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Please, Forgive Me.
Before the Cataclysm...

First, it was that Doomguard who walked all over you and captured me.

Then it was the creepy Undead who tried to clean and dress me up for Light knows what he planned.

There were many others like this, Bastos. The one with the drunken goblin in a shredder. The one whose potions you stole. The bike which parts you stole and provoked an entire gang of angry gnomes. I can't live this life anymore.

When will we find a proper home and settle for good?


              She's not a little girl anymore. Over the years, Jan'bastos Pyreblade has watched the tiny child, Anaka, grow up to be a little lady. Though with some years until full adulthood, Bastos can see the child budding into a grown woman. Keeping her about wasn't easy--clothes had to be bargained or stolen, and female-specific needs unfamiliar to the bandit were difficult for him to meet. The hardest part, however, was ensuring the most basic of needs were indeed met; food and clothing weren't that difficult per se, but the lack of a solid roof over their heads have surely created problems either elf would have if they had a stationary home.

              "I promised you I'll get you a proper home and family, Anaka."

              "You've been saying that for years now. At this rate, Bastos, I can get married in a few years and just start my own."

              Bastos sighs. He looks out to the ocean of Steamwheedle Port, wrench in hand. He lowers himself to Windrunner, his bike, as he pops the hood to work on the engine. "I haven't been discouraging you from just leaving outright, Anaka. Either to find some parents or even a boyfriend."

              "I know you haven't."

              "So why don't you?"

              "Why haven't you found me a family first?"

              "I, uh... haven't the time."

              "You've had time to bang the hooker last night."

              "I did no such thing!"

              Anaka crossed her arms as she leaned against the wall. "It's not exactly hard to discover it. You were both going at it on this hog."

              "You were watching us?!"

              "I was trying to sleep."

              Bastos slams the hood down. "Why didn't you just leave?! There's the Doomguard, the pedophile Undead, the goblins and the ogres and the other creeps... you don't have to stay with me, Anaka! Any sane kid would turn tail the moment we enter a town!"

              "You're right. I could have."

              "So why didn't you?! I'm not your father!"

              Anaka glances to the ocean. "Mother said you are..."

              "Your mother was a hussy."

              "Please don't talk about her that way."

              Bastos groans as he raises his eyes to the sky. He lethargically drops his wrench upon the wooden plank before opening up the door to the sidecar. Flopping onto the seat, he props his legs over the door to shut them with his feet. He says nothing... all that came from his lips was a long sigh. "Anaka?"


              "I'm not your father. You're turning.... fifteen now? You're a big girl. Find your own home."

              "I'm not leaving you."


              Anaka pushed herself away from the wall to sit along the car. Her back presses against the door, her legs bent so that her arms can rest on her knees. "You need me."

              "Now that's a big assumption to make. I hardly use you for anything, not even for my schemes and stuff. You're just a burden and a load."

              "You rescued me. Twice."

              "I couldn't just leave you alone, Anaka."

              "And I can't just let you be."

              "You owe me nothing."

              "I owe you everything."

              Bastos leans up. He sits properly within the car, his arm crooked over the door as he looks down onto the young girl. "Look, Anaka. I'm not a good guy, okay? I smoke. I drink. I chase every skirt I find. I steal. I pick fights. I ride my hog and brag about it worse than a goblin who's reached the pinnacle of tinkering achievement. I'm not exactly a good father figure at all."

              "You admit it all."

              "Of course I do."

              ”But you feed me, clothe me, give me shelter, and protect me. Every time I was in danger, you came for me. When I hurt myself, you make efforts to make me feel better. When I become sick, you cared for me.”

              ”You make me sound like some kind of good guy when you isolate all those things from what I do when I’m not with you.”

              Anaka glances out to the stars above her, her fel-tainted eyes twinkling to the night sky. “I think you’re a good person with bad habits. I want you to stop--not for my sake, but yours.”

              ”Is that so?” Bastos leans over the car’s side some more so he could cross his arms over it. “You know, for someone who was dropped off to some criminal chump’s lap, you turned out good.”

              ”Do you really think so?”

              ”You have to be to compliment me like that.”

              Anaka smiles. She gets up to brush the dust off her skirt before facing her guardian. “You’re right,” she says. “You’re not a good father figure at all. You smoke, you drink, you chase every skirt you find..... you steal, pick fights, and ride around irresponsibly. But despite that, you gave me an opportunity probably no other parent could for their kid.”

              ”What’s that?”

              ”See the world... and see what goodness lies beyond the bad.”

              Bastos smirks. He waves his hand as a gesture for Anaka to step away from the car so he can exit it. He curls his fingers to point his thumb at the inn behind him. “Get some rest, girl. Tomorrow, we search for the nearest goblin dirigible for Eastern Kingdoms.”


              ”To get you to Silvermoon. If we can’t find you a family, we’ll find you a boyfriend. And if he turns out to be a chump, I’ll kick his ass.”

              The girl couldn’t help but giggle. “I’m not ready for a boyfriend, Bastos.”

              ”What?! Girl, I was already skirt chasing when I was fifteen! Are you going to be a little girl forever?! Get a boy! I’m not gonna be the guy who’ll keep you a virgin until you’re two hundred! That’s cruel!”

              ”Good night, Bastos.”

              The man chuckles. “Good night, kid.”
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              ”What?! You have got to be kidding me!

