One Way To Get A Job
- --by Krelle
Krelle often found that the easiest way was just to lie to them.
She nodded in feigned sympathy at the burly Tauren beside her. Rhon Timberwind had been moaning into his cups all night.
"I'd heard the goblins were avaricious, but I've never been up to Sunrock before. You make it sound very beautiful," she said, giving him her very best winsome-young-girl smile. Krelle knew that she was pretty, because her trainer Hakk had told her so. In her line of work, being a young, cute girl would usually be a liability, but she had been taught ways to turn these traits into assets. She was not big or strong or intimidating - but she was easy to speak to, and to trust. There were many ways to get a job.
"It sounds awful what they're doing to your trees," she continued. "If goblins came to the forests of Silverpine - I don't know what I'd do!"
The Tauren nodded, apparently encouraged by her understanding. "It has to be stopped," he rumbled angrily.
Krelle nodded her agreement, carefully hiding a smile. This could be a profitable night if she played her cards right.
The crowded streets and inns of Orgrimmar had made meeting new people a simple matter. All it took was a good pair of ears and a bit of luck to find a new client. Her old courier's vest had served her well since her arrival: she was able to explore many areas that would not have welcomed strangers just by carrying a parcel and looking busy. Her outfit combined with her other abilities meant there was nowhere, really, that she could not get to.
It also gave her an excuse to hang around taprooms and bars, waiting for someone who never seemed to show up. It was an ideal venue to search for potential clients. Another added bonus was that the citizens here seemed much less suspicious of strangers than the denizens of the Undercity. Orgrimmar was a good place to find work.
Krelle looked at the angry Tauren she had started up a conversation with. He had been drinking alone at a table. The rest of the inn's taproom was crowded, so asking to sit with him had been a natural move. It hadn't taken much to get him going, and now she was listening as sympathetically as she knew how.
"Well, maybe the goblins will finish up soon and go home," she suggested with endearing naiveté.
The bull snorted. "Not while there are trees standing! The war effort has made wood a valuable commodity and the goblins care only about money!"
"But they wouldn't cut down the whole forest would they? Then there'd be no trees left at all. It would be just like the Barrens," she said, artfully planting the worst-case scenario in his mind.
The huge warrior cursed angrily as he smashed his fist down on the tabletop. Krelle jumped back a bit, startled. She must have let some of her momentary fear show, because he immediately calmed down, even looking a bit abashed.
"Sorry, Krelle. I just get so angry at the filthy little monsters. It is a very frustrating situation."
She creased her brow with concern, scooting closer to him on the rough bench. She reached up and patted him softly on the brown fur of his upper arm. It was a gesture she had seen a small Orc child perform to its father, and it had seemed to please the Orc. It worked on Rhon, too. He actually smiled down at her, a bit condescendingly.
"You would not know the devastation. You have not seen it," he sighed.
She nodded. That was true, actually. Krelle had no idea how bad it was up in these mountains to the west, but that didn't matter. The important thing was how bad the Tauren thought it was. She decided to move things along.
"So what are you going to do?"
"Well - can't you ask Thrall to order them not to cut trees there? I thought the goblins were our allies."
The bull chuckled bleakly. "You are very young, child, to think that all goblins run in the same pack! While there are some groups who aid the Horde in its efforts, many groups of the goblins are in independent mercantile organizations - caring for nothing but money, and answering to no one but their purses."
"Oh," she said, sounding crestfallen. She stared at the tabletop, letting her shoulders slouch. She was the well-practised picture of crushed childhood idealism.
The bull sighed, and took a long drink. He was almost done his fifth tankard, she noted.
She straightened slightly, looking around herself, and leaned in towards the bull in a conspiratorial manner.
"What if … you killed a couple?" she whispered, sounding a bit shocked at her own suggestion.
He grinned wickedly. "We have, young one. They keep coming back. Even if we killed that whole group, another would come. No, they are not afraid of our warriors - they just hire more guards. They care only for the money they make by destroying nature's bounty!"
Krelle nodded thoughtfully. "After the money… Um, are the goblins cutting down trees in every forest? I mean I've never seen any near Silverpine, and the trees are huge there."
The bull shook his head. "I do not think it would be profitable for them to go after the forests of Silverpine. The plagued creatures in that land are vicious, and there are rumours that to stay too long is to invite the plague into oneself. Goblins care about money - but even they can understand that there is no way to spend money when you're dead."
She raised her eyebrows slightly, feigning a dawning comprehension. "Oh. So they'll stay in Sunrock until it's no longer profitable, then."
"Yes, little courier. Unfortunately, that day is a long way off."
"What if you scared them away? If the goblins asked their bosses for too much money to work there, or to hire too many guards, wouldn't their merchant-bosses look for another forest to plunder?"
