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It's been a bad day. One of the worst I've had in a while. I fumbled everything. I literally fell off the ground. That I'd happened to land amidst a small group of people, one of which I knew, well that turned out not to be all that great either. 

I ate... of course I ate. Over the last few days, I have not been satisfied until I was near to bursting and then, the pain of it finally drowned out the craving. The all-encompassing need to consume, to chew, to swallow, to fill. Some of the time I had to access to real edible food. Sometimes I was not so lucky. I've eaten pinecones. Tree bark. Dirt. Things no rational animal would. 

But they fed me, Lilliana and her friends, with real meat, and I managed to catch a few fish. Then the bitch gave me some brew that sets you on fire when you drink it. I was clever enough to figure out the way of it. Drink like a dwarf, they suggested. So I did, and stubbornly drank two more. I was thirsty. If you chase the sulfuron slammer with another drink, it puts out the flames almost instantly. Still, SHE SET ME ON FIRE. I don't think its funny. I hate the flames.

It's one of those days. 

So I decide that maybe its a good day for a drink. The Cantina is tonight, I'm pretty sure, and I'm hungry. Lilliana reminded me, and I want to go and watch. She is much stronger than I expected, and I need to plan carefully. Maybe she will be there. A good predator observes their prey for weakness.

I go to the boat. Instead of the nice troll bartender, there is a goblin that greets me instead. But there are other trolls. A new male I have yet to charm. Maybe he will ply me with drinks in exchange for the vague hope of sex. Maybe he will feed me. 

The goblin asks me what I want. I tell her anything but a slammer. No more fire for me! She hands me a drink that warms my very soul, in a fuzzy round coconut half. It is extremely sweet and clings to the lips, allowing me to savor the taste of it instead of merely gulping it down to feel my throat work. Tahzani shuffles by, busy in his rounds, but tells me to make myself at home, so I do. There is an absurdly large driftwood chair set up like some kind of beach throne, sheltered beneath a canopy umbrella. I claim it, and survey the kingdom of the deck from this position of leisure. Why had no one claimed this spot? It is fantastic.

The other troll watched me travel to the chair, which also happens to be right next to him. It is perfect. "Well, hello dere." He puts his mug down to greet me. I smile at him, and he returns a strange, coy sort of smirk. This is the start of the mating ritual that he doesn't know is doomed to fail.

"Hi back at ya. Who you be?" I question him. On the other side of the boat, a forsaken in an absurd hat begins loud introductions. He is tailed by a young orc child, and seeing them irritates me immediately for some reason. 

Still, I have the troll's attention fully. He continues to smile, "Ah be Harkinic."  He rises to his feet, and bows down quite low in an exaggerated display to me, "And who joo be....?" His eyes roam up and down my form.

I play the game. "Who ya want me to being?"

Harkinic settles back down on his haunches, lifting his mug into a big hand, "Joo be who joo want, ah would be hoping."  He responds gruffly, still eying me. The undead pirate is apparently one of the purple ones. He goes greeting his 'commodore' at the opposite railing, which is fine by me, as it adds distance between us.

"I be called Derecho, most often," I tell my potential sugar daddy, and I add a smirk for good measure.

"Da who joo really want da be?" He returns the expression, his face easily sliding into it. 

He's mine. I don't really have to play anymore. I tell him honestly "It be not mattren none too much what I be wantin now-days." I shrug, not quite sure why I told him that. Voices from across the deck snatch my attention. Two pandaren sit in the corner behind the wind gauge, and the male said something about food for certain.

"Joo be needing a drink?" Harkinic asks me. He finishes his in a big gulp for the excuse to summon the bartender for more.

"Sure ting," I agree. The pandas are still discussing a feast.  My mouth waters. My companion summons the goblin, who comes over as she's hollaring that the bears won't be fed unless they pay up-front. It seems the two have just met and are in a courtship dance much like I am. He wants to double an order already placed for himself. I hope they've paid. Tahzani receives the request as he's halfway up the ramp with food. His arms are laden on both sides with layered and heavy dishes piled high, and his brow runs with sweat from having been preparing them below in the hot galley. He receives the updated order silently, though I see his eye twitch. Ever the gracious one, he says he'll have it done right away, and he carefully hands over what he has so far. 

I don't think they even noticed the tone used or the slight hesitation. Tahzani works very hard. I don't like these pandas. 

I am distracted when the goblin, whose name I've heard is Bayonnii, breaks my line of sight, finally summoned by Harkinic. "Ya need a drink, or..?"

"Hells yes!" I cry, as he presses coins into her hand and tells her not one with fire. The new drink is no where near as satisfying as my first ones, but they are wet. I'm disappointed, but I lie and thank him anyway.

Tahzani returns, again looking like an overburdened pack animal. I stare at the bears and their hugely excessive feast. I hate them, but I want what they have. My stomach clenches without sound, demanding. I wait until Tahzani has unloaded everything extra at the panda's table before waving to summon him. He shuffles over, assuming I have an order. "Everybody good heah?" comes his question, automatic.

"Tahzani," says I, "How ya doin?"

Instead of answering, he asks "Jah two okay ovah heah?" I think we are, so I say so to put his mind at ease. He takes it as his cue to leave. "Aight. Lemme know if jah need anytin' den"

I'm irritated. "Ya lady mate be trouble!" I call. "Capital-like Tee."

He stops two-thirds of the way through the automatonic query to other patrons. "Pardon me?"

"Ya girl. Shhe been actin up. ...hic!" The hiccup surprises me completely, and I find it both funny and strange, this uncontrolled flux of my diaphragm. For a brief moment I'm intrigued by the shift of my insides, and then I feel bad for antagonizing Tahzani. My pettiness subsided, I want to apologize. "I be not knowin if ya want be knowin, so I done told ya." I don't quite manage it, see.

Tahzani just stares at me dully, " Tanks fah de news." My ire rekindles, but not at him. For the woman that caused such a lacklust of passion in this troll. Lilliana. I have another motive, as if I needed it. Maybe he's working too hard? Maybe he just needs to sit and relax and not be a bartender or mate to a three-faced bitch. Maybe he needs a break.

I peer at him, realizing this. "Ey!" I beckon and wave him over again. He comes to call like a slave. "Ya got de otha one to sherve, be talkin wit me a bit? Ya sheem down."


But then Bayonnii leaves. In the corner, the pandas have gorged and fallen out into sleep. I know well how their energies have radically been diverted to the task of digestion. I want to stab them and steal what's left before they wake and finish it.

The elf commander is even surprised. "I've heard the phrase "food coma", but..."

The drastic change from feasting to hibernation has an odd effect on the pirate. His voice has been grating the whole time, but now he's frantic and even louder. He starts yelling about poison, which is of course a direct insult to Tahzani's cooking and hard work. Tahzani grunts and shrugs a shoulder at me, moving to the other side of the boat as he hears the commotion.

I knudge Harkinic. "See? Dis be why I got no job. Lookit him."

Tahzani has to explain to the idiot pirate that what has happened to the pandas is completely normal for their species. I listen, looking to see if perhaps I can swipe some of their feast for myself in the distraction. I decide to try. I get up and go over as the undead yells again.


"Oh shut de fuck up!" I scream at him. It makes no sense to me. "Ya be dead already, what ya be carin fo? ...hic!" as I head across the deck. Harkinic's eyes track me. I squeeze between the elf commander and the wind gauge carefully inserting myself near to the table. 

"They's down fer tha count! See?"

I don't see. The male has reawoken already from all the noise, and he tries to tell the lunatic pirate to hush in deference to the female's continued slumber. He might notice if I just grab a handful of his food and try to run with it. Instead, I nudge at the girl panda within reach. "Ey. Ya be dead?" This produces a sleepy lick of the lips and a stretch, proving she is obviously still among the realm of the living. I feel that if I don't add something to my stomach, I might soon enough not be. My patience is wearing precious thin. "Dere. Ya be seein? Breathin fine. Not dead. Shut. Up." I glare at the stupid pirate.

This comment is apparently the first he notices of my presence, distracted as he was with his own blustering. He looks at the speaker, me. "...Egad! Robby take cover! IT BE A SEA WITCH! She'll curse us an' drag us down ya Jonesy Dave's locker!" The little orc child promptly panics as instructed. I find this hilarious. What a fantastic distraction! I encourage it, raising my hands curled into claw-fingers. I hiss in my best sea-witch impersonation at the man, then cackle at the ridiculousness.

This play-acting has quite an interesting and unintended effect on the panda bears. Evidently, they are not smart enough to recognize the joke, or perhaps too disoriented from sleep. They believe it! The girl jolts fully awake and shrinks back some. She grabs her hat and wraps it around her like a child's security blanket. The male completely freezes with a full roll of sausages dangly in his hands. I want them so. I turn my gaze on him. He swallows.

"I can be havin one?" I ask him, quite enjoying this little over-lording. Still, I did ask, rather than demand. He stammers, agreeing, but rather than give up the prize in-hand, I get piping hot fresh sausages pulled from his bag. I cheer, extremely happy at my good luck, and I remember to thank the bear too. I retreat with my prize.

I don't even care about the dwindling commotion, or the insulting title of sea witch. The Sanctuary mistress departs. The pandas stare at me in fear. I don't care. I have food. I return to my chair with it, gnawing already. The sausage has a grainy texture that is a pleasure to chew and break apart with the tongue, and is hot enough to make avoiding scalds while doing this a challenge.

Harkinic grins to me, "De Derecho returns." He points out at the same time that a new troll is over there, across to the stern, waggling his eyebrows at him. 

I continue eating, watching for a moment. It becomes clear that the new male is trying to steal Harkinic. My territorial instinct runs wild. To say I am possessive would be an understatement. This new guy directly challenges my primal rights! I can't leave it be. The panda girl flinches when I get up, then relaxes at my trajectory. Harkinic chuckles, knowing what's about to happen, likely. I walk over.  "Hi dere."

The challenger looks up at me and smiles, "Ayh beautiful! Ayh dun tink we met afore, ayh?"

I am in no mood for pleasantries. "Ya be talkin a good talk, but ya see, I been findin him first.Ya hear?" I glare at him, sizing him up and the warning in my tone is more than clear. 

"Ayh like both da laydayh an mons, ya know? If ya dun wan m' after 'im, ayh wun do nuthin more. Wha 'bout m' luck w'tcha lovely, though?" He winks at me, thinking himself rather sly. 

"Go be handy wit yaself, ya done pissed me off already." I'd like to hook my finger into that winking recess and feel the pop of loosening his eyeball. 

"Aww, dun be like dat, we be chill 'ere. Nah tryin nuthin harm."

It takes a great deal of my willpower to not leap at him. I spin on my heel toe and stomp off, though. harkinic wears a rather superior smirk, unable to hide the arrogance at observing me return to him. I slam into my chair then turn a sweet smile onto him when he supplies me with another full mug of drink. Nice guy.

Mollified, I had neglected to notice a huge tauren arrive. Gigantic, he is! I blurt such "Ya be a behemoth."

