past the pipes in front of us, we saw a massive, well, arena. Shit, I dunno man. It looked like an arena to me. Maybe that’s how Garrosh did all of his corporate meetings? The department heads form their employees into groups in the middle of an arena, and then they fight their way back out through deathtraps, dinosaurs, stale donuts and coffee blasters to freedom?

I dunno. I’ve heard of stupider group-building exercises. There is this one where they expect you to fall backward into someone else’s arms? You’re supposed to like, learn trust when your coworker catches you and shit. Well, what do you foster when he drops your ass? I ask you.

No, really, I’m asking you. I think Tom is gonna slash my tires. Hell, it’s not like he needed a cast or anything. Brush it off, you’re a priest, heal thyself and all that crap.

Anyway, the opposite wall was one massive machine of some kind, grinding and sparking and welding up bits. On the left side of the room, across a gap filled with pipes, a conveyor belt entered the room from to the left of where we were and headed forward, vanishing behind the massive machine. It came back out again from the right of the machine towards us and disappeared into the wall beside us.

There were pipes to the left of the room and again directly in front of us, and other than that, the arena floor was surrounded by space. How the hell were we supposed to jump across to it?

Wait. Why were we going over there?

“Wait. Why are we going over there? Is that machine loot? It ain’t fitting in my bags, I know that.”

“No, the final door leading to Garrosh is locked, and we need to get the key off of him.”

“Him? Him who?”

“Him.”

Chron pointed across the vast arena floor to the front of the console, where, far off in the distance I could sort of see a big, mechanical shredder-looking monster with the coolest glowing blue fist thingie ever lumbering around fiddling with the controls of the machine. I pulled out my Spyglass and zoomed in for a better look.

Why, however did I miss it hiding there.

Okay, so big bad machine dude thingie. Right. We’ve taken down the Iron Juggernaut, exactly how bad could this be? Linkages and bombs and sawblades. Whoopie.

I went back to eyeing the conveyor belt with something akin to terror in my heart. Somehow, I just knew I was going to end up running on that conveyor being pursued by tracking lasers. And monstrous chainsaw blades. I just knew it.

Chron said, “Everyone listen up. It’s obvious what we’re going to have to do here. We’re going to have to jump in this pipe in front of us, we’ll be spit out onto the platform over there. Then we attack Blackfuse and destroy him. We’ll pry the key to those doors from his still-smoking corpse.”

“That’s obvious, is it? What about the conveyor?”

“What about it?”

“You’re telling me that there is no chance at all one of us will end up on that conveyor then, are you? Is that right?”

“Oh, right. Yeah, I was reading the markings on the walls, other side of that wall to the left of us is where all the death machines go through rough first stage assembly. Then they come in here on the conveyor, go into that machine, get finished and operational, and go out the right hand side to the freight elevators.”

“You can read goblin engineering instructions and signs?”

“Yes, why?”

“Nothing.”

“So someone is going to have to go up on the conveyor and destroy whatever you have time to before it comes out the other end and blows us up.”

“Why can’t we simply walk over to the rough assembly area, kill the goblin peons working in there, make sure nothing comes out to get finished?”

“Goblin Workers Union filed a grievance. The GWU says after that whole Death Star thing, all workers have an automatic exemption from mass destruction events on underground or intersteller villain lairs.”

“We could evacuate?”

“What, before it’s time to punch out? You’ve never worked with a union before, have you.”

“Fine, okay. So, why not go in there and blow the parts up? They can stay on the clock, we’ll just destroy the parts.”

“Can’t do it, subsection five says any damages to tools or equipment can result in serious penalties.”

We are here to kill Garrosh Hellscream and destroy the heart of an Old God. What, exactly, are we afraid of as a penalty here?”

“Lawyers.”

“Oh, shit, sorry, so you were saying about conveyors.”

Summibs - Master Warlock

“Bear, you’re going to be running on the conveyor with Mibs.”

