Bloodwen: Part VEdit
The rift ray rose through the murky waters, limping along with its damaged fin. Falais tugged the reins, prodding the creature higher towards the light filtering through the seaweed. It protested by letting out a whistle, but the blood elf ignored it, setting his lips in a thin line.
Sutera leaned against the dome, eyes closed. The throbbing in her skull continued despite the distance they had traveled from the Maelstrom. Scattered images flitted through her brain, fragmented whispers of memory she could never quite grasp hold of. Some of the ghosts talked, mouths moving in silent conversation. Some rose against her. Others…others screamed and cowered, pleading as tears rolled down their faces.
These she could not flee far enough from.
Teake watched, stabs of pain lancing into his scalp. A knot had formed from where he had hit his head during their stormy encounter. Though the stars had passed, the blow pulsed a steady reminder.
She had changed. He could not put his finger on it, but something was different about his golden-eyed companion. Where before she gazed at the world with an almost vacant expression, now there seemed to be some flicker of recognition. This was especially true when she looked at him. Instead of curiosity, there was a warmth. This emotion was short lived, for she would look away, unspoken questions perching on the edge of her lips.
Falais threw up his hands, cursing. “That is it,” he said. “The ray will go no further. I think it is afraid of predators so close to shore.”
“What will we do?” Sutera asked. She could not gauge the distance to the surface.
“Steamwheedle is but a short swim away. The ray will float towards the surface, then open the dome for us to ascend. After that, we are on our own.”
Falais placed both hands on either side of the dome as the creature lurched, rising through the depths. Injured, it leaned to one side as it pushed upwards, only stopping long enough to right itself. The waters grew lighter, the sun’s rays piercing through the dome with each lurching motion.
They finally broke the surface.
The dome dissipated, letting the salty air brush against their skin. The ray would not let them revel in it too long, for the turtles on shore might see and decide to pursue the creature. At its low whistle, Falais motioned them into the water, sliding down the uninjured fin to plunge into the sea.
This close to the surface the water was warm. As they swam, they spotted the domed buildings in the distance. White and light brown, they seemed a mirage against the heat of the desert. Though a dock stood ready to accept any visitors or merchants, no ships graced the small port.
Falais guided them just outside the protective reach of the guards. A sudden appearance could very well spook them, the sharp-eyed goblins picking them off before they could approach. Rising as his feet touched the sands, he shook the water from his cloak. The sun would quickly dry them.
The assassin turned to regard his companions, Sutera rising from the waves like some sea-born goddess. Her scant clothes, those afforded by the corrupted guards, clung to her. Tendrils of blonde hair snaked in front of her face, sending rivulets of water down her cheeks. The golden hue of her eyes only added to the allure, and he found himself questioning his mission as he gazed upon her.
Then Teake stepped between them, reading Falais's expression. The large Tauren had lagged behind, twisted hands doing little to help pull him through the waves. Only through Sutera’s good graces and strong arm did he arrive, no thanks to Falais. He scowled at their guide, shaking his head to send a spray of salt water splashing over them. While the blood elf grimaced, Sutera laughed.
Steamwheedle Port was small. Smaller, in fact, than most ports in Azeroth. Every blue moon or so a ship from the Undermine would stop by, unloading cargo or picking up supplies. Those days were busy, as the workers at the port had to suffer through the labor, but also had to keep an eye out for the nefarious pirates. The scurvy dogs would wait just outside their cove to pounce on the ship once it left port.
Sometimes before it came to port.
The goblins won more battles than they lost. This was in no small part due to their varied and confusing schedules. It was also thanks to whatever adventurer happened to stumble into the small town during a sandstorm, often coaxed into fighting the pirates for a small bit of change.
Most days, however, most days were boring. That was why, when the security officers first saw the companions shuffling through the sand, the town erupted into activity. Stoley laid out his finest wines and liquors and Haughty Modiste threw open the doors to her small shop. Security Chief Bilgewhizzle, however, shouldered his rifle, strapped on his sword, and went with a cadre of soldiers to properly greet their guests.
“What d’ya want?” he asked, craning his neck to stare at Falais’s dour expression.
The assassin took note of the blue armored, green skinned goblin. He seemed well armed. Despite the days and weeks of boredom he carried his weapons as if he practiced every day. The same could not be said of his men, however, one of them dropping his ammunition belt into the sand as it fell from around his waist.
“Room and board for the night. A ship to Northrend, if such a thing exists. Provisions. We will be on our way come morning.”
Once they passed Bilgewhizzle’s examination, the Port was very accommodating. A few spare rooms were opened for them. The resident chef whipped them up something to eat, their stomachs rejoicing at the meal. Modiste ushered them into her shop, all the while chattering about how few customers she ever got. Measuring tape snapped around them as she scurried around the room, a pair of scissors tucked into her hair.
Falais shoved her away when she approached, scowling. He was more than comfortable in his clothes. Besides, he did not trust the little goblin’s hands would stay away from the pouch with the curo. If anything happened to it, his life would be forfeit. The assassin took his leave, avoiding Teake’s disgusted glance.
Modeste finished in under an hour. With so few patrons, she spent much of her time sewing. She had cloaks, both large and small, robes in all colors, and gloves and boots of various materials. When Teake turned down the feathered cap, it appeared as if she might burst into tears. He made it up to her by accepting a rather gaudy belt, handing this off to Sutera. Though her brow rose, she buckled it around her waist.
