Skaedi stopped between the Cleft of Shadows and the gate to the Valley of Honor and fussed with the wooden slats, keeping them in a semblance of order and in her arms. The coil of rope over her left shoulder threatened to slide down as if in conspiracy with the slats, and she shoved it back in place. Orgrimmar was oppressively hot this late summer day, and the noon sun over head made the heat worse. Skaedi was in too good a mood to care. Gravy had finally consented to letting her build window box planters. For herbs he could use in his own brewing, cooking and cleaning, but sneaking in a flower or two behind his back would be easy. She’d spent the last hour dickering with the city’s lumberyard for materials.
She shifted her weight from foot to foot, eyes veiled in thought. She should get wire mesh as well, to protect the seedlings from the birds nesting in the cliffs. The lumberyard had wire mesh. Droffers and Son Salvage might, too. The lumberyard was at the other end of the Drag near the Valley of Wisdom, the salvage shop only yards away. The foreman at the lumberyard hadn’t been pleased to see her, though; he’d likely raise the price out of spite. He would have it, however, while the salvage shop’s inventory changed daily. Besides, Dran Droffers’ jokes were so old, and his comments about what a “dummy female” shouldn’t be doing even older. Was she in the mood to deal with that? And Malton would ask about her succubus….
Ah, well, a quick peek around the Droffers’ wouldn’t take too long. She turned toward the shop.
A fully-armored guard stepped in front of her.
“You. Blood elf. Come with us.”
“Hmm?” Skaedi blinked at the guard. She wasn’t alone. An orc male in the same heavy armor stood next to her. Skaedi turned her head; two more guards behind her.
“What’s going on?”
“No one but orcs are allowed to gather in the Drag, by the Warchief’s orders,” the male guard rumbled. His voice sounded familiar.
When did that order happen? “But I’m not loitering. I was trying to make up my mind where to go.”
The female guard snorted. “That’s loitering.”
“Fine. I apologize. I’ll be on my way.”
“You’re coming with us. Non-orcs in Orgrimmar malingering cause trouble and are a threat to the Horde.”
‘This is ridiculous!” She glared at the male guard, and memory clicked. Gurin. The orphanage children had been Skaedi’s first playmates her own age; Gurin had been an older boy, marking time until he could train with the warriors and lording it over the younger orphans. He had teased and tormented her mercilessly as a ‘pink-skinned weakling’ until she flattened him with a solid right hook to the jaw. “Gurin,” she said, keeping her voice calm, “you kept Matron Battlewell and Tosamina off our backs while the rest of us worked on the garden. You know, the one in the shape of the Horde flag? Do you really think I’m a threat to the Horde?”
Gurin just stared at her. The female orc gestured sharply, and heavy, gauntleted hands grabbed Skaedi by the shoulders.