Burdens of the spirit
After the disaster with the Divine Bell, I spent a couple days channeling old-Nagrand-Garrosh – brooding and moping in my quarters here at Domination Point. Other than occasional tactical reports from General Nazgrim, most people had the good sense to leave me to myself. Hell, even Dontrag and Utvoch managed to keep their yaps shut for a couple days. This may or may not be related to me slapping them around several times when I first got back to the base.
The time to myself gave me the chance to think more about where to go from here. After what went down at the Emperor’s Reach, it’s painfully obvious that I need to start taking matters into my own hands. Trouble is, in practical terms, I’m not sure what that actually ENTAILS. So, one step at a time: Time to act one the one avenue I have open to me, and worry about what comes next when I get there. Elder Cloudfall told me he could help prepare me for my destiny, or however he fortune-cookied it, so it’s time to take him up on the offer.
Granted, I’m not exactly thrilled about what little I’ve heard about that Kypari Zar place, so a few more answers might be nice. Any bets on whether I’ll actually get them?
Anyway, I had some trouble tracking down Cloudfall at first. He wasn’t anywhere on the base, and Ben-Lin didn’t know where he’d wandered off to. Finally, Jorn Skyseer told me he’d been talking with Cloudfall about some of the areas nearby that our hunting parties have been hitting up, and he pointed me toward the island to the east. The one where the trainees used to go crane hunting when we first set up shop here in Pandaria.
I flew over to the island, with Taktani in tow. Cloudfall was sitting on a rock along the shore. He and Zhi-Zhi were sitting back to back in one of those meditation poses that look like they would hurt your legs like hell, eyes closed, off in their own little world.
GARROSH – Hey, Gramps.
(Mr. Elder Panda man and his money friend just keep sitting on the rock and being quiet.)
GARROSH – Elder?
(Elder Panda still doesn’t respond.)
GARROSH – Hello? Chimps? Anybody home?
(Mr. Monkey didn’t answer either. I hope his ears are okay!)
GARROSH – (tapping Zhi-Zhi on the shoulder) Hey, Banana Boy!
ZHI-ZHI – (jumping, startled) AAAH! Oh…oh, the One! Much apologizing, Zhi-Zhi did not see you, was thinking great thoughts.
GARROSH – Uh, yeah, whatever. So listen, I… Hang on. (turning to me) Tak?
TAKTANI – Hi!
(Mr. Warchief kind of stared at me for a minute. Maybe he forgot what he was going to say?)
GARROSH – Yeah, hi. So now that we’ve met, is there a reason why you’re not, y’know, writing anything down?
TAKTANI – Oh! I’m sorry, Mr. Warchief. I forgot to bring my paper.
GARROSH – You…forgot.
TAKTANI – I left it back in my room!
GARROSH – You realize that’s the ENTIRE reason I bring you places, right?
TAKTANI – Don’t be mad! I’m sorry!
(Mr. Warchief rubbed his eyes and forehead for a minute. I think maybe his eyes were sore because of how sunny it was. I should give him some sunglasses for his birthday! Does anyone know when his birthday is?)
GARROSH – (still rubbing his eyes) Of all your crimes, Mokvar, this may be the most grating…
TAKTANI – I don’t understand, Mr. Warchief.
GARROSH – Never mind. Okay, look, Tak, you’re not off the hook yet. You just made some extra homework for yourself.
TAKTANI – But I’m not in school, Mr. Warchief!
GARROSH – Yeah, well, maybe this will teach you lesson #1: Don’t forget the tools of your damn trade!
TAKTANI – I’m sorry!
GARROSH – So…here’s what you’re going to do. Most of the sand around here looks pretty wet. So YOU, little miss Swiss Cheese Brain, can just sit yourself down and write your notes in the sand, and then come back with your paper and copy it later.
TAKTANI – Ooh, that sounds fun!
GARROSH – BEFORE THE DAMN TIDE COMES IN. (sighs) Okay. So. Back to you, monkey boy. What’s up with Old Man Furball here? Is he off in some weird panda brain-freeze zone or something?
(While Mr. Warchief was talking, I started writing everything in the sand like he said, like this and this and this and YAY this is fun! Oh and I did like he said and came back later to copy it all down and I even brought Mr. D and Mr. U to help check my spelling, because they’re smart and nice. And SEE, Mr. Warchief, I got it all done just like you said! Oh oh oh but while I was writing it out, there was a seagull flying around, and it pooped on the first page. I hope you notice it’s there before you touch it.)
ZHI-ZHI – Ah, ah, yes, Elder Cloudfall is in deep meditation. Much more focused than Zhi-Zhi. As matter of fact, Elder has been teaching Zhi-Zhi meditation techniques, teaching to block out everything around Zhi-Zhi. Will help to center Zhi-Zhi.
GARROSH – So you can think more great thoughts.
ZHI-ZHI – Ahh! You are understanding!
GARROSH – So how long does it usually take for Captain Comatose to come back out of these—
CLOUDFALL – (not moving, eyes still closed) I can hear you, Warchief Garrosh.
ZHI-ZHI – Elder!
GARROSH – So, Gramps, if you could hear me, any particular reason you didn’t answer me before?
CLOUDFALL – (continuing to keep his eyes closed) I was in the midst of pursuing a line of thought. I felt it more pressing that I complete it.
GARROSH – Isn’t it kind of rude to just ignore people when they talk to you?
CLOUDFALL – Is it not rude to interrupt people who are clearly meditating?
