The other day I mentioned there being some meeting that Orphan Matron Battlewail wanted me to attend if I were serious about getting Gurtash. She had me check in with Social Services, which is being run by some goblins these days. Don’t ask me how that happened. But they filled in a little more of the story. They’ve got one of Ji Firepaw’s panda friends holding a kind of seminar on dealing with anger, and they’ve opened it up to anybody who wants to attend. The only catch – well, other than the fact that this whole fucking waste of time is one huge catch in itself since WTF why do these fuckers keep acting like I’ve got some kind of fucking problem with my goddamn temper or some shit – is that they want all the attendees to have someone come with them, sort of a sponsor. My first thought was to bring Malkorok, seeing as he’s technically my bodyguard and should be going places with me anyway, but then I got to thinking that this gig might not be the kind of thing that…well…let’s just say the purposes of the session might not be facilitated by having Malkorok in the room.
Plus, really, why do I need a bodyguard again? Isn’t that kind of like getting a watch dog to guard your giant rabid wolverine?
So, bottom line, I got Mokvar to come with me. Which also had the added benefit of…
Garrosh and Mokvar enter a room in which several chairs have been arranged in a circle. At the far end of the room, a middle-aged pandaren woman is talking with Eitrigg.
GARROSH: So, um, we’re here for the meeting? Not sure we’ve got the right place.
The pandaren woman, all smiles, walks over to greet them.
PANDAREN: Oh, no, you are in the right place, Warchief. It is good to see you again.
GARROSH: Yeah, you too. We’ve met?
PANDAREN: <laughs softly> Yes, a few weeks back, but I will understand if you do not remember me. You were meeting quite a few of us from the Wandering Isle that day.
GARROSH: Ah. Yeah. And to be honest, no offense, most of you pandas still sort of blend together for me.
PANDAREN: Are you saying my people all look alike to you?
GARROSH: Actually not so much all look alike as there are like six variations I can recognize.
MOKVAR: To be fair, I’m not sure we orcs are much better.
GARROSH: True enough. And the less said about the trolls the better.
MOKVAR: Well, Vol’jin stands out some.
GARROSH: Well yeah. I was going to ask the other day, actually – did he have some work done? He looks different.
MOKVAR: I was wondering that too! So I’m not the only one that noticed?
GARROSH: Dude, he sprouted an extra toe on the backs of his feet.
MOKVAR: Seriously? That’s freaky as hell.
GARROSH: I know, right? <looks back to the pandaren woman> Anyway…um…we can probably discuss this another time.
The woman smiles bemusedly.
PANDAREN: In any case, Warchief, it is good to meet you more properly now. <extends her paw> I am Ben-Lin Cloudstrider. I have been a student of meditation among our people for many years. I look forward to sharing some of these techniques with you today.
GARROSH: Yeah. Great. So listen, Ben, how long you figure this is going to take?
BEN-LIN: The session shall take as long as it takes.
GARROSH: Ah. One of those. Terrific.
MOKVAR: So, Eitrigg, what are you doing here?
GARROSH: Yeah, Eitrigg, you never struck me as having a temper.
EITRIGG: I don’t really. I’m not here for me; I’m sponsoring a friend. He just hasn’t gotten here yet.
GARROSH: Ah, okay. Wait…hold on…a “friend”? Please don’t tell me…
Tirion Fordring enters.
TIRION: Ah, greetings, Warchief! A pleasure as always to see you once again. And doubly so, of course, for you, Eitrigg, my dear friend of many years. Far too many days have passed since last we enjoyed each other’s company…
GARROSH: <rubbing his forehead> Dude, you just saw him a couple months ago. I know. I was there.
TIRION: Perhaps! Perhaps, good Warchief! And perhaps indeed the calendar might insist that the interval has been short – but the spirit, my friend, the spirit tells me the time has been long! For surely, good Garrosh, you know of those imes when the moments feel far longer than the clock might otherwise claim.
GARROSH: <still rubbing his forehead> All too well, Tirion…
MOKVAR: Eitrigg, I’m still not sure I understand. Tirion never struck me as very temperamental either.
Eitrigg, standing behind Tirion, makes a drinking motion with his hand.
Ah. Got it.
BEN-LIN: It appears more of our attendees are arriving. I should introduce myself, if you will pardon me a moment.
