‘Your friend experienced what we call the Golden Dream – some workers experience an intense feeling of elation after long toil here that leaves them incapacitated for hours. When they awake, they are completely refreshed and work with new enthusiasm. There is an easier way to find this feeling – a tea we brew using dreamleaf and lotus root. There is dreamleaf on the upper tier. Yan will brew the tea if you bring it to him in town.’
We made our way to the upper tier, where Li Li made disgusted noises as I grabbed jarfuls of toadspawn, and fought off angry dragon turtles. We found our way to a patch of dreamleaf, and were about to pick it, when the largest of the dragon turtles in the area roared and attacked, angry that we had disturbed its brethren. I split myself into mirror images before it could attempt to eat me whole, and brought it down while Li Li scolded it. I wondered if it was important, and threw it into the village with a slow-fall incantation.
Li Li was unable to wait for her own tasks to begin, and half-pushed me over the mountaintop down into the Gilded Fan, the marsh where the waters of the Pool met the rest of the Valley. The place was filled with the bugs and cranes that would supply the materials Li Li wanted. Li Li busied herself with sneaking up on cranes and snatching their feathers, and jumping around after bugs, while I enjoyed the scenery.
‘Keliera, help! Agh agh agh agh!’ Li Li dashed past me, quickly pursued by a crocolisk larger than any I had ever encountered. I was forced to drain myself entirely bringing it down, and even then fire, frost and arcane barely forced it to fall.
‘This… it’s so big! This can’t be possible.’ The crocolisk was no more than a dozen years old, and yet clearly the broodmother of the local population. Severing its tail as proof, I and Li Li made our way back to New Cifera to ask about the massive creation – and rest. I was completely drained, and left Li Li in the inn making her fishing gear while I inquired as to everything I’d experienced that afternoon.
Yan was ecstatic when he saw me. ‘Not only bottle toads, but a fantastic serving platter too! Thank you, friend. And… is that a crocolisk tail?’ Yan examined it. ‘We do get crocolisks in the northwest, but as to why it’s so big… something in the water. It’s the same reason we get humongous vegetables. The giant crocolisk every once in a while is just a side effect, sadly. Now, you’re after the Golden Dream, right? Looks like you have enough dreamleaf for a few cups.. Maybe I’ll join you. Haven’t seen it since I was a cub. Here’s to better days!’
We both drank, and I felt a vision take me.
Incredible golden waters flowed from a mysterious source down a mountainside, and countless waterfalls sourced a huge river, leading through a land that could only be described… as gold. Gold water, gold ground, gold-leafed trees… And the river led right between two immense mogu statues, easily just as large and impressive as the Temples of the August Celestials. Beyond it, a beautiful golden pandaren city stood, gleaming in the light.
It was incredible and utterly delightful, and warm dreams took me through the night and right to the next morning.
‘Hey, hey Keliera! Are you gonna wake up already? We have to go!’
‘Wha..’ I rubbed my eyes.
‘I already went fishing this morning. I have a ton ready to show Chen when we get back to Mudmug’s, but I wanna see one more place first – the Silken Fields. There are loads of silkmoths there, and they use the silk and the roses they grow there to make the best cloth in all of Pandaria! I’d love to get some for a quilt for when I’m travelling. Come on!’
Li Li led me south from New Cifera in the murky dawn south of the main road, to an area of wild roses and quaint houses.
‘The Silken fields should be just over her-Oh!’ Li Li dived over the way as a mutated, aggressive moth swept down at her.
‘Run, Li Li!’ We both hurried into the settlement, and two pandaren jumped out and covered our backs as we all ran into a silk-covered house.
‘What is going on here?’ Li Li demanded.
‘Ah… forgive us. I am Journeyman Chu, and this is Master Goh. In my experiments to improve silk output, I created a monster – and the moths are all rebelling against us. Please, you have to get rid of them, or the Silken Fields will stop producing silk altogether!
‘Horrible monsters? Now this is the kind of adventure I can get behind. I don’t see why Uncle Chen always wants to sit down and drink from his beer. Imagine if we’d followed him – we’d have missed out on all of this!’
The Silken Fields made extensive use of silkworms – feeding them the finest mulberry and rose leaves, then spinning silk out of their cocoons once they had become fully-fledged silk moths. The diet made their silk the most entrancing vivid red colours, and Li Li eagerly bought some while I helped clear out the angry moth population. Master Goh spoke to us open our return.
‘It seems that the esteemed Journeyman Chu has created a monster. It is silken death with wings.
You have faced its brood already, and we are now ready to face the creature itself. Please, venture into the pit in the centre of the Fields and rifle the bait. The beast will be roused. Our mothfighters will aid you, but the silk will stick to them after a while, so do not forget to aid them.’
Li Li watched from afar as I ventured into the pit, and disturbed a large pile of mulberry and rose leaves. Air buzzed around the mothfighters as a tremendously-sized moth flew over, bright blue and purple and extremely angry. The mothfighters gained its attention, and I participated, though the incredible powder from its wings half-dazed me. The moth fell with my aid, and Li Li ran out to meet us.
