Under Lock and Key [NaNoWriMo]


Day 1

Exciting news! I've been chosen to assist the Forsaken war effort in Northrend! The order came directly from the Dark Lady herself! Well, her assistant. Maybe her assistant's aide. Okay so maybe she had nothing to do with my assignment, but I'm still thrilled! I know the life of a mechanical engineer isn't as exciting as killing the Scourge, but we all have to do our part!

I wonder if I'll ever be on the front lines working on the siege engines and catapults? Or maybe that incredible airship I've heard about! Being able to examine that amazing marvel of technology with my own hands would be a dream come true.

Hopefully I'll be able to pick up some useful pointers and ideas that I can use to fix things up here when I get back. Franklin does his best, but our little city has some serious design flaws. A dozen people die on that stupid elevator every month! It's a severe detriment to tourism.


Day 11

I've arrived in Northrend! I pity our fleshy friends. The others who traveled with me are already shivering and reaching for their heavy furs, but I don't feel any discomfort at all! They're giving me jealous looks. I'm trying to contain my amusement.

I went to fetch my tool bag and noticed that my sprockets and wrench were already covered with a thin layer of frost. I automatically started digging for a pair of gloves, then remembered that I didn't have any skin to get frozen to the metal! There are some advantages to being undead, I suppose.

High Executor Anselm didn't waste any time on flowery greetings. As soon as I told him my name, he pointed me to the bat handler and told me I'd be serving the Forsaken at an outpost called Venomspite. Their last engineer had perished in a terrible plague exposure mishap, so I'd be taking over.

"Fear not, engineer," he said with a dry chuckle. "The clumsy Apothecary responsible for the incident has been...dealt with. Permanently."

As I flew away, I could hear him laughing at my obvious discomfort. Gulp!


Day 15

I've settled into Venomspite nicely. It's a bustling little camp, with everyone busy rushing around on their own missions and objectives. I made the mistake of asking High Executor Wroth what I should be doing, and he just snarled at me and told me to make myself useful.

So I've spent the last few days doing a lot of much-needed repairs and maintenance, trying to keep everything in operable condition. It's a huge job. There's slime stains in the buildings, the building supports are rotting and decrepit, and the accursed snow does NOT play well with all the iron we use for our spikes, fences, roof shingles, etc. Still, I always wanted more work to do when I was back home, and so far Northrend has certainly delivered!


Day 17

Had a most unusual request today. One of the Forsaken here, a fellow named Hansel, took me aside and asked if I would be able to help him on a special project. I asked him what he needed, and he asked if I would be able to build him some mechanical steeds! Can you believe it! I told him that I was an engineer, but not THAT type of engineer, and that he'd be better off finding a goblin specialist (or capturing a gnome). He was quite disappointed, but thanked me politely for my time. Nice guy. Wonder what he needs horses for?


Day 19

Bad news! Have been captured by the Scarlet Onslaught! I had just stepped out of Venomspite to oil the gates (This land is so wet! The gates were getting SO noisy and creaky) when I heard hooves pounding up the road behind me. I turned to greet the new Forsaken that had come to join our little community, but was shocked to instead see a handful of glaring, very alive human knights! I also noticed with some trepidation that they were wearing the red and white of the Onslaught.

Before I could react, one of them reared back and threw an enormous hammer at my head! I awoke in an uncomfortable rusty iron cage overlooking the ocean, right in the middle of their base! Dozens of humans wearing Onslaught tabards were milling about, giving me glaring looks and making rude gestures at me. I hope someone grabbed my tools, otherwise they'll be all corroded from the rain and snow when I get back!


Day 20

Still locked in the cage. So far the Onslaught have left me alone, so I've just been sitting here watching them. They take their training quite seriously, and their daily cavalry drills in the yard seem very impressive. I wish I knew more about fighting so I could bring back some useful information when I get released. I hope they don't come and attack Venomspite. Can't we just be neighbors?

Also, I can't help but notice that this cage is in terrible shape, all covered in rust and dented. It looks like it's never seen a day of polish or maintenance! It's also made of iron, but these fools didn't even put it somewhere dry! It's just lying in the snow, deteriorating. There are a few other cages scattered around here, all in similar states of disrepair. I tried to tell one of the knights that they really should move the cages to higher ground or under shelter, but he just cursed at me and rattled his sword in his scabbard ominously. Maybe that's why the Onslaught kidnapped me...to look after their equipment! No pride, these humans.


Day 21

Today some of the Onslaught knights yanked me out of my cage and dragged me inside a big building, down to the basement. I spent a few hours tied to a post chatting with a twitchy little man named LeCraft. He ranted and raved and waved a scary-looking rod around threateningly and ordered me to tell him everything I knew, and that I would suffer unimaginable agony if I resisted.