Left to their own devices, Falais attempting to secure transportation and gather provisions, the two walked along the beach. The sea turtles lumbered their way along the shore, giant necks twisting to view the strangers. Though their rift ray had been afraid to approach, the slow reptiles offered no harm to those not on their dinner menus.
Teake could barely breathe with the tight shirt the goblin had given him. Sutera’s clothing also was a little tight, preferring leather and chain under her long cloak to Teake’s robes. A bath had done them good, insisted upon by Modeste before they sullied her creations with their dirty bodies. For such a lack of customers, she had been happy to give away her wares, for only a fool was blind to their predicament.
Sutera was thankful for her companion’s inability to talk. She let her thoughts wander, trying to focus on the images swirling through her mind. Nothing made sense. Dragons. Elves. Undead. Tall, golden spires lit by raging fires. The screams.
Gods, the screams. She shuddered.
Teake touched her arm, drawing her gaze to the sand with a gnarled, twisted finger. As she watched, the druid bent, doing his best to scribble out a message.
I led you.
He gave her an expectant look. There was no recognition, no understanding as memories coalesced. The druid sighed, scratching his head. There was so much to tell, yet each etched letter caused him pain. He silently cursed his twisted hands and the Nightmare as they continued their walk. How was he to protect her if he could not call upon the magic?
Minutes later, Falais found the message. The blood elf wiped it clean with his foot, glaring at the Tauren’s retreating back.
Yorba Screwspigot tightened the bolt on the large device, stepping back to admire her handiwork. Like her fellow goblin, Modeste, the young engineer spent most of her days dreaming up new inventions. These often met an untimely demise, as she paired each new device with a healthy dose of Volatile Rum. Bilgewhizzle often found himself putting out the fires around her small home, making no effort to remind her why she was allowed to stay.
To repair. Not to tinker. Not to explode things.
She whacked the side of the canister with the wrench. Nothing. Turning a few knobs, flipping a few switches, she tried again.
The ensuing explosion tore a hole in her roof. Somewhere, the Security Chief cursed, avoiding a chunk of falling debris. No fire, so his men would take their time checking on her.
A shadow crossed her doorway.
Yorba turned, purplish eyes staring with wonder at her visitor. Teake paused before approaching, knowing his size often intimidated such small creatures. He was surprised as she traipsed up to him, holding out a grimy, soot-covered hand. “Yorba Screwspigot. What can I get ya for, Tauren?”
He shook her hand, then pointed to his throat, shaking his head.
“Cat got your tongue, huh?” she giggled, then stifled the laughter when his expression darkened. “Right. Sorry. What d’ya want?”
He motioned with his hands.
“Oooh! Charades! I love charades!” Her face twisted as his motions became more energetic. “A bird? A gnomish aircraft? I got it! A ghost!”
Teake sighed, placing a hand over his face. He cleared his throat, holding up a finger. She nodded excitedly, then he pointed to himself.
“Okay, okay! Tauren.” She watched as he nodded, then slammed his foot to the ground. “Stomp? You want to stomp on me? Tauren wants to stomp?” She reached for her heavy wrench.
Teake shook his head, trying to pick up one of the many gears littering her desk. She easily guessed the object, then he rubbed them together, pushing them against each other.
“Gear? Grinding my gears? Gear…grinder? Geargrinder! Of course, the gnome-lover.” She thought for a second. “I think you can find him just up the coast, not too far from here. Last I heard, he was taking a short sabbatical from his journeys in Northrend.”
Teake nodded his thanks.
“If you’re going up there, tell him he owes me a power core. And an overcharged capacitor. And some fused wiring…you know, just tell him to return my things.”
He lifted a quill and parchment from her desk, his pause relaying the unspoken request. She nodded, waving him away as she continued her work.
Hours later, the sun began to set on the Tanaris coast. Falais walked through the town, eyes adjusting to the darkness. Sutera sat on the dock, knees pulled up to her chest as she watched the twilight approach. Teake was nowhere to be seen, unusual for how protective he was of the woman.
He climbed the short flight of stairs to their rooms. He noted Sutera’s curtain was drawn back slightly. Taking care not to arouse suspicion, he ducked inside. There, sitting next to her bed, was a short letter.
Teake. He was off to visit some Tauren friend of his overnight. He would be back in the morning. A smile spread across his face as he looked out the window to Sutera. A simple forgery would convince her that Teake had departed for good, returning to his family or some other such nonsense. Without her memories, she would have little reason to doubt such a message.
Teake would return in the morning to find them long gone.
- Bloodwen: Part VI: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartVI
- Bloodwen: Part VII: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartVII
- Bloodwen: Part VIII: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartVIII
- Bloodwen: Part IX: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartIX
- Bloodwen: Part X: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartX
- Bloodwen: Part XI: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXI
- Bloodwen: Part XII: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXII
- Bloodwen: Part XIII: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXIII
- Bloodwen: Part XIV: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXIV
- Bloodwen: Part XV: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXV
- Bloodwen: Part XVI: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXVI
- Bloodwen: Part XVII: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXVII
- Bloodwen: Part XVIII - Finale: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXVIII