Receipt and Resurrection

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((Part 2 of The Best Laid Plans of Cows and Men...))


“The entire northern wing is destroyed. The kitchen is just a burnt stone shell, but the bracin’ for the second story was constructed of wood. That’ll need to be totally replaced, unless you want a floor of bedrooms crashin’ down on ya’ when you’re cookin’ your eggs one mornin’. Stove’s gone, and so’s all the glass in the windows. Tiles was pretty, all screwed up now. That’s gonna cost ya.”

Scratch. Scratch.

“Common room’s got major smoke damage. The furniture’s gonna stink cause of the water from the, uh, accident gettin’ into the fabric. Third floor rooms might be salvageable, but like I said, they ain’t gonna stay up much longer with no structural support from the ground floor. They gotta go too.”

Scratch. Scratch. Scratch.

“Ruined carvings – don’t know who carved ‘em, but they ain’t comin’ back. That’s a big loss. Every pipe in the place’s gotta be relaid, unless you want to go back to usin’ the city wells like a bunch of trolls. That little stunt of pourin’ fire oil into the city gutters was cute. Gonna cost you repairs on half the buildings and civic amenities all the way down to the gates, not to mention the sewers. Think the stench of burning waste might lift in a few days, but that’s not up to me to price. You’ll be payin’ the receipt of public opinion on that one. You’re lucky we’d had a rain that day, otherwise you might have taken out your neighbors with you. Anyway, here’s what you’re looking at, roughly.”

The goblin’s yellowed teeth caught the late afternoon sun as he handed Cabriel a long sheet of parchment. Hand slightly quaking, the young elf took the estimate and gulped.

“This is in…gold?”

“Well, you’re pretty enough, but I don’t go for the other kind of payment from guys.”

Cabriel didn’t even roll his eyes. They were too fixed on the rolling list of repairs, supplies, and labor assessments. The guildhall had been a monument to the creativity and ingenuity of many individuals, and, it would seem, the extravagant tastes of others. Wood from a hundred different trees, stone quarried from far-off mountain ranges, mithril fittings…all this, and there was still the whole problem of replacing the furniture, which had been a hodge-podge of mismatched pieces all collected under one roof.

“At least the roof is intact,” the contractor grunted.

Cabriel didn’t answer. Instead, he turned on his heel and picked up the bag of possessions he had been able to recover from the fiasco, and made for the Seven Sheaves Inn.

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((hey play nice you two! :P ))

She had waited in the shadows as the elf and the goblin had gone back and forth. She had expected it to be ugly.

"Cabriel!" She called as he had started walking away. "Let me see that list.... please." Behind her the goblin continued poking, prodding and inspecting. The sounds of his grunting comments to himself as he went. Pen and paper busy with the scratching sounds of further notes.

The elf didn't appear to have heard her the first time.

"Cabriel, wait up." she called out as she followed him.

The sun was warm and pleasant as a cool late summer breeze dance idly through the streets.

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The Seven Sheaves was always bustling with activity. The air held the scent of wine and freshly baking bread, dancing around snippets of the conversations of patrons. It’s windows were thrown open to the warm weather lingering in the dusky streets of Orgrimmar, so the braying, purring, honking, and nickering of the stables animals outside drifted in among the din.

Cabriel slumped behind a row of six small cups, his eyes squinting over the bar at the barkeep and proprietor of the place. She was a Tauren, golden from the top of her head to the bottoms of her hooves, with honey-brown eyes the exact color of her coat.

“You can’t blame yourself, Cabriel.”

The warlock moaned, hazy. “But, ish jusht…firesh don’t shtart by themshelvesh. Ya know?”

“I do. And accidents happen. Thought I appreciate your coin, drowning yourself slowly in – what are you drinking, again? Melon juice and ale?” The beautiful barkeep shuddered. “That’s disgusting. Anyway, the point is, you and your friend couldn’t have prevented such a random thing happening, so why punish yourself for it?”

