Note: This is an archive of RP posts relating to the story of Wyeth Grimtotem's attempt to carry out orders from Magatha to kill No Grimtotem. It primarily involves members of Big Booty and Curse, but has also seen contributions from Zephyr Crew, Harbingers of War, and some others. This is not a comprehensive account of all the events, as much of the storyline has gone on in-game. As of this posting the events are still unfolding.
'...While it will be a mildly regrettable loss, should he try anything in your presence, you're free to kill him. ...'
Sihu gaped openly (it wasn't a good look) for all of three seconds before coming to her senses and hastily stuffing Magatha's incriminating letter back into Wyeth's traveling pack. Her mentor would be back at any minute, and it wouldn't do to be caught scrounging around in her things, even if it had only been originally to find spare bandages.
"Oh, No. No, no, no, no."
She sat down on the ground - a little harder than she would have liked - and put her hands over her face. Sihu had never felt more helpless.
Except for that one time she had accidentally rooted herself to the ground.
Wyeth Grimtotem had associates of her own.
It just so happened, however, that they were all long dead by this point.
Lying face-down on the floor of the Rogue Quarter in the Undercity, she was brooding silently, and trying in vain to come up with some kind of response to the previous night's little encounter. It wasn't working.
"So. What's your next move?"
Wyeth opened an eye to see Radclyffe Fair come into focus, not three feet from her side.
"Well." The Grimtotem's voice was, in part, muffled by the dusty stone floor. "I was thinking of rolling over."
Radclyffe pursed her thin lips and arched an eyebrow, clearly not finding the situation all that amusing. "Going to Darkcloud Pin-"
The words were cut across by Wyeth as she stood, albeit with a wince.
"It's not even an option. Don't suggest it."
There was a long pause as Wyeth dusted herself off, and Radclyffe reconsidered. A moment later, the Fair sister narrowed her eyes.
"Go to Curse."
Tweck sighed as she read over the letter she had just recieved.
"Bah. Well. Not that I *thought* bribing her would work, but disappointing all the same."
Tweck folded up the letter and dropped it in her backpack, then walked back outside and flopped down on the grass. So. Wyeth was going to kill No. Or, as seemed much more likely at present, get killed by a large portion of the crew while *trying* to kill No. Tweck sighed again deeply. Poor woman hadn't asked for this. As far as Tweck could tell, she'd just recieved orders from Magatha... And now, of course, if she disobeyed them she risked having Magatha after *her* head as well.
Hmm. She had brought the idea up with No, before, but No had for some reason objected to having his clan matriach assaulted. Ahh well. No could get bent for all of her.
She walked back into the inn, and sat at table for a second, writing a short in Taurahe. She grinned as she finished and shove it in her pocket. It was not a pleasant grin.
Outside, she mounted up, and began riding, west across the plains of the Barrens.
It was raining in Mulgore. Avoiding the roads, she took off across country.
A green-clad Tauren stepped off the lift onto Thunder Bluff. Nodding to the Bluff Watcher, she walked casually towards the bridge leading to the Elder Rise.
The same Tauren paused momentarily, standing in the entrance of the large tent containing Hamuul Runetotem and assorted other Druids. She turned towards the shelter that containing Magatha, and smiled slowly.
Cor and Gorm looked up as a massive fireball hurtled passed them, and heard the thud as it struck Magatha square in the chest, accompanied by her cry.
Cor sprinted towards Tauren that had just unleashed this attack, as she flung *another* fireball towards the Crone.
Gorm stood there, apparently shocked, then eventaully began to move towards her as well.
Their cries bought the nearby Bluffwatchers, all running towards her.
They were met by a wave of fiercly burning flame, that seemed to daze them all for a minute, then freezing cold around their feet.
One of the Bluffwatchers struck blindly towards where the Tauren had been, but his weapon cleaved thin air and thudded into the dirt, overbalancing him and causing him to fall facefirst after it, his feet still pinned to the spot.
Glancing back towards the tent, Cor saw the Tauren kneeling over Magatha's body. She raised a flashing blade high, then shoved it deep into her leg, which elicited a faint moan from the fallen Grimtotem.
The Tauren sprinted towards the edge of the rise, and the Grimtotems and Bluffwatchers felt the warmth return to their legs as the ice spell wore off.
They ran towards her.
And then floating slowly towards the ground, a great distance away.
Rahauro knelt by Magatha, wincing at the charmarks all over her fur, and the smothering the still smouldering patches with a thick blanket.
He spied the dagger stuck in her leg, and beneath it, half-soaked through by her own blood, was pinned a small slip of paper.
He ripped it off and examined it.
-- Magatha Grimtotem,
It would be appreciated if you inform your pawns to leave Snow Grimtotem alone.
If you feel unable to oblige me in this, I shall be compelled to repeat this escapade, only with slightly more terminal results.
Sincerely, Tweck di Esheka
P.S. I wish you a rapid recovery.
This entire venture was rank with it.
It had begun with the steady decline of a formerly reliable member of the tribe. It should have been a simple matter to dispose of him, fool that he was, and return to business. But somehow, the failure was spreading. Somehow, the bull had eluded death; now others were failing in their tasks. Even her most trusted guard could not seem to keep a would-be assassin away from her.
The crone picked up the note delicately, her eyes scanning the script as they had many times prior. So cocky, this assailant, thinking she could possibly destroy the matriarch of the Grimtotem. Magatha's hold over the elemental spirits was immense, and her collection of magical trinkets and wards extensive; this charming little attacker would not be nearly so lucky next time.
Not that she intended to sit on her duff and wait for her to return.
"Rahauro," Magatha called evenly. Her servant, lurking just outside her tent, entered with his head respectfully bowed. "I want the Bluffwatchers alerted to the attack on my person; give them a description of the assailant, and let it be known she is wanted dead or alive. Post a reward, as well. If the news of the attack itself is not enough to stir the community, gold will gain us extra eyes, at least." She shifted gingerly on the rug, still sore from the barrage, and proffered the note. "Have this delivered to the Apothecarium for analyzation. I want to know where it came from, and if possible, who wrote it.
