Draenor really is an alternate reality...
His hooves beat a rhythm on the road. He was a force of nature,
endless, irresistible, he pressed his perceptions outward and knew the
Earth Mother's children as he passed. Plain-strider, scythe-claw,
prowler, all their spirits there along the way. Each one aware of his
passage, gauged his threat, felt and replied to the challenge of his
passage. Behind him beat the steady adoration of his companion, Fangs.
Beside him the little green goblin struggled to keep pace. Flatlander
found some amusement in Fitzsprokets' discomfort.
Fitzsprocket was small even for a goblin. His scurry reminded
Flatlander of the cockroaches from Desolace.
"You are one ugly bull, Flat." Fitzsprocket said. When they topped a
small hill west of Cross Roads.
Flatlander's smile would have scared the scales off of a scythe claw.
"Yeah?" He said.
"Yeah." Fitzsprocket replied. "Take that broken horn. You look
Flatlander stopped and turned to face his small green charge.
Fitzsprocket ran on for a few strides then stopped. As he turned
he caught the light of anger in Flatlanerís face.
Flatlander considered his options. From some small pocket he
whetstone and began to touch up the already brilliant blade of his
"Fitz, your left ear has a bullet hole in it. It makes you look
unbalanced. Shall I fix that for ya?"
"Ahh, No thanks Flat. Mother knows I didnít mean to up set ya."
Flatlanders voice could have frozen the South Fury in its bank. "I'm
not angry, Fitz. Just offering to even you up."
"OK. Ok, I'm sorry. I just thought I'd ask is all. Just trying to
a little interest."
"Show some interest in something else. Like the scythe claw behind
trying to make himself some goblin lunch."
Fitzsprocket squeaked and spun, his arc-light spanner and dagger
The scythe claw was a large red one that towered over the goblin.
Fitzsprocket froze in terror. Flatlander gave Fangs a hand signal. The
big cat bristled and roared. The scythe claw jerked as if he had been
struck a physical blow and stopped stalking the goblin. It stepped past
Fitzsprocket and roared a challenge at Fangs.
Flatlander gathered his spirit and threw a fear spell at the beast.
The scythe claw reeled under the spell and turned to flee. As it
pivoted its tail swept Fitzsprocket from his feet. Flatlander laughed
at the startled look on the little goblinís face.
Flatlander knelt and watched the goblin climb back to his feet.
"Damn, Flat, you sure know how to handle them. I sure am glad the
tribunal assigned you to escortÖ"
"Save it." Flatlander said quietly. Fitzsprocket didnít realize the
tauren had knelt to keep from exposing himself on the ridgeline but
something in Flatlanderís voice alerted him to a danger unseen. Try as
he might Fitzsprocket could not make out what had captured the taurenís
attention. He drew breath to say something else and Flatlander
twitched. Suddenly Fangs stepped in front of the goblin and silently
pulled his lips back bearing his mouthful of razor sharp teeth.
"If you so much as twitch, you little green wog, Fangs will take
face off." Flatlander whispered so softly it could not have been heard
a dozen feet away.
In the distance Flatlander could see four members of the alliance
calmly riding across the valley. He knew they would attack at the
slightest provocation and he was determined not to give them the
chance. After a few minutes the group crested a hill and descended into the Alliance post. As they passed out of sight Flatlander sighed and stood up. For a minute he considered giving fangs the signal that would end the goblinís life with a snap and the crunch of teeth on bones.
"I should let Fangs have a little fun chasing you around but you
would probably give him indigestion." He said.
Fitzsprocket rolled his eyes and tried his best not to tremble.
Fangs let a low growl escape his chest. The goblin seemed to grow a shade lighter.
"I donít know why Ironhoof thinks you should be protected and I
care. But know this, Wog, I will have no problem at all chopping you up
and feeding you to one of the scythe claws if thatís what has to be
Sweat was beginning to bead over the goblinís ears. Flatlander let
sweat for a moment more and then gave Fangs the rest command. Fangs
circled and came to heel. Flatlander gave him a morsel of plain-strider
and patted the big catís ruff. "Good." He said to the cat.
