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- --by Cogitatus
Subtitle: How my horse was named Vertigo
Notes from the author:
Date: The file on my computer in which this story is saved is dated September 29, 2005 as the date of last modification. It was originally posted on the Earthen Ring Realm Forum of forums.worldofwarcraft.com. It is an account of an in-game roleplay conducted the afternoon prior to the Earthen Ring Realm post. Some details are incorrect due to the fact that I couldn't remember everything in detail at the time I originally wrote the file, but a couple of minor details have been altered slightly to make the story as a whole sound more plausible. Deliberate changes are footnoted.
This is known In-Character to myself, Sirithil, Kiraadamma, Khary, Arac, Alixia, Heinlein, whoever responded to the emergency in the Trade District, and whoever would have been told this story ICly by the participants.
It was a sunny but cool day as I strode through Elwynn Forest. I was in a cheerful and upbeat mood as I had recently managed to save up the gold I needed to get my very first horse and I was on my way to the horse breeder at the Eastvale Logging Camp. I had taken, and paid for, some basic riding lessons this week, already, but didn't have enough money for the mount until today; the instructor had offered to give me a free review of the basic lessons and to complete the more advanced training when I was actually ready to buy my horse. ((1))
As I approached the stables at Eastvale, I noticed a small group of people gathered there who looked to be going about their own business at the stables. One of them I recognized as Alixia of the First Anvilmar Cavalry Regiment. The others, however, I did not recognize: two human women and a human man. One of the women was on a horse and the man seemed to be examining one of the hooves of the horse. The other woman was standing nearby, sometimes paying attention to the woman on the horse and sometimes looking at some of the more powerful-looking steeds at the stables.
As the woman on foot saw me approach, she offered me a friendly smile. I returned the smile, but being shy, remained quiet. She soon asked me if I was also buying a horse. I replied that I was and we son got into a conversation. I forget most of the details, but she did introduce herself as the Lady Kiraadamma (at least, I think she used the title "Lady"), leader of the Silver Dawn. I introduced myself to her, as I usually introduce myself to everyone, as "Cogitatus, at your service and the service of the Alliance".
Kiraadamma told me that she already had a horse, but that she was looking to upgrade to one of the faster, more powerful steeds that are bred; an expensive proposition. My own expenses were expected to be 90 gold; to get a top-of-the-line horse, one of the fastest in Azeroth, typically runs 1000 gold (or 900 if you're on good terms with the royal government). She couldn't afford it, yet, but was hoping to be able to afford it, soon; she was merely riding her horse about in the area for exercise and was taking a break to admire the steeds she hoped to afford.
I soon heard someone ride up to the stables; turning to my right, I saw none other than Magistrate Nightstone. She said she had seen the gathering here at the stables while passing by on the road and was curious to see what it was about. Kiraadamma and I both replied that we were each looking at new steeds for purchase. The two ladies introduced themselves to each other. Now, I knew Sirithil Nightstone was a Magistrate of the Upper Court in Stormwind, but at this introduction, she also called herself the "Magravaine of Lakeshire". I made a mental note to look up what a "Magravaine" was the next time I was in the Stormwind Library. As the conversation continued, Sirithil mentioned that she got her horse from a breeder in Menethil; I didn't know there was a horse breeder there.
I soon turned my attention to the horses available at the stables. The choices available to me were a chestnut mare, a brown horse, and a mottled brown-and-white horse. I talked to the horse merchant and asked her about the mottled brown-and-white horse, and she responded that it was called a "pinto". I purchased the pinto and mounted it. I was about to turn to the horse-riding instructor to inform him that I was ready for my lessons when a hitherto-unnoticed gnome came up to me and asked if this was my first horse ever. I replied that it was, to which he responded "Well, then, this is a cause for celebration!" and he started firing off several fireworks in rapid succession. ((2))
Now, the reason these horses are so expensive is that they're proofed for battle and remain controllable even in startling circumstances, but having several explosives detonate in close proximity was obviously just too much for the poor beast; remember that this gnome was right next to me. Additionally, it's also the responsibility of the rider to be able to keep the horse under control; I hadn't taken those lessons, yet, and was about to ask the instructor to complete those lessons when the fireworks went off.
Consequently, when the poor pinto bolted. With my gut wrenching, it was all I could do to hang on for dear life.
Now, in all my years, I've had little-to-no experience with horses, except for watching them go by. I only started learning how to ride a horse a few days ago. Thus, all of my horse-riding experience could be summed up in my first attempt to get the frightened beast under control:
"Whoa, Horsey, Whoa!"
While not being effective at slowing the horse, it was very effective at alerting the people of Eastvale. Many of the camp lumberjacks turned at the sound of my screams; those unfortunate enough to be in my way were, praise the Light, fortunate enough to dodge this charging mass of muscle and sinew with panicked mage on top. As the steed charged westward onto the road, the east Elwynn bridge came into view and I shouted "Okay, Horsey, you can go fast. Now, can you slow down? Please?"
Now, I've travelled faster than this before many times while flying from one place to another, but that was always on the backs of well-trained and idiot-proofed gryphons or hippogrifs that knew what they were doing, knew where they were going, and didn't need me to guide them. While this horse was not going quite as fast as a gryphon, it was relying on me for guidance, and given that my first attempt at "guidance" was "Whoa, Horsey, Whoa!", one can probably imagine how much effective guidance I was giving the horse. I was very acutely aware of the fact that I was not in control.