"And as for the tribe... inform them of what occurred. Double the number of agents seeking our wayward little touch of snow. Have them seek out friends and acquaintances, anyone we can use to track him down... and once they have a solid contact, make certain they report to you. I will have further instructions for them then." Rahauro bowed and left, leaving the crone in solitude.
Magatha's hand quested through her arrangement of dried herbs until she found what she was after: a small packet made of rough paper, filled with what appeared to be some sort of finely-ground powder. She allowed herself a small smile.
Regardless of what had happened... Magatha Grimtotem was not used to failure.
And she was not about to admit defeat.
The Spirit Rise, Thunder Bluff. Xa'ru sat in the in the main tent on the rise, his eye closed as he contemplated his latest step on the path of the shaman, thought about his growing connection and control over the elements. His contemplation was cut short, however, when two Bluffwatchers stormed into the tent.
His ears perked up as he listened to the Bluffwatchers talk the the various shaman trainers, asking them questions about someone. Apparently Magatha had been attacked by a female Tauren, a tauren who's mastery over the elements possibly marked her as a follower of the shamam's path. All the trainers told the Watchers that they knew nobody matching the description that they had been given, but that they would keep an eye for them. Xa'ru's ears twitched when he heard the mention of a bounty on the Tauren's head.
After the Bluffwatchers had left, he slowly maed his way to the table where that had left a collection of flyers, each containing a rough sketch of the attacker, and a small description... And also a name.
The picture showed a young female tauren's face, a face he could not really place, though there where some features that seemed oddly, familiar. And the name written beneath the picture...
Tweck di Esheka
Xa'ru's single eye stared at the flyer in shock, his mouth gaping before finding two words.
Tweck realized something now... When Magatha's goons, or whoever was after the reward that had apparently been posted, came for her, they'd find out about Big Booty. So she made *another* impulsive move. She resigned, flicking her pearl across the room, although she picked it up a second later, and tossed it into the sea, so it wouldn't be found by anyone who shouldn't.
She strode towards the docks, then paused for a second, in thought. Hmm... According to Xa'ru, there were now reward posters up for her in the Bluff, at least, with the Tauren disguise she had used to burn Magatha. Ah well. She could do at least three seperate forms, and learning new ones wasn't *incredibly* complicated.
She sat down, and wrote a note, then folded it and put it in her pocket.
A stocky male tauren, Grimtotem by appearance, stepped off the lift into Thunder Bluff, wearing red mail and a mask.
He inclined his head towards Magatha's tent as he passed her, and gave a small bow.
He turned towards the Elder's tent, and then stopped and turned.
As the fireball flew past, Cor and Gorm were paralyzed momentarily with thoughts of "What, AGAIN?".
The Bluffwatchers sped to Magatha's aid, but they weren't fast enough... and were met by the same freezing chains that bound them to the ground as before.
This time, the note was merely dropped on Magatha's chest.
Not *exactly* what I meant.
Seriously, would it kill you just to leave No alone?
I mean, I realize he's a pathetic screwup who has caused quite a bit of trouble for you, but is saving face really *so* important?
Come on. Just a little compromise.
You could even take his horns or somesuch. Or his beard. That's always amusing.
With love, Tweck di Esheka
P.S. Also, if it's not *too* much to ask, could you hire some more competent guards? Really, doing this is no fun at all. Far too easy.
P.P.S. Heal well, as usual.
Magatha smirked and stood once the assailant was gone, completely unharmed.
"Fool me once..." she murmured to herself, letting the old, familiar phrase trail off. Since the initial attack, she'd prepared herself; her defenses against the elements were higher than they'd ever been, spiritually, and the number of charms and trinkets she employed were sufficient to avoid even the slightest hair being singed.
She was getting a bit tired of losing the vestments befitting her station, however.
Rahauro entered the tent before she called him. The apology set to leave his lips was forestalled by a delicate raised hand. "Take proper precautions with each and every visitor that approaches my tent, no matter their race, creed, or station: I want them thoroughly searched," the crone ordered crisply. "Strip any and all weapons you find, as well as any suspicious items. Cor and Gorm will then bring them forward; they're slow-witted, but they can stop a spellcaster before anything untoward happens if they happen to be standing directly beside them.
"If they refuse to go along with this simple procedure, then they've no need to see me." Then, as an afterthought, "Oh, and though I doubt it will do much good, add the description of this latest assailant to the posters and increase the bounty slightly. We've a shifter on our hands, it seems, and the name given is not native to our lands. Perhaps the Apothecaries can uncover more."
Rahauro nodded. "It will be done. The tribe has already been informed of what you require from them. We will see this matter properly closed, my matriarch." With that, the servant left.
"Yes... we will see it done," the crone remarked to herself as she burned the small note with a wisp of flame from her fingertips," to our satisfaction."
Tchann stood with her arms crossed, looking over the landscape of the Burning Steppes. Xa'ru and Shada stood with her, having already dealt with the tauren's insistance that they declare war against Magatha Grimtotem. They hadn't convinced Tchann that war wasn't the answer, but Tchann was grumpily respecting the fact that the Horde may not look kindly upon the crew slaughtering the bitch.
Shadaria stood firm. "Ah ain' gonna let nothin' happen ta mah friends...no mattah what. Even if dat means dyin' mahself Ah won' let nobodeh else hurt dem."
Xa'ru pleaded with Tchann's rational side. "T'at w'y I need ta go ta Unda'mine. Buy a more...solid...relations'ip wit' t'e goblins..."
Sighing, Tchann turned away. All she wanted to do was wreak havoc on anyone who dared hurt her friends, but that option had already been soundly denied. "Xa'ru. Do you have a spare pearl on you?"
He nodded. "Aye."
Xa'ru reached into his bag and pulled out a pearl, handing it to the tauren. "Ja mind na' steppin' on t'is one?"
Tchann grimaced, her back still to the trolls. She took the pearl and hid it away in her pack. "Ya mind keeping power-hungry demon-obsessed people out of our crew?"
Shivering, Shadaria interjected. "Ah won' watch mah friends suffa again..."