Fitzsprocket slowly sank to his knees. He shook the sweat from his
and picked up his dagger and spanner from where they had fallen. "Look,
Flatlander, I told Ironhoof I would help. Gibbetwrench stole my
whirrley design and passed it off as his. He made some changes in the
prototype to save money and then when the thing blew up in his face he
blamed me. Ironhoof wants the original plans from Gibbetwrench and any
prototypes he built. He also wants Gibbetís head. Venture company execs
want my head on a platter and Gibbetís people do to. Iíve got no
choice. My only hope is to help Ironhoof. If I can get my plans back
and the prototypes from Gibbet, Ironhoof promised the Great Mother
would take me to her bosom and protect me from the Venture company.
This made Flatlander smile. Ironhoof was telling him he wanted the
little goblin to disappear. When one of the other races buried their
dead in the ground the tauren expression was that they had been placed
in the bosom of the Great Mother. Tauren custom was to place the body
on a platform where the spirit could leave and travel with the great
sky spirit. Ironhoof wanted this little wog and his evil contraption
buried and forgotten. He would be protected from Venture.
The goblin noticed the smile and wondered just what the big dumb ox
"Letís go." Flatlander said. He started off, little caring if the
goblin agreed or not.
Suddenly the day seemed a little better.
Flatlander sat on a bolder sticking out of the cliff over looking
Venture Company logging concern. Below Gibbetwrench and his cronies
went about their business little suspecting that Grimhorn vengeance was
about to descend into their midst.
Fitzsprocket stood next to him and bounced nervously from foot to
"Tell me Fitz, what was that whirly thing of yours supposed to do?"
"Ahh, well, you know engineers use vellum and parchment and anything
else they can get their hands on to write down their plans and
schematics?" Fitzsprocket asked.
Flatlander frowned. "Yeah, Smallhorn ruined an entire stock of linen
with his damned scribbles. And he was starting on a stack of fine
hides... I almost skinned him." He rumbled.
"Yeah, yeah. I bet. Made ya mad huh? What if he could have a cheap
unending supply, well, not all that cheap, or unending, but cheaper
than linen or parchment and easier to get?"
Flatlander puzzled the goblin's words for a second. "The whirly
parchment?" He asked.
"No, no, it makes a new thing. I was gonna call it paper but I think
whirly stuff is a better name don't you? Whirly stuff looks like
parchment, feels like parchment and rolls like parchment but it doesn't
come from sheep. It comes from trees! Isn't that cool? We'll get rich!
Can't you just smell the gold?"
"I smell pollution, destruction, and waste. Is that your whirly or
that just the Venture company stink?"
Fitzsprocket nodded. "Yeah probably. Those guys used substandard
Glittergear, he was my boss, always told me I gave him headaches
because I wanted the best parts. Well, at least they got it working. We
can hire a bunch-a orcs to clean up the mess. Pipe the waste water out
to sea and..." He trailed off when he saw the expression on
"Fitz, can't you smell the destruction and sickness? Can't you see
the harm? Ahhh!" He couldn't stand it any longer. Flatlander's hooves
smacked the ground hard and Fitzsprocket nearly fell over from the
sudden jolt. On his feet now Flatlander descended into the valley.
Fitzsprocket was stunned by the big tauren's speed. The big night cat,
Fangs, screamed a challenge and followed. A split second later
Fitzsprocket heard the first of many high-pitched goblin screams
suddenly cut off by the crunch of falling war axe or the growl of a
very large, very angry cat. It seemed Flatlander was everywhere and
nowhere. The Venture Company bruisers and enforcers couldn't seem to find him and when he let himself be found they learned very quickly
they didn't want to find this very angry apparition. It seemed only
seconds before the last of the screams died away and Fitzsprocket heard
a voice speaking to him from the valley.