They call me Bear. It must be a nickname, because my proper name is Buttflame, but since the alternatives seemed to be either Butt or Flamer, I felt I was getting the better part of the possibilities here.

Also, WTF, OVER?

“Um, I’m running with Mibs? On a conveyor. And we’re sure there will be death machines on this conveyor to destroy? This isn’t some ploy to get rid of by sending me on a conveyor to be sliced up by tracking lasers, is it?”

“No, no, no. No, you’ll be perfectly fine, Mibs is an absolute expert and will carefully and safely guide you through whatever you may face together. Trust him, he’s a professional, and the best damn Warlock on the server. I mean in the world.”

I looked over at Summibs. He grinned, waved, and flexed his muscles at me. His red loincloth fluttered a little, and I felt a bit greenish in the gills.

I quickly cast Unending Breath on myself to prevent getting sick, and looked back at Chron.

Really.”

“Absolutely, best Warlock in the world, and he will be your guide. Pay close attention to everything he says, and you’ll be just fine.”

“…”

“He isn’t wearing any clothes.”

“So?”

“We’re miles underground in the heart of Orgimmar, hunting Garrosh and fighting an army of every lewis carrol reject you can dip in purple paint that an old god could think of. And he’s naked. This is our expert?”

“He’s doing better than you are. Like twice as well. Maybe mo…”

“Point taken, no need to go on and on about it. Okay, let’s do this.”

As the rest of the group huddled together to discuss strategy, I walked over to Mibs. Oh dear lord, I think he flexed at me.

“So… what’s the plan?”

Mibs took a piece of chalk and began sketching an professional engineering diagram of the room, the conveyors, the machine, and the pipes. He labeled each part in sequence, drew zones of destruction and fields of fire, and began pointing out various bits as he talked.

“Here is the plan. We’ll move over here towards this pipe. Drop your personal portal, that way when we spread out between conveyor phases, you can get back faster when we have to go in. When I say go, we’re going to jump in this pipe and get dropped on the conveyor. Laser fences with small gaps will appear; don’t get touched or you’ll take severe damage. Enough that you might die or at least be a very crispy critter.”

“To continue. We will be on the conveyor. It will be moving in this direction, towards the machine, at a pace slightly faster than you can run even with enchanted boots. We will run against the flow, and three unfinished death machines will appear. I will call out what we want to destroy. We must pick one and only one, because as soon as one gets blown up the other two will turn turtle. Then we hop into a pipe just off the conveyor before getting pulled into the machine. Whichever death machine we destroy, we won’t have to deal with on the floor. Any questions?”

“Um.”

“Okay, here’s one. Why is a brilliant tactician and thoroughly-prepared agent of devastation dressed like a fruitcake?”

“Because fruitcakes are a pain in the ass, and you can’t get rid of them.”

“Fair enough… ”

We walked back over to the rest of the team in time to hear Chron say, “So when the entire field is full of spinning, hovering razor blades Mibs and Bear or Trajar and Chron will let an electromagnet through to clean them up”

“Right. Whichever conveyor team is up at the time.”

I broke in to ask, “We’re going to have two conveyor teams?”

“Yes, we’ll have to, once you’ve been on the conveyor you have to take a break, you can’t get right back up there or you’ll be laser chow.”

“Again, fair enough.”

“Okay, so, we gonna do this?”

“Go!”

Mibs and I ran over to the pipe closest to the left conveyor and jumped in as the rest of the team spread out around Blastfuse.

We dropped into the pipe, there was a feeling of rushing movement and then I plopped down onto a moving conveyor belt. Which immediately got criss-crossed with laser fences. And was moving at high speed.

I started running my butt off against the belt, and looming ahead of us, the first set of three devilish contraptions came through.

Mibs called out, “Go for the bombs first! Ignore the rest!”

