Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Northrend is Calling

Written while listening to: Leipzig is Calling (with short intro) by Thomas Dolby.

. . . . . If a person wanted to be digging up a magical artifact for research on this planet, then they ought to seek out a dwarf. Diyos had been here long enough to learn this. So it was that a week after his brother’s hearing and making that stupid, stupid promise, here Diyos was, making his way to the Dwarven District of Stormwind on a lovely, bright, late fall day. Scratch that. It was a lovely, bright, late fall day – except in the Dwarven District. Here, the thick layer of soot in the air didn’t so much obscure the sun as grab it by the throat and shake it until the lights went out.
. . . . . Diyos coughed and thumped his chest, cursed his sensitive nose, and lifted the directions he’d hastily scribbled from a city guard close enough to his eyes to read in the gloom. “Right past the Cathedral-side entrance, then left at the next block,” he mumbled aloud, stifling another cough with his hand. He tried to pull his hood around to the front to shield his face until he realized that his robes didn’t actually have a hood.
. . . . . A rhythmic clank of armor and hooves caused him to look behind just in time to jump out of the way of a skeletally-thin horse and dark-plated human rider. “Watch it!” Diyos yelled, accustomed to his bellow and wide shoulders giving him some measure of intimidation factor. The rider paused briefly and fixed cold, inhumanly glowing eyes on the anchorite – who quailed under the look and backed to the wall. So much for intimidation factor. To his relief, the rider turned away and went on, dismounting nearly half a block away. The dark-plated knight left his charger outside the building and clanked on up a set of stairs and inside.
. . . . . Diyos touched two fingers to his forehead in silent prayer and then coughed into his sleeve. “Damned stiffs,” he grumbled. “Why can’t they stay in the ground where they belong? Sometimes I wonder about this Army of the Light… Oh, hell! I dropped the directions!”
. . . . . The smog was so thick that Diyos was loath to spend long searching for the scrap of parchment. He figured he remembered them just fine anyway. Turning left, he headed up the street in the same direction as the death knight. As he passed the skeletal charger, it whinnied; Diyos could swear the horse was snickering at him. Could dead horses snicker? He caught a glimpse through a grimy window – everything here was grimy – and saw a whole unholy convention of the glowing-eyed risen “heroes” inside the building. They appeared to be simply waiting around – probably for their next set of kill orders or a fresh supply of ghoul corpses or something.
. . . . . Diyos gulped and hurried on down the block, his hooves clopping rapidly on the cobblestone. At the end of the street, he took a right, squinting up at the sullen pall which passed for sky around here. The heavy smog offered him no directions, just another hacking cough he took because his lungs offered no choice in the matter. He walked another two blocks before he spied a glow in the sooty cloud to his right. A forge! Fixing his gaze on the warm glow, he followed the fiery beacon until the clangs of hammers on hot metal drowned out all thought – much less speech.
. . . . . A small, sad smile settled on his face as the sounds brought up a memory of his baby sister making her own shoes. She’d always been a little weird, the sword-dancing degenerate. He missed her… He also missed the dwarf in front of him – right until he bumped into the fellow. In slow motion horror as he fell backwards onto his tail, he watched the stocky dwarf rock forwards toward a brazier of coals he’d been pulling a rod from. Diyos shot an indigo hand out and shouted a levitation spell; the dwarf’s fall arrested, but the smell of burnt hair rose above the soot and flux and molten steel.
. . . . . “Mah beard!!” shrieked the dwarven smith as he twisted wildly in the air, dragging the end of his beard out of the coals. Diyos finally managed to push himself to his hooves and plucked the floating, screaming dwarf out of the air.
. . . . . The moment the dwarf was back on his feet, Diyos found a very solid dwarven fist in his belly. “Ooof!” The anchorite doubled over, then fell a second time to the sooty ground.
. . . . . “Watch where yer walkin’, ya great blue lummox!” the dwarf yelled.
. . . . . Diyos wheezed and fixed his gaze on the dwarf’s boots in case he needed to roll out of the way of a kick. “I…” he gasped out, “don’t sup-suppose…I need…ow…to ask if you’re…alright, then…since you can…unnnh…still throw a punch.”
. . . . . A stream of Dwarven words Diyos could only assume were curses followed, but no more blows. He sat up and blinked away soot to find the dwarf forlornly cradling a foot and a half of thick black beard, the last four inches of which were crispy and curled upon itself. Well, hell… Only dwarf he’d managed to find so far in the Dwarven District, and he’d gone and knocked the poor fellow into his own coals and singed his beard.
. . . . . “Hey,” Diyos offered lamely as he sat on the ground – which put him about eye-level with the standing dwarf, “at least the rest of you didn’t go into the coals.”
. . . . . The dwarf growled at him.
. . . . . “Eh. Heh heh…” Diyos laughed nervously and began to assess how fast he could get to his hooves and run. “You, eh… You wouldn’t hit a priest, would you? Ehm. Again?” He raised platter-sized hands defensively and started thinking faster. Aha! That was it! The incantation didn’t need to be spoken, just thought very clearly and directly. Diyos stared intently at the dwarf’s craggy forehead and dipped into the shadier side of his anchorite training. He touched the violence in the dwarf’s mind and gently soothed it away; it wouldn’t last more than a few minutes, but that should be enough.
. . . . . The dwarf scowled still, but his fists unclenched. Diyos offered up his best, most non-threatening, friendly priest’s smile. “Hey, I’m really sorry about that, sir dwarf. I really meant no harm. It’s hard to see around here.” This is my chance! While the dwarf is still pacified! “You, uh, wouldn’t happen to know where around here I could find an archaeologist to help me on a research project, would you?”
. . . . . He was so busy getting his hooves back under him that he missed the expression of calculated glee on the dwarf’s face. “Och, lookin’ fer a competent archaeologist, are ya? Nice, safe, peaceful sort ta ‘elp a good priest?” There was an odd note of suppressed laughter in the dwarf’s voice, but the draenei didn’t have enough experience with the race to notice it. He nodded and smiled hopefully at the dwarven smith. “I know jus’ tha lads fer ya. ‘Ead on doon ta tha’ tavern over on tha other side a’ this square an’ ask ‘em aboot an application fer tha Modan Company.” Deep within the remaining recesses of his beard, the dwarf grinned. “Nice, sedate, peaceful folk, those. Jus’ yer speed.”
. . . . . “Thank you kindly, sir dwarf! And sorry again about the accident.” Diyos placed his open left palm over his closed right fist and bowed respectfully to the manically (and maniacally) grinning dwarf. As he hurried away towards the direction the dwarf had pointed, he was a little surprised to hear laughter and not shouts and curses as his mind soothing spell wore off, but who was he to invite trouble?

