Bijou's Belongings

(Or:  Lower Blackrock Spire Made Easy)


03 January 2007

Come on!  I say to myself.  It's not a big drop!

I know it's not a "big" drop, I reply to myself.  That's not the problem and you know it!

I'm in panther form, crouched at the end of a rock floor in Lower Blackrock Spire, looking out over the edge at the end of another rock floor about 15 meters below me.  My Self That Spoke 1st is right -- not a "big" drop at all, especially not while in panther form.  In panther, I can make a pretty long drop and still land on my feet without hurting myself.  It's a Druid Thing.  15 meters is a walk in the park.

Complication:  My Self That Spoke 2nd is also right -- the drop distance is not the "pproblem".

The "problem":  given the way the two floors -- the one I'm standing on and the one 15 meters below me -- are positioned relative to each other, my landing zone on the lower (target) floor is no wider than the width of my feline body and, in fact, appears to be a bit less.  I can't judge it with 100% certainty from up here.  The floor below me continues to the left, but I cannot go further left on my floor to increase the size of my landing zone because there's this big ol' rock pillar in the way.  No matter how much I scrunch my left side against said pillar, I cannot improve my situation.

Go around the pillar to the other side and drop down to the lower floor from there, you say?  I gladly would!  But on that side of the pillar there are a whole bunch of elite Blackrock Orcs and their pet Worgs and I cannot see a clear path between them all.

I met Bijou about a week ago on a previous trip to this elite-orc-and-worg-infested, Elune-forsaken place.  She's a goblin girl working for the Horde -- some kind of slippery, hush-hush thing she wouldn't talk about.  But she said her work has relevance to the Alliance as well, because the Blackrock Orcs are a common enemy.  Who knows?  Might be just her alibi if anyone from the Alliance stumbles across her.  But then she offered to pay.  OK, that got my interest.  She went on to explain about her "recon" mission in this place, how she can sneak around better at "night".  (Place is a big, underground cavern -- how do you tell "night", anyway?)  But one "night", she tripped an alarm, fled the guards and found this location in which to hide.  In the confusion of flight, she managed to lose her runecloth bag with all her "recon gear", without which she can't recon.

Why can't she stealth around and find it, I want to know?  She says they've tripled the patrols since she tripped the alarm.  Oh, peachy, I think.  So that's why my group (I'm with four others this run) is having such a whore of a time getting anywhere down here!  Well, thank you very damn much, Miss Secret Goblin Agent Babe!  I could have throttled her right then and there out of sheer frustration -- we really were having a devil of a time -- but then I remembered the gold.  Focus, Liv, focus!

So I told her I'd be back and I hurried to rejoin my group.  And later on I found her bag.  Wasn't that "hard" -- if cutting your way through battalions of elite Blackrock Orc Guards, Mystics, Maguses, Ogres and their pet Worgs is something you do every day during breakfast between cups of coffee.

The "hard" part was trying to get together with another group of people willing to plumb the depths just so I could return that damned bag.  Pretty hopeless.  Finally, I decided that sometimes, a Druid's Simply Got To Do What A Druid's Got To Do.

So today, I'm back in Lower Blackrock Spire.  Alone.  At this point I would love to fill this account with tales of how I totally owned those elite Blackrock Orcs and their pet Worgs -- all by myself.  Because that's what a Druid Has To Do.  And Nobody Does It Better.  Because there are two classes of adventurer in Azeroth:  The Druid -- and the non-Druid.

Or perhaps better said:  the Druid -- and the unwashed heathen.

And I shall be fully justified in saying that because of how I'll own those stupid orcs and their doggies, demonstrating to all of Azeroth just what an invincible force the Druid is.  I see myself walking down the streets of Stormwind as children throw flowers in my path and beautiful women with small ears scream my name and ...

Ah well ... the truth is:  I stealthed the place like a pussy(cat), silently whimpering with fear the whole time because I imagined getting too close to some Orc, who sounds an alarm, bringing every Orc in the place down upon me, drooling and shouting something like, "Trrrraaaaiiiiiinnnnnnnn!"

So today, Gutlessness wins over Valor as I go slinky-slink, tippy-paws, stealthy-slow, nothing-to-see-here-Orcy-types!, just-go-about-your-business, nobody-sneaking-through-your-guard-post, certainly-not-any-druid-kitties-oh-no!