Tchann shut her eyes, thinking for a moment. "I joined this crew to be Tara's bodyguard. I've failed pretty poorly at it." She swallowed and turned back to the trolls. "I might not be around much. But the pearl will be my connection back to you."
Shaking his head, Xa'ru attempted to cut Tchann off.
"Look...none a ja failed..."
"I'm gonna find Tweck...and I'm gonna keep her safe." Tchann gripped the handles of her weapons tightly. "And I'll leave it to you guys to...fix things. I don't like politics much."
"Tc'ann..." Xa'ru said. "I want ja ta 'elp S'ada and Silkk wit' lookin' afta' t'ings for a w'ile, please?"
Tchann dipped her head slightly in acknowledgement. "If it's something I can do through the pearl, then yes. But I'm not a diplomat. I do my convincing with my weapons." She sighed, trying to expel her anger through her breath. "I'll fight to protect my crew."
Shada nodded at the tauren. "Aye, me too. Ah'm gonna try an..."obtain" anotha boat. Spreading out a bit right now may be da best ting ta do."
Looking back at Xa'ru, Tchann took a deep breath. "I'll take charge of the Flamewind, if you wouldn't mind. I'll keep it in shape so Tweck has a boat to come back to." She gripped her handles tighter. "And now...I'm not going to waste any more time. Xa'ru...good luck." She turned and hugged Shadaria tightly. "Take care, Shada."
Waving goodbye, Tchann hurried back to the wyvern master. Now came the hard part - tracking down a gnome who didn't want to be tracked...where to start?
The moment she touched the note, Meridith knew things had gone very, very wrong.
Doctor Halsey looked at the young woman curiously, peering into her suddenly wide eyes and frowning. "Is something the matter, Miss Darrow?"
Meridith shook her head, trying to dispel the feeling that the floor had suddenly fallen out from under her. The dark stone walls of the Apothecarium came back into focus around her and she forced a smile at the alchemist. "No, nothing at all," she lied, "just...a dizzy spell. Overcome a bit by the fumes, most likely." The red-clad mage gestured to the beakers and flasks of strangely-colored fuilds on the table nearby, some emitting clouds of vapor that couldn't be healthy, and smiled apologetically. Then, as she felt the panic receeding, she took the parchment with the all-too-familiar aura from the doctor and looked it over. It was simple enough paper, common tan stock with no wax seal and no special markings. It had three distinguishing characteristics, though: First and most noticably, a rather large percentage of it was stained maroon with what could only be blood. Second, it had a hole in the middle, as though it had been pinned to something with a knife. And third, a detail Meridith had known by the feel of her fellow mage's aura on it before she had even turned it over to read, it was signed by one Tweck di Esheka. She read over it slowly, her mind hesitant to take in any of it, knowing the implications of it were something she was not quite ready to face...
It would be appreciated if you inform your pawns to leave Snow Grimtotem alone.
If you feel unable to oblige me in this, I shall be compelled to repeat this escapade, only with slightly more terminal results.
Sincerely, Tweck di Esheka
P.S. I wish you a rapid recovery.
"Magatha was attacked by...someone?" she asked the doctor, looking up as she finished the note.
The other Apothecary nodded. "She was attacked by someone who appeared as a Tauren, but she tells us this name on the note does not fit. She would like us to see what we can find out about this Tweck di Esheka, based on the evidence we have here. As you've no more important tasks for us at the moment..." Doctor Halsey smirked at her, and with a nearly imperceptable sigh she nodded. "You've proven yourself a good researcher, Miss Darrow, and I trust you enough to report to Magatha directly on this matter. Find out what you can about her attacker so whoever it is can be dealt with appropriately. She and her Grimtotems have been our most vocal allies in the Horde, and if something terrible were to befall her it would surely cause problems for the Forsaken as well."
Folding the bloodstained parchment in half, Meridith managed a nod. "I will get to work on it immediately, sir." She curtsied to the doctor and, tucking the note in her robe pocket, dashed back up the stairs in what she hoped didn't look like too much of a hurry. The hall back up to the city itself was empty at so late an hour, and her first impulse was to take out her hearthstone and simply teleport herself back to Ratchet and her loft above the weapons shop. But after what Wyeth had asked of them, and with this note in her hands, she was not willing to risk running into any of the Windcutter's crew just yet. She retained her stony-faced composure long enough to give a cordial nod to Algernon as she passed and then hurried up, past the crowd as always milling around the bank, past the patchwork guards, through the elevators and into the ruins of the old castle courtyard.
Perched on her now-regular spot on the stairs facing what was left of the statue, Meridith took off her wide-brimmed red hat and set it on the stone railing beside her. With a body-heaving sigh she buried her face in her hands and thought back over what had happened at the meeting. Wyeth Grimtotem had petitioned Curse for their help protecting her from Big Booty while she carried out Magatha's order to execute No. It had concerned her at first, because she was close to some members of the crew, but No himself had always been simply someone Vaien was afraid of, which hadn't made her particularly well-disposed to him. And it wasn't as if they were being asked to carry out the command themselves, she simply wanted their protection from the rest of the crew. Ghrast had given his approval, and she and Corentin specifically owed the old Grimtotem a debt, so she was already standing against Big Booty before this. She pulled the letter from her pocket and read over it again, feeling the hint of Tweck's aura on the paper once again. It was one thing to help protect Wyeth from them, but another entirely to actually betray her friend, one of the kindest friends she had. But Tweck had attacked Magatha, who had gone against so many others to help Meridith's own people... The mage let out a wracking sob. It was all too much to deal with tonight. Either she could tell Magatha what she knew about Tweck and betray one of her best friends, or she could cover for her and...and what? And risk losing everything she had worked so hard for? It wouldn't be hard to link the two of them, once the assailant's history was known, and if the Royal Apothecary Society found out one of their trusted fellows had been associating with a gnome who had carried out a direct attack on one of the Horde's leaders and then covered it up, it would all be over for her.
