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16 December 2005 — Letters from Thousand Needles (10)

Dear Father,

How are you? How is mother? I am fine. It is difficult for me to hold this pen in my cloven hoof, so I will be brief. Ungulates will never be scribes, I fear.

It has been many moons since I've returned home to Bloodhoof Village. I miss the grassy plains of Mulgore, but I feel I am doing right. The humans and the elves and the gnomes press in from every side, threatening to take our land from us. The dwarves (dwarfs?), especially, are very upsetting. They dig deep mines in the Earth, carve great gashes into the mountains, all in the quest for shining metal. They scar the world, and the world cries out. I hear the cries. Though it never pleases me to kill, kill I must. I admit to some satisfaction when I pierce a dwarven heart with my arrows. Dwarves are foul, nasty, smelly creatures.


Since I left the herd, I have learned the ways of the hunter. It is difficult for me to hold the bow, 'tis true, but I do my best. My training as a hunter complements the teachings of the Earth Mother, fits well with the way of the tauren. I grow more in tune with nature every day. I have learned to speak to the animals. I tame wild beasts, and together we seek to cleanse this land of evil. Presently my companion is a bear from Ashenvale Forest. He is a good sort of bear, friendly, and quick with a joke (though bear jokes tend to be esoteric). His bear name is unpronounceable, so I just call him Jolly. He eats too much, and is often sorely wounded, but I like his company. I've also acquired a pet bunny that I call Snowball. Snowball doesn't talk much, but he's a cute little thing, and Jolly hasn't eaten him yet, so that's good.


You remember, of course, that I found my way to Orgrimmar in the orcish land called Durotar. The city is huge, as big as our Thunder Bluffs, if not bigger. There are all manner of friendly people there: orcs, trolls, and tauren from other herds. (There are also a few undead about. I know Thrall has allied himself with the zombie lord, but I cannot abide his minions. They are grotesque mockeries of nature, these living dead. I will never work alongside one.) From Orgrimmar, and from encampments in the Barrens, and in Thousand Needles, and in the Stonetalon Mountains, I am given tasks by wise and powerful men. "Rid our land of the greedy goblins who deforest our hills," they tell me. "Discover the source of the polluted waters. Kill the giant sea monster that has been terrorizing the coast." I do as they bid and they pay me well.


You would not believe the places I have seen. I have flown through the sky, father, on the back of a giant bat! I have swum in the ocean! (Not an easy task with hooves.) I have ventured deep into the heart of a mountain, fighting terrible lizards and cursed elven druids! I have traversed salty deserts, and cut my way through thick tangles of jungle. This world of ours is vast and beautiful. Just today, I raced through Feralas, a wooded land that lies south over the mountains from Bloodhoof Village. Danger swarmed all around: the wolves and bears would kill me if they could, but I made my way to Camp Mojache, a tauren outpost. It pleased me to think that we were only a few miles apart, even if we were separated by an impassable wall of rock.


I have made some friends. Zephyrus is a member of another herd; I believe he is from Northern Mulgore, near the Red Rocks region. He is a shaman of uncommon insight, wise even in the ways of the hunter. His advice is invaluable. Bulla is a fierce trollish warrior, and perhaps my closest friend in all of Azeroth. I do not see him often, but when I do, we cut a swath of righteousness through the world. Together, we recently purged a dwarven infestation from the Barrens: we destroyed dwarves, mining equipment, and even flying machines. I've also recently met Cotys, a young orcish shaman who is kind and quiet, but sure to be a friend in the future.


In addition to my talents as a hunter, I've developed an affinity for botany. You remember how as a calf I was fascinated with all the various flowers and herbs to be found in the hills? I'm afraid I've carried this obsession further now that I am nearly a bull. As I wander from place-to-place, I keep my eye out for fascinating plant life. I harvest every new flower and herb and vegetable, and I place seeds and cuttings in a special bag. I have quite a collection now, more than I can possibly use myself.

For a time, I sold my extra seeds to vendors in the villages. My expenses are high, though, and I discovered that I could earn more money if I sold my plant materials at the auction house in Orgrimarr. I kill many animals on my journeys, and as you taught me, I always skin their flesh so that it does not go to waste. These leathers and hides I also sell at the auction house. And here, father, is where I make a confession. I am ashamed. I am no better than a dwarf. I, too, have become a profitmonger.