"Fitzsprocket, get your little green wog ass down here or I'm going
to send Fangs up there to bring it back in pieces." Fitz heard an
answering roar that could only have comes from Fangs.
"Ok, Coming!" He said as he hurried down to the mill.
On the way down Fitzsprocket became a little more terrified with
dead goblin he came across. By the time he was half way there he had
stopped looking to see if he knew the dead. Then two things brought him up short. This first was the stinking corpse of a Razormane. The second was the body of his old boss, Glittergear. He was shocked to learn that Venture was hiring Razormanes. Glittergear was nearly split in two.
Flatlander's war axe had done it's work. Fitzsprocket was standing over
the body trembling with a single question playing over and over in his
mind. "No more headaches for you huh?" When a low rumbling growl from right behind him brought him back to his senses. Fangs swatted at him
and Fitzsprocket stumbled into the mill workshop.
Flatlander was standing in the middle of the shop. In his right hand
his skinning knife was pressed against Gibbetwrench's fat throat. Fear
and resignation warred on the ogre's pasty face. His eyes lit up with
anger when he saw Fitzsprocket.
"You!" He said almost cutting his own throat on Flatlander's knife.
"Yeah, Me, you thief." Fitzsprocket shot back.
Flatlander gave fangs a hand signal and the big cat assumed the
position in front of the ogre.
"I'm gonna drive you into the ground like a stake!" Gibbetwrench
Fangs roared and Gibbetwrench shrank back and seemed to grow a
"Fangs would love a taste of ogre." Flatlander said
"What do you want here, ya big ox? You takin orders from that wog?
gonna go inta binnes wit him?" Gibbetwrench seemed amused by the
Flatlander smiled to himself.
Gibbetwrench felt a cold chill run up his spine when he saw that
Flatlander sat down on the edge of a workbench and turned to
Fitzsprocket. "How long before reinforcements arrive you think?" He
"Did you get'em all or did some get away? Fitzsprocket asked as he
tried to look everywhere at once.
"Some always get away Fitz. It's the nature of the business."
Gibbetwrench laughed. "Oh they'll be here soon, ya big dumb ox."
Flatlander stood up. "I've had enough of you." He said to
as he picked up a wad of material from the bin marked whirly stuff. He
forced a jaw-cracking wad into Gibbetwrench's mouth and then used a
piece of wet rawhide to hold it in place. Another piece of wet hide
served to bind the ogre's hands behind his back. Flatlander's senses
reeled at the smell from the ogre. He kicked Gibbetwrench's feet out
from under him and laughed as the ugly fellow hit the ground.
"Yeah, right, plans, prototypes..." Fitzsprocket said to remind
of the object of the mission. He scurried around collecting vellum and
parchment from drawers and cupboards. He piled each armload on the
bench near the still turning whirly. At last he finished.
"That's all Flat," he said.
"Yeah. Well mostly sure. I mean he could have some hidden
He said pointing at the ogre who was beginning to struggle with the
rawhide bindings as they shrank and squeezed his pasty flesh.
Flatlander bent over the ogre and looked him in the eye.
"That pressure you feel is the Mother's embrace. It will get tighter
and tighter and tighter still. I wonder which will kill you first,
Mother's embrace, or this?" He produced a pouch with a beadwork skull
design. "Oh, you don't know what's in this do you? This is Mother's
cleanser. Our herbalists and shamans have been working overtime. I
helped gather some of the components. You know, I almost envy you. If
Mother's embrace doesn't kill you in the next few minutes, you will be
the first to witness a full demonstration. Now, I want to know, are
there anymore plans or prototypes?"
The ogre just lay there and glared hatred.
"Not going to tell me? So be it." Flatlander stood up.
"Fitz, I should leave you here too. That's what Ironhoof was telling
with that bosom of the Earth Mother line. He wants me to make sure your
little ideas don't get anymore play."
Fitzsprocket froze, he couldn't believe his ears. "I... I..." he
"You. You." Flatlander laughed, mocking the goblin.
