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Authors: Aerdrienya & Cynnara
Story Index: Index
Note: This story is quite long and is written from the perspective of two individuals. It occurs during the time that Aerdrienya went missing and helped set the stage for an RP event within the guild; formerly The Druidhood of Balance.


Stepping off the dock he peered around at the tiny fishing village. More than a few of the violet hued giants gave him suspicious looks.

Tucking his shirt in as best he could, he checked his bag and back pocket making sure he had everything.

"Come on, get a move on, other people need to get by!"

Suddenly a bag slammed into the back of his head almost sending him face first into the cobbled road. People pushed past him making muffled comments in their own language. All of them Night Elves.


After checking for a lump he put on his best "friendly" face and handed the dock master his permit paper, which said that he could actually be here. The dock master looked at the paper and then at him, then back to the paper. This went on three of four more times all the while he struggled to remain calm.

"Go ahead...", he finally said handing the paper back, "and don't take long."

He took it and placed it into his breast pocket for easy access in case he needed it again. He thought it quite likely he would. Starting along the road, still trying to smile, he caught a number of not quite happy stares.


Wow, I feel right at home, the goblin thought. This should be fun.


01goblinopening


After reaching to top of the hill he now stood at the..... "gates" he guessed, flanked on either side by two stone faced guards. Both women, standing nearly seven feet tall had triple bladed star like weapons that looked like they were positively made for skinning goblins.


02goblinsentinel


He looked up, still smiling and swallowed hard when he realized that one of them was staring right at him.

"Ummmmm.... heh.... hello. I'm here to ummmm.... I'm here to deliver a message and this," he said holding the small sack up into the air.

The guard remained silent and bent down slightly, still staring at him with those unnerving orbs of molten silver.

"Yeah, ummmm, so this is the gate in to Darnassus right? Do I just step into it?"

The guard's eyes still eating a hole through him, seemingly straight out of the back of his skull.

"Alright then.... ummm I guess I'll carry on then, since I seem to be disturbing you ladies..."

As he made a nervous step towards the gate the guard suddenly stepped out in front of him.


03goblinsentinel2


"Heh, sorry you must want to see this then," he reached for his pocket. Just as he has about to pull the permit out again he noticed that her gaze was locked on his bag.

"Oh, you want to see this? Here, see.", he said opening the bag, remembering how the guards in Auberdine there made him leave his traveling cart behind. With good reason he had to admit. Not many folks trust a goblin with a cart loaded with explosives.

Once the guard had finished checking the contents of his bag she nodded to him and motioned toward the gate.

He smiled again and quickly moved forward. Then he stopped and stared at the swirling rose colored portal.


04goblinportal


Looking back at the guard, who was now ignoring him, he said.

"Ummm this thing wasn't made by gnomes was it?"




Now standing on a small bench outside of the local bank, he took a quick look around. A number of people stared at him but to his surprise the majority simply ignored him as if he didn't exist at all. Since he first stepped out of the portal (and making sure all of his parts were still there and in their rightful places) only one person had given him a friendly greeting, a slight tip of the hat hat, and that was a dwarf.


As he straightened his collar and went over exactly what he would say, his eyes suddenly transfixed themselves on the piles upon piles of gold within the center of the carved out tree. The natural blood born greed flowing through his veins caused him to drift into a slight daze. He imagined swimming throughout those shimmering piles of happiness as if they were the warm ocean waves of Resort Beach in Kezan.


So much wealth, and none of it was his. He knew a large portion of it would eventually make its way into the hands of his kind, but not his hands. Just the hands of the powerful Trade Princes of Undermine. Some perhaps would trickle down to him but for the most part the Princes would sit on it, using small sums to fuel the steady growth of even larger amounts.


Letting out a small sigh he thought, Someday it will be my pockets that are bursting. So I guess I'll need plenty of pants with big pockets soon. Then his eyes met with one of the bankers who stared back at him both seeing him as an anomaly and as if daring him to attempt to climb over the counter.


Forcing a large toothy grin at the night elf and bowing down slightly, in a half mocking sort of way, he quickly straightened up again in case he might be pushing his luck. Swinging around on one heel, his grin faded slightly as he came face to face with the small crowd which had formed around him. All of them... what did they call themselves? Ah yes....

"Greetings gentle members of the kaldorei community, I come to you with a message for one of your own."

A few blinks, but mostly just the same stone faced looks the guards had given him earlier.