“We just wanted shome bagelsh, ya know? Sheemed like shuch an innoshent activity for a rainy day. Then,” Cabriel looked up, seemingly on the verge of retching. “Poof! Chaosh and deshtruction” He swigged the last of his warm drink.

He swung his head heavily to his left, at another Tauren perched at the edge of a stool.

“Vilmah’sh gonna KILL ME!” The tauren quickly moved to the end of the bar.

With a click of her tongue, the barkeep looked down her nose at him appraisingly.

“And she can shertainly do it, too. Even misshing an arm!”

A steaming mug of goldthorn tea plunked down before him, and a great golden hand swept up the dirtied cups. Just the smell of the steeping herbs made the elf’s stomach double over inside him.

“Darling, you’ve been my guest many, many times, and we know each other pretty well, wouldn’t you say? The Cabriel Lockvictor I know is not someone who drowns himself in liquor when he’s faced with a problem. He’s someone who does his best to find a solution. It can’t be that bad. Let me see that list.”

Cabriel took a long time to fish out the goblin contractor’s estimate from his breeches pocket.

“Oh, my. Well, I suppose it can be that bad.”

Cabriel belched.

“Listen…it’s Brewfest. Business has been almost ricidulous the past few days, and I can guarantee it’ll stay that way. There are a lot of folks who prefer their drinks served indoors, and that’s what we’re here for. I have money set aside for emergencies, and I’d say if this Vilmah character is really going to kill you for torching her guildhall, then that constitutes an emergency. I hear she’s a criminal anyway. But that’s not the point. The point is,” she raised his drooping chin, “I can lend you this money.”

“No, I won’t –“

“Shut your fruity mouth, boy. You will. And you’re not going to get off scott-free for it, either. I need a favor…and you’re going to do it for me.”

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"It's a thousand gold pieces upon receipt. Take it directly to the contact previously discussed and collect your payment. Afterwards, let me never see your face again in my tavern."

Her golden hand secured the sealed scroll inside the goblin's pack.

"Oh, one more thing," She slipped a gold piece into his tight green grip. "Tell him I'll take my money in silver pieces. The usual place will be fine."

Orgrimmar prepared for slumber beneath the flight tower. With a sigh that was neither repentant nor eager, she pulled her woven shawl tighter around her body and tried her best to muffle the sounds of her hooves against the boards. This would be the last transaction she ever made with Lockvictor Exports, Ltd., she swore in silence.

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He couldn’t help it. The nauseous feeling behind his navel eased a bit with the knowledge that he was righting a wrong, but still…

“Handing over this much gold makes me want to throw up.”

Shrugging, the goblin contractor clicked his tongue. “Time is money, friend.”

Cabriel gulped deeply as the last of the gold pieces disappeared into the goblin’s purse. Surprisingly, the tension in his gut eased a bit and the young elf looked over his shoulder at the squatting, ruined guildhall. An early morning sun careened into the scorched stone wall and shone back in his gold-green eyes. He could already imagine the repairs and improvements that were to be made to the place: smoother stone to replace the interior walls, pulled from the dust of Durotar; stronger wood for struts and beams, the surfaces of all carved with the legends of both Horde and Alliance to remind the guild of its mission; brand-new pipes and basins; hand-painted tile. New fabrics were being woven in Thunder Bluff to eventually upholster furniture the contractor would order from a middle-man in Ironforge. Each apartment above the kitchen that was ruined by smoke and heat would be repainted and supplied with soft mattresses and fireproof chests. The kitchen itself would feature a newer, larger oven formed of Mulgore clay, and Cabriel had decided to include a separate room off the main to facilitate future alchemical and culinary storage. This room would feature an iron door that sealed airtight against accident.

