Storytime with a Forsaken girl fresh out of the Wailing Caverns. Do not cause your undead friends too much headaches, for they tend to find ways to get back at you.
Author's note: Please note that this is not a fanfic meant to bash taurens, blood elves, paladins, or warriors. The story is based on the first, disastrous, visit to the Wailing Caverns that I was subjected to. Naturally it did not happen exactly as it is told in this story, but players of WoW will surely be able to see where the fiction ends and game starts, mainly in the second chapter.
Again, not a story bashing any type of character or player in particular. Only those who are disciples of Leeroy Jenkins. I'm sure we've all quested with them at one point or another, and we all regretted it.
Chapter 1, Story time with the dead girl
There was one thing that Jonathan Schiller never quite could get used to about being dead. That one thing - okay, one of many to be perfectly honest, but for the moment this was his main concern - was getting hungry and thirsty. For one, it didn't make sense, now did it? If he was dead, why would he need to eat? He didn't need to sleep, after all. Or maybe it was because he couldn't sleep. It's a bit hard when your eyelids have fallen off.
That he got thirsty, that he could sort of accept. After all, if his tongue was dry as paper it got really, really hard to chant spells right. And being a mage, if he couldn't chant spells right then he was pretty much screwed. Trying to whack a furious centaur over the head with a staff never seemed to work out that well. Wands were a little better, of course, but Jonathan found himself very reserved about using those. He just couldn't help feeling like he was waving a lollipop at whatever savage beasts and murderous creatures were coming at him.
He shook himself out of those thoughts, though he fleetingly wondered what other Hordies - or, Dark Lady forbid, Alliance Fools - would say if they knew that a Forsaken went around thinking about such silly things.
The sun generously shed its searing light upon Ratchet from a cloudless sky, blasting everything within sight with heat. As he walked down the slope into town Jonathan wiped his brow with a bony hand out of pure habit - while he did sweat, he did not actually feel it much. What he did feel was a creeping numbness in his limbs. He could actually see it too, in the way his arm slouched down when he let it drop.
Time to eat.
He rubbed the tip of his tongue against the roof of his mouth, testing. There was a smooth scraping sound.
Time to drink, too.
Jonathan felt pretty sure that this was not how hunger and thirst had revealed itself when he was alive. He could not really feel bothered to remember, though. It seemed like too much trouble for nothing.
That line of thought led back to his current situation. While strolling into the sleepy little town he pondered how to deal with his body demanding food and drink. He could easily conjure whatever he wanted, but he pushed that idea away. After spending two days in the middle of a sandy, dusty nowhere, fighting centaurs and living on summoned bread and water, he could tell that his reaction times were slowing.
Ridiculous as it was, his body still craved vitamins, protein, and all that rot. Meanwhile it did not however, obviously, crave full circulation. Jonathan spared a glance at his right arm, at the gap of torn flesh that was his elbow. Pure bone, and then the muscles happily started again a little ways down his forearm as if nothing had happened.
He decided - for probably the fiftieth time - that it wasn't worth scratching his head at. He was an abomination, and that was that. Nobody else seemed to care overmuch, so why should he?
Despite all these philosophical question he was still hungry - technically, at least - and thinking that a proper meal was in order he headed towards the nearest inn. He sniffed the air, catching a faint scent of something cooking. It seemed a nice smell, but it would probably be more useful to people whose noses worked better than his did.
At this time of the day most sane people were asleep, waiting for the stifling heat to pass by. Only goblins could be seen in the streets, too busy making money and planning the demise of the Venture Company to worry about sunstrokes. The inn was probably no less hot than any other place, but it offered a bit of shade and protection from the sun itself at least.
Most tables were empty when he entered. There was one male, teal-skinned troll hunching over a bowl of something edible at one table, and on the other side of the room a dwarf - probably a male, hard to tell in the situation - had fallen asleep with his(?) face pressed against the bar, mug of something forgotten beside his head.
For a moment Jonathan toyed with the idea of freezing the dwarf and smashing his carcass to smithereens. Tempting, but the innkeeper may not like that, unbloody as it would be. More importantly, when he tried opening his mouth to mutter the spell Jonathan found that his lips were dried stuck.
The innkeeper, a goblin like any other - wearing a chef's hat to prove his status - approached the potential customer with that huge smile which every goblin alive seemed to be born with. It was creepy enough to even make Jonathan uncomfortable.