"I'm seeking elves in affiliation with the Druidhood of Balance. It's pretty important... or so I'm told."


05goblingrin


A couple looked to each other, a few others exchanged whispers, but no one said anything to him.

He cleared his throat and ran the back of his hand across his brow clearing away the few drops of sweat that were forming there.

"Come on.... one of you must have heard of them. The Druidhood of Balance. Anyone?"



Cynnara


Cynnara had been running around like her pet chicken when it was hungry all day. Her errands and tasks that she had to complete took her all over Azeroth.

She had just finished collecting wildkin feathers and some stolen alcohol in the Hinterlands when she realized it had been over a week since she had gone to see her mentor Mathrengyl Bearwalker in Darnassus.

She sighed at the thought of more traveling as she slowly walked back to Aerie Peak avoiding any and all creatures that would want to cause trouble. She didn't feel up to anymore fighting today.


Her thoughts ran through some of the recent events within the Druidhood; Aerdri's disappearance, Syl's actions while with her in the Deeps, but mostly she thought of when her and Sylardre came acrossed a plagued bear in Felwood. The poor beast was still alive as flesh rotted off of it, open sores ozzed sickly fluids, and the stench.


She had reached the top of Aerie Peak by the end of her thoughts and was now face to face with a dwarf of the Wildhamer clan. Still new to the younger races language that was called common, she pointed at a nearby gryphon then to an emblem of a forge. The tattooed dwarf noded at her then turned to a nearby gryphon and whispered something to it.

Within moments she was off to Ironforge, the great gryphon seemed stronger than the others that she had ridden before. She patted it's head softly then relaxed to enjoy the flight.


She didn't spend alot of time in Ironforge, it was overly crowded today and the forges seemed to be hard at work making everyone choke on their fumes. She returned the alcohol quickly to its owner, steped outside of his small building, and began to chant quietly as she made all too familiar hand gestures while closing her eyes.

She stopped her chanting and breathed in the now clean and crisp air. Her eyes opened slowly to look open the sights that were Moonglade. She smiles and thinks to herself, "I'm glad I know that spell, everyone else has to take the long road." She runs in the cool shade to the flight master in Nighthaven and asks for a ride to Teldrassil.


The flight was quick and uneventful, although she wasn't really paying attention. She was in a hurry to see her mentor and drop off the Wildkin feathers. Before running through the portal in Ret'theran, she notices that the guards look a little edgy today. She shrugs the thought off and continues through the portal taking her to darnassus.


She stretches her arms then feels a sharp pinch in her back through her leather. Drooping her head, she remembers the various contents in her pack that need to be stored in the bank. Sighing heavily, she walks slowly towards the bank mumbling under her breath about how seeing her mentor would have to wait just a few more moments.


Random thoughts danced in her head as she walked to the bank, her head still drooped and her eyes fixed on where her feet were going to go next on the cobbled road. Her ears twitched as she got closer to the bank, she could faintly hear whispers from several people. She paid them no heed, only focusing on the cobbled road and her random thoughts.


She made the familiar turn that marked the last few steps to the bankers when she bumped into a roguish looking male kaldorei. She bowed slightly in an attempt to appologize when she noticed that he wasn't even looking at her. She followed the male's glance and saw something very strange.


A goblin was standing on a bench in front of the bank. His eyes seemed transfixed on the glittering items behind the bankers. He then seemed to regain his composure and gave one of the bankers a slight bow before straightening up and quickly turning around.

The small goblin looked rather out of place underneath the boughs of the bank tree. She wondered what sort of greed brought him here as she thought of the Venture Company and its lumbering practices.

The goblin however, seemed to remain calm among so many that would distrust him so easily as he looked about the small crowd that she now stood in.


"Greetings gentle members of the kaldorei community, I come to you with a message for one of your own." he said. She frowned as she thought of the roguish fellow in front of her speaking up to talk to the goblin about some nefarious scheme.


He continued after a slight pause, "I'm seeking elves in affiliation with the Druidhood of Balance. It's pretty important... or so I'm told." She frowned as the goblin mentioned her order. Thoughts of Karn making deals with goblins about new dresses raced through her head. She wanted to speak up but hesitated as the crowd began to look from one to the other as the goblin spoke again,


"Come on.... one of you must have heard of them. The Druidhood of Balance. Anyone?"


She slowly raised her hand into the air, wondering if it was going to affect the Druidhood's reputation with the younger druids that might be present.