I picked out the cluster of bombs, and began sending streamers of flame into them on the run until they blew up, all the time keeping an eye over my shoulder for gaps in the laser fencing to sidle over to.

The bombs blew up, and I turned to look for the pipe to jump into, and saw it just as the conveyor carried me past it.

“Noooooooo!”

I made a valiant leap for the pipe, and came up short, falling into the gap between the conveyor and the arena floor.

A little while later, a VERY little while later, I sat quietly at a campfire eating some snacks and listening to the conversation going on around me.

“Okay, so, by my count Bear has fallen off the edge, what, four times?”

“More like five.”

“And there was the time he stood ON the pipe to the conveyor, and a buzzing, spinning saw blade camped RIGHT ON THE PIPE so nobody could get in.”

“To be fair, that was Chron.”

“Okay, granted. But still. We’ve got one standnig in the blast zone when the drills broke through the crust, one case of intimate knowledge of a saw blade, on the premises, several jumps off the conveyor and a partridge in a pear tree.

Mibs spoke up and said, “Okay, Bear, you seem to be having… performance issues getting it in, I mean getting YOU in the big hole.”

“What we’ll do is, you go over near the pipe that you are trying to jump into and drop your personal portal. When you get to the end of the conveyor, instead of trying to make the pipe, ‘port.”

“So, kind of a ‘porta-pipey.”

“… No.”

“Do you think will work?”

“Can’t hurt. Let’s find out.”

Monstre stood up, dusted his hands off and said “Ready to get this done? All right, everyone. TIME TO DIE!”

Monstre charged in after Blackfuse, everyone else spread out, Arakeen leaped heroically behind Blackfuse and began unleashing a whirlwind of blows upon, I think, an unoffensive servo-cam, and Mibs and I hopped in the pipe, five by five.

This time for sure!

We dropped on the conveyor, ran towards the rapidly appearing parts, we attacked the bombs, and as we reached the darkness I activated my Demonic Circle and appeared perfectly safe and sound on the arena floor. IMMEDIATELY UNDER BLASTFUSE.

Eek!

I quickly scurried away, got to range dodging what seemed like an entire universe of spinning saw blades, only to have one fly at me, slam me backwards to the ground in a shredded mass, and leave me broken and dying on the floor.

As I blacked out, the last words I heard were Tom calling out, “Sorry, Bear!”

Gah.

About an hour later, and it was a somber bunch to be found munching on snacks.

“All right, let’s review.”

“Don’t stand close to the pipe or a saw blade can block it.”

“Don’t stand too close to the huge mechanical beast because it sends out waves of bad stuff that hurts everyone around it. Only one of our front line defenders can handle it.”

“Watch for the buzzbombs, and move before they pop out of the ground, just like dancing the waves of spreading crap on the Protectors of the Endless on the Terrace.”

“When we finally let an electromagnet through to sweep up all of the buzzsaw blades, do not stand directly in the path of the dozens of moving blades streaming directly toward you. This may come as a complete surprise, but that hurts. I thank you, and your healers will thank you.”

Somebody muttered, “Your healers will let your dumb ass die is what your healers will do.”

“Okay. I know you’re tired, I know you’re feeling sorry and sore, but this time it’s for real. Now let’s go get it!”

We lurched, I mean leaped to our feet and roared our defiance. This time for sure!

We spread out and prepared to give all we had, win or die. Again.

Siegemaster Blackfuse lifted it’s massive blue fist in the air and let loose with a shriek of tortured metal, freezing us in place as hard as stone.

All of us, that is, but Mibs.

Summibs2Blastfuse roared at us, “Why aren’t you stone cold, Mibs?”

Loincloth swaying, Mibs called back “BECAUSE I’M ALREADY ROCK HARD.”

Shortly thereafter, we all died. But we were all immensely cheered up, I have to admit.

We ate some snacks, straightened out loincloths (so to speak), dusted off our robes, and went in for reals. No jokes, no cute catch phrases, just an iron determination to get this mechanical monstrosity pounded into the control panel.

