“Ya a hack is what ya ah!” the
livid troll spat at the other troll. “Ya
littal voodoo wannabe magics dunnah compah
to dah powah of dah Witch Doctah!”
Hukari was a very proud individual, one whom
Zooti frequently avoided for reasons of wanting
to stay alive. The troll stood hunched over
as was common among the males, but he still
towered over Zooti by a good four feet. The
self-proclaimed “greatest witch doctah
evah” was currently arguing over the
semantics of a divination spell with his greatest
adversary Golomojo, the local Voodoo Priest.
The two could never come to terms on anything
once the argument started. And if it had time
to get root, could last for days and cost
the lives of at least a hundred chickens.
“Dunno be messin wit dah voodoo like
dat mon, ya be wrong and ya know it,”
Golomojo began. Though his robes were far
less gaudy than Hukari’s, they certainly
conveyed a hidden power. Zooti had seen this
guy survive at least two Ogre invasions during
the last Brackenwall Boulderfestival.
“Alrighty,” Zooti began, feeling
that if it went any further he would never
get a word in. “I don’t care who
has the right spell or how many chickens it
costs. I just need one of you to get me a
location of where Leza is specific enough
to hit that area with a teleport.”
“Maybe ‘eh can stare through
the ass of one of ‘is precious chickons!”
Hukari scoffed at Golomojo. Both wore their
own version of Voodoo masks that would start
at the nose and just rise up over the brow
of their head. But they also both had long
protruding tusks that they would point at
each other as if they were additional hands
by which to make rude gestures at the other.
“Hukari, seriously. Remember when you
were first showed up here and needed Leza’s
help in getting that narcoleptic druid out
of the caves nearby?”
Hukari shrugged, grumbling to himself. “Naralex,
ya. Ah’ right. But ya know ah be comin’
wit ya tah make sure ya git dis done right.”
“Meh too!” Golomojo stepped up.
Both trolls stood up at that point, rising
to their full seven-foot height. In truth,
they were taller than tauren when they would
“While I appreciate your offer guys,
I think it would be best if I went alone.
The Alliance has some pretty hefty bounties
on all of us, and from what Mr. Sneed said,
she may be knee deep in their territory.”
“Ya tink ah be ‘fraid o’
dah alliance?” Hukari asked.
“Ya be smokin’ dah tauren grass
again ain’t ya?” Golomojo chided
at the little gnome, chiming in with Hukari
for the first time in months.
“Just let me get some expendable mercenaries,
pop in, grab her, and pop out of there without
drawing a lot of attention,” Zooti struggled.
He was getting a very bad feeling about this.
What was supposed to be a simple rescue mission
was quickly turning into the equivalent of
a Dwarven beer run.
“Zooti,” a strong woman’s
voice came from behind him. “Should
hide. Customers come soon.”
He turned slightly to see the young orcish
woman walking up behind him. Much like the
males of their race, the women were lined
with muscles bursting from nearly every inch
of their body. Small tusks protruded from
her mouth and long black hair drifted over
her shoulders. Zooti always had a crush on
this one, but then he had a thing for strong,
“Hey there Rukra,” he began,
“could you tell your husband here that
he is not allowed to go to the Eastern Kingdoms
“Why go there?” Rukra asked,
her eyes drifting to that of her mate, Hukari,
who was about to burst at the idea that he
“Dis bobblehead no be tellin’
dah whole story,” Hukari yammered. “Leza
got pinched. We gonna be rescuin’ er.”
“Oh? When we go?” Rukra asked.
Zooti smacked his tiny hand into his forehead
“Look all, I really do appreciate the
offer, but honestly a gnome is much easier
to blend in over there than two trolls and
“And Pazo!” shouted Pazo from
his vantage point behind the bar, a good twenty
feet away. Zooti frequently wondered if the
tauren was just psychic or something.
“Oh no Pazo! Last time you were near
Ironforge you tried to…” Zooti
stopped himself short. No reason to break
other’s illusion of Pazo, the huggable
halfwit bartender. “I need to go get
Night had fallen an hour or so ago, and the
whole bar was lit with the gleam of torches
and lanterns. It was still empty for the most
part, which was the only reason Zooti still
felt safe walking through the open. Whenever
customers would arrive, the little gnome would
frequently hide down in his lab he built in
the cellar. It seemed like the safest course
of action when living in predominately horde
lands. While the employees of the Tavern trusted
him, there was too much blood between the
alliance and horde to fully make him ever
feel safe here.
