Personal Note: I’ll Be Staying Home

•05/19/2011 • 2 Comments

In just three days, I’ll be eighty-five years old. Someone reading this might be human and I’ve come across a wee bit of trouble with this with humans before. Believe me, I’m very bloody young. I know eighty-five seems nearly ancient by human reckoning. My brother’s seen a century and a half. Now think about all the tales I’ve told about my brother. Facing down demons at Mt. Hyjal and the Outlands. Blowing up abominations in Northrend and taking on things I don’t want to think too much about in the basement of Scholomance. Marching right into Icecrown Citadel. A century and a half. Young folks have to have an excellent reason for showing weakness in front of him.

My brother has pushed me to be better than I thought I could be. If I’ve done anything “heroic” in my almost eighty-five years, I’ve done it in the last few and it was on account of him refusing to believe I was able to do any less. If I had a copper for every time I’ve fought my way through a pack of murderous creatures while that bloody git just stood there and waited for myself, I’d be able to get a statue of myself made like that one of Varian Wrynn outside Stormwind Keep. And my brother’s reason for just standing there is always the same… “I knew you’d be fine without me.” Of course, the way he says it’s more, “Ah ken’d ye’d be fi’ wi’ou’ meself.”

I’ve always said I’m not some sort of hero, though, and I’m not. It takes more than just doing heroic things. It takes a willingness to sacrifice everything you want in life, to trade it for a better world. To trade having a family for a world where folks are safe from demons. To trade opening a tavern in Dun Morogh for tracking down and destroying evil creatures before they can track down and destroy someone who can’t fight back. It means asking yourself, “Can I be okay with giving my life away so that someone else doesn’t have to?” and then answering yourself with, “It doesn’t matter if I can be okay with it or not. It needs to be done.”

I don’t have that in myself. I never have. My travels have been an adventure that duty sometimes changed the course of. I’ve resented it when I wanted to be going through tomes in some library but had to go deal with crazed elementals instead. I’ve been angry when I just wanted to take the bears out camping for a night, maybe look around some old ruins somewhere, but I get a message that some elf’s got themself kidnapped or some such thing and they need a competant tracker to find them. Sometimes I don’t much care how many bloody guns are needed for what battle, I just want to work on engineering a safe that’s guaranteed to protect my cheese without losing any of the flavor!

I was rushed through my training with a gun and the survival skills, the traps and nets and all, so that I could be sent back out to Northrend as soon as possible. I learned most of what I know on the way, and I’ll never be one of Ironforge’s elite marksmen. I’m just a friend of animals with a gun. Sometimes a crossbow. Never one of those bloody elf bows! I’m an engineer. I’m a researcher and an archaeologist. I’m not a hero, and I don’t want to be one.

Sometimes I get to thinking I’d like to follow a wee bit more closely in my brother’s footsteps. I have the faith to be a Paladin of the Light, and maybe it’s a life I’d take to well enough. Except for how I don’t so much like being told where to go and what to do. I think the best thing for myself is just to stay home a bit. Maybe ten or twenty years. Not too long.

I’m only eighty-four years old. Eighty-five in just three days. I shouldn’t feel so lost. I shouldn’t worry so much that something’s falling apart somewhere if I don’t go running off to shoot at the problem. I shouldn’t be dragging bears all over the bloody world to chase down sillithids and ghouls and demons. I shouldn’t feel like I have to do these things just on account of me being able to do them.

My brother doesn’t need someone to watch over him so much anymore, and I don’t suppose I do, either. He could use someone to clean his house now and then, what with how the dust starts piling up like snow when he’s away so much. I wouldn’t mind going by to do that after a day spent in the library. And somebody has to look over all these relics folks are dragging in! I saw something sitting in the library the other day some poor draenei was swearing just had to be a rare elven artifact she’d dug up, and I can promise you it was just an old dwarven baby sock.

I’m also thinking of starting a bear breeding program. I’m still bothered by how all the bears disappeared from Dun Morogh after the Cataclysm, and then there’s the mess they’re up to out in the Hillsbrad Foothills. Somebody has to make sure there’s plenty of healthy bears to re-populate Azeroth. That’ll keep me from traveling too much, though. I wouldn’t trust anyone else to take care of the bears.

So this note is the last thing I’ll be sticking in this section of the library for some time. I’ve asked Glorwynn Lightbraid to take over spreading the message about the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club, but I’m not expecting her to be putting up flyers. She’s a paladin, and I figure she’ll just spread the word about the cheese while she’s out spreading the word about the Light. I’ve explained to Historian Karnik that I’d appreciate it if he’d just leave all my reports right here in the library where I’ve put them, but that I won’t be coming in and sticking sheets of loose parchment on the shelves anymore. I thought he looked relieved, but then I figured it must just be what disappointement looks like on himself. He was kind enough not to try to change my mind, though.