Ben-Lin steps toward the door, where Lor’themar Theron enters, accompanied by Liadrin. While Ben-Lin talks to them, Faranell enters and walks over to Garrosh and Mokvar.
GARROSH: Hey, Doc.
MOKVAR: You’re here for the meeting too, Edwin?
FARANELL: Mmhmm. As soon as I heard about this, I cleared my schedule for this afternoon.
MOKVAR: I didn’t know you had anger issues.
FARANELL: I don’t.
Faranell sits down and takes out a large bag of popcorn.
Lor’themar and Liadrin leave Ben-Lin and approach Garrosh et al. Ben-Lin circles around and talks with Tirion and Eitrigg in the background.
MOKVAR: Hey Liadrin.
LIADRIN: Hello, Mokvar. Edwin. Warchief.
GARROSH: Hey, Liadrin. Who’s your friend? Is he sponsoring you or something?
LOR’THEMAR: You see? YOU SEE? This is EXACTLY what I was talking about! Every time! EVERY SINGLE TIME! No matter HOW many damn times I meet them, the NEXT time it’s always “Oh, so who’s this guy?”
LIADRIN: Now now, try to calm down, sir…
GARROSH: Okay, standing corrected on who’s sponsoring who here.
LIADRIN: This has been a long time coming, frankly.
GARROSH: Yeah, fine, but seriously, who IS he?
LOR’THEMAR: <shaking Garrosh violently> I’M LOR’THEMAR THERON, YOU PEA-BRAINED, MOUTH-BREATHING OAF! RULER OF SILVERMOON! LEADER OF THE BLOOD ELVES! I BUILT YOU A DAMN MANA BOMB TO COMMIT WAR CRIMES WITH, YOU IGNORANT VULGARIAN!
GARROSH: <shoving Lor’themar back> YOU’RE the vulgarian, you fuck!
FARANELL: <munching on popcorn> So much better than doing culture samples with Zinge.
LOR’THEMAR: How DIFFICULT is it to remember WHO SOMEONE IS after you MEET THEM FOR THE TWENTIETH TIME?!
GARROSH: Apparently VERY, when the someone in question isn’t frigging IMPORTANT enough to be REMEMBERED, Ponytail!
MOKVAR: He blew up about this on our game the other day, actually.
LIADRIN: I heard.
MOKVAR: Has he been at it all this time?
LIADRIN: More or less. This is something he’s been bottling up for a while, really.
Ben-Lin returns to the group, with Tirion and Eitrigg close behind.
BEN-LIN: If we might all find our seats. The last few should arrive shortly.
Everyone settles into the chairs.
Good afternoon, all of you, and thank you for coming today. I am Ben-Lin Cloudstrider of the Huojin Pandaren, and I will be conducting today’s session. My people chose to join the Horde in large part because of our shared belief in confronting challenges directly, and it is in that spirit that I would like to commend each of you for coming here today. By chosing to attend, you have demonstrated your recognition of an enemy of sorts within yourselves, and your resolve to face and defeat that enemy.
GARROSH: Pfft, I don’t know about these people, but I got railroaded by the orphan matron. Screw this personal-growth hippie bullshit.
LOR’THEMAR: Same here. <nods head toward Liadrin> This one twisted my arm.
GARROSH: Personally I think the whole thing is a load of crap.
MOKVAR: Would it really kill you to just bite your tongue and humor people this one time?
LIADRIN: <sighs> I wonder what it would be like if some of our leaders were actually adults…
BEN-LIN: Ah. I am sensing resistance from some of you. This is unfortunate. I hope you will come to see the merit of our activities as we go along. Let us begin by each introducing ourselves and telling the group why we are here.
She turns to Faranell.
Let us begin with you. Would you like to introduce yourself to the group, my friend?
FARANELL: <tossing a piece of popcorn into his mouth> It would make my life complete.
BEN-LIN: <unfazed> Delightful. Please go on.
FARANELL: Yeah, fine. Hey. I’m Edwin. Most of you already know that. All of you, actually, so good use of time here. Don’t mind me, I’m just here for the LOL’s.
BEN-LIN: <blinks> Ah. I see.
She turns hesitantly and looks to Tirion.
And you, sir?
