Those were the only words the little gnome
could utter before he was flung clear through
the canvas wall of the makeshift tavern. The
force of the blow carried him another twenty
feet before he impacted with the ground and
slid for another five feet. Every inch of
Zooti’s body ached with the impact.
“Ouch,” he crawled to his feet
and dusted off his robes, the dirt ridden
tabard across his chest on the verge of falling
off, the monkey symbol barely identifiable
given the damage to the fabric. He glanced
up and surveyed his surroundings. The entrance
to the tavern was now blocked with the sight
of five angry Tauren and one very ticked off
orc bartender in the lead, each currently
looking for him.
“Show time,” Zooti spoke softly
as his hand dropped into one of his tiny belt
satchels. He rummaged through with the fingers
on his right hand through a variety of metal
objects and spinning gadgets, while with his
left hand he began to move his fingers in
a rehearsed pattern. His mind drifted to the
spell as he channeled the energies around
him into his tiny arm and focused on the Orc
in the lead.
“Peto pisto pecko piggo!” He
called out as the spell leapt from his fingers
and the energy flew towards his target. Smoke
exploded from the orc, each of the tauren
stepping back abruptly in surprise. When the
dust from the explosion cleared, only the
sound of oinking could be heard and the figure
of a plump pig could be seen where the orc
His right hand alighted upon what he was
after. Quickly he wrapped his fingers around
the tiny object and drew it forth, pointing
it at the incoming bulls.
“Alrighty, stand back, I’ve got
a Transmogriphiar giznomatic and I’m
not afraid to use it!” His tiny voice
rose as high as it could go, yet it seemed
drowned out by the various noises the Tauren
themselves were making.
“You idiot,” spoke what was now
the lead Tauren whose eyes never strayed from
Zooti, “that’s an unloaded net
Crap! Zooti thought to himself. So much for
bluffing. Time for plan B.
“You are absolutely right about that,”
he began. “And one would have to be
insane if they thought they could hold off
tauren with a – BLINDO BINKO!”
The last words barely left his lips before
the blink spell kicked in and he was suddenly
teleported directly behind the tauren he had
just been speaking with. “Fresto Fikleflub!”
he cried with a wave of his hands. A wave
of frosted energy flew from his body in a
great circle. The Tauren each suddenly found
their feet incased in blocks of ice.
Without skipping a beat he began to run like
the whole horde was behind him. Rushing around
the side of the inn he let out a piercing
yell. “Mr. Habutu! We ride!”
Near a pack of riding Kodos hitched up on
a small post, the light mechanical whirring
of his faithful mechanostrider could be heard.
The air filled with the sudden backfire of
its startup process. The kodos seemed very
unimpressed with the sound.
As Zooti ran, the familiar smell of Mr. Habutu’s
exhaust ports tinged his nostrils. He let
his blink carry him right up to the mechanized
mount and grabbed on to the lowest strap.
With rehearsed precision he pulled on the
strap and let the spring load fling him upward
onto the back of his little creation. He quickly
grabbed the reigns, his fingers finding the
tiny switches in the reigns themselves that
allowed him to operate the mechanical strider.
“Get him!” came a shout from
the Tauren in charge. The beast was now so
angry the simple nova spell Zooti had used
could no longer contain him.
“Fear the monkey!” came a massive
shout drowning out the five Tauren. Everyone
turned to the entrance of the inn in time
to see a massive albino white tauren standing
there, his muscular arms holding two giant
kegs of ale, with a third keg resting on the
ground next to him. The mighty tauren whirled
around in a circle and used the momentum to
fling the keg in his right arm like a shot
putt hurling it at the five tauren. It impacted
into the head of the lead Tauren and shattered
sending ale and wood shards into the faces
of the others standing near.
“Pazo! No! Stick to the plan!”
Zooti called out, seeing everything going
wrong, yet again.
Pazo whirled again, this time flinging the
keg in his left arm at the two tauren still
standing, it smashing into the snout of one
and hitting the other with debris. Both tauren,
along with the ones hit with the previous
keg, collapsed to the ground clutching at
their faces as the alcohol burned into the
Without skipping a beat, Pazo kicked his
right foot under the remaining keg and bounced
it up to his arms as deftly as if it were
a soccer ball. With a speed that would belie
his size, the massive tauren charged over
the fallen bulls and lunged into the air,
landing squarely on one of the oldest Kodos
tied up at the post.
