Wulmort Jinglepocket looked up from his merchandise and scowled as the sounds of battle rang through the halls of Ironforge. “Aw crap – not now!” the goblin grumbled, and scrambled up a stack of Smokywood Pastures crates to start closing the shutters on the sales cart. “MACEY! Pack up the glass shit, we got incoming.”
Macey turned her head as her customer continued counting out the gold. “We got what?”
“Horde!” Wulmort snapped. “Of all the fel-blazin’ times to raid the fuckin’ city. Stupid – two days before Winter’s Veil – I don’t even want to calculate the hit our profits are gonna take for this….”
“Geez, Morty, chill out,” Macey sighed, dropping her handful of gold into her pocket as her customer departed in a hurry. “Didn’t your old man always say war was good for business?”
Wulmort rolled his eyes. “My old man smuggled arms, Mace! Of course war was good for his business! But no one’s gonna buy cheap holiday sweets and tchotchkes when they’re busy gettin’ stabbed. Go batten down the other side of the cart, quick!”
“Oh right, right, arms smuggler. …got rich at it, didn’t he? No wonder he’s so disappointed in you.”
“Awright, I’m goin’, I’m goin’!”
She vanished around the side of the cart, and Wulmort shook his head, grumbling. “Stupid… fel-blazin’… Horde… and ya know, just because I think there are ways of makin’ a profit that don’t involve risking my neck with every sale…” He grumbled at his father (currently vacationing in fabulous Winterspring, the bastard) for a few more minutes, and had just finished buckling down the last shutter when a shadow loomed over him. “Damn it, we’re closed!” he snapped, turning around. “Come back when the… war’s… over….”
He stared up, and up… and up, into a pair of green eyes that seemed to blaze in the darkness created by a hood and a curtain of dark hair. The long slender ears that poked through slits in the woman’s hood were a pale pink color – not the purply-pink of the night elves, but the ruddier tint of their exiled cousins – and the staff she held carelessly in one hand literally throbbed with the magic imbued into it.
“Uh. Oh, wow. You’re an awfully tall dwarf, ain’t’cha,” Wulmort tried to grin as he backed up against the cart. The blood elf’s eyes darted around, taking in the cart and the crates and the goblin cowering against them, but her expression remained inscrutable.
“Sinu a’manore,” she said. Her tone was urgent, but the words were unfamiliar. “Del lira an’darael ni tha’rash mel’ane duin’da, ti’thal na sinnue.”
“I… I, shit, lady,” Wulmort stammered. “I don’t speak Hordish. Or Elvish, or whateverthefuck…”
She frowned. “Throm-ka?” she asked, her voice taking a more guttural tone. “Regka ganush?” She stepped forward menacingly.
Wulmort scrambled back. “Look, you don’t wanna hurt me – I mean, I always liked the Horde, you know… look, I – I got a Bilgewater cousin! Larry Steamcrank, you know Larry? Heh heh.” His back hit the cart, and still she kept coming forward. “I – I got three wives!” he sputtered desperately. “I got eighteen kids! And a dog and a sick grandmother and – and oh god oh god –” The elf raised her hand, and Wulmort cowered, covering his face with his hands. “OHGODDON’TKILLME!”
The blood elf sighed. She reached forward and stabbed her finger at a poster stapled to the cart, on which a pair of smiling humans frolicked in their holiday garb. “Smokywood Pastures,” she said, in lilting, heavily-accented Common.
Wulmort peeked between his fingers. “Wh-what?” he said.
“Smokywood Pastures,” she said again. An explosion suddenly rocked the bank behind them, causing Wulmort to jump, but the blood elf appeared unfazed. “From our farm to your plate,” she enunciated carefully. The sound was almost musical, a strange juxtaposition to the crashes and screaming coming from down the great hall.
The goblin stared at the (obviously insane) blood elf. “Yeah,” he said slowly, nodding. “Yeah. Smokywood Pastures. Uh, that’s me. What, you want some salami?”
“Del lira an’darael ni tha’rash me’lane duin’da.”
He shook his head. “That still makes no sense, lady.”
She pointed at the poster again. “Del lira na! Thanu’tethere si’na–”
“DIE, HORDE WITCH!” howled a dwarven warrior as he charged the blood elf. She spun around at the alert, gracefully dodging his blow and swinging her staff around to deflect his axe. Wulmort screamed and pressed himself back against the cart again as the dwarf swung his axe again and sent a tall stack of crates crashing to the ground. The blood elf practically danced out of the dwarf’s way, shouting something in her own tongue and making strange gestures, and with a flick of her wrist a viscous cloud of shadow erupted from her fingertips and blasted the warrior full in the face. He fell to his knees choking, and with another word and a hand motion from the blood elf the dwarf’s face turned green and he began coughing up blood. Wulmort thought for a moment he might be sick.