Harkinic snickers, "Ah dunno tink dat one can help dat....." One of the druid's ears moves toward me betraying that he heard.  At the comment his head lowers some, attempting to make himself seem smaller. Harkinic cackles, "Joo done hurt his feelings." He eyes the oversized tauren with a high level of deliberate assessment, "Joo were rathah right tho...." He says regarding the tauren's exceptional size.

"Didn't be meaning to." I notice the hunch too. "Awwwww, don't be like dat. It be a good ting! Ya be big an strong!" I try to reassure. I'm sure it would have the opposite effect if I told him he could feed a village for a week, but the thought crosses my mind. 

The tauren rubs the side of his neck at my attempts to soothe. Still, he steps back to not be in the way of a new arrival. As his huge frame moves, the ramp becomes fully visible. I recognize the elf standing there.

I can't help glaring. I fucking hate him! He's going to die.

Edited by Derecho

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"Eya T'suro," Tahzani greets with a nod. 

The elf paladin notices my hot stare first, but doesn't keep eye contact. Perhaps he dismisses it as racial hatred. Gods know our species have been hating each other long enough for it to be ingrained as much as instinct or reflex. I don't hate him because he's an elf, though. 

"Evening, Tahz," he greets back, and the bartender asks the standard question. "I don't know what I even WANT tonight," he chuckles lightly. I know what I want. I want to see him kicking and screaming, impaled to a wall on the end of his own spear. 

"Aight well if jah tink of anytin' lemme know," and Tahzani moves off into his usual orbit among the bar patrons.

I want him dead. I want him dead right now, but how? There are too many witnesses. Too many healers and too many defenders. They would put me down, no question. I have no poison, and I doubt he would allow me close enough to administer it anyway. He's too smart to accept a drink even were I able to lace his doom into it. 

My answer walks right in front of me. Tahzani ambles by asking his eternal question. He's a troll, and though I am ignorant, I do know of the power of voodoo magics. It will provide a distraction, anyway, when all I wish to do is leap up and skewer that elf. And eat him. I have always stayed away from the voodoo. Now I wish desperately I had some.

I start looking around for the weapons of my unlikely attack. There are fish bones discarded, stuck between the deck boards. I work a few loose. I find a frayed bit of rope trapped in the coarse grain of the beach throne. Maybe once part of a mop? These pieces are small and not enough, but I realize that just a little bit of fabric will go a long way. I don't need a large doll. I swiftly tear at the hem of my skirt with my teeth to get a piece.

Tahzani passes by. "Jah two good heah?" I'm sure to keep my project discreet, but my fingers keep working. I cross a pair of fishbones for the doll's structure without looking and begin tying knots by feel.

Harkinic grins at the female who has situated herself with him, "Ah be tinkin's she hungrah...." he says to Tahzani.

"Always" I say absently. It does take some concentration for this creation. I can hear the elf over there. He called the druid, Lohd, by name, and moves over to converse.

"...Aight den. Surf or turf?" Tahzani asks.

I reply instantly. "Sturf," combining both. Then I have to pause, because this strikes me as a stroke of genius. I want both fish from the surf and meat from the turf, so I said both at once. Sturf! I smirk.

"T'suro.  It is good to see you," says the druid Lohd, and I hate that paladin so much.

Tahzani moves off to fulfill our order of dinner, and I take the opportunity to bring my project up higher. My nails have been working to unravel the threads of rope, and now they hang loose from a knot through the frayed edge of the thing's head. I spit, using the liquid to help me position and stick the fibers in an arrangement resembling his stupid head. I have a fish bone held in reserve. I carefully attach it. The T'suro doll has been outfitted with his signature spear. 

I stare at it for a moment. The thing resembles my target closely enough that I have the powerful urge to just tear it apart again. But, that would not work at all. I'm not even sure what I'm about to do will have any effect. I feel that I must hurry. Surely if I take too long someone will notice what I am doing and stop me. I have hurried through all of this.

I bring the doll up to my face and begin my spell. I whisper, I hiss, I force the words out and into the doll. My lips move quickly, puffing my breath and my magic into it's crafted body in little bursts as the words tumble out. The language is guttural and harsh and rolls from my tongue without thought. I cast, not entirely sure what I'm doing, but trusting that the primal energies will flow and shape my intentions.

Or maybe they won't. The possibility of failure is as exciting as the unlikely chance that I get to see the paladin bleed.

Tahzani returns before I am satisfied that enough energy has transferred. Is there a link or not? He sees me with my creation held close. "...Eesh jah so hungry jah eatin' dress fabric? Heah?" He begins laying out the many plates composing my combination meal. As the last one is set, I think maybe I've done enough. I bring the doll down as if it's nothing and flash that practiced grin at him. It easy because I really am delighted to see such a variety of delicious things laid out before me. Saliva drips down my teeth. I thank him. "Seriously what are you eatin'? Is dat rope?"

Unphased that my simple smile had no effect on a mated man, I laugh. "I be not eatin it fool, I be.... kissin it. It be mah dolly." It's not important. It's not a secret. I prove it by showing to him freely. 

He's not stupid. Not by a long shot. "...Huh. Dat looks a little bit like T'suro."

I have no real option except to continue the lie as presented. "Oh?" I feign innocence. I do not shoot a glance at the target. Perhaps failing that will make Tahzani think that I do not know the elf's name, and such a similarity is coincidence.

"Might just be de same hair color." It seems to have worked. 

Still, I don't relax my position. Instead I look around, making a point to view all the patron equally, as if I still do not know which might be the subject in question. As if I do not know with my entire being that he is that elf standing right. There. "I don't be seein it." I lie smoothly. Harkinic however does look directly from my doll to the elf it was fashioned after. He grins at Tahzani.

The other troll shrugs. "Aight den. Enjoy de meal." He moves off to attend his duties. The pandaren have left and he has cleanup to do.

So, I proceed to eat the meal Tahzani cooked for me. I follow out the ruse, playing make-believe with my toy. I am just a girl, at a banquet. My doll needs food too of course. I pretend to feed it. I eat much slower this way, which I feel is actually a good thing. After all, I had a big lunch, and a string of sausages just a minute ago. The limit for volume is near and I can feel it. I take my time especially in cleaning the meat and gristle from a T-shaped bone. I'm rather meticulous at it, suddenly stalling.

What if this doesn't work? What if it DOES? Tahzani already saw me. Surely he will put two and two together and come up with me. And when he does? How much do I trust in my ability to flee? Can I talk my way out of it? What if my companion decides to point me out? I'm uncertain on so many levels. I can hear T'suro talking quietly on the other side of the boat with Lohd and the pirate about ships.

Harkinic puts his now empty mug down.  He asks very quietly, gruffly and with an amused grin, "Why joo pick him?" He gestures to T'suro and then to then doll. 

I remember why. 

The fury flashes within me and instead of answering, I swiftly position the doll so it can stand on it's own against a roast, like the elf right now is standing there. The T-bone is held in my fist protruding like a shiv. I punch it forth without a second thought, hard. The handmade model is easily skewered, pinned to the roast like a butterfly. Harkinic cackles.

We look at T'suro.

Lohd has the attention of the excitable little orc child. "So a swabby is an assistant." The boy confirms with a grin and tells him the captain gets confused a lot, and his job includes helping with things like maps and carrying things. The tauren nods in serious understanding.

The adults have their own conversation. "Mebbe in time make a new boat! Flyin' tha purple!" offers the pirate to the paladin.

Harkinic seems curious at the lack of reaction, watching T'suro.  He runs two fat fingers down the length of his oversized tusks. "Hmmm. Da voodoo not be in dat properly." he concludes. 

You have failed-!   I hear the voice cry in my head.

T'suro continues to stand there chatting, and I am disappointed. I look at the doll. It hangs from the T-bone, it's head just now beginning to flop over. Perhaps I made it too quickly? Perhaps I needed better materials. Maybe the magic wasn't right. I really thought it might do something, even if it was so weak as to make the elf catch a splinter in his skin. The link is there, I know it. Not a thing though...?

T'suro nods excitedly at the prospect of a Sanctuary ship. "I like the sound of-!" 

He's cut off by his own screaming as he grabs at his chest and doubles over in intense pain. In the next instant, the fully armored paladin falls to the floor. He claws at his chest instinctively trying to find the cause of the blood he begins coughing up.

Edited by Derecho

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"Ah be wrong," Harkinic observes. I'm wide-eyed and staring with my jaw hinged open. Holy shit! I cannot believe that actually worked! Elation floods me at the accomplishment, but then so does the panic. I can't be caught. I snatch the whole roast off the table to the floor between my feet and cover the evidence with my skirt.

"Egad! Man down!" The pirate is the first witness to react, and he hollers like before. "Medic! Sawbones! Doctor! Whar be a healer board this dangflabbed ship?!" The druid who might have been a healer looks confused and slow to catch on. 

Both the amorous challenger troll and Tahzani immediately rush to T'suro's side. "...What now..." I hear the overworked bartender mutter.

"Is he... dead?" Someone wonders. One of a pair of elves. I would also very much like to know the answer to this question. I watch. 

The paladin is not dead, but there is a very good chance he might soon be without intervention. I can see a dark stain seeping out of his tabard and onto his hand as he growls and shivers in pain. The contrast is amazing, dark red against his armor. My tongue flicks out over my lips, desperately wanting to be able to lick the blood off that hand. Would the coppery taste of it clash with the taste of the metal gauntlet, or be enhanced by it?  Tahzani peers at T'suro carefully. He too notices the blood and his frown deepens. 

Harkinic is watching as closely as I, but he shoots me a glance as I fumble with the roast. I manage to dislodge the bone weapon and the doll with my toes as I maneuver the hunk of meat. 

"...The fel is going on here?" calls the second of the elf pair.

Tahzani has done a quick and thorough triage. "Chest wound dat went straight through armah," he answers, as if of course it's a chest wound that occurred despite metal plating and no physical weapon. The pirate is screaming about assassins and telling his swabby child Robby to take cover, but the bartender is very much in charge. He must have a lot of experience, I guess, because he smoothly begins handling the crisis. He knows his resources at hand. "Kiannis Ah need jah right heah," Tahzani beckons to the elf couple. The man obeys. "Faylea too." 

I don't need this organized and calm response at all. I want chaos and disorder! I want time for the lifeblood to flow too much. I want T'suro to die from this. I yell "Well somebody be healin de man! Ain't we got a healah?" hoping to add to the chaos. 

T'suro screams. "DON'T LET HIM NEAR ME!" He twists on the floor weakly, his eyes bugged out at Kiannis. I find this... interesting.

Tahzani calmly puts a hand on the dying elf to keep him still. "Kiannis, two steps back. Faylea, stand by Lohd." He adjusts them to evenly surround my victim. Harkinic rises to his feet now, either to offer help, or more likely just to get a better look around the responders. Tahzani commands "...Now do de mana burst ting!" 

"... You mean.. drawn the energy surrounding us?" Kiannis asks stupidly.

