Part 10: Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle

In his mansion in Everlook in the frosty lands of Winterspring, Baron Samuel Goldenberg walked to the speaking tube and blew into it. The voice of his valet answered.

“Yes Sir?”

“Come here for a moment please, Schmuÿle, if I am not inconveniencing you.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Baron Goldenberg turned to the small window. Outside, one of Winterspring’s many snowstorms was whirling by. He raised a green hand to his pointed chin and stroked it thoughtfully. The door opened, and Schmuÿle stepped in.

“Sir?”

“Ah.” Baron Goldenberg raised his hand, showing Schmuÿle a letter in an incomprehensible cypher. “Mr. Mathias Shaw honours us with his attention, Schmuÿle. I have just decyphered his message.”

“I hope he is well, Sir,” said Schmuÿle.

“The message does not say, but I must assume he enjoys a good enough health to remember two of his Goblin…” Baron Goldenberg waved a hand.

“Acquaintances, Sir? Associates, perhaps?”

“I think associates will do. I believe Mr. Shaw has somewhat misinterpreted my words, Schmuÿle.”

“He has, Sir?”

“When I mentioned that I was off his payroll, he may have taken that to mean simply that he no longer needed to pay me for my troubles.”

“I can see how such a misunderstanding might have arisen, Sir, it being Human to err.”

“Indeed. But be that as it may, he does have the knack of piqueing my interest.”

“He has a task for you, Sir?”

“He has, he has. There is a group of people who are vexing him by eluding capture.”

“Ah. And he believes that we will succeed where others have failed, Sir?”

“Naturally, Schmuÿle. Have we ever given him reason to believe otherwise?”

“Apart from the Ashbringer incident, Sir, I do not believe we have.”

Baron Goldenberg looked up from the letter. “Oh please Schmuÿle, stop bringing that up. Those were circumstances beyond our reasonable control. And the sword was eventually restored to its rightful owner.”

“Indeed it was, Sir. At no profit to us, but do we not all profit from the demise of the Lich King?”

“Stop rubbing it in please, Schmuÿle.” Baron Samuel Goldenberg looked at the letter again. “Confusticate and bebother that Shaw. He does promise some good entertainment, and retirement, I’m afraid, does not agree with me.”

“Sir, if I may ask, what is the task at hand?”

“Roll up a gang of common thieves, and bring their leader to justice. And here is the bait, Schmuÿle. ‘By whatever means applicable.’ By whatever means applicable. Free rein in Alliance territory. I think Mr. Mathias Shaw knows me too well sometimes.”

“Whatever means applicable, Sir?” Schmuÿle’s yellow, slitted eyes shone. A big smile revealed pointed teeth. “Would those means include immoderate amounts of violence, Sir?”

“Yes, Schmuÿle. I think they would. Only against the deserving, of course, as we have found to our cost.” Baron Goldenberg crumpled up the letter and threw it into the fireplace. “Fire up the Old Lightning. We are heading for Stormwind!”


Raven sat by one of the cooking fires in the Pandaren camp. Just to have something to do with her hands, she was chopping up vegetables for Fuzzball, who was preparing dinner for all the Pandaren and Raven herself. It also meant that she had a sharp blade in her hand already just in case anyone was thinking of trying something. She was thinking. Some things did not add up. Baltar had grabbed her to make an example of her, and show the rest of his merry men what happened to you if you betrayed the holy code of silence. That much, she could understand. But how had he spotted her on her return to Stormwind? She had thrown away the clothes she had worn when she… Raven closed her eyes a moment, swept another heap of chopped onion into the bowl. When what had happened, had happened. Still, that could just have been dumb luck.

Lenna had come in, guns blazing, and she had escaped. That must not have been good for Baltar’s reputation. Several had died, because Lenna packed one hell of a punch. Most of them had got away. It would have been perfectly acceptable for Baltar to have given up at that point. Master fire-mages had always been out of season, because they were simply too powerful to mess with. Back in her Cordelia days, part of her job had been to assess the strength of the victim, and if it was too risky, get up and allow herself to be rescued, cleaned up, and sent on her way. Then come back, get dirty again, rinse, repeat.

