Okay, so now I’m getting worried.
I’ve spent the day in Brackenwall Village with Krog, Dontrag and Utvoch, and the ogre seer Draz’Zilb, all working on getting some information from the Grimtotem prisoner. Things really weren’t going anywhere for the longest time…I’ll give this Grimtotem credit, he had a really strong will, and even after I was giving him a pretty sound beating, he wouldn’t make so much as a peep. Or a moo, I guess.
This was another one of those cases where I don’t want to lose any details, so I had Mokvar come with me to Brackenwall so he can keep a transcript of the interrogation. Glad I had him go train up inscription, gotta say. So, here’s the record of the session, at least after the first couple hours of me smacking the fucker around without much gain…
GARROSH: Okay, so you know, as much as I’m enjoying beating on this guy, I don’t think it’s really getting us anywhere.
KROG: Maybe we just need more knives? I’m pretty fond of knives myself.
GARROSH: Better than a good sound barefisted thrashing?
KROG: Oh yeah, a good clean stab can be way satisfying. Knives and daggers, either way.
GARROSH: Well yeah, but you’re a rogue. That doesn’t help us with this.
KROG: What do you mean?
GARROSH: You’ll just end up stun-locking him. It doesn’t do us any good at all if we’re just keeping him silenced.
DONTRAG: Rest assured, great Warchief, we shall find ways to make him talk!
UTVOCH: Or a great inconceivable agony will await him!
DONTRAG: Far greater than his worst imaginings!
GARROSH: THESE two, on the other hand…
UTVOCH: What about us, Warchief?
GARROSH: Never mind.
DONTRAG: No, really.
UTVOCH: Maybe just let it go, Dontrag?
DONTRAG: I just want to understand what the Warchief is talking about.
GARROSH: Yeah, good luck there.
DONTRAG: As you say, sir…
KROG: Seriously, where did you find these two?
GARROSH: Stuck in a mine in Stonetalon.
UTVOCH: Where we carried out our duty for the Horde most proudly!
DONTRAG: For the glory of the Horde! For the glory of Hellscream!
KROG: Yeah, I’m sure.
GARROSH: Well they were helpful at the time. Kind of.
KROG: Yeah, thanks for getting them involved with this.
GARROSH: Would you rather be working on this with just a bunch of ogres helping you?
GARROSH: No offense, Draz’Zilb.
KROG: Actually, I’m not sure I’m seeing the improvement.
GARROSH: Oh come on. OGRES?
DRAZ’ZILB: Um, I’m standing RIGHT HERE.
GARROSH: Did you miss the “no offense” part?
DONTRAG: I did not, Warchief!
UTVOCH: Indeed and verily, nor did I, oh great—
GARROSH: Not YOU, for FUCK’S sake.
KROG: See what I mean?
GARROSH: Yeah, fine, whatever.
DRAZ’ZILB: Chief Hellscream, not to interrupt, but I believe I may have a method that may facilitate the extrication of vital intelligence from our captive.
GARROSH: Look, he’s being uncooperative enough, there’s no point in making him stupid too so he can’t even understand what I’m asking him.
DRAZ’ZILB: Um…no. What I mean, great Chief, is I may have a spell I can use to force the information from him, willingly or not.
GARROSH: Well why didn’t you say so? Hell, for that matter, why didn’t you guys do this before I had to fly all the way down here?
DRAZ’ZILB: The incantation required a number of reagents, Chief. Some helpful adventurers only just delivered them a short while ago.
GARROSH: Good, so— wait, you actually needed that shit? Like the “go get seven of these and nine of those” that we always send those noobs around to collect? You mean you actually sent the volunteer errand boys out to do something that was really important?
DRAZ’ZILB: Why…would I occupy others’ valuable time on tasks that were not of some genuine vital interest to us, great Chief?
GARROSH: <blink> …Shit, you ogres have a lot to learn.
UTVOCH: I know a good place they could go for extension courses, if they—
GARROSH: SHUT UP, YOU.
UTVOCH: Yes sir.
DONTRAG: Stop interrupting the Warchief, for goodness’ sake!
GARROSH: The same goes for you!
DONTRAG: Yes sir.
UTVOCH: Apologies, sir.
DONTRAG: Yes, sir, much ap—
GARROSH: Okay, SERIOUSLY, BOTH of you, the next word of our either of your mouths had better be NOTHING, because otherwise, the SECOND word out of your mouths is going to be “OUCH, MY HEAD!” You understand?!
KROG: <chortle> This is awesome.
KROG: OUCH, MY HEAD!!
DRAZ’ZILB: Begging your pardon, Chief Hellscream, but is this…a typical day for you and your lieutenants?
GARROSH: <looks down> <long pause> Yes.
DRAZ’ZILB: Shall I resume my elaboration, Chief, or does the moment dictate a further prolonging of the awkward lull?
