Sunday, January 8, 2012

Passion in the Maelstrom

Note: this post could be kind of NSFW! I mean. It's not strictly NSFW? But it could still be tough explaining it to a coworker or supervisor that happened to read some of it over your shoulder.

It's kind-of-but-not-really fiction starring the inimitable Grubtor, who you can read about here.

Also it's embarrassingly long.

Warnings made, may I present to you:

Passion in the Maelstrom!

I hadn't been planning on doing LFR that week, but I'd been unlucky with tokens and still needed new pants or a hat for the four-piece bonus, and picking up a Maw of the Dragonlord wouldn't hurt either, so I decided to queue up. It popped in a couple minutes and I accepted the summons, instantly transporting me to the top of Wyrmrest temple.

The aspects and Thrall were standing around in a circle, staring mutely at each other or glancing at myself and my twenty-four compatriots as we tumbled out of thin air. I considered wandering over to Nozdormu to give one of his immortal nipples a friendly tweak, but being the Aspect of Time, he knew my plan before I did and was already growling an icy "I'll shave off your beard if you come an inch closer, dwarf" when I tried to give him a sly glance.

"Hah! You're just afraid I'll flip up your skirt and see how far the tattoos go!"

Did you know that you can hear a Dragon Aspect grinding his teeth in rage from 30 paces?

Without warning, there was a hearty Draenic laugh behind me and I was almost knocked flat on my beard by the impact of a meaty slab of hand. Recovering my balance, I turned around to stare up at the ridiculous gray bulk of a Draenei hunter.

"Ho ho! That was good joke, short bearded friend! You are making him so mad, it is for laughs! Ho ho ho!"

His laughter was deep and booming, and although I didn't know his name, I already felt that he was something special.

"Ho ho ho! It is very well to be meeting you, short bearded friend! I am Grubtor! And this," he said before sticking two cheek-tentacles into his mouth and issuing a sharp whistle, "is my ferocious and faithful war-moth, Tinkles!"

With a plink! a small moth popped into existence by his knee. A little below his knee, actually. It flapped its wings and shivered, surrounding itself with a brief nimbus of iridescent pink dust.

"Do not be afraid, short bearded friend! Tinkles is a highly trained war-moth and will attack only on my command!"

At the word "attack," the moth darted forward - I flinched in spite of myself - and burrowed into my beard, where I could feel it digging around. I was too astonished to so much as splutter. Grubtor frowned. "Tinkles! Cease attack! Cease! Come to Grubtor!"

After a few moments the moth emerged and fluttered lazily back to its position by Grubtor's knee, leaving a trail of sparkling motes behind.

"Are you hurt, short bearded friend!"

I peered at Grubtor.

"No. I ... am not hurt."

"Ho ho ho! It is well! You are hardy as well as bearded! I am sure with allies such as yourself, we will succeed in none time with the killing of dastardly Deathwing!"

I shook my head to clear it rather than try to understand what had just happened, then looked around the platform where the raid was pretty much assembled. At least half of our allies were slack-jawed and empty-eyed, strings of drool trailing from their chins. Gem sockets gaped black and empty everywhere I looked, while the tell-tale shimmer of powerful enchantments was largely absent. As I watched, one human paladin that had been walking in circles slowly sank down into an awkward sitting position, pulled his shield off his back, and began to absent-mindedly gnaw on it. I shuddered and didn't even think about trying to find the other tank. I was better off not knowing.

"Yes, Grubtor. These... are definitely some... stalwart. Um. Companions." I sighed.

Suddenly the Aspects stopped staring about blankly (or in the case of one, glaring at me) and began channeling things into the big floating butterscotch candy otherwise known as the Dragon Soul.

"Ho ho! Grubtor sees the encounter is to be beginning! Munificent!"

The paladin continued to gnaw on his shield, so I went over to nudge him with a foot. "Hey. Hey uh. Paladin. You should probably, you know. Stand up. Tank some things. Some of these purple dragons? Tank them?"

No response.

By then, Alexstrasza and Deathwing had finished being dramatic at each other and some of the purple dragons started to show up. My taunts didn't seem to have the necessary power to bring them down to attack me (my mum had always stressed politeness, and the best of the worst that I could summon was "I bet you're only ok at singing 'happy birthday'!") and many of my stalwart companions seemed to be too noble to taunt anything, so several dragons began to fill up the platform with fire. I started to heal the various people standing in it.

To my astonishment, Grubtor, who had been occupied with the loving, caressing inspection of what appeared to be a lightweight ballista, sprang into sudden action. He stood behind the paladin and fired a crossbow bolt that spiraled into its target and made a rude farting noise. When the dragon whipped its head around, he jumped up and down pointing at the paladin. "Ho ho purple dragon! It was him that fired the taunting arrow, yes!" Enraged, the dragon swooped down upon the paladin, who gazed back at it impassively. Incredulous, I began casting a heal on him.