Small though they were, the Steambenders were a force to be reckoned with. A powerful warlock, a fire-mage, a rogue, and a permanent sugar-rush of a warrior girl. Raven smiled. Before long, the second rogue would be back in action. All they needed was a healer, and they could move mountains. Perhaps Aubrey could go into the priesthood.

So why risk it? Why attack their home? Even if they had watched the house, they should have known that she and Griggin were there. There had been four sword-fighters and one little creep, who sadly had gotten away. Did they think that was enough? Why not send in more? Why not the whole gang, and most importantly, why bother in the first place? She wasn’t that important, was she? And she couldn’t hide forever. All they had to do was wait. Raven sighed. So many questions. Not enough answers.

She handed Thunderpetal the bowl of chopped onion. Thunderpetal offered her a small plate of dumplings. She picked one up with her chopsticks, dipped it in the sauce, and tasted. It was gorgeous.

“If I don’t get out of here soon, I’ll have to roll out.”

Thunderpetal laughed. “Tomorrow, I teach you how to roll.”


“Good grief, Schmuÿle, are we lost already?”

“That is possible, Sir. I always forget whether it was right at the second or third star, before flying on till the morning.”

“We have no time to fly on till the morning, Schmuÿle. Step on it.”

“Stepping on it, Sir.”

Schmuÿle pushed the throttle forward, and after-burners kicked in, sending the helicopter hurtling through the sky. After an hour, the lights of Stormwind came into view. Schmuÿle throttled back, because the look-outs were a bit wary of ignivomous things hurtling towards the city, and would welcome them with a hail of sharp arrows. Schmuÿle made the Old Lightning dip down sharply, until it flew just above the waves. He made for their usual landing spot, and stopped in surprise. The helicopter hovered.

“Sir?”

Baron Goldenberg looked up from the book he had been reading.

“What is it, Schmuÿle?”

“Our landing space, Sir. It is… occupied.”

Baron Goldenberg frowned, and produced a pair of binoculars. Schmuÿle turned the Old Lightning so that the Baron could see.

“A bunch of… bears have set up a camp in our usual landing spot. There is also a hot air balloon. That is rather inconsiderate of them. At this rate, Stormwind will need air traffic control.”

“Indeed, Sir. I take it you wish to remain undetected? Shall I find an alternative?”

“Please do, Schmuÿle. I wish to have a little chat with Mr. Shaw first.”


Nix woke up. Someone was complaining about the food, or the lack thereof. He poked Interalia.

“She’s hungry again.”

“Bog off. You feed her.”

“Don’t have the equipment.”

Interalia groaned. “Oh alright then. Bring me… the child.”

Nix got up, and picked Aubrey up out of the basket.

“Ugh.”

Interalia gave him a Look. “Better take care of that first, unless you want it in bed.”

Nix said nothing.

“Want to claim you don’t have the equipment for that either?”

Nix grumbled a bit, put Aubrey on the changing mat and faced the horror. The single most useful thing they’d shown him in the pre-natal classes was the way in which you held Baby’s feet in one hand, and cleaned with the other.

“She’s just produced her own weight in poo! I’m sure other babies are portalling theirs here.”

Aubrey’s eyes were the most amazing shade of blue. Which was not strictly relevant at this point, because she had them both shut tight. Her mouth was wide open, though. Aubrey awake, happy and gurgling with laughter was the most wonderful sight in the world. Aubrey red-faced and screaming was what you put up with to get it. Nix dumped the dirty nappie in the bucket, fitted a new one, and handed Aubrey to Interalia. The noise stopped, to be replaced by satisfied, but most importantly, quiet sucky noises. Nix looked at Interalia’s breast, thoughtfully. Interalia followed his gaze.