. . . . . “Ah, trade professions. Athos, what should I write here?” Diyos sat at the small kitchen table in the apartment he shared with his brother and chewed on the end of his pen. “I mean… I sew and enchant things. How do I make that sound cool?”
. . . . . Athos looked up from the transcription of a gnomish treatise he was working on and pondered a moment. “Well, instead of saying ‘enchanting’ just describe what enchanting is. And you know, you can just fill out the whole thing and then ask me all these questions.” He smiled. “It’d probably be faster.” He bent his head back over his transcription as his older brother grumbled and went back to work.
. . . . . An hour later, Athos sat at the table with a bottle of parchment-colored paint and a pen, going over the application. “Wait a minute… Why are they including ‘fighting’ under work experience? I thought you said these were peaceful researchers.”
. . . . . “They are! The dwarf was quite vociferous about that. Mentioned it repeatedly.” Folding his hands on the table while he watched his brother proofread, Diyos decided discretion was the better part of avoiding complicated explanations, and didn’t mention that he’d tampered with the dwarf’s mind a little. The less his little brother knew about the details of the shadier side of his studies of the intelligent mind, the better.
. . . . . “Hey!”Athos protested, pointing at a line Diyos had written. “You don’t have to tell them about ‘fetching book nerds out of inexplicable danger’! I don’t get in trouble that often.” Athos painted out the offending line and wrote in something more acceptable. “All this alcohol talk here, too. You really shouldn’t be bragging about your drinking problem. A good draen-”
. . . . . “I’m not a good draenei!” Diyos interrupted grumpily. “Besides, these archaeologists are dwarves. Dwarves appreciate a hearty drinker.”
. . . . . Unable to fault this reasoning, Athos left the lines alone.
. . . . . After his little brother went back to his gnomish transcription, Diyos addressed the envelope. He glanced up to be sure Athos was occupied, and then grabbed the corrective paint. Moving fast, he rewrote the line about book nerds and stifled a chuckle. He folded the application and stuffed it into the envelope. “I’ll go drop this in the mailbox downstairs. I’ll pick up some dinner from the tavern too. Want anything specific?”
. . . . . “See if the soup of the day is clam chowder. That stuff is tasty!”

