<So I roleplayed on World of Warcraft off and on for the better part of six or seven years, and I got a handful of short fiction out of it. Thought I'd post it here so I could see the stories again in fresh light and stuff.> Paramour It had been a matter of right place and right time for former Navy Commander Silverwright. The moon had been nearly full that night, hung high in a cloudless sky. Another sleepless night, she'd been out patrolling the docks when the clipped conversation of a pair of fishermen slipped her way over the quiet ocean breeze. Drawing nearer, the woman had spied the two men loading parcels onto their tiny vessel – instead of offloading the day's catch. She'd watched them idly for a time until the older of the two men said something that made her blood boil: “Greenskin'll skewer th' both of us if we're late again.” The other emphatically agreed, glancing at his own pocket watch. Then the conversation had turned back to the mundane, but Jocastia was not around to hear it. --- Jocastia stalked the boardwalks of Booty Bay, some days later. Midday, already dark with clouds and raining. Miserably hot and humid. She was predatory, fire in her eyes. She wore a heavy gray cloak over her old uniform, all in blues in violets, save for the bright read sash tied about her waist. She'd last worn that longer ago than she cared to admit. Faded orange and red curls clung to her face and neck, and she secretly savored the feel of the warm rain soaking through her hair. She passed a city enforcer, one of those goblin bruisers, all armor and weapons. His pointed green features showed even less joy than Jocastia usually recognized in those all-business types. Their eyes locked, just for a moment. A battle of wills, for all it was worth. The bruiser grunted, breaking off and casually turning his attention elsewhere. The woman cracked a smile once she'd passed, cold and feral. She still had it. --- Hurdaan's. Most of her coin, pulled strings, and persuasion had brought her this far. It was a tiny establishment, right on the water. She'd heard it was about as seedy as it got in Booty Bay, and given the locale, that was saying something. It was there she hoped to find just the right goblin. A small wooden sign indicated the entrance, positioned almost immediately below a more popular tavern. She pressed her way in, shoving the heavy wooden door in with no small effort. The warped wood ground against the floor, easily announcing her presence. Jocastia quickly took herself out of the door frame, making for the bar. She'd heard that Hurdaan was a big dwarf, but she wasn't prepared for the magnitude of the man: Behind the bar stood a burly man, at least a head taller than Silverwright herself – her small frame besides, still a feat – and three times as wide. Muscle on muscle, this one was. He had a thick red beard cut severely short by dwarven standards and a wild mane that threatened both the man's shoulders downwards and gravity itself upwards. If it weren't for his fine business attire, the ex-pirate could easily take him for one of those legendary dwarven berserkers. The man instantly eyed the woman, perhaps measuring her up for coin or threat or whatever it was that seedy-type barkeeps kept tabs on in new patrons. Jocastia slid onto a worn old stool, evacuating her cloak, revealing the ornate rapier at her side, pale flames licking out along its blade. The woman watched with some satisfaction as the dwarf raised an eyebrow, reevaluating her, approvingly. She made a mental note to once again thank Coehen for the fine craftsmanship. She cleared her throat and addressed the man across the bar in Dwarven: “Hi, brother, a stout if ya would.” As she suspected would happen, the dwarf's gaze softened and he laughed before replying in kind. “Aha! Oi'm inpressed! Coming right up.” He turned to fill a beat up old tankard. “Been a while since Oi heard someone speakin' that around these parts.” A handful of patrons had turned briefly when they heard the language spoken but went back their own worries. She smiled at the dwarf. “Hah, come to miss it, I imagine.” She dropped a handful of silver coins onto the bar as he set the drink in front of her. “Lotta Orcish around hereI reckon, aye? And goblin?” She tried to subtly steer the conversation in her preferred direction as she worked on the stout. After ordering a second, she was sure the dwarven man had her outmatched. Clearly he'd done this before. By the third, Jocastia figured if she didn't cut to the chase, he'd have what was left of her money and she'd be booted out no more in the know than when