We had a bit of a lull in our off-world activity. I mean, at least when it comes to actively going out and looking for stuff. We’re still selling off-world a lot and maintaining all our contacts out there, but ever since my crew got busy with their research they stopped going out. I never thought I’d complain about my employees actually working, but here I am. Well, it’s not bad. It’s good that they’re doing their actual occupation, it’s just that they never seem to do it when I want them to. I’m getting away from the topic I wanted to talk about. What I wanted to say is, after they’ve been here most of the time I realized how much I only heard about from them and never seen in person. So I decided to change it. I went for a trip to see some of those worlds.
I considered Darfell, but ultimately, there’s not much to see there, unless you want a fight and I usually don’t (but I can protect myself if I have to, so don’t think me weak). Most of it is just sea and islands and completely unguarded darfellans and whole bands of roving shark people. I’ve been to the Great Southern Market on Darfell a few times and seen a few of their “sea devils” in cages there, and even got one to experiment on once. They are not something I’d want to meet in the wild. You think murlocs are bad? These guys are the size of a tauren, have more teeth than the Osmond family, and are as mean as a feral worgen in heat. Maybe getting in touch with Darfell’s ravenfolk would be a boon but it’s not worth the effort.
So for my first place to visit, I went to Ivarind. I have literally never been there in person and we’ve had some major dealings with the locals. And I must say, why didn’t anyone tell me before how much that place stinks? Most of the land was either forests and other types of wilderness, or wide open farmlands, filled with unwashed, ugly, dumb human farmers that thought I was some kind of extraplanar spirit and even the towns, such as they were, turned out be huge piles of refuse. Can you believe this, in their capital there was a literal gutter line right next to the main street, filled with brown, foul-smelling liquid flowing down from the castle – you can imagine what was in that “water”. And ask a local and they’d tell you “it keeps the city cleaner”. They could probably use some of my plumbing improvements.
But before I went to their capital, I visited some dukes. First, I went to Rouald, the baron that became a duke thanks to us. I mean, technically that happened because we delayed too much in saving his predecessor but he didn’t seem to mind given his promotion. Like Frlngath said, the old guy is definitely dabbling in some shadow magic. I’m an arakkoa – I can sense it from a mile away and if shadow magic emanated light, this guy would be like a lantern. I can’t imagine how old he must be. At least over 150 and that’s not normal in any human, on any world. Either way, he gave me some pretty trinkets, including some old Ivarindian amulets that allegedly date back to the old witchcraft that predated the Star Gods’ minions’ arrival. This is the kind of shadow magic he must be using – the one more like arakkoa magic, and less like Twilight crap.
There was another duke we visited on Ivarind. Aubuchon or something like that. It’s rather hard to pronounce when you have a beak, so it’s even harder to remember. His duchy wasn’t much cleaner or more pleasant, but he was definitely excited about seeing some travelers from another world. Given the way he spoke to us, I’m not convinced he really understood the concept of “another world”, but I’m not complaining. Stupid people are useful too, especially when they give you stuff for free. This guy gave us some more trinkets – like a statue of a historical king with a dragon behind his back – and even decided to offer us an “anderthal” servant. Anderthals are those “human troggs” we knew existed on Ivarind, but never encountered. Big, dumb, ugly thing that looks vaguely human. Still, this one was taught how to serve a duke, so we’re making some use of him now.
This is when I went to said capital. I already gave you a short description of how disappointing the city was. I was afraid of getting a room for the night in a hotel in that place, if they have any that aren’t brothels, so we went straight to the royal palace, presenting ourselves as visitors and diplomats from a distant place (which we were, to be honest). This is where we got most stupified stares. Imagine, most of those folks never saw anything but a human or possibly a silver-haired elf, and suddenly there was an arakkoa, guarded by two humans, with a vrykul and an ogre behind him, riding pack rhino and clefthoof. And you know what the locals called those pack animals? Unicorns. Yes, I know how stupid it sounds.
We had to wait until the next day to meet the king, but at least we were quartered in the palace. This is when I saw the other end of that gutter – a room jutting out of the walls of the castle, with a hole in the floor. That’s what their toilet looked like. Of course, it was adorned with cloth and pillows but ultimately, these people – their nobility, no less – take a crap into a hole in the wall, and said crap falls into a tiny canal next to the street that flows right through the city. Horrifying. Turns out, their king, Reman, was as full of shit as the city itself and merely waved us off with some token well wishes. Curiously, just before we came in, there was a guy in golden armor who threatened the king with repercussions if he doesn’t change his ways. And then said guy turned into a shining, golden dragon and flew away.
