Story: Brewfest for Glowergold

90 Troll Hunter
12530
Ranid Glowergold was not a proud man. If he was, he would never have taken the job.

He’d come up to Northrend with Nesingwary’s expedition, originally. His brother had been hired on for the Outland trip, and had nothing but praise for the venture - big game, good pay, warm nights drinking around a bonfire. It sounded like the perfect chance to get away from Ironforge, and Ranid had leaped at it like a sober dwarf after the last mug of ale. But put one of those goat-men in charge of a ship (never mind the seasickness) and, well… it hadn’t turned out. Not well, and not as planned.

He’d taken the first flight out of the Basin once the gyrocopter was fixed, and never looked back. Dalaran was where his fortune was, he was sure of it. There’d been word passed along that one of the shops was looking for a master leatherworker, and if he wasn’t quite a master he was still confident enough in his work to think he had a chance.

That was how he’d ended up here, selling thread and salt and bits and bobs to the worst apprentice leatherworkers he’d ever laid eyes on. He sighed, pushing another spool of eternium thread across the counter. “Three gold. Happy Brewfest, druid.” Try not to stab yourself with the needle this time, he added silently. That had been a mess and a half — who knew elves could bleed so much? — and even after the medics arrived he’d spent half the night scrubbing stains out of the tile.

If he was a proud man, he reflected, he’d have stayed in Ironforge where at least he was more than a shop boy with a slightly fancier title. But no, stubborn was what he was, and that suited him well enough, even if the results left more than a little to be desired.

He picked his latest project back up from his lap, checking the stitches over briefly to find where he’d left off. A man needed a decent mug holster, even if there was nothing worth drinking to be found here. His lip curled as he remember the last trick the student mages had tried to play on him. “Oh, old Glowergold, he couldn’t tell wine from vinegar. Just gather up the dregs and pour them in a glass, he’ll drink it down like the finest wine you’ve seen. What else can you expect from a dwarf?” He’d played along, of course. He’d seen what the apprentice were allowed to get away with - more than a few were from noble families, and him? He was a dwarf in a strange floating city. Their turf, their rules, and — he gritted his teeth — their ever more unreasonable demands.

The grimace shifted to a polite, professional smile in the time it took for him to set his work down again and look up at the latest customer. Dalaran guard insignia, rifle on the man’s back: “Evenin’, hunter,” he guessed, forcing the smile even wider. “Enjoying Brewfest?”

What he wouldn’t give to be back in Ironforge right now enjoying the season himself.

The man needed a new skinning knife, and insisted that there was some sort of special guard discount this week. Ranid didn’t argue. It wasn’t worth causing trouble over, and a few silver out of his pay wouldn’t make much of a difference. Nine gold or ten this week, he’d still be stuck here. Still, he scowled behind his beard at the guardsman as he left before once more returning to work.

There were a few more interruptions that night, most of them brief - one elf wanted an hour-long lecture on the differences between deeprock salt and standard, then left without buying anything - and Ranid was the last to leave, locking the till and activating the wards on the shop door behind him. He’d nearly finished the mug holster, and he considered bringing it home with him, but he’d had things go missing before. Better to leave it and work more tomorrow. He checked the wards once more, then (beard standing on end from the jolt of magic) trudged off toward the Legerdemain. Just a quick drink and he’d be on his way.

It wasn’t quick and there were far more than one, and when he woke he knew immediately that he’d missed opening the shop. At least he hadn’t ended up in the sewers this time. Rubbing his aching arms and back, he made it to his feet and headed for the door, mumbling something to the elf behind the bar about having lunch sent over. There wasn’t going to be time for breaks today.

The morning passed in a blur, and he was halfway through dealing with a customer when lunch arrived. He groaned at the sight. Not again. Swirling, muddy wine remnants and a battered shield for a serving platter. At least the cheese was good, he could smell it from here.

“Apologies, ma’am.” He nodded to the large, snarl-faced troll who stood watching impatiently, and went to retrieve his lunch from the delivery gnome.
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90 Troll Hunter
12530
It wasn’t an auspicious start to the afternoon, and the day only went downhill from there. By evening, he was quietly giving thanks to the Light that no one had crashed their chopper into the place, and when closing time came he stomped out without so much as a glance behind him. Dinner was eaten silently and methodically, and sleep came nearly as soon as his head hit the pillow. His roommates’ snoring wasn’t even enough to wake him, though it echoed in his dreams, sounding more like a goblin shredder than a noise any living creature would make.

In the morning, he realized his mistake. He was eating breakfast, a good solid meal of eggs and porridge, when it struck him: he hadn’t checked the shop door last night. Swearing, he chugged the rest of the porridge — he wasn’t about to waste it, not with how much food cost here — and bolted for the door.

Two minutes of elbowing and shouldering his way through the morning crowd, and he stood in front of the open, unlocked shop. The porridge felt like rocks in his stomach, or maybe a little heavier. (It had been a few years since he’d taken that dare.) He’d been responsible for locking up, and he’d failed.

Again. Just like with everything else.

They’re going to have my head. If not literally, well, he’d still be out of a job. Setting his jaw and straightening slumped shoulders, he stepped inside to survey the damage - and blinked. Nothing was out of place that he could see, and a hurried more detailed inspection turned up nothing missing. Had the door simply been standing open all night, and no one had noticed? None of the other employees were here yet. Maybe it would be alright, and -

As he stepped behind the counter, something rustled underfoot. He looked down to find a note crumpled beneath his shoe.

thoGut yuo cold use this
donnt worrey
washed the dore nOthens missin

That’s when his eyes caught on the keg. It was tucked away in the corner behind a potted plant, small enough that he would have missed it if he hadn’t been looking down already. The Brewfest seal was stamped plainly on the end, and he felt his spirits lift.

Yes. Everything was going to be alright.

When the first customer walked in the door and demanded rune thread (“But purple! Not green! And do you have any with sparkles in it?”) his smile was a real one, and this time it lasted all day.

[End.]
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