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We’re in the town of Lakeshire in the Redridge mountains. Boss has skipped talking to the useless guards, lackeys, and officials around town and gone straight for the top. We’re going to talk to the magistrate and see what this town really needs.

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There are a lot of people in line, waiting to see him and complain about the gnolls that are killing and pillaging their farms. This is not to imply that there is a single farm anywhere in the Redridge mountains. But wherever these idiots and their imaginary farms come from, they are pissed off and want to talk to Magistrate Soloman. The wait would take hours.

Norman solves this by just cutting in line and demanding to know what needs done.

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Magistrate Soloman peers at us through his monocle, “More of our citizens go missing every day. We think the gnolls are responsible, but we have no idea where they are taking them! If you are to help us defeat the gnolls and find our people, you must be properly equipped. Unfortunately, we are all out of gnomecorders. Without a gnomecorder, there is no way for us to communicate with you when you are in the field.

Norman shrugs, “A gnomecorder is some sort of device for talking to people from far away, I take it?”

Actually, a gnomecorder is a two-way wireless video communications device. That never needs to be recharged. And can apparently survive being submerged by murlocs for extended periods of time. It also dispenses coins when you complete quests.

It’s AMAZING what they can do with steam power these days.

Norman tries to get a grip on this idea, “So you want me to hike out and fight dozens of murlocs so that I can get some contraption for letting me talk to you remotely?”

“Yes! It’s VERY advanced.”

“But why would I need that, I’m right here? Just give me the quest.”

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“That’s what I’m doing. Go get a gnomecorder!”

“But I don’t need a gnomecorder to get a quest.”

“Yes, you do. You need one so that I can talk to you in the field.”

“But I’m not IN the field.”

“You will be once you go out to get the gnomecorder!”

“I really can’t believe you’re the mayor,” Norman sighs. “Listen, I want you to concentrate. After I get this thingy, you’re going to give me another quest, right? You said something about gnolls? You want some dead, right?”

“Of course!” he says. “Wouldn’t be much point in sending you after a gnomecorder otherwise.”

“Here is what I want you to do … I want you to give me that quest before I go get the gnomecorder.”

“But …” the mayor looks down at the silent gnomecorder in his hand. “You won’t be able to hear me.”

“I think I see the problem, here. The problem is that you need to be kicked in the nuts.”

“I don’t undersOOFF!”

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Norman and I withdraw from town at a sprint. He’s just assaulted the mayor, which may or may not be illegal and we don’t want to find out the hard way.

“Well,” Norman pants as we get to the edge of town. Nobody seems to be chasing us. “I guess we won’t be going back there anytime soon.”

“So is that it? We’re out of people to help now?” I ask hopefully.

“No, there’s still one place left to try.”

We head back to Stormwind where Norman does a little shopping. Not wanting to be recognized as the guy who assaulted the mayor of Redridge, he picks out a new outfit that will hopefully hide his face.

“How do I look?” he asks me.

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“Truly, you are the belle of the ball. So where are we headed?”

“We’re headed to the last place left in the kingdom of Stormwind. The last bastion of human power in the Eastern Kingdoms. The last place anyone would go to look for someone suspected of assaulting the testicles of the mayor,” Norman says firmly. “We’re going to Darkshire.”

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One of my favorite zones in the game, actually. It makes a nice contrast to the more storybook parts of the game. Elwynn Forest and Westfall are Dr. Seuss. Darkshire is Edgar Allen Poe. (While on opium.)

The following quest and NPC dialog is lifted right from the game. All I added was Norman’s response.

Norman looks around town for work. Most people don’t seem interested in talking to him. Considering how things have gone in the past, he avoids the city leaders and members of the watch.

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We finally track down a fellow named Tobias Mistmantle, who needs help locating his brother. He pleads with us, “I’m here because I received a letter from my brother Stalvan, who I haven’t seen in years. On arriving here, I was told he was dead. The entire town refuses to offer any further explanation. Any mention of his name is met with terror and suspicion. As if I didn’t have enough of that myself! “

So we head to the Darkshire Town Hall, which is easy to find. We just head into the town square and look for the fanciest, most well-kept dilapidated shanty. Inside we find Clerk Daltry, and Norman asks about the missing man.

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Clerk Daltry seems nervous, “You want to know about Stalvan? You’re not the first, you know. We get outsiders coming through asking about him every so often. Always outsiders. Everyone who lives here knows better. You’re out of luck, anyway. I’m missing half the archives. Feral worgen broke into the town hall not a few nights ago and tore the place to shreds.”