she'd walked in. It was far less discretion than she was happy with using in such a place, but much more of the, well, exceptionally good stout, she admitted to herself, she'd be in no position to worry about it anyway. The woman leaned forward, speaking in low tones now. “I'm looking for a goblin by the name of Nevik Sawheel. What can you tell me?” She'd already learned the goblin was Captain Greenskin's purser, richer than any goblin outside of Undermine deserved to be. Word was he stayed out of trouble by keeping to being an underling's underling, handling Greenskin's finances and that of his old Defias operations. And that the only thing he loved more than his cash was a good dwarven stout – and Hurdaan's was the best. Silverwright had good reason to believe that he was the best means to finding the more elusive Greenskin. Hurdaan smirked bemusedly at Jocastia. He rocked back on his heels, nodding to himself before responding. “Always somethin' with thae pretty ones, ain't it...” --- Jocastia parted ways with the rest of her gold crowns to learn that Nevik came in about every night just after midnight, with a pair of thugs that never bought a single drink between them, Hurdaan was quick to point out. He was fairly old and craggy, the dwarf said, with a large tear in his left ear. If that didn't make him easy enough to spot, the goblin wore a bright red Defias armband. She decided to wait him out. Patience is always rewarded: Right on time, Sawheel himself sauntered into the tavern like he owned the place. Hurdaan's description didn't quite do him justice; the mossy little puke was nigh on ancient, gray whiskers sprouting in every direction from his face, and nearly a third of the goblin's ear was gone. Definitely the man she was looking for. She watched as Nevik and his entourage – a pair of humans, deckhands probably, a man and a woman – move right to an empty table towards the back of the grimy bar. The goblin's escorts turned back in her direction, heading for the bar. Certainly he wouldn't be ordering his own fare, it seemed. Jocastia took the opportunity. Sliding from her stool, she strode back towards her mark, walking right between the escorts. Reaching the table, she stopped, trying to look imposing with her tiny frame. If the old purser stood upright, he would probably only be a hand or so shorter, but it was all she had at the moment. “I've been lookin' for ya,” she offered in a Dwarven cant. “Mister Sawheel.” At first, the goblin didn't look up, instead rummaging around in a tiny satchel he had set on the table before him. “Yeah? Well, tough luck, lady. M'off duty.” His voice sounded like he was trying to whistle through a mouthful of gravel. His laugh was worse. Jocastia leaned down, putting her face at eye level for him in his seat across the table. “Nae, I insist,” she said through a scowl. The goblin looked up now, coming face to face with her. She sensed a slight pause, a reevaluation maybe, in his wrinkled face. He grunted. “What do you want?” “Greenskin.” No sense beating around the bush. Nevik cackled, making the woman wince. His eyes sparkled as he spoke. “Don't you all. Don't you all. Not everyone can be blessed wi—urk!” Jocastia had him by the nose, nearly pulling the man up onto the table in the process. “You know what I mean.” She glanced about briefly. Nobody else seemed to care. Maybe this goblin being man-handled like this was a common occurrence. “Captain Greenskin. Where is he?” Surprisingly deft goblin hands worked to loose his nose from her grip. Succeeding, he sat back, growling, pointed teeth gleaming in the dim light. “Greenskin's dead. Long gone!” “I know you still work for him, ya little cretin,” she objected. Jocastia grabbed for his nose again, but before she could grab it, she saw stars. Blinding pain erupted from her jaw and she crumpled. Her vision went briefly to red as she hit the floor like a sack of flour. She immediately couldn't decide which was worse: the pain or the fact that the rotting old floorboard smelled acutely of vomit. After a second, her vision cleared and looking up she found one of the deckhands, the woman, standing over her. Jocastia kicked out blindly. Her boot connected with something, and, hearing the woman grunt and stumble back, she took the chance to nip up. The throbbing in her jaw was verging on disorienting, never mind the blood she discovered running down her chin from her bottom lip. Damned sucker punches. A different problem quickly presented itself, however: She was now standing in a corner, with two agitated cronies quickly moving in. She waited for little more