Gears and cogs relentlessly crunched as sparks flew like startled
fireflies upon the walls of the busy laboratory. Wires crossed
like webs as electricity flowed through them lively, each one
connected to one big metallic coil made out of copper and mithril
that lead to a rusted, titanium table where two goblins continued
to tinker on an unknown contraption. One goblin wielded a wrench
on his left hand and a screw-driver at the other, gently removing
the nuts and bolts from the apparatus. The other goblin acted as
his assistant and she held a pack of tissue paper and a tray
filled with screws, wires and other junks that was removed away
from other failed machines that was sorted from the trash bin.
The assistant frequently swabbed his superior's forehead,
preventing any sweat from dripping towards the highly-charged
battery core that he was slowly removing. They both know that one
mistake meant their faces, along with the rest of the laboratory,
will be blown all the way to Kezan.
"Easy … easy … that's it. Almost there ….." the goblin said, as
the battery slowly emerged from its metallic prison. His
assistant, severely shaking with anxiety, tightly griped the edge
of the table as she watched the core rise up like the sun in the
horizon. She trusted him very well in this activities but she
also knew how her superior can be a bit clumsy sometimes, and the
thought of being blown away was not a good one, for she was well
informed that her contract did not include any insurance from
explosive incidents. "Miss Fizzlebolt, ready the clamps, and
reduce the electrical output to minimum."
She quickly dropped the tray that she was holding and grabbed the
nearest clamps. This gadget, clearly hand made by a master
engineer, was huge for goblin hands and it resembled the claws of
the makrura lobsters that dwell in the depths of Vash'jir. After
that, she turned one of the knobs of the machine that fed
electricity to the contraption, as her superior held the battery
in mid-air using his gloves. She can even see how his hands
tremble while he held it steady. "Anytime now Miss Fizzlebolt!"
the goblin yelled, "I can't hold this for long!"
She quickly seized the glowing battery using the clamps, as the
other goblin slowly released it from his grasp. The battery
pulsed as sparks and electricity arched from it, "well done, Miss
Fizzlebolt" her superior said with a proud tone. She gave him
back a nervous smile without removing her sight from the fragile
object she so carefully held. "Now put it with the rest inside
the shelf" the goblin instructed and walked away while removing
the grease from his hands using a tissue paper. She walked slowly
and carefully, taking only baby steps as she approached to turn
in the object while her mind constantly bombard her with images
of dropping the battery and blowing herself up to pieces.
"Don't screw this up, don't screw this up, don't screw this up",
she uttered to herself.
Every step she took felt more like one short leap to disaster.
Her forehead sweat as she neared the shelf, "c'mon … get it done
already!" she mumbled, while cautiously moving aside the
scattered debris, scraps and wires that littered the floor. Inch
by inch, her shaking hands grew more strained, causing the clamps
to quiver violently. As she realized this, she took one deep
breath to regain her focus, soothing her stressed out mind and
ultimately relieving her shivering hands. Fortunately, she
reached the shelf in one piece which made her senses relaxed
knowing no explosions would occur anytime today. She then
vigilantly placed the core right between a jar of copper bolts
and some ceramic plating. All was well during that time, until
she heard a rustle in front of the doorstep, like as if someone
was brawling outside. At first, she thought it was just those
drunken Pirates again who can't decide how much gold they would
share to each other. There were a lot of them these days in
Ratchet ever since Booty Bay got swallowed by a tidal wave caused
by the recent cataclysm, but what happened next was something she
would have never expected.
At first there were loud thuds that rocked the wooden door of the
laboratory, tossing away some chipped-off wooden splinters that
indicated how old it really was. Then suddenly, the door
violently broke open as a gigantic plainstrider entered the
house, causing the goblin to fall down on the floor. It shrieked
and stumbled in confusion before it regained its composure, then
it continued to run inside, as it's legs barely missed the
goblin's head by an inch and leaving behind it a trail of both
mud and wooden debris that was scattered all over the floor. Miss
Fizzlebolt only managed to stand in shock as she leaned her back
on the wall. After a few seconds of silence, she started to
regain her senses, when all of the sudden a large, snow-white
tiger burst in where the huge bird made its shocking grand
entrance, creating an even bigger hole on the piece of wood that
she once called a door. The tiger sniffed the floor that was
littered with sand, stones and coppice, trying to locate the
scent of its prey. The goblin only stood still with fright as the
cat sniffed her feet, while it showed its blade-like fangs to her
before it heard a screech from inside and swiftly ran towards it.
