Archive for skarr

Filling in the gaps

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

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Okay, I was planning on writing this a lot earlier, but I ended up sleeping WAY late that first night back in Orgrimmar, which had me up late last night, and blah blah, up-late-sleeping-in domino effect.  Any of you who’ve gotten into a late-nighter groove on Earth Online know the drill.  Anyway, I’m back in Grommash Hold finally and settled in, and HOLY SHIT it’s good to be able to crash in my own bed again.

So I’m figuring you’re all probably wondering what was going on on my end of things since the last time I posted.  Saurfang and Garona have been giving me the run-down about their side, but I’m still in the process of getting caught up on what Saurfang was posting here while I was out of it.  Anyway, let me try to fill in what I can and maybe fill some gaps for you guys.

Last time you heard from me I was flying down to Alcaz Island.  When I got to the island, Dontrag and Utvoch were still just chilling at one of those naga conjuring rune circles with Skarr, and so I figured I’d gotten there in time to get a jump on things.  Before I could get my bearings, though, a gang of tauren led by Magatha Grimtotem showed up and attacked.  At the time I assumed they were Grimtotem, but from the sound of things now, they must have been Twilights and just happened to be tauren.  Probably hand-picked, actually, so they could seem like they were Grimtotem.  Maybe.  Anyhow, they attacked, and somehow or other Skarr managed to get loose not long after.  Magatha was hanging back some and I could hear her chanting something, but I was a little too focused on the couple dozen dudes I had beating on me at the time, so I wasn’t really paying too much attention to it.

What happened next is still pretty fuzzy.  All of a sudden there was a blinding flash, and I remember being thrown back a long ways.  I think I hit my head on a tree or rock as I was falling back, but before I passed out I remember seeing a lot of the other tauren and maybe D&U getting thrown around by the blast.  I don’t remember seeing Skarr from that point – I think he was the explosion.  Looking back on it based on what Saurfang’s told me, I guess he must have been walking around with some kind of explosive enchantment, and Magatha detonated him when she arrived.  So he really was a time bomb, just a lot more literal than I was figuring.

And for that matter…turns out I was right, just not for the right reasons.  I thought Skarr was the phylactery, and we’d gotten baited into a trap bringing him out in the open.  Well, we got baited into a trap, all right.  But Skarr wasn’t the phylactery.  He never was.  He was the bait.

The next several…days, I guess? I’m not sure…were a blur.  All I can remember is bits and pieces.  Being picked up and dragged around, sounds of the ocean, grunting from ogres and ettin…that sulphury smell from the incense that the Twilights always seem to have burning all over the place.  Purplish walls.  I don’t know how long I was out before I finally came around for good.  Even then I felt pretty groggy, so I’m figuring the fuckers were using some kind of magical mojo on me to keep me subdued.

When I finally came around, I was in the Bastion of Twilight.  Magatha was running the show.  Which, considering the place was obviously overrun by Twilights and not Grimtotem, didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.  But man, was she ever proud of herself for having me under wraps.  I had a few choice words for her…okay, you know me better than that, I had a few choice paragraphs for her…but after I got the initial outrage out of my system (which granted took a while), I managed to get her monologuing.  Thank goodness for villains who can’t fight the urge to run their mouths, that’s all I’m going to say.

So come to find out, Magatha cooked up the story about the phylactery and fed it to the other Grimtotem through Arnak Grimtotem and Isha Gloomaxe, had her people running around making trouble for the ogres under the pretense of finding it, knowing that sooner or later word would get back to the Twilights and they would be all “WTF there’s no phylactery, is this bitch crazy?”  Which okay, she is, but whatever.  Arnak and Isha were the only other Grimtotem who ever knew the real story, or part of it, anyway – there was no phylactery, it was just Magatha’s way to get the Twilight’s Hammer’s attention and bait them into coming for her.  Which they did, in Thousand Needles.  And when they raided the Grimtotem and captured Magatha to interrogate her, they were really doing exactly what she wanted.

Once she was the Twilights’ “prisoner,” that put Magatha in a position to make them an offer they couldn’t refuse.  Sure, there wasn’t any phylactery, but she HAD found a way they could revive Cho’gall, and she was ready to make them a deal.  All she needed was the Doomstone, which the Twilights already had, that collection of tauren relics, which the Grimtotem already had, and a new body for Cho’gall spirit to set up shop in.

On the drawing board, that was going to be Skarr – THAT was his special duty, the job Cho’gall had in mind for him.  Somehow or other Cho’gall knew it could be possible to bring him back in a new body if need be, and had Skarr in mind to be the one, which a handful of those Gordunni ogres were aware of even if Cho’gall didn’t spread word around among the cult in general.  Who knows, maybe one of Magatha’s tribesmen in Feralas got wind of this from the ogres somehow, and that’s what got the call rolling on this idea in the first place.  Anyway…

The only thing that was missing was Magatha’s end of the deal.  I’ll give her this much, she’s no idiot, and she knew better than to trust the Twilights to hold up their end of the bargain if she went ahead and gave them Cho’gall up front.  So that was her one ace in the hole: she was the only one they knew of who could do it, and they weren’t getting any resurrection until she’d gotten her payoff.  As far as the other Grimtotem were concerned, the payoff was help in regaining power, retaking the Grimtotem’s lost territory…but in reality, Magatha knew that was a lost cause.  For now anyway.  The Grimtotem were reduced to bands of renegades, they were banished from tauren society and cast out of the Horde, they couldn’t even get the Alliance to give them the time of day…there was too much lost and too many enemies stacked against them for them to hold on very long even IF the Twilights helped them regain a foothold.  Better to let the Twilights get Cho’gall back, and let the world burn.  At least her enemies would burn with it.

But what she wanted was to be sure one enemy in particular would be the first to go down.

Remember that letter I wrote to Magatha, when she asked me for help in her coup in Thunder Bluff, and I told her where she could stick it?

