Tales from the Laundromat

  1. Chapter 1 – Business Unusual
  2. Chapter 2 – Career Move
  3. Chapter 3 – Settling Up
  4. Chapter 4 – Everything’s Connected
  5. Chapter 5 – Payin’ Your Debts
    “The Flashback”
  6. Chapter 6 – Setting Up the Board
  7. Chapter 7 – The Shell Game
  8. Chapter 8 – The Art of Misdirection
  9. Chapter 9 – Double Jeopardy
  10. Chapter 10 – She…It
  11. Chapter 11 – Worse Than Death…
  12. Chapter 12 – T and coffee
  13. Chapter 13 – Cry Uncle
  14. Chapter 14 – Igniting the Past
  15. Chapter 15 – Games Demons Play or Things That Go Bump In the Night…
  16. Chapter 16 – Some things are better unexplained

Chapter 15 – Games Demons Play or Things That Go Bump In the Night…

Her tail slipped away from my lips leaving both Ras and I with an unsettling chill. “It was the only way Ras, she’s got people skills!”, I hissed. The mechanic slowed his plodding pace again, “How’s that again?”, he asked seeming a bit more suspicious.

“The uh… this will bring thrills–THRILLS to the Overlord to hear of your assistance in the matter, very patriotic — and duly noted!”, Ras said thinking fast. The mechanic smiled slowly, “Oh…well, good ’cause I’m going out on a limb here pal…”

“An off one if I have my way…”, a faint echo giggled.

“Sssh!”, I chided into the darkness looking towards Ras with an apologetic stare, “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”

“This’ll just take a second.”, the goblin said fumbling for the keys to the room at the top of the steps. It was a small hallway opening to the top floor where the wind whistled quietly; it was in between flights.

Denburg sat behind a large, black desk as if he were a judge; paperwork spread all over the top and spilling over the far side. He looked up as the door opened and squinted. The mechanic ushered us in, “Sir, pardon the interruption but these two are here to see you; they’re from the Warchief on official…”

Denburg sneered and looked unimpressed, “I wasn’t aware of any snap inspection. Who are these freaks?”

The mechanic looked surprised, then suspicious again at the two of them, “What’s going on he-“. He started to turn, raising his wrench, but never finished his sentence.

“Sometimes a girl just has to get her hands dirty,” a voice purred as a delicate and polished, red lacquered hoof kicked the door shut with surprising force. A thin barbed coil whirled around the mechanic’s throat and the succubus snapped him towards her outstretched and razor sharp nails, impaling him. As he slumped, she seemed aroused; her smouldering eyes briefly pulsing as she let out a growling laugh looking at the rest of us. With each click of her hoof, she purposefully stepped slower and slower looking at Denburg with an intense stare of hunger or hatred and smiled. Her wet, blood covered hand gently caressed Denburg’s cheek leaving a streak of blood, “I am going to hurt you… so…bad.”

“Look, uh, lady?”, Denburg stammered while her finger traced past his ear and under his jaw near his throbbing artery. “Whatever it is you need I’m sure we can work something out here, right fellas?”, he pleaded nervously. She pressed her finger gently on his neck sensing each, more urgent, beat of his heart.

I looked at Ras, “See? People skills…”

Ras grabbed my face, “She just made that goblin into a SHISH-KEBAB! What are we gonna do?”

“Soulstone him, you can probably still revive him. He won’t remember much.”, I said trying to stay calm; for all I knew, Ras and I were next on the menu. I looked back at Denburg, “I need a history lesson, specifically your last voyage before becoming Captain.”

Denburg’s eyes bulged with fresh bravado, “NO! That’s in the past – it’s over wi-“, he began to shout when the succubus cupped her clawed hand over his mouth.

“Sssh,” she purred, “I can see I’m going to have to be more…persuasive. You boys might want to step outside a few minutes and guard the door.”

As we backed toward the door slowly, she interrupted, “Oh and Grim…”

“Yes Felicious?”, I asked hesitantly.

“Remember cupcake, payment is due upon services rendered,” she said biting her lower lip gently with a fang.

The door shut behind us as the drowning buzz of zepplin engines were briefly eclipsed by Denburg’s shreiks – of pain or pleasure, I couldn’t tell and I didn’t want to know.