This sealed letter is addressed to "Employment Officer, Modan Company, Dun Morogh." The handwriting on the application is a strangely bipolar mix of large, expansive writing and smaller, neater words placed in the middle of sentences where it seems the original word or phrase may have been blotted out.

The Modan Company
Employment Application

Welcome, and thank you for your interest in the Modan Company!

The Modan Company (hereafter known as 'Modan Co.') has a long and storied history which you will discover in the course of your employment. Please take the time to fill out this short application and questionnaire and your Modan Co. career will be just a short review* away!



Name: Diyos
Birthplace: An obscure and now-destroyed planet we called Kretos for the two-hundred-ish years we were on it.
Current Address: 85 Moonwell Circle #C, Park District, Stormwind City, Eastern Kingdoms.
Age: Somewhere around 20,100 – my parents did not keep particularly exacting records. I am a draenei in the prime of his life.
Species: Draenei
Gender: Male
Hair Color: Dark brown
Eye Color: Pale, glowing blue

What is your chosen path of training (I.E. Class)?: Anchorite; you folk call us priests.
On a scale of 1 to 80, rank your progression on this path: 70 – experienced and trained, but by no means a big damn hero.
Do you have any trade professions? Yes, I do.
If yes, what are they?: I am a master craftsman in the disassembling of magical items into their base magical parts, and the use of these components in placing new qualities on intact items. I also am quite handy with a needle and thread. Yeah, you read that right, a man who sews. I knit too.
If no, why not?:
On a scale of 1 to 450, rank your progression on these paths: I’d say somewhere in the range of three-hundred-eighty-nine for the enchanting skills I possess, and around four-hundred-forty-two for my tailoring skills.
Can you fish?: Yes.
Can you cook?: Yes.
Can you make bandages?: Yes.
Can you do any of the above well?: Not especially. I’m better at fishing than cooking, and I’m better at cooking than making bandages – but I am good at none of the three. As an anchorite, I tend to rely more on holy magic than bandages – which is probably a skill I should pick up regardless.

Please describe any related work experience (this may include, but not be limited to, archeology, research, engineering, fighting, getting one's hands dirty, and drinking alcohol):

. . . . . Through my centuries of experimenting on magical objects, I have a good feel for magical energies and artifact identification, although I still am working on being able to identify the sorts of artifacts common to Azeroth. I served the Hand of Argus on Bloodmyst Isle with distinction for several months after the crash, tending to the wounded and lending spiritual and metaphysical support to the rescue patrols.
. . . . . Prior to arriving here, I led prayer services in Telredor and the Twin Spires, researched theological conundrums and their confluence with arcane energies, and endeavored – with little luck – to further my understanding of the Light.
. . . . . I have a few hundred years’ worth of experience in the complexities of the intelligent mind and its functions, fears, and mental controls. I developed this skill in an effort to better understand those around me and how to provide spiritual guidance and assistance.
. . . . . I have several thousand years’ worth of experience fetching book nerds out of inexplicable danger and breaking up fights between hot-headed warriors. This has led to several thousand years’ worth of experience drinking alcohol.
(The final paragraph appears to have had the first sentence blotted out twice and is written in the larger handwriting which is dominant to the composition of the application - with a faint series of lines of what may have been the smaller writing behind it.)

Upon employment with Modan Co., you will be placed into one or two prospective departments. Please check two of the following to signify your interest:

___  Worker: A worker is one who engages in manual labor and fights when necessary. Physical or magical strength required. Subgroups: Laborer, Brute.

___  Engineer: The people in charge of technology. Work includes piloting our zeppelin, demolition work, and the invention of items to assist in our archeological work. Subgroups: Demolitionist, Mechanic, Tinker.