“No.”

What?”

“Not until she’s on solids. Then Daddy can play with them again.”

“That’s not what I was thinking of.”

“I bet you weren’t.”

Nix reached for his notepad and made a few quick sketches. Funnel shape, bottle, vacuum pump. Interalia looked over.

“What are you scribbling?”

Nix showed her. “A way of extracting your milk into a bottle. That way, we can both feed Aubrey.”

“You want to stick that on my tit?”

“Yeah.” Nix grinned. “I’ll start the vacuum pump on low.”

“I’d say not in a million years, if it wasn’t so useful.”

“I’ll get the mats tomorrow. See if it works.”

“Oh. One thing. Better label the bottles very clearly.”

“You milk,” said Nix.

Interalia hit him.


Raven twisted round with the speed of a snake, and her dagger stopped half an inch short of the throat of the person who had entered the tent where she slept and touched her. Her wrist was held in an iron grip. She looked into the frightening green face of a Goblin.

“Good evening, Miss Raven. May I compliment you on your reflexes? If my assistant had not restrained you, you would certainly have done me a grave injury, and only found out your mistake afterwards.”

“Who are you, what do you want, and let go of me!”

“Excellent questions, Miss Raven. Excellent. My name is Baron Samuel Goldenberg, and the gentleman holding your wrist is Schmuÿle. What I want is to have a quiet conversation with you on the subject of your former gang, and Schmuÿle, I believe you can release Miss Raven now. May I ask you in return to put away that dagger? I assure you, while we are here, you will not need it.”

Raven looked at the Goblins. Baron Goldenberg was dressed in a dark green business suit. It looked expensive. His… assistant wore a black suit and a bowler hat.

“Who sent you? Shaw?”

“You are correct. Mr. Shaw has asked us to ensure that Mr. Baltar and his friends no longer trouble Stormwind. Since you are his prime target, naturally, our first course of action is to find out what you can tell us.”

“And I can trust you… why?”

Baron Goldenberg’s smile was completely sincere, though what it was that amused him might be open to speculation.

“Miss Raven, we can divide the world into three kinds of people. First, those who wish you well, like your Gnomish and Pandaren friends. I would be amiss if I did not include Mathias Shaw in this group as well. Second, those who wish you harm, like your former gang members, and perhaps a few dozen of your victims, though they may not recognise you in your current guise. And finally, those who do not care one way or the other. I am afraid we must place ourselves in that group. The only proof I can offer is the fact that we are quite good at… how shall I put it?”

“Killing people, Sir?” supplied Schmuÿle.

“Crude but accurate. Were we to wish you harm, then we would not be having this conversation. A tired old cliché, but I’m afraid that is all I can offer.”

“Hm.”

“Indeed. Well then, Miss Raven. Please tell us what you can about this gang of yours.”

“What will you do to them?”

“Take them out of this great chess game of Stormwind, and make sure that they do not interfere in its workings again.”

“Kill them,” added Schmuÿle, by way of explanation.

Raven put away her dagger. The gang. They had accepted her when she first came to Stormwind from Ironforge. One big happy family. Nasty, abusive, but a family of sorts. They had allowed her to stay mostly because of her looks. ‘Presentable’ was a rarity among the rats of the Old Barracks. The first couple of weeks had been pure hell, as one after the other had tried, in one way or another, to get her clothes off. With time, even the slow ones had caught on that Bad Things happened to those who tried to force their company on her. Nobody really trusted each other in the gang. All that kept the group together was the fear of being alone in a hostile place. A justified fear that Raven had shared with them. In the recesses of the Old Barracks, not close enough to the fire to be warm, not far enough away to freeze, she had been able to sleep. She had been grateful for that, at least. Without the gang, she might not have made it. And now, for reasons she still did not fully understand, they were trying to kill her.

Raven looked into the strange, alien eyes of Baron Samuel Goldenberg, and prepared to betray them.


