I clearly did not pay enough attention in geography OR history. As it turns out, Ashenvale, despite being an old night elf homestead, has been consistently contested by the Horde, as Orgrimmar wants to use the forest for lumber. Just a little history lesson for you there. It’s a real shame, too. The edge of Ashenvale that borders the Southfury River was a surprisingly pleasant contrast to the autumnal brown of Azshara. Where Azshara was brown, dry, and occasionally stinking of technology, Ashenvale is dark and cool, and unexpectedly damp. Not that I mind; being from the islands means I can handle pretty much any humidity.
Of course, while I was busy admiring the trees and grass, the orcs wanted me to lay about cutting down the saplings that night elves were tending. Maybe I need to write to orcish publications about protecting the environment!
In not my proudest moment, I did it anyway. I want to be a valuable member of the Horde. Maybe serving well will make me more respected in my business ventures, although I wonder if the hypocrisy won’t tank my activist capital. At any rate, it seems like our main competition in Ashenvale is the night elves, although I’ve heard those goat-footed draenei are out there somewhere. A little weird fighting the very race I’ve been proposing to join should I flee the Horde. Not that I would.
After cutting down trees, I stupidly helped demons defend Splintertree Post. Demons! How could I not have seen that was a bust? This required an uncomfortable visit to Mr. Hellscream himself – I thought he might bite me in half right there!
From Splintertree I was bundled off to another military post overlooking an old night elf settlement. The orcs set me to slaughtering elves and furbolgs alike (furbolgs, by the by, are grumpy bipedal bears). There were some goblin engineers in the camp who hooked me up with all sorts of new gadgets. I did a bombing run of the outpost, but it was hard to enjoy the explosions. Impressive explosions, and I couldn’t even enjoy them! This is all the orcs’ fault. Can’t they make business agreements like normal people?
In a funk, I followed summons from all around the forest. First was to the coast, where the forest abruptly opens into flat, gray sand and an even grayer sky. The southern beach hosts the Horde outpost, what appears to have developed recently. Just getting to the outpost was a challenge, what with not only wolves and irritable forest spiders, but slimy naga as well! They hiss like a popped tire and slither faster than you’d expect. Killing them was one quest I didn’t mind. Those creatures are repulsive!
They ran me up and down the coast, clearing out naga, replenishing supplies, and generally being helpful. Although it was military work, it still felt more honorable than wholesale slaughter of sentient elves. Although I’ve heard the naga are sentient, though evil. Does that make me a hypocrite?
Being on the coast renewed my spirits as well. The clouds were reminiscent of the oppressive smog on Kezan’s coasts (and the rest of it, really), but the salty air was nothing like the good stink of industry. Can’t say I dislike fresh air, though. Sometimes I think I might be breathing better! I think I’m getting stronger, too, what with all the walking and running. I lost a little weight, so I’m trying to eat more mana cakes and travel in my trike when possible. Who ever heard of a goblin without a little treasure in the trunk?
After the beach was a long trip to backtrack to a charred crater of the forest. The scorched earth is unpleasantly hot, and fire elementals have emerged to keep the flames going. I met a goblin shaman there, who with other communicative elementals was attempting to quell the destruction. I keep a water elemental with me, but this sort of collaboration surprised me. I use the elemental as I wish, setting it to aid me with enemies, but I’m sure it is none too smart and we have never spoken beyond me giving orders. I wonder what Stikwad’s elementals thought of my arrangement.
Still contemplating the nuggets of information I earned from Stikwad, I followed my last summons to Silverwind Refuge. Unlike Hellscream's Reach in the north, this elf outpost has been successfully taken by the orcs, who looked enormously out of place in the delicately carved buildings. I killed elementals, I killed spies, I killed more furbolgs. I scavenged spare parts and helped rebuild solid goblin machinery. The commander was so impressed by my efficiency that he finally ordered me off on the next caravan to Stonetalon Mountains.
No deal. Hellscream can put his bloodshot eyes on someone else for awhile. I’ve got a lot of hard thinking to do, especially about my actions and allegiances. It’s been a rough time, and I deserve a bit of a break, besides. It’s high time that I fulfilled my dream and experienced the bustling commerce of Booty Bay!