Miss Fizzlebolt, still dumb-founded from the recent events that
had occurred in her suppose to be normal afternoon, had now
managed to let out a high pitched scream.
Tools, glass-wares and other spare parts flew high and low as the
two animals continued their cat and mouse chase inside the
confines of the laboratory. Sounds of broken glasses and minor
blasts echoed throughout the hall, but Miss Fizzlebolt's
continued scream only drowned it into the background, only to be
stopped when a young blood elf dressed in his hunting tunic took
her by the shoulder and shook her to sanity.
"Have you seen a plainstrider and a tiger pass by?" he asked.
Her only reply was a blank stare at his green eyes before she
fainted in his arms.
"I'll take that as a yes then" he said to himself while he gently
put her unconscious body on the floor. After some quick
inspection of the surroundings, he suddenly shifted his focus
towards the noises that came from the dark corner of a hallway.
"Frostpaw! Get back here!" he called.
His companion however was far more busy hunting his prey instead
of heeding his master's call. The cat had managed to trap the
bird on a corner, slowly sizing up its prey while it bought its
time to take the kill. Frostpaw was trained by his master to be a
cunning pet and this would be the best time to test his skills.
The bird spread out its short wings in a desperate act to scare
his predator, making him larger and more fearsome in sight,
shrieking tremendously in an attempt to frighten away his enemy,
but the well trained cat knew better than to be intimidated. He
had taken down larger animals before, and he won't back down from
this one. With a swift sprint, the tiger leaped to the air as it
roared while the strider only managed to move its legs twice in
panic before the razor sharp canines of its maker pierced through
its neck, instantly taking out its breath. The hunter came in
just in time to see his pet walk towards him as it dragged the
lifeless corpse of his kill. A smile grew on the face of the
hunter, indicating his satisfaction to his companion's
performance, "good boy frostpaw. This would make a fine dinner
for us and the skins will be a great addition to our collection"
the hunter said while petting the tiger on his head. Frostpaw
responded by licking his master's hand before cleaning up his
claws and fur, removing any traces of blood or grease that might
have stained it.
"WHAT IN THE NAME OF THRALL IS GOING ON HERE!!!" a loud voice
boomed from behind.
Both of their hearts leaped with surprise as the hunter turned
around only to see Gazlowe's face boil with rage, shock and
disbelief. The laboratory looked more like a junkyard after the
two animals had finished their long and devastating chase. Tables
were turned upside-down, as bottles filled with volatile
concoctions littered the floor with shards of broken glasses and
foul odor, and wires that were carefully placed with calculative
precision now entangled like wild vines in a lush forest.
Obviously, this spelled disaster to any mad scientist that had
devoted all their lives and hard labor just to arrange all of
this, yet the only thing that came out of Neo'theron's mouth was,
"uhhh, I can explain this." with a humble voice. To Gazlowe, it
sounded more like a question than a reason.
"Oh yes you will, AFTER I BURN YOUR CONTRACT WITH MY
ORGANIZATION!" Gazlowe said, grudgingly walking towards his
Neo'theron, realizing his career as an engineer was in deep
jeopardy, quickly intercepted Gazlowe's path with nimble agility,
but the later only ignored him as though he was nothing but dust
in his eyes. "Please sir, I beg you to reconsider! It was all
just a big accident that's all."
"I'll tell you what's the BIG ACCIDENT here." Gazlowe said while
walking without even looking back at the hunter. "You see that
hole on my door there? That's the BIG, and you and you're kitten
back there are the ACCIDENT!"