TIRION: Thank you, Lady Cloudstrider, many thanks indeed, both for your gracious greeting and for your generosity in offering up your valuable time – time very much in demand, I have no doubt, among your people – in arranging this gathering for the benefit of all here. And a great honor, and, indeed, blessing it is to find myself today amid this honored company, for as I look about the room I find my gaze met by the faces of many of the most esteemed of our respective peoples…
GARROSH: Oh man. He’s ON today…
TIRION: And so, in keeping with your request, noble Lady Cloudstrider, allow me to introduce myself. I am Tirion Fordring, Highlord of the Argent Crusade, Knight of the Silver Hand, master of Mardenholde Keep, bearer of the secred Ashbringer—
GARROSH: Murderer of Wills to Live…
TIRION: —and I find myself here today among you at the recommendation of my dear friend, the noble and sage orc Eitrigg, who suggested this gathering might prove valuable to me, both for my personal growth and likewise in allaying the oft-expressed concerns of some number of my Argent colleagues, such as the hallowed Confessor Palteress and my personal aide, the noble Miss Daria L’Rayne…
The door to the room opens, and Hamuul Runetotem leans in.
HAMUUL: Excuse me, is this the anger management seminar?
BEN-LIN: Indeed it is, my friend.
HAMUUUL: Ah, good. I hope I’m not interrupting anything.
GARROSH: Yes, you are, and thank goodness.
BEN-LIN: Please come in.
Hamuul steps into the room, holding the door open, and waves outside.
HAMUUL: Come on in, it’s the right place.
A nervous-looking Mylune enters.
BEN-LIN: <glancing down at a clipboard> Ah, you must be the two from Mount Hyjal.
HAMUUL: Yes. I’m Hamuul Runetotem, and this is my…colleague Mylune.
GARROSH: Oh man. Hide your kittens…
MYLUNE: <perks up> There are kittens?
GARROSH: Oh yeah, loads of them in the Cleft of Kittens.
MYLUNE: Ooh! Ooh! There’s a Cleft of Kittens? Where’s that?
GARROSH: Right at the southern end of the Valley of Ridiculous Hallucinations – it’s fucking ORGRIMMAR. What the hell do you think this is?
MYLUNE: <deflated> Oh. I thought there might be kittens…
HAMUUL: Perhaps just as well, given your recent…episode.
MYLUNE: <slumps her head and closes her eyes> I don’t know what you’re talking about.
HAMUUL: Mylune, we’ve already talked about your trying to block these things out.
MYLUNE: No no, I’m not blocking it out! Blocking what out? See? Happy face! Happy face! Oh, everything’s so wonderful and magical and whee! And…and…
She looks around quickly and grabs up a small scorpion that’s skittering along the ground.
And ooh, hello Mr. Scorpid, aren’t you a tought little prickly darling! <hugs the scorpion to her bosom> Auntie Luney sure is happy to see you! Yes she is! Yes she—oww! OWW! Dammit, that stings like HELL, you stupid pinchy ASSHOLE!
Mylune throws the scorpion viciously against the wall.
It wasn’t even that cute!
GARROSH: So… I take it that time in Mulgore wasn’t an isolated incident…?
HAMUUL: Not as such.
MYLUNE: Oh…oh no, no, no… I did it again! <sobbing> Why do I keep doing that? <putting her hands over her face as the sobbing continues>
HAMUUL: There there…
BEN-LIN: It is all right. You are among friends now.
GARROSH: Well let’s not get carried away.
MYLUNE: <rubbing one hand on her chest> That still kind of stings a little, actually…
BEN-LIN: We are here to help you. Have you had other moments like this recently?
MYLUNE: I…well…I was in Winterspring a few days ago…and there were these bunnies…and…and…
GARROSH: Not so much with the bunnies anymore, I’m guessing.
MYLUNE: I couldn’t help it! I just wanted to pet them, and… <rubs her chest again> Okay, you know what? I think that scorpion might have been venomous.
Hamuul sighs and starts casting healing spells on Mylune.
HAMUUL: Seriously? You have venomous scorpions just wandering around?
GARROSH: Hey, I don’t usually figure people are going to go around rubbing them on their boobs.
MOKVAR: Did you really have to give me that mental image?
GARROSH: I mean we usually don’t have people around here showing that level of stupid. And that’s even figuring how much time Dontrag and Utvoch spend here.
GARROSH: You’re better off not knowing.
LIADRIN: Really, sir.