"Please, Flat, I..."
"Oh save it. Ya wog. If I was gonna kill ya, you'd already be dead."
Fitzsprocket looked around wildly and realized Fangs had slipped up
behind him silently. There was no way to escape.
"What ya want?" He managed finally.
"I've learned that you are as good as your word. On this little
you were brave and I always honor the brave. You have stuck by your
word. I always honor honesty. What do I want? I want your word that you
will stop trying to invent things. I want you to go south, go to one of
the islands, become a fisherman."
"Yeah sure, Flat, whatever you say." Fitzsprocket said, a little too
"Your word is your bond. If you break your word to me, what is about
happen here will happen to you." Flatlander said, as he turned he gave
Fangs the signal to retreat and drew a glowing green stone from the
pouch. He dropped the stone into the whirly's hopper and stepped back.
The whirly began to glow green and then suddenly it reversed direction.
Green light, the color of the deep forest, began to come in cascading
waves from the device. Flatlander stepped back again and began
sprinkling blue dust from the pouch over the documents Fitzsprocket had
piled on the bench. As the powder touched them they turned black and
slumped as if they had suddenly been burned to cinders and charcoal.
Then Fitz realized they had become fine black loam. Flatlander
sprinkled the ogre and Fitz realized the ogre had died while they
talked. Each place the blue powder touched the ogre's body it also
Flatlander threw the pouch down and produced another from somewhere.
This one was green and Fitzsprocket caught a glimpse of blue and yellow
stones in some kind of design worked into its surface.
He began pulling handfuls of brown powder from this new pouch and
casting them as if he were sowing a field of wheat. As he threw the
last hand full he turned and ran for the door. Fitzsprocket watched in
amazement as saplings burst from the ground wherever the brown powder
As Flatlander ran buy the goblin he slapped the fellow's ear and
the spell. Fitzsprocket turned and ran out on Flatlander's heels.
At the top of the hill Flat sat and watched the mill disappear as
Gia spell consumed it. In little more than an hour the mill and most of
the outbuildings were replaced by a verdant green deep forest glade.
Towards the end that same green light lanced out from the heart of the
glade and touched dead logs and stumps of once great trees in the
cleared land around the mill. Everywhere the lance of green light
touched new life sprang forth. Downed trees gained mantles of thick
moss and bright wild flowers. Stumps sprouted branches and began to
grow into trees.
Just as the lightshow began to subside a group of Venture company
enforcers arrived aboard scythe claws and dire wolves. Their column was
thrown into chaos at the first sweep of the green light when each mount
turned on the rider of the mount next to it.
A second sweep of the light made the saddles, and bridles fall to
pieces dumping the riders who had not already fallen to the ground.
The enforcers gained their feet only to be swept by the light a
Fitzsprocket was horrified as each of the enforcers turned in to a
living, growing tree.
Flatlander laughed loudly and waved at the group.
"Gia tested them and found them wanting." He said.
Fitzsprocket didn't know if he should flee or try to hide. In his
he knew it would make no difference at all. For the first time in his
life he could feel the earth around him. He could feel the pain and
sorrow the clear cutting had caused. When he looked at the Gia grove
that replaced the mill he could feel the earth sigh in relief.
He looked up at Flatlander. "Is it always like this for you?" he
Flatlander looked down at the little goblin and nodded. "All day.
day." And as you learn to listen you will be able to hear Gia cry from
further and further away.
Flatlander turned to go. He knew the little goblin would do no more
harm the Earth Mother. He suspected, rightly it turned out, that
Fitzsprocket would become a force for true change.
"Walk with the Earth Mother." Fitzsprocket said solemnly.
"Go in peace." He replied.
Flatlander whistled for Fangs and set off to Thunder Bluff. He had a
report to make.
Fangs fell in at trail and as they topped the ridge he looked back.
Fitzsprocket was still standing on the hill watching over the grove.
Flatlander returned the goblin's parting wave and began his descent
into the barrens.