In the tent that he shared with Huang, Thunderpetal sat on his sleeping mat, and thought of home. Born in a quiet part of the Valley of the Four Winds, his life had been mostly filled with farming, cooking and brewing. They had traded fish with the Jinyu fish-people, and had mostly been left alone by the thieving Hozen. It was a peaceful time. The oppression of the Mo-gu was a distant ancestral memory to his father, and nothing but tales for him. He had never truly known his mother. She had died in an accident when he was just a small cub, an event not so much for tears as for wondering when Mummy would be back, and then acceptance. His father had never remarried. As much as a way to honour his ancestors as to learn to defend himself, Father had taught him how to fight with a staff. He had sparred with his friend Huang, mostly paying attention to form rather than stopping power.

And then, suddenly, there had been an attack on the farm. Usually, the rabbit-like, semi-intelligent Virmen knew to stay away from the farms. They knew that farmers would deal mercilessly with any rodent trying to make off with their vegetables. Kind and wise farmers would occasionally give away a few barrels of turnips or carrots, because well-fed Virmen were less likely to come stealing. Also, Virmen were plant-eaters. The thought of them becoming blood-thirsty was as ridiculous as carnivorous Mushan. And yet, that was exactly what had happened. They had come in numbers, and torn into the cabbage patch with a hatred that could not be explained by simple hunger. When Father had come with a flaming torch to scare the Virmen off, they had not run away. They had attacked. Sharp rodent teeth and claws.

Father had kicked and punched away the closest of the maddened creatures, then grabbed the first weapon to hand. It turned out to be a rice flail. What followed was a scene of carnage Thunderpetal had never seen before, and never hoped to again. The most remarkable thing about it, was how calm Father had looked, even while he cracked open skulls, broke limbs and stabbed. Never did he seem angry. It had taken Thunderpetal a few moments to overcome his inaction. Then, he had taken his staff and attacked, and for the first time, taken the life of people, not simply food animals. They had deserved it. Without their crops, they would starve. They were trying to starve them, kill them. Thunderpetal had struck out without mercy. He had not minded causing the Virmen pain. It had felt good. It had felt right that they should suffer. He had struck to mortally wound them, and withheld the final stroke of mercy. Their cries of pain had been music to his ears. To this day, the memory filled him with shame.

After the fight, he had asked Father about the ghost-like, smoky shadow that emerged from his slain foes. Was it the Virmen soul? Father had looked at him a long time. Clearly, he was hesitating between telling him not to be so silly, and… telling him.

“These shades are the manifestations of hatred. We call them the Sha. I watched you fight, my son. You are in grave peril.”

“What, from these creatures? They cannot hurt me.”

“You are wrong. Twice wrong. You face peril not from the Virmen, but from the Sha. The Sha make you reckless and cruel. Not the Virmen. And the Virmen can hurt you. Look at your arm.”

It was only then that Thunderpetal had noticed that one of the Virmen had taken a large chunk out of his forearm. Blood was running down his arm, and dripping onto the ground. Father had grabbed his shoulder and shown Thunderpetal where to press to hold the artery closed.

“Let us find you some bandages.”

Soon after that, Father had met with Huang’s mother. Their home had also been attacked. Huang’s father had fallen, crushed under the weight of attacking Virmen. Huang had shown that he had a natural talent by healing his mother of a bite wound. Father had suggested that she and Huang move in with them, because their farm was easier to defend in the event of further attacks. It would have been nice to say that they eventually found comfort in each other’s arms, but things never went further than a comfortable friendship.

Thunderpetal was not as lucky. The attack on his home had left him angry. He still trained with Huang, but as often as not, Huang would end up hurt. Huang took it stoically. He had learnt to make medicinal brews and extracts, some of which one doesn’t drink, but soaks into a bandage. He would always emerge the next morning looking the same as ever he did. One evening, Thunderpetal and Huang were training. Huang, by necessity, was now quite good at fending off attacks. Thunderpetal, to compensate, hit harder. They stepped round the barn, Thunderpetal on the offensive, Huang parrying all his blows. Faster and faster went the fight, until finally, Huang tripped, fell on his back.

