And though I know people at ff.net care a whole lot more about Diplomacy than this, Imma do what I feel like and have another go at Sarah and Dor’ash. This is another one I’ve looked forwards to writing… but I think it might get those who have followed the series a bit upset >_>
For being noon in Orgrimmar, the weather was… just as bleeding sunny and hot as always. Even though Sarah wasn’t particularly bothered by it per say, she had an annoying feeling that she was literally baking. Mostly because the orcs, trolls, tauren and blood elves on the street if possible moved away from her and any other Forsaken strolling about.
If a blood elf happened to throw her a displeased glance, she responded with throwing them a kiss back. It was amusing, but not her main objective.
She weaved in and out of the streets of the drag, cheerfully humming – or rather croaking something that vaguely sounded like a melody – to herself as she sought the shops she needed to visit.
It was a victory, of sorts, having made it this far away from Dor’ash, and for over an hour. She insisted to everyone, including herself, that she was just fine since the events in Alterac a couple of months ago. Still, it was the first time since then that she actually took off on her own.
On some level it annoyed her. Therefore she refused to think about it, and focused on just getting all the various items on her list checked off. It would be a while until she and Dor’ash visited a big city again, as the current plan was to head for Feralas as per a request from one of the big lug’s druid friends.
That was comfortably southwards, in her view.
She entered an alchemy shop, nodding absently to the Forsaken clerk standing by the wall and arranging empty vials on shelves. He nodded back and then ignored her, seeing that she strode towards another shelf of vials with an air of a customer knowing exactly what she wanted.
There was nobody else in the small shop, and she took her time looking at the vials. She had a specific taste in the size and shape she preferred for most of her brewing projects, and weighed each brand in her hand before making a mental note about them and moving on to others.
While in the middle of inspecting a teardrop shaped container she heard the sound of dry, slightly clattering footsteps from the door, but didn’t think much of it. Not until she was addressed.
“Miss Nebula?” a hoarse voice said behind her.
It didn’t really sound like a question though.
“Hmm?” Sarah said, glancing around. “Yes?”
The Forsaken man whose milky yellow eyes met hers didn’t appear to be a soldier, though he wore a set of worn leather armor. The dust covering his clothing, and the simple daggers at his belt suggested a careless traveler. Sarah didn’t recognize him.
“I was asked to deliver a letter to you,” the man said, glancing towards a corner of the store. The clerk caught on immediately and shuffled away on clicking, skeletal feet.
Sarah mentally groaned. Messages delivered with any kind of demand for privacy, to her, meant that it was from the Royal Apothecary Society. Orders to run fetch some obscure thing or take care of an errand. She’d gotten considerably fewer of them since she had managed to off her brother. He had loved to send her running across nowhere to serve his fancy, and those experiences didn’t make her any more keen on doing her duty to the Society.
But she didn’t show her annoyance, and merely followed the messenger to the corner, moving up against the wall so that he could speak to her or show her a written message with his own back to the rest of the world.
His face was unreadable as he reached for a breast pocket and took out a small seal. He held it between his thumb and pointing finger so that she could see it.
If there had still been hair growing at the back of Sarah’s neck, it would have been standing on end.
It was not the seal of the Royal Apothecary Society, but that of the Deathstalkers.
With all her might, Sarah suppressed the wish to teleport out of there and run to Dor’ash, dragging him off to… no safety there could ever be.
Her face forcefully blank, she stiffly nodded acknowledgment. The agent before her put the seal back in his pocket and reached for another, this time withdrawing a letter.
“Special orders,” he said in a voice which was barely a whisper, and yet scratched at Sarah’s ears.
She allowed herself to raise her eyebrows, but that was all she dared as she took the paper and pulled her arm back. Her hand wasn’t shaking, not when she glanced at it. It just felt that way.
The crimson wax seal stuck tightly to the letter, but didn’t offer up nearly enough resistance as she scratched it off and unfolded the paper. There was only one word written there, in an elegant yet sharp hand.
Sarah looked at it for a moment.
It had been so long, she’d almost managed to start hoping. Surely there were greater things to worry about than one orc having seen something he shouldn’t have in Azshara. Surely after all this time and no whispers about the strange events inside that closed off, small ruin, it should be apparent that he wasn’t one to spread dangerous rumors. Surely, there was no need for such measures.
But it didn’t take that long to write a simple order. And Lady Sylvanas was not one to forget.
“Very well,” Sarah said, her voice as even as she could make it. “I’m honored.”
She folded the letter and cradled it in her hands. A brief second of focus and a murmured spell was all it took – the paper and the message upon it was engulfed in a small, intense flame that even consumed the wax seal. Supposedly, the air briefly filled with the scent of melted, burned wax, but none of the three people inside the shop had working senses like that.
“Are you here to help me?” Sarah asked, absently brushing her hands against her robe. Ashes clung to her skeletal fingers.
The agent shook his head.