Meridith raised her head and stared blankly across the courtyard. It was the very place where she was planning the next night to host an event celebrating a holiday that was uniquely her people's, a holiday commemorating all that the Forsaken had accomplished. Reflexively rubbing at eyes that no longer produced tears, she sighed again. It was clear what she had to do. Tweck was a dear friend, but she could take care of herself. Her friends in Big Booty would hate her, but they were likely going to hate her already for assisting Wyeth. Her loyalty, first and foremost, was to her people. Slipping some parchment and a quill from her bag, she began her report to Magatha.
His blood boiled with anger. It had been a simple enough plan... Go to the Undermine, talk with the Trade Princes, try and get some expensive help. It had not really suprised him that he could not afford the amount of help he had wanted, but at least his small fortune had bought the crew refuge in the goblin capitol. But that was not the reason for his anger. Far from it... It was what he had found out after, curtesy of the massive information network the Trade Princes had across the world.
Curse had given their help to Wyeth Grimtotem. The Forsaken group that had allied itself to his crew, and stabbed them in the back, offered support to one who wanted to do his crew harm!
He wanted to cry out in anger, in blind rage. But he did not... He had been warned before not to trust the Forsaken... And now he saw that he had been foolish to ally himself with an entire group of the abominations... Yes, that was what they where, abominations against Samedi' the Loa of the restfull dead.
He glanced down at the letter ha had written, asking for aid from somebody he never expected to, against something he never suspected he would need aid against.
He sent the letter on it's way...
And he seethed.
Somewhere in the wilds of Feralas, near Camp Mojache, a withered form knelt behind a thick tangle of bush and thorn atop one of the many gentle rises. Eyeless sight followed the two hulking figures, black-furred and well-armed, as they patrolled one of the many hidden footpaths of the forest. They were speaking to one another in that unimaginable language of cows, something that he, for one, never learned. What did it matter what cattle said in its own tongue?
...even still, whatever business had transpired during his wanderings could not have been pleasant. Sure, these Grimtotem had always been a little irksome, and people paid good money to see their blood spilled, but he had never imagined it was anything personal. But when they surged from the woods in sudden, orchestrated attack, it had been entirely unexpected. Luckily, he was a monster, a very good monster.
The two warriors passed. Rising from his hiding place, Orloc picked up the spear that had been serving him well over the last few weeks. Some sort of chatter had been whispering through the magic pearl he possessed, and for once in the last several hours he tuned in.
Magatha? Who was Magatha...?
Oh, great. Heaving a deep sigh, Orloc turned once again to watch the two warriors. It seemed now that the Grimtotem clan was the enemy, that many more would soon come into light, and that many, many people would be hurt in whatever came to pass. There was only one reasonable solution in his mind...
As the sun twinkled through the trees the zombie stalked away from the two fresh corpses, digging into a pouch to draw out his runed stone.
"Alright, hearth-rock. Time to go see what this is all about. I, for one, am one corpse of my word..."
Pook laid out her costume for the Ball and packed Daltrien's things together, preparing to take him to the Flamebeard household for the day. She wasn't about to put him in danger by taking him. For one...she was going as herself. As an Elf. That right there had a high probability of getting her cut down where she stood anywhere near the Undercity. And for two...
She frowned softly as she looked over what appeared to be the shape of No's sleeping form on the bed, and how the blanket draped around what appeared to be thin air as it laid over what was actually his much larger shape under the illusion he wore. Even after several talking-tos and threats and begging, most of the guards at the Garrison refused to stop attacking even a sleeping Tauren that they'd been specifically told to leave alone. Now that dawn was creeping across the sky, finally, he was sprawled and snoring, although she suspected he spent most of the night awake. She knew, because she did too...silently lying awake and thinking about things before, and things to come.
She mulled over her recent conversations with No again in her head for possibly the hundreth time since she tried to go to sleep the night before, as her hands automatically went through the menial tasks of preparation. She wished she could take all of it off of him somehow, all the worries and the problems...she had insisted that he was at heart a good man, and he had refused to believe it, claiming he was selfish. Selfish for wanting the people he cared about to continue to be around, and evil for suggesting a path for people that ultimately had to take responsibility for making their own choices. He had mentioned that Yes knew a suspicious amount about Magatha's current movements and activities. Again, she suppressed the twinge of anxiety she felt whenever he so casually told her he'd spent the whole night talking to her, that he'd wandered to the Undercity without even letting her know about the possible Dire Peril. They supposedly had an agreement about Dire Peril. He'd said she was still trying to get him to return to her...she wondered if at some point, he'd give in, and the thought was like a knife in her heart.
She had come closer than she ever had before to suggesting the shape of the future she'd like with him, although as usual he didn't seem to understand what she was saying or else didn't really know how to respond...it was all right, though. She wasn't really ready yet to be more explicit about it herself, before she knew that this time she wouldn't run away or sabotage things, before she knew that he didn't just see her as a novelty and a passing fancy and would still be there even as things inevitably went horribly awry. Before she really knew the shape of how things were, to see how closely matched it was to the shape of the things she wanted to come in her mind.
They had tried and tried to come up with a plan to deal with the current danger, but it was so hard when people kept making things worse, even with the very best of intentions. Magatha's regrettable duty to end his life had been turned into a personal vendetta by Tweck's actions. None of them were safe anymore, all of the people No cared about, and could be used to make him suffer. And then, he had said something that truly surprised her - he didn't want to be a Grimtotem anymore. After calling them the only family he'd ever truly had, and although he still didn't want Magatha and her tribe to be killed...No Grimtotem no longer wanted to be a part of the tribe that had dispossessed him, even if things were smoothed over and resolved. She wondered how lost, how adrift that decision made him feel. She wondered if she could help.
Going to the costume Ball in the Undercity, strolling right into the hands of No's enemies was probably going to turn out to be a huge mistake, but at the same time...he probably needed the distraction. Something fun and somewhat normal and social, to remind them that life was going on despite running and hiding. To prove that they weren't going to stop living just because...well...there were people that wanted him to stop living. And she couldn't deny that the idea of going to a formal event on No's arm thrilled her. Despite all her previous relationships it usually worked out that she was alone or abandoned during these things, much to her dismay. She smiled to herself, blushing...she was determined, even if it was just once, that she was going to get No to dance with her.