Chapter 14 – Igniting the Past

We decided not to test Uncle Tizzo’s threat on becoming turtle bait and the mood on ship. Ras was able to book windriders for us to Orgrimmar and we found lodging at The Broken Tusk. Gryshka, the innkeeper, was able to find us some woolen wraps and put us upstairs. It was still dark when we rose from what little sleep we could get. Ras was brewing a mug of goldthorn tea when I came in from outside.

“You couldn’t sleep either?”, he asked quietly. “How are we going to get anything from this Denburg? We can’t just march into his office and start asking questions. We should forget this and move on, there’s bigger adventures out there for two enterprising warlocks like us.”

“I had to catch up with an old flame.”, I growled still not full awake, “She might come in handy.”

Ras went back to finishing his tea and we gathered our things and settled up with Morag, the barkeep who was quietly opening up. Shafts of red and golden light stretched next to shadows through the city giving it an unworldly glow while we worked our way through the center of town towards the zepplin towers. The streets were thick with activity, orc soldiers moving from place to place, tradesman barking their wares, and the Auction House had already been open for an hour.

“Grim, let’s look at the zepplin schedules – they’re in front of Grommash Hold; we might find out when he’ll be there.”, Ras whispered trying to be positive. The Warchief’s command palace jutted out of the center like a burning blackened tusk. It was defiant, standing squarely in the middle of the Valley of Strength, forcing you to yield around it in order to get anywhere in Orgrimmar. We moved from the crowds of people along the main road to the building and passed by a pair of Kor’kron soldiers. One of them put out the but of his sword, still in it’s scabbard, “What business do YOU have little one?”, he asked. The other soldier smirked and looked at the crowds.
“Just wanted to check the zepplin schedules, uh, sir.”, I said trying not to irritate the guard – and Kor’Kron guards are very easily irritated.
The guard face scowled with one lower tusk justting up from his lip in annoyance, “You want THAT board,” pointing as grabbing my head and screwing it to the right.

As we stumbled over to the parchment schedules, I found Denburg’s name scrawled on the roster – he was due in this morning from the Undercity. I was just about to make a note of it when there was arguing, then something large knocked me over stomping past. A goblin hurled to the ground with a thud, “I’ll get us on scheduuule!”, he cried sailing through the air. He grabbed his yellow engineering helmet and scrambled to grab his papers and began to scurry off.

“No more EXCUSES. I want that zepplin fleet ready to assemble our forces in Northrend or your head will adorn the first prow out of Orgrimmar!”, Garrosh Hellscream boomed, standing over the trembling crowd.

I looked at Ras, “That’s our in.”, and we followed him from a short distance. He was hurriedly looking through his papers and apparently running late. We barely kept up pushing past orcs, trolls, and other creatures filling the winding dusty roads. As he walked behind a table and put down his things, he wiped a rag across his grease smeared face, turned and saw us, and asked, “Yeah, yeah, whaddaya want?”

“I’m here to see Denburg please.” I said trying to be as polite and important sounding as I could.

The mechanic just looked back at me, “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that – did you say Denburg? As in Skymaster Denburg? You gotta be kiddin me. Beat it.” The mechanic grumbled some obscenities under his breath shaking his head and chuckling to himself. He grabbed a spanner from under the counter and started to head out the doorway.

“I see,” I said in a repressed urgent tone, “I guess the Overlord’s report will have to wait. We were on our way here when…”

The mechanic turned his head to look back and sneered, “Beat it pal, you don’t look like orcs to-“, before he dropped his spanner with a loud ping. Visibly shaken, he came back to us and stammered, “Wait a minute, you were there when the– Oh, uh, I’m uh… I hope you don’t take offense to… I mean, I didn’t realize…”

Ras leaned forward and smiled, “Is Skymaster Denburg available? It won’t take long.” I think Ras actually began to enjoy watching the mechanic squirm.

“No, um – Yeah! Wait, he’s uh… He’s actually here from the Undercity – the towers at Undercity. I can get you to see him – now, you’ll, you’ll remember that, right?”

“I would hope you wouldn’t mention this to anyone, it’s…official business.”, I added as Ras nodded thoughtfully. We walked up the steps to the flight deck where the operations area was. Ras whispered to me, “You really think we’re gonna be able to get anything other than thrown off the tower for this?”

“I called in a favor…but it ain’t gonna be cheap”, I said shaking my head.

“How’s that pal?”, the mechanic asked.

