Yesterday I ended up sneaking out of the war room to drop by the Orgrimmar orphanage. It was Gurtash’s birthday — he’s fourteen now, can you believe it? — so I thought I’d treat him to a little hunting trip. Hopefully this would go a little less WTFishly than that last fishing trip.
We took the zeppelin to Grom’gol in Stranglethorn. (Have to admit, as we pulled up to the docking tower I took a minute to look around the base and enjoy the fact that we were still there in full force.) From there, we spent most of the day wandering around the jungle hunting tigers, panthers, raptors, a few crocolisks. None of the animals in STV pose any kind of a threat to me, obviously, but I figured they’d be a decent challenge for Gurtash. Turns out, the kid’s actually pretty decent with an axe. I mean, the animals out in Nagrand would make mincemeat of him, but for a kid his age he’s not bad at all. I tried showing him a few extra tricks while we were out there — gotta say, after a couple dozens panthers’ worth of practice, he was getting pretty good at the old “heroic leap away then charge in to stun your target” move.
Since we were locked into hunting mode, I figured we should drop by the Nesingwary camp while we were in the neighborhood, but as it turns out, Hemet Jr. was nowhere to be seen. I guess he took off with the old man a couple weeks ago. Who knows, maybe Hemet Sr. will teach the kid a thing or two and he’ll finally stop being such a clueless fuck-up legacy kid.
While we were wandering around the jungle late in the afternoon, you’ll never guess who Gurtash and I ran into — Ji Firepaw and a few of his junior panda trainees. I guess he had taken them out to STV to get some hunting practice themselves, only now the bunch of them were busy digging some big hole in the ground. When I asked what it was for, Ji said they were setting a trap for a heffalump them were tracking. Which led to my next question: What the fuck is a heffalump? Based on how Ji described them, they sounded kind of like elekks. So I was quick to point out that, you know, elekks are native to Draenor, and so unless there are some dismounted draenei running around here, I’m thinking there wasn’t any such thing in the neighborhood. I tried to explain this to Ji, but all he had to say on the matter was “You can never tell with heffalumps.”
Still, Ji and the Panda Brigade seemed pretty full-on certain that there WAS a bunch of these heffalump things on the loose, and that they’d been tracking them through the jungle, so fine. I asked them to show us the tracks, so they took us to a nearby spot where, sure enough, there were tracks…of the pudgy bear-paw-looking variety. And so Ji went on and on about how they followed one set of tracks through the jungle, and after a while they were joined by more, so they figured there had to be more of these heffalumps grouping up. Maybe to raid ZG, who knows. And while they were explaining all this, mind you, there were taking Gurtash and me around following the tracks…until eventually we’d wandered around in a circle all the way back to where we first found them, and right at that point Ji and the others had a little mini-shitfit, because HOLY CRAP look at that MORE TRACKS. And just…yeah. These guys are for sure going to be difference-makers in this war.
So I finally convinced the pandas to give up on the whole heffalump thing, and we all headed back to Orgrimmar. The pandas tagged along while I brought Gurtash back to the orphanage, because I made the mistake of mentioning it was Gurtash’s birthday, and it took the pandas all of 2.3 seconds to do the mental math that led them to OMG CAKE. To be fair, Ji seemed to hit it off pretty well with Matron Battlewail — the two of them went on chatting for a good long while — and the pandas in general were a pretty big hit with the kids, especially the younger ones.
While I was there, Gurtash showed me a project he was working on for his leatherworking class — a really badass set of flight armor for Mortimer, complete with a heavy-duty embossed harness (just like the one I put on my Winter’s Veil list last year that FOR SOME REASON NOBODY GOT ME) and a headpiece with these big, nasty-looking horns sticking out of it. Really nice job, I’ve got to say, although I’m not sure why they’ve got the kid learning leatherworking when he’s obviously cut out to be a warrior. But whatever.
So that was my day. Gotta say, it’s always nice to have these days away from the war room with Gurtash, not least of all because he actually manages to show a little appreciation, as opposed to the complainers and ingrates I’m usually surrounded by. It’s actually gotten me thinking — Gurtash has been coming around helping with Mortimer and such for almost a year now…maybe it would be a good thing for both of us if he were around all the time. He’s been stuck over at the orphanage since before the Cataclysm…maybe it’s time the kid had a real home again. I don’t know, what do you say? Think I would make a good dad?
Don’t let my legendary axe or legions of heavily armed enforcers influence your answer there at all, by the way.