Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Take the Day Off, Kiddo

Last Tuesday morning, Commander Elepheagle sat behind a large wooden desk in the town hall of his garrison, mulling over the list of tasks he knew he should fulfill for the day. A line of ragged conscripts had gathered there in front of him, so he chose to deal with them first. One by one, though occasionally in groups of two or three, the Commander sent them off on reconnaissance missions, or ambushes, or hunts for treasure. 

On some occasions, like today, he wondered why he even bothered. To Eleph it seemed like they'd found everything of worth there was to find on Draenor. And every time he felt so---without failure--- one of his soldiers would return bearing an item having a value just barely justifying their missions there. Sometimes, Eleph would stand and watch the procession of conscripts as they marched out of the garrison. Not that day. There was work to do.

He made his way towards the ever-expanding mine shaft behind the town hall, then paused to consider his choice. He changed course and headed towards a dank cavern nestled into the rock hills near the entrance to the mine. Somehow this area provided a suitable enough environment to sustain flower growth. Eleph had caught wind of a mischievous and elusive creature that sometimes made its home in the flower beds. Eleph helped plant the garden, and helped with harvest almost daily. This wasn't for supply's sake, as they'd long ago amassed more than they could sell. Eleph hoped to catch of glimpse of the mysterious creature with his own eyes. He didn't mind helping with the gardening. 

Not as much could be said for the mine.

The shaft had been growing since the goblins first blew it open. Three snake-like channels wound down deep into the earth and there were rumors of plans for a fourth. Goblin and orc alike worked diligently, unearthing valuable resources, but Eleph instructed his peons to leave the largest veins for his inspection: early on in the expedition, one exceptionally large vein turned out to lead to the den of a burrowing creature native to Draenor. Eleph knew several researchers who would pay a fortune to get their hands on a live specimen.

Once the mine had been inspected and cleared of the largest veins, Elepheagle ascended to the surface with a final task in mind. One of his advisers had told him about powerful artifacts that could be used in battle to reveal the enemy's secret weapons and armament caches. Eleph had purchased and used several of these artifacts without much result. The one time he did find a cache, he couldn't believe his eyes when he opened it: inside appeared to be the same exact necklace he was already wearing! Disturbed by these portents, he ended up offloading the item to a goblin trader for a few dozen gold.

But he trusted his adviser. Thus, he mounted a gryphon and started the long, meandering flight to Ashran. 

When Elepheagle returned several hours later that afternoon with three new artifacts, he was weary, but there was still more to be done. Strange reports from all corners of Draenor continued to filter into the garrison on a daily basis.

From across the expanse of the garrison at her station in front of the barracks, Vivianne watched Elepheagle dismount the gryphon. It had been several weeks since they'd adventured together. He looked over in her direction and offered a tired smile. Then he disappeared into the town hall. She knew there'd be no adventuring for yet another day. And sure enough, a courier confirmed this moments later with a hand-written note. In Eleph's script, the parchment held words she was tired of hearing.

Take the day off, kiddo. 

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