“Oh, I said ‘Say, this is pretty steep'”, smiling as best I could; it seemed to be a good enough answer as we continued up. Turning back to Ras, I whispered, “Don’t worry, I got us some help, she’s done this sort of thing before and – she’s a pro – ain’t that right babe?”.

Ras looked in the dimly lit stairwell and could faintly make out a beautiful shadow of a face, a succubus. “Grim, you brought one of them?! Are you crazy? She’s likely to kill us as well as everyone else up there for the sheer thrill of it”.

Before I could say anything, a cold, spaded tail gently covered my mouth and a seductive whisper echoed from the dark, “You remember that cupcake…”

Chapter 13 – Cry Uncle

He took the cloth and hefted it in his hand. He stroked the fabric between his fingers and held it up to the dangling lights to look at the weave. Suddenly, he snapped the curtains to the porthole of the room shut and looked at us with a serious gaze, “Where did you find this?”

“is that-“, Ras started to say before Tizzo cut him off.

“No, WHERE did you find THIS!”, Tizzo’s voice hissed, trying not to shout, “Because THIS can’t be here, Grim.”

“I’ll take that as a y-“, I answered smugly.

“You’ll take this right outta here and, if you’re smart, throw it overboard – now. You bring me…”, Tizzo stopped himself from raising his voice. He tried to start again but just puffed his cheeks then clenched his jaw hard; you know, like when you see that little muscle wiggle under your skin? He leaned in and barely whispered,” you bring me pyrosilk as if I dont know what it is?”

Ras looked at Uncle T and asked in a most uncomfortable and normal volume, “What’s pyrosilk?”

Both Uncle T and I looked at Ras, “Sssh!”

Uncle T continued, “Lower your voice; you want to wind up hanging from an anchor as turtle bait?”

Ras shrugged his shoulders as he looked back at me. Uncle Tizzo looked at Ras and sank into a pineapple embroidered lounge chair, clearly exhausted, “This…this isn’t silk. It’s a special kind of volcanic glass.”

“Glass? Why doesn’t it-“, Ras asked, knowing a thing or two about engineering and glass.

“Snap? Because its made – organically; naturally woven.”, Tizzo said trying to keep from hyperventilating. “It’s from a volcanic spider near Kezan. They live in the glass tunnels around…”

“The Undermine?”, I barely mouthed the whisper with wonder in my eyes. Tizzo didn’t share my childhood wonder of the place. He looked almost guilty acknowledging it. The Undermine was where the most brilliant, and frightening, ingenious creations, gizmos, and ideas came from in all of goblindom. Countless bedtime stories were spun from it’s halls to inspire and frighten. Nothing ever small came from the Undermine.

“So? It’s a glass from home. How come I’ve never heard of it?”, Ras asked rather unimpressed. He squinted trying the see the intricate pattern twisting and sliding that kept it flexible.

Tizzo exhaled, “The spiders are farmed for the pyrosilk. It’s reserved for special purpose use by the… by the Underhand; special uses as in engineering, armor, and covert operations.”

Uncle T ran his fingers over the edges and a splinter tinkled to the floor, “Where’s the rest of it?”, he asked.

Ras looked at me, then down at the floor while I smiled sheepishly, “It was covering a statue, amazing craftsmanship; it was almost like it was staring back at me. I had to burn it as a distraction. The only way was to immolate it with felfire at point blank range. Once part of it caught it unravelled. I was able to keep this part safe tucked in my hand.”

Tizzo didn’t share my optimism, “You got lucky! It could’ve reflected back onto you and incinerated both of you.”
The conversation was interrupted by the gurgle of the espresso pot finishing with a throaty whisper. Tizzo grabbed a few mugs on plates and asked, “A statue huh? What kind of statue? Naga? Murloc?”

“Why would you assume it was something aquatic?”, Ras asked, his mechanical mind piqued at Uncle Tizzo’s guess.

Tizzo began to pour the rich brown syrup and looked over at us, “I been around”, clearly not answering his question. “Well, what’s the Underhand?”, Ras asked clearly getting more interested in the conversation.

Tizzo dropped a mug with a clatter and walked toward us ignoring the mess, steaming pot in hand.

“Grim, I assume that he being with you means you trust him. The fact that you had a huge amount of blood on your clothes yet are still alive tells me you’ve seen trouble together. So unless I’m wrong – and stop me if I am – I will say this one time.”

There was a pregnant pause answered only by Ras and my expectant stares.