“I was only instructed to deliver that message,” he said. “Do you request help?”
“No.” It came out firmer than she had planned, but then it was too late to take it back. Sarah met the searching gaze roaming her face. “This is a private matter, I prefer to do it alone. I will report back within a week.”
“That will be expected, then.”
With that, he turned and walked out.
The clerk pointedly ignored Sarah as she returned to the shelf she had been perusing before the interruption. She picked out a few of the vials – most of them not the ones she had decided on before – then paid and left the store.
Most of all, she wanted to rush to find Dor’ash, but she knew he wouldn’t be where they had agreed to meet, not yet. She couldn’t run around Orgrimmar hoping to find him. And if anybody was watching her to make sure she didn’t need help to complete her task, she couldn’t act frantic.
The heat hadn’t bothered her before, but suddenly it felt as if it stifled her brain, making it even more difficult to think and focus.
There shouldn’t be a need to think. It was long since she had settled on her plan of action when this day came. She shouldn’t even be surprised.
She tried to force herself to be calm and looked over her list and the few items that remained, but of course her thoughts couldn’t stay on such useless things anymore. What had been basic supplies for another long journey now seemed like fanciful little knickknacks.
Still, she went on to get all of them, feeling paranoid that somebody was making sure she did. Maybe it wasn’t unreasonable paranoia though. The messenger could have lied about delivering the message being his only objective. And even if he hadn’t, there might very well be somebody else watching.
She wasn’t used to assassinations. It was difficult to tell how important this was regarded to be, if she was truly trusted to take care of her assignment.
If she failed, and lived to be captured for it, whatever punishment her own people could extract on her would surely make her wish the Lich King had successfully crushed her in Alterac.
And if she failed, and somebody else was waiting to make sure Dor’ash died anyway, it would have all been for naught. He deserved so much better than a Deathstalker’s blade in his back.
It was with heavy steps that she headed towards the bank of Orgrimmar, where they had agreed to meet up again.
Dor’ash waited for Sarah in the shadows of a building beside the bank. He caught himself straightening up and study any Forsaken female he saw pass by in the crowd of people moving about, hoping that it would be her. It was nonsense, of course, he told himself. There was no reason to be worried about her in Orgrimmar. She’d threaten to set his hair on fire at the mere notion. He had to shake off the last unease that Alterac had left him with, it wasn’t good for either of them.
When he finally saw her thin form weaving between the other moving bodies he released a small breath. However, a frown appeared on his forehead as she drew closer and he saw the forced, blank expression on her face, as if she was deep in thought. It wouldn’t have made him scowl if it hadn’t been for the uneasy murmur of the spirits, brushing past just in the moment when he saw the look of her.
As soon as she straightened up and spotted him, though, her face relaxed and she hurried forwards, even ducking under a tauren’s arm to get between two of the hulking oxen.
“Hey handsome,” she chirped and craned her neck to look him in the eye. “Why so grim?”
“Hmm? Nothing,” Dor’ash replied, smiling as his frown dissipated.
“Missed me that much, eh?”
He just snorted at that.
She turned to walk beside him as he moved forwards, set on having a drink somewhere before they did anything else. The day was way too hot to start a journey without a drink, even if they would start off with a portal to Thunderbluff.
The bars were full of people, but not cramped and not very loud either. The heat was enough to make anybody feel like taking it easy. After getting their drinks, they were lucky enough to get a table in the shade by the cliff wall surrounding most of the city.
“Did you find everything you were looking for?” Dor’ash said as he settled back in his chair.
All the chairs were made to fit both orcs and tauren if needed. Sarah looked ridiculous sitting on one of them, holding a mug of ale between her thin hands.
“Yep. But, well…”
She grunted and made a rolling motion with her head. Her version of an eyeroll.
“Could your pals in Feralas wait three or four days longer, ya think?” she asked. “I’ve got a job.”
Dor’ash paused for a moment, but shrugged while taking another drink. Getting to Feralas wasn’t a pressing matter.
“Where to?” he asked after swallowing.
“Swamp of Sorrows.”
At that, Dor’ash gave her a long, not very enthusiastic look.
“What?” Sarah said. “It’s almost like Feralas anyway. Wet and full of trees and bushes and things that want to eat you. Just different kinds of it all.”
“But it smells horrible.”
Dor’ash sighed. He wasn’t too keen on visiting the Swamp of Sorrows, not only for the reason he had given. The spirits there were in constant sorrow still from the loss of the once lush land, and even worse close to the Blasted Lands. But, if Sarah had a job then he expected it to be important to her, and he certainly wasn’t going to leave her.
“Alright,” he said, only grumbling a little bit. “I don’t think I’ll need to get any new supplies for that, at least. Do you?”
“Nope, I’m good.”
“Good, we’ll just refill what we need when we get to Thunderbluff afterwards, then.”
Sarah nodded. As she stood up after both of them had finished their drinks, she absently brushed her hands on her robe.