(Part 15) For a complete list of this series, please go here.
“Unggah,” groaned an Elven woman, hugging her knees closer to her chest. The woman huddled in the corner upon one of the wooden benches below deck, curled into a ball. Her mind and stomach reeling and churning as the waves rocked and swayed the steamboat. Her chestnut brown hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail. A red and gold mask covered most of her face.
She laid her head against the wall, and partially closed her eyes. With as much traveling as her work required, she still hadn’t found a way to overcome seasickness. She knew she should allow herself to fall asleep, as it was about the only way to combat the nausea; however, she could not trust falling asleep here.
Just as she thought the worst of it had passed, the steamboat hit rough, choppy water. Quickly she lunged for a nearby bucket, barely having the time to lift her mask before retching into it.
A raspy chuckle could be heard from a nearby passenger. “I have something to help you feel better,” he flicked a couple dried leaves at her. “Free of charge. A… sample, if you will.”
Spitting the last bit of bile into the bucket, she wiped at her mouth, lowering the mask once again. She regarded the cloaked figure suspiciously with her keen emerald eyes, but his face was hidden deep within his dark hood. Looking at the bench, she eyed the red petals.
“Thanks,” she mumbled, grabbing them before he could change his mind. She tucked a piece of the bloodthistle into her cheek. Although she was not a magic weilder, she, like her Sin’Dorei brethren, had a hard time resisting the temptations of this bittersweet herb.
Her eyes widened from the rush the bloodthistle induced. It was a temporary fix, but one that would make her feel worse when it was over. She knew this, but quickly popped the second one in her mouth anyway. The second one would delay the come down, at least. She leaned heavily against the wall and escaped into her own mind for the time being.
Eventually the waters were calmer as the steamboat approached its destination. Many of the travelers had already headed topside in anticipation of docking soon. The Elven woman enjoyed the solitude, allowing herself to relax a little bit. The last bit of the petal in her cheek dissolved away as the bells clanked, announcing the boat’s stop.
She rubbed her eyes and temples, then removed the tie in her hair. She shook out her long wavy hair from the tight ponytail. Removing the mask, she tucked it into her pocket and pinched her cheeks, giving them a rosy tint. As the steamboat came to a halt, she stood up, stretching her arms high above her head. She was tall with a slender athletic build. Shouldering her backpack, she buffed her long nails against her shirt, then headed up the steps.
A small smile lit up her face as she breathed in the salty, humid air. Looking around, Booty Bay was bustling as usual. She quite enjoyed this town. In fact, it was her favorite of all the Goblin towns. Whatever you were in need of could be found in a seedy port town such as this. Stepping off the boat, she breathed a sigh of relief to be on solid ground again, even if she was still on the pier. Glancing around, she spotted a Goblin Dockmaster and headed straight for him.
The Goblins were fascinating to her. They had been helpful to the Horde in the past, but preferred to stay neutral. Finding it was more profitable to play off of the Horde and Alliance divide, they chose to remain neutral instead of entering a pact with either one. Goblins were the most self-serving race she knew. And she knew they were motivated the most by money. Money and destructive technology. Although there were lots of shady people and trades going down in their port towns, they policed their territories heavily. She knew the Goblins did not put up with ruses and fights within their towns. Right outside of town was fine, but step foot inside? The Bruisers would put everyone involved down without any questions. She supposed it was the best way to show they were not taking any sides.
Approaching the Dockmaster, she fluffed her hair and put on a wide smile. “Hello, Sir. Fine day, ain’t it?”
The Dockmaster looked up at her, squinting into the sun behind her. He cracked a smile that was full of sharp little teeth. Although Goblins as a race fascinated her, they were not pleasant to look at. They were quite ugly in her opinion. Their large, wide, pointy ears; beady eyes; mouth full of teeth… and their greenish skin was in horrid condition. She shuddered inside as she lightly touched his rough cheek with her hand.
“Aye, gettin’ better. What you want? I’m a bit busy.” He eyed her, still grinning widely.
Nodding she says, “Time is money, I know. I was hoping you might… what’s your name?” She looked away shyly, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear.
He scratched the back of his neck, then flicked the dry skin from under his long, grimy nails. “Krizkix.” He leaned toward her, taking in a deep breath. “I have a lot to do,” he tilted his head at the steamboat she just came off of.
“I know, but…” she playfully tugged at his ear, winking. “Have you seen this Elf?” She produced a portrait of a young Elven woman with short brown hair. “I mean, I know you see everyone that comes and goes from these docks, right?”
He grumbled under his breath, looking up towards her, but not making eye contact. “She don’t look familiar.”
She chewed at her lip, as though contemplating what to do now. With a quick shrug, she flipped him a gold piece, which he snatched out of the air without hesitation.
“She still don’t look familiar.” Krizkix bit the gold piece before placing it in his pocket.
Sighing she patted him on his shiny, bald, green head. “You will let me know if you do see her, right?” She drummed her fingers softly on the top of his head, then removed her hand quickly. “There’s more gold when you do see her.”
Krizkix knew the value of information and was not about to turn down such a deal. He’d be able to figure out how to make it profitable whether or not the Elf in the portrait ever showed up. “Of course, I’d let you know,” winking he tucked the portrait into his pocket with the gold piece. “How am I to tell ya?”
She smiled, obviously pleased with their deal. “If she steps off this boat or tries to leave this dock, you leave me a note at the Salty Sailor Tavern. I’ll be staying for a few days. Even if I’m not here, I always come back for messages.”
“Under what name?” He dug a finger into his ear, twisting the nail deep within.
The woman felt about to gag, but maintained her composure. “Aly. Just leave it for Aly.”
Turning to walk away, Aly looked back over her shoulder and winked as she sashayed up the pier. Krizkix shook his head, watching her as long as he could. Which, was not very long. He shook his head in surprise. He had blinked and she seemingly disappeared into the crowd.
“That be one to be careful of,” he muttered with an odd smile.
Aly hurried to the Inn to retrieve her messages and and check into a room. She felt disgusting from having to flirt with Krizkix, but she wasn’t ready to spend too much money up front. Her looks were a curse and a blessing, for she was attractive enough, but forgettable. She did not possess overly striking or identifying features. She could easily blend in with those around her, or stand out if she chose.
It certainly made the job more interesting.