“Yield,” said Huang.

Thunderpetal swung his staff round, teeth bare, eyes glaring. Huang held his staff above his head. It connected with a bone-jarring snap.

Yield!”

Thunderpetal’s staff swung round again and hit Huang’s staff so hard that it cracked.

Léi-shēng Huā-bàn!”

Thunderpetal stood stock still. In the door stood Father, with an expression of anger on his face that Thunderpetal had never before seen. He stepped forward, snatched Thunderpetal’s staff from his unresisting hands, and threw it on the floor. Then, he kneeled by Huang.

“Are you hurt, Huang?”

Huang closed his eyes a moment. “No Sir.”

Father held out his hand to Huang, and pulled him to his feet. Then, he turned round to Thunderpetal.

“What, my son, were you doing?”

Thunderpetal swallowed. “Training, Father.”

“That did not look like training.” Father moved his face closer. “What were you thinking? You could have hurt Huang.” The tone in his voice made it clear as spring water to Thunderpetal that what father had meant was killed.

Thunderpetal’s heart went cold. Huang was his friend. Surely, he would never… He looked round at Huang, who simply stood there, with his face as calm and still as a pond on a windless day. But Thunderpetal could see now that below the surface, there was fear. Fear of… he bowed his head. Fear of him.

Father put a hand under his chin and made him look up. “My son, this is not like you. You and Huang have been friends since you were cubs. What has come over you?”

“I do not know.”

Father sniffed. “Then we must find out. I do not wish to exile my son if I can prevent it.”

Thunderpetal nodded. Then, he bent down, picked up his staff and stood in front of Huang, with the staff on his upturned palms, head bowed down.

“Huang, I have broken your staff. I am ashamed and I am sorry. Please accept mine as a replacement. I will not need it anymore.”

Huang looked into Thunderpetal’s eyes, and a moment arrived as a leaf that hangs from the tree in Autumn. He took the staff from Thunderpetal’s hands.

“Thank you, Léi-shēng Huā-bàn.”

The leaf fell from the tree, and turned that what could have been into what must be true.

In their tent on a small island near Stormwind, Huang gave a small snort, turned over. Thunderpetal smiled.

“Good night, Huang,” he said.


In the course of its history, not many Goblins had visited Steambender Manor 3.0. Gnomes and Dwarves could enter easily. Humans, Draenei and Night-elves had to come through the door on their hands and knees, which was not very dignified, so Griggin tended to meet them in one of the inns to discuss business. For Pandaren, of course, one needed to raise the front of the building, which was normally only done to move larger pieces of equipment from the first basement outside. Goblins had no problem using the doors. There weren’t many Goblins in Stormwind, anyway. Despite the fact that they were supremely honest, and honoured their business deals to the very letter, they were also extremely intelligent and could lure the unwary customer into deals they never thought anyone could agree to. Also, fairly recently, a huge number of them had joined the Horde. As a result, Goblins were almost universally despised and mistrusted.

One of them was now sitting in Griggin’s chair, looking as if he owned the place. Another was standing behind the chair. Griggin put a cup of strong black coffee on the table, pulled up another chair, and prepared himself for a battle of wits.

“What can I do for you, Baron Goldenberg?”

“Mathias Shaw sends us, Mr. Steambender. We have been asked to remove some undesirable elements from the Stormwind environment, in such a way that they do not return to trouble its law-abiding citizens.”

“I thought Mr. Dashel Stonefist had already taken care of that,” said Griggin. “He seemed quite eager to apply himself. And yet.”

