“This iz where I make the big bucks, yo. Fools be wishin they gotz what it takes to go toe ta toe with me in the auction hizouse.”
– Stevesbank, a Trade District local
A long while back, I had made the proclamation that my favorite city to spend time in was Silvermoon. After all, it had an abundance of atmosphere that most city’s lacked: people doing things, hidden areas that were off the beaten path, and the size that actually made it feel like a city (Complete with multiple banks and inns). I made passing mention that for the similar reasons, Stormwind was my second favorite. So I figured since I did Silvermoon the justice of having an extensive tour of all that it had to offer, I’d do something similar for Stormwind. I decided to start my tour of the bastion of human integrity with the Trade District and what I found there was a disturbing blend of corruption, greed, and dirty deals. Maybe the Horde and the Alliance have more in common than I thought.
Attend the Tale of Jelinek Sharpshear
In case you doubt my claim that shady characters reside within the esteemed Trade District of Stormwind, let’s start with a trip around the middle loop to the Stormwind Barbershop, operated by Mr. Jelinek Sharpshear. While he seems to run a fairly respectable business, it would seem the corrupt nature of the Trade District had gotten to him. While sneaking up the stairs of the shop, you can find that our goblin friend has some skeletons in his closet – or more accurately his floorboards.
What sets me off about this is the skeletons are distinctly that of gnomes. I would have hoped that a goblin operating out of Stormwind, one of the most culturally diverse cities in Azeroth, to have moved past such simple grudges. In an effort to uncover more about this strange gnome killing goblin, I decided to a bit of digging into his background. Oddly, there are very little records for Jelinek Sharpshear, who appears to have only had control of the shop recently. The original owner, a Mr. Sween Neetod had stepped out some time back and left his “relative” in the shop to watch over things. I’m suddenly reminded of stepping back into the back room of Keelen Sheets’ shop in Silvermoon, and it’s making me curious where the goblin got those sample haircuts sitting in front of the mirrors in the shop.
You Can’t Not Like It
The shadiness of the Trade District isn’t limited to just adults though. Oh no. Take a walk along the canals to the flower shop and you’ll find Little Adeline the Flower Pusher. This kid… Let me tell you about this kid. If you even try to utter a single word to her she will jump you about how much she likes flowers. Not surprising – it is a flower shop. But when she asks if you like flowers? She will not take ‘No’ for an answer. It’s not even an option when talking with this girl. She’ll just sit there and stare at you with her big doughy eyes until you say yes.
What kind of a brute force tactic to sell flowers is this? The Gump family that owns the shop should be ashamed of resorting to such tactics. The fact that she’s a kid is just the foot in the door, but then she will pester you till you say yes. Imagine hitting up the stable master to buy a horse over in the Eastvale Logging Camp, and you said “I really like this brown one.” Only to have the stable master look at you and say “You want to buy the black horse?” But if you even try to say no, he just repeats the question until you are left without a choice but to buy the black horse if for no other reason than to shut the stable master up.
That’s Adeline. You have to tell her you like flowers just to get her to leave you alone and when you do? Well, then she throws flower petals at you. I don’t know what this is. Some kind of mental trick perhaps? Drive me to point of insanity with her pushy insisting of having to like flowers just to have them tossed at you like they were nothing. The same flowers that people are selling two feet away are now being tossed at you by a girl who forces people to like flowers regardless of whether they want to. Weird does not begin to describe the scenario. No wonder why these people can only afford a shop in the corner of the canals where no one ever goes.
Feed Me or I Shall Break You
Another thing that doesn’t make any sense in the Trade District is the resident homeless man: Topper McNabb. The shoeless beggar spends his days sitting behind the Auction House and asking for anything for a copper to a hamburger. The real question, for me at least, is a simple matter of Topper’s health. He’s been begging in the trade district for what seems like forever, and yet his physique could only be described as “ripped.” The man has the appearance of a body builder. On top of that he has long, shiny hair that is perfectly styled. He looks like he belongs on a steamy romance novel, not stuck in some alley.
My hunch is that Topper isn’t necessarily as hard up for cash as he would like us to seem. Perhaps he actually has a nice home over in the Park. But why would he pan handle in his free time? Because greed is good. Greed works. That’s the lesson of the Trade District, and if you doubt me just take a look in the Auction House and see once potential heroes turned profiteers, dressed in fine suits and wearing fancy ‘bling.’ Dollar dollar bill y’all.
Meet the Master of (Illicit) Cheese
Probably the darkest secrets of the Trade District are hidden in the least likely of locations: A small cheese shop owned by the Trias family. There’s something a bit off about this family though. As I took to perusing their wide selection of various cheeses I happened to notice a pound of Garadar Sharp sitting on one shelf. I turned to look at Ben Trias, the studious apprentice of cheese, and ask him how the Trias family was able to procure a pound of cheese that is not only from Outland but made by the Horde as well. Ben turned to me and with a voice barely above a whisper informed me to not ask and that they weren’t allowed to talk about it. His eyes gravitated upwards, and when I followed his line of sight I was greeted with a tall dark figure leaning over the upstairs balcony. Elling Trias – the Master of Cheese.
He called me upstairs and sat me down at a small table in the shadows. Elling took a seat across from me, and glared at me with his one good eye, “You think you know cheese, boy?” A simple nod was all I could produce, “You know NOTHING.” He pulled a dagger from his belt and before I could even see that he had it, he had planted the knife into the table, mere inches away from my lap. “Cheese is about passion. And men must sometimes do horrible, unspeakable and treacherous things for their passion. Best you remember that the next time you question my life’s work.”
He pulled the knife from the table and offered it to me, and put down a wheel of Dalaran Sharp, “Now do you want to cut the cheese or shall I?”