Yeah.  Guess who.

That’s when they started letting information about all of this start reaching us, to set off their plan to lure me out.  Eventually when we went after Skarr, they started putting the pieces in place for a backup plan that would let them kill two birds with one stone – let us get Skarr, feed us more information through him, then set me up to be captured…and then put me into the Skarr role as Cho’gall’s future place of residence.  A live Cho’gall and a dead Garrosh all in one fell swoop.  Cho’gall’s revived spirit would take over, my soul would be burned up by the restoration – “consumed by the fires of resurrection” as she put it – and my body would be corrupted into something more “suitable” for him.  Fun stuff.

Eventually they even had good luck on their side.  In my stupidity, I sent that fucker Johnny Awesome to Thousand Needles, where the Twilights were still holding Magatha in “protective custody,” which gave her an opening to round up all the magical doohickeys she needed and cover her tracks all at the same time.  I mean, think of it – at this point she was ALREADY basically screwing over her own tribe for the sake of helping the Twilights burn the world down.  So now rather than having to come up with another cover story to keep leading the other Grimtotem on, she just sent Johnny Awesome to round up the stuff she needed from them, then got him to KILL Arnak and Isha, the only Grimtotem who knew anything at all about what Magatha was really up to in the first place.  And then he comes back, “steals” the Doomstone for her, and sends her off on her way, so as far as anyone can tell, she’s just ESCAPED the Twilights rather than working with them.

Gotta admit, this is all so sly and sneaky I’d actually be kind of impressed, if it wasn’t all so totally revolting.

Anyway…you can probably see how everything played out from there, the trap-within-a-trap at Alcaz Island, and all the rest.  Which brings us back to me being held in the Bastion of Twilight.

Eventually a couple of ettin dragged me out of my cell and set me up in a scaffold in the middle of Cho’gall’s old throne room.  Still a little groggy from whatever spells they’d been casting on me, but I guess they needed me conscious for the big pay-off.  Either that or Magatha wanted me awake so I could feel every last bit of it.  Probably both.  The scaffolding actually didn’t feel THAT tight, and the wood seemed to have a little give to it, but I wasn’t sure how much time I was going to have to struggle with it at that point.

Anyway, Magatha stood up beside me with the Doomstone in hand, tauren relics set up all around us, and started doing some incantations that who the fuck knows what they meant.  Apparently the ritual called for some kind of ritual bloodletting (blood is life or some shit like that), and since Magatha wasn’t exactly one to turn up a chance to rub some salt in the would, she had the cultists bring her Gorehowl – she was going to spill my blood with my own axe.  And then, just to add insult to injury…wait, no, she was already adding insult to injury…to add extra insult to insult and injury, she decides she has to get her last jab in, and says something along the lines of, “Fitting, isn’t it, a little loosed blood sets you on your way to becoming a monster that will lay waste to your world…like father, like son, eh, Hellscream?”

And I’m not going to lie to you – THAT?  That pissed me.  The fuck.  OFF.

And seriously, when you’re trying to finish an old-school warrior, Magatha, what’s the one thing you never want to fucking do?  Yeah.  Feed him extra free rage.

Crack.

Snap.

Broken scaffold.

Pummeled tauren bitch crone, flying across the room.  Gorehowl back in the right hands, and a whole room full of Twilights running in to take a number at the deli counter OF MOTHERFUCKING PAIN.

Just so happens, as I was starting to fight my way back out, Saurfang and the rest were making their way in.  I think they might have run into a couple batches of cultists that Magatha sent back out to the exit to secure the way out while I was on the move.  Kinda wish I’d been there to see the looks on their faces when they came out of the portal, actually.  “Okay, guys, we’ll just lock this down and WHERE THE FUCK DID THIS OTHER ARMY COME FROM **CLEAVE**”

So…I think that covers everything.  I probably missed a few details here and there, but fuck, this was long enough already, no need to go piling on more.  Anyway I can try to answer any left over questions you guys might have.  Otherwise, it’s going to be good to get back to semi-normal life, answer my mail, all that good stuff.  I’ll write more soon, about some less apocalypsey stuff.

I’ll say this much, though.  Magatha’s day is coming.  I can take some comfort in knowing that now she’s probably an even greater outcast, even more alone, than she’s ever been, now that she’s not only an exile from the tauren, but she’s even betrayed the one remaining tribe that would have had her.  But this?  Just wait till I finally get my hands on her, and get a chance to crush her under my heel.  CRUSH her.  See if the elements protect her then.  Crush and burn and drown and suffocate.  ‘Tis a little dream I have.

More soon.  And also, um…yeah.  Thanks for coming after me.

Draz’Zilb’s Discovery

Posted in From the Desk of Saurfang with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

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Citizens of the Horde,

Some days ago I alluded to a conjuration proposed by the morally tenebrous ogre Draz’Zilb which, performed upon those entities who were in close proximity of the then-hostage Skarr, might cast some light on any magics unleashed on Alcaz Island.  With the unexpected departure of Warchief Hellscream’s personal wyvern – still at large despite our continued efforts to find it – one of our prime subjects was taken from us, but since that time we have had occasion to revisit the conjuration with respect to our other remaining subjects: the omnisyllabically discursive soldiers Dontrag and Utvoch.

After having the procedure explained to them – a process which took no small measure of time, given the pair’s peculiar reluctance to allow Draz’Zilb to complete a sentence unimpeded until I intervened –

[Saurfang doesn’t have to get a word in edgewise.  When he talks, everybody else’s words stop what they were doing and turn into “Yes sir.” –Mkvr., ed.]

the duo were initially uneasy about the ritual, as they indicated some prior experience witnessing the effects of Draz’Zilb’s spellcasting.  After some reassurance, however, we were able to carry on with the process.  The results were revealing, though perplexing.

