Mum shrieked and flailed, struggling with the bedcovers as she clawed herself awake from the odd nightmare. Peering around groggily, nothing seemed to be amiss other than Audrey, one of her carnivorous houseplants, quivering near the head of the bed.
"Pshaw. Ye're nae hungry again already, are ye?"
The quivers grew stronger.
"Och, ye mus' be getting ready tae bud or summat, th' way yuir appetite has been lately." Shaking off the last remnants of the dream, Mum swung her feet to the rug and shambled towards the kitchen.
Another carnivorous plant met her at the doorway to the kitchen. "Och, Seymour, ye mooch, do nae tell me yuir hungry as well?"
If a leaf-quiver could be termed sheepish, it was the one that Seymour gave her in response to the question. It was one of those "Wellll, I'm not starving, but if you're handing out food anyway ..." sort of quivers she'd learned well during the years that the plants had been part of her household.
"All right, I know I hae a couple bones set aside frae ye both." She rummaged in the chilled section of the larder, mumbling as she grabbed a large bowl full of meaty bones and scraps.
"Twas an odd dream jus' now. Ye twa were in it as well." She eyed them as she reached into the bowl. "Hae ye e'er glowed green afore?"
Audrey's leaves all stiffened, sticking straight out from her main stem. Seymour, on the other hand, pulled all his leaves and tendrils as close to his stem as possible for a moment, before both relaxed back into their normal twitchy selves.
Mum blinked a couple times, before shaking her head, and tossing them both some bones. "Well, that'll teach me tae ask questions o' th' plants. That was singularly unhelpful!"
Shrugging, she went about preparing her own breakfast, and going through the rest of her morning wake-up ritual. Eventually, she was awake and alert enough to go through the mail that had arrived overnight, tossing them into appropriate piles before even opening them. "Bill. Spam. Spam. Bill. Spam. Spam. Badly scrawled ... something."
Mum slipped on her spectacles before opening the note, half-expecting, from the legibility, to find a note from a child, asking for a special birthday cake or something.
We haz prezzies 4 yew. Kum c me neer eyeron-forge.
"Eyeron-forge? Eyer- ... oh! Ironforge! But who is Grabby?" Mum mentally ran through the Gigglegibbers that she met each year at the various holidays. It wasn't one of the ones she met around Bristlbane Day, nor Frostfell. Just then, her eyes noted the date on the calendar, and she knew which one it must be.
"Candy Corn! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"**
That was all the warning that the hapless houseplants and other assorted house pets had of the imminent stampede, and it was a very fortunate thing that Mum had mostly dressed before she read the mail. As it was, the various passers-by that were nearly run over in her pell-mell run through town got a view of wild red hair sticking out all over the place from her head, and bare, extremely hairy halfling feet, as she pelted for the Ironforge Exchange.
She skidded to a stop in front of the goblin standing outside the old stone building, only then realizing how cold and hard the paving was beneath her bare feet. She took a moment to catch her breath as Grabby finished arranging a candy corn trade with an elf, while hastily patting her loose red hair into some semblance of order.
Pffft, hair unbraided, feet bare. What else had she forgotten in her rush. No matter, in mere moments, she'd have her fix.
Or not. Belatedly, she realized that she had forgotten to bring any candy to trade for her beloved candy corn.
Just as she got ready to turn around and trudge back home to get her trade items, Grabby noticed her.
"Mumz! Yewz gots us so much nice candy for us last year that we made special prezzie for yewz! Deyz bringing it up from downstairs now!
Much thumping and bumping was heard from the entrance to the Ironforge crafting cellar before the door popped open and a vision appeared, being lugged by a pair of goblins.
Mum rubbed her eyes, then rubbed them again, unable to believe her luck.
Her blue eyes were as wide as saucers as she stared at the candy corn that was larger than she was. "Och!"
"All frae me?!" Her blood sugar spiked just looking at the oversweet, oversized confection, and she started bouncing up and down excitedly.
"Yepyep! All yourz! But there's more!"
"More? Och, lad, this be enough tae keep me frae a ..."
"Even bigger one!" Grabby blurted it out, suddenly panicked that his supply of candy might dry up as she went into a sugar high for a few weeks. "Gets us more candy, and we haz a bigger one for you!"
He rapidly pounded on the door to the crafting cellar, and even more thumping, bumping, and groaning was heard before four goblins staggered out under their delectable confection burden.
Reverent silence and a dazed nod were all the reply that he received for several long moments, as Mum gazed in awe at the vision standing in front of her.
"Aye. I ha'e some candy frae ye already an' I'll get ye more. Lots more!" She finally nodded so enthusiastically that her loose red hair flopped all over, momentarily blinding her.
One of the goblins whispered something to Grabby, and he cleared his throat. "Actually, we'ze giving you both right now, and trusting youz to bring us more candy! Gurble and the others don't want to carry it around no more!"
