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Warcraft Short Story: "The Goblin Way"

Warcraft Short Story: "The Goblin Way"

Monte Gazlowe, Trade Prince of the Bilgewater Cartel, has been probing working conditions among the goblins, touring factories, mines, and other operations. The process has been slowly eating away at him: Everywhere he tours, he sees a burned-out workforce, cheap machinery, and unhealthy working conditions that consistently drag production and denigrate their people. Worse yet, every boss has the same opinion: “This is the goblin way! Dog eat dog! Only the winner comes out on top!” But is this really the goblin way, or is it just the way Jastor Gallywix wanted them looking?

Monte Gazlowe sighed, looking out over a vast mining operation from his spot on a platform above the mine’s South District floor. This was his fifth “fact-finding” tour of the week, and it seemed like he’d been going nonstop for months, taking stock of less-than-desirable working conditions among the goblins. This one was easily among the worst, though Marin Noggenfogger—Gazlowe’s host and guide—acted like everything was aboveboard.

Noggenfogger waved for Gazlowe’s attention, looking out of place in a miraculously unsullied all-white suit that practically gleamed amid the smoky air and rancid, dripping space. It was clear he’d recently taken over this operation. “Over here!” he called. Then he turned to one of his bodyguards for help. “Is the two-shift working the . . . uh . . .”

“Longwall shearer?” Gazlowe offered.

Noggenfogger grinned. “Yeah, what you said. The Rockchomper Three Thousand. Beyootiful piece of machinery, eh?” He beamed more broadly as he gestured down into the enormous mine at a steam-powered behemoth. Its fearsome metal teeth ground relentlessly into the bedrock to get at the vein of iron ore that was the lifeblood of this operation.

“You gotta lean over the railing a little to really get a good look, unless you wanna go down and see it up close,” Noggenfogger added, beckoning Gazlowe to the platform.

Gazlowe stepped closer to the railing, waving off his orc bodyguard, Vak’kan. Unlike some goblins—including Noggenfogger, it seemed—Gazlowe had no fear of heights.

As the shearer brought ground ore to the surface, Gazlowe leaned against the railing to watch workers—mostly goblins and some orcs—operate walking mechs with steam shovels, which loaded ore into mine carts, which would take it to a processing plant. A number of workers had bandages wrapped around their limbs, likely because of the discarded machine parts cluttering the footpaths, and a few let out fits of wet, throaty coughs while clamping soiled rags over their mouths.

Noggenfogger gave Gazlowe a fidgety smile, nodding as if to say, “Nice, eh?”

Gazlowe peered back down—and then a section of the railing detached from its mooring with a screech and swung out, leaving nothing but space between Gazlowe and a deadly fall.

He teetered for a moment before regaining his balance—with the help of Vak’kan, who shot out a beefy hand to grab his collar and haul him swiftly backward.

Gazlowe whipped a glare at Noggenfogger, his pointed ears rigid. Had this been

Noggenfogger’s aim? To stage some sort of accident? As newly installed head of the

Bilgewater Cartel and de facto representative of his race to the Horde, Gazlowe was aware he had enemies. But he honestly hadn’t thought an attempt on his life would come this soon, let alone be this ham-fisted!

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    Queen Regent Moira Thaurissan is exhausted. Her son, Dagran II, is rapidly coming of age and stands to inherit leadership of both the Dark Iron and Bronzebeard Clans. But Dagran is bookish and odd: He would easily choose the company of his library over leadership. Can Moira inspire her son to take up his birthright, or will her fears for his future—and the future of the clans—prove true?

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