Tizzo turned and got another mug and served the espresso. As he sat down, he took a long sip, inhaled deeply and said – clearly inspired by the espresso, “The Underhand are the five most powerful goblin families of engineers artisans and mages. Together they form the most powerful and richest goblin families and manipulate every aspect of business…and more.”

He took another sip, “They work below the waves in the volcanic glass caverns. It’s where they learned and mastered the art of farming glass pyrosilk. It became a trademark of their authority, their favor, or their only warning; any of which is a sign of trouble.

“But”, asked Ras, “they’re gone now. All Kezan is gone. When the Mount Kajaro exploded, it destroyed everything. Couldn’t someone have simply taken it from someone else and used it?”

Tizzo stared back at him almost sympathetically, “No…they’re not gone. You don’t understand. They were so powerful they ran the war… they made the inventions… they controlled the military… they controlled Gallywix. Everything.”

“Uncle T, where can I find out who made this or what this was for? You used to tell all sorts of stories of when you worked for-“, I said feeling like a little kid back home again.

Tizzo set his mug down, “Denberg”, he blurted out before becoming agitated, “You’re already in dangerous waters Grim! Don’t make me sorry – you’re family but don’t push it. This is already too much. That volcano did a lot of us a favor. Gave us a chance to walk away, start a new life and erase the past. Some things are better left buried beneath the waves.”

“I think he’s in charge at Orgrimmar of the zepplin operation. I helped work on the project for the second tower they built years ago.”, Ras said.

“Enough,” Uncle T shouted, slamming down the pot spilling hot espresso over his hand, “I know you can be stubborn but now you’re just being thick. I told you forget about it. Get rid of THIS and move on. I don’t want to talk about pyrosilk or the Underhand. As a matter fact I’m done with this! You- you’re going to have to go. I’m sorry but I can’t afford to have any more trouble from the past or the present.” Tizzo began shoving us out to the door, espresso pot still bubbling in his hand.

“Okay! Okay, Uncle T! Please, oh you’re right. Just let me ask you something else?! Does the name Vynnie mean anything to you?”, I asked pleading at the door.

Uncle Tizzo stopped. “Vynnie? Vynnie…”, and then as if remembering a nightmare said “No, no. No. No! NO!”, visibly shaking. “Do not say anything more! You are not talking to me. I do not hear you! You have to go you and your friend don’t come back or I’ll make sure that I hang you on an anchor myself for turtle bait; you hear me?! GET OUT!

And with that shoved both of us out the door. Before you close the door he took one last look at me stared me straight me eyes and in a low voice breaking with emotion, said, “You be gone by tonight, understand? I don’t want to see you on this barge or I’ll throw you off myself.” The hatch slammed closed, the cool breeze puffing in our faces. I could barely hear a sound…it sounded like my uncle…crying.

Chapter 12 – T and coffee

The barge was a clinking whirring wonder of a place. Before the cataclysm, the sunken lands beneath the barge were an arid salt flat. Engineers from all over would try to outdo each other’s contraptions to see whose was the fastest…or just not explode.
The flood changed little besides the landscape as the group’s ego kept them focused on building, beating, and belittling each other.

We drifted up to the soaked dock floating on all manner of parts strung, screwed, or bolted together. Two goblins sat almost unaware of our arrival, the closer one just nodded, “just what we need, more refugees – yous goblins engineers…” looking us over, he continued, “beat it, we got-”

“Is that a samophlangic propeller system on that baby? It looks like a T-400 or a 450.”, Ras interrupted, pointing at the small boat strapped to the far side of the dock.

The goblin who gave us the welcome leaned forward with a smile, “Actually…”, he whispered, “Its a Samodyne 485 with dual magnetic coils; you know a thing or two about that?”

Ras whistled, “Yes, yes I do”, rubbing his hands together, “but, my friend here might-”

“Him? Yeah, yeah – he’s fine.”, the goblin said hurriedly and looking at me quipped, “Why don’t you go aboard.” motioning to the gangplank. Turning back to Ras I could hear him continue, “He didn’t look to intelligent anyway. Maybe he can help pump the bilge water or somethin?”

Ras looked back with a smirk and walked off getting a closer look at the racing boat. I got up onto the deck which looked more like a huge metal field. Goblins and gnomes were huddled in groups, occasionally running back and forth with armloads of tools, trinkets, and blueprints. I was invisible.

