Now as I was saying…
Okay, first of all, HA HA HA, Sylvanas, very funny. April fools, blah blah. It took freaking FOREVER to get the blog fixed back to the way it’s supposed to look (well, it took SPAZZLE forever, from what he tells me…but I had to WAIT like forever for him to get finished, so YOU tell ME what’s worse). That and re-lock-down blog security.
I think we’ve got it fixed now, though. Might have been partly my fault, to be honest. Spazzle tells me it actually might not have been the wisest decision for me to make the blog admin password “garrosh.” Go figure. Still, I’d like to know where Sylvanas learned to become this uber master hacker apparently.
Okay, anyway, moving on.
So as I was about to say before little miss Banshee Queen went all smartass on us, I still needed to update everyone on what was going on in Mount Hyjal. You know, after I managed to get away from the grabby huggy dryad. Who, let me just say one last time, what the fuck. Anyhow.
So when last we left Garrosh, before everybody in the universe decided they were going to jump on the Let’s Piss Off Garrosh Bandwagon, I was checking on reports of a Twilight’s Hammer enclave still milling around making trouble in Hyjal. I flew down to Darkwhisper Gorge, where the reports were coming from, and sure enough, I found a batch of Twilights gathered at what’s left of Doom’s Vigil. When I arrived, there were about a dozen of them gathered in a circle, all channeling some sort of spell. Needless to say I put a quick end to that…for the sake of saving space I’m going to skip past the blood and death and severed limbs and all that stuff, which let’s be honest only took up a couple minutes anyway, and by this point I’m sure you can all use your imagination for this kind of thing anyway. Bottom line is “bunch of Twilights” got a quick revision into “pile of corpses,” which is kind of fitting, since once I had the chance to have a better look at the place, I noticed a bunch of other bodies laying around the area – a couple orcs, a couple trolls, a bunch of tauren, a human or two, I think, but who really cares about them?
At this point I was getting ready to take off, when I thought I saw something moving among the rocks in the mountainside nearby. I went to check on it, and found a cave – pretty easily accessible from the camp, but easy to miss with the way the surrounding rock was laid out. There was another body, a night elf this time, on the ground right outside, and there seemed to be some light flickering inside. So, in I went. That is, after I got Mortimer calmed down some – like I said, I was just about to leave, so I had actually just strapped Gorehowl to the saddle, and I don’t know what was getting Mortimer so spooked but he damn near took off with the axe before I even had the chance to get it back again.
Anyway, I finally got Gorehowl and went in. The light was coming from a basic campfire someone had left there, and the light from the flames combined with the rock formations inside the save made for a lot of shadows that made it kind of hard to get your bearings in what was really a pretty small chamber. Or room. Or…I don’t know, whatever you call the inside of a cave.
I was so busy situating myself that I didn’t even notice right away that there was a figure moving on the far side of the campfire – it was obscured by the shadows at first, but once my eyes had adjusted to the light, and it moved again, I could see the figure was an orc. And then when it moved, and turned toward me, it didn’t take any doing to recognize those features.
And so yeah, first thought? I KNEW I should have had D&U go back and make sure his body was accounted for at Cliffwalker Post! Doesn’t ANYBODY stay dead anymore? But before you start freaking out like I was, hang on for my SECOND thought, which was pretty much “Boy, good thing I’ve still got this AXE with me,” and jumped across the campfire, and whipped Gorehowl around for a swing that went right through Krom’gar, like WHEW right through him like he wasn’t even there, so that Gorehowl ended up ricocheting off the rock wall and jarring itself out of my grip, so the handle flew up and clanged me right in the head, and OWW.
And meanwhile there’s Krom’gar still there staring at me, not a scratch on him. It took me a second to piece together, but basically for those of you who haven’t already done the math, Gorehowl went flying through him like he wasn’t even there because, well, he wasn’t. It wasn’t Krom’gar back from the dead. It was Krom’gar, dead. A spirit, or something like it.
Here’s where I actually wish I had Mokvar with me this time, because for the couple minutes I managed to talk to the ghost, it would have been nice to have someone there getting some of this stuff written down. But, here’s the gist of it. The spirit-formerly-known-as-Krom’gar was really mostly interested in being cryptic and otherwise telling me I knew how he was going to tackle things in Stonetalon, and I had gone soft and had put him in charge to do the things I knew I couldn’t, and a whole bunch of other utter bullshit like that. As if I would ever have been okay with….bah, forget it. Anyway, I finally managed to get an answer from him on why his ghost would be in some random cave in Hyjal – it was because I was there, basically. He was there because I was there.
See, when the dead move on to the spirit realm, they leave echoes behind. A piece of them stays with whoever is left living who had been important to them, or who they were important to. We all have these echoes of spirits that we carry around with us, the people who were close to us, or helped make us who we are for good or ill, or who cared about us, or whatever. They just go through the world with us, invisible, never making a sound, never interfering, just…tagging along because they’re part of us. I’m not even going to get into the reasons why I would be carrying Krom’gar around with me. If you’ve been following along with me, you already understand, and if you don’t, it would probably take a lot more doing to explain than I’ve got the mental energy to deal with right now.
While he was semi-kinda-spelling this much out, it didn’t actually occur to me right off to ask why one of those echoes would all of a sudden become VISIBLE to me like this, but stay tuned. That’ll make more sense in a second.
So I don’t want to make it sound like this was just some expositiony fireside chat between me and ex-Krom’gar, because like I said he was mostly interested in being vague and cryptic and generally getting under my skin. Which, you know, really set him apart from so many other people from among the LIVING. But I managed to drag that much of an explanation out of him in bits in pieces, and then after a few minutes he hit me with his cryptic big finish – check this one out: “From within it consumes, Warchief,” like, yeah, the fuck – and then flickered away into the shadows.
And it was at that point that I finally noticed something else in the shadows against the back wall of the cave: a totem. Different design than the typical elemental totems that shaman use, but unmistakably a totem. It looked familiar, actually, and after wracking my brain a couple minutes I remembered: it matched the description I’d heard from some of the elders back in Garadar of this thing called a “shadebind” totem, which was this very rare variety that could be used to draw some of those baggage spirits off of someone and make them appear in the mortal world. Usually they were only ever used in rare cases where an important elder was having some kind of spiritual crisis, and even then it didn’t always work. Just creating one required a pretty rare level of knowledge and shamanistic power, much less getting the rituals right.
I was pretty much marveling over where one of these things even could have come from, when I noticed one more detail. The markings along the side of the totem – mostly random shaman-type stuff that I don’t know enough to make sense of, but then, mixed in with them in a couple places, there were a couple specific tribal markings, ones I’ve already seen more than I’d care to.
Tribal markings of the Grimtotem.
So, five points to anybody else whose best guess here matches mine, as far as who might be a clever enough shaman to pull off one of these doohickeys, plus have occasion to be hanging around a Twilight camp. Yep.
As for what Magatha might be after, your guess is as good as mine. For all I know, she didn’t have any reason to think I’d even be turning up in Hyjal, so it’s not like I can even assume she’d planted it there for me specifically. She could be after something else entirely and I just happened to be the one to come along and trigger the damn thing. Who knows. All this really tells us for sure is she’s on the loose back in Kalimdor, and she’s up to something. Which really isn’t anything we shouldn’t have guessed anyway.
So…that’s as much as I’ve got for right now. At this point I’m not even sure there’s anything else to be done as followup, so we’ll just have to see.
And I swear, though, if that ghost thought I actually WANTED him to…never mind. I’m only going to make myself angry. More soon.