“Hi Ho Sancho! Away!” And with
that, Pazo kicked with his heals and the kodo,
while still tied up, pulled backward, uprooting
the hitching post, and began to ride south
of the tavern. The remaining three kodos still
tied to the hitching post opted to not fight
the movement and ran with Sancho as quickly
as they could keep up.
With a deep sigh, Zooti shrugged and looked
longingly at the kegs that had been broken
over his adversaries’ heads. He turned
in the direction Pazo had bolted off in and
kicked Mr. Habutu into gear chasing after
The campfire was nice and warm. Whatever
his annoyance with Pazo, Zooti had to admit
the tauren could build a fire, and the boy
could cook. He took another bite out of his
“Naga Nibbler,” a collection of
herbs and spices rolled into a peacebloom
leaf and served tempura style. The little
gnome was hardly a vegetarian, but these were
just so tasty.
“So,” Zooti began, his eyes fixed
on Pazo who was cheerfully humming to himself
as he rolled his own food in the tempura batter.
“Today we got lucky and got a whole
third of what we had set out for. Pazo, how
many times do I have to tell you, the cargo
is not a weapon?”
“Hee hee. Zooti make with funnies but
Pazo make with save of the ings,” the
deep voice of the tauren was often a massive
headache for anyone he spoke to. Zooti was
always amazed at how none of Pazo’s
words ever slurred, they were just horribly
misused. He did have a slightly southern accent,
but it was hardly enough to mingle translations.
“I appreciate you saving me, but next
time remember that I can take care of myself.”
Pazo leaned forward and poked Zooti’s
tabard with a thick finger, pointing out the
nearly fully decimated monkey logo on it.
“Hee hee. Pazo notice with grins that
Zooti make with tabard of messy doom.”
He then pointed at his own tabard, a nearly
flawless match of Zooti’s, with the
exception that it looked almost brand new.
“One keg good. Three keg better. Good
mean live. Better mean dead.”
Zooti shrugged. Pazo had come a long way
from the relentless killing machine he had
been when the two of them had first met in
the dungeons of Ironforge. The poor creature
was chained to a wall with no recollection
of why he was there or what he had done. He
only thought that whatever it was was bad
enough to be there and so he was willing to
take the punishment. Zooti knew full well
that Bronzebeard had nearly an entire army
of bounty hunters after his companion, and
after himself as well.
But that was in the past. The poor tauren
was now a humble barkeep knees deep in his
sister’s smuggling operation. His memory
of the Eastern Kingdoms and of Ironforge had
been cleansed from his mind. He was now free
of his burden, and lived life in a state of
joy that only a shattered mind could bring.
Zooti, on the other hand, was always in this
tauren’s debt, whether Pazo saw it this
way or not. Normally the gnome was not big
on debts or paying them off, but the kindness
that this tauren has shown him time and again
was enough to keep him around. No one else
would have him anyway.
“So, lets see what we got.” Zooti
strolled over to the keg, it was sitting on
the ground next to Sancho and the other three
kodos that seemed to be enjoying their new
friend. The beasts were massive next to Zooti,
their musky odor almost overpowering. Sancho
in particular loved to simply stand there
and drool, secreting odor that could slay
a dragon. Like Pazo, the creature was content
with simply being.
His hand reached out to the keg and brushed
off the dust covering the label. Dwarven runes
chiseled into a piece of sheet metal slapped
on the cover of this barrel gave it what few
identifying marks could be seen. “Barleyblast
Lager,” he read. “Huh, never heard
of Barleyblast. But its Dwarven so it should
make that orcish crap you have been serving
lately taste like Ogre bile.”
“Pazo now call Allyhead Ale!”
The tauren cheered as he stepped up behind
Zooti and patted the keg.
“Nice name Pazo, but it’s a lager.
There might be some that know the difference.”
Pazo just stared at Zooti with vacant red
“Or you could name it Allyhead Ale
and to hell with the consequences.”
“Woot and joy!” the tauren grinned
from ear to ear and started doing his “happy
dance,” a series of movements that could
be lethal to non-attentive short people such
as Zooti. The gnome backed away very quickly
as the Tauren flung his feet around in the
dance, far more grace allotted to the warrior
than one would normally give such a simpleton
“Get some rest big guy, got a long
day ahead of us tomorrow.”
The barrens always felt so dry and hot. Harsh
winds blew across the fields of tall brown
grass and sparse plantlife. He always hated
it. Zooti had grown up in the belly of the
mountains of Dun Morough. There the chillwind
was a comfort that he sorely missed next to
this arid wasteland.
Mr. Habutu was running low on coolant again.
The machine gears seemed to pump out more
heat than even the air around him could produce.