He looked at her, a mixture of curiosity and wariness on his face. "And how would you scare goblins?"
And that's when Krelle started to lie.
It wasn't that she enjoyed being dishonest. It was no thrill to trick a simple warrior who wouldn't know any better. It was just that no one in Orgrimmar seemed to be able to take her offers-of-service seriously.
"Before the plauge," Hakk had once told her, "my wife used to write books. She was good at it, but she wrote about things that women weren't supposed to write about - like wars and politics and killing. So she would write under a pen name, so that the people who printed the books would think they were dealing with a man. You'll have to have a sword name, girl. You're just too cute to be taken seriously as a killer."
Hakk was terribly wise. She was so lucky to have him as a trainer!
She looked around again, speaking in low, conspiratorial tones.
"Well, my uncle works for the Undericty guard - I run errands for them and stuff, see? I have to carry all sorts of messages and whatnot - anyway! Two moons ago we were having murloc problems up near the Trissing Pass, and the guards were sent out to deal with it. My uncle, he said that the murlocs weren't afraid of direct battle, they were all Fel-bent on taking over the pass and controlling it, only we couldn't let them, I can't quite remember why, something about supply lines. Fish, I think. Or was it mushrooms? Anyway! He said that they couldn't just go and kill all the murlocs cause more would come in and they were stubborn and wouldn't mind a fight, sort of thing." The bull was looking at her very intently, his tankard momentarily forgotten. Krelle pressed on.
"So the guards found this out and they asked him what to do and he went to his commander and the commanders had a meeting and stuff, and he didn't come home 'til late cause they were talking almost all night, but eventually they decided that they were going to make the murlocs want to go away. They scared 'em off. But they didn't do it by running in with axes."
She paused, looking around briefly before she continued. Her tone suggested that some of the straightforward-fighters around her wouldn't understand the ethics of the situation.
"They decided to use guile. At night, when it was dark through the pass and the moon had set, they sent in a few rogues. The rogues killed murlocs silently, without alerting the others. They killed them in ones or twos, not taking out a big chunk of the group, just individual random deaths. It unnerved their forces. They could handle meeting an army in battle, but the idea of dying suddenly in the middle of the night seemed to scare them. The rogues only had to go out among the murlocs for three nights before they were all in a panic. On the fourth night all the murlocs had huddled together, afraid of the "bad spirits" that were in the area. The rogues went among them anyway, and then they killed the chief. The next day, the whole army had packed up. My uncles says they consider the pass cursed. They won't go near it anymore."
The Tauren was tapping the table with one finger, looking speculative. "There are similarities, though goblins are not so credulous..." he mused.
Krelle nodded, sitting back and looking thoughtful. She sat quietly and waited.
Eventually, the bull eyed her speculatively. "Are you returning to the Undercity any time soon, little courier?"
She pretended to consider her jobs, patting a few of the pockets on her leather vest. "Probably - I have three messages headed East now, which makes the trip worth it. One is urgent, so I'll have to go tomorrow or else find someone who is."
"I would be interested in sending a message to your uncle… what was his name?"
"Ivar Strongsteel." Ivar's last name often varied depending on who she was talking to.
The bull nodded. "Would you be so good as to carry it with you? Your tale brings me hope. Perhaps this situation could be addressed by someone with experience in the field."
She smiled brightly. "I bet he could help you for sure! Oh," she said, as though suddenly thinking of a problem. "He won't be able to come here though. He's on duty all the time, he's not due for leave for months. Um. Oh! Wait, one of the rogues they sent, I remember my uncle said was a mercenary. That means he didn't work for the army, so he wouldn't need to wait for leave. Would you like to talk to him? My uncle knows him, I could get a message to him…"
The Tauren was nodding before she finished. "That would be ideal. Do you happen to know this mercenary's name?"
She shrugged apologetically. "Only his first. My uncle calls him Jak."
The Tauren nodded and drained his tankard, standing up. "Let us go to my room, little courier, and I will compose a letter to this Jak of yours right away. With any luck we can work out a price for his services and have him slitting goblin throats before the moon changes phase."
Krelle grinned happily, skipping a bit as she followed the warrior up the stairs. Another job! Nerrok would be pleased - he had told her to find work, and that's just what she had done. As a bonus, she would get to go and see Stonetalon mountains, maybe even Sunrock Retreat while she was there! She had never travelled through mountains before, and she loved to site-see. Someday she would see all of Azeroth, and one day when she was rich and had been everywhere in the whole world she could retire Jak, and then…
"I was lucky to run into you this night, little courrier," the Tauren rumbled, interrupting her thoughts.
Krelle smiled, genuinely pleased. "I'm good luck for everyone, Rhon! Except maybe the goblins," she added as an afterthought.
His laughter rumbled through the hallway as he opened his door. Krelle followed, her mind buzzing with plans.