Grubtor was a blur, darting and running to every which side of the platform, pelting the attackers with bolts more akin to javelins than anything else, his crossbow ratcheting and twanging furiously. Being bitten by a dragon had roused the tank, such as he was, into a modicum of activity. He'd stood up and was attempting to place the shield in between himself and the dragon, while occasionally shouting incoherent gibberish at new dragons as they appeared.

A Death Knight, one of the warriors hand-chosen by Arthas for his prowess in combat, stumbled off the edge of the tower to his second death. I rolled my eyes. After the Lich King's defeat, the former lieutenants of his that found their way into our ranks seemed to be both foul-smelling and imbecilic, leading me to wonder how he'd ever been considered a threat in the first place.

Before too long, Ultraxion fluttered up from below and started declaiming things. I rolled my eyes again. The dragons are undoubtedly the campiest race on the face of Azeroth, and this guy somehow managed to be the campiest. Ultra, honey. You're the fifth boss in the instance. You can be the shadow which blots out the streetlamp, making an alley look scary, ok? The sun is just overreaching.

But I'm wandering.

Grubtor spent most of the hammed-up speech looking bored and occasionally petting Tinkles, but once the start of combat got close he pulled out a vicious, serrated super-bolt of some sort, then turned to me and winked.

"Ho ho, short bearded friend!" He was clearly trying to keep this sotto voce, a skill that I don't think he's ever likely to master. "This one is to make froofy pink dragon bleed!"


Grubtor had cranked the crossbow back as far as it would go and then let fly. The "tank" was covered in twilight dragon blood and began swinging his hammer wildly, flinging globs of the Light every which way. The slim, Night Elf druidess standing next to me buried her face in her palm for a moment - I think I could hear her mutter "just one more piece of tier and I can never come back, come on, one more piece" - then transformed into a dire bear and charged forward growling, wresting Ultraxion's attention away from the mostly-dead Gnome rogue he'd been chewing on, letting the tiny angry man fall to the ground. I gave him a renew.

The encounter went pretty smoothly. Once the paladin had cleared the blood out of his eyes, he managed to somehow taunt whenever the druid was afflicted with fading light. Of course, when he got fading light he just died and got resurrected by one or another Death Knight or Warlock, which I found hilarious.

After it was all over and Ultraxion had gone tumbling to the ground to join the Death Knight from earlier, I snuck a few peeks at everyone's healing epeens and compared them to my own. I felt pretty smug - I'd grabbed the red crystal as soon as it had appeared, then yanked the blue crystal out of the hands of another holy priest, who'd stamped his feet and disappeared from the raid in disgust.

The weird thing about turning from Alex into Kalec is that your hips actually get wider. Strange, huh?

Anyway, then I looked at the epeens of our damage dealers and my eyes widened.

Grubtor's epeen was massive. It was majestic and radiant in its glory. It was bigger than the next six epeens combined. "No wonder that dragon went down on us so quick..." I whispered.

While I was caught in the throes of admiration, a Draenei restoration Shaman clopped up on her fastidiously pedicured hooves (how come I'd never seen the hoof-polish merchant in the Exodar?), batted her eyelashes at Grubtor, and said "oh why hello Mr. Hunter. I'm sorry I'm such a silly shaman, but would you mind telling me where the Skyfire is going to dock for us to board?"

"Grubtor is smart and experienced, of course he can! It is that way!" Time seemed to slow down while Grubtor pointed with his left arm, his right for some reason curling up until he touched his shoulder with a fist. At this point, his shoulderguards, cuirass, gloves, and pants simply burst off of him, unable to contain his magnificent physique. The shaman and I gasped at the same time as he stood revealed in naught but his bracers, boots, and chainmail boxer-briefs.

They actually said J U I C Y across his behind.

"Well well," said the Shaman, "my name is Kandyce. You can call me Kandy for short. Ta!" and she skipped off to the Skyfire, trailing a finger across his chest as she went. I narrowed my eyes at her. I'd seen him first.

For his part, Grubtor seemed oblivious, looking around at the detritus of ruined equipment scattered on the ground. Eventually he shrugged and as I wandered up he boomed at me, "It is good that guild covers repairs, yes! Ho ho!" And off he went to the Skyfire.

Between the relative competence of myself and the other healers, our lovely bear tank, and Grubtor's turgid epeen, the next couple encounters went smoothly and we found ourselves standing on islands in the Maelstrom.