Baron Goldenberg steepled his fingers and grinned. “Mr. Dashel Stonefist behaved in a properly heroic and, dare I say, Dwarf-like fashion. I have no doubt that his intentions were…” he waved a hand.

“Extremely violent, Sir?” said Schmuÿle.

“Inspired by the spirit of service to one’s fellow being,” said Baron Goldenberg. “I am sure that he provided himself, his brethren, and our new Pandaren friends, with a wonderful evening of entertainment. He may also have provided the Old Barracks gang with an invigorating run around the area, but I very much doubt they achieved anything permanent. If the Old Barracks were not swarming with the uncouth and the unsavoury at this very moment, I would be surprised.”

“That being the case, Sir,” said Griggin, “Do you anticipate doing any better?”

“We are not blunt instruments, Mr. Steambender. We do not simply rush in and hit anything that moves. We inform ourselves. Then, when we have sufficient information, we deduce from that information the optimal location to strike. And only then…”

“I kill them,” said Schmuÿle.

Griggin looked up at Schmuÿle, standing next to his employer in his impeccably ironed suit and tie. His hands were behind his back, but Griggin did not doubt that they would be heavily calloused, from work rather more sinister than ironing Baron Samuel Goldenberg’s shirts.

“How may I help you?”

Baron Goldenberg’s eyes glinted at Griggin. “From Miss Raven’s words, I understand that the attackers probably knew how many people would be in the house. This would be Miss Raven, a knife fighter of some skill, your heavily pregnant daughter-in-law, who actually managed to kill one of the attackers, and yourself. Yet, Mr. Shaw’s associates recovered only two bodies from the scene. The lookout fled the scene. Were those all the attackers? It seems like a rather small group to me.”

“There were two more,” said Griggin. “They came down into my basement, where I was at work.” Griggin’s expression was carefully neutral. “What remained of them was of no forensic interest. I swept it up and disposed of it.”

“Most efficient,” said Baron Goldenberg. “What did they look like?”

“Sword fighters, wearing chainmail helm, chestpiece, leather gloves, reinforced leather leg armour. I think they were what passes for elite warriors in the Old Barracks.”

“Possible,” said Baron Goldenberg. “What exactly were you working on at the time?”

“I have a new line of high-powered water boilers coming out a few months from now,” said Griggin. “They are designed to provide steam and hot water for an entire barracks or a small castle. The energies involved are quite phenomenal. It could boil a knight in his armour.”

Baron Goldenberg picked up his coffee cup, smelled the coffee and looked at Griggin over the rim.

“Mr. Steambender. I wish you to know that when working a case, I stick strictly to its parameters. My target is only Mr. Baltar and the rats from the Old Barracks. Everyone is usually guilty of something. At this moment, I have enough information to have Miss Raven arrested for a number of offences, but it is not in anyone’s interest to do so. I also know that you, Sir, are a practicioner of magics that would deeply worry the citizens of Stormwind. Likewise, I need your help to do my job. Anything you say to me, will only be used if it turns out that you are conspiring with my primary mark.”

Griggin allowed himself a little smile. “In that case, Baron Goldenberg, whatever you can infer, it is probably worse.”


Raven swirled the pale ale in the one mug she’d allowed herself in the Golden Keg, the inn in the Dwarven District. She wanted to keep her reflexes up, and her wits about her. Despite the formidable defences of Steambender Manor, she felt safer in the Pandaren camp. Easier to move, easier to see. She was sitting at the table under the stairs, back to the wall, feet stretched out in front of her, cloak pulled round her, hood over her face. The shadow fell over her eyes, and she watched every person coming into the common room. Those creepy Goblins had slunk off into the gloom for more research and information gathering. Little murdering bastards if she was any judge, but they were on her side. As far as that went, of course. If tomorrow, someone passed them some gold, they’d be at her throat instead. Nothing personal. Just business. Raven quickly looked round the room, then got up and put the empty mug on the bar.

“Same again, love?” said the barman.

“No thanks Colin,” said Raven. “Time to go home.”