As they reach the goblin's office, Gazlowe hastily sat on his
study and rustled his drawer that was filled with contracts,
schematics, plans and formulas. Gazlowe was not the typical,
unorganized kind of goblin that everyone knows and hates. He
preferred a more structured environment around him. Something he
never had during the days when he was just an ordinary thief who
earned a living by stealing others, but that was until he met
Thrall and the horde.
He continued to search for Neo'theron's profiles and contracts,
and the hunter continued his plead of innocence, which only fell
to deaf ears. "Sir, I beg you to cease and desist on what you are
doing. I will take full responsibility upon what has recently
occurred at your laboratory, and I can assure you that I will pay
all the expenses for the necessary repairs including all my past
payables to you, with interest."
He was about to pull out Neo'theron's contract from his drawer,
but the final word that had escaped from the elf's mouth suddenly
woke up something inside Gazlowe's greedy mind. The word Interest
in goblin language meant more than just payment, it meant more
gold for their bottomless pockets.
"Let me get this straight. You're saying you are willing to pay
all the damages you and your pet caused today, plus your past
debts, with interest?" Gazlowe said while trying to hide his
"With interest" Neo'theron replied. He knew he will regret what
he just said, but he was out of options at the moment. It was
better to feed his superior's greed rather than his anger.
"And how do you propose to do that?"
A smile crept through the elven face of Neo'theron. He then
eagerly pulled a rolled scroll from his bag which he then neatly
laid in front of Gazlowe. "This is a schematic I got from one of
the mechagnomes we slain during our expedition in Ulduar. With
your help, I can mass produce this and sell them at cost in
Ogrimmar and throughout Azeroth."
Gazlowe checked every detail of the plans that was laid in front
of him. After a few moments of scribbling, he gave the elf a
doubtful look, "are you serious? All I see here is a plan for a
simple repair-bot. Repair bots are a dime-a-dozen now if you
Neo'theron only waved his finger with opposition, while his smile
grew even wider. As the goblin waited his reply with
anticipation, the hunter drew a small circle on the plan while
directing the goblin's eyes towards it. "You may say that so for
you are a master engineer, but you have overlooked one vital part
in this diagram. See this part? It doesn't appear on any other
ordinary repair-bot schematics that exist today."
Gazlowe immediately analyzed it. The feature was quite different
from any other plans he had ever seen in his entire life. After
all, what he was studying was of titan technology, and that is
beyond the comprehension of any goblins, gnomes or engineers in
Azeroth. Still he used all his might and engineering skills to
try to understand what is this that the elf has brought to him.
"Have you checked this with some of the engineers in Ogrimmar?"
"Yes. They said this one was unique from the rest of the plans
that were taken from other destroyed mechagnomes of Storm Peaks
and Borean Tundra. I thought you might know what it is." The elf
"So what you're saying is that this is a new type of repair-bot?
How would this solve our present predicament?" Gazlowe replied.
"If my theories are correct, this new type of robot would benefit
both the war efforts of the horde against all its enemies, and
our pockets. All I need is to build a prototype and test it, and
I need your support for this undertaking." Neo'theron explained.
Gazlowe thought it over for a moment while the elf eagerly
anticipated his answer. Investing on something with uncertain
results is the meaning of the word gamble in Gazlowe's
dictionary, and gambling was not his forte. What he saw from the
schematics both baffled and confused his already stressed-out
brain. But the word from the elf had some possible reasons,
reasons which may or may not benefit him.
After a few minutes of cold silence, gazlowe said "how long would
it take for you to build a prototype?"
"Two or three weeks maybe or more." Neo'theron said.
The goblin slowly stood and walked towards the window that
overlooked everything in Rachet, while the elf only looked at him
with keenness. He tried to clear his mind from everything that
had happened today. He would have had a decision right there and
then that time, if he had not recalled the time when Thrall had
helped him when he was down and gave him a life as part of the
horde; a chance that he owed to the shaman greatly.
He took one deep breath then he said, "Alright, you got three
weeks. But if I don't get any results after that, your contract
is as good as burned. Do you get that hunter?"