Under his breath, Cabriel thanked his stars for Bella. She had been like a foster mother to him in his first months in Orgrimmar, allowing him both bed and board at her inn in exchange for petty little errands and odd jobs. Once he’d moved his belongings into Sanctuary’s guildhall, Bella continued to check up on him, always keeping tabs on her wayward friend. Their companionship was unique. It had never occurred to the elf that running a place like The Seven Sheaves might be so lucrative, but Cabriel dismissed him skepticism with a silent self-reminder that the Tauren were thrifty and wise people. Of course she’d have a stockpile of extra money set aside for emergencies: it fit into her race’s character.

To pay her back, Cabriel had only to deliver a parcel to a distant business associate of Bella’s. The innkeeper had assured him that it would be an easy trip to Winterspring, adding that her booming business kept her from traveling too far from the dusty orc city.

“I barely have time to visit my aunts in Mulgore these days,” Bella had laughed.

Cabriel smiled and looked sternly at the goblin. “There will be various people looking in on this construction in my absence. I trust that, upon my return, I will hear no fishy stories.” He waved two letters in the goblin’s leering face. One was addressed to the Bess’tarice Boarding House, the other to Sanctuary’s hall in Shattrath City.

“I’d prefer a warmer welcome home than that,” With a cocky raise of his eyebrow, Cabriel motioned for his felguard from the shadows of an alley across the street. The hulking demon soundlessly approached the contractor from behind and crossed his arms.

“Have a great rest of your day!” Cabriel grinned, turning on his heel and sauntering toward the flight tower.

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Bess'tarice Boarding House

Silvermoon City

c/o Aunt Bess

ATTN: Amoola Shadowhoof


Our troubles are solved! I’ve found a way to pay for the repairs to the hall!!

Now, before you go rolling your eyes and pulling out that quill to try and stop me, don’t bother. It was my mistake that caused the fire…even though I’m still confused at what exactly caused the pipes to explode. No matter. I’ve already paid the workers in full. Construction starts tomorrow, bright and early! It’s going to be better than ever, Moola. Maybe that fire was fated!

I’m writing to Vilmah in Shattrath as soon as I finish with this letter to let her know the good news. She had written me a few weeks ago, but when the letter arrived it looked like it had gone through a meat grinder. I have no idea what she wanted. Just goes to show you can’t trust the post. Hopefully you’ll receive this in Silvermoon with no problems.

I’ll be leaving for Winterspring shortly. I have to play the part of delivery boy to repay this loan, but no worries! I’ve never been that far north before! It’ll give me an excuse to buy some fur robes. If you happen to be in Orgrimmar over the next few weeks, can you look in on the building progress? The contractor’s name is Gurg Fussit…a goblin, naturally.

See you soon!


P.S. I’ll be in touch about the Winter’s Veil party when I get back. I need a master’s touch in planning the menu!

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Vilmah Bloodborne

Sanctuary Guild Hall

Shattrath City


You wrote me a while ago, and I regret to tell you that your letter was a mess by the time it reached me. Hope I didn't miss anything too important.

I want to formally apologize for the fire at the guildhall. What can I say? A combination of my absent-mindedness and Amoola’s delicious bagel recipe caused astronomical damage to my…our…home, and I’m sorry. But not all is lost…

I’ve paid a contractor to take care of all the repairs to Sanctuary’s guildhall in Orgrimmar. In addition, there will be many improvements made to the place, because, let’s face it: it was looking a bit shabby! The construction should be complete in a matter of weeks if all goes according to plan, so finally the guild can have their home back. It’s the least I could do, and I hope this can be my gesture of appreciation for all you and Sanctuary has done for me.

I’ll be indisposed for a time. I’m traveling to Winterspring on an important errand for Bella, the proprietor of The Seven Sheaves. I’ll be sure to contact you when I return. By the Winter’s Veil party, we’ll all be able to celebrate a new and improved guildhall!


P.S. Oh, and sorry about your arm.

