Archive for shadebind totem

Ancestral Grounds

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

Writing from Garadar.  I’m going to stay in Outland another day or two, maybe pay a few visits to some familiar faces while I’m here.  Today I mostly needed some time to myself.

I went to the Ancestral Grounds this morning.  I flew around the western mountains for a while, and eventually, after some looking, I finally spotted a small cave with the remains of a makeshift hut just outside.  When I went inside, I found a few dusty boxes of supplies, some cooking gear, a few other little odds and ends…  To one side there was a fairly heavy chest that looked like it hadn’t been opened in years.  Until today, anyway.  Nothing shocking inside, just tidy folded stacks of clothes.  They smelled like old parchment and dreaming glories.

Against the back wall of the cave, laid out on a sturdy but uneven table, there was the body of an orc woman.  She was covered from head to foot in the ceremonial wrappings that are used in tauren custom.  I guess even Magatha has a line or two she wouldn’t cross when it comes to respecting the remains of the dead.

And laying beside the table, discarded and inactive, I found a tauren totem.  It had the same configuration, the same Grimtotem markings as the shadebind totem I’d found in Hyjal when I had my run-in with Krom’gar’s ghost.  I’ll be keeping it with me this time.  Not that there’s much left for anyone to do with it.

I carried Lakkara’s remains down to the Ancestral Grounds and buried her in a vacant spot, just across from where they’d buried Dranosh Saurfang.  I think she would have liked it there.  She always used to try to keep an eye on him.  She probably would have been a little sad to see him there with her already, but not surprised.  He was always showing up for things early.

After I’d finished, I sat near the grave and looked down from the hillside.  I stayed there a while, looking out toward Oshu’gun, and watched Banthar – herd mother for half a lifetime now – wander with her pack across the Spirit Fields.

Not quite Monday, not quite mailbag

Posted in General, Mailbag with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

orgrimmar2

(Or, for the math nerds out there, NotQuite(Monday + Mailbag).  I don’t really understand what that means.  Spazzle said it would go over like gangbusters, though.)

The Grimtotem warrior that Nazgrim was holding in Brackenwall Village was delivered to Orgrimmar.  As it turns out, she was a messenger.  She had wanted to be brought to Orgrimmar in order to deliver a letter – to me personally.

On a side note, just before she arrived here, some of our soldiers captured a SECOND Grimtotem sneaking around the Dranosh’ar Blockade.  This one’s being pretty tight-lipped about what he was doing there, so I’m guessing that one wasn’t another messenger.  So I’m not sure what to make of that.

For now, though, it’s that first one that’s the bigger deal, because the message she was delivering…well, here, see for yourself.

 

Dearest Warchief Hellscream,

I hope this letter finds you well.  Actually, let us not put up false pretenses; I don’t at all hope it finds you well, and further, I know that it will not.

Word has reached me of the terrible tragedy you have recently suffered, concerning the loss of your dear mother Lakkara.  I believe I have some information concerning her loss that will be of interest to you.  Indeed, you may even take some solace in this knowledge – you see, my good Garrosh, you have not truly lost her at all.  That would require you to have ever truly had her back.

Allow me to share with you a most curious tale.

After my recent, shall we say, difficulties with many of my Grimtotem kin, I decided to retire temporarily through the Dark Portal to Outland – a remarkable spectacle at first sight, I must say.  I do so love what your fellow orcs have done with the place.  My handful of followers and I found the region of Nagrand by far the most hospitable – I will thank you for forgoing any obvious remarks concerning the ready availability of grass – and so we took up temporary residence in its outlying territories, near to your Mag’har kin’s Ancestral Grounds.

It was there that a most interesting thing took place.  While foraging in the nearby hills, my associates happened upon a small, secluded cave in the mountainside.  Inside, they found the body of an orcish woman who appeared to have died some years prior.  Ever a student of spiritual custom, I found myself curious as to how the woman had come to be there, and why the Mag’har, usually so diligent in matters of honoring their dead, would have left her remains to go unburied in some remote cave.  And so, I and my colleagues undertook some cautious investigations.

I will not trouble you with the details of our methods; suffice to say, in short order, we found to our amazement that we had discovered the remains of Lakkara, mate of the great Grommash Hellscream, last victim of the pernicious red pox that once ravaged the orcs.

Ordinarily, I would be loathe to disturb the fallen ancestors of any people.  But, as I am sure you will understand, I am equally loathe to pass up a glowing opportunity.

