Sheyla began to crouch tensing up her claws ready to strike. Ras tried to set the rifle down gracefully but dropped it, awkwardly trying to recover. Sheyla lurched, then stopped herself with a gesture from Frizz. “I’m glad we could come to an agreement,” Frizz said cheerfully, “now get a move on.” Frizz motioned us behind the trading floor to a small door behind the center podium. It gently creaked open with stairs going down lit by several small goblin buglamps. “Hurry it up,” he urged pointing to some of the other prisoners in our team.
The stairs opened into a long rectangular room with shelves lining the walls. A single line of lights ran the length of the ceiling dimly lighting the walls. This was the Pawnitarium, part of the Steamwheedle cartel’s trading network. Here countless items moved between the Alliance and Horde and who knows where else. The rest of us stood in a group in the center of the room looking around in amazement at the stockpile of neatly arrayed items; even Frizz was momentarily dazzled. Four other goblin pirates followed up from behind armed with rifles and cutlasses. “Fan out, you’re looking for a statue – life sized, you’ll know it when you see it.”
Ras and I looked over the shelves, boxes, and spaces; something ‘life-sized’ should’ve stuck out. “Ras, I think we can make it to zee eff”, I whispered, “we just need a distraction.” There was a silken bolt draped across a shelf, “This could be useful,” I said reaching up to unhook it. As I started to pass it, there was something about the feel of it that caught me. It tickled with a tingle and a soft brush over my fingers like water. It was unlike any silk I had felt in a long time, and being a tailor and in the cleaning business, that’s saying something. I was looking to see if there was any box or tag around that gave a clue to where it came from while we looked amongst the crates, shelving, and nooks. “Ras, take this and put it someplace, I might want to bring that along; put it on…on that sparkling coat rack over here to my left.” Ras was on my right, looking up from a crate of mightily tubes and sprockets, “Hmm? Oh…sure.”, he said taking it, “where did you want it?” “Over there on the rack that’s stickin out – oh, for Kezan’s sake it’s right-“, I said pointing to where I saw it out of the corner of my eye and I froze, “here.” Frizz squinted about scanning the shelves and had heard the end of our conversation, “Here?! Over here.”, Frizz pointed at the life-sized gilbliness statue made of a gold-like metal; even he was stunned.
The statue was so lifelike it was unnerving. I’m not sure if it was because she – it – was seafolk. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I mean who am I to judge but it’s not my thing. For me, ‘if it’s not red hair, then I’m not there’, y’know what I’m say–anyway… I couldn’t take my eyes off of her-it, whatever; it was savage, it was beautiful, it was unsettling, it was… it was… it was art.
It looked like gold but it sparkled with an iridescent depth, almost as if it was gold covered with sparkling glass; it was unlike any metal I’d seen before. The details of the statue were incredibly lifelike: fine golden wire for hair meticulously placed and arranged tightly to give a lifelike sheen as if it was glistening in even the dimly lit room; her skin made from the smoothest, polished green-gold, her eyes from sapphires set in ivory, and the inside of her slightly opened mouth, the most articulately carved amethyst set with more ivory, meticulous in every detail.
Frizz snapped out of his daze, “OK. OK. Nice work ‘locky – whacha looking at? Stop staring!”
“Beautiful isn’t she?”, Skarlett’s gravely voice echoed in the chamber unconcerned who might hear. “It’s more dangerous than you can imagine; let me have a closer look at her.” Skarlett approached the statue forgetting himself with his eyes widening almost in disbelief. He stooped suddenly closer to the statue’s face, the leaned as he eyed some other details along its neck. “Is it…is it?”, he breathed almost imperceptably. His gloved hand gently touched her cheek as if expecting a shock. He seemed childish with discovery and traced the back of his fingers along the neck to just over where the heart would be. Skarlett moved his hand back to her other cheek and ‘click’; a gentle hiss sounded as something softly thudded. A panel opened in the center of the statue’s chest, revealing a velvet lined chamber with something in it.
Skarlett lifted it up – it had a weight to it by the way he held it. He looked at it with silent rapture, “Oh…I’ve got you Vynnie…I’ve got you now…after all these years…” It was about the size of a human fist and looked to be cylinder of crystal with elementium gears around a small softly pulsing gem. It seemed to come alive when Skarlett picked it up. Golden fluid began to gently circulate and swirl inside along an invisible mesh. Reluctantly, he put it back into the space it sat in the statue, with an unusual precision and tenderness.
“Frizz,” Skarlett snapped without looking up, “take my property back to the ship. Use the scroll.” Frizz walked over to the statue, set a hand on the base, and pulled a tightly-wound scroll from inside his glove and read it. Suddenly, both he and the statue swirled in a hazy fog of light and disappeared.
“Well done ‘sparkle, almost poetic don’t y’think? The ‘sparkle helped me get the Sph- ahem, the sparklie…”, Skarlett said remembering himself and where he was. He stepped back a few paces and looked to his other men who had brought up the rear, “Really spot on. And true t’my word I’ll set you free. Boys, kill ’em painless like; make it look like they died fighting the guards.”