Topic Road Trip
“Don chu take dat tone wiff me!” The troll witch doctor glared at two elves. “Dis na ba dat easy.”
“Not easy? You made a dead girl look alive, from the way she tells it, multiple times.” Keltyr leaned against one of the support poles. Below them, people moved back and forth on the raised wooden walkways that provided the only relief from the fouled waters that poured out of the goblin slums.
“Dat na deh same ting, I tole chu dat bafore.”
“And we got everything you’ve asked for and paid for your time.” Dorri snarled, aggravated.
“Dat ba troo.” The troll looked at the Sin’dorei and then sighed mournfully. “Fine.” He pulled two amulets strung on black leather cord and held them out. When Keltyr reached out to take one, the troll jerked his hand back. “Dere ba tings to ba telling chu. Chu jus ba waitin. I ba tellin chu.”
“Dis ites one be fa chu.” He dangled the amulet in front of Dorri and she snatched it out of his hands. “When chu ba weain, chu ba lookin like chu ba lookin in the bafore time. `cept chu don ba lookin like chu ba na livin in chu skin.” Dorri glared at him. “Chu ba lookin like chu ba eatin more dan roots and `hoppers.” When the woman did not stop glaring, the witch doctor shrugged and turned to her companion.
“Dis blue one be fa chu. dere ba a few changes ta ya fase an chu `air ba all pale yellow. And both chu `ave da blue eyes. Now chu ba leavin ma shop. Dem Kor’kron ba eyein chu both `gain an I don ba wantin ta ba clean up `gain.” Keltyr took the amulet with a nod and Dorri followed him down the rickety wooden stairs.
They walked past the loitering orcs and strolled slowly back towards the Drag. Dorri fought the urge to look behind her the entire time. “Let’s get those crates and use some of the Ambassador’s gold to get a portal to Dalaran.”
“The crates have to stay in the room. It’ll be cold at night this time of year.” Dorri shuddered at the thought. “Only for a couple of nights. And then a little boat ride.”
“Lars had better get a decent boat.”
Edited by Jaerika on 9/6/12 4:49 PM (PDT)
(( I love, love, love how you wrote out the troll's accent. I loved my time as a troll on Jinglz for that very reason. They are so much fun to talk as! Great writing, thanks for sharing! ))
Edited by Lorelli on 9/8/12 2:40 PM (PDT)
Legitimate? Ridiculous really. Why pay for something when you could just as easily steal it and save yourself some gold. Larscelia Starflare shook her head, close cropped black hair swaying around her face. Dorri had said take the gold and hire a boat. So hire a boat she would. She wouldn’t be happy about it, but she’d do it.
The goblin gave her a wide grin as she approached. He looked her up and down, taking in the leather, the daggers at her hips, the mask loose about her neck. “You look like trouble, sweetheart. Trouble usually means there’s money to be made.”
Lars jingled the purse without letting the goblin see where she kept it. All goblins recognize the distinct sound of gold pieces clinking together. He could probably tell her down to the copper how much of each type of coin she was carrying. She flashed him a smile of her own, though it didn’t reach her eyes. “No trouble. I just need a boat.”
The goblin nodded knowingly, his big ears wobbling with each bow of his head. “Boats we got! Lots of boats! What kind of boat you lookin’ for, sweetheart?”
“My employer is looking for a pleasure barge. Nothing too opulent, but ready to sail tomorrow with a full crew.” She leaned forward placing a finger on his bulbous nose. “Not on the books. My employer requires the utmost discretion.” She straightened, putting her hands on the hilts of her daggers to emphasize her point.
He raised a hand to scratch his head in thought. He appeared thoroughly unintimidated by her posturing. That was to be expected. “Ready to sail tomorrow, you say? Full crew’s gonna be hard to come by on such short notice. S’gonna cost ya.”
“I’m not discussing anything further until I see the vessel in question.”
“Sure sure. Come back in an hour, I’ll have a real nice boat to show yah.”
A pleasant breeze blew in off the water rustling through the leave of the tree Lars was perched in. It made the dry grass and the dust a little easier to bear. So much dust. Dust in Orgrimmar, dust in Ratchet. She missed Silvermoon and Eversong sometimes.
From her vantage point she could see the goblin going about his business. They had pulled a small four-man boat up to the dock and he spoke with one of the crewmen briefly before hopping down into the vessel with them. The goblin donned a hat to keep the sun off as the boat was rowed out towards the sea. Lars hopped down from the tree and made her way towards the edge of the cliff where she could see more of the bay.
