[-]
Main Menu
Portal
Forums
Wiki
Rules
FAQs
Events Calendar
Downloads

[-]
Latest Threads
Where Are You Now?
Last Post: Sourpuddle
08-26-2020 08:16 AM
» Replies: 15
» Views: 360
What is glistening
Last Post: Xigo
08-17-2020 10:19 AM
» Replies: 9
» Views: 2637
You are a fond memory. Good night, CoTH...
Last Post: CappnRob
05-01-2020 08:05 PM
» Replies: 32
» Views: 85232
You Can't Go Home Again
Last Post: Scout
03-15-2019 09:24 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 2206
"Years of Service" Awards
Last Post: Maulbane
05-26-2018 09:58 PM
» Replies: 100
» Views: 3394

[-]
Who's Online
There are currently no members online.

[-]
Google AdStuff

Heck's sake, Hekley
#1
"Right."

"You got this."

"Just don't forget the rules."

"One: Smile. Two: Don't mess up. Three: Be cool."

"Man, I'm feeling better already. You're one hell of a guy, Hekley."

The Goblin strode through the room - being his bathroom, it hardly provided much room for pacing, but he made do as he picked his teeth with a length of thin bone. Despite his postulating in front of his toilet, he felt it was best to make himself as presentable as possible. After all, this could very well be his big day - it's not often you get called to the big office.

"Let's try the smile again. There we go."

Well, the medium-sized office. The size of his boss's office wasn't important, it was the size of the Goblin in it. Admittedly, neither the room nor his boss were particularly large, but his boss had a big role - that's what really matters. Brambik Clutchdagger was Hekley's ticket to a comfier position - and he didn't intend on getting on the wrong side of one of the Undermine's most successful arena magnates. That's not to say he wasn't comfortable in his incumbent position...

"C'mon, that's not a calm face. Aw, for ... C'mon --- again. Yeah, that's better."

... But he had his little desires, like everyone. He was luckier than most, his job as an adjudicator at the Steamwheedle DECAPATORIUM-O-RAMA wasn't so glamorous - obscenely long hours, having to put yourself in harm's way with god-knows what (they outlawed Doomguards in single combat years back, but he'd heard the stories), and the tourists. Oh, the stupid, irritating, asinine tourists. But it wasn't for nothin' - looking around his place, he was proud. His place was on the third level of the Undermine's Deni-zone - the lower you get, the more disturbing the sewage systems get, and the higher you are the more likely you are to get lava leaking in. As far as he concerned, he had it good.

"Okay, we'll stick with that. That's good, pal. Keep to the plan."

Good's good and all, but great's more good than good. For Hekley, it wasn't so much a matter of ambition as job security - he'd work this job for the rest of his life if he had to, but if you have a chance, why not go for it?

He thought that to himself as he slammed the door to his home and briskly made his way.

The medium-sized office of Mr. Clutchdagger was opulent. Made sense, since arenas were big business. He wasn't so much focused on the ornamentals as he stepped in. First step of the plan - make sure your entry's nice. Make eye contact as soon as possible to seem confident. Unfortunately, he couldn't quite find his boss. Why was the desk empty? He scanned across it as he took a step in, the milliseconds agonisingly long. He counted four awards, an empty highback chair - backed with Zhevra hide - and the Goblin's monolithic desk.

"Take a seat, Hekler."

His eyes flit over. Brambik was standing by the window facing the arena itself, on the other side of the room. That crafty bastard. His plans beginning to unfurl before his eyes, he walked briskly - but not too briskly - to a stool and sat down. He was hardly much higher sitting than standing, barely able to see over the desk. Brambik had no such issues as he waddled over, sitting in the chair - gaining at least two feet over Hekley.

"You're early. I like that, Hekler. Early people can be counted on. Actually, that's why I asked you here. Do you know why I've asked you here?"

"I, uh, I certainly don't, sir."

"Good. I hate industrial espionage. Do you know much about our 'exotic animals' line we run at the Death-A-Thon-1100?"

"Yeah, I've --- Worked with it a lot."

"As your employment file shows - which is the reason I've asked you here. That particular line is doing poorly, Hekler."

"Uh... I don't know why that is, boss. We even get Orcs coming for that one."

"I'm reasonably sure it wasn't your failure that caused this. No - it brings hundreds of consumers, but it's very hard to offset the money we're hemorrhaging to bring those animals here. Ever since Kajaro popped, the shipping lanes have been so congested. So, I've got an idea. Know what that idea is?"

