first meeting pt 2

His hand gripping her arm, he began to steer her through the crowd, a hard expression on his face. She dragged her heels, her slight frame unable to put up much resistance.

You don’t even know what my name is!” she protested as he guided her towards the elevator, looking sorely tempted to shove her over the edge.

Twiglet,” he said, sucking air in through his teeth as he squinted over the edge, impatiently. “Though I doubt that’s your real name, you little liar.”

She scowled at him as the elevator rose to meet him, and he thrust her onto it, along with a crowd of tutting Draenei priestesses.

Why’re you constantly insultin’ me? You don’t know I lied about my name!”

No, but you said I didn’t know your name. Which implies that the one you gave me was not accurate.”

The elevator began to sink, lowering them towards the bustle of the city’s central ring, the smell of the Lower district wafting to meet them. Ashamal wrinkled his nose in disgust, keeping his fingers wrapped around her elbow.

Anyway,” she said defensively, quickly moving on from the topic of her name. “I used the money you gave me to – to feed my starvin’ family! You got a problem with that? Aah!” She nearly stumbled as the elevator shuddered to a halt, and Ashamal swept her off along with the crowd. He led them off the main thoroughfare and down a shadowed side ramp, leading towards the poorest district of the city.

If they’re starving, why are you here in Outland where you can’t feed them?”

I’m a member of the Cenarion Expedition,” she replied, ducking her head as they passed beneath a low archway. “I send my wages ‘ome.” Her tone, although earnest, did not sound entirely sincere.

At the mention of the Cenarion Circle’s Outland branch, he let out a derisive snort, lip curling.

Those druidic fools? They have no logical reason for being on this planet. Those damned Tauren lovers make me sick-”

She took advantage of his momentary distraction to wrench her skinny limb from his hand and, clutching her satchel, make a desperate break for freedom down the ramp. She made it five feet before he drew a length of chain from his belt and swung it at her departing back. The metal links coiled around her ankle and she tripped over, falling heavily onto the paved walkway. Her satchel flew to the floor, spilling “G-H-E” branded products over the pale stone. Swallowing a sob, she rose to her knees and began to gather the vials and containers with fumbling hands, scooping them back into the bag. Ashamal, his teeth bared, brought his plated foot down on several labelled bottles, spilling their pungent contents.

‘Ow dare you!?” she hissed at him, lank strands of hair hanging over her reddened face. “’Ow dare you destroy my- the GHE’s products?!”

What the hell is the GHE?” spat back Ashamal, sending a vial into the wall with a vicious kick.

The- the Gladefall ‘Erb Empire,” Leafsong mumbled after a pause, her eyes round with fear. “Just some herb shop.”

He narrowed his eyes down at her, reaching down to wrap his hand around a chunk of her tangled hair, with mock tenderness.

I thought you worked for the Expedition.”

She scrambled to her feet defensively, her hair hanging over her face. “I -do. I’m a dr-druid.”

He guffawed, watching her closely. “You?! A druid? That’s the silliest thing I’ve yet heard from you this evening.”

Why shouldn’t I be a druid? Just ’cause my family are low born!”

He released her hair, not bothering to disguise the disbelief and contempt in his eyes. She stood before him, wild-eyed and twitching, like a cornered rabbit.

Alright then, little miss druidess. Show me what you can do” he challenged, a sneer contorting his lips.

She stared at him blankly for a moment, then quick as lightning slipped her hand into her pocket and whipped something through the air towards him. The cheap gas would evaporate into Ashamal’s face, causing his eyes to sting and tear up. She used his momentary disorientation to make a second attempt to escape, haring off down the narrow passageway with hair and satchel flying. “Buy GHE!” she tossed over her shoulder, triumphantly, confident of her escape.

A moment later, an arrow whistled past her neck and embedded itself in the soft stone wall in front of her. She fell to the ground in terror, hands over her head. The rough action would cause the neckline of her cheap jumper to tear at the back of her neck, revealing a clumsily inked name scrawled possessively across the cheap fabric. GLADEFALL, LEAFSONG. After a pause, he reached down and yanked her up by the collar, his lip curling.

So, Leafsong Gladefall. You used my money to fund your family business?”

Her eyes went as round as pennies as he clutched her to him, so close that she could see the individual blood vessels in the paler parts of his eyes. She shook her head frantically, her hair whipping from side to side. Her voice had become a high pitched squeak.

The GHE is a well respected business! A famous success story! From ‘umble beginnings to a chain spreadin’ over northern Kalimdor!”

With the help of my money,” he said sarcastically, rubbing his thumb over her cheek. “I’m sure your investors would be interested to learn that your father wasn’t the entrepreneur he no doubt assured them he was.”

She swallowed, the remaining colour draining from her face as she shook her head. Her words, when they came, were thin and unconvincing.

It’s got nothin’ to do wiv you, or your money. We did it ourselves!”

I’m sure.”

We did!”

He snorted to himself, steering her down into the bowels of the Lower City. The busy, purposeful buzz of the upper region was replaced by a lethargic apathy, lazy traders rubbing shoulders with refugees of all races. He shoved her through a crowd of stinking Arakkoa, ignoring her coughs as she got a faceful of dirty feathers. In the shadow of the city wall, several dozen small tents had been erected; a grubby banner indicating that these were the temporary dwellings of the auxiliary Sha’tar troops. Ignoring the several off-duty soldiers who were in various states of dress and pose around the barracks, Ashamal guided her through the narrow alley of tents until he paused outside a particularly small and grubby one.

((tbc))

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Aphel said,

    Best blog posts you’ve ever made. i really can’t wait for the third one! You’re such an amazing author.


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