"I am Cynnara of the Druidhood of Balance master goblin." she said warily as she tried to push herself to the front of the small crowd. A few murmurs began to arise from the crowd as she came before the goblin.


Making up her mind to ignore the crowd completely, she noticed that while even standing on the bench, she would have to bend down to be eye to eye with the goblin. She decides to stand and look down at the goblin and smiles warmly before asking him, "What is it that would require you to make such a long journey small one?"




The goblin stared the night elf woman up and down. His tiny amethyst hued eyes locking with her silvery pools.

He hadn't expected to find someone so soon... it had to be a trick. Someone just looking to get their hands on this bag in hopes of making a few coins. Yes, he thought, and giving this over to the wrong person would leave him empty handed.


That's when his eyes wandered to the tabard she wore. For the right price, a good tailor could probably put together a somewhat passable replica, but surely no one knew he was coming here and more to the point - no one actually knew what he had in this bag other than the guard at the gate... did they?


Cautiously reaching into the bag he kept his eyes on hers looking for any last second sign that he was about to be cheated. Her expression just as unwavering as all of the others continued to stare back at him.


Finally he sighed and decided that it was probably worth the gamble. He knew that if she really wanted the bag she could easily just take it. Slowly drawing his hand from the bag, he had in it a neatly folded tabard, identical to the one the woman before him had on.


He let out a nervous chuckle, "Now I know what you're thinking and I'll tell you right now that I didn't have anything to do with it. I'm just a simple messenger who happens to deal a little business on the side."

Stretching his arm out as if feeding a lion he handed the tabard over to her.


"It belongs to your fellow druid. She said her name was AIR-DREE-EN-YAH," he sounded it out as best he could, "and that this would prove my innocence. I'm just lucky I managed to find it." He suddenly seemed rather proud after stating that.


He noticed that her expression had changed, ever so slightly. He couldn't tell exactly what that meant but it was definitely different now. "There are a few other things too..."


He reached into the bag again and pulled out a tan colored wide brimmed hat, a ring (which appeared old or well used) and a small map.


"These were the only things that I could find. If I had been caught....", he trailed off and a sense of fear came to his face and then he quickly recovered, "The hat and ring are hers, the map is mine but I never used it. I know a couple of the words but they should be the only ones you'll need."


He handed the hat and the ring over readily.


"Now this is where I come in", he forced one of those smiles that goblins seemed so good at, "As I said before, I'm an honest goblin doing honest business and I have to eat too y'know. No no, I don't want your money. I have something in mind that is worth more to me than the contents of your purse."


Reaching again, this time for his back pocket, he pulled out a piece of rolled up parchment wrapped in a stamped leather fastener. "You see I work in contr... ummm... business agreements. My employer is what has become fashionably know as a Trade Prince."


Thumbing at the parchment a bit a twirling the fastener around nervously he noticed that the woman's expression had changed yet again. Still as cryptic as before but if he had to hazard a guess he'd probably say that it was bordering on frustration or even anger. He knew though that even those guesses would be a complete shot in the dark and stemmed mostly from his own feelings if the situation had been reversed.


Clearing his throat a bit he continued, "Although he prefers not stating his name, I can assure you that he is neither Sam Steamwheedle nor Yanik Venture. The seal, both here on the fastener ands at the bottom of the contr... agreement, is distinctive to him alone just as all of the Trade Princes have their own."


[image]


He handed the letter over to her and added at a much quicker pace now. "Basically all it says is that YOU -The Druidhood of Balance- will owe him one favor which will be redeemed by him at some time in the future, once the ports of Undermine have opened up to the general populace. It also states that it will not force you to comply with any action which may violate the terms already in place by your order or those of the Cenarion Circle."


Already holding out an odd looking pen, a bottle of ink though, was no where to be seen.


"All you have to do is sign the bottom and I am to let you know where she is and what to expect."


He then added with some hesitation, "And believe me lady, if it weren't for my employer breathing down my neck, I'd tell you everything I know free of charge... just because... well... your friend helped me a bit... she has a talent for healing she does. Even without any of her magics."



Cynnara


If Cynnara felt uneasy talking to this goblin, she hid it well. Her mind was playing out several scenarios that might take place as the goblin began to reach into his bag; a bomb, severed limbs of a friend, some lost relic with unknown power... She hated unknowns, too many things to take into account, too many actions and reactions that needed to be thought through.