If the cogs continued to heat up he might
have to shut down his strider, disassemble
it, and ride one of those horrible kodos.
“Zooti?” Pazo asked from the
back of Sancho who he rode along side the
“What’s up Pazo?”
“Why steal keg?”
“Because we can’t afford to buy
more at this point. Your sister hasn’t
gotten back with our latest shipment yet and
you are trying to run a tavern in the middle
“Why steal keg from tauren?”
“The keg wasn’t theirs. None
of the kegs were theirs. They had stolen it
themselves from a Steamwheedle shipment out
“Wheedleheads hunt Pazo and Zooti?”
“No. The goblins couldn’t care
about us at the moment as long as they don’t
catch on to what we are doing with the DMB.
Your sister is a clever one. Got Steamwheedle
to think we were a legitimate trade guild
sponsored by both Horde and Alliance. Now
if only we had the ships to back it up we
could really be in business.”
“Pazo like bar.”
“Yes Pazo, I know.” Zooti always
had this problem with Pazo. A twinge of guilt
for using the tauren to hijack or steal anything.
He was a good and proud bull, and one whose
shattered mind left him wanting only the very
basic of necessities. But those of us in the
real world need to live somehow, he would
always justify to himself. The justifying
was becoming a full time job.
But who else was going to do this? Taurog,
Pazo’s elder brother, had founded a
tavern out in the middle of the Barrens in
an effort to escape the world he had come
to dread. He crawled into a bottle, pipe near
at hand, and never came back out. The self-proclaimed
Innkeeper was little more than a founder.
Leza, Pazo’s ambitious little sister,
was currently in the Eastern Kingdoms picking
up merchandise in an effort to keep the tavern
in business. With the chokehold the Steamwheedle
Cartel had over overseas trade, it was almost
impossible to acquire goods from over there.
Leza was always one to fight the system though.
Her brothers were not really surprised when
she decided to start the Drunken Monkey Brewery
to be a cover for a smuggling operation she
was trying to construct. They knew she was
never happy with a “quiet” life
that they were after. In Zooti’s opinion,
she was the best chance Taurog and Pazo had
at keeping their pub open. Well, her and her
allies that is.
“Homie homie home home home,”
chanted Pazo. Zooti looked up, pulling his
mind back from his deep thoughts. There, sure
enough, was the ever-familiar mountain jutting
out in the middle of the plains. Along one
side of the mountain was a sheer rockface.
Cliffs were almost unheard of in the Barrens,
the land being shaped with very round features.
This however was a flat dropoff almost as
if some giant had taken an axe to the mountain.
And there, at the base of the cliff, was
the Tavern of the Drunken Monkey. A single
totem pole, ten feet in diameter, rose out
from the center of the tauren style canvas
like a single mast. The tip of what was once
a mighty tree bore the rudimentary carving
of a monkey face, the same symbol that could
barely be seen on Zooti’s tabard. The
inn seemed to almost emerge from the cliff
itself, with its canvas walls extending out
in tent form a good sixty feet.
A single entrance in the front could be seen,
its opening very dark in contrast to the bright
savannah of the Barrens. Near the entrance
was a hitching post with a variety of animals
tied off at the post. Pazo quickly rode Sancho
and the other kodos up to the post. Each of
the kodos, except Sancho, were rather reluctant
to be tied up next to the two raptors, dire
wolf, and nightsaber all tied up to the post
and drooling at the new herbivores.
Zooti on the other hand had no problem parking
Mr. Habutu near the post, but not within biting
reach. He personally was less than a mouthful
for most of those carnivorous mounts, and
though he had fought in battle alongside some
of them and their riders, he still did not
trust their animal instincts driven by the
added annoyance of such mid day heat.
He walked over to where Pazo was removing
the keg from Sancho and hoisting it over his
shoulder. The two turned and took a step through
the canvas door of the tavern.
The interior was a black abyss compared to
the daylight from a moment ago. The heated
smell of various dried, spilled alcohol, mixers,
spoiled fruit, vomit, and a plethora of other
odors was like a brick to the face. Tables
were strewn about the tavern, with the giant
totem set up in the center, hollowed out and
built to be a circular bar from which Pazo
would nightly serve various drinks to customers.
Carved into the cliff face was a stage, dark
and unlit at the moment. To the left of the
stage was an empty cage, crafted for dancers
of roughly human size. To the right of the
stage was a large bolted crafted of rich metals
and jewels, standing in front of which was
a dwarf that Zooti to this day could not remember
ever having moved from his post. Adjacent
to that was a series of booths set up for
a variety of services one could not normally
acquire in the deep desert like this.
