Oct 15, 2019 3:59 PM
in this world where time is your enemy, it is my greatest ally. this grand game of life which you think you play in fact plays you. to that i say... (margaret in azeroth)
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"It's funny how those things work out sometimes. Just mention when you'd like to stop or if you want to take a closer look at anything. I don't think we're in any great rush."

And they're off.

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Flying is by far the best way to get from A to B. Though admittedly it's harder to talk to your traveling companion when you have to stay far enough apart that your wingbeats don't interfere.

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They cut east overland, past Alterac and into the Arathi Highlands. To the south is Stromgarde, capital of the kingdom of Arathi and ancestral keep of the famed Trollbanes, human warriors who carved their kingdom out of land formerly occupied by tribes of the Witherbark forest trolls. They also profit by trade with the dwarven outpost of Dun Modr, which guards the Thandol Span, connecting the continents of Lordaeron and Khaz Modan.

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Maragosa has never seen any of these places before except on maps! She matches up the sights to the places she's heard about as they go, slowing down a bit over Dun Modr.

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From above, it's not much to look at. A large door carved into a hillside and a pair of round stone watchtowers, cunningly mortared without visible seams. On the top of the hill above the door, there's a flat stone pad, slightly recessed.

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"Do you happen to know," Maragosa calls out as she gets altitude again, "what that pad is for?" She gestures at it with a forelimb.

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"I am not entirely sure. It was not there when last I passed this way. Some new technology, perhaps."

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"Something for me to investigate later, I guess."

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"Let me know if you discover anything interesting."

As they travel further south, the land becomes marshy, and a great mountain range crests the horizon. Somewhere underneath these peaks lurks Ironforge, the great subterranean home of the dwarves.

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Maragosa flies along in silence for a while. Eventually she asks, "Have you ever been to Ironforge?"

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"Only once. It is carved out of a cavern in the heart of a mountain, a fitting testament to its people's spirit. At the center is the great forge from which it takes its name. The forge never rests, producing all the metals the dwarves require for their craftsmanship night and day. There are practitioners and masters of every art, all working together and learning from each other."

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"It sounds wonderful. Perhaps I'll manage to see it too, in time."

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"The other city of note in the south is Stormwind, which belongs to the humans. I don't recommend visiting it without picking up a human form, the natives tend to the xenophobic. Stormwind is almost as isolationist as the Gilneans, and their geographical separation exacerbates that tendency."

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"Thanks for the warning; I'll be sure to follow it."

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The mountains of Dun Morogh are sharp and snowy. It's easy to see why they form a barrier that creatures who can't fly or tunnel would find a difficult barrier to relations with those on the far side. It takes the two of them most of a day to pass over them.

Beyond are more mountains, but the Redridge are of a different character, the tone being set by Blackrock Mountain, an enormous volcano that dribbles lava from various cracks and crags, and leaks smoke unquietly. It is surrounded by a desert, ashen land.

"Be cautious," Arcanagos warns as they transition. "The Black Dragonflight has a presence in the area."

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"I will," says Maragosa, unconsciously flying a little closer to Arcanagos. This is definitely the creepiest area she's ever seen.

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The scorched earth stretches on for miles... and oddly, seems to almost pulse in some sections. It reminds her vaguely of the Nexus.

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Once she's sure she isn't imagining it, she asks, "What is that . . . pulsing . . . thing, that the ground is doing?"

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"A ley line convergence. Natural, not artificial like the one at the Nexus. The elemental planes will be closer than usual here, and the corresponding magics empowered."

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"Interesting, though possibly also dangerous. Do people come here to try things they don't have the power for elsewhere?"

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"I'd say so. The dwarves must have used this convergence in their attempted summoning of the Firelord."

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"And that didn't work or turn out particularly well. Hopefully the next ambitious thing someone tries here will be abetter idea."

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"It might be better if no ambitious things were tried at all."

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"Somehow, people being people, I don't think you're going to get your wish." And it would be kind of sad if he did, but he's got a point, so she's not going to mention it.

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"Over countless millennia, the foolishness of mortals remains a constant. Ah, but I should not be troubling you with such thoughts. Youth is a time of optimism."

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