Draz’Zilb’s original notion was that the proximity of Dontrag and Utvoch (and the wyvern) to Skarr at such time as Cho’gall’s spirit was summoned from within him would leave residual magic traces – aftershocks, in essence – on them that we would then be able to detect.  Draz’Zilb’s divination did indeed detect powerful magical signatures lingering on the pair; based on his examination, however, these magics were not consistent with the unlocking of a living phylactery.  Instead, he believes that the magical effect to which our subjects were exposed was purely explosive in nature – powerfully explosive at that.

While our information is, of course, incomplete at best, Draz’Zilb has suggested that his findings correspond to a sort of magical explosion that can be detonated by feeding off of the life energy of a living being.  Such a measure would not be out of character for the Twilight’s Hammer, as we have had first-hand experience with their willingness to use suicide bombers in their attack on the Doomhammer.  Nevertheless, it leaves us with many questions about what actually occurred to the ogre Skarr: not least among them, of course, being where he was when the detonation occurred, and indeed whether he himself was the instrument of the explosion – and, if so, what are we left to conclude about his role in the revival of Cho’gall?

Dontrag and Utvoch are, sadly, of little aid in filling in the gaps of our knowledge, as it is likely that the explosion incapacitated them prior to their removal to the island’s underground tunnels, and one can hardly expect them to retain clear memories of the final instants immediately prior to the detonation.  I will likely dispatch Krog to the island once more to search for additional evidence, though I am not optimistic about there being anything left after our original exhaustive searches.

I have additional measures to tend to personally for the investigation.  For the moment, however, having just spent much of the day with Dontrag and Utvoch, I believe I will grant myself a brief respite at the Orgrimmar tavern.

[Saurfang doesn’t always drink lager, but when he does, he prefers Captain Rumsey’s. –Mkvr., ed.]

I will update again soon, friends.  Honor go with us all.

 

-Saurfang

Many Questions, No Answers, One Theory

Posted in From the Desk of Saurfang with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

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Citizens of the Horde,

The more I consider our current crisis, the more troubled I become.  Something is amiss, and I am at present at a loss for what precisely lies behind it.

Upon reflection, I have come to realize that our investigations have uncovered a number of loose ends which have proven most disturbing.  Indeed, some of these loose ends were present even before our most recent movements against the Twilight’s Hammer and Grimtotem, but amid the chaotic last days before Warchief Hellscream’s disappearance, it is not difficult to understand how some of them may have escaped our notice.

Let me begin with the most recent wrinkles.  Continued interrogation of both the Twilight’s Hammer and Grimtotem captives by Garona Halforcen and Krog, respectively, have confirmed their early testimony: that the search for the phylactery of Cho’gall appears to have been initiated by Magatha Grimtotem, not the Twilight’s Hammer themselves; that the Twilight’s Hammer then targeted Magatha for capture upon learning of the Grimtotem search, whereupon Magatha agreed to aid in the resurrection of Cho’gall; that, according to both sides, no alliance or agreement has been forged between our two groups of adversaries.

While disturbing in and of themselves, these facts give way upon closer examination to far more troubling questions.  How is it possible, for one, that Magatha Grimtotem could be aware of the phylactery when by all accounts the Twilight’s Hammer cult itself appears to have been unaware?  While it may be that the existence of the phylactery was known by a small, select number of high-ranking cultists, such that the cult en masse would be oblivious, it still strikes me as strange that, once word of Magatha’s undertaking became widespread amongst the cult, such high-ranking members would not have put forth some account within their ranks beyond, it would seem, “Well that’s news to us.”

Furthermore, there is the odd behavior of both the Twilight’s Hammer cult and of Magatha Grimtotem in Thousand Needles.  Consider: if Warchief Hellscream was correct in his shrewd deduction that the linguistically spastic ogre Skarr was in fact the living phylactery of Cho’gall, then this would mean that the Twilight cult always had within its grasp the means of reviving its leader.  As the Warchief rightly worried, this leaves open the question of why they would not make use of the phylactery, with the likely answer being that something else was yet needed before they could do so.  The Warchief’s continued line of thought led him to suspect that perhaps the Doomstone and a collection of tauren artifacts – all collected and delivered to Magatha Grimtotem by the contemptible blood elf Johnny Awesome – comprised the missing piece.  Yet, the Twilight’s Hammer already had the Doomstone in their possession before it was stolen by Johnny Awesome, which means that the cult possessed at the outset access to both the phylactery and to a power source which could be used to harness it.  Therefore, once again, why would they not have used them?

My only explanation here is that the key pieces to the puzzle may have been the collection of tauren relics which were in the hands of the Grimtotem, and which Johnny Awesome recovered at Magatha’s behest.  Another possibility may be that even given the availability of all these resources, perhaps – strange though it may seem – only Magatha possessed the obscure conjuring knowledge to actually make use of them, and so the key to the entire Twilight operation may have been capturing Magatha Grimtotem and gaining her cooperation.  While these suppositions are certainly possible, nevertheless, I am far from comfortable with our current understanding of this facet of these events.

Finally, there is the matter of the attacks launched on the fateful day of Warchief Hellscream’s disappearance.  We have, on the one hand, nearly simultaneous Twilight raids in Ahn’Qiraj and Bladefist Bay, one driving our people from C’thun’s chamber, the other sinking the Doomhammer and preventing its voyage to Alcaz Island; and on the other, we have the attack of Grimtotem raiders against the cacophonous warriors Dontrag and Utvoch in which Skarr was freed.  The problem I have come to realize is twofold: one, in the absence of any alliance between the Twilight’s Hammer and Grimtotem, how do we account for a Twilight’s Hammer attack at Bladefist Bay, whose only rational purpose could have been to facilitate the pending Grimtotem strike at Alcaz Island?  The only plausible explanation I can think of for this is that the Grimtotem attack at the island was not actually staged by Grimtotem, but by tauren agents of the Twilight cult under the guise of the Grimtotem – certainly possible in light of the known existence of tauren cultists, and further validated by the (ordinarily suspect) insistence of our Grimtotem prisoners that their clan never set out for the island.