The tiny boat made its way away from Ratchet and through the bay to a small cove. There was anchored another larger boat bobbing gently with the tide. From what she could tell, it was exactly what she’d asked for. Modest of size and decoration, though manned with a skeleton crew. That could be problematic, she herself knew nothing about sailing and she had no clue if either of others did. Why weren’t they bringing it into the docks?
She watched as the goblin spoke with another of the crewmen. He clambered across to the yacht and disappeared below deck. Shortly after four of the crew appeared hauling a bag between them. It was long and appeared heavy. They tossed it over the side and it hit the water with a great splash.
Lars chuckled to herself, “Amateurs .” She’d learned the hard way you dump bodies further out at sea. She hoped they’d at least shoved rocks in there with it. No matter to her who owned the boat previously, long as it was serviceable now.
Her goblin salesman came back into view and hung around the deck while they guided the boat into a mooring at Ratchet. They crew unloaded a couple of crates and a trunk and set about removing the markings from the side of the vessel. Judging from the position of the sun in the sky it was getting to be just about time for her to head back and see if this boat would actually work.
“It’ll do. How much?” Lars asked, folding her arms across her chest.
The goblin tapped a finger against his lips, eyeing her sidelong. He knew how much she had. He named his price. It was high. Much higher than was reasonable really.
“Done.” She said.
The surprise was only present on his face momentarily. Most folks outside her professional skill set probably would never have caught it. He was good.
“Well then, sweetheart. You’ve got yourself a boat.”
She produced a bag of coins from somewhere on her person and opened it. She counted out the coins, paused, raised her head to look at him. “One other thing.” She, pulled out another bag and added a small handful of coins to the pile. “I need it repainted with Alliance markings.”
He blinked and stared at her a moment. His gaze flickered to the coins in her hand, back to her face. Larscelia added a few more coins to the pile, the sounds of them hitting the rest almost echoing in the silence.
“Course, sweetheart. Course. I’ll get someone right on that.” He eagerly accepted the small fortune from her hands and turned on his heel to go find someone to tackle her paint job. She hefted the coin purse feeling its weight. She had enough left to buy booze for the trip and no one would ever know. Not bad for a honest days work. Mostly. Ahead of schedule too..
“I really hate sailing.” Lars muttered to herself. She was hanging over the railing trying to avoid spewing sick into the passing waves below. “Really.”
The boat was crewed by a total of five, all sindorei, three male, two female, plus herself and whatever passed for a captain on a vessel of this size. The crew left her mostly alone but after many days at sea, she’d broken down and started joining their nightly card games when she wasn’t feeling ill. Until they refused to play with her anymore. That’s fine, she still had a few bottles left and that gave her more than enough company.
The crew was skilled and they spotted the shore of the Eastern Kingdoms well ahead of schedule. The morning they were supposed to dock in Stormwind she had a quiet word with Veylric, who’d done a more than capable job of overseeing their voyage thus far.
“We’re extremely early. We can’t sit in harbor for three days and risk discovery. We need to find somewhere to drop anchor and wait.”
Veylric looked at her skeptically. “I really wish you’d tell me what you were about here.”
“I’m not paying you to know the details. I’m paying you to sail the damn boat.”
“Into enemy territory. Right into the light forsaken capital!
She placed her hands on her hips, eyeing him. “I’ve paid you well and made it more than worth your while on top of that. What are you going to do? Turn around and sail back to Ratchet?” She stepped up closer to him, “I could kill you and the entire crew before anyone could shout.”
“And who would sail your boat?”
“Seems we have a bit of a stalemate then, don’t we? Course if you want to continue getting paid I suggest you anchor the damn boat and keep us out of sight until I tell you otherwise.”
How long had it been? Lars wasn’t even sure anymore, all she knew is she was out a booze and bored out of her mind. Dorri and Keltyr better get here soon.
A dead storm giant was not something you often found in front of Dalaran’s southern bank. It was strange enough that Dorri paused to stare at it.
“How did that get here?” The Blood Knight mused aloud
“Some fool probably irritated it to the point where it couldn’t stay … on the mountain. I’m genuinely surprised that this is the first time we’ve seen something like this. The Kirin-Tor probably didn’t waste much time dealing with it. ”The Blood Knight cursed silently as she turned to acknowledge Gharr.
“Well, hopefully they’ll be just as quick in cleaning it up. We’re spending a few days here. I would hate to have to put up with the stink.”
“I’m sure they’ll take care of it.”