"We're going to close the line, boss?"

"No. We're going to move the line to its source. Why move the animals when we can move the customers?"

"That's genius, boss."

"And you'll be the Head Adjudicator there, Hekler. I've already got the boat waiting for you. I've written up a job-specific writ of occupational responsibilities for you, which I expect you to read if you want to keep the job."

"I'm honored you think I can do it. I'll serve to the best of m---

"Good. Be ready to board the boat in the next couple of hours. Don't make me regret this."



He walked out of the office, carefully closed the door and then slumped down next to it. Wiping a pool of sweat from his brow, tucking his dress-shirt back in and easing his neck muscles, he thought that was one of the easiest promotions he'd got in his life.

Luckily, he didn't have many possessions to take with him. The way he saw it - if you needed to buy something to have fun, it's not really fun. He tended to break that adage thrice weekly when it came to his spirits, but that was different. Packing three bottles of Wildberry-infused wine on top of the essentials (like his uniform, toothpick and enough food to make the journey (in case something went wrong with catering), he was ready in just a little under two hours.

The vessel he'd take from the Undermine's docks - the largest in Azeroth - was rocket powered. Well, it was a rocket with a bit of a boat sticking out the end, more appropriately. Apparently they were going to take a stopover in Ratchet to refuel it, then smooth sailing to Gadgetzan's docks.

He didn't know much geography, but he was pretty sure Tanaris was the place where Kodo-beasts come from. Talk about a pushover of a job.
[-] The following 3 users Like Maulbane's post:
  • Dilly, c0rzilla, Diethe
PM
Reply
#2
"Man, there's gotta be something here. A deli, or something."

The stopover in Ratchet would only be for an hour more, thankfully. He should feel more fortunate - if they didn't have that lovely rocket on the back of their boat they'd probably still not have passed Azshara. But it still stood that this place sucked - it had all the business and busy-ness of the Undermine and none of the charm. He'd found at least two dozen fishermen yet not a single place to actually -eat-, and if he saw even one more chucklehead trying to push raw Rockscale Cod on him he'd go ballistic.

"Port city of Kalimdor" my rear-end. Two dozen fish stalls and not one of 'em's edible."

He slowed down a bit, having been pacing up and down the expansive Ratchet esplanades. As he scanned the never-ending fisherman's stalls, something pricked his peripheral hearing. Fleetingly looking to his ship - probably the only piece of sophistication around this place - he paces back into the town itself. But it caught his ear again - coughing. Lots of it, and it didn't sound like it'd stop. He strode up to yet another fisherman.

"You sell any of this stuff cooked, pal?."

"Not a restaurant, pal. Look down that way."

What a waste of time. Whatever the case, he went that-a-way, no matter how much of a pointless trial it was. The only thing he'd be faced with was the edge of the docks - the only thing of even vague interest was some hobo coughing into the water. Staring at it, he thought it was the perfect little example of Ratchet's qualities. Rolling his eyes, he gathered all his minor irritation.

"Why don't you get a job, you bum?"

The loser, whoever he was, just gave him an askance glance. He grunted and spluttered something not even remotely intelligible as Hekley stared down at him. Whatever garments he had on him seemed to be shredded in most places, and he smirked slightly as he realised the hobo had the same blue shade of hair as him. A total mess, but still. He seemed to gather enough energy to stammer between coughs.

"Cha--dnn--t--tried?"

... What? After a second he figured it out.

"Didn't try hard enough, looks like. Whatever, pal."

With that, he was out of there. Whoever the hell that urchin was, he'd managed to wreck his life while still in his youth. People like that aren't worth your time even as a joke, he figured. Himself, Hekley? He'd worked to get what he had. He had a motto - 'the referee business is as close to the adventurin' business as you can get' and it wasn't just self-gratification. As he started to walk out of there, pulling out his best 'dignified, austere walk' as he could, he heard something else.

"Jus--leave--m--lone."

"You'll be left alone, kid, 'specially if you keep like this."

He kept walking. The sooner he put this kid behind himself, the sooner he could start walking normally. He thought he spotted a KTC around the next couple of fisherman's stalls when---

"Wh--Wh--What do you want?"

Man, he was gonna let this joker have it, now. Taking in a deep breath, he turned around. He read Holly Jiggix's 'How To 'WOW' those around YOU!' - he knew how to talk to some kid. He gave him what he hoped was a derisive look, ruffling his black-and-red-patterned jacket just a little bit.