She swept Daltrien up into her arms and he kicked excitedly as she twirled and spun him around the room, humming tunelessly, using the steps that Erunamo had showed her. "Eh!" The baby declared, which truly must have meant that she was catching on. After a short time she noticed that the other tuneless accompiniment to their steps had stopped, No's snoring. She grinned and blushed in his direction as he laid propped up on one elbow, watching her with an amused expression. "Eh!" Daltrien said again, more insistently, distressed that the fun movement had stopped, and she started to sway a bit again.
"I don't dance you know..." No rumbled with a worried frown, watching her steps as one might watch an ancient and dread ritual of blood and death.
"Just once," She said, smiling at him affectionately and reassuringly. "One dance, and you can hate it completely and go back to the whole rest of your life of not-dancing."
"Mmm..." he grunted, tugging on his beard. "Eh!" Daltrien agreed, flailing his little arms.
Anything, she thought to herself. She would do anything to protect them, anything to see him through this crisis safely. She just hoped that her mere presence in events didn't make things worse, as it usually did...and as her mind flitted over the book in her bags, she hoped that "anything" didn't come at too great a cost.
Drumming her fingers idly on the circular stone plinth in the courtyard of the Undercity, Wyeth frowned as she inspected her surroundings.
"So what'd you think, Spots?"
Sihu sighed in a resigned sort of way, arms crossed loosely over her chest. "I think if you show that ugly muzzle of yours around here tonight, it's going to get broken. Possibly by me."
Wyeth nodded, her expression grim.
"Think so too. Not..." She gestured absently. "...by you, as you couldn't hit the br-“ She stopped, noticing Sihu's flat scowl for the first time.
"In any case. Temptin' as it is, stirring up those waters to catch a few fish, I'd have to have a damn death wish to try it now. Besides. Be an awful start to our relationship, ruining Curse's little shindig."
She pushed away from the ruined statue, hesitating a moment before sighing and pulling the younger girl in for a rough, one-armed hug.
Sihu blinked a moment before awkwardly patting her on the shoulder. "Don't get yourself killed, Wyeth."
The Grimtotem released her just as forcefully. "If I do, you can have my best staff. But don't get any ideas in the meantime, sweetheart."
With that said, she saluted half-heartedly and strode purposefully out of the courtyard.
The guard tower in the Crossroads was oddly quiet, save for the shuffling of feet, the occasional thump of a hoof, and muttered remarks.
"Miss Rogue-lady," the first deep, rich, confusion-laden voice said, "are you sure that is an appropriate outfit to wear at a costume par-ty?"
A deep sigh. More movement of cloth.
"Hold this," the woman gruffly said. Varkev Hammerhoof's eyes widened slightly as the shorter Frostmane woman thrust a pile of clothing into his arms. He sighed and shook his head.
"What are you trying to prove, miss?"
"That I'm not a goddamn pirate."
Varkev opened his mouth to speak again; instead, he ended up sighing. Several beats later, she turned toward him and spread her arms. The Black Mageweave Robe appeared to be a little too big for her, but it was otherwise pretty. The hunter nodded slowly.
"I like it, lady," he said. "But I was really only here to deliver a letter--"
"And you did a damned good job of it, my lad," Talash said, patting the fellow's arm. He blinked at her, totally and utterly confused: hopeless. She chuckled.
"Why do you need two outfits, miss?" He asked, totally oblivious to the fact that there was a scantily clad trollish female before him; her reply was rather hesitant as she hopped across the floor, all the while attempting to pull her leggings back on.
"The robe will hide the weapons if there's trouble. The Succubus outfit will be easier to fight in," she grunted. He nodded, slowly.
"And why, miss, do you expect a fight?"
Talash chewed on this question for a few moments as she pulled her vest on over her shirt, and even longer as the gloves and bracers were re-equipped. "I have a good nose for trouble, dear friend," She said, her tone far more confident than what Varkev liked. "and I know that there is bound to be trouble on a Hallow's End night. It's just the way things are, you see, mate; why else would I try draggin' Red along?"
"Who?" Varkev asked, shrugging. He had only known the rogue for a day or so; her circle of friends was totally unknown to him. The girl sighed and shook her head.
"Never you mind, Hammerhoof. Never you mind."
"Can Pinky and I go?" Varkev asked, "I don't have a costume yet, but we can go as, uh, a hunter and his pet!"
If Talash was as impatient as she had been lately, she would have face-palmed herself, then beaten the Tauren senseless with the nearest blunt object. Instead, she approached, patted him on the back, and smiled up at the fuzzy bugger. "No, Varkev," She said, slowly, "It's going to be far too dangerous. I have a more important job for you, my dear."
"A more important job?" Varkev echoed.
"Yes," Talash said. "I want you to guard my home from folk that may be likely to snoop. I have some very sensitive potions over in the corner there, and there's an old lady that likes to get in my business. Would you be a dear and make sure she doesn't try anything?"
The hunter saluted, immediately dropping the clothing, and exclaimed, "With pleasure, miss rogue-troll!"
With that, Talash descended the tower, shouting up at the hunter, "Don't get yourself into any trouble, y'hear me? I don't wanna come home to anythin' broken!" Then, as an afterthought, "And don't you DARE tell that old woman where I'm gonna be!"
T’Kelah was confused. She looked down at the pendant in her hands, she lifted it up so it caught the moonlight colouring the room with rainbows she sighed softly. She could still hear the witch doctors voice in her mind as clearly as they day she had received this burden.
“The bearer of this pendant has been acknowledged Knowledge Seeker of the clan Shatterspear. It is their duty to travel the world and learn as much as they can about the alliances of the Horde and Alliance alike. It is form the knowledge they return to us that we will decide where we stand in the next war.”
She had always been curious about everything, why things worked, how the elements co- existed, why the wars were fought, why her tribe held themselves in exile. Not that long ago she had started to catch the elders talking about her, or watching her in her studies.