BEN-LIN: Perhaps we should move on. <turns to Lor’themar> Let us turn to you now. You are…?
LOR’THEMAR: Ugh. See? SEE? THIS is EXACTLY what I’m talking about! I introduced myself to you not TEN MINUTES AGO! But does anyone remember something like that? NO! OF COURSE NOT!
LIADRIN: Sir, I think she was just asking you to—
LOR’THEMAR: Don’t defend her, Liadrin! People do this every damn day, and there’s always some excuse for them! Either that, or it’s just “Oh, okay. Lor’themar? Whatever.” YES, whatever. It’s LOR’THEMAR! LOR’THEMAR FUCKING THERON, Regent-Lord of Quel’Thalas! That’s who I am! Lor’themar! Do you hear me? All of you? LOR’THE-FUCKING-MAR! One of the only racial leaders on either side who hasn’t managed to make a complete cluster fuck of something yet, but does anyone remember? NO! NO THEY DON’T!
BEN-LIN: Well then. I was going to ask you why you are here, but I think you have already answered that. So let us move on. <turns to Garrosh> And you, sir?
GARROSH: Huh? Oh, yeah. <waves half-heartedly> So yeah, Garrosh Hellscream, Warchief of the Horde. Son of Grom, slayer of Alliance, writer of EPIC VERSE, eater of lemon squares, yadda yadda.
HAMUUL: Wait, he writes poetry?
MOKVAR: He’s actually surprisingly good at it.
BEN-LIN: And why have you come here today, my friend?
GARROSH: Humoring the orphan matron, pretty much. Didn’t we already cover this? She basically said I needed to attend this thing before she would sign off on this orphan I was looking into maybe adopting.
LIADRIN: Wait, what?
HAMUUL: Oh spirits help us…
GARROSH: WHY does everybody fucking react like that every time I mention this? I talked about it on my blog, too, and all the commenters were like “Holy crap no!”
HAMUUL: Wait, he blogs, too?
FARANELL: <munching> I so should have brought some ale for this.
Tirion passes Faranell a flask.
Oh, hey, thanks.
EITRIGG: I thought we’d agreed you were going to hold off on the… <makes a drinking motion with his hand> …while we were here for the meeting.
TIRION: Surely, friend Eitrigg, you would not deny me a simple bracing beverage before an undertaking that calls upon my resolve.
EITRIGG: Now we both know the “liquid courage” excuse doesn’t hold here, Tirion.
GARROSH: So hold up, you mean Highlord Paragraph here likes to retreat into the bottle, and goes all angry drunk and shit?
EITRIGG: And sometimes ends up burning small animals as a result…
MYLUNE: He WHAT?!
TIRION: My fine and noble friend, I would remind you that the episode with the penguins was, in broad, strokes, an isolated incident, and—
BEN-LIN: Now you see, here we may have a fine instructive moment. While we may all have our moments of anger, it is when we allow that anger to manifest in actions that we risk unleashing the worst upon the loved ones around us…
MYLUNE: <fidgeting nervously and looking to Hamuul> Pen…penguins! What did he do to the penguins…?!
EITRIGG: Suffice to say it involved a cane.
BEN-LIN: And so, when you experience these moments, Tirion, you must remember to use your words.
GARROSH: Wait, seriously?
TIRION: Sage counsel indeed, good Lady Cloudstrider, and perhaps you are right, and I have been far too reticent…
GARROSH: Fucking hell, do you realize what you’re DOING, lady?
MYLUNE: He…he…he attacked the poor penguins with a cane?
EITRIGG: Far better than the kittens got…
TIRION: My dear Eitrigg, you know perfectly well that I take little pride in the unfortunate incident involving the, shall we say, premature feline incendiaries, and—
MYLUNE: Incendi— you burned kittens?!
GARROSH: Yeah, bet you’re glad we don’t have any here now, aren’t you? Not safe to have them around Captain Shortfuse Longwind here.
MYLUNE: <trembling with eyes growing large and dewy> Hamuul, did you hear that? He…he…the kittens…he…
Hamuul pulls a teddy bear out of his pack and dangles it in front of Mylune, who immediately snatches it up.
Oh oh oh what a cute cuddly fuzzy huggy tebby bear squee!
LOR’THEMAR: Wow she’s unstable…
GARROSH: Look in a mirror lately, blondie? Who are you to judge?