ZHI-ZHI – But, erm, Elder, you are hearings all the transpiringses…um…were we not practicing our deep meditation exercises?
CLOUDFALL – I have been practicing these techniques since before your great grandmother was born, Zhi-Zhi.
GARROSH – So anyway, now that you’re done with that—
CLOUDFALL – I’m not.
GARROSH – You’re what?
CLOUDFALL – As I said, Warchief Garrosh, I have been availing myself of the peace and solitude of the beach to think.
GARROSH – Um, okay?
CLOUDFALL – I’m not finished.
(Mr. Panda Elder still hadn’t opened his eyes, and now he settled back into place more.)
GARROSH – Hang on, you’re seriously going to blow me off so you can fucking go back to…whatever, going over your grocery list or backtracking to wherever you left your keys, or whatever the fuck you’re doing?
(Mr. Panda didn’t say anything.)
GARROSH – (to Zhi-Zhi) Is he for real?
ZHI-ZHI – (shrugs and waves one hand) Is easier not trying to argue, truths to telling.
CLOUDFALL – There. (opens his eyes, stands, and turns to Garrosh) Now I am finished.
GARROSH – Well yay.
TAKTANI – Yay!
GARROSH – DON’T START.
TAKTANI – Oh.
GARROSH – So do you mind telling me what was so important that it couldn’t wait?
(Mr. Panda man looked around the beach a few times.)
CLOUDFALL – Your pupil, Gurtash, and his peers. I understand they used to come here on occasion.
GARROSH – Oh. Yeah. They used to go hunting here.
CLOUDFALL – (nods) This is a sacred place, you know. The Cradle of Chi-Ji, the Great Crane.
GARROSH – Look, if you’re going to start complaining that they came here to—
CLOUDFALL – You misunderstand me, Warchief Garrosh. I did not come here to pass judgment. I came merely to visit a place of some import to the youths, away from the bustle of your fortifications, and allow them to enter my thoughts.
GARROSH – Ah. Yeah. They’ve been in mine a lot lately, too.
CLOUDFALL – Indeed.
(Mr. Warchief got kind of quiet and Mr. Panda man stayed quiet for a minute too and watched him.)
CLOUDFALL – In any case, I’m sure you did not seek me out to revisit such things. How may I be of help to you?
GARROSH – By doing what you came here for in the first place. You said you could help me get ready for this great destiny of mine.
CLOUDFALL – Indeed. Or rather, I believe I can help you to meet it. Whether it will prove to be great or not will be very much up to you.
GARROSH – Well, either way, you said that this Kypari Zar place is where he need to go to get started. So, whenever you’re ready to go, let’s go.
CLOUDFALL – I also told you that you carry many shadows with you.
GARROSH – Kind of the point of us going to that Zar place, right?
CLOUDFALL – Indeed. But you carry more now. Perhaps needlessly.
GARROSH – (sighs) Can you bottom-line this, maybe, or are you going to do a whole speech again?
ZHI-ZHI – (waving his hand) Really much easier not to tryings with the arguings.
CLOUDFALL – (pointing northward) The temple to the north. That is where the…calamity occurred?
GARROSH – Yeah, don’t remind me.
CLOUDFALL – Have you gone there since then?
GARROSH – No.
CLOUDFALL – You should.
GARROSH – Look, Gramps, I get that you’re probably going for some kind of hippie closure crap here, but if you think it’s actually going to IMPROVE my mood to go up there and find a bunch of—
CLOUDFALL – Warchief Garrosh, no facts that you find there will be so damaging to the soul as the nightmares your mind has conjured in their absence.
GARROSH – (looking north) Yeah, maybe.
CLOUDFALL – And in the process, you may allow yourself the opportunity to bring one lesser shadow with you on our journey.
GARROSH – (sighs) You’re just going to stonewall me until I go, aren’t you?
ZHI-ZHI – Really not worth tryings to—
GARROSH – (slapping Zhi-Zhi) Shut it, Spanks.
CLOUDFALL – Kypari Zar will still be there when you are done.
GARROSH – (turns and starts to walk toward Mortimer) Yeah, fine. I’ll drop little miss Happy Kitty here off at the base, and get a couple things squared away, then… (stops, then looks back at Cloudfall) You know, I’ve heard of that Kypari Zar place before.
CLOUDFALL – (perks an eyebrow) Oh?
GARROSH – Last year. I didn’t even know what “Kypari Zar” was. But someone in…high places…told me if I went there, I would die.
CLOUDFALL – (nods slowly) You may. In fact, you will.
GARROSH – Not the best sales pitch, Gramps.
CLOUDFALL – You will die if you go there. But then, you will die if you do not. Just as I will die if I take you, and I will die if I do not. That we will die is assured, Warchief Garrosh. The only question is how, and when, and why.
GARROSH – That’s a cop-out and you know it.
CLOUDFALL – I know no such thing.
GARROSH – (shrugs and climbs onto Mortimer) Well, whatever. I’ve got enough on my mind these days, what’s one more thing, right?
CLOUDFALL – If I might make a suggestion, Warchief Garrosh. A great many years ago, a former mentor offered me certain words of solace. A phrase of great power and wisdom, and consolation to the soul in times of need.
GARROSH – What’s that?
CLOUDFALL – Have a drink. Next one’s on me.
Not the worst idea in the world, actually. I might head downstairs and see what we have on tap. Meanwhile, I’m going to put a couple things in order here at the base, then take Mortimer back out for a flight over to the Temple of the Red Crane. For better or worse.