"Welcome!" the goblin cheerfully shrieked. "What can I get you?"
Jonathan's attempt to ask what was on the menu came out as nothing but a dry croaking. With an annoyed look he sighed and pointed at his throat. Though his grin twitched, the innkeeper managed to suppress a snicker.
"I've just gotten a shipment of sweet pumpkin juice," he offered. "Fresh and in the cooler! One silver a tall glass, fifty copper a refill."
It sounded suspiciously like a rip-off in the making, but Jonathan nodded. He was no longer as poor as he had been weeks after waking up from the Lich King's cold, mental embrace-
Regardless of misplaced poetry, Jonathan found himself with more monetary gains now than before. As he recovered the skills he knew he had learnt while alive, he could take on more difficult and better jobs. Everyone liked adventurers these days, apparently.
Though he did consider himself more like an ant than an adventurer if he was brutally honest. Everything came down to Lady Sylvanas' wish to destroy the Scourge (and humanity... and every other living thing), didn't it?
Anyway, what he had meant to conclude was that he could afford a drink even if it probably was mixed with more water than regulated.
Jonathan decided that he was thinking too much for a hot day. Maybe it was the lack of nutriments that caused his weary brain to run wild with weird thoughts. He shrugged, absently shaking his dark, worn robe to get rid of the worst sand and dust before he walked further inside the almost empty dining hall/bar.
He could pretty much sit anywhere he pleased-
It was an unpleasantly hoarse cooing, grating even on his ears - and so loud that the troll looked up with a start and the dwarf muttered something in his sleep. Jonathan squinted as well as he could - and that wasn't well, considering the state of his eyelids - against the sunlight spilling through the windows, and spotted a third patron. He had not noticed her before due to his eyes not being used to the shadows after the bright outside, and the fact that she was almost hidden behind a potted plant.
Even hearing her voice, he wasn't sure who it was. She did look kind of familiar - or at least her waving of her arm did - but in this light he could not tell much more. Since he obviously had gotten addressed, however, he walked closer. Doing so, he needed to ignore the sniggers from the troll and the goblin in the background. Getting snappy at something so silly would not look nice on his "maintain the Forsakens' reputation" resume.
As he got closer it became alarming apparent that he did know the woman. Alarming because she was obviously drunk out of her skull, and also because she had changed since they had last seen each other. A lot.
"ch'aka'?" he managed to croak.
She probably blinked - or may have, but he did not even know if she, like he, had lost her eyelids somewhere down the road. Two thin, bolted belts laid crossed over her greenish face, covering what may only be the dry scraps that remained of her eyes and making it clear that her nose was long gone. Her mage's staff leant against the wall behind her, her cloak and bags carelessly thrown over a chair.
A moment of confusion passed between them. Finally Jonathan redid the throat-pointing act he had performed for the goblin.
The lady's confusion cracked - after another moment of the belts staring at him - into cackles.
"Oooh, yer too dried up to schpeak!" she drawled, leaning back and pressing a hand to her face as she went about as if this was hysterically funny.
Feeling abashed for the first time in... he couldn't even remember... Jonathan sat down across from her and tried to seem disdainful. After all, one of them had to maintain dignity, and the woman obviously didn't feel like playing the dead-girl stereotype.
Then again, he didn't feel like playing dead-girl either. But somebody had to be a proper Forsaken, right?
He was thinking too much again.
About the time she calmed down enough to sit properly, the innkeeper took the chance to sneak in and put a glass of orange liquid on the table. Jonathan threw the little green man a silver coin without even looking, still trying to seem cool as ice about everything. The goblin quickly scurried off but, like the troll, he remained alert to whatever the heck was going on between the rotting couple. In compare to the Crossroads, Ratchet was pretty dull during the hot hours, and this seemed like comedy gold.
(The Crossroads, of course, being under attack any time of the day, year, and temperature come hell or high water or Christmas.)
Jonathan pushed everything else from his mind and took a deep draught of the pumpkin juice. If it was what he had ordered, or of low or high quality, he did not care. He could tell very little difference anyway. All that mattered was that it finally unlocked his tongue.
"Sarah?" he said, this time managing what he had failed to say earlier.
"There ya go, much better."
She tilted to the side, dreamily drawing an invisible circle with a very pointy finger.