There was another scream from the side of the cart, high and piercing, and the blood elf whipped her head around to find the source. Wulmort, however, recognized it instantly. “MACEY!” he shrieked. “MACEY, GET BACK BEHIND THE CART!”
But Macey couldn’t, or wouldn’t move — she stood at the edge of the cart, frozen stock-still, her eyes wide and her lip trembling as she stared in horror at the dying dwarf. The blood elf’s lip curled and she pointed her staff at Macey as she began to chant in her strange tongue again.
“No no no NO!” Wulmort shouted, and (briefly forgetting that he was a coward) leapt forward to grab the blood elf’s arm. He remembered his cowardice when she turned and blinked at him in surprise, and he instantly released her and cowered back again. “Look — just don’t hurt her, okay? Take — take whatever you want!” He ripped the top off of a crate and shoved it at the elf, who jumped back as the contents spilled out at her feet. “Take it all! Just — just leave us alone!”
The blood elf blinked again at the goblin, and a second later was crouching down and rooting through the merchandise spread on the ground. Wulmort stared at her, and suddenly realized his arm hurt. He looked at it to find Macey gripping it for dear life.
“Wh-what’s she want?” his sales partner whispered, trembling.
“No fucking clue,” he whispered back. “I don’t know if she wants anything at all, she just –”
“Tanaliesse!” cried the elf, standing back up with a joyful shout. She gripped a packet in both hands, openly beaming as she scanned the packaging.
Wulmort blinked. “What… is that a… a pattern? A fucking sewing pattern?”
Macey nodded slowly, her eyes still big as saucers. “Item 34319,” she murmured, still in shock. “It’s an Ironforge exclusive.”
The goblins stared at the blood elf in shared disbelief for a long moment. Wulmort had almost forgotten about the dwarf who had charged in until a sudden gurgling sound reminded him that the warrior was there — or no longer there, so to speak; as the dwarf’s now-bloodshot eyes rolled back in his head and his axe clattered from his blue fingertips. Wulmort felt the bile rise in his throat again and he forced it back down. He set his jaw and stepped forward. “Okay, lady,” he said in a much less forceful tone than he’d hoped, “ya got what ya came for, right? Now fucking scram.”
The blood elf blinked at him, then gasped as if suddenly remembering something. She reached for Wulmort. “Oh no, no no!” he shouted again and tried to backpeddle, but the blood elf’s arms were long and she gently caught his wrist. “Oh god, Mace, help!” he wailed as she pulled his hand toward her, turned it palm-up, and placed something in it.
“Wh-what is it?” Macey squeaked.
Wulmort blinked. “It’s… five gold.”
“Five gold?” Macey frowned. “But the pattern only costs fifty sil-”
The blood elf frowned at the quarrelling goblins. “Lin siradel?” she asked. She dug in her pocket and dropped five more gold coins into Wulmort’s hand. “Vast’i denashe?” She looked between them with eyebrows raised, seemingly seeking approval.
Wulmort nodded. “Yeah, that’s plenty. Uh… thanks. Er… for shopping Smokywood Pastures. From our farm, to your… err.. plate.”
The blood elf grinned. “Wholesome goodness,” she replied. nodding emphatically.
“SHE WENT THATAWAY!” shouted a dwarf from somewhere off in the distance.
The blood elf pricked up her ears and just as quickly flattened them back. “Tan’aste del nira’then,” she said quickly, pulling her hood over her head and shoving her pattern into a satchel at her hip. She flipped a quick, sloppy salute to the goblins. “Shorel’aran!” the elf chirped… and with that, she dashed off.
Wulmort watched her go in astonishment. “All that… for a pattern?”
“…it is an Ironforge exclusive,” Macey offered softly. The two goblins stood in silence for what seemed like a very long and strange moment.
“…Macey?” Wulmort said, finally. “I think… after this Winter’s Veil is done, I’m quittin’ the business.”
“What?” Macey blinked. “But… you love Smokywood Pastures. What will you do instead?”
Wulmort slowly walked over and bent down to start picking up the spilled merchandise, as a regiment of shouting dwarves charged past, the way his latest customer had gone. “See if Dad’s got an opening,” he sighed. “I need less stress in my life.”