“And decorate it with rose petals,” Dorri added with a sneer. “I should try and find Corspilla.”
“Corspilla? I haven’t seen her around Dalaran, why were you meeting her?”
“Because I can’t depend on Paxie to do what I need, without taking too much of a risk. Her portals are somewhat unreliable.”
Ghaar nodded at the evasive answer and Dorri was relieved when the orc did not push. “If you don’t hear her yelling about something, maybe she’s in the Underbelly chasing down some new pets. I’ve got to head down there myself I’ll help you look some.”
Dorri followed him below the streets of Dalaran. Ghaar stopped at the Circle of Wills, looking over the location for the Peacemaker’s “peace conference.” She said nothing of her scorn for the idea. There would never be peace between the Alliance and the Horde. Even the tenuous ceasefire was on the verge of crumbling. The Warchief was making plans for a purge. Dorri was looking forward to a resumption of conflict. Lady Liadrin had promised them that when war came, she and Keltyr would be back on the front lines.
Dorri smiled contemptuously as some of the Wildfire Riders slowly circled around the area. The Circle of Wills served as a training ground for those who wanted to engage in gladitorial games and the occasional honor duel. And now a group of fools were going to meet here to discuss the possibility of peace? She briefly wondered what the Kor’kron enforcers would think of that.
Then she looked at Ghaar and frowned. Peace was an illusion. It lead to weakness. And they could not afford to be weak. She thought about trying to dissuade the orc from being part of it but then that Kaldorei !@#$% walked by. Lorelli Tymara, sneak thief and fishmonger. For the first time all week, the thought of the crates and their contents did not make her skin crawl.
“Two days.” Ghaar echoed her comment. “You and Keltyr aren’t coming?”
“We have to be elsewhere. You’ll have protection?”
“Your sister will be there as will others.”
“Keep someone between you and her. Ebonthunder would work, if she’s there.”
“As much of a dream as this endeavor is, we have to try. Now that the power of the dragons are no more, there’s nothing to prevent Azeroth from turning into a wrecked planet, like Draenor. I just hope I’m not beheaded before I can see it accomplished.”
She shook her head and walked away then. Leaving the orc to his foolish dreams.
Dorri was not sure what she had expected from Stormwind. She had never been to the human city, of course, but she had imagined what it was like. The thick walled buildings of white stone topped with tile roofs of many different colors. It was bustling, loud and vibrant. She had seen a member of every race in the Alliance as they had walked towards Old Town for the first of their two planned stops.
Dorri caught sight of herself in another shop window. Her reflection showed a Silver Covenant Quel’dorei. The troll was just as good as Corspilla had said. No one had taken a second glance at her and Keltyr as they carried four crates towards the Pig and Whistle. Quel’dorei were not common in the human capital, but not unusual enough to cause children to stop and point. Most people seemed more likely to stare at a large armored squid.
The deader mage provided surprisingly accurate directions from where her portal delivered them to the tavern. Good thing too, Dorri didn’t want the contents of the crates getting lively before they got to their destination. The amusing sign of a dancing pig playing a flute hung over the entrance to the inn. The two disguised blood elves paused and then elbowed each other after sharing knowing smiles.
Their boots echoed on the wooden floor as they moved inside. The Pig and Whistle was not quite empty, but it was early for the dinner crowd. A number of their regulars and the owners would be in Dalaran talking up peace.
“Greetings.” Dorri met the eyes of the barkeep as they walked forward. “We’ve got a delivery.”
“Wasn’t expecting anything.” The human looked over the four small crates with a frown.
“Well, the Kaldorei that ordered them said to bring them here. Her name was.. Lorelli Tymara. Maybe you know her? She did say we could leave these here.”
“Well if Lore said you could.”
“Great!” Keltyr dropped the crates he was carrying at the end of the bar with a friendly smile. He took the crates she handed off to him.
“How about a couple of mugs of ale?” Dorri leaned against the wooden surface with a broad smile. She passed one of the mugs to Keltyr, after he was done making sure the cover of the top one was off just enough to let the eight legged inhabitants could get out. It would take a few hours for them to warm up enough to be very active.
“We appreciate your help.” Dorri did not bother to hide a broad grin. They finished their ale and took their leave, after Keltyr gave the crates a quick kick to get the multitude of spiders moving. By the time those fools got back from the peace conference, their revenge for fish befouled pillows would be crawling all over the Pig and Whistle.