We fought with furious intensity. On and off the conveyor belt the two teams jumped like well-timed pistons. The buzz blades were spread out in a perfect fan, giving plenty of room to run. The tracking lasers were guided safely away, the creeping crawling bombs were burned down, the whole team handled the chaos of destruction like dancing through the raindrops and never getting wet.

Finally, Arrakeen the Bloody unleashed a mighty blow, and in absolute silence embedded her axe blade into Blackfuses’ skull, ending the fight and the goblin’s need for a hairdresser permanently.

We rested, we cheered rather weakly, and then we looted his still warm corpse.

Chron lifted up a key. Even I could see it was only half of a key for the lock we saw.

“Hey everyone, guess what? Looks like we get to hunt a dinosaur after all!”

“Oh, boy. Just…. just oh boy.”

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We stood, holding our weapons in eager anticipation of the battle to come.

The platform we were on descended further into the depths of the Warchief’s underground stronghold. Seriously, when the hell did he have time to build all this? And how did he keep the lava from flooding it all?

No matter. Speaking of lava…

“Hey Tom, about that lava.”

“I told you, if we flood the evil lair with lava, we don’t get any loot.”

“That’s the thing, man. What loot? All we’re doing is killing our way through soldiers and their siege engines to get to Garrosh. What are we gonna get, a scrap of armor or a sword that didn’t get broken along the way? And if the stuff is all that great we wouldn’t be able to pry it off their smoking dead bodies, now would we? Just saying. Lava, dude. Lava. Why not smoke ‘em since we’ve got ‘em?”

Everybody groaned.

Chrondeath said, “Garrosh has been scouring Pandaria for magic crap, treasure, anything he could get his hands on. And it’s all got to be stashed somewhere. Now, it wasn’t up there, so where do you think it is genius? Somewhere down there are all the treasures of a plundered continent. An entire plundered continent. That’s bigger than a breadbox or a baby’s arm, by the by. And we’re gonna get to it first. Do you finally get it?”

Ooooohhhhh. Oh, all right. Got it.

“So you’re saying it’s gonna be a lot of loot?”

“Sigh. Yes, you idiot, all lying there for the taking. It’ll be easy as cake.”

“I tried baking a cake, but it didn’t turn out right, the bacon was soggy.”

“Shut up.”

The platform finally arrived at the bottom of the shaft. As we stepped off, I took one last glance upwards to the level far, far overhead. How the hell did he build this so fast? And if he could do this, why not lava traps, spikes, snakes, boiling oil, something.

I mean, a big underground sprawling dungeon and not one single mechanical trap or poisoned chest? No green slime? You’ve got to have green slime! Or purple, whatever. Also, how did all this crap get down here? Through that one elevator shaft?

“Hey guys, do you think they’ve got a freight elevator somewhere that they use for the food deliveries, weapons, city-sized siege engines and stuff? This is kind of a long way to go every time you need to restock on toilet paper.”

“Shush, there are more troops ahead.”

Sure enough, the short tunnel opened up into a vast chamber, filled with patrols of orcs. Some were just standing around and others riding wolves back and forth. In the center of the chamber sat a big Hellscream Annihilator.

Chrondeath whispered to us, “Here’s the plan. We kill all of these orcs, I’ll take over the Annihilator, and we’ll use it to blow up the orcs in the next room.”

“How will we do that? They’re in the next room. It’s a small door. No trajectory.”

“Monstre and Pankration will lure them out, and we’ll lob shells on them at the doorway.”

“… Why would they come out if you’re sitting in an Annihilator waiting to drop explosives on them? And wouldn’t that kill Monstre and Pankration too?”

“It’s okay, you can’t kill your own people. Even with captured enemy siege equipment. We’ve tried. Oh Elune, how we’ve tried, ever since you joined us. But it doesn’t work.”