"Well, well, well..." she cooed. "What'sh a hunk of dead meat like yourself doing in a place like thish, hunny?"
Jonathan cleared his throat. Or what remained of it.
"Miss Nebula," he said, managing to sound stern, "you are shaming your queen, your teachers and yourself with this kind of behavior."
Her smile drained away into a bored look after his first few words, but she did not cut him off. Once he had finished however, she slammed her massive mug into the table, sending dark golden liquid splashing over the wooden slate. Jonathan prided himself with not recoiling, despite his surprise.
"Doncha talk ta me about shaming an' behavior, bush-sh-ter!" she snarled. Then she looked down. "Aww, you made me shpill my drink."
She shrunk back on her seat, pouting but calm. The sudden shift was so surprising that Jonathan at first was taken aback. Considering it for a moment, he decided that it probably looked like something he had said somehow had managed to knock her back into her senses. Yes, maybe he had. Probably less wisely, this sudden feeling of relief gave him enough courage to ask the most pressing thing on his mind.
"Sarah, uh..." he started, lowering his voice.
Letting out a sound of acknowledgement, she turned her face back towards him.
"You, err," he said, fully aware that what he was about to say would be pretty racist and insulting if he was not of the same kind as her, "you look thin."
He winced as she hissed, hoping that she even in her intoxicated state would recognize the truth of his question. "Bony" would be an outright racial slur no matter what, but the fact remained that the dark red robe she wore was sagging against her, err, skinny form. He knew, from knowing her from earlier, that the robe had been costume sewn. It should definitely not be too big for her. It had not been too big for her last he'd seen her.
For a moment it seemed, despite the logic backing his question, that she would throw the mug at him. But then she suddenly slumped backwards again, letting out a hoarse chuckle.
"Yes... yes, I'm thinner. Sylvanas, Thrall, Vol'Jin and Cairne whooping Bloodhoof, I'm thinner."
All of a sudden she seemed perfectly sober.
This change failed to surprise Jonathan. One of the saddest things about being dead, many found, was the inability to stay drunk. Because really, how could you get drunk in the first place? It was as stupid as getting hungry.
Regardless of any biological question marks, Sarah plopped her chin on a pale fist.
"There's a long, unpleasant tale behind this. You up for a story time?" she asked.
"Hn, I suppose."
He would not show it, but he found himself curious about what could have sent a mage like Sarah into pursuing a dead (haw, haw) drunk state.
"Great. Hey you!"
She straightened up, waving at the troll and goblin. Neither of them had enough shame to look embarrassed at being caught eavesdropping.
"Why doncha come over here and listen properly?" Sarah loudly said.
"Wait a moment!" Jonathan said, pointing at the innkeeper as he started forwards, "I need something to eat."
The innkeeper stopped, shrugged, and pointed with his thumb at the troll. He, in turn, just put his bowl of lunch to his huge lips and finished whatever was left with a loud slurp.
"The hyena stew seems popular," the goblin cheerfully said. "Three silver a bowl, fifty copper for a slice of bread to go with it."
"No bread," Jonathan quickly said.
"Comin' right up, good sir."
While the goblin disappeared behind the counter, the troll lumbered over. Still wiping his mouth from the remains of his food, he grinned at Sarah.
"I been waitin' to see a dead girl doin' a drunk dance on the table today, mon. Ye gon' and disappoint me now?" he said.
A smirk creased Sarah's lips.
"Maybe later, hun," she said, tapping the sharp end of a finger against the mug in her hand. "Telling you guys about my day just may turn me an alcoholic yet."
The goblin reappeared and placed a bowl of stew in front of Jonathan. The content looked quite questionable, but since his taste buds were long gone he was not one to be picky.
Besides, it could not be worse than his sister Lila's Surprise Stew. Her death had only given her powers to sniff out even more surprising ingredients than before.
He picked up a spoon, but kept watching Sarah with the same interest as the other two men gave her. After taking a final sip from her mug she put it aside and leant back.
"Well, gentlemen," she said, "it all started when I was in Thunder Bluff the other day, and an apothecary asked me to see if I could get her some serpentbloom from the Wailing Caverns."
The goblin made an amused sound, if possible even more interested now. He had apparently heard quite a few entertaining stories from that place, judging from the sadistic glint in his eye.