“Well, sorry about your archives. Just give me the short version, then. What happened to this guy’s brother?”

“The documents you’ll want are probably strewn all across Brightwood Grove by now, deep in the woods to the west. Not worth it if you ask me.”

“Yeah. Probably not. But you said that ‘everyone here knows better,’ which suggests that everyone here knows what happened to him. So what’s the story? Is he dead? Locked away? Run off and got married to a gnoll? I’m not here to judge. In fact, I don’t even give a rat’s ass. Just give me something to tell his next-of-kin.”

“I’m sorry I can’t help you more.”

“You don’t understand,” Norman says in a near whisper. “I’m trying to help your town. All I need is a simple answer from you.”

A simple answer is not forthcoming. “Fine!” says Norman, “We’ll see about this!”

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We go out to Brightwood Grove and Norman unleashes a fury on everything that moves. We begin killing worgen dog-men, and we don’t stop until we have a roaring bonfire of burning fur. Eventually Norman finds a slashed bundle of letters. He grabs them and drags them back to the Clerk.

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“By the light … you actually went and got it? I’m shocked,” the clerk says. “I suppose I owe you thanks for returning it to the archives.”

“No, you don’t owe me thanks. You owe me an answer to the simple question I asked you before a dozen worgen gnawed on my new clothes. Where. Is. That. Guy’s. Brother. Question. Mark.”

“If you’re that serious about this, I’ll help you,” the man says nervously.

Norman looks at him wild-eyed, “You have no idea how serious I am about this. But I’ll tell you. I’ve killed hundreds of creatures in the last few weeks, trying to help the people of Stormwind. But they have thwarted me at every turn. But not this time. I’m going to find this guy, and I don’t care how much of a stupid unhelpful asshole you are, I’m going to get the answers I need. When I go home after all this, I want to be able to say that I managed to help at least one person.”

“There’s only a few places that those horrible Nightbane beasts gather when they’re not prowling the forest. One of them’s the Rotting Orchard to the south. They use the buildings there as their dens, so if they haven’t just eaten the other documents, you might find one there … but you’ll have to search their lairs thoroughly, I wager.”

Norman doesn’t ask why he’s getting more documents. He doesn’t ask why this idiot knows exactly where the wild animals have taken the city documents. He doesn’t ask why or how worgen stole all these stacks of paperwork from the town hall. He just marches out the door and takes us straight to the Rotting Orchard.

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“So … ‘Rotting Orchard’,” I say. “Sounds like an odd thing to name your orchard. Did they name it that when it was planted, or did they take the time to re-name it later?”

“Less talking, more setting things on fire,” he snaps.

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I am only too happy to oblige. We roast a few more man-mutts and Norman finds a torn journal page inside of haystack at the back of a filthy, disused barn.

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We return the scraps to the Clerk in town, who is overcome with a profound lack of gratitude.

“This was all you found? That’s bad news, I’m afraid …” he tells us.

“Yes. I’m sure it’s filled with terrible dark secrets or whatever. I don’t care. Brother. Location. Now.”

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“You should let it go, friend.”

“You should just answer the question. Look, make something up. It’s not like there’s a shortage of ways to die here in Darkshire. I could tell his brother he was killed by worgen. Devoured by spiders. Clawed by wolves. Slain by ghosts. Just pick something.”

“The only place left to look is Roland’s Doom. That’s the mine south of town, and the largest lair of worgen in Duskwood. Nobody in Darkshire has ever made it back from that place alive. In fact, some of the records I have here imply that’s where the monsters first came from… who knows what evil’s lurking in there?”

“I guess we’ll find out,” Norman says threateningly. He’s breathing hard, and his eye seems to be twitching. He keeps clenching and opening his hands. “I’m going to help someone. One person. That’s all I ask. I think I’ve earned it. I’m going to help him, and you’re going to help me, help him. The sooner you answer the question, the sooner I stop bothering you.”

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We go to Roland’s Doom. We kill a bunch of stuff. Then Norman goes right into the mine and butchers his way to the very end. There, in the last chamber, he finds some muddy journal pages.

“You actually went and got it?!”, the clerk says in wonder. “I don’t know whether to call you brave or insane. But once again, my archives thank you.”

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“You have the worst filing system in the world,” Norman says as he pulls some worgen fur out of the new tears in his robe.

