Ariena Snowfeather

“Bloody flappies. Why the hell can’t I just fly to sodding Ironforge?”

Ariena Stormfeather, Gryphon Master at the Lakeshire Flightpoint bent over her drink. Ignore the ignorant prick. Not worth letting your beer go stale over. With very few exceptions, it was quite hard to think of a better reason to stay in this dump than the beer. Brianna, the inkeeper, was a master of hops and malt, and managed, somehow, to make her feel at home even in this… quiet picturesque backwater. She was an absolute sweetheart, and one of the reasons. Henry the gunsmith was another reason. Assembling those tiny parts that make a gun go boom without taking your face off in the process, had given him surprisingly agile fingers for a man his size. Hmm… He was bound to close shop in another fifteen minutes or so, and she had this gun that wouldn’t fire. Could you make my gun fire, Henry? Oh dear. I seem to have forgotten it. Oh never mind. She hummed a little tune, swirling the beer in her mug, making the foam rise.

“And do you know what that bitch across the bridge said? You don’t know any bloody flight points connected to this one! Don’t know? It’s bloody Ironforge! Of course I know the sodding flight point there!”

Ariena sneered. Count to ten. He’s not worth it. He’s just another one of those morons who think that the world should rearrange itself for their convenience. Think of Henry instead. She looked at the clock. Quarter to five. Just a bit too early. All the other customers should be out of the shop first, and then…

“I bet that bitch hasn’t got laid in over a year and gets off on cheating customers instead.”

 

The bitch gently put down her mug of beer, and slowly turned round.

“I’m sorry, Sir. Did you have something to comment on our flying service, or its employees?”

The man looked at her, took a short breath, then unwisely decided to shout Ariena down.

“More like a flying circus! What use are you if you can’t even get me to bloody Ironforge?”

Ariena’s eyes narrowed. This was clearly a noob of the worst description. She could just take the little bastard out now, and increase the quality of the population by several points. But she wasn’t allowed to. Stupid regulations.

“Have you ever been to Ironforge, Sir?”

“Of course. What do you think?”

“And did you, perhaps, notice my very good friend and colleague, Mr. Thurden there?”

“How the hell should I know?”

Ariena closed her eyes a moment. Just when you think they can’t get any more stupid, they suddenly… surprise you.

“He is the Dwarven gentleman next to the fine gryphons in ironforge. I can always tell when someone comes from Ironforge. The gryphons there are works of art.”

“Well, they’re not much use if you can’t bloody fly them, are you?”

 

Ariena took a single step forward, grabbed the unhappy customer by his shirt front and pulled him off his chair.

“Listen you insufferable moron! I’ve sent more people to Ironforge from here than you’ve taken shits! It’s very simple. You go to the nice Dwarf, you show him your hearthstone and there you go! That’s it! What the hell kind of service do you think we’re running? Do you think we catch all these gryphons in the wild for you? A wild gryphon would have you for lunch! For your information, every gryphon you fly on is a carefully crafted magical construct. Warlocks take ten seconds to summon one of their freaks. Hunters can do it in four seconds if they’re very good. We do it in one second flat! All that we ask of you, is that you have the bloody destination on your hearthstone, so that we can imprint it in the gryphon’s mind.”

Ariena shook the shrinking man, and dropped him back in his chair, knocking over his drink.

“These gryphons are the last word in artificial beings. They’re quick to summon, fly faster than anything else in the sky, strong enough to haul even your lardy arse over half a continent, and never fail. And still, we let even dickheads like you ride them wherever you want. Provided you know where you’re going.”

Ariena bent over him.

“And if that isn’t good enough for you, then might I suggest that you try the alternative flying service? It involves my boot and you bending over. I should be able to get you to Ironforge. I’m willing to try it as often as I need to.”

 

Innkeeper Brianna appeared as if from nowhere behind the man. “Here’s your bill, dear. I haven’t put on the drink you spilled, because I am such a nice person. That’ll be one silver ninety-eight copper please.”

The man pulled out a purse, and banged two silver pieces on the table.

“Keep the change. I’m very happy with the service here.”

He stomped off. Outside, they could hear a horse neighing, and disappearing hoofbeats.

Brianna beamed at Ariena. “Two coppers tip! See what service with a smile does for you? You should try it some time.”

“I didn’t kick his butt,” said Ariena. “That ought to be worth at least five coppers.”

 

“Have I ever told you how beautiful you are when you’re angry?”

Ariena looked round. In the door was Henry. A big grin appeared on her face, and she walked over to him.

“No you haven’t, Henry. And that is because you have the excellent sense not to piss me off.”

She wrapped her arms round him.

“I have this gun. It won’t fire. Can you help me. Henry?”

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