Though she could not technically glare, Sarah frowned at the stout, green creature. Then she gave a small nod and sigh in acknowledgement.
"I was not about to go in there alone," she continued. "Therefore I headed to the Crossroads to see if anybody else had reason to traverse those caves."
"An' that be when things started goin' wrong, eh mon?" the troll said, his grin almost splitting his face.
Throwing her hands up, Sarah let out a tired sound.
"It looked promising at first!" she groaned. "Turned out I was in luck, or so it seemed. There were three other travelers in the Crossroads who had been planning to try their luck at treasure hunting in the Caverns, and had hoped for a little more help."
She lowered her arms, but stopped her right hand at her face level. The thumb and pinky bent, leaving the remaining fingers stretched upwards.
"Three words, my darlings," she said. "Blood elf paladin."
A collective "uh-ooh..." swooshed through the audience. Sarah slumped, turning her face skywards.
"To be honest though, she was just the icing on the trouble cake," she muttered. "Dark Lady have mercy on the next tauren I see..."
The smell of decay hung heavily in the air, making it no easier for the small group to catch their breath. The constant, distant hissing also made it a little bit more difficult than usual to actually relax enough to rest.
"I'm starting to have my doubts about this," Dor'ash grumbled.
He glared off into the obscure landscape outside of their little hiding place. The small cave offered a bit of shelter, but that was all apart from a bit of view of what laid ahead. The paths of the huge cavern spiraled on along the sides of a cleft, and in the darkness beyond were pinpricks of dancing fires and white flashes of magic. Those pools of light offered no comfort, however.
There were things in here far worse than the brave men and women who dared to breach the depths.
"Whaat? Why?" asked the lithe woman kneeling beside the battle scarred orc, gazing up at him with wide, bright eyes.
He stared at her for a moment before he turned away, suppressing a shudder.
"... nothing. There's just so many of them, that's all."
After another moment he looked back at her.
"Err, you can pull it a little tighter," he said.
She blinked, then turned her sapphire-blue eyes towards the bandage she was wrapping around his tree trunk of an arm. Frowning slightly she fastened the clip to hold the cloth, and let go.
The bandage slid down to Dor'ash's elbow.
Like it had done the last three times.
Muttering under her breath, the little lady removed the clip and started to rewrap the bandage over the remains of the wound. She had already healed it but the magic was not strong enough to be trusted with such a deep cut. Seeing as he had been seriously tired out by their long struggle through the caverns, Dor'ash had chosen not to attempt using his own shamanistic powers to heal his wound. Judging from the look on his face, he was rethinking the decision to let the elf make herself useful.
"Really, Celandria, my arm won't break if you pull the bandage tighter," Dor'ash said, speaking through his fangs this time.
The blood elf woman - whose last name probably was Sunrisewatcher or Sparklingstar, if anybody could be bothered to remember - gazed at the orc for another couple of seconds before she nodded and gave the cloth roll a fifth attempt.
In her corner of the alcove, Sarah watched the entire exchange and bit down very hard on her piece of bread to keep from commenting. Maybe two hours ago she would have laughed, but the time for amusement had long passed.
A snappy comment may not seem misplaced, but the last thing they needed right now was for their healer to start crying. The Forsaken lady soothed her annoyance with thinking that Dor'ash probably cursed his own foolishness as much as she did.
During all this the fourth member of the group paced back and forth by the narrow entrance to the cave, peeking outside every other minute.
If she had not spent half a day with him in this godforsaken hole, Sarah would have thought that this was a wise move, a proof of vigilance. But since she HAD spent half a day with the young man in this godforsaken hole, she very well knew that he was not at all vigilant. Only bored.
If she strained her brain, she could remember a time when she had thought that taurens were patient by nature. Maybe that did not pass for those who chose to be warriors, however. Or maybe, she thought in a random moment of optimism, it was just this one in particular.
The optimism died when it realized that even if that was true, Sarah had still been cursed with being on a quest with the world's most impatient tauren.
Celandria finally, somehow, managed to fasten the bandage properly. Giving Dor'ash a ridiculously lovely smile she got up and padded over to the wall to study the gloving moss which covered the rocks. Probably smelling magic.
She had not even gotten to her feet before the pacing tauren whipped around and stared at Dor'ash.
"Are we ready leave?" the warrior asked.