Nevertheless, even supposing this explanation, we are left with a further, more troubling question: given, once again, that no cooperation exists between the Twilight’s Hammer and Grimtotem, how would the cult have become aware of our planned movements on Alcaz Island, if the only information ever in circulation on the matter was a decoy letter that was deliberately allowed to fall into the hands of the Grimtotem?  How would they know not only to launch an attack on the island, but to attack us at Bladefist Bay (indicating an awareness not only of the Alcaz operation but of the fact that it was in fact a trap)?

I fear there is something yet in play that runs deeper than we have supposed.  Indeed, the only speculation I can offer fails to account for the many loose ends, and should of course be consider cautiously.  Still, in the spirit of this forum, I will share the current state of my thoughts.

That Magatha Grimtotem is a traitor to her people – both the Bloodhoof tribe and the tauren race in general – should be news to no one.  But I begin to suspect that we have underestimated the depths of betrayal to which the insidious crone might sink.

I believe that Magatha Grimtotem may in fact have betrayed the Grimtotem tribe itself, at the hands of the Twilight’s Hammer.

This theory is purely speculation on my part, and by no means does it account for everything I have raised as a concern.  Yet far too many pieces fit in place for me to discount it as the ravings of advancing age.  Consider: it was Magatha who put set her Grimtotem tribesman on the search for the phylactery through her underlings Arnak Grimtotem and Isha Gloomaxe, leading them to believe by all accounts that the Twilight’s Hammer were also looking for it, and that the tribe might benefit from finding it first.  Yet the cult appears to have been engaged in no such search, and the Grimtotem effort appears to have accomplished nothing save drawing the attention of the Twilight’s Hammer.

The cult then attacks the Grimtotem and captures Magatha.  And it is here that I suspect the crone played her hand: through some means, perhaps she had learned of Skarr and of the possibility of Cho’gall return, and presented herself to the cult as the sole person living who would be able to carry out the deed.  Note closely the events that would follow: an unwitting Horde adventurer, Johnny Awesome, comes upon Magatha, still ostensibly being held by the Twilight’s Hammer; he is sent by Magatha to collect the tauren relics held by the Grimtotem in Thousand Needles; in the process he is also tasked with killing Arnak Grimtotem and Isha Gloomaxe, very possibly the only other Grimtotem who might have had further knowledge of Magatha’s initial scheme.

I suspect Magatha only ever set her people upon the ogres to catch the cult’s attention, and afford her the chance to go to them under guise of being captured.  I believe she offered her help to the Twilight’s Hammer in exchange for something.  I do not know what it is, but it was a price great enough to compel her to turn against her own people, steal from them, kill her kin and indeed her very family in order to cover her nefarious tracks.  I realize that this theory is far from complete, and still leaves yet unaccounted for no shortage of loose ends.  Yet I cannot escape the belief that there lies amid these ramblings some kernel of truth to the crisis before us.

I apologize for the excessive length of this post.  I did not have time to craft a shorter one.  Strange events are upon us, and the selective culling of ideas is a luxury, sadly, which I cannot afford while wrestling with the many questions and theories that plague my thoughts.

We forge on against the darkness, friends.  Honor go with us all.

 

-Saurfang

Flown the Coop, as the Saying Goes

Posted in From the Desk of Saurfang with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

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Citizens of the Horde,

Interrogation of our various captives carries on, and begins to yield fruit, albeit gradually.  Just this morning, the perspicacious rogue Krog reported to me personally to provide updates on his ongoing questioning of those Grimtotem who were apprehended during out recent operations out of Brackenwall Village.  A good man, that Krog, and thorough.

His questioning confirms what we already knew of the Grimtotem situation – that they had, under the direction of Magatha Grimtotem through her lieutenants Arnak Grimtotem and Isha Gloomaxe, begun to search for the now-infamous phylactery of Cho’gall, so as to strike a bargain with the Twilight’s Hammer cult – while further indicating that thus far, no agreements or alliances had been forged between the two groups.  Indeed, shortly after the nefarious tauren clan began their hunt, the Twilight’s Hammer stepped up their activities in Thousand Needles, resulting in the Twilight capture of several Grimtotem, most notably Magatha…who, as you are already well aware, was subsequently freed through unwitting (nay, witless) Horde assistance.

Nevertheless, I find the timing of these events to be hardly coincidental, and I suspect that the Twilight cult undertook a pointed effort to capture Magatha upon discovering that she and her kin were endeavoring to complicate the cult’s efforts to resurrect the odious ogre Cho’gall.

That relations between the Grimtotem and the Twilight’s Hammer are, to say the least, unfriendly is confirmed by early reports from Garona Halforcen in Silithus.  While Garona finds herself still early in her interrogation of our Twilight prisoners (a process which, I hope, will not be slowed too greatly by the temptation to relish the process), she has been able to confirm a reciprocal disdain for the Grimtotem on behalf of the Twilight’s Hammer cultists.

Meanwhile, I have recruited the aid of the resourceful ogre seer Draz’Zilb of Brackenwall Village, who has already been of assistance in these events to both Krog and to Warchief Hellscream, in the hopes that we might glean some additional information through more mystical means.  Draz’Zilb has theorized that, given the powerful magics involved in the phylactery containment of Cho’gall’s spirit, as well as in its possible release, it may be possible to conduct a divination of sorts through any living beings who were in close proximity to the ogre Skarr when, or if, these necromantic powers were tapped.  This afternoon Draz’Zilb joined me in Orgrimmar to attempt such a divination, to see if any traces of recent spellcasting or magical aftershocks might be discerned through the three entities we know to have been present with Skarr on Alcaz Island (excepting, of course, Warchief Hellscream): the externally monologuing soldiers Dontrag and Utvoch, and the Warchief’s personal wyvern.