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To land outside the gates of Everlook, the angle of descent had to be steep. Strong currents of wind swirled counterclockwise around the gentle summit of the goblin outpost, and Asher was thankful that it wasn’t snowing. His mount dove swiftly at the rocky ground and pulled up in the last moments of flight, kicking up snow and gravel before its taloned feet. Some disgusting creature -- a goblin female, it seemed beneath her hood -- took the reigns of the beast and led it to stable. Straightening his pack, Asher exchanged coin with another greenskin and accepted a rough animal he assumed would be his next mode of transit. The thing’s braying was almost too much to bear, its coat shaggy. Normally, he would have demanded something sleeker, faster. Today, speed was the order.

He thrust himself onto the ram by its curled horns, tightening his oilskin cloak around him. Without peering at the dossier he carried in a hidden pocket, he rudely kicked his mount into motion westward. Overhead, the sun stared straight down.

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It was only when its massive fist forced a blast of warm breath from his lungs that Cabriel noticed the furbolg’s eye. Where one would usually expect the white to be, there was here a deep violet, like midnight. This jewel color shone with moisture, and surrounded an iris of clear, crystal blue that radiated from a bottomless pupil. The heat of battle with the warlock had narrowed the pupil to a small pinprick, and behind a thick fringe of lashes, the same dirty white as the furbolg’s coat, Cabriel could just catch his own reflection.

He doubled over in shock at the fierce blow, pain exploding from deep within his abdomen. The breath that rushed from his lungs was a halo of white steam in the icy air. Without time to consider a counterstrike, the elf thrust out his fist and, with a rapid opening of his palm, laid the furbolg low with a sizzling sphere of shadow. From behind his clenched eyelids, the world turned tourmaline. Cabriel struggled to inhale, and the cruel bite of snow against his face stunned his mind into a daze as he crumpled to the ground.

Deep rumbling filled the air and Cabriel was sure his wrathful orb had found purchase. Already his nostrils leaked blood. Just retaining the ability to breathe was enough for him, and he gasped deep chestfuls of the bitter air, feeling it’s cold deep inside. The beast stumbled off to tend to its hide, so Cabriel chose to stay prone, though the side of his face was already beginning to numb. Sure enough, the creaking of snow under the thing’s wide feet echoed from a distance.

“This whole delivery boy thing might be harder than I originally expected,” he groaned quietly.

He was a few hours east from the strange outpost to which Bella’s instructions had taken him. Thankful though he was for the few layers of quilted cloth and fox fur, the truth was that he had been ill-prepared for the true weather of Winterspring. His terrifyingly precipitous arrival at dawn – the angle must have been near ninety degrees – had been at the tail end of a snowstorm. After pausing momentarily in the eerie goblin town to eat and rent one of the goblin’s weird goat mounts, Cabriel had set out to find his quarry. A dwarf, according to Bella’s papers: Donova Snowden.

He’d been given strict instruction to leave the parcel unopened. The thing was heavy, weighing down his pack so that the strap bit deeply into his left shoulder. At first, the trip eastward had been pleasant and beautiful. Cabriel found the play of light on the icicles breathtaking, and often let his eyes wander, following the many tracks of animals left in the sparse pine forest. His first morning hours in this winter tableaux were relatively pleasant before he was attacked by the snow beast.

Now, all that remained of his trusty steed was a red smear melting through a bank of tussled snow. His eyelids felt heavy as he watched a snowflake drift down, then up again on a current of air. It danced in the wind, hypnotic. At first it was a solid object, but after a few moments, the left a long, glittering tail behind as it skittered about. It changed color slightly, from a perfect white to a vibrant yellow, pink, then green…

Cabriel blinked hard to clear his head of the reverie. The blood and saliva on his lips had begun to crystallize, and grimacing as he moved his arm from beneath him slowly, he dared to raise his head, searching the curve of the valley for his opponent.

Great tongues of pain licked at his body, their smooth lines slowly tracing out from the point of impact below his rib cage. The elf’s head swam. He giggled lightly as he let his consciousness follow the paths up, over his left arm and in a knot just above his elbow. It didn’t hurt so much as it sparkled, and the effervescence felt like bubbles in his blood. He lazily drooped his head again toward furbolg, and noticed without tremendous anxiety that his pack laid there beside the creature, its contents spilling haphazardly onto the gritty ground near the fire. He watched, suspended in a dream-like state, as the great furbolg stooped down and roughly picked up Bella’s parcel.