“What took you two so long?”
came a raspy voice from the shadows. A figure
stumbled into the light, its flesh barely
clinging to its bone, the jaw horribly dislocated
and no tongue to be seen in the maw of the
undead human. “I thought we had a business
here. Waiting on both the bartender and the
booze is hardly a business.”
Zooti was always thrown by how thick Tehd’s
accent could be. Tehd Shumaker was what was
known as a Forsaken, the “reformed”
undead legions of the Scourge that failed
to wipe out humanity a few years ago. Tehd
however, was far from what could be referred
to as a “good guy.”
“We ran into complications,”
“Hush,” Tehd replied abruptly.
“I don’t like hearing from my
food. Now Pazo, what happened?”
The large minotaur chuckled. “Tehdface
most with funny. How speak without tongue?”
“Pazo, focus.” Tehd responded
in a reserved fashion. He had apparently grown
used to Pazo’s pokes and prods.
“The shipment was stolen before we
could get to it, so we tracked it to the new
band of thieves that had it and swiped it
from them.” Zooti was annoyed at Tehd’s
constant threats to eat him. For all his talk,
Zooti knew that the undead warlock was far
from that malicious, plus he would loose out
on the vast amounts of money Zooti brought
in with his talents.
“Well, whatever,” Tehd responded,
obviously put out by being dismissed so easily.
“While you were away we got word from
Leza, sort of.”
Pazo’s ears picked up. “Leza?”
“Yes, that halfwit sister of yours.
She got word to us that one of the deals she
was working went south and she has had to
run to ground.”
“If she ran aground, how did she get
a message to you so quickly?” Zooti
asked. If Leza really was on the other continent
and hiding, the time it would take any form
of communication to reach them would be measured
“Let’s just say a little bird
told me,” Tehd scoffed back. His eyes
had long ago rotted away and his undeath state
had replaced them with two glowing yellow
orbs which now conveyed more annoyance with
Zooti than any living eyes could.
A green winged macaw with bright, well kept
feathers, flew up on Tehd’s shoulder
at that point and looked at Pazo and Zooti.
“Wraak,” it squacked. “Leza’s
in trouble, wraak!”
“Mr. Sneed!” Pazo cheered. “Most
with back and grins!” Pazo lunged a
Tehd’s shoulder and grabbed the bird
with both of his massive tauren hands. The
macaw attempted to struggle but it was obvious
Pazo was more adept at clinging to the bird.
“He flew all the way from the Eastern
Kingdoms?” Zooti asked. He knew Mr.
Sneed was no ordinary bird, but that seemed
far-fetched even for the twisted nature of
this particular macaw.
“So he says. I suspect he hopped a
boat or something that was inbound for here.
For a macaw, the thing is pretty cocky. Hee
hee.” Tehd’s chuckled was painful
sometimes. The undead creature found a lot
of humor in his little puns that made most
“Ormnos!” Tehd called out, clapping
his hands together. From behind the bar came
the deep blue, gaseous, jinn like voidwalker
that was Ormnos. Rising six feet high, the
creature was almost entirely upper torso muscle,
no facial features save only two glowing eyes,
and a lower torso composed completely of a
gaseous plume on the ground. He was naked
save only the shackles he wore upon each wrist
that bore runes of binding upon them.
The voidwalker stepped up to Tehd’s
“Take the keg in back and get it ready
for this evening,” the forsaken warlock
commanded. Zooti was always disturbed at the
non-chalante attitude Tehd would take to his
demonic servants. “We have a lot of
business coming in tonight. Hukari says his
little scrying powers were telling him that
a caravan is moving through this part of the
Barrens and should be here tonight.”
“What about Leza?” Pazo asked,
“We’ll get details tomorrow Pazo,”
Zooti responded. “And then I can probably
dig up one of my old runes and pop open a
portal for us to the Eastern Kingdoms. It’s
a difficult spell, but it might be worth it.”
Pazo grinned reluctantly. He was an impulsive
creature. If his sister was in trouble he
was the type who would storm the gates of
Ironforge alone in a heartbeat before confirming
where in the place she was. But Zooti was
more cautious and smelled a trap. Tomorrow
would be better, and they may need some help
from the other employees of the tavern. For
a bar located in a wasteland, their tavern
had some of the most dangerous and hunted
individuals on the continent either working
for them or doing business there every night.
And most of them owed a hefty bar tab to the
Stonehoof family. If Leza was in trouble,
they had the means to get her out.
[Part Two], [Top]