A gnomess bumped into me and barely avoided dropping an armful of cogs, belts, and a drink. “Watch out greenie! I’ve gotta bunch of engineers waiting on me for these parts. Your boys are going down again this month!”, she snapped.

I was a bit dazed when I said, “I-I was looking for a gre- no, goblin. A goblin, he’s a tailor – like me; goes by Tozzi?”

She just looked at me. Sudddenly, I was awkwardly, painfully visible at that exact moment when she giggled,”Tailor?”
The deck lit up with the glint of several dozen goggles looking up and it got really quiet.

A spanner clanked to the deck, “Oh my Kezan! Is that you Grimmie?! Such a kidder – since you were a kid.”, an older goblin laughed nervously working his way down the ramp from the second level. “He meant FAILURE, not tailor. Ha-ha! He was referencing our temporary setback from last months competition, right,” as he firmly grabbed a hunk of flesh near my side.

The gnomes began to talk then debate as the symphony of clanking, hissing, and whoosing resumed. The feisty gnomess shifted the parts in her arms and hurried along back to her crew and we disappeared amongst the goblins working on the upper deck.

Uncle Tizzo dragged me down a cramped corridor and rasped, “For real? What are you doing here Grim? It’s been what – at least two years since I’ve seen you? And you walk on a boatful of engineers and announce ‘I’m a tailor’?! I don’t know who’d have tested you for ballast first, the goblins or the gnomes?!”

Stopping in front of a door he grabbed a spool of keys still mumbling, opened it, shoved me inside, locking it behind us. He turned and Tizzo’s eyes glistened with a tear. “How are you doing Grim?”, he said crumpling me with a hug, “It’s good to see you, you…you smell like death – is that blood?”, he asked looking at the dark dried stains across robes under my cloak.

He helped me get cleaned up in his tiny room aboard the barge. After a few hours, Tizzo was able to find Ras and pull him away from his newfound engineering friends. Tizzo was helping as a fabricator for the goblin teams on the speedbarge. He’d kept quiet about being a tailor and used his herbalism skills researching engine lubricants for the racing boats.

Making a fresh pot of espresso, he set a mithril moka pot on top of a small stove. “Why now Grim? What brings you to my door all the way out in the Shimmering Deep?”

“Uncle T, what do you make of this?”, I asked pulling out the scrap of fabric I grabbed from the Pawnitarium.

Chapter 11 – Worse Than Death…

A huge dull thud shook the floor causing dozens of items to clink and clatter. Dust sifted down from the ceiling above as another thud boomed followed by an ominous silence. The four goblin pirates began to look nervously around, “Orders, sir?” they asked. Captain Skarlett listened to the noises looking up at the ceiling and drew out another parchment. He quietly mumbled reading the scroll as his men half-heartedly raised their weapons shaking ever so slightly. Another thud stomped above as several metal shields fell over with a clatter, “Ready…”, the leader of the squad said, “um – Captain Skarlett, sir….what …what was that?”

Skarlett finished reading, ignoring the pirate’s question, and a veil of light opened up with a whoosh. A sparkling curtain of light shimmered creating a portal back to his ship. “They’re here…”, Skarlett said, “let’s get this over with.”  The other goblins raised their rifles noticeably distracted with the irregular thumping that threatened to bring down the ceiling.

“I’ll bet you’ve been searching the Wild Coast for that statue for a while…it’s an honest mistake. Being in the cleaning business you learn a thing or two about fabrics.”, I said as I began to crumple a handful of the fabric tightly in my hand.

A longer, heavier rumble quaked followed by an eerie silence. Echoes of clanking and groaning metal chirped sporadically in the unsettling calm.

“HOLD,” Skarlett said in a surprised rage only to be drowned out by the boom of a goblin rifle. The next thing I knew I was on the ground, pain throbbing in my chest. I looked over at the smoldering bits of cloth floating down beside me; the result of a quick immolate spell on the sheet. “Wait!”, Raspootin said putting up his hands. That’s when things got real blurry … I was struggling to wake up. I remember trying to talk then feeling like I was drowning in a sea of black oil, coughing, fighting to breathe and then blackness.

“Grim…GRIM?”, Ras said softly. There was an echo.

My head as suddenly clear and there was a buzzing sensation in my chest, “Are we…dead?”‘ I asked. Ras’s expression grew a bit more sad and serious, “Worse.”, he replied in a disturbingly reassuring tone. “Broke? Am I broke Ras?”, I said pleading. Ras choked back, “You owe a favor.” I sat up. Feeling my chest, there was no bullet hole, no blood, just bloody robes which were absolutely ruined. “Ras, why am I not dead?”