A dark figure suddenly stepped into the door
of the tavern.
It was an orcish male in the prime of his
warrior youth. Drawing back the cloak that
covered his ornate armor revealed the mask
of a wolf over his face, the signature helm
of a shaman in the service of Thrall.
The Orc stepped right up to the circular
bar in the middle of the room, wasting no
time with pleasantries.
“You Pazo Stonehoof?” he asked
of the bartender.
Pazo smiled at the orc, but Zooti caught
the quick movement of his right hand dropping
under the bar where he kept a plethora of
weapons for special occasions. The gnome quickly
and quietly slinked backward behind a table,
working his way as much out of sight as possible.
“Aye,” the tauren replied.
“I am Stone Guard Matok of the Frostwolf
Forces,” the orc spoke with a commanding
voice that would make no sane person question
his credentials. “I am here with news
of your sister.”
“Then greet with many greats,”
Pazo whipped his left hand around and within
seconds had a full mug of ale procured from
the kegs suspended in the cavity of the totem
above his head. He placed the mug in front
of the orc. “Speak and have with infos.
Only friends here.”
The orc quickly glanced about the room, barely
moving his head. “You have a gnome among
“Zooti most with save Pazo, so okee
dokee war buddy.”
“So noted,” the orc let his hand
drift away from what could now be seen as
the hilt of some strange spiked mace at his
side. “Your sister was captured during
a military incursion into Loch Modan.”
“Leza no military. Leza smuggles.”
“Aye, but we were the ones making the
incursion. Your sister was kind enough to
provide us with some information. At a hefty
cost of course, and it would have been worth
the price had she not been discovered.”
“Why Leza help hordies?”
As the two spoke, Zooti gave up on the skulking
since this orc seemed far less interested
in him than originally feared. He, like the
two trolls and Rukra, was enthralled with
what was going on.
“At first we believed it was related
to the money she was asking for. But then
we learned of your war record and began to
understand. Your sister was captured by a
traitor we were pursuing. A General Or’gok.”
A chunk of the bar suddenly burst apart as
Pazo’s hand flew through the boards
and grabbed the throat of the orc. With one
swift move he yanked the heavily armed, three
hundred pound orc right over the bar and slammed
him into one of the columns holding up the
totem above their heads. The whole canvas
walls of the tavern shook with the impact.
The orc instinctually reached for his weapon,
but Pazo had already used his other hand to
rip it from the orc’s side and raise
it to striking height.
“That demon is dead!” the tauren
sneered in the face of the orc.
“He…lives…” the orc
desperately clung at the deathgrip Pazo had
over the throat of his adversary.
Zooti snapped out of his shock at the scene
and ran over to the bar, the two trolls and
Rukra coming to and doing the same.
“I killed him with my own bare hands!”
Pazo struggled with the words, almost as if
speaking in the first person was causing him
great pain. “I heard that foul creature’s
neck snap like a twig!”
Matok was now having difficulty even saying
that much. He tried to send his knee flying
into Pazo’s gut, but the hilt of his
own mace came down on his kneecap with the
full force of Pazo’s right arm.
Hukari lunged over the bar and grabbed at
Pazo’s right arm with the mace in it.
Without even looking at who was reaching for
him, the tauren sent his elbow up into the
face of the Witch Doctor sending him back
dazed from the impact. Rukra slammed into
his left side, wrapping her arm around his
left arm that was squeezing the life out of
Matok. Of everyone in the bar, she was probably
the most physically fit, but Pazo had sheer
weight on his side. And something else.
As Zooti prepared a spell as quickly as he
could think, he half imagined he saw tiny
spikes rising up from Pazo’s skin. Not
stiff fur, but full on quills, black in color
with a hint of burnt red at the tip that had
a partial glow to it. They were subtle, but
But then the little gnome let the magic flow
from his fingers and fly into Pazo. Smoke
erupted from the tauren and both Rukra and
Matok fell to the floor. When the smoke cleared,
a massive sheep could be seen in the middle
of the bar area, the look of glazed red eyes
staring at them in confusion.