“Always with the questions young T’Kelah eh?”
Was one of her teacher’s favourite things to say. It had never occurred to her that this thirst for knowledge, this need to know what was going on would land her in such an interesting situation. It had never occurred to her that they would chose her as the new seeker once the old one returned, she was nobody, the fourth daughter of a simple leather worker.
So it was that eventually she was called to the chief’s tent and awarded her new position. She had left her beloved vale and her quiet retreat to wander the rest of the world learning.
Now her race meant that most of the rest of the world creatures saw her as a member of The Horde though she owned that group no particular allegiance. Her Allegiances’ were then to her tribe and the council of Shaman no others. So she had tracked down a group that was outside both the Horde and the Alliance. A group that oddly enough called themselves Big Booty, she chuckled once more at the odd name. It had been easy enough to join their ranks; they had seemed to be like a big strange family that was just as happy to include dwarves, elves and gnomes as it was trolls and orcs.
Now she had spent a few weeks with the Crew, they were good people all of them, even the deadies that filled their ranks. Then a few days ago one of the Captains by the name of Tweck had decided to take the law into her own hands and attack a high ranking member of the Horde ostensibly to protect a Tauren crew member named No. This had caused much worry and conflict, lines were being drawn in the sand and many people were surprised by which side certain people had stood on.
As far as she understood the problem, the one known as No had a some what chequered past when it came to his relations with the rest of the Grimtotem clan and the Horde in general. Magatha the matron of the clan had decided that No was too much of a liability to live. Perhaps he knew too much, T’Kelah was not sure of her exact motivations, in fact she did not think anyone was. Something she mused that needed correcting.
Tchann was talking about writing letters, to the Matron, No was in hiding in Stormwind of all places. She smiled slightly there was much knowledge that needed uncovering in this situation. She had best get to work.
As T’Kelah had said to Shadaria she was not going to cause any more trouble, or get herself into trouble, well not just yet. Without the proper knowledge there could never be any true resolution, someone who was not know to be of Big booty needed to approach the Matron and find out what was really going on, and they needed to do it soon. She would do nothing now, but prepare.
"Sorry if I kept you." Brennen nodded at Morash as he casually strolled out of the Drunken Kodo. "Thanks..."
She sighed after he disappeared from her view. In a way she was relieved, but the discussion she had with Morash had made her tense in a different way entirely. She realized the line on which she was treading, and she wasn't looking to "take anyone out"...
But she didn't trust this situation, and she didn't trust Shadaria. Not after she displayed earlier in the night how volatile her temper had become. That was not the condition one should be in when making a decision to sever ones alliances. And with Xa'ru, to Brennen's disappointment, actually buying Shada's assessment of the entire situation, and with Tchann on what appeared to be unsure footing with regards to No, it seemed like the only rational person in charge now was Silkk.
And Vaien... Brennen had wanted to talk to Vaien about it after Xa'ru and Shada were gone. She had even tried to catch his eye contact long enough to send him a telepathic message, a talent she was still wary of showing him. Vaien was looking for any excuse to kill Forsaken, and Shada, if she didn't cool down, would give him a reason to do so.
She was afraid at first that their allies would become enemies. Now she was concerned that her friends were making enemies out of allies, and the feud between Curse and Big Booty would be initiated by Big Booty themselves.
It could all go to hell very quickly if the anger of this perceived "betrayal" wasn't brought under control soon.
The way Brennen saw it, the Forsaken had to maintain a friendly relationship with Magatha, as she was the primary proponent for the Forsaken to join the Horde in the first place. Even those who do not call themselves Forsaken did still benefit from her support of the undead as allies.
Curse has to support Wyeth in some way. Their "defense" of her is the most that they have pledged. They did not say they would assist her in any way... and her mission shouldn't be their concern. It didn't seem likely Magatha would call on their aid personally for something like this, or she would have already done so. To Brennen, their pledge to defend Wyeth was the only way for Curse to maintain the neutrality they needed. After all, if Wyeth attacks No again, it wouldn't be in defense. The only way Curse would involve themselves, it seemed, is if Big Booty made a strike against Wyeth.
They were remaining neutral in the issue, and friendly to Big Booty, and yet Big Booty was moving dangerously closer to taking the only action that would force their hand. They weren't going to hand Wyeth over, but then, No already said he wasn't interested in harming her. Which meant that if Big Booty made an issue of Curse's decision, not only weren't some members of the crew willing to respect the delicate commitments of their allies, but they weren't willing to listen to No himself.
Brennen sat alone on the floor of the tavern for a long time, pondering the situation. Right now the order was to take no action, but the propagation of the idea that "we were betrayed", and that "Curse could not be trusted" would only inspire problems. Maybe Forsaken couldn't be trusted, Brennen thought as she remembered a fateful day in Stonard, but Curse still considered themselves allies of Big Booty for the time being. That status should not be taken for granted.
Of course her ideas, sure as she was of them, could cause some division amongst the crew. Brennen was not looking forward to that. And Morash's solution... hopefully it wouldn't come to that.
Brennen suddenly realized that she had forgotten to ask Morash about Silkk. Brennen had trusted Xa'ru as captain, but as Morash pointed out, "Shada has the bloodlust, but Xa'ru has the lustblood". Xa'ru had displayed tonight that he was going to trust Shada, which meant that it would be best to take her concerns to Silkk, and see if he'd be willing to listen.
She spoke to Morash because she knew that he'd have noticed the finer points of the situation, and she'd been right. It wasn't just her who saw a powderkeg forming in Big Booty just waiting for a bad call to be made. Something had to be done before the crew was forced into a needless confrontation... Something that wouldn't tear the crew apart, or worse...
Remembering her and her brother's sunken ship at the bottom of the ocean north of Tirisfal, Brennen knew of the damage that mutiny could do. She didn't want to be responsible for that.
She only hoped that Silkk would listen to her.
So much has happened in so short a time, and now I worry if I am safe here in my loft in Ratchet. I hope I am, because I need a place for Pascal to stay when I am busy helping the Argent Dawn, and I do not think they would be as willing to watch him for me as they are to watch Susan for Maro. But I should start from the beginning...