“These are better than lizard kabobs.” Keltyr waved the stick of savory roasted lamb with a smile. More food on a stick? Dorri was starting to think that he just liked the taste of toasted wood, but she took one of the sticks when he handed it to her anyway. “Do you really think you have to provision the boat?”
They had stopped twice now, so that Dorri could have supplies sent to where their waiting yacht should be. “It’s been almost a week. If she had any money left over, Lars’ has spent it by now. And we have to sail back.” She nibbled at the meat on a stick, doing her best to ignore the grease dribbling on her hands.
Keltyr shrugged. “Should have ordered a keg or two from the Pig and Whistle.”
“I’m not getting anything from some place that is infested with spiders.” She ignored Keltyr’s objections as they moved through the crowd of people. She stopped at one of the wine shops and had a few casks sent to the docks. “Light, I hope that she’s there.”
“If she’s not, it’s a long swim back to Orgrimmar.” Dorri grunted in response. “Lars will be there. And she’s probably picked the pocket of every sailor she’s seen.”
No good argument to that statement. They both knew that Lars had spent most of her free time in Orgrimmar picking pockets, when she was not peddling what drugs she could find. They had threatened to leave her locked up the last time she had stolen their thistle to sell on the streets. Two years spent mostly in Orgrimmar had driven all three of them to extremes. This mission into the heart of enemy territory, even with their explicit orders not to kill anyone, felt like a vacation.
The Stormwind docks were just as busy as the city. The mixtures of smells was so familiar to Dorri; they reminded her of Quel’thalas, of good times with her family. There had been precious few of those. Before she could get too comfortable, Keltyr stabbed her with the wooden skewer left over from his lunch.
“On Guard!” He took on an outrageous pirate accent and held the skewer to his nose as if it was a saber. She met his challenge by stuffing the last of her kabob into her mouth and matching him. The two disguised blood elves dueled their way towards the shabby side of the docks, seemingly oblivious to embarrassment.
They went around a corner and Lars dropped from a nearby balcony. “It’s about time. I’ve been waiting for days.”
“Did you find this laboratory?”
“Course I did. At the end of dock. We’re anchored nearby.” They followed Lars down the dock and stood in front a simple wooden door. “So, you two charge in and I’ll sneak up from behind!”
“I’ve got a better idea,” Keltyr knocked on the door and smiled at the man who opened it. “Hello professor.” Dorri leaned against the doorframe and listened to Keltyr talk. She did her best not to look frightening. “We heard you might be able to help us with something. We have an artifact on our ship and you are an expert. Will you do us the honor of examining it for us?”
“You have an art fact to share and I am perfect?” said the man; his voice raised and looking confused, “I’m sorry, young man, but I’ve got the burner on and am very busy right now, if you’ve got something important to talk to me about, please come inside.”
“That was...easier than expected. We’ll just have to speak up inside I guess.” Kel motioned towards the door. “After you.”
“By the way, just call me Doc, or Doc Verne or whatever, just watch out for the cages, the locks are loose, i’m checking to see if any of the animals are smart enough to break out.” Dorri looked nervously from side to side, examining the cages. She kept her arms close to her sides, just in case.
After going past a large horizontal copper cylinder, Verne turned a burner back up and watched with rapt attention while a liquid slowly boils. “Now while I wait for this to explode, what did you want?”
“Explodes? Should we be standing so close?” Dorri took a couple of steps backwards, while Keltyr repeated what he had said earlier about an artifact and their boat.
As Verne removes some wax from his ears, “Yes yes, this will be a controlled explosion, we’re quite safe, even this close. Here shove this in your ears though,” Verne said as he held out some balls of wax towards the visitors. “Once I’ve recorded these results I’ll be glad to take a look at this artifact.”
Lars and Dorri looked dubious, but Keltyr put two small bits of wax in his ears and gleefully discussed the upcoming explosion with their human target. The loud explosion took her by surprise and she let out a yell. The wooden table smoldered, but Doc looked pleased. He and Keltyr had already removed the wax from their ears and were looking over the damaged table and the destroyed lab equipment. Dorri could already tell that there would be plans for a spare room filled with similar stuff. There was no way that she was going to have anything that exploded like that kept in their small room.
“So you said something about an artifact? Why did you leave it on the boat?”
“It’s rather large and difficult to move.” Keltyr said with a charming smile. “We didn’t want to risk damaging it.”
“Right, well no time like the present let me just grab a few things and we can be off,” said Verne as he made the last notes into a journal under the heading … ‘Big Noise Boom.’ He grabed his hat from where the explosion tossed it and headed towards the door.