Draz’Zilb began his divination with the wyvern, which has finally recovered from its injuries on the island.  (I will hasten to note for those D.E.H.T.A.-friendly among you, incidentally, that I was assured that no harm would come to the wyvern as a result of these magics; I am moreover informed that the Warchief had developed quite a fondness for the animal, and having enjoyed the compansionship of numerous pet worgs in my youth, I am not unsympathetic.)  Draz’Zilb detected signs from the wyvern’s residual magic aura that it had indeed been exposed to a magic outburst of some sort; however, the wyvern appeared uneasy throughout the divination process, and while it was still in its early stages, the process was interrupted by the arrival of Dontrag and Utvoch, which served only to further agitate the animal.  Before our handlers could calm the increasingly emotional beast, it managed to slip from its restraints and fly off.

I have sent a scouting detail to patrol Durotar and its surrounding areas to locate the wyvern, but its whereabouts are currently unknown.  I must admit, given our current situation I cannot say that the recovery of the animal can afford to rank as a high priority, though it would indeed pain me upon the Warchief’s return to have to report that we had lost it in his absence.

I shall continue to keep you updated as events continue to unfold, friends.  Honor go with us all.

 

-Saurfang

Alcaz Island Investigations

Posted in From the Desk of Saurfang with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

Citizens of the Horde,

I offer my apologies for the tardiness of this update.  As you may well imagine, however, these have been hectic days in Orgrimmar, and I fear that my daily activities have left little time to attend to my authorial duties as I know I should.

The search for Warchief Hellscream continues.  At present I cannot, unfortunately, report his safe return, but I remain hopeful that we will find him and bring him back to safety.  Horde agents are pursuing a number of possible leads as to his whereabouts; in the meantime, I shall take this opportunity to provide you with further detail as to where the investigation stands.

As I noted in my previous message, Horde forces arrived at Alcaz Island some hours after Warchief Hellscream’s departure from Orgrimmar.  Upon their arrival, they found no sign of the Warchief, nor of the schizophrenic ogre Skarr, but did observe signs of struggle across a considerable span of the island, in particular in the area immediately surrounding one of the many naga conjuring circles that mark the terrain there.  In the nearby jungle, scouts found the Warchief’s personal wyvern, wounded and disoriented (which, I am informed, led to some minor lacerations prior to its recognition of the friendly nature of the orcs who found it).  The wyvern’s presence at the island confirms that the Warchief did indeed arrive at Alcaz Island, and was not, as some suspected possible, intercepted en route.

Further investigation of the island revealed an elaborate system of underground tunnels, perhaps utilized at some prior time by the infuriatingly rasputinian gnome Dr. Weavil, who had taken up residence on the island at roughly the same time as the Qiraji War Effort.  While a painstaking search of the tunnels produced no concrete evidence of Warchief Hellscream’s presence, it did uncover, unconscious, the missing verbose soldiers Dontrag and Utvoch, who had been sent to delivery Skarr to the island as part of the Warchief’s original stratagem. 

Upon recovering consciousness in Orgrimmar, Dontrag and Utvoch reported that shortly after their arrival at the island, they were attacked by a large contingent of Grimtotem raiders.  Unsurprisingly, the insidious ogre Skarr seized upon this opportunity to turn on the orcs; they could recall little else after this point, as it was doubtless at this time that they were knocked out and dragged to the tunnels.  Based on their testimony, it would appear that the Grimtotem succeeded in gaining control of the island prior to the Warchief’s arrival.  At present it is unclear whether Magatha Grimtotem herself was present for the attack, or whether she arrived at the island at any point thereafter.

I have dispatched the intrepid investigator Krog to the island to scour for any further evidence, and in the meantime I am conducting an exhaustive survey of all Grimtotem encampments and activities in Kalimdor.  Since it is clear that their involvement in the affair is deep, I have concluded that a thorough – and emphatic – response is called for.

I shall provide further updates as time allows, friends.  Honor go with us all.

 

-Saurfang

When things turn bad they don’t @!$# around

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

Writing this up as quickly as possible while Mortimer is being prepped for flight.  I don’t have much time to spell everything out so I’m leaving the relevant documents with Mokvar and authorizing him to edit this post as needed to include enough info for this to make sense to you all.

Garona’s message from Silithus was bad news.

 

Garrosh:

Major trouble in Silithus.  Were setting final fortifications in AQ when were attacked by large Twilight’s Hammer force.  Humans, ogres, several silithid.  Many more TH than intelligence indicated were even in Silithus; bypassed periphery guards into inner passageways; possibly hiding in nearby silithid hives and tunneled in?

Vastly outnumbered.  As soon as combat started turning against us, made sure we destroyed all conjuring equipment left by TH in C’thun’s chamber.

Retreat necessary; far too many of them.

Tried to bring TH captives with us while escaping.  One captive killed in crossfire.  Second has been making cryptic taunts.  Evasive about whether TH are fighting their way in to use phylactery.  “You don’t think we’d keep such a sacred vessel ON us, do you?” and “So easy to get you with half-truths when you always focus on the wrong half” or words to that effect.

Regrouping at Orgrimmar Legion Camp.  Krug Skullsplit offering troop support for counter-offensive.  More forces needed for much prospect of success.

Courier carrying this note can fill in details as needed.

–Garona.

 

Between this and the Twilight strike at Bladefist Bay, I have a really bad feeling about this.  Somehow they knew.  They knew we were in Ahn’Qiraj, they knew we were preparing to move forces from Durotar.  Not sure how much they know on both fronts, but it stands to reason if they knew we were sending the Doomhammer out, they probably know we have something brewing at Alcaz, and that we’re springing a trap.

And the more I think of it…nearly everything we know about all of this has been coming from Twilight informants.

Spirits help us.  I think we’ve been played.

 

–Why have those cultists running around looking for something when they already knew where is was?

–Why are you having our people in Dustwallow carry on like the ogres there might still be holding the phylactery? … It’s just a way to keep the Grimtotem busy looking for it, keep them one move behind…

–Just a big misdirect.

