The Bilgewater Cartel
As for the other Cartels, until Cataclysm
they remained relatively isolated from the rest of the world on Kezan. Bilgewater Port, one of the primary cities and home of the Bilgewater Cartel, continued to mine kaja'mite ore
mainly for the production of Kaja Cola
, a beverage that gives goblins short bursts of ideas, but the kaja'mite supply continued to dwindle. Unfortunately for the goblins of Kezan, their time on the island was limited -- a volcano long dormant on the island suddenly erupted and the goblins found themselves with nowhere to go. Despite the name of the city, there was only one real port to be found, and Trade Prince Gallywix
--leader of the Bilgewater Cartel -- owned it.
Gallywix offered to let the survivors of the volcanic eruption ride his yacht to safety, for a price of course. Frantic goblins threw their entire life savings at Gallywix as the volcano rumbled and threatened to blow the island up for good, and as Gallywix sailed away, he revealed his real plan. Owning everyone's life savings was all well and good -- but selling the now poverty stricken goblins into slavery was an even better option. If the yacht had made it safely to a port, this may very well have been the case.
However, fate conspired against Gallywix's plans. The yacht managed to sail right into the middle of a naval battle between an Alliance fleet and one lone Horde ship. The Alliance ships spotted the goblin vessel, and the captain of the fleet ordered the ship destroyed, despite the fact that it was a neutral vessel. Gallywix's ship was destroyed, and the goblin slaves washed up on the shores of a nearby island. They were free, but at what cost?
In exploring the small island, these goblins encountered a few orc survivors who were obviously enemies of the Alliance that had attacked the goblin ship. Figuring that the enemy of an enemy could actually be an ally (an ally with possibly deep pockets), the goblins assisted the few orc survivors, and discovered why an entire Alliance fleet was after the single Horde ship -- the ship was carrying Thrall, former Warchief of the Horde.
For the Horde
Gallywix wasn't done with his plans just yet. He began capturing the surviving goblins and using them as slaves. In a final confrontation, the freed goblins and their new orc allies fought against Gallywix and won with Thrall's help. Gallywix begged for mercy, promising the former Warchief that he would change his ways and reform the way the Bilgewater Cartel was run. After thinking for a moment, Thrall decided the fate of the Trade Prince:
Trade Prince Gallywix yells: Uncle! Uncle! I give! You guys are too much for me!
Trade Prince Gallywix yells: I'm beaten. You've shown me the error of my ways. From here on out, I promise to reform the way that the cartel is run!
Trade Prince Gallywix yells: I'm your goblin, Thrall. What would you have of me?
Thrall grunts and thinks a moment on what to do with the Trade prince.
Thrall yells: For now, you will remain the Trade Prince of the Bilgewater Cartel.
Thrall yells: I will send a representative from amongst your people to the new Warchief, Garrosh Hellscream in Orgrimmar.
Thrall yells: You will have a new home in Azshara and the Bilgewater Cartel will be part of the Horde!
Trade Prince Gallywix yells: It will be as you say! Long live the Bilgewater Cartel! For the Horde!
In an odd move, Thrall decided to keep the formerly nasty Trade Prince as the leader of the Cartel. It's unclear why, exactly, Thrall decided to do this given Gallywix's actions on the Lost Isles. Perhaps Thrall figured that showing the Trade Prince mercy would make the goblin loyal to the Horde. Maybe he thought that appointing a new Trade Prince for a race he'd just encountered was too extreme of a move. Regardless, Gallywix is in charge "for now," suggesting he may get the boot at a future date. Given his actions against the goblin race, it's entirely possible.
For now however, the goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel are happily working alongside the Horde and have transformed Azshara so that the land now resembles a giant Horde symbol -- partially out of gratitude, partially out of greed. After all, the Horde is expanding its borders in a major way, and that kind of expansion requires construction, which requires workers, which means an exchange of gold. In the meantime, they're constantly seeking a substitute for their beloved kaja'mite, though their efforts remain futile at the moment.
As for the Alliance, the goblins are more than happy to help the Horde fight against an enemy that threatened to wipe out the goblin survivors of Kezan with no provocation. Especially since that enemy was responsible for the loss of thousands of goblin's life savings. Goblins are creatures of trade and commerce; they are more than happy to provide supplies for war, but less thrilled about partaking in it. However, goblins are ruthless with their enemies, especially if that enemy stands in the way of a tidy sum of gold -- or was responsible for the loss of a gigantic chunk of it.
But what of Kezan and Undermine? While the island of Kezan experienced molten volcanic death, the city of Undermine was literally under the ground, a massive labyrinth of tunnels and goblin homes. It was implied at BlizzCon 2010's Quests and Lore panel
that Undermine wasn't destroyed by the volcano, and the developers said they're like to utilize it, someday. So the Trade Princes of the various goblins cartels may still be alive and unharmed -- although it's unlikely that they can contact anyone, given the current state of the island's surface.
The interesting part of the Bilgewater goblin story is the motives behind the Alliance fleet that sought to kidnap Thrall. The operatives on the ships were from SI:7
-- the organization of assassins and spies from Stormwind. This means that Varian Wrynn
was likely responsible for ordering the attack and the kidnapping of Thrall. In the novel The Shattering
, peaceful night elves were brutally murdered, and the Twilight Cult framed the Horde for the attacks. When Jaina sought out Thrall and asked that he turn over the murderers to Stormwind, denounce the attacks and apologize, Thrall's response was surprising.
He held up a large green hand. "Please. Listen to me. I will send a letter to Varian, stating that I did not condone the incursion. I will seek out those responsible. I've no desire for war. But I cannot apologize for the violence, nor will I turn over any suspects to the Alliance. They are Horde. They will be judged by Horde. To give them to Varian -- no. It is a betrayal of my people's trust on far too many levels. And frankly ... it is wrong. Varian would never stand for such a request from me, nor should he."
As a leader, Thrall's response was understandable -- the attacks were horrific, but a leader betraying the trust of the Horde was even more so. He hated the fact that the attacks happened -- but publicly denouncing the actions would do nothing but completely ruin his standing in the eyes of his people. The attack in Cataclysm
may very well have been Varian's response to Thrall's inaction -- a foolish attack, given that Thrall was on his way to the Maelstrom to help the Earthen Ring hold the world together at the time.
Perhaps we'll see the full story behind the attack eventually. For now, Thrall is safely in the Maelstrom, Garrosh is Warchief, and the goblins ...
The goblins have their eye -- and the giant cannon in Bilgewater Harbor -- on Stormwind. Just in case. After all, it wouldn't do to have their new source of income harmed, now would it?
For more information on related subjects, please look at these other Know Your Lore entries:
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Warcraft games to enjoy
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World of Warcraft in WoW Insider's Guide to Warcraft Lore