“You’ve recovered everything. Everything except the last page…”

“GAH!” Norman screams.

“… which I’ve got right here,” the clerk adds quickly. “Don’t look at me like that. You’ll understand when you read it. Some even say it’s cursed, you know. In fact, I was relieved when the worgen broke in and made off with these! Take it. Take all of it, in fact. I thank you for recovering my archives, but I don’t want anything to do with this ever again. Please, just leave me be.” He hands Norman a book containing the story of Stalvan.

You can read the whole thing here. It’s a bit long. The short version is: Stalvan was an old guy. Got a crush on a young woman. Got jilted. Killed some people. Died.

“This?” Norman says, leafing through the book, “THIS bullshit is the big secret you couldn’t tell me? An old murder case? You sent me to fight an army of feral wolf-men to get you a bunch of records you didn’t need, to avoid telling me something slightly unpleasant? You think Stalvan was bad? I’ve killed more people than him just today. I killed a dozen or so hobos in Westfall just this afternoon.” Norman stops for a moment. He’s panting, red-faced, and spitting as he rages on, “How did you think this was going to end? Did you think I’d turn in the last page of your archives, find out you screwed me, and then wander off?”

The clerk looks terrified now, but at least he’s stopped asking us to look for papers.

Norman continues, “Think about this: You were so afraid of the worgen. You thought they were so badass. Well I killed them. Alone. I’m more dangerous than all of them combined, and I’m pissed off. At you. At your filing system. At the people you work for. At your whole stupid town. And now think about this: I’m going to get my revenge on …”

Suddenly he stops. He suddenly realizes what he’s saying and doing. Norman looks down at me in horror. Then he runs out of the room, crying.

“Easy there, boss,” I tell him. It’s a half hour later and we’re sitting in the graveyard just outside of town. “Getting rid of that last little shred of hope is always the hardest part. You’re better off now.”

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“But that’s it. There’s nobody left to help. Nobody that isn’t going to sabotage my efforts to help them. Nobody that deserves help. I’m a failure. Just like mother said,” he trails off and starts blubbering again.

“But she was wrong. You’re good at one thing. You’re good at killing.”

“That doesn’t help. Who cares if I’m good at killing?”

“It’s a good skill to have if you decide to turn evil.”

“It’s no good,” he blubbers. “I don’t know how to be evil.”

“Norman, you don’t understand. The power to be evil has been inside of you all along.”

He wipes his nose on the back of his sleeve, “Really?”

“You can do it! You just have to believe in yourself.”

“I don’t know,” he sniffs. “Where would I start?”

“Look inside your heart. You know where to begin.”

His face clears. A sense of understanding overcomes him, and he looks out towards the town as if seeing clearly for the first time, “Yes. I see now! I should kill all of these stupid assholes that have gotten in my way!”

“You’re doing it! I knew you had it in you!” I cheer.

He looks wide-eyed at the town and the surrounding countryside, “It’s not even my fault, really. They brought this on themselves. All of them. They deserve to burn.” He pauses for a few moments, “Oh, but what about mother? When she finds out …”

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“Steady, boss. Yes, she’s gonna be mad. She will certainly try to stop you. Might even try to kill you. But for once, she’s going to have to respect you.”

Norman looks down at me, “I guess this is it, then? Now that I’ve turned evil you’ll be leaving?”

“Don’t be ridiculous. I wouldn’t miss this for anything. Look, a deal is a deal. I’m all yours, for the rest of your life.”

“Great.”

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“Of course, after that, you’re all mine. A deal’s a deal, remember?”

“Yeah,” he says nervously. “Well, I guess we’d better make this count.”

“Sure. And it won’t be so bad. When we get to the infernal realms I’ll take you to a nice spot where I like to go skiing.”

“Let’s do this!” Norman says.

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Norman Lightbringer changed his name to “Blightbringer” and founded the cult called “Avenging Legion of Vengeance Cult”. They built a lair and ran attacks against the regions surrounding Stormwind. Their long-term goal is to become enough of a menace that their hideout will become a 5-man raid.

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Lady Lightbringer heard about her son’s treachery and is currently seeking random adventurers to hunt him down.

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Gobstab the demon was awarded Employee of the Month for Norman’s quick and decisive turn to evil, and was eventually promoted to regional manager for Demonic Outreach in Azeroth. He’s now running a series of seminars, “How to make evil sell itself.”

The End

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