–Mmhmm.

–Should I be worried that this cult and I seem to think so much alike?

 

I don’t think the phylactery was ever in Silithus.  I think that was one more giant misdirect in a string of misdirects.  They wanted us busy chasing our tails in Silithus.  They wanted us to think we’d gotten one move ahead of them, setting a trap to lure in the phylactery while they’re moving it around the zone – the more I think of it, if they had the damn thing, and they had that many forces in Silithus, why keep it moving and exposed while they set up?  Why wouldn’t they just bring everyone into the temple and set up while all their forces stand guard and the phylactery is safe in hand on-site?  Why would they even need the business with the signal?

So now the question is, where is it, and why go to the trouble of having us orchestrate this huge trap on our end?  If they’re playing games with us like this, they must know where the phylactery is, so why aren’t they just using it?  Do they not have it still?  Do they need something else before they actually CAN use it?  They must be after something.

 

Preserved, yes, kept for the masters, held for them, alive, alive, need Skarr alive, all of us alive until we all die, die for the masters, die in glory, die in flame…

 

They…need Skarr.  Alive.

And he was being chased by the Grimtotem.  And us, for that matter.  Only they had to know that WE wouldn’t kill him as long as we thought he knew something we needed.  So…they let us get him?  For safekeeping?  But that still doesn’t make sense – why not move HIM down to Silithus and keep him under guard with this giant fucking army they apparently have?  There’s something missing here.  There’s something else they’re still after, otherwise it makes no sense to be playing this bait-and-switch game they have going.

 

So easy to get you with half-truths when you keep focusing on the wrong half.

 

And besides, Skarr didn’t even actually HAVE the phylactery.  He had nothing in his camp, he had nothing on him, if he KNEW anything he wasn’t letting on…but he sure as hell THOUGHT he was playing some important role in it all, carrying out some important duty that Cho’gall trusted him with.

 

Cho’gall notice Skarr.  Cho’gall remember.  Keep in mind, keep in mind…

 

Hell, he was such a devoted crazy-ass follower of Cho’gall he even fucking TALKED like him half the time.

Wait a minute.

Wait…a minute.

 

Burn and drown and crush and suffocate.

 

Fuck.

FUCK.

Skarr was a believer.  So he gave himself over to the cause – completely.

 

Apparently that’s the trade-off for this kind of ritual – restoring somebody’s spirit from a non-living vessel doesn’t take a whole lot of magical energy, but it does need something attuned to that particular spirit in order to focus the spell properly, as opposed to living vessels, which I guess actually keep the essence better preserved but require an immense amount of power to unlock.

 

He gave himself over by helping them preserve their leader the safest way possible.

Skarr IS the phylactery.

FUCK.

But…to release Cho’gall’s spirit from a living vessel, according to what Draz’Zilb said… they can’t just up and do that.  They need an immense amount of magical power.

Like…say…a collection of ancient tauren artifacts, and the Doomstone.

Which are in the hands of Magatha.

Who we’re luring to the damn island.

With Skarr.

Fuck fuck fuck FUCK.

Skarr was the key all along.  We fucking had it in our hands and we didn’t even realize it.  How did nobody see this?  How did everybody fucking miss this?  Me included!  He was a fucking time bomb right there in our midst the whole time…

 

Tick, tock, tick, tock…

 

…and all they needed was for us to be chumps and pick a spot to plant the bomb and light the fuse for them.

I’m about to take off.  By this point Dontrag and Utvoch must have reached Alcaz Island with Skarr.  No telling how soon the Grimtotem will get there.  Or the Twilights.  No time now to get another ship ready to go – I need to fly down myself and do what I can to get this under control before everything goes to hell.

I’ll talk to you when I talk to you.  Luck to us all.

Not good

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

Dontrag and Utvoch are supposed to bring Skarr to Alcaz Island to set our trap for Magatha in a short while.  The plan was to time things so that our forces take off from Bladefist Bay on the Doomhammer with JUST enough time to be there slightly ahead of them, then watch for Grimtotem activity.  We’d probably have to improvise on the fly some, depending on how Magatha and company were tackling things, but considering the element of surprise we’d have going for us, and the superior numbers we’d be bringing, it would be fairly easy to adapt to whatever we encountered.

That was the plan.

We just had a major monkey wrench thrown into it.

Less than two hours ago, a Twilight raiding party attacked Bladefist Bay.  The Kor’kron forces on hand fought them for a while, and ended up defeating them fairly handily…except that it seems like winning the fight wasn’t really the point of the attack.  In fact, a big chunk of their forces were out of commission before the fight even really got rolling.  Several of the Twilights were carrying saronite bombs.  In the initial charge, they rushed the Doomhammer, boarded the ship, and set them off – killing themselves in the process.  The other Twilight attackers really seemed to be there just to provide enough cover to make sure enough of the bombers got to the ship, and by the time we could had the situation under control, the Doomhammer was badly damaged.

It’s taking on water and going down in the bay as we speak.  No chance of her making any trips to Alcaz Island, now or likely ever.

I really, REALLY don’t like the timing of this.  Something’s going on, and it’s pretty damn hard to shake the idea that the Twilights know a hell of a lot more than they should.  There’s absolutely no reason for them to specifically target the Doomhammer unless they’re trying to keep it from casting off.  A random attack wouldn’t be so specific about taking out the ship, and besides, batshit though they are, the Twilights don’t do random.

We’re going to have to improvise something, and fast – Skarr should be on the move soon, and there isn’t enough time to get a messenger down to Dustwallow in time to have them delay the operation.  One way or another, we’re committed.

Speaking of messengers, though, I’ve just had a courier arrive with a letter from Garona in Silithus.  I’ll update shortly once I’ve had a chance to read it.  Hopefully it’s good news.  We could use some at this point.

Laying the bait

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

Sometimes I really hate my job.