Behind Doc’s back, Keltyr grinned broadly at the two women following them. “Should be an enlightening trip.” Light, he was going to be gloating all the way home.
Keltyr latched the door to the small cabin behind him. Curious, Dorri raised her head from the hammock, placing her book down. Behind her, she heard Lars climb back through the window, where she had been heaving out her guts, again, over the figurehead.
“Right, got Doc put to bed for the night.” Keltyr slumped in a chair and opened the nearest bottle of wine. “Going to come down to a fight soon.”
“We could drug him.” Lars offered from her window perch.
“I’m not carrying him, and I don’t want you going near him. Last thing we need is for him to be covered in your dinner.”
“We’ll dock at Ratchet in a couple of hours.” Dorri hopped down to the cabin floor, took over Keltyr’s lap and stole his wine. “We’re agreed that Dawnsinger is playing us?”
“I can still sneak into the city and put a dagger in her back.” Dorri glared at Lars and the rogue glared right back. If there was going to be bloody revenge, Dorri wanted to be there. She got no satisfaction from listening to bloodletting.
“No, not yet at least, there’s something wrong here, I’d rather get answers out of her first.”
“I can get those answers.”
Keltyr’s grip on the wine bottle was the only reason it did not get thrown at Lars. “If we wanted to talk to her that way, we’d do it ourselves.” Reluctantly, Dorri added, “and we need proof. If she talks to us, we’ve got nothing.”
“So we need to find out if she’s been working with anyone else and talk to them.”
“Or,” Keltyr interjected, “we need to get someone else, someone neutral to talk to her.”
Lars folded her arms and snorted, “Well fine, if you want go the reasonable route.”
“Since I would prefer to keep my head, MINE! Yes, we’re going to be reasonable about it.” Dorri snarled back. “We only agreed to do this because Ambassador Dawnsinger was going to stop fighting our transfer back to Silvermoon.”
Keltyr pulled the bottle out of her hand and downed the rest of the wine. His fel green eyes glared at the cabin wall. “Call Gharr.” He said, finally. “The orc feels he owes us. Let’s use that to our advantage.” He grabbed another bottle, pulled the cork out with his teeth and spat it at Lars.
“I’m making the call.” Dorri did not bother to hide her irritation. Kel was not going to ask her to do it, but she knew from the way he was drinking that he had no intention of doing it himself and the Light only knew what Lars would say. That left her.
“Lars, be outta here when I come back.” The rogue grunted. “Let go.” Keltyr gripped her arm tighter. He slammed the bottle of wine on a nearby table, wrapped that hand in her hair and pulled her lips to his.
“I’m not staying here to watch this!” The rogue went back up the window and climbed up to the deck out of sight.
Dorri licked her lips, tasting the leftover wine from Kel’s. “Stay.” When she nodded, he let her resettle comfortably on his lap. She pulled out her stone and dialed the number for the leader of Noxilite.
At the late hour, she had expected to leave a message. Instead there was an instant connection. A baby’s thin cry sounded in the background as Gharr acknowledged the call. “Gharr, Keltyr and I need a favor.”
“A favor? What kind of favor?”
Keltyr went back to drinking, once it was certain that he was getting what he wanted. Dorri would make him pay in the morning when she woke him up at dawn. “We went to Stormwind to get something for Ambassador Dawnsinger. Those orders I talked to you about. But it’s not what she told us it was. And its not something we want to march into Orgrimmar with, not until we’re sure why we got sent to get it.”
“So you want me to go meet with this Ambassador and confirm you got the right thing? What did she send you into Stormwind to get?” Gharr asked, “Please tell me it isn’t something that will make things worse.”
“Nope, we definitely got what she asked us to get. It was right where she said it would be. What we really want to know is why she lied to us. She said it would be important to the war effort in..” Keltyr pulled her hair before she gave the whole thing away. “But it’s not, not really. Do you think you could talk to her for us?”
“Is she in Orgrimmar or will I have to travel all the way to Silvermoon?”
“What? No, she’s the Ambassador to the Warchief.” How could he not know this? And why the hell would they be calling HIM if she was in Silvermoon.
“As you didn’t answer my other question, I figured I’d make sure. I’ll make my way to Orgrimmar as quickly as I can and chat with her.”
Dorri heard the connection end. “How was I supposed to answer that? He didn’t say what was worse.” Keltyr shrugged.