I won’t say I’ll never be filing reports on things again. I just wouldn’t bother coming in here and looking for them for some time, if myself were yourself. I’m likely to go looking for Brann Bronzebeard himself one day or something, and I’ll be yelling from the Great Forge that I’m writing a report about it if that happens. And if you’re reading these years after I wrote them, don’t be too alarmed if this one does turn out to be the last one you find. I didn’t die in some horrible battle. Chances are you can just go across the hall there and knock on the door of the house right next to the Tinker Town entrance. Unless they finally do turn that into a big mechanical chicken shop. Then you should knock on the door of the house next to the mechanical chicken shop.

Just look for the red-haired dwarf with all the bears.

((OOC note: Fizzy is a character I have a great fondness for, so I wanted her to have a happy send-off that leaves room for her to return one day. I really am having a lot more fun playing a paldin than a hunter now, though, and it doesn’t feel right to try to push out stories about a character who isn’t regularly being played. If you like, you can read my non-RP adventures in learning to play a Holy Paladin at Heavy Wool Bandage.  ))

May Announcement from the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club

•05/01/2011 • Comments Off on May Announcement from the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club

I haven’t got much time to write this announcement. Everybody’s got their knickers in a bunch over some trolls at the Stormwind Harbor, so I’ll be taking the tram soon to go see what all the fuss is about. I better find voodoo flying everywhere and folk’s getting their fingers bitten off or I’m going to tell somebody not to bother me next time.

What with the guards finally opening the door to the Hall of Thanes and now this troll upset, I haven’t had much time to choose the Cheese of the Month. It’s a long process. There’s so many wonderful cheeses! So I pulled out some samples last night, lined them up on a table, and let the bears choose. Serhilde has decided (by eating it all and then trying to maul myself for more) that the Cheese of the Month is…

Sour Goat Cheese!

It’s not one I’m inclined to eat much of myself. Doesn’t sit well with me, no matter what I try to wash it down with. But Serhilde isn’t a bear to be arguing with, and she is a bear I trust my own life to. If she says it’s Sour Goat Cheese, it bloody well is Sour Goat Cheese.

I’ll be taking a bag of it with me. Maybe the trolls will like it.

– Fizzy Stouthammer, spokesdwarf for the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club

Report #00040: King Magni and the Hall of Thanes

•04/27/2011 • 7 Comments

I waited for days after the news about King Magni to be allowed to see him. I don’t suppose I could have actually made myself go down there, but I wanted to know I had the option. I got sent away every day. Told that this, that, and some other bloody thing were being given priority, King Magni wasn’t going anywhere, and why wasn’t I helping down in Kharanos? Every day, I muttered something about having been chased off by a bloody swarm of shaman, took my bears with myself, and wandered off.

They let me in to see King Magni last night.

Everybody’s gotten so used to calling the place “Old Ironforge” that I sometimes suspect even a few dwarves have forgotten what it really is… the Hall of Thanes. The resting place of our kings. I wanted to know once what was behind the door in the High Seat that was always locked, and it was Greta herself who fed me enough stew for a whole bloody army and spent the whole night telling me tales about the Hall of Thanes, the old Iron Forge that Ironforge got its name from, Modimus Anvilmar… no one could tell a tale like Greta! Not even Ol’ Durty Pete.

I went down there last night with my brother, Serhilde, and Little Brann. Those bears have been in King Magni’s presence plenty of times before, so I didn’t see any need to keep them away now.  There comes a point where you make just one more turn on your way down and you can’t help but see the white light dancing off the stone walls. And you get a wee bit closer and you realize it’s diamonds down there! And you get a wee bit closer, just past another couple of guards, and… and there’s the Honor Guard standing there and it’s not diamonds. It is diamonds, I suppose, but it’s not JUST diamonds. And it shouldn’t bloody well be diamonds!

It’s King Magni down there. Frozen in place. Looking like he’s screaming. Not the kind of screaming you do when you wake up because some elf is knocking at your door wanting to collect donations to support orphaned butterflies. It’s the kind of screaming I don’t think I’ve seen anything do since I was in Northrend. And if you’re trying to look at things through eyes that are half-closed and full of tears, the diamonds don’t look too much different than ice.

I asked my brother if he thought King Magni might be in pain, but he says he doesn’t think so. I don’t know if he really believes that or if he was trying to make myself feel better. I don’t know if King Magni can feel anything right now. Maybe he’s not in pain. It’s better than the alternative… that he might be frozen in a moment of complete agony that just never stops.

I was a wee bit hard on Belgrum, I suppose. He was down there already when we got there and started saying how this was all his fault. I told him it is his fault. But it is! It’s his bloody job to find out about these things before trying them, and we’ve learned enough of our own history now and seen enough of the things the Titans created that he should have bloody well known his first impression of what those tablets were needed to be questioned! Even now, he’s not listening when I try to tell him what I think they were.

