((Written with Keltyr, Davien, Verne, Gharr and Lars. Thanks guys!))
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 shit 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 ass 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?”