When we went into Stratholme and finally defeated Baron Rivendare, we were assisted by a Tauren named Wyeth who had been working in the area. I don't think we even explained to her the full import of what we were doing - to her it must have seemed just another assault on the city, but with an overwhelmed, fragile mage . But her assistance was invaluable, and now she has turned up again, asking for our aid. Magatha Grimtotem has charged her with carrying out an order to kill No, and as he has joined with the Windcutter's crew her job is easier said than done. She has come to Curse asking for protection from Big Booty while she carries out the order, as the Grimtotem tribe has such close ties to our people. Ghrast agreed on behalf of the guild, and Cor and I agreed because of the debt we owe her for her help. We have an alliance with Big Booty, but our alliance with the Grimtotems goes further back, and runs deeper. If not for Magatha's aid the Horde may never have accepted us, and we owe her our loyalty for that. Cor, of course, is less moved by talk of loyalties to leaders, but he still feels honor-bound to Wyeth specifically.
I have also found myself more directly caught in this, as Magatha has turned over a note from an attack by Tweck herself to the Royal Apothecary Society for information, and they in turn have turned it over to me. I find myself in a bad position, but I fear there's nothing to do but be honest. If I tried to cover it up they would find out about her eventually, and the risk that they will link the two of us and find I had lied is too great. I have submitted a report with basic information - her actual race, her allegiances within the Horde - and I begged Silkk to leave me out of the loop regarding her until all this has been resolved. I feel terrible about it, but I cannot risk betraying my own people like that. I know she isn't fond of the Alliance, but she is at least safe among them. I cannot take refuge in Stormwind.
I don't want a conflict between us. Some of my closest friends are part of their crew, though...I would be dishonest if I didn't admit I would like a chance to send a pyroblast in the direction of that little homewrecker , and judging from their confrontation the other night I suspect Cor is more eager to have things out with Vaien than he is willing to let on. But Silkk is right. This isn't about them. He was right to be upset with me, but we are only protecting Wyeth, not helping her kill No, and I hope between all of us we can find a way to deal with this without unnecessary bloodshed. We do not mean this as a betrayal, we are simply protecting a friend as they are. I trust Silkk, and he trusts Cor and myself, but this is ultimately in the hands of Wyeth and No. Vaien suggested last night when we spoke that he didn't trust me, but then, I'm not sure he ever really has. And those trolls...they have always made me a bit nervous, and Shadaria's talk at the Hallow's End ball just reinforced my belief that they only care to fight first and talk later. They may put up with our kind in the crew, but they don't seem any better than the Frostmanes when it comes down to it. They seem to be desperate for a battle, and it worries me. Hopefully cooler heads can prevail.
Today is Hallow's End proper, so it is as good a time as any to mention the success of the Hallow's End Ball this past Sunday. The whole event went wonderfully, from the mayor's rousing speech to the costume contest. Ghrast and Plagos gave a demonology demonstration that was only briefly terribly dangerous. No and Pook were adorable as Herod and Whitemane of the Scarlet Crusade, and given the tensions currently I was glad to see they won the contest. They did deserve it, too. Silkk and Mysshe were dressed up as each other as they said they'd be, and it was every bit as cute as I expected - though I think the dress looks better on Mysshe. Ria came as well, with a pirate costume and a dwarf mask. I couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at Vaien's little stalker's choice of costume, but I'll let that go. At least it was not red. I was feeling a bit self-conscious about my own succubus costume, especially being the center of attention as the hostess, but Cor looked adorable with his warlock hat and I felt better with him by my side. There were a lot of people from Big Booty there, but things for the most part remained civil apart from Shada and Vaien, and Wyeth, perhaps most importantly, had the sense not to show up. I feel better working with her knowing she has the decency not to crash our party, certain as it would be that No would be there. Everybody seemed to enjoy it, though I did overstock the drinks a bit. I sent a note to Miss Drosh yesterday to see if she or Miss Sara wanted them for the Drunken Kodo, though tonight I may dip into that stash a little myself first. After the ball wrapped up Cor showed me a lovely little secluded spot in Silverpine, and after a while he let me fall asleep there in his arms under the moon and stars, with the ocean all around us... I've never been happier than I was that night, in life or death. No matter what comes of all this, at least we'll be in it together.
Shadaria had travelled a long way to find a place where she could try to calm her rage. She knew she was more dangerous to her friends then helpful when she was like this. But the warrior couldn't stop being angry to her it seemed as though Wyneth was out to destroy everything that she cared about. Already Shada had been forced to leave her makeshift home on Thunder Bluff, hide from members of the Horde that had once been her trusted allies, and fear for the lives of people she considered to be her family. She was struggling to ensure the safety of the other crew members and now... the one group that her crew had trusted to help them was siding with her. To make matters worse the one thing that helped her control her rage most was also taken from her... the battlegrounds. There was no way she could safely sign up for them without attracting unwanted attention. So the Bloodscalp struggled to control her rage on her own not willing to burden anyone else at a time like this but her thoughts kept wandering back to Curse, Wyneth, and the source of all this trouble... Magatha. Shada wasn't going to do anything stupid though. Not unless she lost cotrol of her anger completely... which was why she went far from Ratchet and the crew to try and keep from making things any worse.
"Que dit la loi? Tu ne tueras pas! Comment le dit-elle? En tuant!" <What does the law say? You will not kill! How does it say it? By killing!> -Victor Hugo
Corentin sat in the little space he'd made into his and Meri's haven, the shattered wreckage of a human battleship. Over the intact forecastle, he draped fishing nets entangled with seaweed, driftwood, and debris, so as to conceal their little hiding place. A large, tattered black flag of Gilneas was also carelessly thrown across the front of the forecastle, stained, water damaged, shot through and a little singed. Inside the ship, the wooden walls were covered in a collage of newspapers, woodcuts, and propaganda posters. A prominently-featured poster depicted a stereotypical Orcish grunt, rough and tumble in his spiked plate spaulders and leather harness, dual-wielding two crude axes. This is an ORC, it read. He fights for FREEDOM. The ship's slanting deck was covered over in most places with carpets and pillows, while a former cannon tube had been converted into a modest makeshift stove, pipe riding up the forward mast. Below deck, Cor made his workshop, complete with rudimentary forge and gemcutting equipment. Designs littered a small work table, and Corentin's violin leaned (precariously, considering the beached wreck, half-submerged, was at somewhat of a steep angle) against one of the table legs. Buckets of ore hung from the ceiling, suspended on chains and ropes--each one meticulously labeled by type of ore, region mined from, so on. Piles of equipment sat in the corner, whether it be Cor's or not. A visitor could certainly suspect that he was melting down weapons for use in his experiments.