For that question he only got a blank look back. Dor'ash worked his jaw, as if chewing a few choice words he would very much like to shout at this point. But shouting would definitely give them away. Again. Except the last times somebody shouted and caught the attention of even more enemies, it certainly had not been Dor'ash raising his voice at a bad moment.
Sarah could no longer keep her peace.
"Did your parents ever tell you about patience, youngling?" she growled.
When nobody caught on, she sighed.
"I'm talking to you, Damian!" she clarified.
The protruding face turned towards her.
"What?" the tauren said.
"I refuse to take another step before I've rested. My head feels like it's about to explode from all the magic I've already used."
Sarah spoke slower and slower for every word, eyeless face turned up at Damian expectantly - but with very little hope.
"I am a mage," she said, voice turning onto that pedagogical tone used for small children. "I use magic. Magic makes me tired and thirsty. I cannot keep going for now. Do. You. Under. Stand. Me?"
"How long until you will?" he immediately asked, unfazed.
Either unfazed or oblivious.
Sarah's claw-like fingertips dug into the bread.
"Sit your furry ass down and shut up or I'll rip your tongue out!" she would have very much liked to say. But she was better than that. Yes, she was.
She could wait until she could truthfully threaten to burn him alive. For the moment she felt dizzy at the mere idea of focusing fire into her hands.
"One or two hours," she grit out instead.
A deep sigh came out of Damian's wide nostrils.
"Can't you just do it in half an hour?" he asked, "you've been drinking water all day!"
"And that's the only reason I can still talk."
Damian started on another whine when Dor'ash cut him off.
"Do you really feel ready to fight another group of lizards?" the orc snarled.
"Well, I..." Damian shifted his battle axe from one hand to another, weighing it thoughtfully. "I'm sure I could take on one or two."
"Really?" Dor'ash said. "And what will you do when that one or two calls their friends, and suddenly we find ourselves fighting five lizards and two snake druids again?"
Even Damian winced at the very fresh memory. It had not, indeed, been very pleasant at all. They were very lucky indeed to still be alive - well, Sarah notwithstanding.
Yet the tauren found himself very quickly.
"That won't happen if we're careful," he insisted.
Dor'ash reached up with his good arm and rubbed his low forehead very hard.
"Yes, I'm sure," he said. "Except for the fact that you have yet to be careful."
Somehow, it dawned on Damian that he would not win this argument. He looked at Sarah, finding absolutely nothing that looked like support from her. So he turned to the elf by the wall.
"Hey Celly," he loudly said, ignoring Dor'ash snarl at him to lower his voice, "what do you think we should do?"
By this time, the paladin in their troop had finished inspecting the moss - probably finding it less interesting (or less shiny) than she had hoped. She sat cross-legged on the ground, studying her sword for the tiniest speck of dirt or blood. At the sudden nickname she did look up. A moment passed as she frowned and thought, considering the options.
"I think..." she finally started, slowly, "that my feet hurt a bit."
Damian let out a disappointed groan, but his shoulders slumped and he finally sat down. The air suddenly seemed a whole lot easier to breathe. Visibly relaxed, Dor'ash got to his feet and lumbered over to his backpack by the wall. He dug out a water bag and sat down to take a deep, well deserved draught.
The silence lasted for about five seconds before Damian's fingers started drumming against the ground. Breathing out through his nose Dor'ash leant his head back against the cool rock and tried to zone out the sound.
After a little while he felt something poking his arm and looked down, finding that Sarah had scooted closer.
Without even looking up at him she spoke in a low voice.
"I'll be brutally honest and tell you that once I've got four more serpentblooms, I'm out of here. He'll get us killed." Sarah ripped off a piece of bread to make her point. "I've already died once. That's enough." She stuffed the bread into her mouth.
Dor'ash gazed at their companions and nodded without a word.
The only reason they even were in the small cave was that he had literally tackled Damian inside, when the tauren insisted that they should press on - despite the fact that he hardly could stand up straight anymore himself.
"I guess I'll have to-" Dor'ash started.
"Look, how much longer are we going to sit around here?" Damian said, anxiously
staring at the outside of their shelter while his hooves clip-clopped against the hard ground.
Dor'ash closed his eyes, taking in a deep breath. Without looking up, he spoke.
"Whut?" she grumbled, mouth still full.