I hope I’m right about those tablets, though, because that would mean King Magni’s not in pain. When the elves tried to get the whole world blown up by demons… the first time… the Earthen were so injured by the Sundering they went into hibernation. I think King Magni’s done a hibernation ritual when he thought he was doing a communication ritual. But if I’m right, how long will he sleep? When the Earthen woke up, they were dwarves. What would a dwarf become if he slept long enough?

I told my brother to fix him. He says he can’t. I think my brother lacks faith. Highlord Fordring always says to put your faith in the Light. My brother’s a bloody paladin. If he can’t fix something himself, the Light can, and since he’s an instrument of the Light that means he can fix anything. I think he forgets the Light isn’t just a tool for retribution. The Light isn’t a bloody hammer that you just go beat every trouble you have to death with. Maybe he sees it that way on account of having been a warrior. All I know is that I feel more myself in the Light’s presence than I do any other time or place. So maybe King Magni could be himself again with enough Light shining down on him.

Little Brann just sat there on the floor and stared up at King Magni. I wish I knew what was going on in that wee bear brain of his. Probably thinking of all the times he climbed onto King Magni’s boots and pawed at him. I always thought he was going to get me thrown out of Ironforge that way, but King Magni always allowed it. I told that cub tales every night for weeks after I first got him home about Brann Bronzebeard himself, and how he was a very special bear to be named after King Magni’s own brother. I think I might have confused him a wee bit and he maybe thinks he is King Magni’s brother.

Before we left, I made a promise to King Magni. I don’t know if he could hear myself speaking or not, but it doesn’t much matter. A promise is made with your heart, not your mouth. I swore I’m not giving up on him. I’m a bloody Stouthammer, and that means I don’t give up just on account of something being impossible! There’s bears in the Hillsbrad Foothills to be saved, and relics to be dug up, and I’m still trying to get some of those Wildhammers to teach me how to brew their ale. But that’s all work to keep myself busy. (Except saving the bears… that’s important.) When something’s figured out about King Magni, I’ll be the first one flying home to help.

He’s in the right place, though.  In the Hall of Thanes, where our greatest kings rest, King Magni is the greatest of them.

Report #00039: Studying Member Growth in the Cheese of the Month Club

•04/07/2011 • 1 Comment

((The Blog Azeroth Shared Topic “Do Your Alts Know Each Other?” was one I couldn’t pass up. ))

I’ve been doing a lot of paperwork since I got back from my recent trip to Kalimdor. Making careful records of what archaeological sites I visited, cross-referencing the things I saw there with several tomes on Elven history, writing out full copies of Ol’Durty Pete’s tales from the shorthand notes I took while he was talking. And I’ve also been looking over the membership files for the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club.

Greta always used to say, “You walk into a tavern for the first time, how’s the barmaid to know what you like if you don’t bloody well tell her?” There’s a fine lesson to be learned in that, so I’ll be honest here… I don’t know who about half of these folks on the roster are.

Now, I suppose some of that is on account of my having pretty much considered my brother an honorary member, even what with him officially belonging in another organization of some sort and saying he can only handle so much “being a member”. I’m fairly certain quite a few of these folks are friends of his. And I use the term “friend” a wee bit loosely, considering at least one of them’s human and spends a lot of time sneaking around trying to pick folks’ pockets. She claims to be some sort of “loch-picker”, so I’m keeping an eye on her and waiting to see if she manages to pick Loch Modan one day.

There are a couple of folks I know bloody well my brother didn’t invite because I did it myself. The official organization, with the tabard and all, is a sort of “inner circle” of the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club. Anyone who loves cheese can claim to be a member (even elves) but the inner circle bears the responsibility of making sure we work toward our goals even if no one else does. There are a select few folks I’ve personally issued an invitation to once they proved themselves to me.

But where did all these other bloody gits come from? Dorthea Clarke is apparently a worgen priest, so I suppose that’s alright. Kealli and Glorwynn Lightbraid are paladins. Now that I think about it, I might have let Glorwynn Lightbraid in myself. I can’t remember meeting her, but she’s a dwarf and a paladin, so it sounds like something I’d do. Maybe my brother would like to meet her.

There’s a human hunter… she might be looking for some help with handling a bear, or something. And some other human. The note on the roster says “practitioner of magical arts”. I’m guessing that’s what the Kirin Tor is calling mages these days, or something. There’s another worgen… maybe that’s a friend of Dorthea Clarke’s.

And there’s an elf. Someone let a bloody elf in! Not a “blood elf”, mind you… a kaldorei, not sin’dorei. I wasn’t being serious about the bloody “Elf of the Month Club”!