It started innocently. As I sold my flowers and leathers in the auction house, I noted that sometimes others would be selling theirs for less. In order that my goods would sell, I was forced to buy these cheaper items, and then to offer them at the same price as the goods I'd gathered. When both lots sold, I would have made a tidy profit. Then I noticed that, through chance or design, people often sold swords and bags and magical essences for less than market price. It occurred to me that I might finance the purchase of a better bow if I were to buy these cheap items and then resell them for what they were worth. And so I did, and so I profited. Copper turned to silver, silver turned to gold. I grew rich. It's true, father: I grew rich. In only three weeks' time, I transformed two pieces of gold into one hundred fifty! One hundred fifty gold pieces! Can you believe it? That's enough to feed the entire herd for decades, and yet I am still not satisfied.


I have formed a partnership with a sickly trollish mage. He is too frail to adventure, so he spends his time in Orgrimmar, watching the auction house. I mail him all my goods, and he sells them at great profits. Using this capital, he snatches up whatever bargains are to be had. The more gold I acquire, the more profits are I can obtain. When I had only ten gold pieces, I could only buy inexpensive items and make small profits. Just yesterday, father, I purchased a powerful bow — one I cannot wield for months or years — I purchased it for fifty pieces of gold and in four hours I had sold it for ninety. Ninety pieces of gold! Forty gold in profit! My head swims.

This morning, as I took stock of my inventory, I counted 148 gold pieces in my purse. Secreted in a bank vault, I have ten pieces of valuable equipment, including Lord Alexander's Battle Axe. This is a powerful weapon, father, one that I could easily sell for 80 gold pieces. My trollish partner has even more equipment such as this.

Can you believe it? I am rich! I am amassing a fortune. I can dream of a day when I will be the richest man in Azeroth. For you and mother, I will build a private range filled with the juiciest leaves and grasses. You will no longer have to work for the chief; mother will not have to carry water from the well. We shall suck on the teats of fortune and grow fat. Is this wrong of me to say? So be it. The Great Bull has blessed me.

Walk with the Earth Mother. Your son, Venatoro.


Comments
On 16 December 2005 (10:14 AM), Jethro said:

And you and your wife make fun of me because I occasionally visit a Lawn Tractor Forum? Okay...


On 16 December 2005 (12:22 PM), Rich R said:

You mention the phrase "Lawn Tractor Forum" and you don't leave a link??


On 16 December 2005 (12:27 PM), Jethro said:

It's a pretty exciting place... Lawn & Garden Tractor Forum. Don't have too much fun there!


On 17 December 2005 (07:03 AM), BRI said:

That game or whatever it is sucks. this is a message to tell everyone not to but it!!!!!


On 17 December 2005 (10:00 AM), Dave said:

Yeah, don't but it. Butting stuff is bad. Bad butting.


On 17 December 2005 (10:04 AM), Bulla said:

Ha ha. There be my frien’ da bull tellin’ his stories again. I hear lots o’ dese stories, and sometime I be in dem, ‘cause I be da Bulla, mon: Da troll dat runs wid’ da bull. In dis letter he mention da time we fought da dwarves, but he didn’t tell da whole story. Mebbe he don’ like dis story, but I t’ink it be a good one. It be da truth, mon. And dat always be da good t’ing. So mebbe I tell it now.

We met another bull, one we didn’ know, but he be like so many other bulls dat we see- fulla sad songs of how da land be ruined and da world be endin’ and his herd be scattered. I didn’ listen too close, ‘cause all dose stories be da same. It be a bull t’ing, I guess, to lose your home and tell da sad story. We trolls be too busy livin’ to die and too busy laughin’ to cry, but dat be a diff’rent t’ing to talk about.

Venatoro, he like to help his brother bulls out, and I like to run wid’ Venatoro, so we go to dis place dat strange bull tell us of, a place where da lil’ pinkies (dwarves you call ‘em) had made a fort in da mountainside, and a pit to gather stone, all on a place where da bulls useta live.