Neo'theron quickly stood and gestured a salute towards the
goblin, "you will not regret this sir, I guarantee it!"
As the hunter swiftly left the office, Gazlowe only stood there
looking upon the contract he had signed many years ago.
Neo'theron Sundust was one of his not so impressive students when
it came to the profession of engineering, but his will and
determination to prove himself to the rest did impress Gazlowe in
a way. He recalled everything that had happened today, from the
tinkering in his lab, to the time he gave the elf his support for
an unsure project, before he said to himself, "You better be sure
about that Neo."
He neatly rolled back the contract on his table, intending to
return it to where it was, when suddenly Miss Fizzlebolt dazedly
walked like a drunken orc towards his study. "What happened to
you?" Gazlowe asked her.
Without even paying attention to what he said, Miss Fizzlebolt
opened that drawer of his table and pulled out her contract from
it saying "I'll just take the rest of the day off".
"What for?" Gazlowe said with confusion.
"I'm gonna go to my attorney and ask him to add some new
insurance policies to my contract." She said while she slowly
walked out of the room with the sheet of paper in her hand.
Gazlowe, still confused, managed to ask himself "Does she even
have insurance policies?
. . . . . . . .
The sun was already at its peak during the day which intensified
the almost unbearable heat of the barrens. Good thing for the
town of Rachet that they were close to the sea, for it gave them
a cool breeze that balanced out the temperature of their
surroundings. Even though this is the hottest time of the day in
Rachet, some spectators were gathering around Gazlowe's hut when
Neo'theron and Frostpaw came out through the hole on the door.
All of them were curious of what has happened to their beloved
engineer and founder of the town. Neo looked back at the crowd,
which was composed of different races from both the alliance and
horde, and found out that the stable master was among them. He
walked towards him, carrying at his back the corpse of the
Plainstrider, while frostpaw was close behind him. The crowd paid
no attention to them for they were more engrossed on the damage
that was done inside the house, which was very visible from the
"Have you finished repairing my cart?" he asked the goblin.
"Yeah, she's good to go. Just go easy on the axles and hinges
near the wheels" the goblin explained while dusting away the dirt
on his hands.
Neo first gave the goblin a serious response before he kicked the
wheel of the cart to test its durability. It did give s short
wood-crunching sound but sure enough, it was fixed properly. He
gave the goblin ten gold before he mounted up. Frostpaw leaped
from behind then lay comfortably next to his master. The goblin
happily thanked the elf for his generosity.
"So, where ya headed mate?" the goblin asked.
"Ogrimmar. I am to deliver these skins to the leatherworkers
there." The elf replied.
"Well, good luck with your trip if you're traveling on land.
Quilbor attacks have been more frequent these days. Be on your
guard elf." The goblin told him back.
"Thank you for the fair warning." Neo said in return as he waved
fairwell to the goblin.
With all said and done, Neo patted the backside of the Kodos,
telling the beasts that it's time to go. Kodo beasts were gentle
and smart creatures. Violent actions such as whipping or shouting
were not needed to make the huge beast move, and Neo, as with all
of the hunters in Azeroth, knew that well. As the beast lumbered
slowly to the road that lead to their first stop at the
crossroads, Neo lightly placed his bow and quiver at the cart
behind him that was full of skins and sacks of ore that both of
them had intensely farm all around the barrens. As he did this,
he saw his bag of meat and bread and he decided to have some of
them after a hard day's work. Frostpaw looked upon his master and
gently scratched his shoulder as if asking for a share of the
"Have you done enough damage for one day?" the elf said before he
gave his pet a big slice of strider meat. Neo was happy with what
Frostpaw had achieved today. His relentless training had
sharpened the tiger's skills in hunting and before he knew it, he
was already smiling at his pet as he said "good job my friend."
He recalled what Gazlowe had said to him earlier. You and your
kitten back there are the accident he said. Neo did believe what
happened to the lab was an accident, but Frostpaw was more than
an accident. He was a gift given to him by Azeroth.