“Ah coulda’ takin dat cow!”
Hukari muttered as Rukra helped him up. Zooti
turned to see Golomojo watching from a chair
at a nearby table, munching on some nuts and
enjoying the show.
Matok rose to his feet, his throat still
looking as if a bear had mauled it.
“That was not entirely what I had expected…”
Leza awoke in her cell. The cold stone floor
had left cramps in every muscle in her body.
The stench of filth and waste filled her nostrils
like a burning spear. Her head still felt
like it was rolling from the impact of the
strike that had knocked her out.
The last thing she could remember was the
hilt of a warhammer being slammed into the
back of her head, but little else before or
“Ugh…not again,” she mumbled
to herself. It was becoming a hassle getting
captured as often as she did. Granted, it
was never by the same person, since those
who captured her usually found out why to
not do so shortly afterward, but this was
really getting old. “Now, where are
we today?” she questioned as she turned
her head to survey the room.
The cell was probably ten-foot cube. Or at
least, it would be if chunks weren’t
missing from most of the stonework giving
the whole cell a near shapeless form. A door
rose up on one wall, crafted of old, hardened
wood. A small opening in the door covered
with bars allowed provided the only view of
the hallway beyond she could see from this
vantage point. The light of the cell all came
from a single window, high in the wall opposite
the cell door. It was only a foot high and
a foot across and covered by bars, and it
appeared to only open into a shaft from which
light from the world outside would drift down
and illuminate the room.
“You’re at the ruins of Durnhold
Keep,” came a muffled, feminine voice
from the other side of the wall her back was
“Well,” Leza replied, too exhausted
physically to be startled in any way. “That
answers that question. I’m assuming
this is Or’gok’s doing?”
“I didn’t ask for names when
they threw me in here,” the voice responded.
“I only got that they were territorial
over their body parts. Go fig. No one has
escaped in the entire time that I have been
“Yeah, go fig. How long have you been
There was a pause from the other side of
the wall. “A few hours.”
Leza chuckled to herself. “I love your
optimism, but if this guy really is Or’gok,
you may not have time to let them get cozy.
The guy is one of the Burning Blade’s
most powerful figureheads. I even heard he
died once, but I guess not everything you
hear at a bar can be taken at face value.
So what’s your name?”
“Xynth Oglethorpe,” the voice
muttered back, oddly cheery even though the
voice was fairly deep and raspy.
“Pleased to meat you Xynth. I’m
Leza Stonehoof. Now lets see what we can do
about getting out of here before my brother
finds out what happened.”
Matok sat sternly at a table, a pint of Durator
Draft in his hands. He stared at the Tauren
bound to the chair across from him. Pazo was
still unconscious, and any signs that Zooti
had seen of the quills was no longer visible.
Rukra and Hukari sat on either side of the
big Tauren, keeping their eyes on him as Matok
spoke. Zooti and Golomojo sat back up at the
bar watching from a safe distance but still
close enough to participate in the conversation.
“So are we having beef tonight?”
Tehd asked as he stepped up next to Zooti.
“Cause if so I need to get the big fire
“Wraak,” came the squawk of Mr.
Sneed from his small roost above the bar.
“Don’t eat the idiot, wraak!”
Tehd looked up at the bird and glared at
it as best his lidless eyes could glare. “I
really hate that thing.”
Rukra turned to Matok, now that she was sure
the bindings on Pazo were properly tightened.
“Matok, tell us what is going on.”
The shaman looked at everyone in turn and
then began to speak. “General Or’gok
was a horde champion during the last war.
When the war ended, the General didn’t
let it end. It was late in the war when Thrall
discovered Or’gok was actually a champion
of the Burning Blade. While he wore the mantle
of a horde general, he aided the Burning Legion
in gaining vast amounts of territory in the
Eastern Kingdoms. He was mounting an incursion
into Dun Morough when he was discovered. All
of his forces were accounted for when Thrall
had him dealt with. All but two. General Or’gok
himself, and one lone assassin that had been
believed to have perished in the dungeons
Zooti didn’t like the way this was
going. Old memories were beginning to rekindle.