T'suro coughs up more blood. "G-grim! Call off..." He hacks up more, a lot more, before he completes the frantic thought.  "...your damn assassins already!" He goes ignored. The puddle beneath him is expanding so beautifully.

"YES," emphasizes Tahzani. "Do de ting dat fucks up spellcastin'." He recognizes a curse when he sees one, and he knows if the energy is disrupted, the curse will fall. He knows more than I do. I stuff the roast with it's suspicious stab wound far beneath my beach throne. 

The undead seaman runs amok. "BATTEN DOWN THA HATCHES! ALL HANDS ON DECK! A FIGHT BE BREWIN'!" He too, goes ignored.

I'm happy to have heard the fallen elf speak, implicating another. I look around for Grims in their black and red tabards. Kiannis is the only one I see, which explains T'suro's reaction to his proximity I guess. I glare at him. "What de fuck mon, dis were a peaceable bar!" I accuse loudly to be heard over the pirate's calls for action. 

Around T'suro the elves are assembled. The eyes of Kiannis, the elf facing me, glow bright for a short moment as he draws upon the latent energies of those around him. The other troll looks confused, feeling it. The tauren druid belatedly trying to cast a mend blinks dumbly. The elves draw mana and magic from thin air in a burst, fucking up everything. Immediately afterward Lohd fires off a quick rejuvenating heal. The other troll joins him, and they start saving my victim. Gods damn it.

Kiannis asks again "...What is going on, Tahzani?" I notice the Grim's hand has moved to rest on his broadsword defensively.  

Instead of immediately answering, Tahzani looks around searchingly. "Somebody cursed T'suro."

Lohd echoes "A curse?" The pirate repeats "A curse?" then he follows that up with a shout "IT BE THA SEA WITCH!" as Tahzani continues speaking. I hate that undead.

"Internal bleedin', an' wounds on his skin when notin' pierced de armah. Unless dere's a new kinda poison or he drank plague dere's only one ting Ah know dat could do dat." 

"He gone be okay?" I ask. I don't get an answer, but I do see the troll healer nod at Tahzani. So, I cheer at the healers. Yay! My enthusiasm for their success is partially real. I've just now realized since T'suro survived this, I'll get another chance. He will suffer more. In addition, I've found a viable method of attack that may be useful in the future. Perhaps this day is not all bad, after all. I reach for a fish with one hand. With the other, I do some cover-up as the accusations begin flying around. 

Harkinic eyes the fallen elf, "Seems dat we have an assassin on dis boat."  He rubs his chin, "He said da Grim, yah?" I wonder if my companion is trying to help me? Perhaps he merely hates the Grim. That group certainly seems to leave a wake of conflict behind them. I love it.

"I am the only Grim present, and I assure you, if I did this, I wouldn't still be here." Kiannis doesn't relax his defensive posture though. Still, it would have been better for me if he'd simply turned and run. I guess everyone else here is less quick to act first and consider the situation later. Pity. Maybe next time I'll skewer one of them.

Harkinic eyes Kiannis, "Dinnae say that joo did."

The fucking pirate is still dead-on the trail of me, however ridiculous his source of reasoning might be. "I warned ya lot bout tha hag! Gag her fore she can curse tha lotta us!" I want to scowl at him and express my ire, but I don't. I nibble at my fish, ignoring him as everyone else should also do. He's just crazy. Too much seawater.

Tahzani, though. As I knew he would, he makes the connection. I see him hone on me, gaze peering. He isn't sure. "Where's de doll," I hear him wonder aloud. I avoid his gaze, instead peering at the group in general and the paladin as if I'm merely a bystander intrigued by the action. I'm just having dinner here, in fact my fish is still in hand, see, only forgotten in the excitement.

It is exciting.

As the healers perform their calling, T'suro's strength returns. He is pissed. I can see the intense glow of his eyes as he slowly rights himself. Then, he releases a burst of his own magic with a whispered word as wings of pure light appear on his back. I cannot help the lightning flash in my own eyes as fury thunders inside me seeing those goddamned wings. Fucking firefly. I HATE HIM! 

There is a delicate crackling. My fish, being crushed in a fist. I force myself to relax my grip and take a bite. It tastes like ash in my mouth. 

The flash of light is blinding, of course. Harkinic tries to hold an arm up to shield his eyes. Lohd is apparently allergic to paladin assholes, because he turns away in a sneezing fit. Kiannis and Tahzani also try to block the glare, though that other male troll merely gets himself dazzled, looking happy to see the display.

"Alright unless jah be healin' de paladin STEP BACK." Tahzani wisely orders everyone to give my angry victim some room. I see Harkinic hold up his hands both and do as asked, though smirking.

T'suro heaves as he speaks "You said... I... I... I'm cursed... by a doll? Troll Voo...doo...?"

The pirate picks up a keg and throws it in my general direction, at the sea witch. "Get 'er! BAR FIGHT!" It wasn't empty, and the liquid in it sloshes, weight shifting. The potentially harmful projectile crashes comically back down on the planks rather suddenly as if some mystical force had yanked it there for my protection.

"Ah don' know. But das what it looks like," says Tahzani. "Believe me. I've been de one stickin' de doll, an' dat sorta bleedin' be common wit such a ting."

I eat my fish innocently. Lohd is spasming away from the group, doing his best to maintain his balance against the force of his sneezes. Then one sounds productive. It nearly knocks him over. "Easy guy. Meybe be restin a bit?" I call to him. He doesn't hear me, I think. He's looking at his mug, and then he pitches the contents overboard.

Harkinic pulls his sword down, pressing it's tip into the floorboard so that he can lean against it.  "Da elf seems fine now, jah know." He observes.

Tsuro buries his face in an armored hand. "I'm going to die here..." I can only hope.


"SHUT DE FUCK UP BEFORE AH SKIN YOU!" I cackle at the response. This comes surprisingly enough from Tahzani, who must be stressed more thinly than I realized. I remember the passionless expression from before. He'd been beat down already, and now something like this had to happen at his bar. His livelihood. I feel regret for that, but ultimately, I lay the blame at Lilliana's feet. Even despite everything, the man acts like this? He is nothing but a nice guy. A hero, even. He is wasted on her, and she does not deserve him. The pirate does muzzle himself... for the moment.

My own male of the evening seems to be defending me, as I suspect Tahzani might always do for his chosen mate. He eyes T'suro after that dramatic comment. "Iff'n dat wut the fates have for joo...but ah be doubting it." he says mildly.

"Alright... T'suro help me out heah." The paladin turns his attention to Tahzani, a brow raising. "Do jah recall losin' anytin'? An item of personal value, hair, blood any a dis recently?"

"Hair...? blood...? Yes... most recently... that night in..." Tsuro 's eyes widen. "Or...grim...mar..." He slowly turns to Kiannis.

"... I'm glad to have helped clear that up." says the accused.

The pirate fails to master himself. At great risk to his hide, he yells "Tha hag cursin' us!"

"...Excuse me a moment." Tahzani leaves them. He walks up to the undead with a weary look... and throws a vicious punch at the man's throat. He hurks and topples over.

I cackle. "Oh TANK YA!" I laugh at the poor pirate. I laugh at the entire situation. Harkinic 's smirks, watching.  He tilts his head, pondering just how good of a punch that warlock actually threw.

The seaman is not alive, though. However well-aimed and driven, the blow does not silence him for long. He calls Tahzani a damned knave and demands to know why he was struck. "Jah keep screamin' an' trowin' accusations when we know jack shit," Tahzani practically hisses like a real troll. "Keep screamin' an I will GIVE you a reason ta scream."

"It be simple," says the rotting bag of bones. "Ya be sayin' thar be magic wut cursed him, an' thar be a sea witch!" He points at me. "Two an' two together man!"

The troll has already done the math, I thought. He knows, but is reluctant for some reason. Still, he cannot deny the logic. It makes perfect sense, because I did it. Two, plus two, equals me. He knows, doesn't he? Or, maybe he really doesn't. Maybe he isn't as smart as I give him credit for. He does want to hush the screaming loony on his boat though and obviously violence, at least mild violence, hadn't worked. Maybe humoring him might. 

"...Fine." Tahzani turns to look at me. "Derecho."

Edited by Derecho

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I am calm. Inside me, a storm rages wanting to burst free, but outside is serene. Can they feel the electricity? It seems I must be static, I am so charged. I felt this coming. I look up at him, and the lightning is hidden from my stare. Clouded. I'm ready for this. I'm cool.

"Where's dat doll jah had earlier?"

I pretend to be confused. "Hmm? What doll?" As if this is the last connection one should be making at a time like this. A man got stabbed! Why is he asking about toys?

"De doll wit hair like T'suro's dat you were feedin'."

So he was watching! I am glad for my instinct to have followed through. Even if it drew his further notice, it gives me plausible deniability, and a solid foundation on which to further build my story. "Oh! Mah dolly got et," I inform him casually. "De sea monster dun took it."

"...De... Sea monstah." 

This I feel is a particular stroke of genius. Seeing his face repeating this unlikely scenario is priceless beyond measure. The pirate gave me the idea. He's screaming about sea witches and monsters, and I just so happen to have a table full of delicious creatures from the sea. Monsters, to a little innocent dolly. 

Tahzani is not so amused. "...Derecho. Where. Is. De doll."

On the other side of the boat, Lohd asks T'suro if he is alright. The paladin spins around and regards the druid with the blankest, most emotionless stare possible. Lohd merely waits patiently, until the elf says that no, he is not alright. Emphasis on the not. Lohd asks if he is still injured, and the elf looks rather silly as he admits only barely.

"Da gurl don't have it....dat wut she be sayin." Harkinic puts in on my behalf. 

"So ah heard...." Tahzani agrees slowly. I start poking at the mass of octopus tentacles, openly showing him the oily mess of my doll  in that nest of sauce and suckers, fantasied as being dragged down into the deeps. I put on a mournful face for the fate of my poor, poor dolly, down in Jonesy Dave's Locker. "But ah be findin' it real suspicious dat as soon as T'suro starts bleedin', a doll dat sorta looks like him disappears, mysteriously eaten by a sea monstah. But what else could it be if not a curse..."

T'suro has noticed Tahzani's proximity to me, and perhaps he has overheard the troll's line of inquiry. He glares. I decide innocence is not enough. He's a paladin. He ought to recognize righteous anger when he sees it. I use the fact that he still breathes my air in order to fuel a tantrum. "Well ya can't be blamin me! Some of us ain't be havin no tings like JOBS and got a bunch of COINS to be spending on FANCY fuckin toys." Instead of poking through the slimy puckered legs of my sea monster dish, I now grab a full handful in each fist. T'suro has started toward us, I notice, pulling off his Sanctuary tabard as he comes. Beneath it is another one. I recognize the insignia of the Blood Knights of Silvermoon, and I find it incredibly satisfying that the blood knight sports a huge blood stain. I'll add to it. "Ya be wantin mah dolly," I yell at Tahzani "TAKE IT!" and I fling octopus tentacles at them. 