“Oh, okay. Wierd, how would the Hellscream Annihilator know not to hurt our side when we took it over? That doesn’t make sense. Wait, what do you mean since I’ve joined you?”

“Nothing. Let’s pull.”

We attacked the nearest group, and again we reaped the benefits of the iScream players the orcs were listening to. Despite killing orcs in the same room, nobody else paid us any attention.

In fact, the only other person that noticed us was the current operator of the Annihilator, who opened up on us, forcing us to stay mobile, ducking behind roof supports and watching our feet. Even with the constant rain of explosives, the screams of dying orcs and wolves and the fur flying, we were able to catch each group by surprise.

Annihilator

Before long, we had fought our way into the next chamber, some kind of half-assed training room, with Chron sadly leaving the smoking shell of the destroyed Annihilator behind him.

As we headed for the stairs, we saw a group of orcs trying to control one large mother of a beast, an enlarged orc glowing with purple ooze. Uh oh, purple! Must mean it’s bad! Everyone knows purple is the color of Y’shaarj and also the very coolest jedi.

Which begs the question, will that make Garrosh an orc jedi?

Old god or not, purple or not, the corrupted orc died like all the rest, and we pushed on up through the soldiers until we finally reached Malkorok, standing and waiting for us on a platform.

All alone.

On a high platform.

And he was glowing with purple ooze.

Uh-huh. *I* see where this is going.

“I got five bucks says someone is getting blown off the platform.”

“I’ll take a piece of that.”

We arrayed ourselves around Malkorok, and I noticed that his right hand and forearm were gone, replaced by a huge honking blade. When the hell did that happen? Did I miss a memo? No matter, if it was important we’d find out about it soon enough.

I looked around at the rest of the group, and while their attention was fixed on Malkorok figuring out where to stand so we were all nicely spread out, I quickly pulled out my engineering tools.

I had a Goblin Glider built into my cloak, but it was so complex it took a long time to reset. I figured, if I got blown up, it might be nice to have a simple easy to reset parachute instead. Something that, oh, I could use every thirty seconds, just in case.

Wow, can you imagine? Get blown up into the sky, only to pop a parachute and float back down safe and sound, shooting all the way! Like a commando or something.

Team Wanda and the Whining Commandos. Hell yes!

Malkorok was saying something to us, and of course the rest of the team were issuing clear instruction on how we were going to take him down, but I was kinda preoccupied tinkering with my cloak, so I didn’t pay too much attention. How hard could it be, anyway?

I mean, let’s face it. Whatever was about to happen would boil down to shooting Malkorok in the face with demon flame while moving my ass out of bad stuff. Right?

So that was when Monstre and Pankration moved in, and things got weird.

Well, weirder than usual.

First thing I noticed was, that purple ooze seemed to be coating everything on the platform, including us. Okay, no worries. I don’t feel any different.

Then I got flung up in the air by some unseen explosion. HAH!

Eat slowly falling comfy parachute, asswipe!

I landed gently to the ground right where I had been standing, continuing to send my flames to burn his butt, as it turned out, because his great horny back was to me.

Then big purple swirlies formed on the floor in a few places. One was very near to me, so I ran away, only to have the entire team start yelling and waving at me, screaming, “Go back! Go back! Stand in the bad, dumbass!”

Wait, what? I don’t stand in the bad, I get out of the bad. I know I ain’t the brightest torch in the sconce but I know enough to get out of the bad.

Then the purple swirlie blew up.

As we ate our meals around the campfire, it was patiently explained to me that if someone did not stand in the purple swirly and eat the explosion, then it would go off in a nice, fat area-wide blast that would hurt everyone. So please, pretty please would I stay in my zone and run to stand in the swirlies nearest me? Please?

Well okay, but you don’t have to be sarcastic about it. Geez.

So we attacked Malkorok again, and this time the purple swirly formed on the ground and I ran into it, and the explosion went off, and my health dropped.