Ras looked at the ground and then at me and didn’t say a word. Silence. It was quiet and cool and we were alone in a dimly lit cove. At that point I looked around and then at Ras. Then he whispered, “He gave you your life back and mine…he said you owe him. He’d be back… He’d find you…it’s just one favor.”

“Ras, why would he do that?”

“He offered you a deal for a price. He said he’d spare your life but only if you gave him a piece of collateral, a spot of your blood with an IOU…a goblin contract. I was a witness. I-I tried to talk you out of it but-“, Ras muttered.

“I…was…SHOT! I…was bleeding – to death, Ras. A contract?! With blood? I must’ve been delirious. How long have we been here?”, i asked leaning back and looking down, “but…we’ve got an advantage.”

“A few hours, I think it’s a cave south of where we…we do?”, Ras said.

I held up a scrap of uncharred cloth I had clutched, “I’ve know where this is from but I need an expert to make sure. I got an uncle who used to live out this way in Thousand Needles. He’s pretty resourceful…he probably survived the flooding…probably.”

We laid low until we could travel in the moonless, cold dark of the desert. Ras was able to make a pair of crude night vision goggles from driftwood, shells, and some basilisk lenses we ‘borrowed’. We worked our way through the center of the desert avoiding the scavengers. Crossing the mountain paths, we improvised a raft from some washed up wreckage and paddled to the floating speedbarge of Fizzle and Pozzick.

Chapter 10 – She…It

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.”

Lore Bio – Glint

Glinton “Glint” Gurgulsplunk

Race: Half goblin, half-gilblin
Profession: Rogue (Subtlety)

Glinton was the unusual but rare union of a goblin father and a gilblin mother. He inherited characteristics of both species, having gills to breathe underwater as well as a sense of cunning and curiousity. Details are a mystery as Glint rarely talks of his past but he tries to pass himself as a regular goblin marine or buccanneer. Only on close inspection or when Glint loses his temper does he arouse suspicion.

At some point, Glint ran into the “Winds of Fortune”, Skarlett’s armored ship and came to be in his employ. Glint’s unparalled advantages underwater have helped Skarlett with underwater demolition, espionage, and dealing with the aquatic races across Azeroth’s seas. Glint has a knack for finding trouble and treasure, sometimes at the same time. His skills and gilblin instincts along with his unnaturally quick reflexes have saved his life numerous times. There is also speculation that Glint is actually a full-blooded gilblin and Frizz’s other pet, albeit an intelligent one.

Lore Bio – Frizz

Frizzberto “Frizz” Wheezilcog

Profession: Hunter (Shadow hunter)

Frizz was raised in Kezan and quickly took to the outdoors from a young age. His parents thought he had run away or been kidnapped when he disappeared for several days only to turn up as if nothing had happened. He always felt a natural kinship in the jungle and was a bit a of recluse avoiding the more common trend of goblin culture towards business and tinkering.

Frizz flunked out out the prestigious Wix Works business program when he failed to show up for several weeks while hunting a rare albino ape. Shunned by his family as an ’emabrassment’, Frizz turned his skills to more lucrative prey becoming a gun for hire and engaging in bounties regardless of their affiliation.

He was following a marker into the jungles of Stranglethorn where he met Vol’jin and helped him escape a Stormwind expeditionary team hot on his trail. In return for his kindness, Vol’jin trained him to become an acolyte Shadow Hunter and explained why he felt at peace in the depths of the jungle.

Frizz continued to serve at Vol’jin’s side until whispers of a Zandalari threat reared and Captain Rojeiro Skarlett arrived in Booty Bay. Skarlett quickly saw the aspiring hunter’s value as a new lieutenant in his crew to do his bidding. Frizz’s mercenary instincts got the better of him coupled with the thought of even more remote, exotic locations.

Several campaigns with Skarlett in the South Seas brought Frizz even greater freedom. In the remote jungle oases scattered across the ocean he crossed paths with Glint, a half-goblin, half-gilblin. Glint’s lack of intellect was made up for his prowess beneath the waves. His cunning combined with Frizz’s skills on land made them a potent combination in Skarlett’s team.

Frizz’s favorite pet is Sheyla, a Darkshore Nightsaber he tamed and has trained by his side for several years.