Harkinic is more than amused. Tahzani saw this coming; he ducks. The tentacles fly. Many of them hit and stick to T'suro. They hang there decorating him for a moment before they peel away to flop onto the deck. He is furious. "I... am Thalassian military... HORDE military... I DEMAND the truth now of who tried to kill me!"

I have already slammed myself back down into my driftwood throne, and I am more or less pouting like the childish woman-girl I'm pretending to be, who plays with dolls. No one noticed that only one hand cocked and released. The other clenches the ragged remains of my effigy still. It's really just a haphazard bundle of cloth and rope at this point, impossible to recognize as once resembling the elf. I keep it gripped tight and hidden under the elbow of my crossed arms. I scowl. 

Harkinic looks at the angry elf and cackles like I wanted to do at the ridiculousness of such a demand. "Oh, like dat always works."

Faylea shrugs at T'suro. "Seems like a pretty good assassin since no one saw them." She has since decided that her flares to illuminate said assassin are wasted, and is no longer bothering to set them off on the deck.

"Keelhaul tha witch!"

"T'suro. Take a deep breath," Tahzani advises. "If it be what ah tink it bein'. De one dat chucked de curse might not even be ON dis boat."

I am satisfied at the success of my tantrum tactics after seeing no person pay the pirate any mind. I regard the squiggles of tentacle on the ground among their many feet. I realize I haven't even tasted one, and Tahzani went to all the trouble to cook for me. I reach. I have to stretch to pinch one, but then I drag it back a little bit and grab it. I slump back into my chair, petulant, but with my prize. I nibble it pretending to be sullen. The thing is delicious. I can't believe I actually just tossed good food away. Now I really could be pouting.

"Tahzani. Right now every troll on this boat that isn't you is a suspect. As is EVERY Troll in the Grim."

"WAT!" I yell "Why be he immune?!" T'suro should be thankful he's alive, not still trying to point a finger. He's not even hurt! Though I admire the trust in Tahzani, for it is well-placed, it irritates me. I shoot Tahzani an apologetic look. I didn't mean to really accuse him, but what the fuck? Can the elf not even be a proper paladin? Justice should be fair, and all that. Right?

To my surprise, he agrees with me. "She be right. If anytin' Ah be de most likely suspec. Ah don' got de motive but Ah sure as hell got de ability."

"So you implicate YOURSELF? For what reason?"

"Fah de sake a fairness. Ah can attest dat it wasn't me but tink about it. Ah've been de troll dat spent de MOST time outta sight hea tonight."

T'suro closes his eyes, denying."Yes, but unless you're being controlled by someone, I doubt you were responsible."

A new druid has flown down onto the deck while this illogical discussion was taking place. Lohd seems to know him. The pirate takes this opportunity to renew his doomsayer's cries for attention. "Curses an' hexes!" he warns the newcomer.

The new druid, an old one, leans on his staff heavily as he looks around. "It appears I have missed the drinks...."

"Lohd." The younger tauren turns to regard Tahzani. "Lohd. Would jah kindly do me a favah? A few decks down dere be a small room wit a fur rug an' a trunk." The bartender hands over a key. "Please go grab de spiky fetish in de cornah please."

Lohd, first curious, then wary as he's handed a key, nods. "All right." He turns to do as asked. I'm intrigued at the prospect of seeing a troll perform real voodoo, but not overly worried.

 "THIS BOAT BE CURRRSED!" the pirate screams "CURSED I TELLS YE!"

"DEN GO DE FUCK OFF IT!" I holler back. I shoo him away. 

Apparently he'd forgotten that the sea witch of his ramblings was supposed to be me. He remembers, and points a damning finger. "It be tha sea witch! She be cursin' this ship!" Frantically, he goes on and on. The older druid watches from a perch on a mushroom seat, a thing which he apparently just grew from the floorboards. He seems mildly amused observing. 

"Shiergate... please calm down... we don't have any proof yet." T'suro says this, funny enough. I aim to not give them any. All eyes are on the screeching undead now. I begin picking apart the knots holding my doll together.

"We needs kindlin'! BURN HER!" Then the seaman Shiergate stops as if someone nailed his feet to the deck. "Wait. Sea Witch."

"WOULD SOMEBODY...!" Tahzani starts his own yell, then apparently decides if you want something done it's best to do it yourself. He starts toward the pirate.

"WE CANT BURN HER!" The man cries, still stationary. He thinks for a minute. "Aha." I eye him, wondering what he's up to. His hand reaches. He produces a pistol. "Zombie trick. SHOOT THA HEAD!" He levels it at me.

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Tahzani dives to try and tackle the crazed undead with the gun. Is he saving me? He should be certain that I'm a murderer, and yet he is leaping in the way of bullets for me. If he were any other bartender, surely he'd only have watched the fight and then gone for a mop to swab my sorry mess off his floor. My opinion of him is reinforced, and by contrast, my view of Lilliana sinks by the same amount. Bitch set me on fire, too.

Harkinic steps forward to the scuffle. He's ready to offer help, if it's needed, but the undead is rather scrawny and it seems Tahzani is more than a match. I watch idly, no longer in danger, if I ever was in the first place. How good could his aim be half a ship away?

Lohd returns from below decks with a... spiky fetish in hand. There really is no better description for such a thing. Bones, colored twine, what seems to be feathers perhaps, or bits of cloth. It is obviously a trollish tool of some indeterminate purpose. "Tahzani, I have what you asked for." He starts to offer the thing, then realizes the nature of the bartender's distraction. He starts stepping to assist instead.

"Tank jah kindly. DROP DE GUN!" 

Tahzani might be sitting on the pirate, but that doesn't stop him from wriggling and waving the pistol about, both to avoid it's capture and possibly still trying for a shot at me. Thus far it might be luck that has kept the thing from firing. "She'll curse us all!" 

"Well things sure got exciting..." Faylea comments to her companion.

"Yes, quite out of nowhere, in fact." Kiannis agrees.

I've finished dropping fish bones and rags into the surging waves far below. I look at Kiannis, the single Grim, and though he seems to have been cleared of suspicion, I ask "Didja really shot de othah elfie?"

"PUT DE GUN AWAY!" I hear Tahzani bellow.

"Neeevveeeer!" The guy is doggedly resisting still. "Jus' one tap! An' problem solved!" 

Tahzani snatches at the spiked tool thing. For a second, he looks frustrated enough to just ram it entirely into the noisy pirate's face hole, but ultimately he doesn't. I can't quite see what happens next. Tahzani rises, and Shiergate is no longer screaming. 

"AIGHT EVERYBODY! LISTEN UP!" The pirate sits up, freed, but doesn't say another word. I don't see his weapon, either. T'suro raises an eyebrow at Tahzani. I'm listening too, for sure, as is every other person on the boat. "Ah have heah, a test. Ta detect if anybody on dis boat been requestin' de aid a de spirits. Specifically de dark spirits a de dead or de Loa." 

Harkinic folds his arms. "Dis outta be good." Obviously he knows something regarding what is about to happen. 

I don't have a clue. I'm not familiar with the forces at play here. "....Waaaaat...?" I say in awe. It can't be that easy, can it? I step closer to get a good look at the thing Tahzani has. Will it really just give me away? I don't think it can.

Tahzani continues his speech. "...If jah be a troll... Kindly step forward and prick jah fingah on de spikes... Just a drop a blood should do."

From the back comes a quite subdued little snide comment. "Dark voodoo magic....pfaw...ain't nuthin' good come o' it. Curses an' spirits..." I think the pirate might be sulking.

"...Well, it'll get results..." T'suro seems content enough with this solution.

Harkinic shrugs his shoulders, meandering forward. He takes off a plated glove and grins at Tahzani as he presses his finger against one of the nasty spikes. Kiannis is watching the strange test, as is everyone. No one knows what to expect, except maybe the one standing up there now with the thing's owner. He pulls his hand back to squeeze, then lets a drop of blood fall onto the fetish. It moves. The fetish wavers slightly, then emits a white puff of vapor.

"...Clean" proclaims Tahzani.

"Am ah?" Harkinic chuckles and steps away.

"Araku, Derecho. If jah would please."

I cackle at the other male. "Ladies first," says I, but I wave him forward ahead of me. Harkinic smirks. In the interim, Tahzani removes his glove and jams his thumb on the spike until he bleeds into the fetish. The mist this time is a bit gray compared to the result of Harkinic's blood. "Oooh. What be meaning dat?" I wonder.

The other male, Araku, approaches the fetish looking curious. "Just jab jah thumb on de spike Araku. Just a drop of blood." Araku obeys, gingerly pricks a finger, pulling back quickly once it's done. I can glimpse the wound already healing up. The fetish rumbles, then emits another puff of pure white vapor. "Aight Derecho."

"Ooh me next!" Araku backs off shrugging, apparently as educated in these matters as I am. I can see Harkinic eying me. I step up without hesitating and jam my hand down onto the spikes. Hard. The sharp points pierce and shove through my skin in little bursts of focused pain. It hurts.

"Just a drop of blood," Tahzani's instruction, though I'd heard him say it to the others, comes belatedly.

"Oops," I lie. I hold my punctured hand above the device as it begins to leak. A few drops fall together, then I snatch the wound back to me. The skin, like Araku's will naturally begin to knit quickly back together. The wound is beautiful. Bright and alarming, the blood oozes against the blue of my palm. Now held upright, a little pool forms before the tiny damaged capillaries seal themselves. I bring my hand to my mouth and drag it slowly across my tongue. Delicious.

Tahzani's fetish rumbles. Then it releases the puff of vapor. White. "Clean," Tahzani announces.

"Yay!" I cry exuberantly. I look around as if I don't know that we four are the only trolls here and expect another to follow my test. There is no one, of course. Harkinic clicks his tongue at me.

"Intriguing," says Lohd.

Tahzani keeps on. "Dere jah have it. Of all trolls on dis ship de only person who has used any sorta hex be me."

T'suro grudgingly accepts the results, but refuses to believe that the bartender intended him harm. "...well yes. To use THAT."

At the stern, Shiergate is not so agreeable. He pulls out the pistol again, "Shoot her anyway!" I hear him mutter. I don't think he was loud enough this time to be noticed by the others.

He's close to the tauren, though. Lohd's elder friend is sitting and observing everything, and he is certainly near enough. All he does, it seems, is turn and rest a hand gently on Shiergate's pistol. The gun and the hand disappear beneath those giant fingers. "NO need for that child." His tone is gentle, but brooks no debate on the matter.

"BLAST HER IN THA HEAD!" the pirate cries anyway. I can't tell if he tries to free himself or not. They remain in that position, with the undead's arm outstretched at full length, slightly lowered, the tauren's hand placed at the end. Is the tauren squeezing?

Lohd turns his hulking mass and peers patiently at Shiergate. "Remember our oaths."  He nods slightly. Perhaps it's some sort of code. The crazy forsaken grumbles. The druid releases him, and he actually holsters his weapon. I shoot a glare at him.

The others are still discussing the voodoo testing. "De darkah de vapor, de moah recent de casting." Tahzani squeezes another drop of blood on the spiky totem thing. It releases gray vapor once more.