Bella’s parcel, he mused with a tight smile playing across his bleeding lips. How curious that this creature should want such a thing!

The shivers of pain tickled into his bones, and with curious interest, Cabriel came to understand he was not dying, but transforming into ice! It’s long fingers brushed frosty trails up his femurs and the thin bones of his feet, and the only sensation of warmth he felt was his own breath, now just a lazy wisp of steam rising from his nostrils. Great shivers rocked his body, and he knew he would soon explode into thousands of snowflakes on the wind.

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Asher had watched from a copse of pine trees, astride the ram, as the young elf steered down the narrow road. At first it just appeared that a section of the fresh snow had shaken loose upon the hillside, but quickly the furbolg manifested, all claws and teeth, and bounded towards its newfound prey.

It was clear that the elf could handle himself in battle. Though caught completely off-guard by the bear-like creature, he managed to vault from his mount’s back, the edges of his gloved hands searing with energy. As Asher watched, the furbolg advanced and narrowly missed with a powerful swipe to the elf’s head. The beast was rewarded with a fist to the snout. Snow flitted in all directions as the elf dove out of the enraged furbolg’s path, tossing a glowing purple orb that just grazed its matted hide. Its bellows echoed off the hills and through the trees. Asher’s eyes widened in tense horror as the elf’s mount was lifted bodily from the ground like a child’s doll. Its entrails spilled over the furbolg’s face as the thing took a bite of it’s soft underbelly, then tossed it aside. The young elf was obviously as shocked by the display, for he froze in his tracks.

A mistake, Asher thought.

A gargantuan paw connected with the elf’s midsection. For a moment, the two glared at each other face to face. Asher watched, the reins leaving welts in the backs of his hands, as the elf managed to cast one more spell before crumpling into the snow. Wounded, the snow beast limped away.

Asher had never quite gotten used to the sensation of fire coursing down through the veins in his fingertips. To him, there was something wildly unpredictable about the magic. Still, the approach seemed appropriate given his environment.

The massive snow beast went down easily. Asher was thankful that the freezing wind carried the stench of scorched hair and meat away from him. He passed the smoldering hole in the snow with barely a glance. The sunlight was beginning to wane. Curiously, Asher dismounted and crept to the elf’s prone body. Light gilded the sides of the unconscious elf’s face, and his hood had fallen away revealing a shock of scarlet hair. He was beautiful, but that was no surprise to Asher.

They all were.

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Being dead is weird. I always imagined it would be more…sparkly. Like glitter, but you feel it. Isn’t there supposed to be singing? I always heard there would be singing. Ooh, it would be great if Ninorra could sing here! Wherever here is. It’s cold, which I suppose makes a lot of sense, cold being the natural state of the body once death has set in. It’s interesting that the temperature should transfer to the…what is this? The “other side”? That always confused me. The other side of what? Anyway, I’m freezing. Do souls have nerves? I never thought to ponder that. It could be concluded that, yes, they do, since I’m experiencing this deep chill here. Wherever here is. The other side. Interesting place. Dark.

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Night whirled in its usual spiral over the makeshift camp. Asher poked the fire grudgingly and watched the weird shadows the embers made on the trees that surrounded them. It was quieter now that the elf had stopped talking in his sleep. Absently, Asher picked at his skin concealed beneath the thick fabric of his sleeve. This was definitely the one he had been sent to find.

A shame it wasn’t more challenging, he thought. He supposed he should have realized this; after all, there was only one westward road from the weird goblin outpost, and anyone traveling toward the hot mineral springs would have little choice but to follow that road. The elf had made the obvious choice, which was exactly contrary to what Asher’s papers had warned. According to his information, this one was more resourceful than he seemed, and constant vigilance was in order. Asher was also not to drink from any container other than the one he wore concealed on his hip.