Chapter 9 – Double Jeopardy

The sun began to set across Tanaris and fingers of shadow began to fall from the imposing, barren mountains that sat near the town. Frizz nodded to Raspootin, "Now 'locky! Get that door open." Ras hesitated then began to direct his minion, a void walker towards the gate. Warlocks typically had an attendant from the demonic realm to aid them in their quests. This one was a huge dark blue shadow with pale glowing eyes swimming in its smoky form. Void walkers looked ethereal, almost harmless but they were far from it. Being creatures of shadow and void, they could summon up tremendous strength, especially where shadows are found, and threaten the most seasoned of warriors. It moved across the rocky ground silently curling up into the gate hinge pouring wherever there was room. Slowly it began to puff out with a soft clinkety-clank as it quietly groaned.

Frizz sat gnawing a toothpick nervously eyeing the wall looking for any sign of guards that could ruin this operation. The jawed gate opened wider and wider until finally the void walker straddled inside it like a giant curtain. "Glint, send em in", Frizz whispered and stiffened as he saw a goblin looking about on the wall. Frizz raised his rifle almost unconsciously and gently held his breath. A soft pop preceded the concussion shot that struck the guard, stunning him. He fell, flipping backwards, down the steps out of sight.

"Glint! Get them moving - MOVE IT!", he said running past one of the prisoners at the back and shoving me with him. "Ok. OK! You're next. Let's go!" As we scurried along the inside walls like mice, Frizz pushed me along with his rifle and pushed me toward the sandy steps down towards the Auction House doors. The Auction House of Gadgetzan not only was a place of commerce but held a large pawn shop of valuables 'acquired' by the Steamwheedle cartel. Price was no object and neither was the clientele, Alliance, Horde, or other. Their unofficial motto was, "if it has gold, it can be sold!" And protecting the doorway were two huge thick mithril jaws closed tight. The center was was engraved with a cartel's crest and the words "KEEP OUT" underneath. Frizz quickly sized it up and looked at me, "Get your minion and no funny stuff or you'll have a third nostril."

I summoned my voidwalker who appeared out of the shadows in the stairwell. It's eyes glowing faintly but with an anger, "What now?", it yawned menacingly. I pointed to the locked mithril vault. The minion looked at them and then back at me with an annoyed, raspy sigh. It seeped in between the jaws but with more difficulty; these gates were built with much better tolerance than the city ones. As it slowly ratcheted the door open, Frizz looked even more nervous than I had seen him; he was sweating. His eyes were darting about as if expecting something or someone to jump out of the shadows. Suddenly, his eye focussed on the hinge holding the doors together. The vault was almost completely open when he dropped his rifle and bolted towards the door. A second later something clinked and a surge of electricity crackled. Two huge spheres of metal behind the door discharged an enormous bolt of lightning striking the mithril and the voidwalker. The voidwalker shreiked and began to fade overcome by the defenses as Frizz stood up between the two doors - falling together. I thought for sure he was about to become the door's meal when he twirled, stepped back, and thrust out a metal staff that jacked the door open just enough for a person to go through.

As Frizz looked at me, he looked over my shoulder as his jaw dropped. I turned and Ras stood, nervously holding Frizz's rifle, "D-don't move or I'll blast you". Frizz almost began to laugh, "I'm surprised you even know which end to use 'locky." and his expression become stern, "now put that down before someone gets themselves killed deadlike." Frizz whistled cooly, "Well this is an unexpected streak of courage. Alright." he said, putting his hands at his sides and looking at the ground almost sad, "you've got the gun, what'd you want to do? And think about this carefully because Sheyla doesn't like to wait too long for her dinner." Frizz looked up slightly from below his hat now wearing a confident smirk. "Whose Sheyla?", I asked before I could shut myself up. A low growl from the shadows explained everything - Sheyla was Frizz's Nightsaber.

Ras froze seeing her jeweled eyes and faint trace of her 6 inch fangs in the folds of darkness. "That's actually the first smart thing you've done today 'locky. Now I wouldn't move unless you want to feed her early. 'cuz I'm betting, and I am a betting goblin, that she'll finish you before you can get a second shot. And believe me, you'll need it with her. Now let's put the rifle down nice and civilized. And just to show you what kind of goblin I am, I'm willing to forget this whole mess; but this offer, and you, will expire in about ten seconds."