When all this is over with, if it works the way we’re planning, it’ll all be worth it.  I’ll be able to look back and say we stopped the Twilights, and finally caught Magatha, and I’ll even personally hand-deliver her to Baine to do what he will with her.  Although, you know, if it’s going to be something painful, I’m really, really hoping I can skip to the front of the line of people who get to do it.  But anyway.

It’s going to be worth it in the end, but that doesn’t mean that the things I need to do to get it to happen don’t still suck.

Everything is underway for the trap at Alcaz Island.  Skarr is under lock and key in Dustwallow, and Dontrag and Utvoch are standing by to transport him to the island.  I have a Kor’kron detachment ready to sail down from Bladefist Bay and slip in undetected by the Grimtotem.  All we need now is for the Grimtotem to conveniently discover that we “know” where the phylactery is, and we’re being led to it.

And that’s the part that sucks.

The Grimtotem have been sending raiding parties down to hit Brackenwall Village fairly regularly.  Nothing we can’t push back without a whole lot of trouble, but still.  Now, though, we’re going to deliberately spread the ogre guards out and send scouting parties around the area, so the village itself has less of a defense force.  So for one, we’ll give the appearance of a more vulnerable target, and two, when the Grimtotem finally do strike again, there will be few enough troops on hand that the stupid cows can feel like they’re actually putting a dent in the place this time.

In the middle of all this, I’m having a pair of orc couriers flee from the camp, and make it look like they’re making a break for the road back up to the Barrens.  They’re going to be carrying a sealed letter from Draz’Zilb to me – basically notifying me that they’ve discovered the whereabouts of the phylactery, and Skarr will be leading us to its hiding place on Alcaz Island.  When, where, all the RSVP details.  The idea is that we’ll have the couriers take off during the attack, make sure they’re visible while leaving, and then let the Grimtotem catch them and take the letter and think they’ve made the big score.

And all that sounds fine.  But here’s the thing.  If the Grimtotem are going to buy this, we can’t make it too easy.  We can’t just have a couple of our men stroll up to them waving a white flag.  We can’t have them offering up the goods to save their own necks, or turning traitor to help them – the Grimtotem are a lot of things, but they’re not pants-on-head retarded, and they know us well enough to know that there’s no fucking way a pair of orcs would ever sell out the Horde to them, or go down without a fight.

So…they have to go down fighting.

They’ll make a break from the village, take just long enough to get out for the Grimtotem raiders to get after them, put up a fight, make it really seem like they’re hell-bent on getting through to the Barrens, and then, in the end…fail.  Magatha will get the letter the only way she ever would – from their cold, dead hands.

I’ve talked to the couriers who are going on this mission.  They know what’s being asked of them.  I quietly rounded up some of our men and explained what was going on, what was at stake – the Grimtotem, and the Twilights, and Cho’gall, and Magatha and justice for Cairne – and told them this job was volunteers only.

Not a hand in the room stayed down.

I’d never been more proud to be Horde.  (And they call us savages.)

In the end I chose two from among the volunteers to send.  I made sure that the men going on the courier run were single, no children…we orcs have had far too many orphans and widows already, and I won’t have a hand in creating more if I can help it.  They’re on their way to Dustwallow now, and soon enough the plan will be underway.

Like I said…in the end, it will pay off.  In the end, the Grimtotem will be stopped.  In the end, the Twilight’s Hammer will be prevented from getting their phylactery.  Cho’gall will stay in the grave where he belongs, and Thrall will have a clear path to finish the job against Deathwing.  Magatha will be captured and brought to justice, and maybe Cairne can finally rest a little easier.

I know that this is the right call.  This is the only call.  And I can live with it.  I have to live with it.

Spirits forgive me.

Wherein I get clever and stuff

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2012 by Garrosh Hellscream

brackenwall4

Okay, back to business.

I’m writing from Brackenwall Village.  I just finished a strategy session with Krog, Drazz’Zilb, and Dontrag and Utvoch.  By all signs, the Grimtotem here in Dustwallow are still hitting the Stonemaul ogres, and I’ve also gotten confirmation from Orhan Ogreblade that the Grimtotem in Feralas are still active around the Maul.  So, that tells us that the Grimtotem still believe that the phylactery is being held by the ogres in one place or the other, and that they haven’t gotten wind of what’s going on in Silithus yet.  Which means if we move quickly, we might have an opportunity here.

Here’s the thing: we know the Grimtotem operations in Feralas and Dustwallow were being coordinated by Arnak Grimtotem and Isha Gloomaxe.  We also know that those two – along with a couple other high-ranking Grimtotem – are dead now, courtesy of (ugh) Johnny Awesome.  And now that Magatha is on the loose again (oh and did I mention DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT FUCK YOU JOHNNY AWESOME FUCK YOU RIGHT UP YOUR FUCKING ASS), smart money says she’s going to be keeping a close eye on the search, seeing as the plan most likely came from her in the first place.

We’re going to get her.  Keep reading for the nuts and bolts.

I’m having Skarr moved from Stonemaul Hold to Brackenwall Village, where the ogres will hold him until we’re ready to put the plan into motion.  Then we’re going to let word slip out to the Grimtotem that we’ve captured a Twilight operative who knows where the phylactery is hidden, and is going to lead us to it.  We’ll let them “find out” when and where, and at the set time we’ll even have Skarr transported to the location so there’s every appearance that the hand-off is going to happen.  If we play this right, word will get right back to Magatha of what’s going on, and she’ll send her boys to try to intercept the phylactery.  What’s more, if I know anything about Magatha – especially now that her main flunkies are out of commission – she’s not going to want to leave anything to chance.  With any luck, she’ll come out of hiding herself to personally land the phylactery.  And we’ll be waiting for her.