"If ya's be gray, dat not be from using dis here." I reason. "Who ya been hexxin?" A hum issues from the paladin. I can almost hear the grinding of gears as T'suro thinks. I wonder what they taste like? I'm pretty sure that Forsaken girl had given me elf meat for lunch, and I decide it was the most succulent thing I've chewed recently. I'd like to have more. Yes I would.

"Dis just be a way of detecting dere use. No Loa goes into-" Tahzani is interrupted when T'suro casts a glare onto the single Grim present and issues an order to call Lilliana here. "... Excuse me?"

Replies Kiannis "... If she were available, I suspect she would already be here." 

"Lilliana is a troll, yes? And hates me. As most of The Grim do, as of last week. I don't see it as outside the realm of possibility." The elf sounds to me as if he is grasping at straws, but that might be because I'm the one that stabbed him. He doesn't know that, maybe what he says actually makes sense to him.

"If Lilliana hated you," Tahzani counters, "She woulda joined in when de fuckboys started stabbin' jah. Instead she stood back. Wit me."

I find this enlightening. "Ya done been tried killed before now?" I ask T'suro. "What ya been doin to piss off so many folks?"

He seems set on ignoring me. Instead he sighs at Tahzani. "Well, you KNOW she has other methods of dealing with people. She doesn’t HAVE to be direct. But if it was no one here, then she's the ONLY other one I can think of."

"Pfft. Lilli be not even here." I feel like singing. Dancing, maybe. I could go for a stomp around a campfire with his corpse roasting merrily on the spit. I'd sing Me, me, it was me! Shot you like a butterfly and I tore off those wings! I play with this tune for several moments. I like it.

"Yeah. She a mind flayah," agrees the mate of the one in question. "An' you know dat. But one ting she just can't do anymoah be contactin' de Loa.... Dat be an issue dat many a de Sandfury suffah from." Harkinic makes some comment under his breath about smarter Sandfury. At least I think that's what I heard.

T'suro has been defeated. "...Who else then? Who else COULD it be?" 

I don't see why he's so concerned. It's not like he died. Done playing with mental noise, I butt in again. "Tahzani, how close ya gotta be to be working ya mojo?"

"De closah, de bettah."

"So dey can't be like, hiding in dat tower over dere and stabbing ya, can dey?"

"Dey could be."

"Oh," says I. "Well dere ya go!" I tell my whiny victim. "Anyhow. Ya be all bettah now. Ya?" Harkinic snickers.

T'suro shakes his head. "I'm sorry, but I REFUSE to believe it was you." He hasn't acknowledged me at all. I briefly entertain another fantasy, but this time the scene is before my feast. In it, I have the elf skewered physically to the ground already, impaled on his spear, and I have the tiny figure of him in my hands as I dance and sing. I stab the fishbone in again and again. He damn sure wouldn't ignore me then, would he? No, he would not. 

Fuck you, firefly.

Edited by Derecho
I feel a little terrible, please know, T'suro, if you see this: I promise I don't really hate you!

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Of course, no one can know my thoughts but me. I'd be dead already if they could. As it is, I'm alive, and I'm starving. I listen to the bartender, but what I really want, in a burst of need, is a drink. I'm thirsty. It makes me grumpy.

"Furthest Ah've evah been away when Ah hexed somebody was Revantusk village ta curse someone in Aerie Peak. But it depends on de link dey have to you." Tahzani is saying. "...Witin' eyesight... Hell somebody don' even need a piece of jah ta make jah feel SOME effect. But if dey got a piece of jah.... Dey can strike from a while away." I wish I had a piece, of meat to chew on. I want to suckle the hot blood from the raw fibers of some creature while listening to it scream. I might need to go find me a drink. That these vivid images keep coming onto me is a signal of deeper troubles. I shouldn't be out in public. Tahzani is still teaching, though, and I want to hear. "Problem be wit dat method is dat de link lose its effect aftah bein' used fah too long. Blood dries up, hair turns ta dust..."

"Then it must have been SOMEONE here." T'suro jumps in.

Tahzani finishes his thought. "So unless dey got one of jah fingahs or sometin', whatevah somebody cursed jah with has probably dried up by now."

The pirate reaches a different conclusion altogether. "THEN THIS SHIP DO BE CURSED!" Shiergate laments. Hollers. Triggers.

I go berserk. It was bound to happen. "OH MY...!" I cut off my own exclamation to the gods with a growl as I commence to stalking the pirate, but he has wisely chosen to flee immediately. I dash for him regardless. He manages to scoop up his orcish ward and they clear the railing. I reach it at top speed, slamming my hips into it. I have to dig my nails in to keep from flipping ass over jungle flower. Instead I merely lean. "YA BETTAH RUN!" I scream after him. I feel as if I've reached the end of a leash, and I chafe at the sensation. I could dive in after him, but what would be the point? The pirate himself is dead meat, and the boy... well the boy would be satisfying, but it will do me no favors to hunt them now. Everyone has witnessed me give chase and if they disappear now? It would be difficult to explain that one away. 

I may be mostly miserable, but I'm not ready to die yet.

I take a minute for myself. The ocean breeze blows past my face. It tastes of brine and a mixture of oceanic growing things and all the muddled flavors of dead and decaying things of the sea. I might be able to see crabs scuttling in the surf up there, but the foam makes it hard to tell. The waves come crashing back to relentlessly obscure my brief glimpses. I think tomorrow I will come back here and steal crabs from people's traps. The sweet soft meat is a chore to get free from the armored creatures, but the work of crushing through to it might be very satisfying indeed. I laugh, happy again. Mollified and calmed with tomorrow's meal plan, I turn back to the Cantina. Plus, there is the added perk of Shiergate's absence from my having intimidated him off the boat. 

I come back with a fistpump for Harkinic and a victory grin for my supplier of alcohol. Surely chasing off that guy deserves a free drink. If not, I know my guy will buy. His grin to me says yes.


For a brief moment, I panic. Did they find the roast under my chair? I tense, prepared to run again. I'll go right over the railing just like that gunslinger! I'm sure I can shift to the bat before I hit the water, but the question is if I can dodge spells, bullets, arrows, and whatever else up to that point. But no, T'suro's back is to me. I am not the subject of his ire. A new elf has waltzed up the ramp and he now has all the attention. I know him. It's Baalthemar.

"Speakin' of fuckboy..." Tahzani groans.

Faylea seems amused. "Oh that timing..." Kiannis beside her chimes in with a greeting for his guildmate.

"Ah dinnae know dat dey made elves dat big." adds Harkinic.

Baalthemar grins and sniffs at the air. "Smells like Sanctuary filth here." He takes a moment to return the few greetings he gets. He has a wave even for T'suro. "Whats the problem... paladin?"

I crack a joke. "He got his blood and be bitchin about it." Like a woman. It's not exactly the cleverest thing I've ever come up with.


"Apparently Grim have been magick-stabbing T'suro from afar." adds Kiannis in a softer volume.

This is apparently made more significant with the third repetition, because T'suro says it again. "One of your damn Grim trolls made a Voodoo doll of me with the blood you and your boyfriend stabbed out of me!"

I'm hearing all this with definite glee. Not only have I inflicted pain on my target, but I somehow managed to do it in plain view, I haven't been caught, and I've managed to set one entire guild against another. How in the world?

"Hmm." Baalthemar doesn't seem overly concerned with the gravity of the claims against his kin. In fact, he turns it around and blames the victim. "Maybe you should have been better at keeping your blood in that soft body of yours then." He flashes a grin. The paladin growls involuntarily and that elicits laughter.

"I was nearly killed again tonight you dumbass. I am not speaking as Sanctuary. I'm speaking as Horde military. Who did you give my blood to?"

To the side, I hear the two tauren speaking quietly. I wasn't planning to eavesdrop, I'm having way more fun in the aftermath of shivving a little doll, but they broach a topic of interest. The younger one, Lohd, asks about the Dream. I'm listening.

Baalthemar shrugs. "I cleaned that filth off my blade with a rag. I didn't keep it. Would you keep track of the dirt on your boots?"

"Besides." Tahzani intervenes. "Mixed wit his poisons, it'd make a poor link."

Defeated again, the paladin wilts. "Fine," he sighs "whatever. The Grim is clear." The sudden turnaround isn't trusted. The bigger elf raises a brow and receives the addendum, "Of this."

Baalthemar laughs. "I could try to kill you again if you like."

"Joo should be counting jerselves lucky." Harkinic laughs, grinning at Baalthemar. I'm not sure if he is trying to instigate further hostilities or not, but T'suro really does seem to have come to terms with the attack against him and the frustration of having been able to do not one single thing about it. 

"May it be we all be needin drinks aftah dis. Ya too Tahzani, mon." I suggest.

Not much of a response. T'suro resumes complaining. I've lost interest. I'm not the only one. Kiannis departs for the night, sarcastically saying that despite his enjoyment of false accusations, he must away. Soon after, his friend Faylea goes too. Lohd and the elder are talking tauren things. The young one has been summoned by the Circle, for a search mission into the Dream. He is supposed to look for pockets of Nightmare because his shando, whatever that is, has concern for Ursoc and his domain within the Dream.

The single word filters past all of the noise and all of the commotion and all of the irrelevance to settle in my brain like a fly on a pile of shit. Ursoc. Ursoc? I stare at the tauren, wondering at the significance. I can't seem to let it slide. It buzzes, annoying, in my thoughts. Ursoc...

T'suro is still going on at Baalthemar. "Honestly, I'm out of options then. Someone I don't know just tried to kill me tonight, if that's the case." Truth. "Hence. I accused the trolls of your little genocidal band. But as Tahzani said, the link would have been too poor thanks to your poison." It's a rather succinct summary, I think. I feel like clapping for him, but I'm too busy listening to the druids and trying to figure out the puzzle of Ursoc. It means something, I know it does. Why do I know that word? What language is it?

"Eh, joo genocidal?" Harkinic grins, asking Kiannis. "Ah didnae know dat part."

"Annihilation is a big part of the guidelines, Indeed." replies the hunter. Big surprise. It only composes a third of their motto. When the other words are 'through' and 'peace', it ends up being the focal subject, now doesn't it?

"Does it have to be blood?" Baalthemar asks. The antagonized elf says apparently it could be hair, but he doesn't see the groundwork for the lewdness following. The bigger elf chases the inquiry with the suggestion, "Perhaps you gave another 'fluid' to a troll and they are using it against you."

Tahzani sits quietly near the wind gauge. He wears an expression that indicates he'd rather be anywhere but where he is. I pick up one of the mugs from my generous companion, gulping from my own. I forgot I was thirsty. I don't say anything. I'm turning over the puzzle of the ursoc word. I offer him the mug as a cure to his miseries. Works for me.

He glances up at me. "...Ah start drinkin' now, ah'm not gonna stop Derecho. Tanks tho"

"Dat sounds fine ta me, but okie dokie." I tell him. I smile, and drink my medicine from both mugs. T'suro announces that he is going to leave before he gets targeted again. I doubt I have the ability to empower another doll so soon, so I nod at him, agreeing. "Dat be a good idea."