"Nothing. But if you don't get your shit together you'll be underground."

He frowned. All that got out of the kid was a dirty look and a clenched fist. For such a small kid, it was hardly an impressive fist, neither. He persevered - if the kid wanted to turn this into some kinda debate, he wouldn't just walk off. He reached into his pocket.

"Hey, here's a game."

- And threw three silver coins up to the promenade the hobo-kid had been coughing in the shadow of.

That seemed to do something. The kid following the coins as they rolled - or tries, he seemed out of it. Probably a junkie, Hekley mused to himself. Either way, he suddenly shook his head and starting climbing up to the path. Couldn't even manage climbing - he trips and falls off the slope. Standing above, he taps his boot impatiently.

"You ain't fooling me. Get back up, kid."

... And the kid thrashes slightly before rolling down into the water.

Rubbing his temple, Hekley looked over to his boat.

"I got about fifteen minutes. Don't make me regret wasting my time here."

The kid took enough time just crawling out of the water. While teaching the kid a few life lessons - making a difference, all that jazz - would've been great, he wasn't going to risk missing the boat to his new, flashy job for some shmuck. He shook his head, turning around.

"Okay. Be like that. If an urchin like you isn't even gonna give me the time of day, I guess y'don't want anybody's help."

He could hear something being spluttered behind him - unintelligible. As he strode down the wharf he vaguely about what could've been, but mostly he congratulated himself on how radical he probably sounded. Being able to speak assertively is the number one asset to getting treated well - in the words of Holly Jiggix, of course. Spotting the dockmaster up ahead, he nodded to himself. He'd probably be fine, anyway. Before he even had a chance to ask, the man robotically gave him the time of his ship's departure.

"Eight o'clock."

And it was then that he felt a hand - a cold, wet hand - on his shoulder. Well, talk about getting put on the spot. He gave the kid a blank look - a little more confused than he'd've liked it to be.

"Hey." He fumbled with words for a moment, then pointed at the coins in one diminutive hand. "Thanks."

Well, he was off the deep end, now. May as well give it all he had. He sucked in a breath, recalling page twenty-six of Holly Jiggix's 'How 2 Deal With Money'.

"That's not what you're supposed to be doing with the coins. What's your name, kid?"

"Gabrix."
"... sir."

"Don't make something up - give me the first thing you want to do with those coins. I'll know if you're yanking my chain."

"Get a fried rockscale." is what he says after a long stare at the coins. "And a mud snapper."

"They sell fried rockscale in this dump?"

That threw him off a bit, and Hekley sniffed quickly. He twists his head diagonally, stretching his neck muscles, giving a little cracking noise - looking down at this kid so much was doing some aberrant things to his naturally good posture.

"That's not important. What's important is that's the wrong thing to buy. What you need is clothes."

"... But--"

"Even if you aren't a loser, kid, you look like one. Okay, let's say you took that to the stall right now. Got yourself a fish. Let's say the going rate's thirty twelve copper. Shopkeeper knows when he sees a loser, knows he can charge as much as he wants to. The worse you look, the harder it is to survive."

"I guess."

"If you get yourself --- crap, at the very least a damn shirt, you've at least got a chance. Not a good chance, since you're still puking up and down the place, but better than looking like Scorpid bait."

"Didn't look like this when I came here -- still kicked me out."

"Then you didn't talk right, or didn't walk right. These are all things people notice, kid."

The kid grumbled under his breath, his fist clenching and releasing repeatedly.

"Didn't catch that." he said - expertly (or he hoped so, anyway) cocking an eyebrow just for effect.

The kid stood up to his... 'Full height' wouldn't be accurate, since there wasn't much full about it, but he could at least look Hekley in his eyes - which he succeeded in doing for a while.

"I said all they notice is when a big bag of gold comes in. The inn. Some fat shmuck started demanding a bed, and they kicked me out. Kept my gold, though."

He raised an eyebrow about as quickly as it takes a Scorpid to pinch someone.

"Kept your gold? What kinda budget were you living on, kid? - Maybe he'd found some kinda story of a trade prince's son, lost in a foreign land. Talk about hitting gol---

"... Silver -- whatever."

Oh well. It was a long shot, anyway. He twists his neck again - the other way this time - and looks back, reservoiring his know-how for a knockout punch of pure motivation. Holly Jiggix hadn't failed him yet.