As the sun reached its peak over the ever majestic lands of the
Northern Barrens, the hunter and his one-man caravan were already
half-way towards the Crossroads. Frostpaw was fast asleep behind
the cart, while his master sat relaxingly at the front, looking
up at the cloudless sky. Trudging the Gold road towards the
crossroads was both wearisome and unexciting. It is as if
everything that you see around you was somehow jaded under the
sun. Even the local Kodos and wind-serpents were nowhere to be
found, but Neo didn't mind the silent aura. He actually preferred
this condition, soundless, at peace, perfect for anyone that
wished to have an undisturbed rest.
To pass the time, he started to check his daily schedule. He was
done with collecting some skins, and he did manage to get
Gazlowe's approval for a new project. That makes two done, and
twelve more to do. After a few scribbling, he noticed at the last
part of the list that he had an appointment with a long time
friend of his in Azshara, and beside it was an emphasized word -
URGENT. "He better be sure about that." Neo said.
Minutes later, his caravan had already reached the raptor
grounds. It was not that hard to know if you were already
crossing hostile raptor country, for the scattered bones and dead
carcasses would tell you so. The grounds were famous and feared
because of its vicious occupants - highland raptors. These
creatures stood six feet tall, armed with claws and teeth that
would rip apart anything within minutes, and they will attack
anything that they see as their likely meal.
Neo seized his crossbow while carefully observing the immediate
area for any raptors that might be prowling behind plain sight.
Like all hunters, he had the knowledge on how to deal with these
animals. Few more meters through the path, everything became
quiet, too quiet to be exact. Even the winds seized to pass. Then
the eerie feeling of being watched crept through his neck. The
deafening silence was already bad enough, now he had to deal with
possible unseen assailants.
As they neared the path that lead to the raptors' nest, the Kodos
suddenly halted, something Neo did not anticipated.
"Lovely timing for a break." He said to the Kodos. To assess the
matter, he took out a sack full of fresh sungrass and set it down
in front of the beasts, but surprisingly, they did not even
looked at the food. They were looking uneasy somehow. They seem
to be distracted, as if they sense something Neo could not.
The peculiar feeling of being stalked crept back on Neo's skin,
but this time, he was sure with what he felt. Someone or
something was out there, hounding them ever since they stepped
foot on the raptor grounds.
Just as Neo was about to make the Kodos move, six Quilbor
warriors came out of their hiding behind the bushes, and started
charging without warning. Neo quickly shot two of the brutes
down, but the rest was able to bypass his attack. Unable to
reload his weapon, the hunter took out his pole arm and readied
himself for a classic four-on-one brawl. The result of such an
encounter would have been devastating for Neo's part, who was
specialized in range combat, and not melee combat. Lucky for him,
Frostpaw was fast enough to intercept their attack by pouncing
one of the Quilbors on the left side, which made the rest of them
tumble on their side like dominos. After his daring rescue, the
tiger went back to his master's side and awaited further orders.
"Thanks for the rescue, but we're not out of the fire yet my
friend", Neo said to his pet, while reloading his crossbow. In
reply, Frostpaw made a deafining roar which almost scared even
the kodos that was standing behind them.
As if in response to what they did, the group of Quilbors made
their own screeching shout. At first, Neo though it was just a
battle-cry. But it was more than that. Ten more Quilbor brutes
came out from behind the group, supported by five Quilbor hunters
and Geomancers. All in all, they were nineteen of them against
two. The odds were not looking good.
"This …. Looks bad", Neo said to himself, while still on his
Suddenly, all of his enemies charged at once on their position.
With no time to waste, Neo pulled out a flashbang from his bag
and threw it upward. "GET DOWN!" he shouted at his pet. Frostpaw
was quick to close his eyes and cover. A small thundering
explosion broke the quiet ambience of the grounds, which was
followed by a bright light that blinded the Quilbors on sight. By
the time they regained their sight, Neo and his caravan was
already far away from them.