Baalthemar nods too. "Watch your back paladin, it seems you have more people to worry about than just us... Don't die before I get to kill you. Alright?" He's funny. 

T'suro wishes everyone else well. Everyone but Baalthemr, who did nothing wrong. I smile to myself. Tahzani apologizes and adds a good night as his farewell. The paladin says "I'll live," and I can't help but cackle. The big elf then sequesters the attention of the bartender as he's about to default to his serving behavior.

The elder druid tells Lohd "The Nightmare is too seeks those most connected to the dream and corrupts them... Beware the nightmare....beware what you see in the dream.  So much of it has changed..." He has my undivided attentions now that I've been watered, so to speak.

"I have encountered it once before, though I was unable to put all of my focus upon it due to the circumstances of my Dream walk." says Lohd. I drift closer to better hear.

"Try not to focus on it. If you may find you," Advises the elder. There is no question that the 'it' referred to is still the Nightmare. 

Just thinking of it weakens me. A shiver breaks through, shaking it's way down my whole body. My voice can't seem to break the level of a whisper. "De Nightmare be baaaaad juju." With each repetition of the name of the thing, the elder druid's staff seems to glow with a sickly blue light. I'm unable to discern if this is a trick of my drink-addled mind, or if it is an actual real occurrence. Sometimes I see things. Lohd reaches up to grip the buckles on his harness hard enough to stress the metal, betraying his own unease.

The older druid offers a solution though, like any teacher. I'm listening with the rapt attention of any favored pupil. "Rather.....focus on finding one of the animal spirits to whom you are connected with.  They may be able to guide you."

Lohd nods at the sage advice. I don't understand. Animal spirits? He says "Ursoc and Ursol have guided my steps thus far." Pieces of the puzzle begin to become known to me. I can recognize tone and pitch and cadence. I know this person. Ursoc....? I stare intently at the young druid. When he notices me, I commence, or try to, a staring contest. Its all I have. The rest is shrouded in mystery, and I don't like it. Not at all. 

"They can help....but I fear that if Ursoc is truly corrupted then his progeny may not fare any better," the elder replies. I have no idea what he's talking about. I stare at Lohd.

The younger druid breaks away first in response to this comment. He stands to his full height. "The Great Bear will never fall to corruption." It almost roars out of him.  "Neither will either be truly lost to us."

Stunned, am I. I know. I know what Ursoc means. I know why it's important. The elder druid chastises the proud young one named Lohd, but I am no longer listening. I cannot quite believe the treachery of my own mind. I know him. Why did I not see? The bear is right here in front of me. 

I hate him!

I cannot contain a superior smirk that he broke eye contact first. In the animal world, I am alpha. I win. I'm the boss. I can be happy with that, for now. I make my swaying way back to my chosen partner of tonight. I notice Araku has been blowing kisses behind my back. I care not. "Heya Harkinic." I smile.

Harkinic looks up from where he is crouching, "Derecho," With a somewhat sly expression, he returns my smile with a grin of his own.

"Tank ya for feedin me. Ya be a good mon, ya know?" My tone is heavy with the hint that I'm grateful for more than just his feeding of me. "I be likin ya."

"Ah'm sure dat the Loas believe Ah have mah moments." He gestures to me. "Joo be havin all yah want tonight den?" His own pitch indicates that he caught and understood my own expansive meaning. We are discussing more than provisions.

I grin wickedly at him. "Ya. I be tinkin it were time for a nap."

Harkinic says, quietly enough for my ears only to hear, "All dat food and playin....make any troll needin da sleep."  He winks at me.

I nod. "Nightie night den! Ya be okie to be buyin mah dinnah any night!" Then he says he'd be happy to buy me dinner whenever I please. "Ooooooooohhhhh! I been likin yaaaaaa! Heehee!" I reassure, and laugh, at him. What a charmer. He chuckles too. "MM mmm. Be seein ya." I saunter off, waving, away toward Tahzani to give him my farewells also. 

I have to wait, as Baalthemar is still selfishly keeping Tahzani's attention for himself. I failed at this earlier. I stand around, like I'm in a line, and I'm irritated. I fidget. Patience is not one of my virtues, if indeed there are any at all anymore.

Baalthemar nods. "I see. A misunderstanding then..."

Says Tahzani "...A big one apparently.. Geez mon, jah thought Ah flat out said Ah..." Baalthemar interrupts him with a pat on the shoulder and a wish for a better night. He turns to start heading out. I start forward, then hesitate, because they aren't finished. Tahzani shakes his head and thumps Baalthemar on the shoulder too. " Ah'm sorry mon. Take care a jahself out dere." Are they done yet? The Grim elf steps all the way away then, and Tahzani notices me lingering too close. "Aye Derecho, whatcha need?" I flash a grin to him and just wave. I'm leaving, and that's all, so no words are needed in my estimation. I just figure he should know. "Aight... Tanks fah comin'. Sorry about de drama."

He's apologizing for something I did? "I be getting dinnah AND de show? Meh." I shrug it off.

He means it, though. "...Just when somebody nearly dies in de middle a mah ship Ah gotta investigate every angle."

I feel briefly guilty. Then I remember. I can't afford to care. "It being bettah den a night alone an starvin wit de cavern belly." I shrug at him. 

He nods, as if he can possibly understand. He can't and I know it. "Take care a jahself. Have a good night."

"Ya too." 

I leave. I make my way down the ramp past a slim elven mage just coming up. I can hear the rout greeting from the working troll. It's been a busy night, he says. Poor guy. Is he rich from all this effort? I seriously doubt it. He could be more like me. I don't have all that much trouble getting a decent amount of food, drink, and other necessities for nothing. A decent amount, but nowhere enough, without help. He'd be fine, though. Maybe I should teach him. Maybe I should teach his woman a thing or two. 

I'm thinking of this when I totally stub my toe on thin air and go tumbling off the whole goddamned boat. I fail to shift as intended. I fail to even yell. I sploosh into the briny water with only an inward objection at all. The water is warm. This is summertime, and the beach is a good place to be. I swim to shore and slog heavily from the crashing waves. Crabs flee before me.

Tomorrow, I promise, I'll eat you. I'm tired enough that traveling anywhere to sleep is a highly unappealing option. It would waste too much precious energy. I need it. Instead I start digging. I keep low, to avoid bumping my head and making noise.

Who would think to find me here, even were they looking? Poor people don't dig burrows beneath the docks of a bay. They are smarter than that. The tide will invade sooner or later. I'm counting on it. If they don't decide I'm to blame, if they don't come searching to murder me in the night, the surf will come and wake me, and I can immediately gather from the crab traps tied near. Breakfast should be easy. 

Tonight I've had enough. I'm tired. I'm ready for the end of this not-so-bad day. I curl into my dugout and close my eyes. I listen to the soothing sound of crashing water and foam. It doesn't take long at all for my body to sap and redirect the flow of energy. My stomach bulges like a pandaren's, and digestion requires nearly all of it.

As I begin to drift away, I wonder. What am I going to do with a bear? What lessons can I teach to the three-faced firestarter? And when, oh when, will I get to skewer myself a pretty little paladin again? I fall asleep dreaming of broken fireflies falling, their lights winking out all around as they plummet.



((Interested in getting involved? Join the Derecho storyline group!))

Edited by Derecho

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(( I really liked reading this, it had a good flow and kept true to all the characters presented. It was even more flavorful from your character's point of view, I think! I also liked seeing a bit of what happened after I left to go pass out!))

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I spent a long time during the week contemplating the miraculous discovery of the link I'd found, and how I'd managed to nearly accomplish my impulse murder goal with barely any effort at all. I went over and over the scenario in my mind. My intention had only been to mimic what I've heard about the darker troll arts. My assumptions were thus- a voodoo doll was representive of the target, and what was done to the doll was a miming of the results one wished to see. Stick the doll with a pin to cause discomfort or pain. Shiving the doll with a T-bone skewer equated to essentially running him through in real life, only without the physicality of the paladin's own spear.

If only those other elves hadn't been there! It was pathetically easy for them to disrupt the effect completely. In my mind, I imagined some invisible thread of magic linking target with effigy, and I supposed they had merely managed to sever the thread. What if the doll was not separate from the victim? The thread wouldn't exist, or it would be so short as to be difficult to cut, I reasoned.

Next time, I'd have to get close and somehow hide the doll on T'suro himself. The likelihood of this seemed remote. When would he let anyone close after the attack already flubbed? If he believed that hair or blood was the source of the link, surely he would guard those things jealously, and adopt a sort of paranoia regarding their loss.

The problem of witnesses weighed heavily on my mind as well. Harkinic had been generous with his silence, and Tahzani overly good-natured in his assumptions regarding others. Either of them could have easily caught me, and what then? There was always the chance that I could play up to the known weaknesses of such types of people. No one wanted to execute an innocent person, and too, I wouldn't exactly be lying if I played the crazy card. Feeble-minded folks could get away with most anything, because they had no understanding. Something told me that, having dealt so long with Lilliana, Tahzani might see through such devious tactics. Then again, he loved her. This fact, along my continued incredulity as to HOW the troll had not simply pointed to me as the attacker led me to believe that he was not as smart as I thought. Either that, or he really did have a soft heart. 

The kind of heart people like me like to chew on.

Being seen with any kind of doll now in the general vicinity of another phantasmal shish-kabobbing was likely to be problematic. Not to mention, how do you play off a casual sticking of such a supposed toy? Cantina is busy... it's not THAT busy. Someone would see.

With these thoughts in mind, I crafted my new doll. Scraped animal skin for the covering. Real hair this time, from the various results of my hunts. It was stuffed with random things such as the discarded teeth and grisly bits of animals. It was stitched, rather than merely tied together. The doll was less floppy thanks to a selection of crab exoskeleton parts. That trap-raided meal had been just as rewarding as I'd hoped for. This doll would not be so easy to take apart, but it would survive the various abuses I imagined it might go through being jostled lost in a pack, or smashed between a mount's saddle and padding. This doll was already the victim of a horrific skewering. The bone piercing it was a shard, really, with splintered ends that I'd used to snag thread. The fatal weapon was basically stitched in place to prevent it from falling out.

Stabbing a doll in plain view would be difficult, as was hiding it, even as small as it was. 

After I crafted this one, I'd then cut it open again. The insides replaced with dirt and small sticks, I tied the doll-guts into a smaller bundle. This icky little evil pouch was roughly the size of the doll's head only, and would be much more discreet. I nested this into the bushy lump of my own hair and tied it in place. I decorated with a bone stuck into the wraps of my hair tie. A very common fashion statement, I noticed, though most trolls didn't have quite the sharpened little tool as I had just installed. It would be simplicity itself to stab the hex bag anytime I wanted once the doll was in place to activate the spell.