GARROSH: Okay, I’m fairly sure I recognized SOME of the words in there.
UTVOCH: The extension course DOES include a very excellent vocabulary building unit, if it please the Warchief, begging your pardon, sir, and hoping I might be spared a harsh inconceivable pummeling of—
DONTRAG: <shakes head>
UTVOCH: OWW!! Yes sir, re-shutting up…
KROG: <hand clamps on mouth>
GARROSH: Draz’Zilb, would you please finish what you were saying before I have to fucking kill everyone in the room?
DRAZ’ZILB: Of course, Chief. As I was saying, I know of a very potent incantation, the reagents for which have just presently come into my possession. With it, I suspect we might loosen the reluctant lips of our Grimtotem prisoner.
GARROSH: Is it some kind of truth serum or something?
DRAZ’ZILB: Not at all, nothing quite so invasive. At least not in such a manner. No, good Chief, the spell I speak of executes a separation of the subject’s spirit from his body, leaving him highly susceptible to…coercion.
GARROSH: Well, that sounds okay, but he’s been pretty resistant to “coercion” so far, and it’s not like I’m a rookie when it comes to beating an answer out of someone.
DRAZ’ZILB: True, he’s proven to be remarkably strong-willed. But this is a different matter altogether. One can steel oneself against the pains of the body, great Chief; the body is fleeting and corporeal, and a strong mind can divest itself of the fear for its well-being. But the spirit…touch upon it directly, play upon the proper strings, and no mind can resist indefinitely. Eventually…one reaches a point of necessity. There is, for each of us, a breaking point, a fear so fundamental to our souls that if faced with it, we MUST escape it, regardless the cost. It is no longer a matter of strength or courage or power of will; it is a matter of need.
GARROSH: That’s…just evil.
KROG: I’m liking this guy.
DRAZ’ZILB: Shall I proceed, great Chief?
GARROSH: So we’re going to be seeing this guy’s deepest fear, is that it?
DRAZ’ZILB: Nothing quite so crude, Chief Hellscream, not quite as dramatic. It is a process of the mind, and as such, it will be perceived solely by his mind. All we will witness is the shadow of his spirit as it is…extracted.
GARROSH: Well get extracting, then.
DRAZ’ZILB: As you wish, Chief.
Draz’Zilb begins the incantation, and the Grimtotem raider’s body goes stiff and freezes in place. A shadowy outline of the tauren floats up from his body and hovers in the air nearby.
KROG: Kinda like one of those shadow priest body double thingies.
DONTRAG: Should we stun him before he has a chance to hit dispers— OUCH!!
GARROSH: SHUT. UP.
DRAZ’ZILB: Now then, here we are… As you can see, my Grimtotem friend, your situation grows a bit more, shall we say, tenuous.
The Grimtotem shade floats higher in the air and appears to look around apprehensively, limbs reaching in different directions as if trying to control its movement.
DRAZ’ZILB: Please, do try all you wish to remove yourself from your current position. It merely expends mental energy while I secure my hold on you. If anything, I thank you for your aid.
GARROSH: Is it working?
DRAZ’ZILB: Quite. Now then, something simple to start. What is your name, Grimtotem?
The shade glares at Draz’Zilb silently.
GARROSH: You’re sure about that, dude?
DRAZ’ZILB: <chuckles> Oh good. Even after hearing us discussing matters, he still needs to be…persuaded. I was hoping he would.
Draz’Zilb waves his staff, and shadowy tendrils of magic force swirl around the Grimtotem spirit. The shade lurches back and forth, looking about frantically, limbs flailing with greater urgency.
DRAZ’ZILB: There…that seems to be helping. But….just to be sure…
Draz’Zilb reaches for additional reagents and tosses them about his staff. He gestures toward the Grimtotem again, whose movements become more jerky and exaggerated, then grow slower as the shade’s form shrinks back.
DRAZ’ZILB: Now then…your name.
The shade’s mouth opens. After a long pause, it speaks in an echoing, timid voice.
GRIMTOTEM: Karthag… My name is Karthag Stonehoof.
DRAZ’ZILB: Much better. And you are one of the Grimtotem operating out of Blackhoof Village, is that correct?
DRAZ’ZILB: You see, Chief, he can be reasonable. <chuckle>
GARROSH: Dude, you’re enjoying this way too much.
KROG: Think maybe we could bring him in for some of our Alliance prisoners?
KROG: Just sayin’.
GARROSH: Okay, let’s get back to the point. Let’s find out what he knows about the attacks.
DRAZ’ZILB: Indeed. What was the purpose of your raid on our village, Karthag?
The shade shudders in place, then cowers with a pained moan.
DRAZ’ZILB: Oh, this IS a strong one. Here, then…
Draz’Zilb sprinkles some dust around the Grimtotem’s body, then waves his staff again. The shadow cries out in terror, then cowers silently, trembling.
