uring one of my many daily walks around Stormwind I was suddenly faced with quite a peculiar sight. A man. On top of a lamppost.

And so it begins

Not only was I curious how he got there, but I was equally curious WHY he was there. So, I did what any curious journalist would do. I approached the lamppost and the man. H. Lester: "Hello Sir! do you have a moment for a few questions?" The man did not give any indications he heard me, so I tried the little more official version. H. Lester: "Hardhy Lester. Editor at the Lion's Roar Newspaper. An independent news source for the discerning readers of Azeroth, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?" Still no reply. Despite this apparent sudden death to what could have been a story, I decided to continue my walk and check in later. Perhaps the man would be more talkative after standing on the lamppost for another half hour. A mug of coffee (to-go from The Golden Keg) later I returned to Cathedral District to check in on the man, who still by all intent and purpose was doing diddly-squat. I tried to talk to him again. H. Lester: "Hello Sir! It is me again. Lester. The journalist. Are you thirsty? need anything? Are you alright?" I tried the "barrage-approach", asking a lot of questions at once, hoping something triggers a reaction. But alas. Not as much as a muscle movement. Bowel or otherwise. The man remained still on top of his perch. At this point I was starting to doubt my faculties, so I reached out to a nearby couple who was sitting on a bench, blushing, and talking quietly. I will not take up precious space in this paper by delving into what they might have been discussing. Anyway, I approached them, hoping they might be able to help me. H. Lester: "Hello Ma'am, Sir. Do you have a moment to maybe help me out?" Man: "???" Woman: "Sup?" Despite having some slight doubts about their mental wellbeing, I proceeded to ask my question. H. Lester: "Evening. I am a journalist working with the Lion's Roar Newspaper, maybe you heard of it? I was walking past here earlier and saw this man behind us, on the lamppost. I was wondering, do you know for how long he has been up there?" Man: "queue" And without a word both the man and the woman vanished from sight, which left me with yet another conundrum to ponder. What was going on tonight! The story could have ended here but being the dogged reporter I am then I was not going to let Stormwind and its oddities get the better of me tonight. No Ma'am, it was time to get to the bottom of this.

Consent consent consent

Faced with two unconnected events. A quiet man on a lamppost, non-reacting, and a couple on a bench vanishing after uttering the - to me - unknown arcane word "queue", I decided to start with the latter. When it comes to magical knowledge there is few more knowledgeable than Zyretha Snowdawn. Not only is she an archmage with the Kirin Tor, but she is also a telemancy and chronomancy specialist. I reached out and asked her if she had any insights to share about this arcane power word and what happened to the young couple. This is what her reply said:
To Hardhy, I've heard of this phenomena. There's some of the competitive arenas in the Underbelly I gather that use a magic queueing system, that requires one to when contacted that your chance to compete is nigh, you iterate the command word "Queue" to be teleported to the Underbelly for your match. Once it is over you are returned from whence you came. It's not dissimilar to other forms of activated willing summons, But some people choose to use the word "Queue" as the acceptance word, as that is in fact, what they are in essence doing. They are waiting in effect, in line, for the chance to be involved with something. If you've further questions, the section in the libraries on "Summoning-based teleportation with consent" may help further. Yours, Zyretha
Well, that answered that at least. Summoning-based teleportation with consent. Makes sense, just leaves me pondering exactly what sort of event the couple are partaking in with their consent, but I reckon I'll keep those thoughts private.

The man on the post

That leaves us with what started this whole thing. The man on the lamppost. As I saw it then there were three potential avenues of investigation. Religious, medical, or magical. Armed with a picture of the man on the lamppost I set out to find some experts to talk to. It quickly turned out that at least the religious angle was a bust. I talked to a few religious people of some seniority but neither had any religious explanations for the man on the lamppost. One of them suggested it could be a sort of penance for past transgressions, but he could not cite any scriptures which would suggest such a penance, and it did not explain how the man got up there either. Next up was medical, I reached out to a few sources and got in touch with a medical professor who has taught medicine for decades. Doctor Fappleshield Doggleleggle - who as mentioned has not only taught medicine for decades, he is also a former first responder and combat medic. In other words, a man who knows his medicine. I explained him the situation and showed him the picture and asked for his professional opinion. Dr. Doggleleggle: "A less experienced man may have dismissed this case as nothing to do with medicine but rather magic, and in a way, he would be correct, but then again, he would also be wrong." Great. That really helped me. H. Lester: "Thank you doctor, but perhaps you could explain that a bit to a layman like me?" Dr. Doggleleggle: "You see, it is both. It looks to me like a case of early onset gargoylism." H. Lester: "Early onset gargoylism? what is that? I thought gargoyles were created through magic? like other Stoneborns?" Dr. Doggleleggle: "Most are indeed created, they are constructs, but not all stoneborn are created equal, so to speak. There is a ritual, a curse, mostly employed by hemomancers. It is part curse, part transformation. Once the curse has been put upon someone, they will slowly turn into a stoneborn over time. During this transformation it is not uncommon to see the victim express behaviour similar to that of Stoneborns, gargoyles. Like sitting on perches with barely any moment. From that picture you showed me the man looks a bit pale, almost gray in skin colour, which would also be explained by early onset gargoylism." H. Lester: "Thank you doctor, is there a way to reverse the effect? lift the curse?" Dr. Doggleleggle: "Not completely. If the victim seeks help early on, then it is possible to lift the curse with almost no long-lasting effects. But someone who is showing these signs is unfortunately never going to be completely cured. The transformation may be halted, slowed, maybe even stopped, but the change in behaviour and skin pigmentation will remain for the rest of his life. Luckily, that will not be too long. During all this time the hemomancer has been using the ritual and curse to drain the blood from his veins and replace it with stone dust. I'm sorry, but there is no happy ending for this man." There is still a lot of questions to ask. Who did this to the man? why did they do it? does he even know? But for us the story ends here. I do not know if the man knows of his fate, and I don't know if I want him to know if he does not. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I wish him the best.