I’m guessing it’s Haggle doing this. I can’t blame the poor fella. I was the one who put the flyers up in Deeprun Tram. I’ve gone out there to ask him not to sign folks up like this before, but he just keeps sifting through the trash cans and talking about cheese. So of course I forget what it was I went out there for and we just sit down and have some cheese while the rats run around. And then I try to convince him to come into Ironforge and stay somewhewre decent for the night, but he just goes and lays down under one of the benches.

Well, I won’t start kicking folks out just on account of “Haggle’s not actually authorized to do that”. I could. It’s a valid enough reason. But maybe this is the Light’s way of showing approval of the work we’re doing… giving us more folks to put the message out there.

But… an elf. Don’t that just whip the ram?

April Announcement from the Khaz Modan Elf of the Month Club

•03/31/2011 • 2 Comments

Dear Cheese Lovers of Azeroth,

For a year now, the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club has worked to spread the joy of cheese to all the people of our world. Where there are dark corners, we light a fire and share cheese around it. Recently, I’ve returned from Kalimdor. My journey got myself to thinking again how the history of the Night Elves is so full of dark corners, and how they haven’t got any decent cheese.

We’ve been focusing on the wrong thing, folks.

This isn’t something that can be fixed by talking about more cheese… it’s time to focus on the elves themselves!  That’s why I’m announcing that , as of the first day of April, the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club is becoming the Khaz Modan Elf of the Month Club! Here are our new objectives:

To increase appreciation of elven architecture through regular motorcycle tours through Darnassas and Silvermoon City.

To learn to properly recognize kaldorei, quel’dorei, and sin’dorei rather than just calling them all “elfdorei”.

To make sure every elven child get a pet rabbit.

To add more mailboxes around Azeroth so elves are never without a spot to dance.

To show an appreciation for elven art through our “Elven Pin-Up of the Month” project. Models may apply by dancing on the nearest mailbox.


I suggest everyone get to work on this, because the second of April is bringing back the Cheese of the Month Club. That’s right… you’ve got one bloody day to get all that accomplished! And when the sun rises in Dun Morogh on the morning of April second, the Cheese of the Month will be Salted Yeti Cheese. I’ve still got a few bags of it from Northrend.

– F. Stouthammer, spokesdwarf for the Khaz Modan CHEESE of the Month Club

Report #00038: Lessons Taught by Bears

•03/17/2011 • Comments Off on Report #00038: Lessons Taught by Bears

I’ve heard there’s a couple of folks wanting to learn about working with a bear. I’m still feeling a bit lost in my daily life, so I’ve been thinking I might try sitting down to have a talk with these folks to find out if I’ve got anything to teach them. There doesn’t seem to be much I can do about the Dark Iron problem in Ironforge right now except keep my eyes and ears open. Archaeology is a fine line of work, but I get so distracted just going around and looking at the land that I forget I’m supposed to be digging it up. I was looking forward to a friend of mine’s plans to build a tavern in Dun Morogh on the road between Ironforge and the Amberstill’s ranch, but then the cataclysm happened and… Well, the truth is I think he’s missing. Quite a few folks are still, but no one seems to talk about them. I went out to Kalimdor for a few days and offered what help I could to the refugees from Auberdine. I suppose I understand why no one wants to talk about the folks who are missing. They’ll either turn up with great tales to tell, or it’s too late already and not many can handle dealing with anymore of that right now. It’s easier sometimes to ride off and chase down an enemy that might put you in your grave than to stay home and dig graves for those you love.

I suppose I understand what drove my brother to chase down demons after Krona’s death a wee bit better now.

Myself? I’m just a different sort of lost. I know bloody well where I am, but not what I’m doing here. I’ve tried my hand at some of the engineering advancements. I’m doing my best to be an asset to the Explorers’ League. I’ve given up on the idea of selling my house and moving outside of the mountain. I’ve traveled a bit to help folks when and where I can. But I’ve also been spending a lot of time away from everyone else. Just myself and a few animals. It just fills myself with so much joy when I make it home and can spend a few days with the bears! And I’ve realized I’ve learned quite a bit from them.

Always make sure you’ve got enough cheese. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. The first friendly bear I ever met was the companion of Garret Rumrifle. She was a beautiful white bear, though not quite as lovely as my own Serhilde, and I wanted to share my cheese with her from the first time I met her! Garret got wrapped up in a discussion with some elf one night and I broke off a bit of Dwarven Mild for the bear. And when she wanted another bit, I broke off another bit for her. And when she wanted another bit, I had a real problem. I’d run out of cheese! She started licking cheese off my hand, and I was giggling like someone my age ought to know better than to do in public, and then my arm disappeared. Into the bear’s mouth. I was doing my best to stay calm and wait for Garret to come get the bear to let go of myself, but this was in the middle of the park in Stormwind and folks were starting to look at us funny. I got all panicked and wasn’t making any sense when I spoke, my brother was yelling for Garret to “come get the bear off the Li’l One”, and I finally just passed out. That’s how folks found out about my passing out whenever I get too overwhelmed by things. It was the seventeenth most embarrassing moment of my life.

