Friday, 2 July 2010


This story was inspired by Anna's Friday Five Hundred: Midsummer Sun post from last week, where she asked us to write a ficlet for this prompt:
A record-breaking heat wave hits Azeroth just in time for Midsummer.
My lil fic-snippet features my shaman, Balindah, just after she arrives in town after being out questing. I've also tried to describe how the citizens of Orgrimmar might deal with a heatwave just as the fire festival is in full swing.  I hope you like it.


The air in the Valley of Strength barely stirred in the late afternoon heat. The sun now only touched the tops of the rock walls of the valley, but the heat of the whole day radiated up from the stone streets and the city remained a baking dust-bowl.

Balindah grunted as she laboured up the hill towards the Drag, and wiped the sweat out of her eyes. She had long since given up recasting a cooling water shield, as the energy required to hold the water globules together and prevent evaporation just tired her out more than she already was.

The Drag was becoming crowded with Orgrimmers, venturing out in the cooling evening air. Lazy peons still slumbered under the branches of the huge tree in the area, and an enterprising goblin had set up a stall selling sliced watermelon, and also had a small captured ice elemental making cold moonberry juice for a queue of thirsty citizens.

As Balindah approached the entrance of the Valley of Wisdom she could feel the heat radiating around the corner. It seemed they had kept up with tradition after all - a massive bonfire burned just outside the Drag's entrance. Nothing could get in the way of Orcs when tradition was involved, even the hottest summer in Orcish memory.

Rather than keeping people away, the bonfire had drawn a huge crowd of people, honouring the flame and joining in the festivities. A huge tent had been set up to one side, with a stall containing all manner of festival clothing and paraphernalia. A ribbon pole stood in the centre of the action, with several laughing children and a few braver adults spinning around the magical flames at its base.

As Balindah took a step into the valley to try to pick her way through the crowd, she was nearly knocked over by an Orc crashing into her from her left.

"Oh! Oh no!" he cried as he stumbled, and a flaming torch came crashing down a few inches from his outstretched hand. The torch broke apart, sending flaming fragments in all directions, and one landed on the Orc's shirt and set it alight. A scowling Shaman chucked a Riptide over him from behind with a splash, and the now damp Orc got to his feet and shuffled away, sheepishly. Balindah rubbed her bruised shoulder, shook her head in irritation and continued up the hill towards Grommash Hold.

The crowd ebbed and flowed to and from the side of the bonfire. There were people trying their luck with tossing torches into braziers on one side. On the other side of the road, in an out-of-the-way corner, a short blood elf woman was practising juggling torches. The torches were not lit, but she was flinging them up so fast that they were barely visible and catching them again just as quickly. Every so often she would stop, look quickly at a timepiece on a chain attached to her shirt, and curse violently.

Balindah nodded a greeting as she passed the nervous-looking Kor'kron guards at the front of Grommash Hold, and headed inside to find the Shaman trainers.

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