              Anaka remained in the car as the wind blew a dry, sandy gust over Gadgetzan. The noisy gears and servos creaked and rang as the girl observed her guardian yelling at the goblins that gathered there. She sighed, feeling rather bored as she waited patiently. Despite how amusing goblins may seem, this is routine by now. Try to get a ride or flight, barter or bargain, or get stiffed. Money was hard to come by, and the goblins surely were not helping. “Forget it!” Anaka called out to Bastos as she slumped in the car just as Bastos was about to grab a goblin by the collar. “Look, Bastos, they don’t keep dirigibles in here. Probably something about the winds here.”

              ”Pah!” Bastos throws his arms up in surrender. “Fine! Fine! But we don’t have enough fuel to get from here to the Orgrimmar. That’s a crazy long drive from here!”

              ”Let’s get us a flight.”

              ”I don’t have enough money to pay for Windrunner’s transport.”

              ”Then we’ll need enough for fuel for the long drive to Ratchet.”

              The male elf groaned, but he can’t argue against that. “We only got enough to make it halfway.”

              Anaka turns to smirk. “Then let’s buy some more!”

              ”I don’t have enough money for that either.”

              ”Then get a temporary odd job at Mulgore or something.”

              ”Anaka, a Tauren once nearly stepped on my head because my boss kidnapped his sister. I’m not dealing with them again!”

              She slinks back into her car. “Then no Silvermoon for us, Bastos.”

              ”Gah!” He throws his arms up once more, but this time, with less frustration. “All right. All right. Maybe someone in Mulgore needs something repaired and goblins won’t do crap. We’ll stay for a while until we get enough money to reach Silvermoon.”


              The hour has passed. Noontime was no more, and the sky was starting to dim faintly for the setting sun. Both Anaka and Bastos endured the roar of Windrunner’s engine as she drove along dusty floor. The girl looked about, goggles on, as her guardian drove along at a moderate speed. “Bastos?”

              ”What is it?” the driver asked.

              ”Do you notice something strange about this place?”

              ”Girl, this place ain’t exactly safe to drive through, but once we hit the wyverns and serpents such, we’ll push the pedal and race past them.”

              ”That’s just about it, Bastos. Where are they?”

              Bastos looks about. “Huh. I don’t see them.”

              ”And we’ve been driving a good long while.”

              The elf slows his hog down as he nears a rocky pillar. “That’s... yeah. When we got here last time, we were chased by a wyvern almost as soon as he made it to Shimmering Flats, didn’t we?”

              ”Yes, and we passed wyvern territory about fifteen minutes ago.”

              Windrunner slowed to a complete stop. Bastos bent forward, exhausted from the ride, as he raised his goggles to the top of his head. “You know what... I don’t even see birds and bugs around here. The place’s dead.”

              ”What’s going on?”

              Bastos looked down. The earth beneath them was darkening as a great rumbling sound from the sky fell upon them. Though the earth has yet to darken from the setting sun, dark clouds began to blanket as an ominous red enveloped the sky. As Anaka watched the change, she leaned towards her guardian in fear. The air became hotter than the desert heat, almost to the point of the elves’ skins burning. “What... going on?!”

              ”I don’t know!!”

              A great quake. Rocks from the pillar began to fall all around the bike as a great shadow casts over the bike. No time to think. Bastos looked up for a split second before he grabbed the girl in the car. “Run!!” In just moments, the elves avoided a crushing death as the pillar collapsed onto Windrunner in a great crashing thud. Both guardian and child flew from the force of the fall, further away from rocks from surrounding hills. But they were far from safety.

              ”Bastos!” Anaka cried out as she clutched onto the older elf while he covered her head and stayed down. The quake did not last. As soon as the skies turned red and the earth quaked, all was silent once more. “Bastos! Are you alright?!”

              ”Am I alright?! Are you alright?!”

              ”I’m okay...”

              Bastos gets up. Both he and Anaka received scrapes and scratches from the fall and blast, but nothing broken. As he looks up, the sky is beginning to clear to the sunset purple... but silence still plagued the valley. “We have to get out of here.”

              ”I’m with you... but the hog...”

              The older elf turns around. The remains of Windrunner was barely visible--scraps of metal, pipes, and plates were strewn in small pieces as the rest of the machine was hidden underneath the pillar. Bastos cried out. “My hog!!”


              ”I’ve had Windrunner for decades! From the best job I’ve ever had! There is no way I can just approach another gnome an-”


              ”What?! Without Windrunner, we can’t get o-”

              There was a hum. A low, thundering hum. Then cracks. Then a splash. Many splashes. The elves stood in one place, frozen in their spots, as the tops of the rocky valley crash and crumble with great walls of water flooding over. They were coming from hundreds of feet away, but both child and man knew full well there was no way they could outrun the flood. Time seemed to paradoxically crawl and race at the same time. The water was coming closer. Soon, they will be swallowed up.

              Windrunner... she was not destroyed, she was obliterated. Feet were useless to run... but not to climb. Bastos looked up--they were next to a pillar, cracked and crumbled but still erect. A great job from the edge would take them to a cliffside. It’s their only chance. “Anaka!”


              He takes her wrist. “We have to climb up!”


              ”Just do it!”

              They climbed. And climbed. The water came already... it’s already rising, and fast. The levels were ascending, the waves splashing both elves as they struggled to get higher... and they were not fast enough. As soon as they neared the top, the water overcame them. Both Anaka and Bastos were engulfed by the water, forcing them to ride the rapids.

              The water was too powerful. Too fast. They could see nothing, nor could they breathe. They flailed, rolled, and spun. There was no swimming. No floating. Just sprays of water, devouring the valleys of Thousand Needles. Even the rocky pillars could barely last.

              Before Bastos knew it, his face met the side of a collapsing pillar. He lost sight of the girl. He doesn’t know where she is now.
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