And it could have been prevented if I had been carrying enough cheese in my bag!

It’s not enough to know where your target is when you shoot. Make sure you know WHO your target is, as well. This wasn’t my mistake.  Some bloody git who should have been the one to learn the lesson didn’t stick around long enough. I ended up with Little Brann because a mountaineer had brought him to Ironforge from Kharanos. Little Brann’s mother had been shot and her body just left there in the snow outside her cave. One of the mountaineers found her and said she’d been filled with so much lead there was hardly any bear left, but the cub kept trying to crawl under his mother to get warm. He thought someone in Ironforge might be willing to take in a wee orphan, and there I was just about to burst into tears when he was telling myself about all this. I told him who I was and it turned out he’d known Greta, who had taken myself in and made me kin when I had no home and no family. So he trusted me with the wee cub and I named him Brann Bronzebear, promising to take him with me and teach him to be an explorer like Brann Bronzebeard himself.

I love that little bear with all my heart. My life is better for having taken him in. But I still tell myself sometimes that I’ll find the bloody git who didn’t pay attention to that bear having a cub before they started shooting at her.

A growing bear needs something besides cheese to eat. I suspect this why Little Brann’s never grown very much. Or maybe he’s just some sort of dwarf bear.

There’s a time to follow orders, and there’s a time to just rip some bloody throats out! Serhilde taught myself this. In spite of myself failing to teach her not to walk on top of tables, she took very well to following the signals and commands I give her. I don’t know what it is about some of the humans I’ve seen out there in the past few months… Why announce to your prey what it is you’re doing? When you call out, “Attack, faithful companion!” it just gives your prey a good head start running from you. Any animal I bond with well enough for us to trust each other in combat knows my combinations of hand signals and subtle sounds. A slight click of the tongue and certain small gesture tells an opponent a lot less than, “Hark! Chase down this vile enemy and bring honor to Stormwind by causing his death, my well-trained attack squirrel!” Bloody gits.

Serhilde knows when to ignore myself, too, though. She knows I’m too cautious sometimes. She knows I’m very protective of her, even if she doesn’t need it, and that I’ll end up getting myself killed that way one day. And I know she’s not going to be stopped once she’s decided to put herself between myself and whatever danger is out there. Not by a little thing like my saying, “I thought I said we were retreating!” She’s saved my life more times than she should have had to. I stopped keeping track. I just figure every day I make it to bed without getting myself killed, I owe Serhilde for it.

I don’t know if I do have much to teach these folks about their bears. I might just let Serhilde do all the teaching.

Report #00037: The Horde Threat to Bears

•03/07/2011 • 1 Comment

I could have titled this report “Why I Might Have Been Wrong About The Horde All Along”, but I don’t believe that’s the case. I’m certainly hoping it’s not the case. My views on the Horde have never made me too popular with other folks. I stood right behind Varian Wrynn during that battle in the Undercity, and when he went to chewing out Warchief Thrall I very politely said, “With all due respect, sir, you’re a bloody bigot.” I don’t think he heard me. My brother did. Just about laughed his beard off. I’ve argued with elves who claim to be members of the Cenarion Circle but can’t see past some of their fellow druids being Tauren. I read his reports and followed the example of Brann Bronzebeard himself when it came to all the fighting in Alterac Valley. No sense getting distracted by squabbles over land when there were Scourge around that would slaughter both sides. I worked with some of the folks from Acherus and questioned how much they might not be so different from the Forsaken ones, and if maybe that meant we ought to rethink how the Forsaken were treated.

I’ve written reports about all that before. I’m sure I’ve written about how it was an orc who showed my brother where his wife died at Mount Hyjal. How that orc gained my brother’s respect in spite of the orcs who’d thought trying to hammer at the Gates of Ironforge had been a fine idea. Not that it worked out too well them. I’m sure I’ve written about how Highlord Fordring’s message rings true for myself, and how I’m more likely to judge someone by how they live and what they do than by what they look like. I had my neck saved in the Arathi Highlands once by a Forsaken one traveling with a Blood Elf. I defended ground in Northrend alongside a Tauren. Everyone not from Khaz Modan is starting off disadvantaged in life, anyhow… I at least have to give folks a chance to overcome that.