“Oh, I am certain that their mission wouldn’t interfere with your very admirable desire for peace.” The Sin’dorei ambassador to the Warchief smiled as she refilled Gharr’s cup of tea. “Anymore than any incursion into Stormwind would affect that. “
“They are concerned that they, or possibly you, may have been misled around the importance of the ‘object’ they acquired. It doesn’t seem to be all that important to the ‘war effort.’ Though they didn’t state what war. As usual they were fairly tight lipped on information which could probably have made this discussion fairly short and straightforward. ”
“I really don’t think that the information that I could get from the item in question is in doubt. I have it on very good authority that this thing could help wrap up the Gilnean conflict much quicker than anticipated. I thought it would be an excellent way for those two, and I hope you will forgive me for being quite so blunt about this, iron clad idiots to redeem themselves. I really do not know what Lady Liadrin sees in them.”
“Do they know how you came by this information? Maybe armed with that, their fears will be alleviated and they will be able to complete this mission with a clear conscience.”
“Well I hardly think it’s important for common soldiers to know that sort of thing. They might get ideas about making their own orders.” Dawnsinger smiled winningly at Gharr and then sighed when it was obvious that the orc, gentile as he was, was having none of it. It was dishearteningly difficult to charm orcs.
“Having served on the front lines next to Keltyr and Dorri’tow, they are not ‘common soldiers.’ As I am keenly interested in peace in my time, I think ending the Gilnean conflict as quickly as possible will be in all of our best interests. They don’t spook easy, and something about this object has done that, the best way in my experience to get past that is to reveal the source. Otherwise, the mission may not turn out as expected. While they didn’t need this information before they set out, something has changed and if we know where it came from, we can get rid of those questions, and complete the mission.”
She sighed again. “Very well, if it will get this stupid little thing completed. I have the translated documents in my desk.” The Ambassador rose to her feet and crossed the room. She pulled a bundle of documents out and placed them on the table. “It’s hardly mysterious. I sent them to Gilneas to look for these things and whatever else they might find.” She untied the bundle and laid out them out.
The ambassador paused. “Well that’s odd. There was a small leatherbound journal. I was certain that I got that back from Lady Firebloom as well. She and I have been working on this matter for months now.”
“Well of course you would know Lady Firebloom. She’s been generous.” The Ambassador continued to look for the journal in the pile, thought it was obvious that it was not there. “Very generous, despite the fact that I treated her so rudely in times past.”
“Maybe that’ll help clear things up for them. Documents that were poured over for months translated by her for you. I know they and she don’t see eye to eye all the time, but for things like this, where they are working towards the same goal, maybe they can get past that.”
“Let’s hope so. I just wish I could find that journal. If you think these will help, please take them. The sooner we get this little matter resolved, the best it will be for all of us.”
“Be well Ambassador,” Gharr said as he finished up his tea, collected the documents and headed out.
Once outside Gharr dialed Dorri’tow by goblin stone, “Dorri’tow are you there I think I’ve got some information that will be of use, but instead of reading documentation to you, why don’t I bring it to you instead?”
“Hmm?” Dorri’s voice was muffled and she sounded tired. “Sure. We’ll meet you at Ratchet’s inn in a few hours. Need time to get people up and moving.”
Even in mid afternoon, Ratchet’s sole tavern was fairly empty. The whole town was empty and all the goblins were muttering about war. It sounded like the Warchief had gone ahead with his plans against Northwatch. The Steamwheedle Cartel was none too happy, but they were happy to have customers.
Dorri’tow and Keltyr had large mugs of ale, mostly finished. Doc stared forlornly at the punch glass before him. After arguing with the bartender twice, he had been told to shut his mouth or he was going to wear it. Dorri only hoped that somehow both Kel and the worgen would be distracted enough not to follow up on their plan to make their own fruity drinks that were just right. She had the suspicion that while Doc might be thinking of something with liquor, Kel was thinking of some kind of fruit bomb.
Dorri waved as Gharr walked in and then waved again as his eyes adjusted to the change in light. “Right, Doc, this is the orc we were telling you about. He’ll help us work this out.”
Eyeing the human as he approached the table Gharr asked, “Is this the ‘thing’ you were sent to acquire?”
Dorri gave a shrug and then nodded. “This is Doc. If you talk to him for a bit, you’ll probably come to the same conclusion Kel and I did. So did you find out why we got set up?”
Gharr sighed, “Hopefully we can get this all worked out. I’ve got a collection of documents that were translated by Then’liath which I guess indicate that Doc here is some key component in the conflict going on for Gilneas.” He handed the documents to Dorri’tow as the human before him looked up.