You may recall, several weeks ago, investigating a Twilight’s Hammer cabal in Hyjal, resulting in some rather troubling visions courtesy of a conveniently placed shadebind totem.  In a stroke of good fortune for me, and short-sightedness for you (both of which, I must say, I was rather counting on), you neglected in your rattled state to collect the offending totem.  This made it possible for one of my associates to do so shortly thereafter – the totem, by this point, having attuned itself to you, my good Warchief, for purposes of binding to itself a few select spirits intimately linked to your soul.  One crucial one in particular.

From there, it was a simple matter to summon forth Lakkara’s spirit and prepare her for her “return.”  With the spiritbinding of her dear son to draw upon, and her actual body on hand, the other necessary manipulations were laborious but hardly difficult.  A few selective blurrings of memories…the instilling of a few small additional ones…minor tinkering around the edges of the shadow of her mind: all trivial undertakings, really, once the real work of invocation was done.  All the more trivial given how readily she took to them – only too happy to imagine that she had watched her son’s growth in life rather than from the beyond.

The entire process she would perceive – with some subtle nudging – as our careful ministration of her illness.  (Not entirely an untruth, I might add.)  And the fact of her past contagion would ensure that she would not allow anyone close enough to touch her, and thus discover her noncorporeal state.

And so, with that, it was simply a matter of placing a few totems to summon her into sustained phantasmal being and set her on her way to Garadar.  Greatmother Geyah was, of course, the real test, but I hardly had any doubts that my Lakkara would pass inspection – my Lakkara was, after all, the real Lakkara.  Or what remained of her spirit, more or less.

It was only a matter of time before she would seek out her dear boy.

Of course, your time together would, as you already know, be short-lived.  The elder crone giveth, and the elder crone taketh away.  In this case, the instrument of her removal would likewise come via shadebind – in this case, your former underling Gerbo, who, you may be surprised to learn, was from time to time of assistance to me in his days in Stonetalon.  For a price, of course, but he was, quite frankly, something of a bargain as such matters go.  At any rate, given our previous…association, and his own lingering distaste for his former Warchief, he was only too amenable to lending his aid one last time in death.

It takes a ghost to slay a ghost, after all.

You might well ask, at this point, why I would take the trouble to construct so elaborate a charade.  Why would I invest such time and effort to conjure up the illusion of Lakkara, only to dispel it once again, all for no apparent, tangible gain.

You might well ask, but I suspect you need not.  For illusory though she may have been, to you, dear Garrosh, she was real.  And there is no agony quite so sharp as that of rescinded hope, is there, Warchief?

I will admit, my earlier efforts against you in the Bastion of Twilight were misguided.  Then, I had sought to take my revenge by killing you.  A foolish, short-sighted goal, I realize now.  A terrible mistake whose failure, though grating at the time, has proven to be a blessing in disguise.

You see, I no longer have any desire to kill you.  I’ve hurt you.  And I intend to go on hurting you.

Enjoy your empty nest, dear Warchief.  You will hear from me again.

–Magatha Grimtotem

 

Excuse me.  I…think I need to step away from the computer for a minute.

Okay.

So.

I know a lot of you have been reading this blog for a while, and you probably already have an idea what to expect at this point.  So you’re probably going to be a little surprised here.

See, ordinarily this would be the point where I start yelling, and going into all caps, and screaming bloody murder, and ranting on and on about how brutally I’m going to murder Magatha, and on and on, and filling up a couple paragraphs with how Magatha’s going to die, she’s going to die, oh holy crap she is so.  Totally.  Going.  To die.

I’m not going to do that now.

See how calm I’m staying?  Keeping it together, no yelling, not raising my voice even a little.

Want to know why?

You know that level of anger where it’s not burning up inside you, not even because it’s burned itself out – because that would imply it’s run its course and is done with – but because it’s gone so far beyond that burning, fiery, jump-up-and-down, stomp-your-feet kind of angry?  That anger where the screaming and venting is just wasted energy, and you’re not going to waste any of that energy that you could save up to erase whoever or whatever it was that pushed you that far?  You know that kind of angry?

I am so utterly beyond that right now.

So all I’m going to say is this.

You don’t have to worry about my rage, Magatha.  I usually make a pretty big show of using up my rage.  But rage is just anger that’s burned up and channeled into something else, expended as quickly as it comes.  Rage is nothing.  But anger that’s contained, even cultivated?  That’s like a wine.  It grows deeper, and richer, and ferments into something greater.  It grows more potent.  It grows creative.

Anger is the mother of invention.  And it has an infinite, indelible memory.

So don’t worry about me ranting on and on and how you’re going to die, Magatha.  I know it’s what you’re expecting from me, but not this time.  That’s a promise.

You’re not going to die, Magatha.

You’re going to beg to.

And when you do, I’m going to be completely, utterly, hideously…calm.

Now as I was saying…

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

darkwhisper1

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.

Krom’gar.

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.