And your enemies closer
Well, time to add “guest” blogging to the list of things I’ve been picking up again for the first time in a long time. I’m not sure how regularly I’ll be able to post like this, or for that matter, how much Garrosh will even let me. From the look of it, he’s had Spazzle tighten up some of the permissions for my login, which is a little ominous, but then again, I don’t know how much I can blame him, in light of everything that’s gone on. It’s probably best just to get on with the task at hand and not worry about it too much. Things will work out the way they need to, eventually.
After I left that, um, somewhat tense meeting in Grommash Hold, I went to look for Overseer Elaglo in Ragefire Chasm. On my way through the Cleft of Shadow, though, I came across a familiar face who seemed more than a little surprised to see me…
MOKVAR: <leaning in entrance to hut> Neeru.
Neeru Fireblade looks up from a pile of scrolls.
NEERU: Well now.
Neeru sets a scroll down and leans back in his chair.
I would say you really do get around, but I suspect that would woefully understate the case.
MOKVAR: You have no idea.
NEERU: I think I do. I’d heard you were dead.
MOKVAR: I was. I’m better now.
NEERU: Highly debatable. Still… <eyes Mokvar carefully> I can see why your elemental spirits would finally have had done with you.
Mokvar shrugs. Neeru continues to stare at him with narrowing eyes.
Did you find it?
MOKVAR: <grins faintly> Find what?
NEERU: Don’t be coy with me, dammit. You came to me looking for information about the Prism last time, remember?
MOKVAR: I remember. Your leads checked out.
NEERU: You have it, then.
Mokvar looks back silently.
Oh, fel, stop trying to be cute. You’re not fooling anyone. Where is it?
MOKVAR: Somewhere safe.
NEERU: <narrowing his eyes> You wouldn’t just leave it back at that shack of a house of yours, where any petty thief could make off with it. Even you’re not so great a fool.
MOKVAR: My mother always did say I was fairly bright.
Neeru stands and walks around to Mokvar.
NEERU: You don’t have it on you, though.
MOKVAR: Maybe. Maybe not.
NEERU: You don’t. You’re not nervous at all.
MOKVAR: My threshold is a lot higher than it used to be.
NEERU: You might be fool enough – or arrogant enough – to stroll into the Cleft of Shadow with the Prism on you, but even you couldn’t be oblivious enough to do it without a twinge of anxiety.
MOKVAR: You just make me feel so welcome and at home here.
NEERU: This pocket of Orgrimmar is packed to capacity with warlocks who would happily kill a sibling for the chance to tinker with that relic for even an hour. And you know that. No, you’d at least be worried if you had it on you. So where?
MOKVAR: Like I said, somewhere safe.
NEERU: Dammit, Mokvar, it’s the blasted Nether Prism – there is nowhere safe for—
What was that?
MOKVAR: What was what?
NEERU: I heard something.
Neeru looks around, then turns back to Mokvar.
You didn’t hear that?
MOKVAR: Hear what?
NEERU: There was a sound.
MOKVAR: There are lots of sounds.
NEERU: <narrowing eyes> What are you playing at?
MOKVAR: Me? Nothing. I’m just a guy saying hello on his way to a meeting.
Mokvar turns from the door and gestures behind him.
I can be on my way if you prefer.
Neeru looks past Mokvar, following his gesture to the entrance of Ragefire Chasm.
There? What does that fool Hellscream have you doing now?
MOKVAR: Can’t say I know, myself. All I know is that he wants me to help Overseer Elaglo with something. I think Invoker Xorenth is involved too, somehow.
NEERU: Well, Xorenth is working with Elaglo, yes.
MOKVAR: You know him?
NEERU: <nods> He was part of my coven for a good many years. I don’t know if the “Invoker” title is still called for, though.
MOKVAR: Why’s that?
NEERU: You’ll see soon enough. He’s had something of a career change. Not unlike you, actually.
MOKVAR: How do you mean?
NEERU: He seems to have developed more shamanistic interests.
MOKVAR: Hmm. Well, my “career change” was the other way around, then.
NEERU: This time, yes. Who’s to say how long this one will last?
MOKVAR: Hopefully this will be the one that sticks.
NEERU: We can only hope. You can only keep playing both ends against the middle for so long before it ends up blowing up on you.
MOKVAR: I’m not playing anything against anything.
NEERU: Oh come now, Mokvar, you’re naive but not that naive. Of course you are. You went from being a warlock with pretensions of being a shaman to a shaman with delusions of being a warlock. A week with Xorenth laying out totems in front of you and you’ll start thinking maybe you’re clever enough to straddle the two a little more. Sooner or later, though, you’re going to need to figure out what you are and pick a side.
Mokvar and Neeru watch quietly while a team of peons carries several large crates into the cavern.
MOKVAR: Huh. Are they doing construction down there?
NEERU: <nods> It’s been going on for some months. See what you miss when you go all dead on us?
MOKVAR: I suppose there’d be some cleanup to do after those renegade dark shaman were stirring up trouble down there last year.
NEERU: Oh yes. Yes, they certainly caused all sorts of trouble.
MOKVAR: What are you grinning about?
NEERU: Again…you’ll see soon enough.
MOKVAR: I should head down and see what this is about.
NEERU: In that case, I’ll let you be about your way. Don’t be a stranger, Mokvar.
MOKVAR: I’m sure I’ll be by again.
NEERU: Oh, and Mokvar?
NEERU: Put your damned scribe paraphernalia away. People engaged in secretive, clandestine operations are rarely put at ease by strangers carrying note pads.
MOKVAR: Huh. Good point.
So…flying sans pen for a little bit. I left Neeru and went down into Ragefire Chasm to look for Overseer Elaglo. When I got there, he was…well…overseeing. Elaglo was hovering over a work crew that was doing some construction, reinforcing the cavern walls and installing what looked like the framework for gates in a couple places. When I approached Elaglo, though, he was cagey about what was going on down there, and clearly wanted to keep me within a very constricted area of the place.
Elaglo brought me to a side chamber of RFC where a group of shaman were practicing some sort of summoning ritual. They were being supervised by Xorenth – clearly no longer an invoker – and after I’d been there for a few minutes, they managed to summon up a small pack of lesser flame hounds, evidently straight from the Firelands. It turned out that that was one of the reasons that the two of them – Xorenth especially – had an interest in me: my recent experience navigating the Firelands, and the fact that I’d somehow managed not to lose my neck in the process. The other reason, which was less of a surprise than it would have been even a few hours earlier, was the fact that I’ve had experience as both a shaman and a warlock. Xorenth seemed intent on developing ways to blend a shaman’s invocation of the elements with a warlock’s powers of dominance and control. He didn’t need to talk very much about the undertaking before I started to see how they – Garrosh – envisioned me and, potentially, the Nether Prism entering into the equation. And it didn’t take long for the entire discussion to summon up memories of the attack on Northwatch Hold last year, when a group of Horde shaman summoned and controlled – briefly and forcibly – a handful of molten giants. Shaman – except dressed in the dark robes typically adopted by warlocks. Dark shaman.
It was a strange conversation. I got the distinct impression we were both testing each other, fencing verbally, each of us trying to see if he could get the other to divulge more information without doing the same himself. I can’t imagine that the training of dark shaman and the practicing of summoning rituals could be the entirety of what’s going on in RFC. Everyone had already seen what happened at Northwatch Hold, after all. The cat was out of the bag as soon as those giants started lumbering about.
I suppose I’ll just have to be patient. Garrosh wanted me working with these two, so I suppose I’ll find out more when I need to. I can’t say it’s not a little unnerving for everyone to suddenly be holding me at arm’s length and keeping me in the dark until they’re sure I can be trusted. But I have fences to mend and promises to keep, and there’s too much at stake for me to get it into my fool head that it’s beneath my dignity to have to prove myself again. I would be naive to expect otherwise. Just a matter of weeks ago, after all, I was an exile, and a wanted fugitive before that; I couldn’t reasonably have expected to walk back into Orgrimmar and just have the run of the place. Stroll around like nothing had ever happened. Welcome home. Open arms. Same old Mokvar, the guy everybody’s known for years. I would have been naive.
I have a feeling this is going to be complicated.