“Obviously,” Matok continued,
“the assassin escaped.” And at
this he nodded in Pazo’s direction.
Rukra and Hukari both let their jaws drop
as they turned to stare in wonder at Pazo.
“Hiya!” Golomojo caused everyone
to jump in surprise as he bounded off the
barstool and started dancing. “Ya be
beat mon!” He pointed at Hukari as he
kept dancing. “Ya owe meh ten gold now
ya hack! ‘Ah called it!”
Hukari glumly pulled out a small bag of coins
and raised the pouch high. “Banto binto
becko boto, may the itch of a thousand bad
trollops get you,” he spoke as he passed
the pouch to Golomojo.
“Pazo doesn’t remember what he
did,” Zooti spoke up, interrupted the
wagers of the trolls. “I found him in
the dungeons and we helped each other escape.”
“Bronzebeard did make some demands
of explanation around that time. It was his
first experience with a tauren,” Matok
continued. “And we even heard rumors
that the assassin had killed Or’gok
before his training kicked in to carry out
his mission. But these were only rumors.”
“You saw this General?” Zooti
asked, now realizing that what was going to
be a simple rescue mission may become something
far more intense than originally expected.
“I watched him slaughter half my men
in battle and was forced to watch as he fed
the other half of my men to demons in a pit.”
“And yet you lived,” Tehd chimed
in, ever being the cynic.
“I was set free in the southern side
of Hillsbrad and told to take with me what
I had seen.”
“Why he want Leza?” Rukra asked.
“Bait I assume,” Matok continued.
“Pazo is the one whom the trap was lain
for. I have traveled by Zeppelin, wolf, bat,
and wyvern to come and find this bartender
of whom this General told me to seek out.”
“Well,” Zooti spoke up again.
“That is a good thing then.”
Everyone turned to him with an odd look,
except for Matok, whose eyes never left the
drooling bound figure of Pazo.
“Good in that we can take as long as
we need cause they are not going to kill her
or anything. She is bait, and has been there
for at least a week already so we have a fighting
chance. I say we go by sea and hit this bastard
“Aya! Kick ‘em in dah’
jimmah!” Hukari cheered. Rukra nodded
“I’m coming with you as well,”
Matok insisted. “Vengeance must be paid.”
“Ah’ still be goin too,”
Golomojo spoke up.
They all turned to Tehd, who had yet to say
“What?” he asked nervously. “You’ve
got to be kidding me. If all of you go who
is going to run this dump of a bar? Besides,
I’ve got an arms deal scheduled for
“Leza has saved your life on more than
one occasion Tehd,” Zooti pointed out.
“I’m an undead demon summoning
arms dealer who works as a chef in a dive
in the middle of no where,” Tehd shot
back, “please keep that in mind when
you dig for gratitude over who saved whose
‘life.’ I’m staying here
and running this filthy joint. I’ll
just make Taurog sober up a bit more than
usual and get him working.”
“Can you at least let us use some of
your contacts then?” Zooti begged. As
despicable as this forsaken filth was, he
walked in some very powerful underground circles
and had enough contacts in the arms smuggling
industry to determine the outcome of any war,
assuming he would pick a side.
“Alright fine,” he grumbled as
he reached behind the bar and dug out a small
scroll of paper. He chanted a bit as he wrote
on the page and the ink he scrawled on it
glowed with an iridescent blue hue. “Here
is my card.” He rolled it up and handed
it to Zooti. “Your best bet is to head
to Ratchet and talk to a captain I’ve
developed some connections with over the years.
I warn you he is a bit eccentric, even for
an elf, but he commands one of the best ships
in the South Seas. And more importantly, he
owes me enough favors to have to take you
for free wherever you want to go.”
Zooti glanced at the page and a symbol was
etched in the page, written almost entirely
in flames, along with the ever-recognizable
symbol of Tehd’s trading name.
“So it is settled,” Zooti spoke.
“Tomorrow we’ll head to Ratchet,
and from there to the Eastern Kingdoms and
end this General once and for all.”
“What is it with you gnomes being so
overdramatic?” Tehd scoffed as he stumbled
off back to the kitchen area. “Now get
back to work!”
[Part Three], [Top]