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Archive for March 31st, 2011

((This is the follow-up to Shunk))

Dorri’tow watched suspiciously as Ambika handed over yet another teddy bear shaped cookie to Fenniel. She had been watching this strange doling out of snacks the entire time they were crawling around the dank tunnels filled with naga and their ilk. Neither Ghaar or Verdus seemed to have noticed anything peculiar about the usually diffident priestess providing treats to the Sin’dorei hunter.

“These cookies are good, did you make them?” Fenniel continued munching contentedly.

The troll priestess, Ambika, answered without any signs of irritation, “yes.”

Fenniel smiled in return. “You’re a good baker.”

Meanwhile, Dorri stared at the priestess suspiciously. “You cook?” The paladin muttered angrily to herself as she scowled at everyone around, “why does everyone cook?” The “but me” part of that complaint went unsaid.

“They are diet cookies.”

The announcement from the priestess caused Fenniel to blink hesitantly. “What?”

Ambika continued, overriding Fenniel’s question, “or, at least, not make the problem any worse.”

The hunter seemed confused by Ambika’s words. “What problem,” he asked.

Fenniel was distracted from Ambika glaring at his prominent beer belly by Dorri’tow poking him.

“Fork over a cookie!”

“I don’t have any.” Before Dorri could snarl at him, the hunter quickly pointed at Ambika, “She does!”

Dorri’tow turned to look at Ambika and the priestess calmly held out a cookie. “Knock yourself out.”

Still looking suspiciously at the priestess, Dorri started nibbling on one of the cookie’s feet.

“I still don’t understand what the problem is.” Fenniel said. Behind him, the orc shaman, Ghaar was watching the murloc minions walk their patrols in the distance.

“What? That you’re fat?” Dorri asked.

“Oh.” The hunter hung his head dejectedly.

“Hells,” Dorri cursed at him, causing him to slump down a little more. “Don’t start that!” She growled at him in frustration.

“You’re not fat, Fenn.” Verdus said. The druid’s voice was filled with quiet patience. Fenniel smiled up at Verdus, warmed by the words.

“He is too. If he wasn’t he wouldn’t have gotten stuck.”

“Keltyr got stuck.” Verdus pointed out the obvious hole in her logic, but Dorri was having none of it.

“That was armor!” Dorri protested with a fierce scowl at the offending Tauren.

“He is well above the ideal weight for a person of his height and build.” Ambika spoke with authority, but the druid and paladin were too deep in their argument to pay attention.

“You think mail doesn’t take up any space?” The Tauren druid began to raise his voice to match Dorri’s.

“Keltyr is not fat!”

“Exactly!” Verdus looked smug. “And neither is Fenn.” He took a few steps back as Dorri raised her axe, narrowed her eyes and took a few steps towards him.

“Can we handle this social issue after we finish clearing this place out? The gilgoblins are laughing at us.” Ghaar tried to distract the rest of the group to no avail.

Equally ignored was Fenniel, still slouching dejectedly. “I wear mail armor.”

Still glaring at the Tauren, Dorri’tow muttered under her breath about steak and diets. Finally she turned to stare at the goblins which were standing at a bend in the cavern, chattering in their high pitched language and pointing at them.

“Oh please, as if you have ever even seen a steak!”

Goblins forgotten, Dorri whirled back around to face Verdus. “What is that supposed to mean?”

To the side, Fenniel dug a bit of cake out of his pack and handed it to Ghaar. The shaman started to eat with resignation. They were not going to go anywhere while the big-haired paladin and Verdus settled their dispute.

“It means, Dorri, that you could do with a slice of cake sometime. Or maybe a sandwich.”

“Ugh,” Dorri looked at Fenniel as she spoke, looking a bit green. “Don’t say cake. I’ve seen where Fenniel keeps cake.”

“In a pocket?” Ghaar asked, still eating. Ambika refused to look at any of them, as the argument continued.

“Loincloth!” Dorri shouted.

“That was just one time!” Fenniel protested, shoving his glasses back up his nose.

“It was disgusting!” Dorri pointed her finger in her mouth and made retching noises.

Ghaar looked at Fenniel oddly and then at the cake he was not eating.

“It was my wedding.” Fenniel told the shaman, sheepishly. “It was the mushrooms.”

“Oh.” The orc shoved the rest of the cake in his mouth, without a care. “That’s different.”