She readied her mind for the worst as the goblin began to withdraw his hand from the bag. Time seemed to have slowed to a stand still, was it a dagger waiting to gut her or something worse? She remembered the contracts she made back in Booty Bay and Gadgetzan and knew how determined a goblin could get once one was hammered out. She knew if he tried anything the guards would take him down in an instant, she also knew that a goblin would go to great lengths when promised great sums of money. She had others to worry about now and couldn't afford to make any mistakes.


The goblin's hand finaly came out of the bag, her mind almost exploded when she saw what the goblin was holding. She recognized her order's tabard immediately and before she could even open her mouth the goblin let out a nervous chuckle and said, "Now I know what you're thinking and I'll tell you right now that I didn't have anything to do with it. I'm just a simple messenger who happens to deal a little business on the side."


Cynnara almost lost her temper at the goblin's mention of "business". It had been the Venture companies "business" to deforest the land and the Steamwheedle Cartel's "business" to loot and plunder from the less fortunate. What little respect she had left for the goblin race was slowly evaporating away.


Cynnara guessed that by the goblins slow movements that he could sense her anger. She tried to calm her mind as she took the tabard from him and quickly looped it through her belt. She wanted to ask him where and whom he got it from but had struggled greatly with the simply two sentences she had said earlier and suspected that he was no closer to mastering darnassian then she was to mastering common. She locked onto his eyes and fought to remain focused on the task at hand and not onto her thoughts that were fighting each other in her mind.


"It belongs to your fellow druid. She said her name was AIR-DREE-EN-YAH," Cynnara was not prepared for this, she was caught off her guard at this sudden turn of events. She fought even harder to keep her mind focused. Cynnara's head was begining to hurt, too many things to take into account... too many actions and reactions to consider.

Cynnara focused on how he said Aerdri's name, maybe that would ease her mind. Aerdri had been seen and may still be alive, why else would this goblin bring a tabard of her order and mention someone that had gone missing. Maybe he was holding her hostage, coming here with proof and soon to demand a ransom. Cynnara came back to focus on the goblin as he mentioned something about him being innocent. She cursed herself in her mind, "Focus Cynn! Damn you, focus! You have to remember this!"


"There are a few other things too..." he said as he began to reach into his bag again. She tried not to think of what else he had in there but couldn't stop her racing mind. A lock of hair, a finger with a ring, an ear... She wanted to close her eyes, she didn't want to see what the goblin was going to show her next but her eyes remained fixed onto his and her face showed no signs of the struggle within her mind. He pulled out a tan colored wide brimmed hat, a ring, and a small map. Cynnara glanced at his bag quickly and noticed that it seemed to now hang loosely in his grasp. She tried to convince herself that there was nothing else in his bag, that there would be no physical pain now, only his words could hurt her now.


"The hat and ring are hers, the map is mine but I never used it. I know a couple of the words but they should be the only ones you'll need." the goblin said and seemed a little too eager to be rid of the two items as Cynnara took them from him and folded them into the tabard in her belt.


"Now this is where I come in", she knew this was coming, there was always a catch with goblins. Some fine print to be read, something muttered after a hastily made agreement, it was never simple with goblins when it came to... almost everything she thought. "As I said before, I'm an honest goblin doing honest business and I have to eat too y'know. No no, I don't want your money. I have something in mind that is worth more to me than the contents of your purse."


Cynnara watched his eyes as he began to reach for his back, "More! There's more than what was in the bag?!" her mind screamed. Her eyes fixed upon his, waiting for some evil glint that would signal sinister intentions.


He pulled out a piece of rolled up parchment wrapped in a stamped leather fastener from some unseen back pocket and said, "You see I work in contr... ummm... business agreements. My employer is what has become fashionably know as a Trade Prince."


Cynnara held back a growl that almost formed in the pit of her stomach. She didn't want to give this goblin any reason to increase his price or delay stating what he wanted. He seemed to notice her frustration and nervously unbound the leather fastener on the small parchment as he looked at her.


"Although he prefers not stating his name, I can assure you that he is neither Sam Steamwheedle nor Yanik Venture. The seal, both here on the fastener and at the bottom of the contr... agreement, is distinctive to him alone just as all of the Trade Princes have their own." Cynnara felt hopeless now... Two of the trade princes were easy enough to deal with only because she had dealt with them before. This new one however... Too many things to consider.