LOR’THEMAR: <jumping up and knocking his chair over> Who am I? WHO AM I? LOR’THEMAR THERON, that’s who! LOR’THE-FUCKING-MAR THERON!
LIADRIN: Sir, really, you should try to—
LOR’THEMAR: You stay out of this, Liadrin! I’ve HAD IT with this walking jaw with a gym card acting like he doesn’t fucking KNOW me!
GARROSH: I know you’ll snap in half nice and easy if you don’t figure out a way to ZIP it right quick, Hair-Care!
MYLUNE: <swaying from side to side while hugging the tebby bear> Oh don’t listen to them, Mr. Huggles, it’s okay, it’s okay! You just be all sweet and snuggly and don’t worry about the mean people!
LOR’THEMAR: Why don’t you MAKE me zip it! Or do you need damn BOMB to drop on me for that?!
GARROSH: I’ll SHOW you a fucking BOMB, Ponytail!
Garrosh lunges at Lor’themar and flings him violently against the wall. Lor’themar pulls himself up and tries to rush back at Garrosh, only to have Garrosh grab him and put him in a headlock. Mokvar and Liadrin pull at Garrosh’s arm to try to loosen his grip.
MOKVAR: Really, boss, not helping your own cause here…
GARROSH: Hope you weren’t too fond of that frigging OXYGEN, Lor’the-Whatever-the-Fuck-Your-Name-Is!
LOR’THEMAR: <wrenching himself out of Garrosh’s hold and swinging at him wildly> LOR’THEMAR! MY NAME IS LOR’THEMAR! SAY IT! SAY IT! SAY MY NAME, BITCH!
Mylune is still rocking back and forth, holding the tebby bear while trembling.
MYLUNE: Now now don’t you let them upset you, Mr. Huggles… <absently rips off one of the teddy bear’s ears> It’s okay…it’s all okay… They’re not mad at you, no no, they’re not… <rips off the bear’s other ear, sobbing> It’s all going to be okay someday, I promise, Huggles, Auntie Luney promises…!
FARANELL: <mouth half-full of popcorn> I love this meeting so much I want to marry it and have a family of little caucuses.
LOR’THEMAR: I’m SICK AND TIRED of being IGNORED by this damn GORILLA!
Mokvar and Liadrin try with mixed success to pull the two away from each other.
GARROSH: Don’t worry, metro, you’ll be getting PLENTY of attention while I’m smearing you all over the floor!
LOR’THEMAR: Stop holding him back! I’m not scared of him! I can take him! Unless maybe he’s POISONED his DAMN AXE again!
GARROSH: OH you will DIE EXTRA SLOW for—
Tirion jumps Garrosh and Lor’themar and pushes them away from each other. He looks back and forth sternly.
TIRION: Gentlemen, please! Surely no one can benefit from our turning on each other in such a way. Now then… <looks back and forth between Garrosh and Lor’themar again> Let’s have a drink. And calm down.
EITRIGG: <sighs> Tirion…
BEN-LIN: It occurs to me that perhaps our goals would be better served by a few one-on-one sessions before we attempt to discuss our issues in a group…
Mylune suddenly grabs Ben-Lin from behind and hugs her back against herself.
MYLUNE: Ohhhh has anyone ever told you you’re like a big giant warm fuzzy snuggly teddy bear yourself, Miss Cloudy-bear?
BEN-LIN: <looking around somewhat panicked, but cearly trying to maintain her composure> So…with that in mind…let us adjourn for the day. I will be in touch with each of you to arrange individual meetings. We…we have much work to do…
LIADRIN: Come on, sir, let’s just go back to Silvermoon…
Liadrin drags Lor’themar out of the room. The others begin to make their way out as well, except for Mylune, who continues hugging Ben-Lin.
MYLUNE: So huggly and cuddly and so so adorable! I could just squeeze you all day, little bear!
Faranell gets up and walks over to Ben-Lin and Mylune on his way toward the door.
FARANELL: So, I’m going to give you my contact info… Please, please tell me if there are any more of these meetings. I will buy a ticket if I need to.
This has got to be some kind of a hazing thing. Or Battlewail is doing some kind of weird trial to test my resolve, to see just how serious I am about the Gurtash thing.
Gotta tell you, though, if I have to go hang out with that crew again, I’m not sure I like even that kid enough…