What I’ve learned is that the Horde has some fine folks right along with the rotten ones. Not so different from the Alliance. These days, not so different from Ironforge. We’ll get that set right, though, as soon as we get the bloody Dark Irons out. No, I suppose the worst thing going on with the Horde right now is that the fine folks can’t see the rotten ones for what they are. And that brings me to why I sat down to write this report.

I was flying over the Hillsbrad Foothills about a week or so back. It’s breaking my heart to see what became of Dun Garok.  That battle had been going on a long time, though, and I suppose there’s some peace in knowing those dwarves had to have died fighting. They wouldn’t have given up. I can’t say I’d be too surprised if anyone told me they still haven’t given up. Being dead doesn’t make home any less… well… home. Southshore’s a blight upon the land now, but it pretty much was before. Just more gas and ooze now. Less humans. I suppose we’ll all have to help take it back one day just so we can clean it up before it mutates any of the wildlife. The wildlife is really what this is about. Specifically, some bears I spotted over around what appears to be an area near the Azureload Mine where spiders are being raised.

I am not a bloody git. I know bears well enough to know when I’m seeing a natural infestation of some sort, and when I’m seeing something that’s been done to them on purpose. It is my firm belief that bears in this area are being used as some sort of incubators for spider eggs. It’s a horrifying thing to see! I thought I left that kind of thing behind in Northrend. I suppose it’s not too surprising that it looks like something the Scourge would do, considering it’s the Forsaken running the show out there these days! I may not have been wrong about the whole Horde, but I’m ashamed for letting myself be tricked into thinking those creatures could remember what it is to be part of a living world!

I just can’t believe everyone else in the Horde would willingly go along with this! What lies are they being told? Sure, some folks’ll do anything if you pay them for it. And, aye, I mean goblins. I suppose some folks are just so trained to follow orders they’ll never question what you send them out to do. But what about the shaman? And the druids? What about all the Tauren people? I thought they respected life and believed like the Wildhammers do about walking with the Earthmother. Does anyone expect me to believe the Earthmother is walking over to a bunch of bears and implanting them with spider eggs?

Bears are an important part of life. How many folks have taken a bear as their companion? How many folks have had their lives saved by a druid who took the shape of a bear and held back whatever was threatening them? I met a druid out in the Plaguelands named Zen’Kiki. One of those new druids that seem to be running around a lot these days. He’s not so good at being a bear, but he’s perfect at healing them! If Serhilde or Little Brann ever needed help from a druid, I’d take them out there to himself.

I’ve visited the Great Bear Spirit in Moonglade. I came across an imp once in Winterspring, and I’m pretty sure he’s been bitten by a bear or two. Imagine how Winterspring might be overrun with demons if it weren’t for the bears! I’ve seen druids take the form of bears to fight satyrs in Felwood. I’ve seen warbears carry riders all through the streets of Dalaran. I’ve worked with the warbears that the women in Brunnhildar Village raise, and even brought Serhilde back with me. I nearly had my arm bitten off once by a bear who wanted my cheese, but I sent her some cheese by mail after that her dwarf companion mailed me back a sheet of parchment with a big inky bear paw print on it. That parchment is one of my dearest possessions. I’ve raised Little Brann the best I can ever since he was orphaned, and he might have been one of the last cubs born in Dun Morogh. The bears all seem to be gone from here since the cataclysm.

Maybe that’s why the Forsaken are doing this. Maybe they want to kill off the bears because they are an important part of life. I can only hope their Horde allies open their hearts to the bears and do something to stop this! It’ll stop one way or another. I can promise that. It might take me some time to round up enough folks to fight by my side to save the bears. The Horde has that long to take care of their own business. If they don’t, we will retake the Hillsbrad Foothills FOR THE BEARS!

Celebrating One Year of Celebrating Cheese

•02/28/2011 • 1 Comment

I decided in early March of last year that it was about bloody time other folks started to appreciate cheese more. I can’t make a person change their mind about cheese if they don’t like it. Not until those mind control devices get past the prototype stage, anyhow. But I can spread the word about cheese. I can take the joy of cheese to those who’ve never known it’s comforting, healing effect. I can share the Light with folks by sharing cheese with them. Cheese is like the Light. It’s yellow. It comforts yourself when you’re hungry and alone. It makes folks feel good when you share it with them.

That’s why I started the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club, and this was the first announcement I put out:

The Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club is pleased to announce to the various peoples of Azeroth that DWARVEN MILD is the March Cheese of the Month!

The Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club is dedicated to spreading the joy of cheese throughout Azeroth… even to goblins… through various programs such as:

Announcing the Cheese of the Month. Monthly.

Financially supporting the Trias cheese shop in Stormwind and One More Glass in Dalaran.

Sharing cheese with the cheeseless.

Please support the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club by asking for fine cheeses, such as DWARVEN MILD, at taverns near you.

