At first, he’d felt a little uncomfortable. The first few combatants in the ring were simple beasts pitted against one another, fighting to the death for no reason other than the enjoyment of the onlookers. “How are they treated prior to this?” Arthas had asked. He was fond of animals; it unsettled him to see them used so.
Langston had opened his mouth, but Blackmoore shushed him with a quick gesture. He had smiled, leaning back in his chaise lounge and snagging a bunch of grapes. “Well of course we want them at their fighting peak,” he said. “So they are captured and treated quite well. And as you can see, the bouts go quickly. If an animal survives and is not able to continue fighting again, we put him down at once, mercifully.”
Arthas hoped the man was not lying to him. A sick feeling in his gut told him Blackmoore probably was, but he ignored it. The feeling vanished when the fighting involved men against the beasts. As he watched, riveted, Blackmoore said, “The men are paid well. They in fact become minor celebrities.”
Not the orc, though. And Arthas knew it, and approved. That’s what he was waiting for — the chance to see Blackmoore’s pet orc, found as an infant and raised to be a fighter in these rings, in combat.
He was not disappointed. Apparently, everything up until now had been a warm-up for the crowd. When the doors creaked open and a huge green shape strode forward, everyone stood, roaring. Somehow Arthas found himself among them.
Thrall was enormous, appearing even larger because he was obviously so much healthier and alert than the other specimens Arthas had seen in the camps. He wore little armor and no helm, and green skin stretched tightly over powerful muscle. Too, he stood straighter than others. The cheering was deafening, and Thrall walked a circle around the ring, lifting his fists, turning his ugly face up to be showered with rose petals usually reserved for holidays.
“I taught him to do that,” Blackmoore said with pride. “It’s an odd thing, really. The crowd cheers for him, yet they come hoping every time he’ll get beaten.”
“Has he ever lost a bout?”
“Never, Your Highness. Nor will he. Yet people keep hoping, and the money keeps flowing.”
The above is an excerpt from Christie Golden’s Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, the new WoW book scheduled for release this month. (Read a longer excerpt here.) When I was contacted to see if I’d be willing to host a giveaway on my blog for copies of the book, I couldn’t resist. They offered me an advance copy of the book, as well, though I was a bit slow on the response (due to work stuff), so haven’t received it yet. I’ll certainly post my review as soon as I’m caught up on things.
In looking around the blogosphere, it appears that I am not the only one who was contacted by Marni, the woman organizing this promotion for Simon and Schuster. I think this is a really cool thing that they’re doing for our corner of the WoW community. Marni didn’t specifically ask that we do this, but I liked it that BBB posted a link to their opt-in alerts page along with his contest. This is a very nice way to support Simon and Schuster and encourage them to continue these sorts of promotional giveaways.
My initial thought was to have folks produce something creative related to WoW lore (particularly the Arthas story), but since 1) this is not particularly a lore-related blog, and 2) I know little about lore, I decided not to go this way. Instead, I’d like to stick a little more closely to the blog’s roots in noobness, etiquette, and the joys of leveling and learning the game. Plus, in this book, we will be learning a bit about what Arthas, Thrall, & Co. were doing back when they were still leveling… ;)
To enter, all you need to do is respond to this post with a noobish confession.
Your confession can be long or short and related to any part of your progression through the game. (In other words, if you have a really funny raiding story, please do submit it.) The more funny and cringeworthy, the better. If something actually makes me laugh out loud or physically cringe in embarrassment for you, I might pop an extra copy of your name into the hat. Readers are also welcome to add a vote for a story to receive such a bonus, as well.
As the contest closes, I’ll put all the entries in a hat (once or twice, depending on the funny/cringe quotient). My lovely and impartial husband will then draw five winners, each of whom will receive a copy of the new Arthas book.
Your mailing address must be in the US or Canada. Not that it will be a huge issue, given the relatively low traffic here, but please just enter once.
I’ll close the contest on Friday, April 17th, noon, EST, and do the drawing that evening. I’ll contact the winners by e-mail to get their addresses for Simon and Schuster, who will be mailing the books directly.
So, who will be the first to confess? :)
/readies the soft cushions and the comfy chair