Pleased from what he had just done, Neo let out a long relieving
sigh of relief. From the looks of it, his escape plan was
working. Even if the Quilbors chased them, their speed would not
outmatch that of his kodos. All was going well until three
Quilbor Geomancers suddenly came out of nowhere up front. They
were casting a spell which made road quake. After a few moments
of shaking, large roots were quick to seize the wheels of the
cart. The kodos had not noticed what was happening behind them,
obviously startled from the minor quakes, so they continued to
stampede through the road. Neo tried to halt them but his efforts
were in vain. The wheels of the cart were torn off by the roots,
causing frostpaw and Neo to be thrown out of the cart, towards
the side of the road.
Neo and Frostpaw did somehow land safely on their feet, while
looking at their caravan run away from them. While they were both
regaining their focus, the rest of the group of the Quilbors had
caught up to them.
"So much for our escape plan" he said, while shooting away the
incoming brutes. This time, three more were hit directly on the
head. Frostpaw also charged towards the enemy, pouncing and
clawing his way through their light and leather armor. One of the
hunters commanded his pet hyena to attack Neo, while he clumsily
readied his bow for a shot. Neo was quick to dispose of the hyena
while he took out the hunter before it could have even started to
wind his bowstring.
While reloading his crossbow, a Quilbor brute was slowly making
its way towards his rear. Just when it was about to strike, Neo
swung his polearm below the beast's leg, causing it to fall down,
before finishing it off by stabbing it on the heart with his
skinning knife. Frostpaw was also doing damage to the Quilbors
himself, clawing and jumping around, while occasionally aiding
The battle went on for a while, and exhaustion was slowly
creeping on the hunter and his pet. They have managed to kill or
knockout almost every one of them, but the once nineteen Quilbors
that they were fighting had now became more than they could ever
count. It was as if for every one Quilbor that they took out, two
more took its place. What was to be an honorable battle had now
become a battle to survive.
As Neo and his pet regroup, the pack of Quilbors were slowly
surrounding them. Outnumbered, out of arrows, and out of
strength, things suddenly became dreadful for the two, when all
of the sudden, loud thudding sound was heard from afar. At first,
Neo thought it was just more Quilbor reinforcements, but the
sight of a large armored Kodo did surprise him. Astride the great
beasts was a tauren warrior adorned with plated-armor.
The kodo plowed it way through the Quilbors like an unstoppable
tank, goring one Quilbor after another. The warrior dismounted
from his mount and quickly charged towards the enemy, slashing
and pushing his way towards the hunter. From the carnage, Neo did
recognize his rescuer. It was Brimgore Megahorn.
Neo also started to join in on the battle, swinging and slashing
his way through until he was back to back with his friend. "For a
Tauren, you're a sight for relief brim" he said.
"You we're expecting someone else to save your elven hide Neo?"
"Yes. But you'll do for now." Neo said which made them both
"It's good to see you old friend. It seems you can't hold your
ground against these brutes." Brimgore said while looking at the
gathering Quibor forces.
"Yeah, me against an army. What are the odds."
Tension was rising while the quilbors stalked and measured the
hunter and the warrior from where they stood. Neo also did the
same thing, and he counted only twenty of them were left
"take out the melee, I'll go for the casters. Frostpaw will be on
"Sounds like a plan." Brime agreed.
One of the brutes let out a screeching battlecry while he threw
down his axe signaling an attack. Brim also charged in response
to them while neo leaped and turned while trying to reach the
rear of the crowd, only to be intercepted by another quilbor
brute while in mid-air. the quilbor swung his axe and it landed
directly on Neo's hip. Fresh blood spattered on the ground while
Neo fell. Before the final blow was struck, Frostpaw pounced the
brute right on the head, clawing away the flesh on his neck
before leaving him bleeding to death.
"Neo!" brim shouted while seeing his friend fell on battle,
causing him to suddenly go berserk.
With great strength, Brimgore leaped high up in the air and
landed at the front of the Quilbor mass, which caused a massive
shockwave that knock out everything in front of it. The rest of
the Quilbor forces that saw what has happened to their comrades
retreated behind the hills, onward to bramblescar.