Me dearest wife and brewmaiden, me warm ember, me cherished cobblestone:
Greetings from Northrend! How are ye? The expedition is going fine here! The Firebrew brothers are hale and hearty, as ye'd expect!
The hills are covered with snow far as the eye can see, and a layer o' ice covers every lake, pond or fountain in sight. Ye can see yer breath every day, and I get icicles in me beard after a good hard day's work.
In other words, it's just like home!
Now don't get me wrong. Do I miss the warm hearths, the blazing heat o' the Great Forge? Course I do!! Be daft not to miss the home! I miss warm ale, the sassy lasses (but one especially), the comforting stone over me head when I lay down at night. But the weather ain't so bad. Not for a dwarf, anyhow!
Our companions though, they ain't so keen on the place, I tell ye. The humans are grumpy and sullen, and always sick and moaning about! The draenei seem mystified by the concept o' such a place, and I even heard one asking another how ice was made! Ice! Can you believe it?! And the elves, the elves are too busy shivering and turning blue - even more blue, that is - to complain! Not surprising, ye know elves! Skinny, floppy things, no meat on their bones! I been telling the boys at night, a month o' Gwenna's pot pies and ribstickers would thicken them up nicely!
Honestly though, I do feel sorry for them all, really. Never seen a buncha hardened soldiers so done in by a little snow and wind. I seen even the toughest among 'em eye the chill morning breeze with dread, like they're about to put on one o' Mekkatorque's new crazy inventions! Now that's scary! These lads just don't seem cut out for this type o' trip. Too bad for them, hey? Hah hah!
Now obviously, it ain't all been fun 'n games. Quite the opposite, in fact. Over the last few months we've made steady progress through the frozen tundra, but we've had to fight & scratch for every inch! We've battled strange arctic beasts with shaggy fur and tusks the size o' Magni's throne, and ferocious beastmen more savage than yer mother after she's had a few pints!
But o'course, our biggest foe has been the Scourge. Earth take 'em, the foul creatures never stop comin'. We've lost many good men to their relentless ambushes, and no matter bad we beat 'em back, they never disappear fer good. I don't mean to frighten ye, dear, but whatever ye've heard about the undead back home...it's nothing compared to facin' em in person.
I seen terrible things here, me dear. I seen dwarves barely at beard-growin' age cut down in their prime, bat-winged creatures descend from the clouds and carry off poor unsuspecting soldiers for Light knows what, even seen a squad get wiped out in seconds by savage barbarians workin' for the Lich King, who then disappeared into the mist a'fore we could strike back.
But perhaps even worse is the noise. The undead never sleep, and by my beard they never shut up! All I hear at night is their crazed howls, that seem to echo across the whole blasted continent. Chills me bones, they do. I haven't gotten a good night's sleep since I hopped off the boat.
Now, I'm no coward. Ye know that. When King Magni called out fer volunteers I was glad to offer me help for this mission. Our children need a safe place to live, w'out the threat o' the undead looming over their wee heads. But there's been times Gwenna, that I've looked out upon the remains o' a battle, and seen our lads ripped to shreds at the dirty claws o' some ghoul or zombie...and it makes me very glad I'm better with a wrench than a sword.
Sure, I can a swing an axe or shoot a flintlock pretty fair, and I've put down me fair share o' beasties in the last few weeks. I even fetched a few souvenirs fer the mantle when I get home. But just between us, nothing'd make me happier than never settin' eye on those creatures again. Just ain't anything good to 'em.
Now, I know yer worried about us, but we're in good hands here. Me brother and I went through serious military training with the Argent Crusade fellas before we got shipped up here, even though our jobs are just to look after the flingers and dingers. (The paladins always sigh when we call 'em that and not catapults and demolishers. So we do it as much as we can.) And we're always with a full retinue o' knights, wizards, priests, you name it. We're prepared for anything Arthas can throw in our way!
Finally, some more good news! We've set up a nice stronghold in a central area called Dragonblight, and it seems we're makin' it a solid base o' operations. Which means that pretty soon our days o' traipsin' about blindly in the wild like two gnomes in a blanket will be over! We've just a few preparations left to do and we'll be all set.
Our last mission "in the field" is to go investigate some abandoned machines our aerial troops spotted to the north, in a heavily wooded area. We're startin' to run low on supplies and materials, so if these machines are still in any workin' shape we're to cart 'em back and salvage the bits, and mebbe chop down a tree or two if we've got time.
The uppity-ups said it'd be a quick stealth job, in and out before any Scourge or beast is the wiser, so we're running light for this one. Just Burr and I, our fellow engineer Reed, and two guards - Dargath, who's probably the bravest human I ever met, and a young cub named MacKellar. Full o' fire, that one! Seems brave enough to take on Arthas himself single-handedly. A little too heroic and itchin' for a fight, if ye get my drift! Makes me glad this is just a simple salvage trip.
Place we're going sounds old, maybe Troll in origin? Wish Mae were here, she'd be able to tell us in a heartbeat. Zul'Dak, Zul'Dark, or somethin'? Ah well, I ain't no historian or big-brained archaeologist. I'm just a simple dwarf out to build some fancy war machines and then relax at night with some cold ale.
I'll write ye in a few weeks and let ye know how close we are to topplin' Arthas off his big icy perch! Keep the home forge burnin', me dear. I'll be back soon.
Yer little Pebble
Show/Hide Letter Notes
None really. He's in a few quests. Read my synopsis of why he is a hero here.
Ah, Gerk. You are fast becoming my creative muse.
I was wondering what I could do with Gerk, and realized that his story was really only half-told. We knew how he died, and of his final fate...but what about his friends & family back home? They didn't know. And a letter from Gerk to a loved one back home would make his story even SADDER and MORE depressing. So of course I had to write it.
I flipped through random Ironforge NPC's and settled on Gwenna, a barmaid in the Ironforge inn. I was going to use the mining or herbalism trainer, but something about them didn't seem right, either their name, their appearance, etc. Gwenna was perfect.
It was fun writing as a dwarf. I tried to imagine what his jolly, cheerful reactions would be to the hardships of war, the coldness of Northrend (not a big deal for a dwarf, of course), and his allies. I think in a real letter home, these details would be exactly the type of thing a soldier would describe to his family.
The one thing I really wanted to avoid was ruining the tragic "surprise" that this was written by Gerk. Really, it could be any average dwarf who enlisted to defend his home & loved ones. This would make it all the more shocking and terrible when you reached the end and learned who had written it, since we already know his awful fate.
I also wanted to expand on who Gerk is. In my original post, I wrote that I believed Gerk was an average dwarf, not a prodigious warrior, not a champion of justice, just a regular guy. Making him an engineer (ie, not a front-line fighter) in the Alliance army really added to this idea. Plus, it sort of explained just what his group were doing there in Zul'Drak to begin with.
The sad irony in his optimistic words, his "I'll be home soon" message to his beloved Gwenna...it's basically as sad and heart-wrenching as can be. Especially when you learn it's Gerk, and come to the sad realization that you know he never did make it home to his wife.
I actually half-RP'd a followup story focusing on Gwenna which may appear in a future letter. I'm undecided - I don't want to overdo it with Gerk. But we'll see.
The Mae I refer to when Gerk says "Place we're going sounds old, maybe Troll in origin? Wish Mae were here, she'd be able to tell us in a heartbeat," refers to Librarian Mae Paledust, located in Ironforge's Hall of Explorers.