The smells of salt water and the scent of burning decay swirled together in the mist that sprayed over us. The center of the Maelstrom was a glowing red vortex, bubbling and sloshing with the corruption seeping from Deathwing's injured body. As he reared out of the water and clung to the rocks with his twisted, ruined limbs, I had eyes only for Grubtor.

The sheen of moisture on his skin.

The smooth action of his body as he pounded bolt after bolt into Deathwing's claws and tentacles.

The good-natured bellow with which he ordered Tinkles to attack, and the miraculous fact that the moth seemed to obey (although I'm unsure how much damage it could possibly have been doing).

As we advanced through the platforms, I found myself healing Grubtor more and everyone else less. A naughty urge began to bubble up from my unconsciousness, and although I tried to push it back down I eventually gave in. Blushing furiously behind my beard, I sidled up behind Grubtor (J U I C Y indeed) and cast another heal on him - a different one.

He shivered when it hit him, looking over his shoulder (still shooting crossbow bolts! Accurately!) to say "Short bearded friend! Never have I felt such a heal! What was it!"

Blushing harder - perhaps he could even see it through my beard by now? - I hit him with another. "That," I panted, "was a Flash Heal. Usually you'd only use it in an emergency, probably on a tank. Using it on a DPS at full health is," and here my voice grew husky with the illicit, deliciously sinful truth of it, "very mana inefficient."

"Ho ho! I am liking it very much! Yes! I think it helps me damage more damagingly!"

I gave in fully to the moment, letting go and dumping flash heal after flash heal into him, occasionally consuming Serendipity with a greater heal. It was wondrous.

Then we were interrupted by the cold splash of a chain heal in our faces, followed by a riptide landing on Grubtor and cascading down his back. It was... it was that shaman!

"Kandy! Hello! Would you also like to be healing me!"

She laughed, walking towards us with a confident stride. To my surprise, I found myself captivated by her ample, jiggling blue mana bar as it swayed with her hips.

"Well, I can't let you boys have all the fun, can I? Hey Priest - I bet you've never felt this before," and with that she cast earth shield on me. It was so wrong - so very wrong, and yet also so right. She'd spoken the truth: I'd never felt the firm yet gentle caress of an earth shield before. I was suddenly jealous of tanks.

It degenerated from there, as the entire healing team healed Grubtor and his epeen more and more, egged on by his lusty and excited bellows of "Yes, my friends! All of you! All of the healing for Grubtor! I am doing most damages, heal me with your heals!"

The druidess snorted in disgust and teleported to Moonglade. The gnome rogue, seeing the Corruption tentacle turn his way, vanished and used his hearthstone. But Grubtor, glorious Grubtor! He was enough! With a final bolt, the tentacle sunk into the sea and he turned his attention on the wing.

As he began to damage it, his hands a blur, Tinkles dusting the wing furiously, I noticed that Deathwing was watching. His tongue was undulating wildly - lasciviously, ecstatically - in the air and his molten eyes rolled this way and that, always returning to Grubtor. When he spoke, it was in a throaty, grinding growl, the sound of boulders tumbling in a magma flow:

"YES, YES!" he said.


The wrongness of everything that was happening was as pervasive as it was addictive. We continued to heal Grubtor, rivulets of sweat running between his shoulderblades, mixing with healing rains and glowing with the warm golden glow of the Light.

One by one, healers ran out of mana. Kandy and myself were the last and we both let our final heals go at the same straining moment before collapsing to the ground together, blissfully spent. Grubtor still stood, his epeen straining, still somehow growing. "Yes!" he would occasionally shout or "Ho ho!" or "More damages!"

Deathwing growled back at him, writhing in the middle of the Maelstrom, and although everyone else in the raid was dead I did not fear: Grubtor would clearly kill the wing before Cataclysm finished casting.

And then...


Then the Cataclysm castbar suddenly just finished all at once, eradicating all life on Azeroth, even Tinkles, who took 90% reduced area of effect damage.

As our souls drifted in the twisting nether, I heard a distant echo of Deathwing's voice. It said: "OH MY GOD GUYS I AM SO SORRY. THIS IS REALLY EMBARRASSING. THIS NEVER HAPPENS TO ME. UGH. PREMATURE CATACLYSM, THIS IS THE WORST."

And then I found myself on my back below the spirit healer. Even dead, I was still blissfully exhausted, but (literally) not above further crudity.

"Hey Spirit lady, I can see up your toga. Where do you even go to get wa-" and then, with a ringing, ethereal echo of "creep!" in my ears I found myself on my back at the Maelstrom, afflicted with resurrection sickness. Just before the various Aspects faded back into existence.

"Hey Nozdormu," I said, slightly muffled, "I can see up your skirt."

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