I’ve gone over the plan with Krog and the others, and I think we’ve gotten the final details sorted out.  We’re going to let the Grimtotem think that the phylactery is hidden on Alcaz Island, off the Dustwallow coast.  First off, it’s a remote spot without much reason for anyone to go to otherwise.  Just as important, Drazz’Zilb tells me the island is covered with runes and conjuring circles from the naga mystics there, and so that should make it pretty easy to sell the idea that the phylactery is under some kind of magic lock and key, with Skarr being the only one able to get to it.  This way Magatha will figure her best bet it to hit the island when we take Skarr there, rather than trying to get there before us and waste her time trying to track down a phylactery hidden who-knows-where that she can only unlock access to who-knows-how.

Meanwhile Garona will be holding down the fort in Silithus, where our Kor’kron forces will be set in position soon.  Patrols already have the Silithus borders covered, so we know the real phylactery is contained.  Just a matter of springing the trap there, and this should all finally be over.  Still, it’s only a matter of time before word gets out about what’s going on there, so I don’t want to wait on Trap #1 before we set Trap #2.  Or vice versa.  Whatever.  Number the traps in the order that makes you happy.  Point is, I want to get the ball rolling on Alcaz Island ASAP.  I’m heading back to Orgrimmar now to line up the final details.  Updates soon.

Ahn’Qiraj

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2011 by Garrosh Hellscream

We’re not there yet, but things are starting to come together.

I met up with Garona in Silithus at the Scarab Gate.  Based on the information we’d gotten from Skarr, the phylactery of Cho’gall is in Silithus (And by the way, did I mention I’m getting sick sick SICK of all the running around I’ve been stuck doing for this operation? Would it have killed them to set this all up within a few blocks?), and the final destination is going to be C’thun’s chamber in Ahn’Qiraj – but since we didn’t know whether it was already there, or going straight there, or somewhere else in transit, we decided to hit the end point first and see if we could work backwards if necessary.  So we met outside the ruins and made our way into the old temple.

It’s been years since Horde adventurers fought their way through that place and cleared out the Qiraji that held the area, but it’s still creepy as hell in there.  The walls look like they might as well be alive, twitchy and slimy, and even knowing the Qiraji are gone, you still can’t help feeling like at any second some giant bug monster could jump out of the dirt at you.  You end up walking through the place with the weirdest uneasy feeling, like you’re constantly tricking yourself into thinking you just saw something out of the corner of your eye.

We ran into a small pack of Twilight guards as we got fairly deep into the temple, and I probably don’t need to tell you how that went for them.  (Heh.)  We finally reached C’thun’s chamber in the heart of the temple, where we found a pair of Twilight cultists unpacking several crates of random conjuring doohickies and reagents, arranging them around the room… And by the way, as if the place didn’t already have enough creepy factor going for it, some of C’thun’s remains were still there.  Dead for years and it’s still there, looking fresh enough that you’d half expect it to wake up.  Maybe those Old Gods have something about them that prevents them from decomposing the way the rest of us do when we die.  Curse of flesh, right?  End to end, I’m pretty sure this stop is going to do wonders for my dreams come nighttime…

Anyhow… the cultists weren’t much more of an issue than the guards were, other than the fact that these guys needed to be taken alive, what with them probably knowing the most about what was going on.  Still, it didn’t take too much doing to subdue them, and then Garona and I dragged them off into separate rooms to question them separately.  No comment on how much beating either of them ended up taking.  Just take my word that they’re both still alive.  Mostly.  Can’t go killing THESE cultists just yet, at least till we’re sure we don’t need any more info from them.  Anyway, point is, we were able to get some information from them.

The phylactery isn’t in the temple now, but is being moved around the zone to prevent it from staying in one place for too long.  There’s a Twilight agent going around with an entourage from camp to camp while the cultists here get everything ready for the ritual.  Once they’re ready, they’re supposed to send up a signal, and the courier will know to make the final delivery.

I’m FAIRLY sure I can persuade them to fill us in on how they’re supposed to give the signal.  (Heh.)  Which means that (a) there’s no signal going out until we let it happen, and (b) we can control when it DOES go out.  Which means, now we’re in business.

So here’s the plan.

Garona’s going to stay in Ahn’Qiraj while I head back to Orgrimmar and arrange for a Kor’kron stealth team to head down to Silithus quietly.  We’ll move them into the temple, set up shop, and then once we have the place secured and have all the back exits and trap doors covered, we’ll give the signal for the Twilight courier to bring home the phylactery.  After all, if it’s on the move all over the zone, why spend our time chasing it all over the place, when we can just have it hand delivered, right?

On my way out of Silithus I stopped at Cenarion Hold and talked to Commander Mar’alith.  As a matter of fact, when we were first heading to Silithus, I kind of figured Cenarion support might be handy before all was said and done, so…spirits help me…I sent a letter to ol’ Lather-on-us in Northrend.  I figured since he’s wanting to make nice with me now that he thinks I’m cutting back on the veal (HAH!), he might be able to put in a good word for us with his Cenarion friends.  Pretty much just told him we’re working on an operation against the Twilight’s Hammer, who want to destroy the world, and if they do, it might be bad for the animals.  That perked him up right quick.

So Ma’alith knew I’d probably be coming, and he’s agreed to help with the operation by stepping up the Cenarion patrols of the zone to make sure no cultists leave Silithus without us knowing.  Meanwhile I’m having an entire battalion posted in the passageway between Silithus and Un’goro Crater, and putting the Kor’kron Air Guard on constant patrol around the zone.  Between us and the Cenarions, nobody, but nobody, is getting out of Silithus without our say-so.  Which means the phylactery is sealed up in Silithus, not going anywhere, until we get our people in position to spring the trap.

And speaking of which, on my way up to Durotar, I’m making a stop at Brackenwall Village to talk with Krog and the others.

Hold on tight, kids.  I have an idea.

 

 

[Header image provided by Clara from Come Get tha Voodoo, via Rioriel of Postcards From Azeroth.  Click here to see the souped-up Postcard version!]

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