Archive for September 9, 2010

Journey to Goldshire

The tundra mammoth loped alongside the busy roadway, preferring the grassy undergrowth. Bushes were trampled into submission beneath the wide, flat feet; causing some consternation from the travellers on the main throughfare, most of them humans journeying to and from Stormwind. Carts and wagons jostled for space between warhorses and the more exotic steeds; in the distance, a disgruntled elekk trumpeted.

Ashamal Shalah’aman held the reins of the beast loosely in his right hand, relying on the heavy presence of the coiled whip to keep control, in conjunction with the small silver spurs on the heels of his boots. His greying hair was kept from his face by a small leather band; he wore carefully-mended travelling clothes and a stony expression.

His young mate, perched on the side seat, was (as usual) dressed inappropriately for travelling. Wearing a man’s cotton shirt (his), trousers that appeared to have been stolen off a hobo (probably had been) and a ludicrous, wide-brimmed purple hat; she was sprawled back against the backboard, chewing the end of an empty pipe, her skinny arm flung over the back of the seat. Ashamal glanced over at her, scowling.

“Get that out of your mouth.”

She widened her eyes at him reproachfully, raising the brim of her hat.

“But it’s empty!” she said, forgetting that her teeth were clamping the pipe in position. It fell to the grass and was left behind in a moment as the mammoth continued it’s steady lope onwards.

“Where did you get it, anyway?” enquired Ashamal, ignoring his wife’s pitiful cries to turn back. After a moment she stopped mewling and repositioned the brim of her hat.

“I picked it up.”
“From where? Or -knowing you- who?”
“From the FLOOR.”

He shot her a look of horror, which was met by a grotesque leer. They continued to ride through the thickly forested valley, the noises of the road gradually fading away.

A while later, bored, she extended her skinny leg over towards Aphel; and began gently nudging his ear with her grubby toes. He glanced at her quickly, returning his eyes to the forest ahead.

“Do you want something?”

She wiggled her eyebrows enigmatically, leering; then seemed to change her mind, shaking her head. He smiled at her, reaching up to touch her small foot affectionately.

“I appreciate your apology” he murmured, rubbing the dirty toes absentmindedly. “From yesterday.”

She nodded, looking abashed, and muttered something beneath her breath. Sliding her hand into her satchel, after a moment of groping, she slid his reading glasses onto her long nose and began to preruse a sheaf of shipping papers.

Distracted from the business of guiding the mammoth (who had slowed to a confused amble), Ashamal watched his wife intently. Only her lips were visible beneath the ridiculous hat, she was mouthing the words to herself as she read them, each sentence a trial. He moved his gaze to her foot, dirty on top and filthier on the soles, red in patches; reflective of her stubborn tendency to wear shoes that no longer fit, or to wear none at all. He kissed it, suddenly, and smiled at her surprised look. Nudging the mammoth to a halt, he reached out to first remove his glasses from her nose, then the hat from her head; rubbing his gloved thumb into the hollow of her cheek.

“I can be twenty minutes late for the meeting.”


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