"Wha-?" he started, staring first at Dor'ash, then at Sarah, and back at the orc again.
At first Sarah did not act, which was probably why the tauren neither got up nor pressed his protest. Celindria remained silent, but watched the rest of the group with renewed interest.
Finally Sarah swallowed the bread in her mouth and took a swig from her conjured bottle of water.
"Probably not a good idea," she said. "I can't vouch for what would happen to me if I tried right now."
Dor'ash was about to grunt that he had not been serious, when the undead woman dropped the bread loaf into her lap and raised her hand.
"It's a wonderful idea, though."
A flash of white danced around her fingers, and though Damian leapt into standing his yelp turned into a pathetic little "baa!". He landed on all four in a gloriously wooly shape.
Dor'ash got his hand halfway to his mouth in a desperate attempt to muffle the threatening explosion of laughter, when the sound of shattered glass caught his full attention. He turned, eyes widening at the sight of Sarah's mouth hanging open, her face turned to the mess of water and glass shards by her knees. Her hand laid in that very mess. The arm, however, still remained somewhat upright, though the now stump at the end of it shook more violently by the second. And so did the rest of her.
She did not get further before she crumbled, bones falling from their joints and flesh tearing apart in wet strings. The head shook loose when she crashed, and it rolled away across the floor. Without thinking Dor'ash shot forwards and caught the head by its hair, though he withdrew with a suppressed shudder and curse.
The shaman quickly got to his knees and reached his huge hands towards the sad remains of the Forsaken.
"Hey Cel, help me heal her!" he hissed.
The elf paladin sheathed her sword and turned her nose up.
"She's a liar," she declared.
There was nothing Dor'ash could do but blink at that one.
After a moment he managed to compose himself enough to ask the obvious.
Celandria pointed at the unmoving remains of the undead woman.
"She /said/," the blood elf triumphantly said, "that she couldn't use anymore magic for the next couple of hours." She motioned at the sheep, which wandered around the back of the cave and tried to eat the moss from the wall.
Dor'ash opened his mouth, closed it, then settled for just pointing at Sarah's undone body. Right in that moment, he was pretty sure that he would yell very loudly if he tried to say a single word.
Celandria glanced at what the orc motioned to, but shook her head and folded her arms.
"So? She said that she couldn't do anything more, yet she could."
"It. Killed. Her," Dor'ash managed not to shout.
"And?" Celandria scoffed.
The disconnected head chose that moment to come alive, just when Dor'ash was about to lose his last shred of patience.
"I'm not more dead than usual," the head croaked.
One had to give Dor'ash praise where praise is due for not starting. Then again, he had probably seen a lot worse things in his day. Though seeing Sarah's head roll over on its own to "look" at him with covered eyes, that did have a creep-factor which could curl even an orc's skin.
"Could you move me a little closer to my body?" Sarah said.
"Liar," Celandria coldly said.
Ignoring the elf, Dor'ash grabbed the head by the thin hair spilling down its sides, and lifted it over to where its neck laid, too surprised to even feel disturbed.
"Thanks." Sarah's voice recovered somewhat with the closeness to the rest of her. The lips curled in a sloping sneer. "This was more uncomfortable than I expected. Totally worth it though."
The head rolled slightly, turning towards the sheep.
"Totally worth it."
"You're a liar!" Celandria insisted.
The sneer died and the head rolled back, not even attempting to turn towards the elf. When she realized that she was being ignored, Celandria repeated her claim. Dor'ash rolled his eyes, but remained silent and waiting to see what would happen.
"You do realize that I'm a Forsaken, right?" Sarah drawled. "'Liar' isn't exactly the worst thing I can be called."
"You're still a liar."
A lingering, creaking sound rose from the heap of bones and cloth as it moved slightly. Something thin with five "legs" crawled out from beneath it all and stood up. Walking on its fingers like a spider, Sarah's hand managed to make it to her face and flopped down across it.
"Arthas," she cursed under her breath. "I do feel worse than Lover's day last year."
"Serves you right," Celandria said, turning her nose even closer to the ceiling. By now she seemed to be looking at the rest of the world with her nostrils. "I'm sure you didn't get any cards or chocolate because everyone knows what you are."
It was definitely not a question.