I quickly popped my cookie in my mouth, spitting out the burnt hairs, and watched as my health bar did not fill.

“Umm… Pumpkin….. my health isn’t going up!”

“It won’t, you’re coated in purple slime. You can’t get healed until later. All our healing is doing is giving you an absorption bubble.”

“How does that work?”

“I dunno.”

“Oh. Okay!”

So we kept on. Very soon, Malkorok caused the ground to erupt in a cone to one side, and then again in two more areas. I started to run to get into one, but was told no, those are bad to stand in.

Tricksy!

Once the floor had blown up in three different areas, Kissinger called out, “Okay, now everyone remember where those three explosions were, he’s about to make all three explode at once with no visual cue, so don’t be standing where they were.”

Um, wut?

Wait, what did he say? I was supposed to pay attention and remember where purple dude had blowed up the floor?

Oh crap.

So, as we ate our noodles around the campfire, I was informed that, yes, in fact I was supposed to remember where Malkorok was blowing things up so I’d know where not to stand for laters, but just for me, since I was so special, Kissinger would try to take the time out of what he was doing to place a target mark on the floor each time the explosion went off so we could see it easily.

Now I think we had a handle on it. Right? Stand in the small purple stuff, get out of the big purple explosion zones, remember where they were for later when he makes all three go off at once, occasional parachute, and we don’t heal, we bubble.

Then I saw it. Malkorok weakened!

Immediately, Tom called out, “Everyone in, stack. NO NOT YOU BUTT, YOU’RE FILLED WITH DISPLACED ENERGY!”

Funny, I don’t feel sparkly.

I didn’t know why, but I wasn’t sensing a lot of hate in the group for Malkorok, just a desire to get his death over with so we could move on to important things.

But, this is Malkorok! This is the dude that’s been a little weasel from day one, and he was such a weasel we couldn’t tell if Garrosh were really behind things, or if Malkorok was the true evil, and Garrosh merely his dupe.

There it was, though. I think it was because he wasn’t a normal orc anymore. Whatever he may have plotted, he let himself be all pumped full of purple muck, armed with a, well, with an arm, and sent to block a door.

It didn’t scream “number one guy” to any of us. More like, “here, stand here and if anyone comes, whack ‘em.”

Not exactly evil overlord material. Cannon fodder, nothing more. Kinda disappointing.

As Arrakeen sent her axe spinning into Malkorok’s skull, it felt more like pushing an obstacle out of the way than taking out a big fearsome baddie.

Oh, who am I kidding. Watching that scum-sucking purple puddle popper die felt great! I guess I’m just immature enough to enjoy seeing that piece a crap go down for his part in Theramore Island.

Filled with determination, we strode to the door he guarded, determined to push on, us, alone against the might of Orgrimmar!

Plus, you know. Loot.

We pushed through the door and looked upon the hell of war.

A massive chamber was revealed just beyond that door, halls stretching into the distance, ringing to the sounds of cannon and explosions, shouts and screams.

To either side of us, the forces of High-Tinker Mekkatorque streamed in through wide-open gates, raining death and destruction upon the Goblin war machines and shrieking orcs.

As the planes, tanks and gnome engineers streamed past us, freezing, blowing up or turning to squirrels all who stood before them, they were led by the High-Tinker himself, shouting order and smashing orcs as they came.

As we gazed upon the devastation, I said the only thing I could think of to sum up the situation.

“Guess they found the freight elevators.”

“Shut up.”

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We few, we flamed, we band of misfits stood at the entrance to Ragefire Chasm.

Our clothes still smoking, the sweet smell of cooked meat surrounding us like pork purfume, we stared into the entrance to the open pit barbeque from hell.

The gaping maw of the tunnel shone red in the light of the lava pools to either side, like the cherry glow of charcoal when it’s just right for the first steak. Smoke drifted across the path we would take, obscuring our vision. It was hard to see any details, as if we were trying to check how done the jerky was in a nice, big smoker.