The goblin began to hand Cynnara the letter and before it even left his fingers he hastily said, "Basically all it says is that YOU -The Druidhood of Balance- will owe him one favor which will be redeemed by him at some time in the future, once the ports of Undermine have opened up to the general populace. It also states that it will not force you to comply with any action which may violate the terms already in place by your order or those of the Cenarion Circle." Her fingers roughly grabbed at the letter and almost tore one of it's corners in her now firmly clamped fist.


She almost gasped as she realized that the goblin was quicker than she gave credit. Before he had even stoped talking, he held out an odd looking pen and wagged it in front of her. Cynnara was now growing worried, smart goblins sent someone else to do their dirty work for them, the smartest however sent someone that could get the job done. She was almost fearful of the pen as she slowly reached out to take it from him, her grip on the letter loosened as she now held onto the odd pen. Her arms dropped to her sides and she waited for whatever was to happen next.


"All you have to do is sign the bottom and I am to let you know where she is and what to expect."

Cynnara slowly knealed down next to the bench and placed the letter onto it, she felt like she was about to sign not only Aerdri's life away but the entire order's as well. Her mind was empty now, she abandoned all thoughts, this was too important to forget. She stared at the paper and heard the goblin say, "And believe me lady, if it weren't for my employer breathing down my neck, I'd tell you everything I know free of charge... just because... well... your friend helped me a bit... she has a talent for healing she does. Even without any of her magics."


Cynnara shook her head slowly and slowly signed the letter in common, it was the only word she knew how to spell in the strange language. She felt as if a heavy burden had been placed upon her and thought to herself, "Anything to get Aerdri back...I just hope I am up to the task."


Without standing or even looking at the goblin, Cynnara handed him the now signed letter and leaned heavily onto the bench. She felt the letter be pulled through her fingers and let forth a heavy sigh. She concentrated on all that she had learned from talking to the people in the eastern kingdoms and with much frustration in her voice she said, "What do I do?"




He slowly reached out, taking the parchment in his hand. The night elf didn't bother looking at him anymore. She simply remained there, kneeling by the bench, head down. It was obvious that she wasn't comfortable with what she had just done but he knew that she probably felt like she didn't have any other choice. Were this any other situation with any other person the goblin would have just written it off in his mind simply as "business", but for some reason... this time he felt different.


Damn me. he thought both for the way he felt – weak, and for even coming here in the first place. He folded up the "agreement" and put it back into his rear pocket.


Still looking at her he finally mustered the courage to get to the details. He cleared his throat and continued...

"Ok, now that the uncomfortable part is over with, first things first." he said as he dangled the small map near the elf's head hoping she would look at it.


"And second..." he added as he knelt down on the bench nearer to her. He looked around again. Most of the crowd had wandered off now. The novelty of a goblin inside of their great city didn't seem to be and oddity anymore. He decided to lower his voice to a whisper anyway... just in case.


"She's being held in the city of the Dark Irons. They seem to refer to it as Thaurissan, named after their great leader. She works deep within the mountain, in the quarry. But since she is.... ummmm... smaller in weight she only works there in short shifts. Apparently they have her doing some other stuff... ummmm... more "suited" to her elven abilities. Translations or something.”


"Usually at night for three or four hours she'd be in the quarry and in my opinion this would be the only time that you and your troupe would stand a chance of freeing her. The patrols there are very light for some reason and both the entrance to the mountain and the main hall are completely devoid of sentries. There is a large chain there. It leads the way down to the passages that will open into the quarry area."


Still trying to remain calm, he took another look around. Fairly sure no one was listening he looked back to the elf, who hadn't moved. His hand still holding the map out for her.


"And oh yeah, as for this map," he placed it on the bench before her, her makeshift desk. "Like I said, I've never actually used it before. For two reasons really. The first being that I've never really needed it and second because most of the words are just gibberish. I do know two though and I marked the translations there already. But you're probably well traveled and most likely this will be as useless for you as it was for me."


Hopping down off of his podium he picked up his bag, checked his pockets and straightened his collar again. No tell tale signs of anything from her. He only hoped that she was't having any last second thoughts that may turn out to be “bad for his health”.


"I guess that's it then. You know what I know, and if you don't have any last questions, I'd like to get off this island as soon as I can." he tapped an odd looking device wrapped around his wrist and then looked around half expecting to see guards bearing down upon him. At that thought he quickly added, "As a matter of fact I only have a few minutes before my permit expires."

Previous: IV. Like a Shroud
Next: V. Severed

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