DRAZ’ZILB: Shall we try that again? The objective of your attack?
GRIMTOTEM: We…we are looking for an ogre relic…
DONTRAG: Ogre relic?
GARROSH: PEANUT GALLERY, SHUT IT.
DRAZ’ZILB: An ogre relic? Strange that I wouldn’t know of any such thing, being as I am an ogre myself. What is this relic you’re seeking? What do you want with it?
GRIMTOTEM: It isn’t us that want something with it. It’s…it’s the Twilight’s Hammer.
GARROSH: The FUCK he says?
DRAZ’ZILB: Yes, the fuck you sa— erm, that is, what do you mean? Why would the Twilight’s Hammer have an interest in an ogre artifact?
GRIMTOTEM: We…our leaders learned that the Twilight’s Hammer are seeking the relic, and we think it’s most likely in the hands of one of the ogre clans.
DRAZ’ZILB: According to whom? Where is this coming from?
GRIMTOTEM: Isha Gloomaxe arrived in Blackhoof Village with the news. She said we needed to hunt down as many of the ogres as we can, until we find the relic or confirm it’s not in Dustwallow.
DRAZ’ZILB: Is this what’s happening in Feralas as well? The reason behind the attacks there on the Gordunni?
GRIMTOTEM: Y…yes… Arnak Grimtotem himself was dispatched to oversee the search there, at least that’s what Isha told us…
GARROSH: I’m not liking the sound of this.
DRAZ’ZILB: But why? What is it for? What IS this relic?
GRIMTOTEM: It’s…a magic vessel… Some…some months ago, Cho’gall held a gathering of ogres in Dire Maul. The Twilight’s Hammer believe he had the relic forged while he was there.
GARROSH: Yeah, I’m liking this even less.
GRIMTOTEM: The relic is a phylactery…the phylactery of Cho’gall. They believe…he bound a portion of his spirit to it. They want to use it to resurrect Cho’gall.
KROG: Oh fuck.
GARROSH: Hang on, what the fuck. That’s all well and shitty by itself, but what the hell do the fucking GRIMTOTEM want with it?
DRAZ’ZILB: A fine question, good Chief. A fine answer to follow, I’m sure. Well, Karthag? What interest DO the Grimtotem have in such a thing?
DONTRAG: Maybe they’re trying to stop the Twilight’s Hammer?
UTVOCH: Maybe they think they can use it to preserve their own leaders?
KROG: Maybe you guys should shut the fuck up?
DRAZ’ZILB: Maybe we should let the spirit answer the question before I run out of reagents here?
GRIMTOTEM: We…don’t have a use for it. Bringing back Cho’gall doesn’t matter to us. But…we know that the Twilight Hammer wants it…and so if we can find it first…
GARROSH: You can cut a deal with them.
DRAZ’ZILB: Surely you don’t think they can be trusted. They want to destroy the world!
GRIMTOTEM: Our world…is already destroyed. We’ve become outcasts of the Horde…our attempts to forge a truce with the Alliance have crumbled… We have precious few allies to turn to anymore. And the hope is, if we can give the Twilight’s Hammer Cho’gall, they may help us regain some of what we’ve lost.
GARROSH: You’re insane. I seriously don’t know which of you is more crazy, the Grimtotem or the Twilights.
DRAZ’ZILB: What’s the next move for you? Where are your people striking next?
GRIMTOTEM: I don’t know…very few of us ever knew more than our next mission… I just know what we’re looking for, but beyond that…
KROG: Is he lying? To cover for them?
DRAZ’ZILB: Unlikely. His spirit is broken enough at this point…I don’t think he has anything else for us.
GARROSH: It was enough.
Draz’Zilb chuckles and waves his staff again. The shade shudders violently, then dissipates into the air in a burst of shadow magic. Karthag’s body seizes up, then collapses limply to the ground, lifeless.
GARROSH: The FUCK, dude?!
DRAZ’ZILB: Oh, I’m sorry, did I not tell you about that part? My apologies. The procedure does come, eventually, at the expense of the subject’s life. Spirits are so terribly hard to reintegrate into bodies once they’ve been extracted, after all…
KROG: Seriously, Alliance prisoners. Really, really look into it.
I can’t even tell you how pissed off I am about this. How is this going on, and the GRIMTOTEM are able to put it together before WE do? What am I paying my undercover agents for, anyway?! Isn’t this EXACTLY the kind of shit that they’re supposed to be digging up for me?
Obviously this is bad news in a major way. I like to bust Thrall’s balls, but he actually has been breaking his ass trying to come up with a way to get the Deathwing situation under control, and the LAST thing we need is a wild card like Cho’gall to get thrown back into the mix this late in the game. I’ve got to get this shit under control. And fast.
Stay tuned for updates. Meanwhile, I’m dispatching messengers to Twilight Highlands tonight. Sorry if it upsets you, Wega – I’m calling in Garona.