"So you've had a couple of hard knocks. What're you, a merchant-to-be? Tryin' to capitalise on the war out here? Fisherman? What's your game out in this craphole?"

"I just needta get a job here."

The startled look the kid gave him as he said that, as well as the sheer ludicrousness of the idea made him bark out a laugh. Getting a job in a place like this? You're supposed to get away from port cities as soon as you can, not set up shop.

"Here? Hell, I guess it's better than Booty Bay."

"I thought the steamwheedles'd want me, since --" He shakes his head - properly, not in the little degrees he'd been doing before.

"Since what? You had a few silver coins'n a gleam in your eye?"

That seemed to hit home, but not enough. He just sat there, the lines in his face stiffening a little as he shrugs. Hekley was getting way too invested in this - he had ten minutes left to bum around in Ratchet before he started his new life, and he sure as hell wasn't going to have those last minutes be filled with talking down to some poor kid. Shaking his head, he went on.

"You're not my responsibility, kid. If I miss this boat, I'm gonna be the one puking into the Great Sea." Trying to erase the image of Gabrix just nodding in agreement, he heads up to the edge of the wharf by his ship. Man, the rocket looks even bigger from outside of it.

... He heard something limping after him. Oh, dear.

"Where are ya going?"

"Tanaris."

Then, an agonising pause. He didn't look back. It wouldn't have been remotely cool to look back.

"Think they need more workers there?"

Okay, there's a chance to turn around. He took a step towards him, grabbing one of his arms - gangly and more of a symptom of malnutrition than a limb. He took less than a second to consider what he was about to begin - and whether he'd start to regret it was to be seen.

"Can you lift anything with this muscle, kid?"

"... Sure."

"Okay, two choices. You stay on this wharf and take your chances, or you give me those coins and board a ship with a guy you don't even know."

The kid pauses for a while - he seems to go through a miniature existential crisis as he looks back to the city of Ratchet, then back to Hekley. He extends his hand with the coins.

"I'll go with you."

... And would almost instantaneously withdraw the hand, as if it were being snapped at.

"Can I keep these?"

"You didn't earn 'em. If you go with me, you'll only keep the coins you've earned off me. That means no stealing, either, or I'll have the bruisers take a finger off you."

"Earned off you? You want me to work for you?" That did the trick - he holds his hand back, and Hekley gratefully puts them back in his pocket. Those were the only silver coins he had on him, damnit.

"I dunno if want is the right word, but we're always looking for new people. Especially in such a out-of-the-way place."

"We?"

"I work in the arena business. We - the group I work for, anyway - are bringing the pain to Gadgetzan, so to speak."

The urchin Gabrix just slowly came to grin - revealing an uneven, yellowed set of teeth. As Hekley reciprocated expression, he appreciated his toothpick just that much more.

"Let... Me just... Get something."

"... Two minutes."

The kid waited a moment before bolted off down the wharf. Hekley exhaled deeply as soon as he was out of sight. As far as pep-talks go, he thought that was probably a pretty good one, even if it just caused him to make a business decision. He acted as casual as possible, making sure nobody was giving him any weird looks. Gabrix was back in just a little under two minutes, drawing ragged breaths and protecting a bundle of filthy cloth in his hands. He looked like he'd fell over a couple more times on the way, by the junk all over one of his arms.

He just gave Hekley a nod.

"Okay, c'mon."
[-] The following 3 users Like Maulbane's post:
  • c0rzilla, Dilly, Diethe
PM
Reply
#3
"We'll be there in half a day - maybe less. Go get the boxes around the back and bring 'em to the deck."


When you put a big rocket on a ship, it goes really fast, and really dangerous to boot. It made a Goblin feel both very important and very replaceable - a weird feeling he didn't quite feel like feeling anymore. He flitted through the pamphlet in his hammock. It'd been printed a couple of days ago and it already looked kind of shabby. Really shabby.

Spoiler:
[Image: whydidimakethiSWHYDIDIMAKETHIS-1.png]

It was all stuff he knew already, but there it was. How to appropriately equip yourself to take down a Blood Elf, how to appropriately equip yourself to take down a fire-breathing Roc, how to operate your DEATH-A-THON Rocket Booster Suite. He had the pass the time somehow, and it sure as hell wasn't going to be by acknowledging the...

He heard a crash below.