___  Archaeologist: Those involved in making discoveries and finding the relics.

_X_ Healer: Those who keep us alive.

_X_ Bookworms: The intelligent folk who keep us to the facts, as well as experiment in science. Subgroups: Scientist, Researcher, Lorekeeper.
If there is a particular subgroup you are interested in, please note it here:
I am particularly interested in the research of artifacts and their properties.


Where do you see yourself in a year?: With any luck, a tavern chair in Ironforge with a mug of ale in hand, my brother at my side, surrounded by friends as we celebrate a successful research project.
Five years?: My arm around a lovely young mage and a glass of wine in the other hand as we celebrate my promotion to senior anchorite.
Ten years?: Face-down on a tavern floor, a jug of bourbon nearby, while I contemplate why lovely young mages never seem to be interested in men who are not above getting dirty hands in the name of magical experimentation. And why my brother seems to be standing sideways on the wall.
For Draenei and Night Elf applicants: One thousand, four hundred and twenty-two years?: Accepting an award for the successful blending of alcohol and magical enchantments into a tasty enchanted mead that renders lasting and beautiful bliss to the drinker with no similarly lasting hangover. Following that award, starting a new form of anchorite monastic order with a focus on spiritual counseling through the application of said tasty enchanted mead invention.

In a hundred words or less, please tell us about yourself. We would like to get to know you, and know that you would like to get to know us! Please use the space below, and continue on the back if you have excessively large handwriting.

. . . . . I come from a family of priests – except the two youngest, who became sword-dancing degenerates. I grew up, like many, aboard an inter-dimensional vessel in close quarters with many thousands of my people. I call Zangarmarsh my homeland, although I have only been back a few times since we fled. I reside in Stormwind with my brother - the bustling city and constant influx of artifacts is interesting. However, I plan to head to Northrend to see where I can lend a hand to the Alliance, as well as look into reports I’ve heard about mysterious magical objects and energies.

In a hundred words or less, please tell us why you came to Modan Co. for employment, and what you feel you wish to accomplish while with our organization. Please use whatever margins may be free to complete this application.

. . . . . I have heard the name of the organization on the streets of Stormwind as a reputable archaeological group with many discoveries to their credit. With my goals of finding new and interesting magical research in Northrend, I am seeking employment with a company that has more experience and knowledge of Azeroth and of archaeological techniques than I myself have. I hope to contribute my skills as a magical and spiritual researcher to further the discoveries of the company, and – if nothing else – to help mend the wounded and hung-over when necessary.


Congratulations! You've completed your application of employment to Modan Co.! You will hear a response after a short review session*.

Thank you again for your interest, and we look forward to working with you!

*Review session includes application fee, reviewing fee, supplies fee, processing fee, and fee fee. Please do not question the fee, for the fee will become agitated.


. . . . . Three days later, Diyos sat at a table outside the Blue Recluse with a letter telling him to meet a dwarf woman here at three in the afternoon. He was enjoying another lovely, late fall day and a nice mug of ale when a dwarf woman in a dark dress and a tall, pointy hat approached the table. “Anchorite?” she asked of him.
. . . . . “Ehm, yes. Anchorite Diyos, ma’am.”
. . . . . The woman settled into the chair across from him and introduced herself as Ailde, one of the Company’s foremen. As she pulled the application out of her satchel, Diyos considered her outfit. “Nice hat,” he rumbled with a grin. “Hallow’s End costume?” She nodded.
. . . . . The interview was surprisingly short, the Fee fee minimal, and the woman delightful to talk with. Diyos stared curiously at the gnomish radio the Company used to communicate across distances. What a wonderful little invention! He was so intent on inspecting the thing that he almost missed her final words.
. . . . . “Our ‘ead foreman expects each a’ us ta present evidence we’ve been on a self-guided expedition at next Tuesday’s meetin’. Tha’ shoul’ give ya…och, aboot four days. Good luck!” With that, the dwarf woman hopped off the chair and vanished into thin air.
. . . . . “Wait, what is this? I don’t even…” Diyos looked around wildly, then slumped at the table and took a long drink of ale. “Oh, hell…”

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