"Pull on his ear, boy!" yelled the man who was at Eastvale; from the sound of his yelling, I was guessing he wasn't all the far behind me as Eastvale. I pulled on the pinto's left ear, but must have done something wrong as all that happened was that the beast started going around in circles somewhere south of the Tower of Azora, jumping over one of the wooden fences by the road; my stomach, already upset by the fear and uncontrolled gallop got even more upset by the dizziness. Letting go of the ear and again hanging on for dear life, the horse continued on a westward course towards Goldshire.
"Come on, Horsey, please? Won't you whoa?"
"Keep the beast on the road, lad! There's wolves about!" yelled the man. He sounded close by, so I guess he was, indeed, chasing me on horseback.
I looked around and noticed that the road was, indeed, to my left, and that I was running the risk of attracting the attention of the wolves of the forest. Under normal circumstances, these wolves would not be a threat to me: a little finger-wiggling on my part or a few good smacks with my staff and they die.
Riding full-speed on the back of a one-ton horse over which I have no competent control does not qualify under "normal circumstances".
The steed continued it's rapid charge westward, the nearby trees almost seeming as a blur. and I knew it would be less than a minute before we went through Goldshire; the roads in and around Goldshire are often crowded and I knew there was a massive potential for a fatal accident, both for myself and anyone I hit.
"What about slowing down? I'LL SETTLE FOR SLOWING DOWN!"
Just as the entrance of the Blacksmiths was coming into view, I lost my balance momentarily and shifted slightly to the right. I managed to center myself on the saddle, again, but not before the pinto started turning right in response to my movement; we were now headed straight towards the center of Goldshire, between the blacksmiths and the inn. LIGHT!
I subconsciously leaned back, or pulled back, or something, causing the steed to leap right over the head of some poor townsperson I didn't even get a close look at, while I screamed "AAAAHHHH!!!!"
As the beast landed, my poor stomach couldn't take anymore and I immediately vomited onto the rapidly-passing road, below, while leaning over my left side. ((3)) Recovering slightly, I noticed that the horse had turned left onto the road to Stormwind. I managed to yell out "Come on, Horsey, won't you slow down? PLEASE!? A walk? A trot? A SLOW gallop? Come on, Horsey, I'm trying to compromise here, WORK WITH ME!"
I soon heard the voice of the Lady Sirithil coming up behind me, "Faster, Naira, faster!"
"I'm begging ya, Horsey, won't you slow down? PLEASE!? FOR ALL OF MIGHT KINGS!?"
Yes, I used a Lykis quote. I was that desperate.
As the pinto charged across the Valley of Heroes, I yelled "Come on, Horsey, PLEASE! WHOA!"
"Clear the streets!" yelled the man chasing me.
I don't know what prompted the horse to turn, but it turned right before hitting General Marcus Jonathan, then left around the wall, and right again into the Trade District. As I charged towards the two Stormwind military officials usually stationed in front of the tree in the Trade District, I desperately pulled back; the horse abruptly stopped and I got thrown forwards and off the steed, somersaulted through the air, and miraculously landed on my feet.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am no acrobat. The somersault was hardly intentional and landing on my feet was pure luck, but it wasn't a controlled landing and the landing was at an odd angle, so I quickly fell backwards, hit by butt hard against the cobblestone street with my head soon following suit. It was a severe concussion and I was dazed immediately. However, had I had the bad luck to hit the ground any other way, I would likely have been killed on impact.
I was soon surrounded by Sirithil, Kiraadamma, Alixia, the man, and a few other people. Most of the rest of it was a bit of a blur, as I wasn't paying attention, but I do remember muttering to Kiraadamma "Bandages.... belt pouch....", whereupon she took a roll of heavy mageweave bandages from my belt and tended to my wounds. I also remember the gnome with the fireworks showing up and explaining that he had taken it upon himself to spend some time congratulating people on getting their mounts; I'd consider it a fine idea, but in retrospect, it needed to be done with caution. I also remember Crimson Hound explaining that a permit was needed for using fireworks in Stormwind.
((4)) Eventually, I was well enough to stumble over to the Gilded Rose Inn and sit down at the table next to Meris (who seemed to be falling asleep in her chair) and I started eating some of the cheese in my pack and drinking some Moonberry juice. A different gnome stood on the table and glared at me for some strange reason. Guessing that I had taken someone's seat, I just stumbled upstairs and into bed.
I was thinking of naming my Horse "Swiftthisle". I may name it "Vertigo", instead.
1. This is artistic license. I did have enough money for the training and mount a few days ago, but delayed until the date of the forum post for this roleplay. I didn't buy the training in-game until the time of the roleplay.
2. Again artistic license. Heinlein and I didn't actually say anything to each other In-Character before the fireworks went off.
3. I had planned to emote this in-game, but found that I couldn't type as fast as I wanted to. I would have macroed this emote, but didn't have enough preparation time, beforehand.
4. This story was written before I developed the part of Cogitatus's backstory about his family living in a house/shop in the Park District. I may modify the Wiki version accordingly later.
Heard in [Trade - Stormwind]: [Cogitatus]: Lost lunch while riding out-of-control horse from Eastvale to Stormwind. 25 silver finders fee to whoever finds my lunch and brings it back to me.