All he asked was for the kid to move his luggage from the storage compartment to the deck. He threw the pamphlet down on the bench as he got up to investigate. As he briskly moved through the outside railing, he stole a glance at ... Lots of mountains. Looks like they'd be at Tanaris in less than fifteen minutes, if they didn't blew up.

When he went down the ramp into the cargo bay, he saw Gabrix - the kid - standing by a group of fallen crates. One of them covered in white tape. He felt a none-too-uncommon feeling swelling in his left temple, and he rubbed it as he sighed.

"What's happening here, kid?"

"Uh..."

"When I said to be careful with that box, I wasn't joking. Was going to pay for this little chore, too."

"I was being careful. It ju--jus--"

Gabrix sneezed.

"Being careful involves planning things out." Snapped Hekley, as he grabbed something from his pocket. An ARMY NIFE (Steamwheedle-branded, of course) - and with it, he took to the rope bindings around the crate.

"... What's in it?"

He took the top of the rectangular crate off. All that Gabrix could see within as he took tentative steps forward were lots of red and white, and maybe a little bit of orange.

"Remember when you said you wanted to work with the Steamwheedles? Uniform's just one of the perks."

"You get a uniform?"

"You joking, kid? You have to have one."

"... Neat."

Gabrix looked about ready to fall into the box as he half-straddled the damn thing - Hekley stretched his arm out, pushing the kid gently away from the crate. Maybe a little too gently. He pointed to the remaining crate that Gabrix had yet to remove.

"May as well put them on now - move that box over there and get outta here, kid."

And that was that. He carried the bundle of clothes, straps and armor up the ramp as Gabrix got to work. Getting into his suit wasn't a struggle - he'd been doing it for twenty years straight, nearabouts - but it wasn't easy. He figured this is how the Steamwheedle Sharks must've felt getting into their shredders. That gave him a twinge of righteous irritation - he still couldn't believe that the Bloodsail Buccaneers won the last damn game of footbomb that might ever happen on Kezan. What a joke. His anger fueled his ability to get dressed, and after sliding his helmet on he felt right at home again.

He scooped a handful of copper coins off the bench he'd been changing on, heading into the communal living quarters they'd been bumming around in for the past day. He'd counted them before - thirty.

"C'mere. Pay."

If Hekley ever saw a Goblin look more pleased, it'd have to have been before they'd got themselves blown up.



"Fifteen minutes or less, kid. Never been to Tanaris, have you?"


They both stood on the deck. Maybe with Human vessels it would've been 'fantastical', 'splendorous', maybe even 'romantic', but considering the ship was hitting 43 knots at the worst of times it was more of a battle to stay upright. Occasionally a mechanic screamed about multiple loose gaskets, but the Steamwheedle Empire was -build- on loose gaskets. No skin off his back.

"Nope. Just Ratchet,"

"Me too, kid. But I've seen the things that come outta there. Scorpids, mostly."
"Most of 'em are slightly lengthier than you, some are abnormally large. Those're the ones we take back to Undermine. Or, used to."

"... Abnormally large?"

"Not that big, mind, but about one and a half times bigger than most of their kind. Any smaller and they wouldn't be a challenge, see."
"Oh, yeah, Rocs. Y'heard of Rocs?"

"H-Huh? No. What a--"

This kid had a major malfunction when it came to his nostrils. Hekley tried his best to ignore the sneeze, using the time to stare out to the coast they were parallel to. They couldn't be too far now.

Actually, the kid seemed to have a major malfunction with just about everything to do with his body. He was standing there, bundled up in all kinds of sheets like an upright caterpillar - and his nose looked like an eggplant. A bloated eggplant. What the hell did this kid do, shove his face into a jar of diseases? Maybe he made a mistake.

"Big birds, kid. Real big. They have 'em all up and down Kalimdor, but only the ones in Tanaris can spit fire."

"Spit -what-?"
"'S'a bit hot with the sun out."

"I'm sure an Elf'd go on about how it's a connection with the spirits, but it's plain ol' logic - they have these glands in their throat-parts, y'see. Lets 'em spit flame. Scary stuff."

"... Y-Yeah."

"Some prick Blood Elf thought he could take it, on account of his people being 'all about the sun'. He wasn't so confident when we had to rip his boots off while they were still melting."

"... Y'had to wha'?"

"The Roc doesn't really shoot plain old fire, it shoots a kinda... Adhesive, flammable... Stuff. So it sticks to you while it burns you. That's what happened to his shoes."

"And ya said they're all over the place?"

"No idea, kid. No idea."

