Okay, so take two. The trainees. Once you get past all the crap that makes fourteen year olds annoying, which granted is a lot, they’re actually pretty good. I mean you can definitely see the makings of some pretty decent warriors among the bunch of them. Gurtash included, obviously, but then he does have kind of an unfair edge, what with me already having been showing him a few tricks. I’ll keep you all posted on how this whole thing goes.
In the meantime, we had another planning session for Pandaria today. We’re getting close to being ready to go…
EITRIGG: Preparations are going to schedule, Warchief. The fleet is now fully assembled at Bladefist Bay, and Grizzle Gearslip assures me that the last of the siege engines will be ready within a few days.
MALKOROK: I would recommend keeping the fleet on rotating patrols until we’re ready to depart, Warchief. If we keep the entire fleet docked, and the Alliance launches an attack…
GARROSH: Good call. I assume you can work out a rotation with Drok and the other captains?
MALKOROK: I’ll see to the arrangements, Warchief.
GARROSH: Good. One other question.
MALKOROK: Yes, sir?
GARROSH: Who the hell are these people?
Garrosh points to two other orcs sitting around Malkorok at the conference table.
MALKOROK: Sir? You’ve already met Rak’gor Bloodrazor here; he was at our last strategy session.
GARROSH: Oh, yeah, I remember him now. Who’s the other guy?
MALKOROK: Another one of my lieutenants, sir. This is Gul’tar – former apprentice of Ga’trul, in fact, from the initial Pandaia landing force.
EITRIGG: Did we ever find out exactly what happened with them, incidentally?
GARROSH: Not much other than being pretty well wiped out by the second wave of Alliance forces.
MALKOROK: You mean the ones that had to recruit the local fish men to fill out their ranks?
GARROSH: <sighs> Yes.
EITRIGG: Speaking of which, as well, since we’re drawing close to being ready, we might want to gather as much information as possible on the land and its peoples.
MALKOROK: I would imagine that may be a rare instance when those…preposterous new pandaren arrivals might prove useful.
GARROSH: You’ve been getting pretty close to Ji since he started playing EO, haven’t you, Mokvar? Pick up anything useful from him?
MOKVAR: Not really. Here’s the thing – Ji and all his people came from a place called the Wandering Isle, which isn’t actually part of Pandaria proper.
EITRIGG: It’s an island nearby, though, isn’t it?
MOKVAR: Well, sometimes.
MOKVAR: It’s technically not an island.
EITRIGG: What is it, then?
GARROSH: Hold on to your ass for this one…
MOKVAR: It’s a giant turtle.
MOKVAR: The Wandering Isle is a giant turtle that swims around the ocean – usually near Pandaria, but not always. The pandaren that live there basically built a whole civilization on its back. A lot of them don’t even know the truth about the “island.”
MALKOROK: <grumbling> Warchief… I suspect your…scribe here may be providing faulty intelligence.
GARROSH: No, I got this same story about the Wandering Islse from Ji.
MALKOROK: This would be the same pandaren who appears to be forever getting himself stuck in tight openings in the pursuit of food?
EITRIGG: So I assume that since the Huojin live separately from the Pandaren mainland…?
MOKVAR: They haven’t had any contact with the place in generations. No help there as far as providing useful information.
GARROSH: I guess we’ll have to get by on what we’re able to learn from Nazgrim and Krog, then.
MOKVAR: While I’m thinking of it, though, Ji was asking me earlier about what’s going on in Ragefire Chasm. I guess he had a few of his people go down there—
MALKOROK: Is this really important enough to interrupt our planning, scribe? You can’t seriously think the confusion of those perpetually confused bear people is more relevant than the imminent invasion.
MOKVAR: I was just wondering—
MALKOROK: Wonder all you want, scribe, just do it quietly. Now then…
VOL’JIN: Hey, mon, sorry I be late ta da meetin’!
GARROSH: Oh fucking hell, who told him about the meeting THIS time?
VOL’JIN: Was I not supposed ta know, mon?
GARROSH: Not exactly.
VOL’JIN: Oh, was ya plannin’ a surprise party for me, mon? Is dere cake?
GARROSH: <rubbing his forehead> No, we’re not throwing you a surprise…you know what, fuck it, just sit down, Vol’jin.
VOL’JIN: Tank ya, Warchief.
Vol’jin walks over to Malkorok at the table and turns to Gul’tar.
Ya be in ma seat, mon.
VOL’JIN: Dat seat, mon. Dat’s where I always sit. Ya be in ma spot, mon.
GARROSH: Vol’jin, does it actually matter?
VOL’JIN: Ya, mon! I’m a creature of habit, an’ I be feelin’ all outta sorts if I don’ sit in ma normal place! Besides…
Vol’jin claps Malkorok on the shoulder jovially; Malkorok jumps in surprise, then glares up at Vol’jin.
…Malkorok an’ me tight now, an’ I be missin’ ma buddy if I sit somewhere else!
GUL’TAR: <grumbles and turns to Malkorok> I’ll just move, sir. I would…hate to occupy the troll’s place.
Gul’tar moves over one seat. Vol’jin sits next to Malkorok. Malkorok stares at him icily for a moment; Vol’jin replies with an exaggerated grin.
GARROSH: So…back to business. What’s our latest from General Nazgrim?
EITRIGG: He and his team have recovered from their injuries and indicate they’re making inroads with some of the pandaren in the northern mountains.
VOL’JIN: Dey all make it t’rough okay?
EITRIGG: Shademaster Kiryn and Rivett Clutchpop made it fine. It seems their marksman, Shokia, is unaccounted for.
GARROSH: I wouldn’t worry too much about her…
EITRIGG: Nazgrim reports the northern pandaren are in conflict with a tauren offshoot race. He doesn’t make it sound like too dire a situation, though.
GARROSH: Not something we need to worry much about, anyway, if this is going on in the northern regions. We’ll be coming in along the southern coast.
MALKOROK: Do we have any operatives scouting the south for us, then?
EITRIGG: Just a number of volunteers who’ve been making their way around the continent of their own accord and checking in when they can.
VOL’JIN: I tink dere was a group of Baine’s people doin’ some explorin’ in da sout’ too, mon.
MALKOROK: What? Bloodhoof sent his own expedition to Pandaria?
VOL’JIN: Ya, mon. Sunwalker Dezco was leadin’ it.
MALKOROK: And why, I wonder, would he presume to send his own detachment without clearing it with Orgrimmar?
VOL’JIN: I didn’t know da tauren had to ask permission ta do tings.
MALKOROK: A loyal member of the Horde should be clearing obvious military operations with their Warchief, troll.
GARROSH: Do you want to explain why Baine apparently saw fit to tell YOU about this expedition and not ME?
VOL’JIN: <beaming> I’m a people person, mon!
MALKOROK: At best, this stinks of insubordination, Warchief. And potentially disloyalty of a far worse kind. How do we know they’re not conspiring for their own purposes?
EITRIGG: You cannot seriously think the tauren would be engaged in something illicit?
MALKOROK: I do not trust that Baine or the rest of his ilk. He’s put himself at odds with the Warchief too many times already.
VOL’JIN: Ya tink he’s disloyal, mon? I been speakin’ my mind to Garrosh, too – ya be tinkin’ I’m a traitor?
GARROSH: Not a traitor, Vol’jin, but I’ll tell you in no uncertain terms, the two of you HAVE been a grade-A pain in the ass the last few months.
MALKOROK: As far as I’m concerned, you could very well be conspiring with him on whatever he’s up to. Don’t think I’m not keeping an eye on you, troll.
VOL’JIN: Oh, don’cha be worryin’, mon. If I was ever workin’ against ya in secret, you’d know.
GARROSH: I… <rubs forehead> That…doesn’t even make sense, you stupid troll. By definition…
VOL’JIN: Besides, mon, ya don’ have ta be worryin’ about Dezco an’ his people. He even has one a da orcs wit him.
VOL’JIN: Kor Bloodtusk, I tink ’is name was.
MALKOROK: A weak-minded puppet, most likely, lured over to that tauren’s misguided way of thinking.
MOKVAR: I have to say, actually—
MALKOROK: <glares> What do you want, scribe?
Mokvar looks down.
MOKVAR: <turning back to Malkorok> What I want? I want to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike.
Behind Malkorok, Vol’jin beams and high-fives the air in Mokvar’s direction.
Or were you looking for something a little less big-picture?
MALKOROK: <glaring> Count yourself lucky, scribe, that you’re in the Warchief’s good graces…
MOKVAR: Yeah, because you would never—
GARROSH: Yeah, guys, enough. Cool your jets, both of you, we don’t have time for this crap.
MALKOROK: Of course, Warchief…
GARROSH: So, Vol’jin, now that everybody’s gotten all riled up over the tauren expedition, have we heard anything from them that would actually be USEFUL?
VOL’JIN: Da one ting I heard was dere be a lotta old ruins from an older race, dat ruled before da pandaren. I don’ know anyt’ing about ’em, but from da ruins it sounds like dey was everywhere.
EITRIGG: Hmm. Possibly worth assigning a team from the Reliquary to join the expedition to look into?
GARROSH: Yeah, maybe. This is a military operation, not an archaeology dig, but calling in some of the blood elves on this might help smooth things over with ol’ what’s-his-name. Captain Peroxide.
MOKVAR: How’s his eye doing, by the way?
GARROSH: Don’t ask.
GARROSH: Anyway… I think that covers everything for today, doesn’t it, Eitrigg?
EITRIGG: Yes, sir. I don’t think there was anything else on the agenda.
VOL’JIN: Good party as always, mon. Next one at my place!
MOKVAR: If we’re done here, I’m going to head over to the Valley of Honor. I need to catch up with Ji about a couple things.
GARROSH: Good, keep him out of trouble for a few hours.
MALKOROK: If you’ll excuse me then, Warchief, Rak’gor and I have a few arrangements to make ourselves.
VOL’JIN: Don’ forget ta pick up da cake dis time, mon.
Malkorok blinks at Vol’jin, then shakes his head as he leaves, grumbling, with Rak’gor and Gul’tar.
<chuckling to himself> Never gets old, mon, never gets old…