Well, that was it for Ivarind. Not a very glamorous place despite all the talk about lords and knights and princesses. After that, I came back home and took a short stop, dropping off the things we picked up, including the anderthal. Turns out, while I was away Menrim was finally feeling overworked. I was wondering when he’d crack. So he took Yib, that female android we found on the yellow world, and got her to help him as an assistant. Turns out, she’s quite good at it too. I didn’t think an artificial brain would approach a real brain’s complexity and power but hey, it was made by an extremely powerful, ancient race so whatever works for her. Or us, since she came up with a new marketing plan that’s already increasing our off-world profits greatly. She’s not exactly what I expected, but I’m not complaining.
Next world I visited was Djedsut. That was like a complete opposite of Ivarind. Advanced, scientific, shiny, clean. Everything on Ivarind felt grey, and Djedsut was full of yellow and golden, and blinking blue lights. I don’t think even Azerothian gnomes could do all this stuff with their technology. Fel, even Dalaran looks primitive compared to that place. Yeah, it’s far too bright and shiny for my old eyes but even I must admit it’s very impressive. They have these flying machines moving everywhere, and giant, golden pyramids as their landmarks. And don’t forget, this is a tol’vir world so the worst part about it? They don’t have any chairs.
We stayed with Khas, Menrim’s boyfriend (did he finally admit it?). I don’t think he was prepared for four people with pack animals. From what I saw, they don’t really use animals for much back there. Everything is done with machines. They hardly even need to sit on a machine to ride to another place – I got around from city to city in instant and publicly available teleporting machines. No fee, no pesky mages to deal with, you just go to a platform and BAM, you’re on the other side of the continent. What I also did in Khas’s house was print down some blueprints and other technical data for some of their technology. They probably wouldn’t share it willingly, but their citizens have open access to a complete, instant database of their knowledge, and I used Khas’s access to get to those.
Khas was starting to pester me about talking to Menrim about their relationship, so I decided we need to move out and see some other places. We teleported to a city near the border with a gargoyle state of Kugran. Khas of course warned me against going there because apparently it’s dangerous, but I needed to see how those guys live. Tarakan did tell me it’s completely different back there. First day I was there, a gargoyle adventurer blown himself up at a bank. I didn’t think much of it, but apparently the tol’vir on Djedsut call it “terrorism”, and apparently it’s a very bad thing on their world. Not thinking much of it, we just left for the border.
The guards on the border didn’t want to let us through, so we had to use some potions to sneak out. Once we were there, I don’t think the difference was as bad as Tarakan made it out to be. I mean, it wasn’t the same as the tol’vir towns, but it wasn’t Ivarind either. The towns were still grey-ish and depressing looking, and the people were always angry about something but it kind of reminded me of some arakkoa veils. The gargoyles even had these very rapid-firing guns that made me wonder why tol’vir don’t use those. Sure, they have those fancy energy-shooting staff weapons, but these “machine guns” looked enticing. The magic we made finally attracted the gargoyle authorities and we managed to strike a trade bargain. We’re now trading some supplies in exchange for gold and tol’vir stuff gargoyles can get their hands on.
When we returned to Khas’s house, he was very upset about the deal we made. He said “we made deals with terrorists”. Well, if you live in these shiny cities where everyone’s happy and don’t want to share your stuff with the gargoyles, you shouldn’t be surprised they’re getting their stuff somewhere else, and are supremely angry about you. So they kill your people to prove a point, but who doesn’t do that on Azeroth? No wonder Menrim got attracted to this guy – another moralistic, stuck-up prick.
Well, after that I returned home and since I wasn’t sure where to go from there, I made a stop in my travels. To my surprise, I found humans dressed like tol’vir in my backyard. It turns out, when I was absent Yu Gwai went and saved himself some mercenaries from that Nexus. Like we needed more reasons to get the Arbiters pissed at us. He told how the Arbiters betrayed those mercs and set them up against some unkillable “protoss/zerg hybrid” and how it was “the right thing to do” to rescue them, but what do I care? I only let them stay because they claimed they’re now in debt to us for rescuing them – and I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. But that gave me some ideas – the Luxorian mercenaries have a nice structure to their unit, and we’ll need a similar one for the Greenhearts. Now, we only need to find willing subjects to turn themselves into bruisers, but I can make some people be “willing”, heheheh.