– Fizzy Stouthammer, spokesdwarf for the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club

One year of celebrating cheese. It seems a wee bit unreal. Not that cheese could be celebrated so regularly for so long. Personally, I’ve been celebrating cheese every day for several years now and don’t intend to stop. I mean it seems a wee bit unreal that folks would listen to myself go on about cheese for so long. And even more unreal that others would get involved. I’ll be honest… I thought myself was the only one who cared. I just care enough that I didn’t see any cause for letting that stop me.

I’ve had priests stop myself in the bank to say the Cheese of the Month Club seems very appropriate for dwarves. One of our human members who keeps us connected with the Trias family in Stormwind has told myself folks have stopped her and asked what the cheese of the month is before. I’ve had to stop putting fliers up in the Deeprun Tram because I think Haggle might have handed them to some folks. I woke up one day and there were a few Gilneans, a gnome, and a very suspicious spellslinger all saying they’d decided to join.

Little Brann designed our tabard. Stuck his paw in some yellow paint and stepped right in the middle of the orange fabric! I’ve worn that tabard proudly. I fought the Scourge while wearing it. I’ve faced opponents in arenas while wearing it. My brother may be recognized as a Crusader when he steps in, and he may be one of the Light’s instruments of retribution… but I’ve got bears and cheese on my side!

As the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club has done for a year now, I ask you to help us spread the joy of cheese to all of Azeroth.  I suppose Dalaran is mostly just littered with mages these days. If you find yourself there for some reason, though, stop in and buy some cheese at One More Glass. Go by the leatherworking shop and see if Glowergold is still there. He likes it if you take some cheese to him.  Support the Trias Cheese Shop in Stormwind. Support those who sell cheese in your home city and in other towns you pass through. Share cheese with your friends. Share it with strangers. Feed it to your bear. Search the corpse of any cultist for cheese. Don’t let good cheese fall into cultist hands!

If you aren’t certain where to start, I suppose the beginning is a fine enough place. Start with this month’s Cheese of the Month: DWARVEN MILD.

Light and Cheese,

– Fizzy Stouthammer, spokesdwarf for the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club

Report #00036: Subconscious Nocturnal Oddities

•02/12/2011 • 1 Comment

It’s a rare thing for myself to be bothered by dreams. I had one that was so troubling for days after once that my brother finally said I should go speak to one of the priests to set my mind at ease, and that led to speaking with a druid, and… Well, I just try not to be bothered by them anymore. That’s too much talking to folks who want to see more than just a dream for it to be worth the bother. I’ve had some strange ones lately, though! I don’t mean the strange dreams everyone has. Nothing like the one where it’s your first time walking around in Stormwind and you run into a mage wearing an omlette for a hat, and he tells you the bankers are all waiting for you to get to the Trade District so they can set up everything for the Cheese Festival.

I mean truly strange dreams!

I’ve been dreaming about being in Northrend again. One night, it was my brother and myself going into Azjol-Nerub with nobody except Serhilde to watch our backs. Another night, we were exploring Gundrak.  Now, my brother says I’ve got more faith in the Light than some priests he’s known, but I don’t have that much faith! There’s faith, and then there’s being a bloody git. Not only would I never go in there with just himself and the bear… Well, I just can’t see any reason to go back to Zul’Drak at all! That place did its damage to myself once already.

There’s one dream, though, that was plenty strange without being particularly frightening or unpleasant. I took Serhilde and Little Brann with myself one evening and set up camp out in the mountains that run near the pass between Dun Morogh and Loch Modan. I haven’t always been able to take them along when I travel in the last few months, and Serhilde gets plenty restless in Ironforge. It’s good to get her out into the mountains and snow and let her run free a bit.

We were curled up, the three of us, near the campfire that night and I was thinking how much my life has changed over the past year or so. I got to thinking about Frostbolt, and how I don’t see him so often anymore. I get to thinking he’s run off back to Winterspring to be with the other big cats like himself. Then I’ll wake up one morning and find him stretched out on the floor in front of one of my bookcases. The animals I call family fight perfectly at my side when the need arises, but I’ve never had much control over them when there’s not an emergency. I don’t suppose I’d want to, either. Part of being family is being free to go your own way when that’s what’s best for yourself.

I sort of spoke to the bears, but sort of to myself. Maybe to the fire… I’m not certain. I said, “There was a time Frostbolt and myself knew each other so well it was as if I could see the world through his eyes at times. I’m not certain what changed. I just… couldn’t one day.” Brann looked up at my face for a second, then started digging into the bag of cheese I’d taken along. Maybe everyone was right. Maybe I should have fed him more meat when he first came to live with myself.

I fell asleep right next to Serhilde. It still seems odd to myself that the women of Brunnhildar Village thought she was too small to be a warbear. She’s plenty big, plenty strong, more than plenty brave, and very soft and warm when you’re sleeping in the snow. I was drifting off toward sleep, and the last thing I could sort of remember thinking is that I wondered what it would be like to be a bear.

