18 December 2006
Stormwind City. I love this time of day. The eastern sky is just beginning to lighten, the birds are singing and very few people are awake to bother me with "LFM, need healer, plz, u come?" messages or to compete with whatever farming run I'm on. Azeroth lies open before me, beckoning with the promise of untold rewards to an early-riser who's ready to charge ahead and take it.
But first I need an Inn that is open and serving extra strong coffee.
Checking mail. There's one in there from a Rogue friend of mine. "For you," he writes, and the attachment is a Steel Lockbox. Still locked. This is a friend. And he's a Rogue. And the box is locked. My mind goes back-and-forth a few times through that thought-loop, but I stop because it makes my head hurt.
Aaxia is awake and in the city. She comes to my rescue. Inside the no-longer-locked lockbox: a sword called the "Furious Falchion of the Tiger". I can't use swords. Aaxia doesn't want it. So I visit Marda.
Marda Weller ... weapons merchant extraodinaire. Her shop is right across the square from the Auction House, where this blade is heading. But first, I have to see Marda. That's a good thing. Marda's hair is not quite red, nor purple -- only a self-described 'artiste' coulld pin it down. I don't care ... I just want to see it free and windblown, just once. She's got her own sword in her right hand. She's never without it -- no girl ever should be. I place my sword on the counter. Marda's big doe eyes meet mine as she takes it, scrutinizes it. She knows the drill -- this is a price check, not a sale. "1g 67s 44c," she says, handing it back to me, big doe eyes on me again. We're done here. She didn't get a sale, but she's a professional and I'm a valued customer. It works. I leave. But I'll be back. I always come back.
Auction House. Come here in the evening or the weekend and it hops. Come here now and it doesn't. I like it non-hopping. Let's me think. But mostly lets me laugh out loud at the brazen greed rampant among the offers. "Economics" -- it's a concept. Everybody wants to buy quality at a low price. Everybody whines about overpriced stuff. Then they auction their own stuff overpriced. Daily Cycle of Insanity. Not me. My stuff moves and it moves fast. Because I get it. I give them what they want, I'm fair and I'm high-volume. It works and the money flows. Ka-ching, baby.
A young Warlock interrupts my thought train. "Can you help me, please?" I check him over. When I say he's "young", I mean he can't get any younger and still be out without parental consent. I'm immediately on guard. "That depends," I reply. "What do you need?" My hand is inside my backpack and on a snowball. I love Winter Viel because of snowballs. Snowballs are the alpha-omega, end-all-cure-all panacea for everything that ails Azeroth. Among other things, great for pelting gold-beggers. I check inventory -- I've got 77 of them. I'm ready.
After a moment, the young Warlock says, "Never mind, thanks anyway." I blink. Then relax. My hand uncurls from the snowball. I wonder if warlocks have a 6th sense about these things. I shake it off and beeline to the Flight Point.
Steamwheedle Port, Tanaris. Mini-version of Ratchet, which is a mini-version of Booty Bay. I'm here because of the Ship Schedule I found. Pried it off a dead pirate a few days ago in Lost Rigger Cove. I hand it over to the Water Security Chief. He's impressed. This thing is pure dynamite -- it's got the arrival and departure time of every boat in-and-out of Steamwheedle, their origin and destination, accurate inventories, and even margin notes like "big booty" and "tough fight". The Chief asks me where I got it. When I tell him, his skin turns a lighter shade of green. He's all thankful, and I'm out of there with a heavier purse and a bigger rep.
Coming out of the Port and heading into the desert. It's hot here. Get's "hot" plenty of places, but you don't know what "hot" is until you're under Tanaris' unforgiving, unrelenting and especially unobstructed sun. And the sand. This isn't "beach sand" -- it's that fine, powdery, but still abrasive stuff that gets in everything, even before the wind blows it around. I'm dressed head-to-toe in high-grade leather. I pull at my chestpiece, a vain attempt to get some air between my body and the leather. The air doesn't get in, but the sand does.
My guildmate is cooling his heels in Stormwind City, talking about all the pretty women walking by. I'll call him "Tyroll". Tyroll's got a new pick-up scheme going: pelt the girl with a snowball, apologize profusely and invite her to a drink. I look around. No girls here -- just a giant turtle. Maybe she's a girl-turtle. Doesn't matter -- she doesn't look like she wants to have a drink. I count that as a blessing. I consider bashing her brains in. Could yield some turtle scale if I don't crack her shell too much. But I haven't needed turtle scale since running leather goods for Pratt McGrubben out of Feathermoon Junction in Feralas so I could get my Tribal Leather license. The turtle gets the day off.
Abyssal Sands. This isn't the coast, where the sea sometimes blows some air that doesn't burn your throat to hell. This is the honest-to-Elune, real-deal, deep-ass, you're-frying-real-good-for-sure-now desert. See my previous comments about "hot" and magnify them. Tyroll is still working the girls in Stormwind. I'm working the Scorpids. If I don't bash their carapaces all to hell, I might get some intact Scorpid Scale. Then I make Tough Scorpid stuff. Doesn't help my leather skill anymore and not much demand for it on Auction. But it sells well to Vendors. Another excuse to see Marda and imagine her unbound hair in the wind.