At the third mention of his name, Verne noticed the orc sitting before him for the first time, “Oh, hi .. I’m Dr. Jarrell T. Verne, … but most just call me Doc. Nice to meet you Mr. Gharr. You know I’ve never seen an orc this close before, would you mind if I took some notes during our discussion?” Verne, pulled out a notebook and began to note a physical description of the orc in front of him. “Gilneas? I don’t know what use I’d be there in any war effort for either side. I’m generally just working on things like ways to make food last longer for transport.”
Keltyr was already midway through a tirade about Then’liath when Dorri spoke up. “This is the same !@#$ we gave the ambassador when we got back from Gilneas the first time. My notes are still here!” She slammed her hand on the table with a snarl.
“There was a small leatherbound journal as well, but the Ambassador couldn’t find it,” Gharr added, “she was surprised that it was missing, would have sworn that Then’liath returned it to her.”
“What does this have to do with the harpy?” Keltyr eyes narrowed suspiciously. “You didn’t say there was anything special...”
“There wasn’t.” Dorri pushed through the papers again. “Just the ledgers seemed to hint at odd trades between some of the families and that idiotic account of what family owed what favor to whom. There were some personal papers. Some of it like all that stuff that Doc talks about.”
“I still don’t like it.” Keltyr muttered
“We’re not turning Doc over to the Ambassador.” Dorri shrugged at Gharr. “He’s not exactly harmless, but he’s not a military strategist either. And,” the paladin lowered her voice, “Keltyr kinda likes him.”
“We could just kill him,” came a suggestion from a corner.
“Shut it, Lars.” Keltyr looked murderous.
“I still think they used too much pineapple and not enough orange juice,” commented Verne missing part of the conversation after taking a sip of his drink. “I’m not a military strategist, just a man who likes to play with science, which sometimes blows up.”
“More than sometimes, I’d say.” Dorri muttered. “You see what I mean, Gharr?”
“ I see what you mean. So these are the things you two acquired, how did Then’liath come to the conclusion that this hu... I mean... that Doc here is a military strategist? Or better yet, how do we convince the Ambassador that he isn’t.”
“How the hell do we know she’s not working with the harpy?” Keltyr growled.
“When I was talking to her,” Gharr said, “she was convinced that she could get the information out of him. I don’t think she was lying. As an Ambassador, she would lose standing once Hellscream learned of the acquisition and then learned it was useless for his needs. He’s not the one to wait for a lackey to be sacrificed. We’ve all heard tales of what he’s done to the generals who have mislead him.”
“If we take him anywhere near Orgrimmar, he’s a dead man.” Dorri said with a shrug, “And I doubt the Ambassador is going to be willing to take a stroll. All the stuff here.... there is nothing about Doc at all. I mean nothing. Even the few notes I made about the journal aren’t even here.”
“I second the motion in not allowing me to go anywhere near Orgrimmar,” commented Verne, “Mr. Bittertongue and the others of the Black and Red had high hopes for that planned peace conference. My death would only be fuel for those in the Wildfire Riders who would rather kill than talk.”
“Hells, Doc you promised not to mention them.”
“Oops, sorry. Got a bit carried away in the moment. You’ll pretend you didn’t hear that right Mr. Gharr?”
“It’s just Gharr, and no I cannot pretend I didn’t hear that. This makes the whole situation even more serious than it was just a few moments ago. The Peace Conference was a bust. Fighting broke out, Then’liath was assaulted, and members of both factions disappeared.”
“Assaulted?” Keltyr was suddenly very interested.
“She received a broken jaw I think, from one of the elves. She was filling in as a translator between the factions. It was an elf who also was a member of the Riders if I remember correctly,” Gharr added, “We need to get you back before anyone notices you’ve been gone too long. Hells I think one of the others who was missing was another Rider … a dwarf I think? The shouting got a bit loud as the fighting started.”
“What’s the name of the one that hit the harpy? I want to send them something nice.” Keltyr was grinning from ear to ear.
“Illithias, if I recall correctly, I was a bit late in arriving to the conference.”
“Right, we get Doc home, like we promised him. And some sorta thank you for the kaldorei that knocked my sister down a peg.” Dorri paused. “How do we do that? If the summit went all to hell, how’re we gonna get one worgen back home. And I know we can’t sail back. Some !@# sea dog that Kel and I didn’t know took our yacht the moment we docked.”