Somewhere in the night, I realized I was walking around. I was moving rather slowly, just not seeing any reason to hurry at that time. Not that time mattered too much. Every moment was simply “now”. No reason to think back past now, and no reason to think ahead of now. Only what happens now is real. One paw forward now… shifting my weight across the snow now. Each time I shifted my weight and set down a paw, the reality of “now” changed. Not that I was giving it so much thought. This was… is… simply the nature of things.

The air was filled with many scents, but I took little notice of most of them. They were commonplace and insignificant. One scent, though, had my attention. It was food. Different than the small plants I ate. This was flesh. Not  fresh kill, blood flowing and entrails steaming. Flesh heated over fire. Not as good. Still better than berries.

My weight shifts, my paws sinking into the top layer of snow as my body moves toward the scent of the flesh. The small creatures with the long ears and twitching whiskers make so much noise as they hop through the bushes, but I let them pass by me during this “now”. I have eaten them, and will again, but somewhere beyond “now” I know the female warming the flesh over the fire becomes upset when I eat the small creatures with the long ears. I will not upset her.

She is an odd creature. I comprehend the meanings of her sounds and gestures, but they are different from the ones I knew before. I knew the sounds and gestures of much larger females. They were like my own kind. Hard, but fair. No weakness. Only survival. This female… she has much weakness. She is of a different kind than the large females who raised me in the far away snow. She has much strength, as well. She must because she survives. She takes creatures other than myself into her den. She is warm and soft. She has killed. Animals. Her own kind. Wrong things that smell sick and dead, and I knew I should run from them when I saw them move like living things. The female did not run, though, so I stayed by her. I would not let them taste her blood and entrails. She is an odd creature… not of my kind, but she is my cub. The other bear is also my cub, even as he is the female’s cub. They are mine because I simply “know” they are. I do not question it. I simply play with them, work with them, eat with them, sleep by them, protect them.

She is odd. Weak, but strong. Gentle with her own. Ready to kill to protect us. To protect the den. A bear with no fur and the wrong smell.

My paws stop moving. The smell of the fire-warmed flesh has been making me hungry for a very long “now” as I moved closer. The female brushes snow from my coat with her hands. Now I sink my teeth into the flesh. The small cub eats the same food as the female… some of the meat, and the strange milk that is not milk. The female calls it “cheese”, but this sound means nothing to me. I understand what her sounds mean to her, but all that means something to me is smell, taste, sound, instinct. Sleep. The need to sleep matters to me.

And then it was morning, and I realized I am bloody well not a bear! I am Fizzy Stouthammer, and these dreams are a strange bit of foolishness my mind gets up to when I’m sleeping. I took some parchment out of my bag and scribbled down what I’d been dreaming, and that’s how I wrote it up here. If I’d counted on my own memory there wouldn’t have been much to write. It doesn’t much seem real now, which I suppose it never was. And that is the normal way of dreams… to disappear like that once I’m awake again.

The only thing is… I could have sworn Serhilde was laughing at myself the next day. In some sort of “bear laughing” way.

To: The Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club – From: Moonglade

•02/01/2011 • 1 Comment

To my fellow cheese-lovers in Ironforge,


Against my better judgement, I thought I’d give another shot at this “make friends with elves, form meaningful relationships with flowers” thing.  The Lunar Festival seemed like a good time for this. How much could go wrong while honoring the ancestors of your people? Besides some odd personal feelings about there being no gnomish ancestors anyone’s found, it was all going well.

Then I realized there’s no decent CHEESE here in Moonglade! Certainly none related to the festival, and I’m stuck here another few days trying to figure out what makes their odd brew glow like it does.

Are you bloody gits getting all of this? I’m stuck in the middle of a bunch of elves and all their friends, with trees and flowers and glowing elf ale, but NO CHEESE! Send help!

And, for Light’s sake, please put up the notices about this month’s Cheese of the Month!  If no one can find the notices I wrote up, just write this on a few sheets of parchment:


is the February Cheese of the Month

This message is brought to you by the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club


They won’t have my signature, but they’ll do in a pinch. Put one up next to Mangorn Flinthammer’s shop (the bank side, not between his shop and the hallway), another just outside the library, and be sure to leave one in the Stonefire Tavern and another in Bruuk’s Corner.  A mage can handle getting a couple of them to Dalaran, and scatter the rest around Stormwind.

And don’t forget to send me some cheese! Preferably Dwarven Mild. Or Highland Sheep Cheese. NOT Darnassian Bleu!

Cheese and Light,

– Fizzy Stouthammer, spokesdwarf for the Khaz Modan Cheese of the Month Club (even in Moonglade)