I wedged the doll into it's place between the mounds of breastmeat in my vest. I had other choices for it's storage. Gloves. Both shins. None of those places would work. Reaching low below my knees would only work if I was sitting, and the chances of being near my victim and seated were next to nil. Both gloves were already occupied. I peeked into each one, smiling. Little cross-stitched eyes leered back at me beneath a tuft of red hair in one. Into the other glove I poked a finger, readjusting the lopsided head so that mini horns would quit digging into my forearm.

"Well, Lohd, Lilli, T'suro. What ya be sayin to us three goin and be havin a drink now? I be buyin!" I cackled.

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I ascend the ramp on Tahzani's boat successfully, as far as they know. My toe throbs a bit from kicking a raised bit of decking. I pretend it was raised, but a glare back at such an offending trip-hazard revealed smooth planking. The stumble was my own fault, and I know it. Still, my toe hurts.

The even-keeled bartender with the sharp eyes notices me first. "Eya Derecho." He starts loping over immediately.

"Hey dere Tahzani, my mon." I grin. "Hows ever ting?"

"So fah, quiet. Can ah getcha anytin'?"

I'd kill for almost anything he's got. I'm parched. "Be ya havin anyting wit ba na na in it?" I'm nearly praying for the taste of heaven that I know is in this drink particularly. He reaches immediately and pours, creating a thick cocktail, then drops in a tiny umbrella. The silly paper garnish makes me grin. "Yay!" I trade him with a handful of coins from my pocket. I think I can see five silvery ones, I don't bother trying to count the brown ones. I've never paid attention to prices, but he doesn't seem to mind the amount, so maybe I got it right. He thanks me and begins to turn back to the other customers. My pocket isn't empty yet. I swallow my mouthful quickly to be able to speak. "I gots a few more silvers I found, be dat enough for anudder drink too?" He nods. "Dis time ya be pickin de flavor."

"Hmmm," he says, thoughtful. He pulls out a bottle of dark glass with darker contents. He splashes it into a mug for me and passes it along in exchange for the rest of the silly inedible money in that pocket. The new drink is as loose as water in it's sloshing, and smells very strongly of some other sweet fruit. It makes my lips pucker at a sharp tartness before a cloying sweetness lingers. I like it. My good bartender throws a rather random f-bomb comment backwards, then informs "I'll be down below, be back in a few," and he slips away past me to head down to the galley.

I sip my drinks, first one then the other, as I survey the boat. The two pandas from last week are back. Syreena sits with a small group of Grim including Lilliana and that orc I've seen with them. Their boss I guess he is. He's in simple clothes and stretched out enjoying himself. I drink my drinks. As thirsty as I am, I continue to sample in small sips. Banana. Cherry. Banana. Cherry. "Oooooh. Dat be so nice." Banana. Cherry. Banana. Lilliana waves me over. I happily head her way, dumping the contents of my mugs back and forth to mix them so I need only drink from the one to get both flavors at once. "Wat happenin sistah?" I carefully lean to hug her without spilling, and she embraces me back with a giggle.

"Hi, Derecho. Nice that hair coming out of the back of it?"

I toss my head rather proudly to make the plume dance. I've done this exact move in front of a reflection for roughly an hour today since acquiring this hat. It makes me laugh. "Ya be likin it?" She slides behind me to get a better look. A moment later I can feel her tug on the plume, playing with it. "And lookie! I been buyin my own drinks tonight." I show her a mug, and she reaches for it distracted, adding a comment to whatever conversation my arrival had interrupted. Something about doomsayers. 

After a moment she looks at the thing in her fingers, confused. "You want me to...taste it or something?" She starts to bring it up, hesitates.

"If ya be wantin to." Lilliana brings the cup up to her face fast now, and I panic, thinking she'll drain it. "Not all of it now!" I warn. I'm not quite certain what action I'll take if she empties my precious cup, but there will be action. I'd rather not find out. Let's not ruin this good day. "If not, be handin it back now." My fingers reach for my mug, the effigy of this woman hidden so very close at hand. Sweat percolates all over my skin, though the heat of the sinking sun isn't to blame. I swipe off my helmet. The thing is suddenly oppressively hot and confining, not a source of humor at all. It clatters to the deck boards.

Lilliana smells deeply of my cup, inhaling the sickly sweet aroma of banana and cherry grog cocktail... and that's all. She hands it back as confused as ever, and oblivious to the danger averted. I resist the urge to snatch my cup back and risk spilling my drink. I take several gulps.

Gunshots pop and vibrate the air. Lilliana flinches. 

"What....what was that?" asks the girl panda.

I already know the answer. Sure enough, I hear his annoying voice ring out. Shiergate. I hate him. "I be swearin to everting, if that zombie goes off calling me sea witch again, I be ripping his arms off an beatin him wit em. Fair warnin."


"He called you a sea witch?" Lilliana asks. I nod. "That was like, super rude."

I nod and tell her this was last week, and "Some elfy done got hisself stabbed, and de gunslinger not ever been seein a troll before, I tink."

"Oh, this was like, when T'suro got all fucked up?"

I'm slightly distracted. My body is suddenly crying for food again. I just ate! Didn't I? I can't remember. I do recall the way the panda reacted last week thinking I was some scary witch. Maybe I can bully them for food again? My coins are meant for Tahzani... Then the paladin's name calls my attention back, and I tear my gaze away from their snack of calamari. I'm surprised, as I figure in a week this news would have made the rounds and been known.  I remember this is Lilliana. I suspect some sort of a trap from her. Maybe Tahzani put her up to this, trying to make me slip up and confess? It won't work! "Uh..... ya I be tinkin dat were his name?" I shrug it off. "He been wearing purple."

Syreena had been listening. "Isn't T'suro the guy that started the fight in the Wyvrn's Tail?" she wondered. Then she mutters "Purple people."

The elf hunter from last week has also taken a passing interest in the topic. He looks from me to Lilli and back again. "You're talking about T'suro's mysterious ailment some weeks back?"

"Yes, T'suro."  Lilliana shrugs. "He walked into wyvern's tail the other night and first words were like, "Do, did she do it? Blaming me for no freaking reason. Whatever." The undead beside her grins faintly, and a hand reaches up to stroke her ear. I realize the thing does not belong to Syreena, being far too pink compared to her pale corpse complexion, and pointy too. Lilliana rolls her eyes, but it does not completely hide a smirk at rogue.

I'm no longer interested. The paladin isn't here, and I don't want to talk about him either. I gulp from my mug, but it's not food. I can't chew it, and it's not quite so satisfying. I stare at the panda male. He's eating more gracefully than usual. Cleaner. Perhaps he is trying to impress the girl with his manners. I don't care. I walk up to them and, without any sort of introduction whatever, I glower. "I be wantin some." I hear Lilliana mutter behind me, but I can't quite make out what she says. The tone is rude.

The bear doesn't quite know what to make of me. He looks up uncertainly. "Uh.....o-o-ok." His girl blinks at me, pink tongue darting out to smooth and clean the fur surrounding her lips. She also compulsively wipes with a paw to be sure she's presentable before fully giving me her gaze. As if I give a damn what she looks like. She's not the one with the food.

I hold out my hand expectantly when he just keeps looking at me dumbly. "Ya be givin it?" It's less question and more demand. He jumps to action then, and just like last week he reaches for new food rather than give up what I can already see. He offers up something way better than calamari, though. Thick patties with crunchy outsides and flecks of herbs. The smell is enough to make the cavern of my mouth flood, and my stomach clench angrily at the absence of the source already. I snatch the food. "Good bear." I praise him, like an obedient pet. He gulps and returns his attention to the table as I pivot. I smirk at the curious look the girl is giving me. As I saunter off with my prize, the hunter steps up to take my place, and I can hear her question regarding my rudeness interrupted.

I eat as slowly as I can manage, which is truly a test of need versus want. I want to nibble. I want to savor the tiny little flecks of breading and feel the contrast of sharp and crunchy exterior and warm soft middle. I want to take the time to taste each individual herb or spice, to push apart the little layers of fat sleeper fish and then feel them mash so delicate against the roof of my mouth. Really, chewing is only required for the crispy outside. I admire the pandaren race. How did anyone ever first learn that fire makes meat better, and that this particular plant or that one would so enhance the flavor of a thing? It's pure fucking magic.

All too soon, my hands are empty though. I pick up my second mug. Syreena and Kiannis are still harassing the bears over some errand or another. An undead woman wearing a veil has come up on deck, attracting the pirate and keeping him distracted. Everyone is doing their own thing in their own space, and I have a comfortably occupied belly and a drink in my hand. I'm happy.

A certain paladin surrounded by his sparkling ring of holy energy comes crashing down on me. SHIT! I tense, and my heart stutters. I'm dead. I know it. Any moment now I'll feel the spear drive into me...

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The strike doesn't come.

"Ey T'suro. Tanks fah droppin' in. Can ah getcha anytin'?"

After a second I open my eyes, blinking. T'suro is wrapped in a bubble of magic that starts dissipating as I watch. He is also blinking, and looking around. Not at me. "AH!" I screech, needing to vent some of this overwhelming tension. Maybe some are now staring at me instead. He turns to me as I stand up, and I hate his face. I'm angry for his scaring me. I'm angry for... everything. "Wat ya be droppin on me fo?" I hollar. I can't stop the impulse to throw a punch at him, like punctuation, which is unfortunate because that's also the hand holding my cup. It's a good clubbing weapon, but... my drink.

Faylea steps away from the confrontation. Lilliana doesn't look sorry to see T'suro potentially take a mug to his mug.

He rather easily manages to catch my swing with a hand, suddenly halting momentum. Cherry banana cocktail grog sloshes over the rim and dribbles into his glove. "I wasn't trying to do anything. I was given a wyvern to fly out here with... and it didn't like me." To Tahzani he casually adds, "I'll take the usual." Then he shoves.

I weigh too little to remain in place. Several stumbling steps need to occur to keep me from falling over. "BAH!" I spit. I am not exactly happy with the weakness in my limbs, or the amount of stumbling I've already done on my own today. This is why I shift.

Seeing the conflict over before it really started, Tahzani wisely doesn't comment, instead keeping to his duties. "What's de usual, sorry drawin' a blank?"

"AH! IT BE THA SEA HAG!" sounds Shiergate's notice and announcement of my presence. I shoot a glare as sharp as raptor claws at the source.

"...Oh Loa no..." Tahzani practically groans. Several folks who had mostly turned their attentions back to their own business become curious, if not from the pirate's shout, then the reaction of the bartender who means something to them all.

It is only a desire not to fail that makes me stay in place despite my earlier declaration. Two fish cakes are not enough to power me with the type of endurance it would take to actually rip off the corpse's arms amidst his protests, and that's assuming the others stand idly by and let me do it. Tahzani at least would try to intervene, which would mean evasion added to the strategy.... My eyes flicker to the various occupants of the deck and the placement of things such as the spinning wind gauges, kegs, the beach throne... I'm calculating.

"Can ah getcha anytin'?" Tahzani asks T'suro again, impatient. "Ah might need ta stop someone from bein' shot soon."