The skin he had been playing at came loose and separated. Asher rolled it in his fingers for a moment and studied the elf. He laid propped against an exposed face of rock, no doubt warmed by the glowering fire. He looked nothing like his sister.

Asher swore quietly and flung the skin into the coals.

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Moving into the Light felt more natural than anything Cabriel had ever done. It began like the soft, grey-pink glow of sunrise and concentrated to a deeper red, then warm yellow. Gradually, the young warlock was bathed in sparkling white on all sides. It was cold. Very, very cold.

“Must be hungry.”

The gravelly voice shredded the silence of the place. The other side. Seated directly across from Cabriel, near a low-burning pit of embers, a heavily shrouded figure pulled the skins from a brace of fat white hares. Cabriel felt both apprehensive and delighted to have company in his afterlife, though for the life (unlife?) of him, he didn’t recognize the stranger.

“Excuse me?”

“You must be hungry. You’ve been out for nearly a day,” The ripping noise of the hare’s hide sounded like hundreds of tiny harp strings breaking loose.

Cabriel blinked away the weird grit in his eyes. It felt like a frozen version of the gunk that usually accumulated while one slept. “I can eat on this side?”

“Generally speaking, you can eat on whatever side you wish. In this circumstance, I’d suggest you sit up and nearer the fire.”

Cabriel obeyed. The warmth infused him immediately, sending tiny shivers into each of his pores. “This is a strange place,”

“Not so strange,” the deeper voice replied, “Just colder.”

“You know, I never imagined it to be like this,”

A rock the stranger had settled amongst the hot coals sizzled violently as the flesh of the hares landed upon it. “I’m a bit surprised at that.”

“Not me, really. It makes sense that at this…stage…” Cabriel swallowed, “It would be cold.”

“It’s pretty much cold here all the time,”


For a few moments, the crackling of rabbit meat was the only sound. Cabriel couldn’t believe how still it was there.

“How long have you been dead?”

“Seven and a half years. Give or take.” He flipped the meat.

“Wow. I guess it’ll take some time to get used to.”

“Do you expect to be dead sometime in the near future?”

Cabriel shivered against the cold and bundled his fur closer to his neck. “Very funny. I guess it’s good my guide through the afterlife has a sense of humor.”

“What the fel are you talking about?” The hooded stranger pulled a few portions of hare from the stone and passed them to Cabriel on a rough pewter plate.

Cabriel shuddered with cold again. The tiny hairs on his forearms stood up. The smell of the meal found his nostrils and the inside of his mouth suddenly went slick. Slowly, awareness dawned on the young warlock.

“Wait…I didn’t die in the snow?”

“No. I happened by on the road just as that huge furbolg – that’s the name of the beast that ate the stomach of your mount – tried to gut you. I sped up to help, but you were out cold by the time I reached you. No pun intended. Anyway, I finished off the furbolg, which wasn’t as tough as it might usually be. You have some nice skills. As soon as I could, I brought you up here, bandaged your wounds, and though it would be appropriate to eventually find food for when you came around. That was yesterday. Today you rolled around talking to yourself for a few hours. Then you woke up.”

Cabriel raised one eyebrow, then the other. “So…I’m alive?”

“Very much so.”

“I’m not dead.”

“Not so much.”

He brought the hot rabbit meat to his chapped lips. “Oh. Good.”

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As the elf cleaned himself up, Asher checked the time. From another pocket in his cloak came a round gold disk that clicked open with the press of a tiny dial near its bottom edge. A pocket watch. Gnomish invention.

Late morning.

Asher compared the reading to the angle of the sun in the sky, but couldn’t resolve the difference. It was nearly impossible to monitor the passage of time in Winterspring. The ground stayed nearly as white as the sky most hours, and night wasn’t really night, but a twilight gloaming. Already it had begun to snow. The two were late.

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