Well, it seem like da ugly place to live to me, but home is where you beat your cat, as mamma always said, mon, so we storm da place, Venatoro and I.

It was easy, at first, ‘cause da lil’ pinkies were shocked to see da big troll come to call. We made our way inside, cuttin’ down da pinkies dat run for help, so no help never came for dem. It was da laughin’ time for us. We preten’ we own da place, and we sit in da tiny chairs at da tiny table and preten’ we eatin’ da dwarf food (which taste like dust, mon, believe da Bulla). It be da funny t’ing. Even da bear had a laugh.

But mebbe we laugh too hard, mon, and mebbe da running spirits be laughin’ back at us. We turn da corner and find a diff’rent sort of place, fulla papers and maps and da dwarves dat be Big in dere smallness, mon. Venatoro, he be feelin’ big, too, so he stands at da top of da stairs and he bellow, mon, bellow down at da pinkies, “Puny dwarves!” And den he charge down da stairs wid’ da bear chargin’ wid him.

I was behind dem, so I can see more dwarves runnin’ in from all de nooks and crannies of da fort. Mebbe a dozen pinkies, mebbe more, and da biggest pinky of all meetin’ da bear wid’ a crunch! Dat bear, he be mighty. And Venatoro, he shot down da dwarves as fast as dey come, but dere were just too many, and I knew it in my bones, mon, dat we had to run.

So I do dat trick where I just cut da hamstrings, mon, ‘cause pinkies don’t run fast even wid’ both legs workin’. So I slice a few hamstrings, and den I see Venatoro fall, mon. Fall down like he be joinin’ dat Bull in da sky he always jabber about. Well, what are trolls for, mon? So I put him on my shoulder, and dragged da bear behind me, and we run, mon. Run all de way away. And I put my friends down on da ground, and I patch da worst cuts wid’ some bandages I took off da dwarf bodies, and I wait. Wait for my bull to come back to me.

And I wonder, mebbe dis time he stay wid’ dat Great Bull in da sky he always talkin’ about. Mebbe he runnin’ in some field, free, happy, wid a buncha cows. Mebbe I be da lonely troll.

Den he stand up, tall as da tree, mon. And he be jus’ like da Venatoro from before, and dis time he be mad, mon. Mad at da pinkies for everyt’ing.

But he be smart, too, so he gets a nice cow-lady to help us, and dis time we clean da place up, mon. It be hard to remember some of it, it just be hours and hours of following dat bull through da fort, piling up da dead pinkies like we be makin’ a mountain of our own. We got lost in dere, I remember, cause everywhere we turn dere were more pinkies, and den dose pinkies were dead, but then we’d find more pinkies, and soon we were fighting pinkies on top o’ da dead pinkies. And den I look at Venatoro, and he be da bloody bull, mon. Blood from his horn to his hoof, and I look at his eyes, and see dey be black t’rough and t’rough. And smoke comin’ from his snout, and his bear eatin’ a pinky, and he yellin’ “These dwarves are very upsetting!”

And I t’ink, den, about homes. We be in da pinky home, but wid da blood we paintin’ da walls wid’, I don’ t’ink dey be ever very cozy dere, mon. But da bulls wouldn’t t’ink about livin’ on da mountain, neither. And den my frien’, wid’ all he does and sees, and den writin’ da letter to his mamma bull about comin’ home some day, but all I can see is da bloody bull, wid’ smoke screamin’ off him, and pinkies runnin’ from him. What home for him?


On 17 December 2005 (10:37 AM), tammy said:

I like to have died laughing at Daves remark. Every time I read it I laugh harder. Poor ole BRI.


On 17 December 2005 (03:31 PM), J.D. said:

I like to have died at Joels remark. Every time I read it I laugh harder. He did such a fine job of capturing our adventures. Maybe tonight we can kill some centaurs?


On 18 December 2005 (08:40 AM), jbodoni said:

That's news to me - I didn't know that trolls were Rastafarian.

But Ja love, mon. Every one.

John


On 24 December 2005 (02:55 PM), Allan White said:

Ahahhh...... this story is better than the post (which was good).

...so he stands at da top of da stairs and he bellow, mon, bellow down at da pinkies, “Puny dwarves!”

Good stuff.