Through the instance entrance, past the big room with guards on either side, up the right steps, right turn, to the edge of the floor, drop down in the one corner where there are not any orcs-n-doggies, tippy-paws across the floor between the two guard groups, over the bump, thread a needle-path between two guards very close together, keep-cool, just keep-your-cool, don't-lose-it-now-boy! -- whew!  Can't believe I made it through that one!  Over the bridge, right turn, through the next guards, over another bridge, ok big chamber now and, yo she's close now!, I can sense Bijou!, I'm almost there and --

-- crap.  Now I'm staring 15 meters down at a drop zone that seems just a bit less wide than the width of my body.  To the left of this little zone:  sweet, solid floor and Bijou, still hiding where I left her.  To the right of the zone:  nothing.  A whole lot of nothing.  The floor gives way and the drop is much greater than 15 meters.  I can just make out another floor down there.  Way down there.  With more Orcs.  I miss that drop and either the fall kills me outright or the guards finish what the impact left undone.

No good going around that pillar, either -- way too many Orcs over there.  I can move without being seen when I want to, but I can't "disappear" entirely.

So -- it will have to be the hairy, 15-meter drop down to the landing zone, which is a piece of floor on the edge of Certain Death and no wider than a bit less than the width of my feline body.

I start praying, which quickly degenerates into "trying to cut a deal with the Goddess".  I'll quit smoking, Elune!  Complication:  I'm a non-smoker already.  OK, uh ... I'll ... be nice to Mishrack!

I blink.

Hahahahhhahhahhahahahahhhh, yeah riiiiiiiiiight, woo hoo hooooo!  Thank the Goddess I'm not in Elf form, or every Orc in the damned place would hear me cracking up. 

And in that moment, I jump.  Just one of those "impulse things", I guess.  I mean, if you're going to do something totally stupid and dangerous, you may as well do it while you're laughing.  Don't think -- just frackin' go!  So I did.


>>> PLOOMPF! <<<

Eyes closed.  I scarcely dare to believe it, but I can feel it -- four paws resting on solid rock.  I wait another few seconds to make sure I'm correct.  Yes.  All four on flat, solid rock.  And I'm alive.  Slowly and carefully, I open my eyes.  My two right paws are as close as they can possibly be to the edge of the abyss and still be on the floor.

"RAWR!"  Eyes wide, I side-pedal left in a mad, post-traumatic kind of panic, scrambling to put as much distance as quickly as possible between me and that damnable drop.  It works, but as often happens with "panic maneuvers", there is a side effect -- my legs tangle, I lose balance, and land on my back.  This is not a "natural feline position", nor is it "dignified".

And in that moment, I hear:  "Heeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyy!  How ya' doin' ?!"

A bit high-pitched, slightly raspy, and "cute" on some weird level -- only a goblin female has that kind of voice.

I shift into Elf, still on my back, but that's ok because it's more dignified for a humanoid.  I sit up a bit too fast, nausea grips my guts, and my breakfast stays down only after a brief struggle.

That voice again, closer.  "Any luck?"

Still on my butt, I face Bijou and blink.

"Well?" she's getting a bit irritated now.  "Spit it out!"

I hand over the bag.  She jumps around a bit, all happiness and joy.  "You did it!" she cheers.  "Now I can continue my recon!"

"You're staying here?" I ask incredulously as I regain my feet.

She blinks up at me.  "Well ... yeah.  Lots to do here.  I gotta' finish my recon and draw it all up.  But here--" She reaches in the bag, rummages a bit, and comes out with an envelope.  "This is a map of what I've got so far.  I need to get this to Marshall Maxwell in Marshall's Vigil.  But I can't leave here yet.  Can you take it there for me?"

I blink.

"Maxwell will pay you."  She adds.

I take the envelope.

"Thanks again!  See ya'!"  And off she bounds.

Watching her go, I can't help but wonder at her courage and sheer pluck.  This little girl cheerfully goes off alone, deeper into Blackrock Spire while I, the Big Bad Druid Fighting Machine, whimper like a pussy(cat) over a 15-meter drop.  In a moment of bravado, I imagine myself hurrying after her, helping her and keeping her safe.  Yeah, right.  Logic takes over and I know for sure that she's safer alone, without some big-ass, clumsy, bonehead of a Night Elf Druid bumping into things, attracting attention, and slowing her down.

Besides which, she did say that Maxwell would pay me, right?  Focus, Liv, focus!

I reach for the Hearthstone.  Moments later, I'm out of Lower Blackrock Spire.  And feeling mighty damned good about it, if you want to know.