‘Um… do you think we can go back to Mudmug’s place? I think I’ve had enough adventure for now.’
Leaving Goh to scold Chu, we headed back north to Mudmug’s place.
‘Ah, welcome back? Y’all enjoy yourselves?’
‘IT…WAS…AWESOME!’ Li Li bounded around, satisfied but still just as enthusiastic. I gave Mudmug his cask of water, and as he busied himself brewing I and Li Li waited for Chen.
‘That was great, and we managed it all before Chen got back. I think I’ll go cook my fish. He’s gonna love them!’
But Chen was in foul spirits when he returned.
‘Hey Uncle Chen! How was the brewery?’
‘I don’t want to talk about it.’
Chen didn’t talk about it until later that evening, when we forced him to drink an ale in order to loosen his tongue.
‘I found the Stormstout Brewery… although I didn’t exactly get the warm reception I expected.
I found the Brewery and made my way inside, and decided to look for someone else from the Stormstout family. The place was the largest brewery I had ever seen, and just as wondrous as I had hoped. But it was so dark. I saw an old man brewing in a far corner of the main room.
“Sorry, we aren’t accepting visitors right now.”
“I am no visitor – I am Chen Storms-”
“You should leave.”
“But we are family! I am a Stormstout! From the Wandering Isle!”
“Are you deaf? We aren’t allowing anyone in the Brewery right now.”
“There is no need to speak to me that way.”
Then, I noticed a strange thing happen behind the man. Ale was flowing out of one of the taps – and forming into a tremendous ale elemental! An alemental! I thought those things were only rumours.
“Wait – what is going on behind you?!”
“Huh? That’s… that’s nothing! Now GO AWAY!”
The alemental attacked, but I was a master of ale myself, and defeated it easily. The man had run off, however, and I was forced to pursue him deeper in to ask him some more questions.
“What, were you sent to check up on me? Everything’s fine! It’s all under control!”
“Come, speak with me! Let’s sit down and talk. Have a beer together…”
“There will be no sitting. No talking. And none of your horrible beer! Hey, what’s that behind you?!” The man ran off, and I turned to face a very angry and drunk hozen.
“Gimme more of that ook-dooglin’ BEER! *hic*” First beer elementals, and now a hozen attack. Something was very wrong. I knocked the hozen out, and decided to give the man one more chance. I was not about to give up on family.
I went upstairs to find – virmen?! Infesting the barrels and drinking themselves mad. I hurried into the brewhall.
“How many times must I tell you… GO AWAY!”
“I don’t understand, old man. What have I done to upset you?”
“It’s not what you’ve done, it’s who you are. You are not welcome here, ‘Chen Stormstout’.”
That was all I needed to hear. Shunned, by my own blood! I turned and left, and came back here. Maybe I was never meant to settle down.’
Chen drank for a while alone, and Li Li distracted me with plans for more virmen pranks in the morning, until Chen made a bold announcement.
‘You know what? I don’t have to take this.
I’ll show Uncle Gao what it means to be a real brewer. I’ll brew the best beer he’s ever tasted, with ingredients I’ve never even used before. I’m Chen Stormstout, and I’m the best brewer alive! Li Li, we’re going. Your uncle has something to prove!’
Li Li was excited, and I followed. ‘Finally, there’s the Uncle Chen I’ve been waiting for!’
Chen led us up the main road to Halfhill, the bustling farm community that was the heart of the whole Valley – and where almost all of Pandaria’s food was grown. Built on a hill with tremendous views, the circular town had all the amazing smells and sounds of village markets, with all the fun and raucous entertainment of pandaren life.
The next morning, Chen was busy preparing his brew, and Mudmug joined us to help with Chen’s brew. Chen quickly sent Mudmug off for water and Li Li for malts while he ‘researched’ the local brews. He asked me to inquire around for where we could get hops, but otherwise I was left to my own devices.
Not far up, I found another Lorewalker Scroll:
‘A Most Famous Bill of Sale
On this site many generations ago stood Shen-zin’s Sundries, a supplier well-liked by the local farmers. One day, the first Pandaren explorer, Liu Lang, walked into the store with a most unusual shopping list, records of which have survived to this day:
- One lantern
- Three liters lamp oil
- Four packages of dehydrated fruit
- Two sacks of dried peas
- Four haunches of salt pork
- Twelve liters of fresh water
- One basket of hardtack
- One compass
- One spyglass
Liu Lang announced his intention to explore the world. Shen-Zin, humouring his client, suggested that Liu Lang should also bring an umbrella. He generously offered one for free.
Beaming, a grateful Liu Lang told Shen-Zin: “I shall name my sea turtle after you!” He happily carted away his supplies, whistling as he headed towards the beach, trailed by dozens of curious onlookers.’