I looked around at the others. “Anyone else hungry?”

The rest of the group gave assorted shrugs and variations of the theme “No.”

“Really, ’cause I’m starvin’ over here. How’s about some good bear jerky?”

“NO! Well, okay, maybe a little. Now shut up.”

“Hey, how do you make a bear jerky, anyway?”

“Well, first you find a bear, and then you get a cattle prod…”

“Shut up.”

“Hey, wouldn’t that make it a bear prod then?”

“You shut up too.”

“No wait, if it’s called a cattle prod because you use it to prod cattle, would a stick you use to move geese be a goose gooser?”

“I’m saying shut up. I know I’m saying it because I can hear the words coming out of my mouth. But somehow, you’re not doing it. We have extra imps, you don’t start with the shutting, I’m gonna start with the corking. I’ll shove an imp where the sun don’t shine.”

“Isn’t that the little valley in Slice, over near Lancre?”

“What? Oh, nevermind. Let’s do this.”

The ten of us did not rapidly proceed down the tunnel.

The seconds stretched out in silence.

Finally, I turned to Tom and said, “I don’t wanna go. My robe’s burned and stained, I still have a flaming arrow in my butt, the hair has been charred off my nuts and I smell like a mongolian barbeque. I need a bath. It ain’t right to be getting hungry when I smell that the ‘Locks been cooking.”

Tom turned to me and said, “I don’t care. Until we find someone to fill your spot, you’re going. And since we still haven’t had anything better than a rabid goat with diarrhea show up to apply for your spot, you’re it. Now grab your nutsack, charred though it may be and get your butt down that tunnel.”

Boldly we strode into Ragefire Chasm, determined to avenge the Vale, prevent whatever terrible fate would befall us all from Garrosh having the power of an elder god in his hands, and avenge the death of Taran Zhu. Although the Warlock may have been fidgeting with the front of his robe, and wishing he had a nice moisturizing cream.

We descended deeper into the caverns, fighting our way past more warriors, mages and assassins until finally we reached a chamber where General Nazgrim stood before ranked formations of orcs, each of them eager to fight the invaders of Orgrimmar. General Nazgrim looked less than thrilled. He seemed determined and as fierce as ever, but he didn’t look all that happy.

I stopped in my tracks.

“Wait, we’re going to fight General Nazgrim?”

“Yeah, so?”

“But I like him. Why are we fighting him? I ain’t got nothing against him, he’s a righteous Orc.”

“He’s standing between us and Garrosh.”

“How do we know that?”

“Because in this vast city there is only one way we can travel that isn’t blocked off, barricaded or broken. We can’t fly over and around anything because I don’t know why, and also the map we got from Wowhead that we’re following says we have to fight this dude here to go any further.”

“Wait, what? If Wowhead already sent scouts down here to map the place, why didn’t THEY kill Garrosh?”

“Because Garrosh paid Perculia off in socks. Lots and lots of socks. Nice, soft purple old god socks. With little tentacle things on top. Now shut up and soldier, soldier.”

“I ain’t a soldier, I’m a Warlock. That means I’m petulant and summon minions to do shit for me because I’d rather sell my soul to hell than have to do my own laundry.”

“And seriously, I like General Nazgrim. Can’t we go around?”

“No. Look, he’s right there watching us. He’s an honorable old Orc, and he’s sworn to serve the Warchief. If we’re gonna take down Garrosh, we gotta go through him to do it.”

“What if we tried talking to him? I mean, he can’t be happy about this. Maybe he’d, I dunno, go defend somewhere else?”

“He’d never retreat from a threat.”

“Can we at least ask? I’m not saying he’d have to retreat exactly, just, like, fall back and regroup in a different strategic location. Like that donut shop over on the west side.”

