A Day At The Races, Part III. WoW Fan-Fiction
Despite my title, I don’t have much to do with the races anymore. There are too many people that make a fortune on the outcome for anyone who interferes to have a lifespan measured in years. The MRIOC to name one.
But I’m still expected to perform ceremonial tasks.
I watched myself walking in front of the bleachers on the massive liquid crystal ball display set up for the fans, listening to the drone from the commentators’ booth.
Goooood afternoon, race fans! For all those joining us at home as well as you folks who managed to make it out here, I’m your announcer Fobeed. And, as always, with me is my co-announcer and blood brother, Zuzubee. We’re coming to you live via the patented magic of the good people of Home Broadcasting Oracles to keep you up to date on all the thrills, chills, and spills taking place here at the Azeroth-renowned Mirage Raceway!
We’ll be sending you images as events progress thanks to our newly installed oracular Eye-Pod system, with totems at key points along the track!
One thing I’ve learned about two-headed ogres: They don’t have to stop for breath.
And here’s the dwarf of the hour: Race Master Kronkrider! With the aid of the always delectable flag girl Daisy, he’ll be starting us off on the 379th preliminary bout between Team Goblin and Team Gnome. At the end of the month, we’ll tally the race results to see which team’s machine reigns supreme! At least until next month.
Daisy was stripped down to a tight silk two-piece in garish yellow and blood red, waving at the crowd and flashing her winning smile. Owing to previous starting-line accidents, she was positioned behind the racers.
And Race Master Kronkrider stepping to his customary place on the sideline, waiting for the ready sign from Team Goblin. With a record two years in the saddle, Nazz Steamboil’s easily the longest surviving driver Team Goblin’s ever had. Their new racer this month is called the Red Thunder, for obvious reasons. It’s an unorthodox design: two conical engines extending forward of the driver’s pod on tethers. One can only imagine how it’ll perform, Zuzubee.
Being mute, Zuzubee stayed silent. But Fobeed talked enough for both of them. I turned to get the nod from Team Gnome.
And the much loved Sizzle Brassbolt, youngest of the Brassbolt brothers, is ready and goggles down in the Mock 4. By the roar of the crowd, I’d say it’s soon to be called the Mock 5, wouldn’t you agree, Zuzubee?
Silence, wonderful silence. I gave the thumbs up to Daisy. She produced the crystallized eye of a saltstone gazer—from where, I wasn’t sure—and flung it in the air. One flintlock was in hand in a flash, the bullet sent on a plume of fire to shatter the eye. The imprisoned magics inherent in the gazer’s murderous stare detonated in a shuddering, multicolored boom that washed over the crowd, much to their delight.
And they’re off! Or one of them. It seems Team Goblin’s come across a bit of trouble at the starting line, Zuzubee.
I ran for the Red Thunder, which was currently under assault by a hail of booing, ice cream cones, toys, and souvenir racing chickens. Zamek, Razzeric, and Pozzik were clustered around the engines, the goblin tinkers shouting at one another.
“What’s wrong?” I yelled, shielding myself from an incoming wooden carving of the Mock 4.
“It’s his fault!” Pozzik shouted.
“No, it’s your fault!” Zamek shouted back.
I grabbed the goblins by the backs of their scrawny green necks and clonked their heads together. “It’ll be both your faults in a minute if you don’t tell me what’s wrong!”
Pozzik’s head lolled. Zamek’s eyes crossed and he dropped as if pole-axed. Razzeric, trembling, held up a hand.
“We, um, we need matches for the touch papers, Mr. Race Master, sir.”
“See, the engines have to be lit before they’ll go,” Razzeric said, pointing to a fuse wrapped in red paper set at the back of each rocket.
“They’re fireworks?” I shrieked. Razzeric began burrowing in the sand to hide. “Nevermind.” I pulled him around to face me and held up a flintlock. “You know how to use one of these?”
Razzeric craned his scrawny neck to look down the barrel. “Just pull the trigger, right?”
I snapped away the loaded one in favor of the empty twin, cocked back the hammer, and pulled the trigger. Razzeric’s face lit up at the shower of sparks from the flint.
“Get it?” I said.
“Yeah, yeah,” he said, nodding excitedly. “I got it!”
“Good,” I said, and bundled him off to the far engine. “On three.”
I put my flintlock barrel-down against the touch paper, covered my face with one arm, and started the long count, wondering why I bothered trying.
There was a dull report, a brief but intense hiss, and then the world reared back and planted its boot squarely in my arse. I understood what Tirth’s chickens felt like—the weightlessness and wind whistling through my beard.
I was flying.
My gut started to roil, twisting itself into knots when the sand came rushing back into view, and I knew this would not be a soft landing.
And I knew no more.
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