Colin smiled at her. “Well good night then.”

Raven smiled back. She turned round and walked out of the door. Home. Where was home, anyway? At the moment, it was a space in a tent that she shared with a friendly Pandaren girl. They didn’t talk much, and to be honest, she didn’t give the impression that much was going on in that cute fluffy little head of hers. Impressions could be deceiving of course, especially if the person in question was a whole different species. Perhaps the wisdom of the ages was hidden behind Violet’s ever optimistic smile, but somehow, she doubted it. Still, she was nice. Back in the day, Raven would have taken her for everything she owned, but these days, she was depending on the kindness of strangers. It annoyed her. Raven was used to depending only on her own wits, skills, and truth be told, a dedication to separating suckers from their money. But you do not shit where you eat, and you do not bite the hand that feeds you.

Down at the lake bed, some enterprising souls had strung a cable across the water and attached it to a boat, so that you could get across to Furry Island without getting your feet wet. Raven pulled herself across. She leapt ashore and headed for the tea kettle. Pandaren made the best tea in the world. There was always a large pot of boiling water, several kinds of tea leaves and a jar where you were expected to leave a few coppers. She found herself actually doing that. Every time. Ye gods, what was happening to her? She tried to tell herself that the tea tasted better that way, but…

Raven’s eyes narrowed. By the teapot, silhouetted in the firelight, was a little man. She’d recognise him anywhere. He was probably after the tea money. Which was simply not on. Raven went down in a crouch and sprinted to the fire.

“Time to dance, you little bastard. The hemp fandango if I’ve got anything to do with it.”

Raven was good at stealth. If she wanted, she could disappear in the shadows and never be seen again. She could sneak up on people, pick their pockets, give them change and be gone before anyone noticed. She had trained with Fenthwick in Ironforge, who was one of the best at stealth. But it needed a clear, calm mind to pull it off. You needed to take all your emotions away, and instead be sensitive to every little thing that your senses told you. Being full of desire to pounce on your victim and stab him till your arms gave way was not the correct mindset. The lookout, who was up to no good, and very good at spotting furious women running at him snarling, saw Raven. He gave a squeal and shot off in the direction of town. The little man had a good turn of speed. Raven only managed to gain on him slowly, and not before he got in the boat. He started pulling himself across. Raven got to the bank, grabbed the rope and heaved. The boat stopped in the middle and started to move back.

“Got you,” said Raven. She gave a mighty pull and the boat started to move back. With a determined look on her face, Raven threw her weight behind it, pulling for all she was worth, until something gave way, and she fell back, landing on her butt in a most undignified way. In the distance, the boat once more headed for Stormwind.

Raven considered a moment. Was she angry enough?

Hell yeah.

She kicked off her shoes and with a good run-up, Raven dived into the water. She wasn’t a bad swimmer, but she couldn’t outswim a boat. As she climbed out of the water, she could just see the lookout running through the archway into Stormwind. She uttered a quick prayer to the God of Sharp Things to stay the hell away from her and sprinted after him on bare feet. As she ran over the cobblestones of the Dwarven District, she could just see him shoot into the tunnel to the Deeprun Tram. The train was on the far platform, and she could just see the man get on it as she entered the great underground station. Forcing more air into her lungs, she bit down the pain in her legs and ran across the hall, leapt over the row of chairs and reached the platform just as the train disappeared into the tunnel, the lookout laughing and waving at her. She fell to one knee, and tried to breathe, shoulders heaving, water dripping from her clothes. Damn, damn, damn.

“Missed the train then, love?” An older man sitting on one of the seats looked up from his newspaper. “There’s another one in ten minutes or so. Really not worth getting that worked up over.”

Raven took a final deep breath and got to her feet. She gave the man a dark look.

“I chased it off,” she said, and walked back to the Pandaren Island.

Where are these blasted Goblins when you need them?

Part 11: Promenade V

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