than an instant, for that familiar clawing at her mind, the shadowy, demonic bloodlust that drove her so many years ago. With the exorcism, it was gone. None came. She pondered briefly if she should feel relieved to be rid of it or worried that it was the edge she needed but lacked. The man, twice her size and apparently no stranger to barroom brawls, lunged for her. Quickly, she drew her weapon and slammed the pommel into his nose. He yelped in surprise, subsequently thrown off from his attack. Silverwright kicked a chair at his legs while he was distracted and he stumbled backwards, cursing and holding a bleeding nose. Now she drove forward out of the corner, attempting a thrust into the thug's midsection. Fortunately for him, an ornate dagger struck out at the rapier's hilt, stopping her. The woman had swooped in with incredible speed and a blade in each hand. The other cut into Jo's arm, drawing her peculiar clear blood and eliciting a squeal of pain. She stepped back and thrust again, this time at the dagger-wielder. Once again the attack was swatted away. The other woman pressed the offensive, leaving Jocastia no chance for attack. She parried, and parried again, losing ground, once again pressed against a wall. The duelist woman jabbed both weapons to Jocastia's chest. They locked blades and it quickly became apparent that this woman was easily faster and stronger than she hoped to fight off. She grunted with effort, pushing the other away, if only for an instant. Jocastia came to the decision quickly and thought briefly about pondering the consequences later: She spoke a curse in Demonic, waving her free hand at her assailant. The woman was already moving in to strike again, but fell short, dropping her weapons and tumbling to the ground. She was silent but her eyes screamed in angony. Breathing a sigh, Jocastia stepped over the woman. She will probably live, she thought. The man, unarmed as he was, had waited for the other to finish the job, but seeing her drop to an invisible hand, he had clearly found the better option was to flee. Silverwright turned back to the table but the goblin was gone. Instinctively, she snapped her head to the door and there he was, trying to quietly make his way out. She quickly closed the distance, just now feeling the deep cut in her arm. Rapier outstretched, she growled, “Hold it, Sawheel.” He turned to find the point of her flaming blade just beneath his nose. “Spill it.” The old goblin began stammering, something about not wanting any trouble and more than otherwise, not wanting to be skewered, by either her or Greenskin. Before she should pull anything more out of him, they were both stopped by the distinctive sound of a dwarven hand cannon being primed. They both looked simultaneously to see the giant dwarf Hurdaan looking down the barrel at the two of them. “Now, tha's enough tearin' it up in here, aye? Both of ya, out!” Nevik immediately bolted out the door before Jocastia even processed it. How could something so old be that fast? She took off in pursuit, finally having a height advantage. Nevik was a champion runner, though, giving her a great chase over the boardwalks before hitting the sand to run along the shoreline. Her boots were not made for running, especially in sand, but thankfully, neither were his. By the time she caught up with him, the city's lights were far behind them. Jocastia kicked him over angrily. “You're going to tell me. Even if you die before the words cross your teeth.” The goblin sat up on the sand, scowling at her. “What's it to ya, anyway? Van Cleef's gone. Greenskin ain't messin' Stormwind anymore. Humans. I swear...” She grit her teeth. “Josrain the Jackal. You know him? Greenskin does.” “Don't ring a bell,” Sawheel replied snootily. “What's he to you? Your little paramour? Lost lo—HEY!” Jocastia picked him up bodily, squeezing his scruffy green neck and raising him to eye level. The gleam in his eyes was gone now, replaced by fear. The ex-pirate lacked expression, a cool mask now covering her emotions. “Tell me,” she said. “Now.” Nevik quaked in her grip, squirming to get away. “I'll tell you! Okay? He's got an operation—urk! An operation going in Moonbrook!” The woman's grip didn't let up, though. She was strangling him. Then came a click. Before Jocastia could react, there was a flash and then blinding pain in her side. She cried out and dropped the goblin. The woman slumped down onto the sand, now wet with sea water. She felt the darkness creeping into her vision and using the last of her willpower, tried desperately to find the communicator in her satchel.