I was happy to have someone to talk to, so I told him everything! I told him all about the new rust-resistant catapult winches I'd installed last month, the revolutionary breakthrough design (version 4.0.1) that I'd developed for the bat harnesses to reduce in-flight malfunctions, and even the special alloy custom-fit slime drains I installed for Doctor Middleton a few weeks ago.

I was about to delve into my pride and joy, the experimental clockwork time-keeping device of my own devising, but LeCraft cut me off and said that would be enough for today. He had sort of a glassy look in his eyes as he called for the knights to come back and return me to my cage. For a I guess he learned all he needed to know, though I did kind of want to tell him about the clock. I can't wait to get back and finish tinkering with it!


Day 22

I sang songs today to keep myself entertained but one of the footmen came by on a horse and told me to shut up. I tried to sing really quiet but he heard and got really mad, and he poked me with a broomstick a few times and called me an abomination. Pretty mean guy. I'm starting to grow tired of prison life.

Since I couldn't sing, I spent the rest of the day sewing some nearby rags into a crude scarf using some needle and thread I had managed to smuggle out of LeCraft's cellar. If I manage to complete it, I'll give to the lovely Liddia when I get back. It'll be pretty ugly, but hopefully she'll appreciate the gesture.


Day 23

I sure hope the High Executor pays my ransom soon. Poor Venomspite is probably falling apart without its handyman! By Sylvanas, I hope they're not getting that lunkhead Josric to do the repairs! All that oaf knows how to do is smash things with his giant hammer! No finesse.


Day 24

There was a big fuss here today! All the Scarlets were running around yelling and shouting, weapons drawn. From what I could gather, someone was killing the Onslaught knights on horseback and then stealing the horses! How amusing! I guess Hansel found a solution to his problem.

I tried to catch sight of the thieves but I wasn't close enough to see any of the commotion from where my cage is. On a sudden impulse, I looked all around, hoping this was all a masterful diversion by friends who had come to rescue me, but it wasn't. :(


Day 25

There's something very strange about these "Raven Priests" that the Onslaught has started training. At first, I didn't think anything of them, but over the last few days I've been watching them carefully, and they seem almost...possessed, at times. They'll cock their heads as if hearing invisible voices from an unseen source. It's very curious.

They also give me a funny feeling inside when they're around. Whenever any of them pass by, it reminds me of something from back home in the Undercity. Oh, I've got it now! They send shivers down my spine just like the Dark Lady's pet demon! I always feel very uneasy whenever I have to deliver a report or new invention to the throne room, and I get that same nervous feeling in my gut whenever these priests are nearby. I wonder why? Oh well, I'll be sure to tell the High Executor when I get back to Venomspite, maybe it will make sense to him.


Day 26

Fantastic news! The High Executor has finally sent a strike team to rescue me! I can see them carving their way through the Onslaught soldiers. They're looking around and searching the grounds, they must be looking for me! Oh oh over here! I shall call and wave to them to get their attention.

Success! They've seen me and are headed this way, thank Sylvanas! I was beginning to worry I'd be stuck here forever. But I knew my friends wouldn't forget about me!



Show/Hide Letter Notes


Pertinent Lore:

No Mercy for the Captured - questline where you kill Burke and three other Forsaken prisoners.

Burke's story is a simple one. There's not a lot of deep, elaborate lore behind it or anything. But it's a quest that really reverberates to a lot of people, I've found.

The idea that we've been tasked with finding these prisoners not to free or rescue them, but to MURDER them, is quite shocking, and really drives home just how some Forsaken think. From a coldly logical perspective, devoid of emotion? I guess it makes sense. But it's still pretty damn evil.

Of all the prisoners, Burke is the most sympathetic. The others react with anger, or try to bribe you, but Burke...poor Burke pleads for his life. And to make matters worse, one of his idle quotes talks about how he needs to get back to Venomspite and finish his shift!

He's the least evil Forsaken ever, and we have to kill him for this quest. :( Pretty sad. I know of at least a few people who cannot bring themselves to do this quest, since it's so cruel. It's a shame that there's no alternative, since you need to complete it to unlock the Wrathgate events.

The "oddness" that Burke senses in the Raven Priests has always struck me as strange. Suddenly out of nowhere, the Scarlet guys start using...raven magic? Talk about weird. It does make sense though when you consider that one of their leaders, Admiral Barean Westwind, is secretly Mal'Ganis in disguise. Unfortunately, his Northrend questline seems pretty underwhelming...not really befitting such an important lore figure. But oh well.

The Needle and Thread I mention is a reference to the grey item of the same name that LeCraft drops. He's the only one in the game who has it, which could be nice for roleplayers wanting props.

1 Response Subscribe to comments

  1. gravatar
    Vidyala

    THIS quest, seriously, this very one, is the reason why Jikali hasn't seen the Wrathgate quest line. I could NOT do it. I just couldn't.

    So, in my continuity... Burke lives, and I refuse to believe anything else! Otherwise this letter is too sad. :( :( :(

    November 13, 2010 at 10:49 AM