Over the sound of the rocket firing, and the wind in his ears, he heard something from the captain's platform.

"GE--- READ--- T--- DOC---"

"... What'd he say?"

"Dunno, but looks like we're about ready to get off. I'd get off the deck if I were you, kid."

Goblin ships have funny ways of docking, especially when they're rocket-powered.




Move him into the sun—
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields half-sown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds,—
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved—still warm—too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?
[Image: 62675bf4fd.jpg] [Image: 0e7357dcfe.jpg]
[-] The following 1 user Likes Maulbane's post:
  • Dilly
PM
Reply
#4
"... Woah."

"... Is it too late to go back to Ratchet?"

"Yes."


Sand - sand as far as the eye could see. That was Tanaris, alright. Since the boat stopped moving - loosely hitched up to one of the piers of Gadgetzan, framed nicely by the screams of its mechanics - it was much easier to take in the landscape. What was once a blurry mass of straw-colored stuff was now a clear mass of straw-colored stuff. He wasn't sure if he liked it, but it was part of his job. He'd like it.

He maneuvered a hand under his helmet to scratch his cheek, realising quickly that he looked speechless. Daring a glance to Gabrix, he was a little relieved that the kid didn't seem to have noticed. He stood a little straighter, blurting out the first thing that came to mind.

"Well."

"Well?"

"Well - let's go."

He might've snapped a little louder than he wanted to, but it did the job - he headed his way down the gangplank, his sinuses starting to ache again. It was all the sand, he figured. Gabrix followed along, his somewhat-well-earned pay jingling in his pocket as he headed down the ramp of the living quarters to the deck of the ship. Only a moment's trepidation is allowed as Hekley stares at the gangplank.

"... No time like the present."

And that was that - he could've called the ship a little relic of the Undermine, but he was on his own now. With sand. Sand on the ground. Walls made out of sand. Compacted sand roads. He left his luggage behind - and as he took the first step onto Gadgetzan property, five gangly looking dock workers scurried onto the ship.

Gabrix peered at an odd little graveyard, far outside of the walls of Gadgetzan.

"Who'd wanna die in this place?"

"I don't think they choose."

"... That ain't helping."

He glared at Gabrix for a moment - maybe he was giving this kid way too much freedom. He didn't let it stop his stride as they left the wharf and headed inland. The docks were ramshackle and extensive - probably only having propped up in the past few months, he bet. Before he could get to the shipping and excise office (well, the shipping and excise stall) he was blindsided by a huge Goblin approaching it too - the captain of the ship, a head taller than Hekley and then some. He reeled back for a second, then shrugged, continuing on.

"Guess he's got it under control." he mumbled.

The walk to Gadgetzan proper was slow and silent. The roads were nice and compacted but it didn't change the fact that it was sand. Furthermore, the climate was more than conducive to sweltering like a pig - he resorted to breathing through his mouth at points. Soon enough, though, the gates of Gadgetzan loomed over them. They weren't that large, but they had something about them...

"Huh."

"Guess this is our home."

"Doesn't look too cozy."
"... The sand's a bit hot."

Gonna have to get that kid proper shoes, he thought as he eyed the kid shuffling on his half-shoes. He wondered how long the urchin's had those on his clonkers, probably 'too long'.

They headed in, and the place was actually pretty manageable. The buildings were weird, the people seemed a little weird and the whole damn town had an aura of weird, but it was manageable - he could find his way around. Despite that, he ended up in the middle of a clearing, shuffling in the hot sand after a few minutes of walking. Everything looked the same. It was a little hard to find things through his visor, and then he was interrupted:

"Hey, saw one of those back home."

He followed the kid's hand. Oh, no.

That's not the arena. C'mon. That can't be it.

It... It was hideous. Did they think this passed for an arena? It was a giant cage jammed in the sand with a single door. He felt a little light-headed as he took this all in. Well, he wasn't going to let the fact that the arena sucked bring him down. He quickly caught his breath, looking over to Gabrix.

""Hey, kid. Take your coins and...

He grabbed a silver from his pocket quickly.

"This, and get a meal for me and yourself. I've gotta report in, and it's not gonna look good if I've got a hobo by me."

The kid nodded, then spotted something.

"Uh... What's that? It's... big."

"Orc."

"... That's an Orc."

"Mm-hm. Looks busy, don't piss him off. I'll be back."

He escaped from the conversation - looking away from the burly manticore handler with a couple of steps, only half-hearing the kid replying behind him as he walked. He took a deep breath, chanting to himself.

