I’ll give these Stonemaul ogres credit, they’re plenty loyal since the Horde’s been helping them. Not too much going on upstairs, but hey. Thank goodness we have orcs like Orhan Ogreblade here at Stonemaul Hold, though, or spirits know what kind of a mess these ogres would make of the place. At least the ogres out at Brackenwall have that brainstorm Draz’Zilb to help stay on top of things. Even if he IS fucking evil. Again, like I’ve said before, at least he gets shit done.
I stopped briefly at Stonemaul Hold and checked in with Orhan and the others. The Grimtotem have still been at it, with most of their activity seeming to be around Dire Maul now. The ogre camps to the south still needed checking on from our end, though, so I flew down there and got to looking around the ruins of Isildien. The ruins are still…well…ruiny, because of course when ogres move into a place, it never occurs to them to fix it up at all. Then again, I guess it’s hard to focus in on home improvement when you’ve got tauren raiding parties running in and smacking you around.
It was pretty obvious that the Grimtotem had attacked the ogres there, even if they’ve started focusing more on the ogres up north. There were a few scattered bodies of Grimtotem raiders around the ruins. Gotta admit, the sight gave me a happy. A few ogre corpses, too, but not all that many. I’m not sure if that’s because the Grimtotem took heavier casualties from the attacks, or because the ogres just make a point of tending to their dead. What do ogres even do with their dead, anyway? I don’t really see them as the memorial service type. Not really up on ogre customs in general, though, much less Gordunni ones.
I kept trying to talk to the ogres to see if I could get some information out of them, but as it turns out, this particular bunch of them is pretty pissy, so instead of talking they mostly wanted to swing clubs at me. Which meant they DID end up doing some talking, only what they were saying was mostly “Ouch” and “I wonder if there really IS an Ogri’la.” So, fun, but not very productive.
While I was flying over the area I did spot this cave in the side of the mountains, and it looked like there were ogre corpses around the outside – a lot more than I’d seen anywhere else around the ruins – so I went in to check. The cave didn’t run very deep, and I could see some light coming from the inside, and some humanoid looking shadows as I made my way toward the back. I tried being stealthy and sneaking in to check it out, but I think I might have blown the sneaky thing when I ran around the corner and yelled “WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU PEOPLE” and charged the first dude I saw. Oh well. Gotta be me. Anyway, turns out it was a pack of three humans, a troll, and a dwarf, all chilling around a campfire, and based on what’s been going on lately and the dark purple and red robes they all had on, you can probably guess out who they were working for. So the charging turned out to be a good call anyway. I killed two of the humans right off (gotta tell you, it never gets old), but the dwarf dropped a smoke bomb and the other three high-tailed it out of the cave. I managed to jump back onto them and hamstring the last human, but I wasn’t able to get to the dwarf or troll before they took off into the hills.
The human, though… He was useful while he lasted. Unlike the Grimtotem raider in Dustwallow, this one didn’t need a whole lot of persuading to talk. Then again, humans do tend to be less resistant to a good beating. If anything, I had to be careful not to kill him (right away).
As it turns out, his little band had been dispatched by the Twilight’s Hammer – no shock there – to look into the Gordunni settlement in Isildien, then make contact with their point man in the area, an ogre named Skarr who had been one of Cho’gall’s people when he was lining up his original ogre gathering in the Maul. Whatever they found, they were supposed to check in with him at an abandoned gnoll camp in the eastern part of the woods, tucked away in the hills. Anything they could find out about the phylactery, they were supposed to report to Skarr, so I’m figuring he’s the one we need to pin down if we want to head off this whole Twilight plan. Beyond that, the human didn’t seem to know a whole lot more – for all the dead ogres around their hiding place, they didn’t seem to find any actual information – and I don’t think he was just holding out on me, since I’m pretty sure that would have called for sterner stuff than these humans are made of. So, you know, dead human. I’ve got work to do, and a nonessential captive is only going to slow me down.
Next move is to try to track down Skarr in the eastern hills, but first I’m going to check in with Garona to see what she’s found. As it happens, there’s a small settlement – if you want to call it that – by the Steam Pools just south of here, only a teensy side trip on the way to the Lower Wilds, so we’re going to meet up there to compare notes. I’ll write more once we’ve had a chance to get settled.