The heap that was Sarah flapped upwards in a very disturbing arch, then flopped back down when she finished her snorting laughter. Why the lungs seemed to react to the mouth's laugh, even when there was no connection between the two... that was left out of the logic.
"Oh please, little girl. You're killing me with your scorn."
"What happened?" Dor'ash inquired, having discarded the idea of Lovers' day hangovers, "does the positive emotions cause your kind trouble?"
He found himself intrigued, whether it was from concern or curiosity at seeing a Forsaken down for the count and admitting it. In his experience they very much preferred to act as if they were virtually indestructible, and completely indifferent to pain.
Oh wait, that was the same for pretty much everyone on this war torn world. Though some were better than others at pretending.
"No..." Sarah grumbled, the O lingering longer than it had to. "Nothing like that, save all the cuteness making most of us feel sick. No, no..."
She rubbed the side of her face with her fingertips.
"I went up to Thrall and asked him if he'd gotten any candy hearts from Jaina Proudmoore."
The silence which followed was quite an impressive one. Even the sheep looked up and stared at Sarah.
After a while Dor'ash managed to pick his chin up from the floor - not literally, of course - and produce one single syllable.
"Lost a bet," Sarah said. She sounded disturbingly pleased with herself, despite her words.
Clearing his throat, Dor'ash managed to form a better question.
"Oh, you know..." Sarah muttered, her shoulders creaking. "I found out that the Doomhammer is indeed big and heavy."
"Wait, ya bein' /serious/?" the troll - by now introduced as Rohdjinn, a hunter - interrupted.
Even the goblin's constant smirk had faded into disbelief. Jonathan, meanwhile, was busy burying a snicker in his bony hand.
"Of course I'm serious," Sarah said, grinning to show off two rows of both sharp and chipped teeth. "My neck hasn't been the same since. Look."
She pushed her mug aside and bent forwards over the table, while brushing her hair over a shoulder. On the exposed vertebrae rising up from the remains of her throat, one could clearly see a cluster of spindly cracks covering most of the bones. Sarah waited for a couple of seconds, then straightened up again.
"I've had it healed several times, but the cracks won't go," she said, smirk widening even more. "You should have seen it just afterwards, the priest who fixed it had to mix what remained with glue and work it back like clay."
"Ya know, I always thought you people never did a thing out of duty," the goblin piped up, momentarily removing his hat to scratch his bald green head.
"Some don't," Jonathan offered. "But then again some of us figure that if you're dead, you may as well enjoy it."
While this discussion went on, Sarah peeked into her mug only to notice that it was empty. The goblin, of course, caught on immediately and was ready to catch her gaze once she looked at him.
"I think I'll try a glass of juice for a change," she said and fished a silver coin out of a pocket.
Despite his interest in the story, the innkeeper had no qualms whatsoever with causing a pause for a bit of business. Rohdjinn, however, rapped his two thick fingers against the table as the goblin seemed to keep them waiting.
"You want the wool treatment too?" Sarah asked after a moment, but she did not sound quite vicious.
The young troll grinned around his not yet very large tusks.
"I ain't that bad, mon. 'Cross me heart. Jus' curioos ta find out what ye be doin' next."
Sarah chuckled throatily, shaking her head. The goblin returned and handed her the new drink, and she settled back against the back of her chair with glass in hand.
"Well, my darlings," Sarah said, tapping her neck with a fingertip and giving them all a sunny - if rotting - smile, "should Cairne Bloodhoof or whatshisname who leads the elfies send anyone along to hunt me down, you can be sweethearts and honestly tell them that Thrall already smashed my spine to teeny tiny crumbs." She wagged a finger. "They don't need to know about details like when and why he did it."
Suddenly it seemed acutely apparent that no orc, tauren or blood elf was within sight. Especially not any that fitted into Sarah's description of her allies from the caverns.
A gust of wind from the ocean blew a wisp of sand and the shriek of sea gulls into the bar.
"Sarah...?" Jonathan finally, very slowly said.
He did not mind killing useless wretches, but he had to admit that one should not readily admit backstabbing people who technically were allies. At least not while other technically allies were listening. It only made it trickier to claim that the Forsaken were not secretly bent on annihilating everything else as soon as they could.
"I didn't kill them, you silly men," Sarah said, smiling brightly and fully aware of what everyone was thinking.
She let them relax before she continued.
"At least, it wasn't my fault what happened."
To be continued...