"Right."

"You got this."

"Just don't forget the rules."

"One: Smile. Two: Don't mess up. Three: Be cool."

Dr. Dealwell - the owner and promoter of the Thunderdrome, Gadgetzan. He had to be seen to believe - probably the only Goblin Hekley had ever seen to wear a ... Tuxedo kilt? He sealed away all his doubts and strode up the man - looks like he'd been waiting for him, since he was just standing out in the sand.

"Over here."

"Hey there. I'---"

"--- You the new guy?"

"Yeah. That's me."

"Sorry, pal, just had to get that out of the way. I'm the D. R. Dealwell - glad you made it so quick. Thought HQ was going to skip out on me this time, y'know? Tight-arsed guys, up in Undermine."

"I'm Hekley. Glad I made it so quick too. How's, uh---"

"How's business? Terrible, kid. Absolutely shonky. Don't even ask. We're gonna have to put you to work... Yesterday, actually. We could've used you yesterday, today not so much. We'll need you tomorrow, though - and most of the days after that."

"Uh--- Right. Got it. What do you need me to do now, boss?"

"C'mon, pal, don't use the 'boss' stuff with me until we're churning a profit. 'Till then, call me Dr., or Dealwell, or just DRD. Initials are hip these days."

"W---

"Anyway, right now I just need you to get some shuteye. Apparently your ship almost blew up on the way here! Ha! What a riot! Anyway, get outta here, kid. I've billeted you a place - it's by the north wall, y'can't miss it - I put a sign out the front."

I'll... I'll, I'll see you later, then, Doctor. Thanks.

"Don't mention it!"

As he walked away, the pounding headache and daggers in his temples allowed only one conscious thought at once, and that was taken up by one thing:

What the hell just happened?



He stumbled into the Gadgetzan 'Three Turns' Bar & Grill almost fifteen minutes later. He knew where the inn was, he just needed to walk around a bit. He spotted Gabrix immediately - looking like a bum and eating by the closest bench. He lifted his helmet off, which disturbed the calm equilibrium between his sweat and gravity, and then promptly sat down.

"Shthis-s gooshd."

Gabrix was gnawing on a raw-looking slab of meat, with there being a plate of more food by the bench. He certainly didn't lie. Hekley took a second to remove - or attempt, at least - to take the haggardness off his expression, but he wasn't sure if it worked. In the silence, he unbuckled his gauntlets - siphoning another two minutes of his life, he figured. Finally, he grabbed a fish to devour --- a cod of some kind. It was only then he felt appropriate addressing the kid.

How much of my money'd you have to use for this? All of it?

"Just the silver ya gave me."
"Show didt go ashe rena?"

The moment he realised he didn't understand what the kid was saying, he snapped at him loudly.

"Speak properly, kid."

He glanced to the plate - it was pretty loaded with food. Gabrix'd done well, no matter how bad he was at not talking with his mouth full. He adds something quickly.

"You're either a good talker or they're just generous."

"How did it go at the arena?"

"It went okay. Anything else you'll find out if you end up working there."

The kid grinned. He didn't mean it like that, but he figured he could have his little hopes. Pushing the plate away, he could concede something about this dry, sandy place.

"Better than Undermine."

"Wha'?"

He shut his eyes tightly for a second, the wave of head-pain hitting him with gusto.

"In Undermine, think how long it takes for a fish to get from the water, to the shop, to the restaurant. Here --- this place is so damn tiny they can just fish 'em and sell 'em in the same minute."

"Oh."

Then silence reigned for a while. Gabrix looked briefly at his plate fondly, then wiped his hands on what used to be a perfectly good vest - a month ago, maybe.

"I'm done."

Hekley ignored the gesture, half standing from his seat and turning around. He didn't have time for this - he had... Well, he didn't know the time, but he probably only had half a day's rest before he had to get to work. He didn't even know what he had to do yet.

"I've got to find my new place. S'gotta be around here somewhere."

As Gabrix grunted noncommittally, Hekley exited. He didn't bother to put the gloves on - sitting on the bench in three separate parts - instead scooping them into his open helmet and taking it under his arm.

"S'pose you'd better follow me, kid."

Tomorrow was going to be a piece of crap.






[-] The following 2 users Like Maulbane's post:
  • Dilly, c0rzilla
PM
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

youth-backhand
This forum uses Lukasz Tkacz MyBB addons.