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.