Tale 01: Old Grogfist's Lucky Strike
Wreaked by the Cataclysm though it assuredly was, Stranglethorn Vale still remained one of the most vibrant offerings of the Eastern Kingdoms. The vast jungle was dotted with wild beasts and ripe herbs, the hills were rich with valuable ore, and at the very tip of the cape lied the jewel of the south, Booty Bay. The port town was well under control of the local piratic firm, who kept a motto of "infighting is bad for business" and as such welcomed the custom of both the Horde and the Alliance. The ship to Kalimdor would come in every other day and announce its arrival with a customary bell tolling, alerting potential passengers that it was time to get their sorry arses to the dock.
For Old Grogfist, this meant it was time to wake up from his drunken stupor, drag himself out of the bar for a quick piss, and then stumble back in.
The dwarf had seen his fair share of winters to be sure, his fine beard beginning to show streaks of grey and his bald brow breaking out in wrinkles and spots. He wore a tabbard indicating that he'd once in a long-forgotten past served as a guard of Ironforge. But that was the best clue at deducing his history that his appearance gave. You watch the drunkard toss two fat gold coins down on the table. The goblin bartender eagerly scoops them up and hands the dwarf two more flagons of cherry grog and some banana bread.
"Well? Ye gonna pull up a chair and talk to old Grogfist are ye?" The dwarf asks, waggling his eyebrows at you and beckoning with his free hand.
You wonder at first if this is a wise conversation to delve into, but with time to kill, you decide to chance at a visit with this stranger.
"Ah that's more like it. Real friendly like," Grogfist says as you pull up a chair. He slides you the other mug of grog. "And that's just for starters. Not sure if you'd prefer the old rhapsody malt, or perhaps that fine elvish wine. Any drink you want is on my coin friend."
And to back up this unusually generous claim he slides you ten of the gold coins. You aren't eager to just take money from somebody, especially one so clearly inebriated as him, and so the coins lay between you for the duration of the conversation.
"How did I get this way? Old drunk fool handing out coin in a seedy little tavern? Why I've been living in this fine place by choice, I thank ye very much. I have a room on permanent reservation here for a year's time, and I have plenty more gold to boot, though most of it is in the bank of course. My coin is financing the eager dreams of the fine Gobbie folk you see here!" Grogfist announced in an boozy bellow.
"Hear, hear!" The bartender cheered politely before turning to you. "You want something to drink or eat?"
You place an order, deciding to open up to the generosity as it would be rude not to at this point. Besides, the food smells good and the alcohol even better.
"A fine choice. I suppose I oughta tell you the full story. It's a grand adventure, it is. First off, proper introductions are in order. Ser Baelhorn Snowstrider is my name... though come to think of it, I wonder if I can still call myself 'Ser'. I was a Paladin of the Argent Crusade once... before something happened that I'd rather not get into right now. Perhaps later. I was never dismissed, but I did go missing after those circumstances so I wonder if I hold the title. Ah bugger me, titles aren't my thing. I prefer the nickname I got when I served the fine city of Ironforge. I would guard her hallowed halls by day, patrolling the Commons and the Great Forge, and by night I would do much the same as I do here now. I would sit, drink and regale the beautiful dwarven lasses with tales of adventure and conquest.
My favorite was always the cherry grog. Tastes like you are being kissed by a beautiful bosomy lass who's been piss drunk for hours. Until one night I got in a fine row with some little gnomish shit over... well that's another story too. I popped the flagon on my fist and knocked him over his tiny head with it. And that's when they started calling me Grogfist. And I got old, so that's why they now call me Old Grogfist. But between you and me, I'm certain some of those scrumptious slags popped out one or two 'young' Grogfists. Ah, let them have Dun Morogh and it's biting bloody cold."
You aren't sure whether you should find this amusing or piteous until you remember that for some reason this old codger is unreasonably wealthy – or at least claims to be.
"Right, but this has nothin' to do with my coin, does it? Sorry I'm a terrble conversationalist. Tend to ramble on when I drink. Anyway, At some point between my dismissal from the Ironforge Guard and my admission into the Argent Crusade, I met a few friends while I drank my way across the Eastern Kingdoms. There was a fine fellow in the Explorer's League I met... actually not too far from here, who said he might have use of somebody like me.
Well ten sodding years passed before that opportunity actually arose. By this time I was free of oath again, and wandering about aimlessly on a fine plastered sojourn. I don't know how it happened, but I woke up in the excavation crew of Uldaman. I won't waste your time telling you the details of that little excursion but suffice to say I got lost pretty quickly. You ever been in one of those old tunnels, filled toe to teeth with spiders and bats and slime. You feel like you're about you turn into one of the filthy beasts for all the gore covering you. Oh my hammer felt like a giant bleeding flyswatter by the end of it.
Well I found a little chamber at the end of a long jagged rock tunnel, and in it I found a rather uniquely detailed record of prehistory or some such nonsense. I planned to just take it out of the place and auction it to some bookish type. I thought I might get a handful of gold for it if I was lucky. The head of the expedition sees me with it and offers me 20,000 gold for it. Well I'm quite the negotiator when I'm drunk... or it could be that I didn't hear him right the first time and asked him to clarify. But after a few of those questions he offered me three times as much. And that is how I have the gold to wallow away my twilight years in this lovely little pub.
Ye should have seen me that first night though when I was celebrating! I spent 500 gold in one glorious moment where I literally chucked two great handfuls of it and threw it off the top of this building. At least fifty of the damned things landed in the water, so if you feel like a swim, hehehe," The dwarf's laugh turns into a hacking cough and it takes him several moments to recover. "Pardon me. The lungs don't work quite so good as they used to. Oh and there was that letter I sent to my pal... Coldmountain something. He was a Paladin I met when I was with the Crusade. He was good enough to send me back the letter I'd sent him but he kept the gold I attached... and it was heaping lot of it too!"
He hands you a small scrap of parchment, and you can barely make out in an aged and illegible tipsy hand the following message:
"Dere Ser Frostytits,
I am serry tat my pet Murlok did a Gallywix in yer bed.
Plese accept this pament to rebury yer wife's copse, as
wel as tis trenket I found in its leveings.
With many breds,
Grogfist The Everdrunk."
"I couldn't even begin to tell you what that's all about. As for the trinket, I think I might have sent him an actual murloc jobbie with the coin. Maybe that's why he kept it! Ah but that's not even the worst thing I did that night. After several barrels of the fine stuff, and being cheered on by why looked like a group of pretty night elf girls I marched down to the docks and when I woke up two days later from that damn ship bell, I found that I'd boarded the cursed thing and wound up in Ratchet. And all my coin was in the bank back here, save the several thousand I'd blown in that one glorious night. I had to work my way back to my money but I can say it was the last time I've ever worked in my life
So what am I doing now? Well I sit here and I wait for whatever comes next, and I swear something always does. I've made some friends in my drunken travelings from both the Alliance and the Horde. Sometimes I hear from them. Otherwise, it's just me, the fine gobbies, the occasional... opportunistic woman... and the endless flagons of grog."
Grogfist stands up and stretches.
"Well, if you don't mind, I have to go fertilize the bay now. But stop back in sometime. I might have another tale for you."