Post by Neonhyper
---The meeting with Elayne was not simply an invitation by the captain for a fancy dinner. I expected as much, first impressions told that she was not a woman who requested things without a motive. When the five of us arrived in her cabin, late that evening, we were greeted by the dwarf captain who shut the door behind us.
We were served dinner, as promised. The dishes were simple, better than the slop we were usually given alongside the crew. Only so many kind and introductory words were spoken before Miss Ironhammer delved into the business that we were called to the cabin for.
I was expecting something much more vicious than what we got. The dwarven captain was simply interested in what we were coming all this way out for. I wouldn't blame her, a group of adventurers ask for a vessel, with no other passengers besides the crew, to take us to Ratchet for a hefty sum of gold was pretty suspicious.
We were honest when we explained, there was no point in lying. If Elayne was part of the Forbidden Keepers, we would have to fight our way to control of the Lightning Hawk, if she wasn't, she might be more inclined to help us on our journey. However, we made careful sure to exclude our dealings with the Bronze Dragonflight, something Aridormi had warned me to keep secret.
There was a smile of satisfaction on her face by the time we finished discussing. The dwarf had said that if it were at all possible, she would have gotten us to Ratchet as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, even with my lack of nautical knowledge, I realized this was not a probable situation, and that we would have to continue to wait.
The rest of our meal was spent in silence, with the occasional banter between my companions, and the few questions that were directed our way by Elayne. By the end of our visit, we quietly excused ourselves from the cabin. My sister and the anchorite were right behind me, but Trila and Neemo were nowhere in sight. I could only imagine what kind of scolding they were getting as I walked back to my own room upon the ship.
Another twelve days at sea passed slowly, but eventually we arrived in Ratchet.
The boat pulled into harbor, sailing alongside one of the docks outstretched into the sea. Goblins rushed back and forth, along with the sailors on the ship, to help get the vessel tethered down and situated. Elayne was on top of the deck of the Lightning Hawk, shouting orders and getting her crew to get the cargo they were transporting out and into the city.
Out of sight, and in the hull of the ship, were the five women getting their mounts. They had retrieved their gear earlier, now attempting to calm their beasts down from the long travel at sea, and wait for the upper deck to clear of people so they could leave and find their contact.
Standing off to the side near the enlarged doorway to the upper decks, reigns already in hand, was Aruna. Next to the gnome was her dark brown kodo, saddled in red and gold armor, with two large carved war drums on either side of the mount.
"Why do you always get Becca so easily ready?" Anura muttered as she finished tying on maroon armor to her olive green raptor.
"Unlike Tektali, Anura, Becca actually listens and lets me put her gear on." Aruna gestured to the struggling raptor who was pulling away from the death knight.
Anura sighed, checking over her work with some grumbling. On the other side of the hold, were Orio, Trila, and Neemo, who were also hurryingly trying to finish getting their mounts ready. The two draenei worked together to calm down their nervous elekk, Tron, who was already fitted with crystal embedded, neon-blue armor.
Neemo was cackling maniacally to herself, finishing off the gear she was putting on her blue striped frostsaber. It didn't take long for the druid and Anura to finish with their mounts, and soon all five of them were heading out of the lower section of the ship and stepped out into the daylight.
Their animals recoiled from the sun, but eventually stopped struggling and they calmly walked with their masters toward the gangplank. Once they were all filed onto the Ratchet dock's, Aruna turned to where Elayne was dealing with one of the goblins and some paperwork.
"Thanks for letting us aboard your ship, Captain Ironhammer." The gnome gave the dwarf a calm salute.
Elayne turned and nodded at Aruna, "And g'luck to you and your crew... just be careful."
The Ratchet inn was bustling, like always. Drunken pirates, drunken adventurers, drunken goblins, and even sober people of the same sort. In the middle of the chaos, seated over a mug of some sort of drink, with one hand attempting to plug both of his ears, was a young man.
He wasn't quite like the others in the building. Shining silver armor adorned his well-built body instead of the ragged and tattered clothing that most of the drunkards (and non-drunkards) wore. His hair was a deep brown color, short, but somewhat tangled, and hung in his face and over tanned skin. A shield bearing no insignia rested on his back, while a sheathed sword was attached to his belt.
The man was a paladin named William Black, and he wasn't exactly sure why he was in this inn, at this moment, except for the fact that he was waiting for a group.
A group he had been waiting two weeks to show up.
It was not that he didn't have the time to wait, as it stood the Bronze told him he had all the time in the world to wait. Moreover, it was because he didn't want to wait, especially not in a town run by goblins. Especially in an inn filled to the brim with drunk men and women, bloody bar fights, and terrible drinks, in a town run by goblins.
A shout rang out next to him, and he glanced to the side to see an orcish sailor pounding on a blood elven man with a mug. William cringed and watched as the elf stumbled into a human, who turned and proceeded to try and hit the elf, and instead hit a tauren. A chain reaction then spread throughout the inn, where everyone was bashing on each other with chairs, tables, and even each other.
The paladin had had enough, and got up from his table and pushed through the fighting people and out of the inn. With the noise behind him, he walked down the dirty cobblestone path that led deeper into town, into the bustling marketplace.
It wasn't much better out here, with cutthroats waiting around every turn to steal your gold or anything else of value on you. Greedy goblins in merchant stands called out to any innocent passerbys who happened to be walking past. He scowled, disgusted inside at all the unlawful goings that happened in towns run by the small, short, green-skins.
William headed to the docks, hoping to get some peace and quiet near the sea. His wishes were dashed when he realized the area was busy unloading cargo once again from ships that were pulling into harbor. However, his attention was pulled over to a group of women heading into town. Women with weapons, and mounts.
Five of them.
That was who he was looking for, and he didn't realize he was shouting out at the group until it was too late to stop himself, "Stop!"
One of them turned, who was leading a kodo, a small gnome with pink pigtails, "Who are you?"
"William Black," He said breathlessly, "Are you... the group that..." He lowered his voice to a whisper as he approached the five female, "... the Bronze sent to find me?"
They looked amongst each other, and the gnome nodded, "We are. Do you have a mount?"
"Yes, he's with the stable master." William responded.
"Get him and head out of town, I would rather not discuss what we are about to in a town where you do not know who is listening."
The six of them dismounted near a hill far away from Ratchet. William leaned back against his horse, a black stallion in grey armor, and looked across the rest of the group. The gnome he had spoken to earlier and had told him to come out here, who he was assumed was the group's leader, sat down as well.
"My name is Aruna Twinspark," She said, and the name clicked instantly with William, who nodded.
"Neemo Starfall, at your service," The only night elf in the group nodded toward him.
There were two draenei, the older of the two smiled softly and responded, "I am Anchorite Orio." The younger one piped in almost before the other had finished, "And I'm Trila, I'm a shaman!"
William couldn't help grin at the little draenei's enthusiasm, before a harsh, almost deathly whisper caused him to pale. Still seated on her raptor mount, sat a gnomish death knight, who's presence was making the paladin's blood boil.
"Anura, Anura Twinspark." The undead muttered.
Aruna pulled his attention back with a question, "And we know who you are, William, and it is a pleasure to meet you. However, I am I aware that you know our problem, and I believe it is in our best interests to get started immediately."
"Yes, of course." William nodded, "And I have something to share about it... however you might not like it..."