[Much has happened since we published our expose on the Elwynn Forest candle trade a few weeks ago. William Pestle is under investigation and facing potential jail time. The trade in kobold candles has collapsed and nearly every general goods vendor in Stormwind has shifted to "Fair Trade" candles. Right now, most of these are imported from Kul Tiras. But there is talk of establishing hives in Westfall, part of a much larger effort to restore that benighted region to its former status as the breadbasket of the Eastern Kingdoms. The Stormwind Daily Mail is proud to be a part of this noble effort to bring justice to a downtrodden people.

But what does the campaign look like from the other side? To find out, we've despatched our fearless Lifestyles Reporter, Jynnxe Jones, to the abandoned Echo Ridge Mine, rumoured to be the home of the Kobold King himself, for an exclusive interview. What follows is the first part of a two-part series.]

"Love Slaves of the Kobold King" Part I: The Hall of Many Candles
Jynnxe Jones, Staff Writer

It was with some trepidation that I slipped between the rusted iron bars blocking the entrance to the old Echo Ridge mine. To dispel the gloom and to show my solidarity with the kobold peoples whom I hoped to find there, my only source of light was a candle on top of my head. I was wearing a hat, of course, because who in their right mind drips wax all over their head and sticks a candle on it? Besides our kobold friends, I mean. But I'm sure they don't pay nearly as much as I do at the hairdresser.

I certainly needed the light. It was dark in there! But it wasn't empty. There were things, chittering and scurrying in the shadows just outside the little cone of candlelight, and spiderwebs filled the corners and hung from the ceiling like gauzy curtains. The floor near the entrance was covered with windborne litter, the detritus of the changing seasons. But there were bones there, too, mostly of small forest creatures brought in by predators but scattered among them were the remains of the innocent kobolds murdered in this place for their candles.

It was clear no one had been in here for years. But there were rumours that the Kobold King himself lived somewhere in the depths of the mine, and so here I was, the intrepid reporter on the trail of a story.

As it turned out, my story found me.

By the time I made it to the bottom of the mine, my candle was half burned through and despite what we'd heard, still no sign of life. I had just turned around when to go back up when I smelled it - a revolting combination of burned hair and rancid wax. There were kobolds nearby!

"I come in peace," I started to say. But before I could do more than open my mouth, someone had rushed up behind me and knocked the candle off my head, plunging the mine into darkness! I screamed, just as they dropped an absolutely disgusting burlap sack over my head. I felt strong arms wrapping around my lithe, young body, pinning my arms and hoisting me off my feet.

In a panic, I tried to scream again, but the smell inside the sack was so awful I could barely breath. So, I kicked out instead. Luckily, I was wearing my red heels, the nice ones Mr. Shaw from the palace gave me after I – well, I can't actually talk about it since he made me promise to keep it secret! But they're very nice shoes. And quite expensive. Not very practical for walking around in abandoned mines, but they went perfectly with the skirt I'd picked out. And they had very pointy toes, one of which I placed quite forcefully in an extremely tender part of someone's anatomy, to judge by the noise it made. Feeling the arms around me loosen, I fled blindly, yanking at the sack covering my head as I ran. Sadly, I misjudged the direction, which I think I can be forgiven for since it was pitch dark and I had a bag over my head. I had barely gone two steps when I ran smack into a wall. One of us had to give, and it turned out to be me.

When I awoke, things were a little creepy. For starters, I was in a bed. Quite a large, comfortable bed, actually, which was nice. This wasn't unusual. I frequently wake up in beds. It's my preferred way to wake up, in fact. Oddly, however, I couldn't move my hands, because, as I soon discovered, they were tied to the bed post above me. Again, somewhat off-putting but still not out of my realm of experience, either. And I appeared to have misplaced my clothes. But still – Look, I'd hate for you, my legions of readers, to get the idea that waking up naked and tied to a strange bed with no clear recollection of how I'd gotten there is somehow a regular thing for me. But the truth is, it happens to people more often than you'd think. So no, that wasn't what put me off. It wasn't even all the naked kobolds standing around the bed watching me. There were twenty of them (I counted) all with candles burning on their heads and totally starkers - not a stitch of clothing between them. But honestly, I've been at weirder parties than this.

No, the creepy part was the fact that while they stared at me in unblinking silence, every single one of them was slowly wanking himself. In perfect unison.

That was creepy.

(Next week: The Kobold King shows me his candle. See you there.)

(With circulation in Stormwind City, Elwynn Forest, Duskshire, Northshire Abbey, Lakeshire, Ironforge, and wherever in Azeroth the good folk of Stormwind can be found, the Daily Mail is Stormwind's source for news you can trust. The Stormwind Daily Mail is a proud member of the Azeroth Media Group.)

(Enjoying my adventures? Have a thought, a comment, a question or reflection? Drop me a line.)