Above deck, in the forecastle, Corentin was lying on his back, smoking his pipe and looking up at the poster, a worried look on his face. Tobacco smoke billowed out of his nose, bluish clouds curling up into the air. He squinted. "Why do we fight?" he asked himself. "We're in this pit of our own device. On the one hand..." Cor sat up, blowing out a long, thin stream of smoke. "--is 'No' Grimtotem, to be executed by an agent of Magatha Grimtotem for some sort of crime I'm not entirely certain of. What I've heard suggests it was an omission of action rather than an action itself, so it was probably seditious or insubordinate in some way. He's already been found guilty by Magatha, and so the question here is--can we trust the Grimtotems, enemies of the Horde, to execute a fair trial? Especially as pertains to something of this nature." He inhaled slowly through the pipe, feeling the burning smoke and the slow, relaxing feeling, then pinched his lower lip in thought as he exhaled. "And on the other hand is one Wyeth Grimtotem, the agent of Magatha Grimtotem sent to execute No. Ordinarily I would oppose such a move, but there's a complication. Wyeth helped us deliver Meri from Rivendare's control. We owe her a debt of honor."
Cor stopped, sighing softly. He stood, picking up a teapot and cup from a shelf he'd adjusted to be properly level, unlike the rest of the ship. He poured himself a cup, then set the pot back down and went belowdecks, removing the bottle of milk from the frigid water. Drying off the bottle with his shirt, he continued. "I could oppose it ethically if we were actually being ordered to murder No himself. But we aren't--we're just making sure Wyeth doesn't get killed." Corentin murmured to himself, tilting the milk bottle to the side and pouring milk into his tea. The tan swirled in the deep brown of his tea, muddying the liquid. He looked down at the surface, watching it roll like angry stormclouds. "I think we're headed towards a storm, and I imagine it's going to be as much in us as anywhere else." He sunk the tethered milk bottle back down into the cold seawater, walking back up the steps to the upper deck with his pipe in one corner of his mouth, and his tea in his left hand.
Taking a few sugarcubes from a little bowl on the same shelf as the teapot, Cor sweetened his tea, dropping them in and stirring it with a finger. Looking up at a poster, he sipped from his teacup. This is a TAUREN, it read. He fights for HONOR.
The bats in the Glades took the brunt of the Grimtotem’s anger, dropping to the ground like a macabre trail of breadcrumbs as she stormed from Brill’s town hall.
“Idiot corpse. Wouldn’t know the meaning of an alliance if it bit him in his boney ass…”
So much careful planning. So much holding of her normally acidic tongue, and a week later the only thing the alliance with the Forsaken had landed her was an earful of baseless admonishments. And in front of the two Grimtotem guards Magatha had sent, no less.
It was irksome, to say the least, seeing as the Forsaken hadn’t even done a damn thing to hold up their side of the bargain as of yet. Except Miss Meridith. At least the girl had attempted to help, even if the whole tip about the pirates showing up to the meeting had been complete nonsense.
Another bat joined his cousins, this one with a strangled, pitiful squeak as Wyeth neared the entrance to the Undercity’s sewers.
She sighed, not for the first time that night. This was starting to look damn near impossible. It was starting to look more and more like a death march.
But at least she was in the right place.
Curse has held an official alliance with Booty Bay for quite some time. Originally, you asked for our assistance in this matter, and we were willing to participate only to the extent of serving out our own interests and those of our allies.
You violated that trust when you made the attempt at a confrontation in our guild halls, during our meeting. I choose to see no honour or glory in our alliance.
We will remain neutral in this stance, until such a time as we fee that we are fit to be involved.
Understand that Curse is at a very stable place, as we are locked between those we have no quarrel with deciding to fight.
Your disrespect, however, is something that I take less lightly. You told us that you considered us disposable, and not worth your energy, but as mere tools. The Forsaken will no walk that path.
Therefore, we wish no further contact with you until our own personal situation in this matter as been changed. Expect to be contacted again soon.
- Overlord Ghrast
Sihu whistled appreciatively; a low, impressed sound that broke the normal peace and quiet of an early morning in the Silverpine Forest.
"Could this guy talk -any- more? ...what'd you do, Grimtotem? Tell him his robes were the wrong colour? I thought - oh. I'll just wait, then..."
She paused, awkwardly stuffing the parchment into her pack and leaning against the nearest fence post as she waited for her mentor to finish what she was doing. Mainly, being very sick indeed.
Shadaria sighed heavily as she sat on top of the hill near the inn from there she could see almost all of Ratchet. Normally the view seemed soothing but not today. "Ah wish dere was some way Ah could make 'er see tings da way we see dem. But how can Ah explain that there is notin mo'e honorable den protectin da people ya care about ta someone who ain' got nobodeh like dat?" She sighed again as she stared out over the water. "Ah don' wanna kill 'er... but if we don' come up wit' sometin soon..." The Bloodscalp frowned deeply. "She shouldn' have ta die fer her tribe any more den I should die fer mine. An hona ain't wort' notin if ya be dead! It be stoopid! Why won't she follow herself instead o dat dumb cow!" Shada snapped. "Doin evil for somebodeh else ain't honorable! An dere be no good reason she got ta be tryin ta kill No... so why? Why da hell don' she stop all dis? Ah don' undastand..." The warrior bowed her head and stared sadly at the water as if maybe she would find the answers in the waves.