“It was disgusting and just wrong!” Dorri glared at all of them.

“Seriously, eat a sandwich, woman.” Growling, Dorri snatched another cookie out of Ambika’s hand, and stuffed it in her mouth. She chewed as loudly as she could and then flashed the contents of her mouth at the annoying Tauren. “Really? You’re trying to prove me wrong with diet cookies? Really?” Verdus sighed deeply, as Ambika pinched the bridge of her nose. Dorri continued to glare at the Tauren. “Let’s just kill some things, `kay?”

“Fine!” Dorri whipped around, her axe inches away from Fenniel’s face as she turned. As she stormed towards the amused gilgoblins, she muttered constantly about how she really did eat.

Later, as they gathered at the stone circle where the Earthern Ring shaman had created portals and Ghaar took his leave, four of them checked their equipment one last time. It would not do to have an unseen gilgoblin poisoned dart prick someone when they were far from help.

A look of sudden resolve crossed the Sin’dorei hunter’s face. “So, why are they diet cookies?”

“Cause you are fat.” Dorri’tow repeated, with an irritated glare that caused Fenniel to hang his head.

“He’s not fat!” Verdus loomed over the paladin, frowning. “Stop that!”

“He is overweight.” Ambika said.

At the same time Dorri said, “He’s pudgy.”

Verdus agreed, “a little, yes.” He was reluctant to give the paladin even that much agreement. “But there is a big difference between that and fat.”

“Are you sure?” Dorri asked the Tauren.

“Yes.”

Ignoring the debate about what constituted fat, who was fat (Hallis Boarhorder for example), and how Fenniel was not fat, Ambika addressed Fenniel directly. “The cookies will take more effort to digest than the calories it will provide.”

Fenniel looked at the priestess and then his other two friends who continued to argue. He shrugged and said sheepishly, “I was just asking, you know, what’s the difference between normal and diet cookies.”

At this point, Verdus threw up his hands and said, “anyway, pleasure as always. I’m heading home now.”

Everyone gave their good-byes to the druid, even the grumpy paladin.

And then Fenniel piped up again, “I still don’t know what’s in the cookies.”

Grinning from ear to ear, Dorri leaned forward to speak into Fenniel’s ear. She kept an eye on Ambika as she spoke, “Probably something gross, like slugs or the bones of gnome babies.”

Unaffected by Dorri’tow’s obvious ploy to rankle her, Ambika asked, “How do they taste?” Fenniel frowned. “You don’t ask questions about the soup the bartender feeds you. I don’t see why you would care what is in my cookies.”

“He doesn’t call it diet soup.”

“No he doesn’t.” The troll priestess smirked.

Off to the side, Dorri said, “Because the bartender can’t burn out his mind with a look, maybe?” She shrugged. “Just a guess.”

“I’ve never rocketed into his ribs either.” Fenniel flushed in embarrassment as he spoke.

“They are just cookies.” Ambika took a deep breath and frowned. To Dorri’s disappointment, however, the prickly little troll priestess did nothing more than that. She did not even glower. “They will not kill you.”

Looking from the troll to Fenniel, Dorri came to the conclusion that neither of them was going to give her the satisfaction she wanted. Besides, she did not want Fenniel going back to hiding on his sister’s couch. “Look,” She said as sincerely as she could, “I have never known Ambika to lie. Hedge around the truth a little, but never lie. If she says they are cookies, they are cookies.”

Fenniel slipped his hand into his pocket and finally just nodded. “Okay.”

“Okay!” Dorri clapped him hard on the shoulder, smothering a laugh as he stumbled forward. The three of them parted for the evening.

Accommodations in the hastily constructed fort in the twilight highlands were small, dark and crowded, which meant that Dorri and Keltyr tended to spend most of their downtime out on the ramparts. They had even taken quarters that opened onto them, just for the extra space.

In the faint afternoon sun, Dorri took a brush to her armor, seeking to rid it of dirt that Keltyr was certain did not exist. When she was done scrubbing, there would be the polishing. Thinking about watching her do all that work made him hungry.

“Hey, I’m going to get a sandwich. Do you want one?” Dorri’tow whirled on him in a fury. Kel knew by the look on her face that he had said something wrong. He did not have time to avoid the fist that hit him right in the face. “Hey!” He said as she stormed past him. “What was that for?”

“I do so eat!” She snarled back and slammed the door behind her.

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