“We burned and looted it already. You drank two gallons of the Pumpkin Spice blend, and called the urn your own personal ‘Mana Tide’. Also, they wouldn’t let him in. Something about having too large of a personal weapon of destruction.”

“But we burned and looted it already. What could they possibly do to stop him?”

“They put up signs saying it’s not allowed.”

“… and?”

“No, that’s it.”

“Look, all he’s doing is pacing back and forth. We could stop, go get a bite to eat.”

“Pulling in 3… 2… 1…”

“Fine. Whatever. Don’t go crying to ME when your ‘Lock cookies taste like burnt nut hair is all I’M saying…”

“WHAT?”

“Nothing, nothing…”

Monstre and Crankpanktankration charged at General Nazgrim, knocking orcs higgledy piggledy in their rush to tackle the big bad boss.

General Nazgrim roared as he saw the young orcs die. The canny warrior shifted into battle stance and began to lay waste to the tanks.

As we spread out to focus on taking him down, a tear came to my eye.

Here was a fine champion, an honorable warrior and a brilliant tactician. To have to kill such as him to get to a piece of shit like Garrosh turned my stomach.

Hey, wait a minute.

“Hey guys, just a thought, but if General Nazgrim is such a brilliant strategist and tactician, why is he all alone in a small chamber just the right size for us to spread out and face him?”

“Shockwave, spread out before you get blown up!”

“Oh shit, look out behind you, Assassin!” “ARGH!!!” /deathrattle

“Too late. Sorry.”

“Banner! BANNER! Get it down!”

“Where did the Ravager come from, and why is it eating my face, kthxbai.”

“So. Much. Fail. ADDS UP! Seriously dude, backs + assassins = U DEAD BRO?”

“C’mere you little blinking motherfucker, I’m the dentist and this is your oral exam. Open wide and say ah.”

“WHY ARE YOU ALL DYING SO MUCH?”

“Because he’s like, General Nazgrim, and he’s in Defensive Stance, and to touch him is to die a horrible, agonizing death?”

“Defensive Stance! Shit, he’s a tank. EVERYONE STOP ATTACKING THE GENERAL!”

“But Tom, if we’re not attacking the General, what are we supposed to do? Twiddle our thumbs?”

Tom tossed me a bottle. “Here’s some cream, go polish your nuts. You can keep the bottle, I don’t want it back. No, really. Keep it.”

“What the heck did you use this for before you gave it to me, and why do you carry it around with you? Just ew, man.”

“ASSASSIN UP! Drop your lotion and get in motion, we got adds to burn down!”

Ravager chewed our faces, Mages and Warriors made for the scurrying and Assassins were a pain in the back, but we could tell the General’s heart just wasn’t in it.

As he fell, he said to us, “I stood by my warchief because it was my duty. I’m glad it was you who took me down.”

As we stood over the fallen figure of one of the finest warriors Azeroth would ever know, our hearts were heavy and our faces bleak. This was no victory, this was a tragedy.

I looked over at Tom and asked, “Is the rest of this mess going to feel this bad?”

He said, “According to the map, our next stop is to go find Malkorok and shove a big spear up his ass.”

As one, we all let loose with a delighted, and very enthusiastic, “WAHOOOO!!!!!!”

Hallelujah, we had the bitter course of the meal done, but there’s definitely room for dessert!

Let’s go git some!

“Hey, guys? This elevator over here? This goes pretty far down, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Wasn’t the Ragefire Chasm up there all filled with lava and shit?”

“Yeah.”

“That Chasm, like, right overhead?”

“Yeah.”

“Why didn’t we just, like, let that all flood this area down here?”

“I think Taran Zhu is still up ahead some where, and still alive.”

“Oh, okay. So we’re a carebear rescue party now, too. Good to know. Good to know.”

“Hey, Tom?”

“No, you can’t bring the lava down anyway. If you did, we can’t get loot.”

“Damn. All right then.”

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