“We get someone who can help him get through Horde territory avoiding the patrols, who also may be able to get into and out of Stormwind, or at least close enough that Doc can make it back without fear of being seen by the Horde. Once we have that worked out, we can work out what to do about Then’liath and the Ambassador.”
“I can think of a few things to do to them.” Keltyr confided. He took another long drink from his refilled mug. “All of which I’d be more than happy to do.”
“Maybe Davien can help out, she’s been into Stormwind on business with members of the Riders before. One sec I’ll see if she’s available,” Gharr said while getting up from the table, pulling the goblin stone out of a pouch. “Davien, are you there? I need you to come to Ratchet to try to stop a situation from becoming something even more serious than it already is.”
Davien looked between the Sin’dorei couple, the amiable, grizzled old scientist (grizzled old human scientist, that was), and Noxilite’s ever-patient Beholder, Gharr. After the tale they’d just spun for her, it was a wonder her jaw hadn’t hit the floor.
“Tell, me, loves, just what the bloody nether y’lot were thinkin’.” She didn’t give the elves time to answer, though, before turning towards Gharr. “Did ‘ee ken any o’this was goin’ on?”
“I only learned of the depth of the situation when I arrived here in Ratchet.”
She began pacing, long strides making her skirts billow around her ankles. “An’ how do ‘ee propose we finish this, then? I’d not be surprised if ap Danwyrith were to take me by the throat when I bring him word we have one o’his.”
“Escort him back through horde territory until we get him into alliance territory, if not all the way into Stormwind itself. As you’ve been all the way to Stormwind to speak with Tarquin, Bricu and others of the Riders, I was hoping you’d be able to assist with that,” said Gharr, “We’re also open to other suggestions.”
“We can go through Stonard. ‘Tis closest. Ride t’Stormwind from there.” She sized up the old man. “Cavale can carry us both. An will ‘ee come with me quietly, Doctor? Pretend y’re my prisoner ‘till we’re clear o’the guards?”
“I’m just looking forward to getting home with as little fuss as possible. I’ve never been near Stonard, will we have time for me to make notes of the area?” asked Verne, “Well, if I’m playing prisoner then my writing notes may be a bit conspicuous.” Noticing the forsaken’s pacing about he adds, “Don’t be hard on them, I’ve had a grand time, a trip on a yacht, a visit to this resort area, the only complaint so far is this poorly mixed drink.”
“We didn’t even stab him, or stuff him in a barrel.” Dorri pointed out, glaring at the pacing mage.
“Not helping, Dorri. We’ve been perfectly reasonable about all this and with their conference falling apart around them, they might not even know anything happened.” As Keltyr spoke, Dorri crossed her arms and switched her glare to him.
“While you’re escorting him back, we’ll figure out what to do about the situation on this side of the divide. How to clear things with the Sin’dorei Ambassador, what to do about Then’liath, and so on,” added Gharr.
“Oh, aye, that’s lovely, Dame Firebloom. Remind me t’partake o’y’r hospitality one o’these days.” Davien matched the blood elf woman glare for glare.
“It wasn’t bloody hospitality! It would have been easier to get rid of him, or just do what we were told and turn him over. But the Doc’s not those things. Hells, how do I explain this to you? We should have just marched into Orgrimmar with him.” She looked at Keltyr for something, she did not know what.
“‘Twas sarcasm, sweetling. An’ if y’d marched him into Orgrimmar, we’d be a fair sight worse off than we are now. We’ve a wee chance at keepin’ the lines open for an end t’the fightin’, an’ the Black an’ Red are it.” The ghost of a smile crossed her lips, perhaps the irony of suggesting the Wildfire Riders might be peacebrokers in the wake of the recent fiasco. Or perhaps at who filled their ranks: the Oathbreaker, Bittertongue, Illithias Ashbough.
Of course, she had only to peer within the Eye to name others who’d chafe at her desire for peace: Moholith, Mallek, Azhag.
Davien shrugged. “I’ll take him home, an’ if I don’t come home by the end o’the day tomorrow, y’ken there’s trouble.”
“If we don’t have word from you by then, then we’ll come get you. Peace be damned if they refuse to understand what has happened here,” Gharr said.
The mage nodded, then offered the Doc her elbow. “Well enough. Let’s see about findin’ ‘ee a cloak then, aye?”
“A wool one I think, something about silk makes my shoulders itch,” Verne said as he took her arm. He paused to turn back towards Keltyr and Dorri. “Thanks for the lovely excursion, next time can we just stay in the lab and talk longer about food and explosives?”