"That's fine, lad, ye know ye can trust me. I'll jus' get them both home ... somehow ... then go out an' get ye more candy."
So distracted was she with thoughts of candy, that, when she flagged down a couple strong barbarians to hire to lug the candies home for her, she didn't even notice how mighty fine they looked in their glorious new kilts, and it took quite a bit for her to not notice a finely turned bare barbarian ... knee ...
It wasn't until several days later, once the initial sugar rush settled down to a dull buzz, that she was reminded of the odd dream that kicked off the first day of the Nights of the Dead celebration. She had helped the old crone on the Nektulos beach with a bit of a werewolf problem the year before, and finally thought to say hello to her when she was tired of mugging skeletons for their candy.
When she heard that the woman's granddaughter was missing, Mum took a break from her candy-grabbing to enter the Charnel Hollow in search of the child.
It looked strangely like the odd bits of the dream she'd had the other morning, with deserted houses, glowing green carnivorous plants, and various household implements of destruction.
Feeling a bit braver once she scooped up a nearby broom, she wandered from house to house, checking out the odds and ends left on the various porches: a fish?!, a saucepan, a trusty rolling pin and more. Somehow, however, the broom seemed most fitting for the situation, however. If this was even close to her dream-vision, then she had some plant-herding to do.
Then she stumbled upon the note.
"Och. Here comes trouble!" Mum quickly herded several grumpy, snappy plants toward the small child she saw standing near a well. Unlike most "normal" carnivorous plants, these had an odd green glow surrounding them, which should mean they were special varieties that preyed upon the undead.
Marshalling the plants into a defensive perimeter around them, Mum began to chat with the child, already suspecting what she would hear.
Of course the child lost her dolly. Of course the child didn't want to leave the creepy and dangerous area without her dolly. Of course Mum would protect her.
And on cue, there were the zombies, shambling towards them. At first, there were only a few, but as time went on, more and more started shambling towards them.
It was the undead versus the flora, and the flora definitely had the upper hand ... erm, leaf.
Bristlebane bless those grumpy plants. They snapped, and bit, and, in general, destroyed, many of the zombies, while Mum and her broom accounted for many more.
And then, Dolly arrived, and it was NOT the kind of Dolly you'd want as your playmate.
Once Dolly was beaten into submission, the child thanked her, then teleported out.
"Bah. Why didn't she jus' teleport out when she realized she was lost?" Mum shook her head and trundled off to get more of a sugar fix.
"Kids these days."
** - see the story in this article from last year for more details on Mum's candy corn fixation
Note that the two pictures of the candy corn above are on the default size and the maximum size.
Welcome to Nights of the Dead 2011! This event, which is Norrath's version of Halloween, will run from October 13 through November 7. As with past years, this event will include craftable furniture as well as several quests. For a full review of the NoTD crafted items, including that oversized candy corn pictured above, please check out the NoTD 2011 Crafting Gallery.
Each of the quests that is returning from past years has at least one new quest reward, and there is one totally new quest this year. In addition, the Nights of the Dead vendors have a few new house items, and one new mount for your shopping pleasure.
While I won't give you quest walk-throughs or the like, since other sites already cover that, I'd like to cover the new house item goodness that isn't crafted.
Qeynos (NQ, Ironforge Estate) and Freeport (WFP Bank) see the return of the haunted house again this year. You'll find that the large rat and the large black spider in this instance now drop plushies of themselves! (rat plushie, black spider plushie). In addition, one of the new quest reward options is a housepet "night slither", which is a no-trade snake. (The zombie plushie also pictured with the rat and snake will be explained in a later paragraph, keep reading!)
This new quest was mentioned at Fan Faire as "Undead vs Flora", and those of you who are familiar with the game Plants vs Zombies will note the not-so-subtle bow to that game. The Scribbled Zombie Note in the story above can be gathered from a porch in the quest instance, and placed in your home. In addition, one of the reward options for the quest is an appearance item Undead Monster Tome, which can be converted into a house item.
On top of various offerings from past years, such as candles, jack-o-lanterns, and a few gravestones, there are six new items on the NoTD vendors that I would like to mention.
Three more gravestones have been added: Aged Tombstone, Cracked Grave Marker and Crumbling Headstone. They appear as-listed, in left-to-right order below.
Two new stained glass floor tiles were also added: Canary Stained Glass Square and Orange Stained Glass Square.
Last, but not least, is a 130 speed ground mount which increases ordination, subjugation, ministration, focus and disruption of caster by 5. This Plague Cloud, which can also be used as a house item, would be perfect for worshippers of Bertoxx, complete with spewed bits of bugs, and even a stray frog or two, from within this seething noxious cloud! This mount will set you back 300 candy corn, so be sure you really want it before you start stockpiling your candies!
Again, NoTD will run from October 13 through November 7, 2011. If you missed the link above, the NoTD crafting gallery, including the new 2011 craftables, can be found here.