For a moment my rage is enough to tempt me into throwing caution aside and trying anyway. Who knows, I could be wrong in my assessment. Perhaps I do have the strength. It really bothers me that I cannot recall any meal before my appropriated fish cakes, though. I could be overestimating too, in the heat of this moment.

I settle for a growling "Ya best be knockin dat shit off righ now mistah gunslingah. I be not in da mood."

Instead of being appropriately frightened of a troll female one twitch away from frenzy, he makes some stupid gesture at me with his fingers. It takes a moment of flipping the hand back and forth for me to realize he's indicating his eyes on me. "I'm watchin' ya witch..." 

I respond by stretching my lips back to reveal as many of my teeth as can be shown, and I hiss at the undead. He's prey, now. Lilliana moves and grabs my arm. "Hey Derecho....let's like, go downstairs and raid the kitchen." 

Oh yes, I'll get detained if I go for it now. I'm careful not to move toward the pirate and put pressure against that grip. I settle for glaring. I never said when I'd rip his arms off, only that I would. He better have a good surgeon to stitch them back on when I'm done. The dumb zombie considers the encounter over, and hollars for more ale. This reminds me that my own cup was the victim of casualty, and I mourn for the lost cherry banana sips of heaven. I hope ants swarm all over that paladin and sting the sensitive webbing between all his fingers! I glare at both of the men equally as the pirate goes up and gets chummy with my pretty little firefly. I may or may not be entertaining some homicidal fantasies. Or plans.

"A ha! Careful, everyone. We do have a casualty among us!" Khorvis' loud voice declares. 

What does he mean? The elf? The gunslinger? For a moment I wonder if he's declaring support for an attack on the pirate. Shiergate hmms stupidly. Syreena has confusion also. "Who's the casualty?" She's not the only one. Several others also blink like owls blinded. 

"...excuse me?" asks T'suro, the target of the orc's attention.

"I do hope you found a few corks to plug up those holes in your bloody gut." Khorvis smiles viciously at the paladin, and my own face can't help but shadow the expression. I wasn't planning on it, but I'd really like to do some more poking tonight, I think. Yes, yes I would.

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"Anybody else need a drink heah?" Satisfied that I'm no longer a threat, Lilliana releases me. She points Tahzani to notice me and my empty mug. "Need a refill?"

"Ya please." He asks what he can get me, like a broken goblin music player. He's annoying. I'm annoyed. "Don't mattah." He pours and I drink, without really tasting. It's not banana. Tahzani moves on. I tell me that the reason for not attacking the pirate isn't due to my own weaknesses, but for Tahzani's sake. He doesn't need my crazy added to the piles of shit he has to deal with. The lie rings untrue in jarring counter to my desires to see splashes of an elf's lifeblood. The color is always so much brighter than expected, so red and so alarming. So beautiful. I decide to be patient. Surely, an opportunity will present itself. I flash a sweet smile at Lilliana. "Ya don't gotta be grabby. I be holdin ya hand if ya be wantin me too." She returns the expression like a mirror, though the banter continuing between T'suro and Khorvis causes her eyes to narrow, ruining it.

"OH... you're THAT orc. Honestly, I was expecting an Old God twisted monstrosity under all that armor. I'm... disappointed."

Khorvis leans back against the barrel, an elbow resting against the Shadowblade. She glances at him, then accepts her new drink from the bartender and thanks him. "Considering the class of whelps that pulled your sorry pink arse from the fire? I do expect there be a lot for which you do be disappointed." Khorvis waves a hand. "Now, now! Don't you be getting all in a fuss about your honor and your slut mistresses' clam-shell. Just enjoy your drink, holey boy."

"Clams?" I am so confused as to how food relates to the conversation. 
Lilliana kind of giggles, "Holey boy." Kind of. 

T'suro bites his lip before continuing, taking another drink. "Well... if you lot WERE Old God warped, it would make sense why you're allowed to continue to go about your way openly while the current regime seeks peace. Mental manipulations and all that." I blink. What in the light-dazzled fuck is this elfy talkin about now? I hate him! "BUT seeing as it looks like you're just insane... I'm wondering why Vol'jin hasn't sent the guards to arrest your leadership for war crimes and the like." Khorvis nearly spits out his drink. He shouldn't waste liquid like that.

Lilliana makes a face at T'suro, "You're like, rude."

"We seek peace too.  Don't we, Lasher?" asks Syreena. The Lasher sneers and makes a gesture at T'suro involving his tongue and two fingers. Slurping from the clamshell? My ignorance is annoying. I blame T'suro, and I'm beginning to realize that patience is not a virtue of mine. I glare at him.

"Classy. And also avoiding the question."

Tahzani passes by in his rounds. "...De dead horse lookin' extra bruised tonight..."

This is when the other elves gang up on the paladin, which I find perfectly ironic. Last week these were the ones to save him. With tonight's attitude, will they do so again? The melodious sounds of their rapid-fire Thallassian back-and-forth grates on my ears. I wish they would shut up and all go away. I can see why trolls historically hate these people. I watch one of the elves wad up a pamphlet of papers and aim very carefully.

Lilliana rolls her eyes, "Well, by rights you would have been arrested for blasting off Khorvis's tusk, cause that was like....super like....  Just go drink or something, T'suro." The paper ball bounces off the paladin's head, and the one that threw it frowns, muttering about thick heads.

I smirk at the verbal abuse from every angle, and can't help adding my own, wanting to be involved. "If I be layin down a mean hex on ya pink ass, I be bettin de Grim gone let me skip dere inkerzition and join up. Wat ya be tinkin?"

Khorvis then says "I do respect the troll Tahzani and his bar too much to keep smashing it with your sorry face, T'suro Sunspear. Just drink your fill and enjoy the peace that the Grim leaves you to wallow in." Or, I guess I'm wrong. Whatever. I pout.

Even Shiergate gets in on this. Color me surprised. "Lad, thar be nothin' gained from this voyage. Cast off an' remember the oaths me bucko." I stick my tongue out at him.

There is bickering and banter for several minutes. Some are involved in the Grim versus Sanctuary standoff, some are getting updated with the gossip of events leading up to now. The elves keep talking in their language in the middle of it all. My attention is caught by Tahzani. He's stopped the perpetual orbit and stands still near the railing. He doesn't stand still, as a general rule. What is he doing? Praying? Crying?

I see him hold a finger in the air, then point it downward. A moment later a new noise can be heard. My ears perk. What is that? A flash of light, and the screaming sound of displaced air. I look up to see a huge green chunk of the sky burning and falling on us all.


There's no time to react, to run. The angry ball of flames descends, streaks past us all, and crashes into the bay beside the Cantina boat. There's a loud splash and then hissing and billows of steam roil upwards. Lilliana jumps, and I can tell she doubts her own senses for a moment. Curious, I go to look over the rail. Khorvis glances at Tahzani, catching the rank stench of fel.

Behind us T'suro snorts. "I stand by what I said. I don't know why Vol'jin lets you walk around without any sort of reprimands." I see him down the rest of his drink and then walk off away from all the commotion he's caused.

"Thar's a good lad." praises the pirate.

Tahzani looks strangely pleased. The summoned thing was not merely a chunk of rock, but something more humanoid in shape. He smiles as the giant flaming construct is slowly snuffed by the water and then scatters into rock on the sandy floor. "Aaaaaaan.... He. Is. Dead."

"Who's dead?" 

I agree with Syreena's query with my own blurted "Huh?" Then I guess "De horsey?" 

The troll bartender seems not to hear any of us. Like realigning, he straightens and turns, falling from the role of creepy warlock back to plain old ordinary Tahzani. The glimpse of something deeper is rather eye-opening for me. What will happen when that unflappable foundation finally cracks? What if the calm stoney exterior gets bombed one too many times? After last week, I know Tahzani has knowledge of voodoo, but it never occurred to me to think that the reason was because of use. Practice, not theory. Part of me wants to rattle his cage. I'm morbidly curious to see the fallout.

"Anybody need a drink heah?"

"Me!" I call immediately, "I be. I be confused an not be drunk enough fo dat. Gotta be balancin dat shit." If I were drunker, then maybe the things I don't know would make sense. Or I just wouldn't care.

Khorvis has been one of the ones catching somebody up on current events. She said something to the effect of, if Grim were after you you'd know it, to discount T'suro's blame. I heard him assure the woman, the bounty hunter's wife, that he did send his shadowblades to stick knives in the elf's gut, but he was lucky. The woman nods as missing pieces fall in place for her, and she can finally understand what is going on here tonight.

Lilliana then puts her attentions in T'suro's direction, and comments on Khorvis's words, "He was very lucky, actually." The paladin has reengaged himself in stirring up animosity already. Syreena, fed up with the elves and their irritating private discussion, begins pelting them with snowballs and she tells them to quit talking about their hair. She doesn't neglect her own guildmate when he fails to obey, and Kiannis gets a snowball in the face. Her aim is rather good. Lilliana grins at Syreena, "But they have such pretty hair."  And.....she prances over to T'suro and actually moves to fluff out the back of his hair, It's very long.

An idea begins to coalesce in my head.

Shiergate is still over there trying to woo the veiled woman. He ruins chances similar to a snowball's lifespan in the Core by gawking at her. "Now then, whar be we....By barnacled Barnaby's buttcheeks, ya don't got no eyes!" She asks if he wants a trophy. I think I like her. The pirate actually gives this sarcastic question serious thought. "Be it gold? Then aye!" 

The undead woman smiles beneath her veil and gestures out at the sea. "Tropy is clam at pottom of sea. Go get." Yep, I definitely like her.

"Hm....Too far. Sides, I miss out on the booze! Speakin' of....Barkeep! I be dryer than a witch's cocksleeve!" I glare at the pirate as he flags at Tahzani. I point at Shiergate with my empty hand, like an imaginary pistol, and pow! I pull the imaginary trigger at him.

Tahzani pauses and slowly turns to Shiergate " What does dat even MEAN?" Khorvis actually cheers. The bartender shakes his head at Khorvis. "Havin' an opinion ain't sometin' ta pay fah Bloodstah."

Khorvis grunts. "Aye, but gabbing lips don't sip ale, barkeep."

Tahzani shrugs. " Talkin' till dere voices be hoarse leaves parched throats." He grins. Khorvis grins back, and the troll moves to soothe the pirate's parched piehole.

T'suro is STILL talking. "If nobody's going to explain how The Grim got into Voljin's good graces enough to not be branded outlaws, I'd LOVE to hear it." Does he know he just used a double negative? He'd love to hear nobody argue with him, he said. I'd dearly love for him to shut the fuck up, please gods.

"I don't want to explain anything. Hey, T'suro, can I braid your hair?" Lilliana goes to grab a clump of his locks. 

He sidesteps. "I tried a braid once. I looked ridiculous." He returns to arguing. 

Tahzani, I notice, is busy picking up after the pandaren and their feast. His attention is occupied with plates. Then, he starts taking his bucket of dishes belowdecks. Perfect! "I been great at braidin!" I move up on T'suro too, grinning.

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I cannot believe it when the paladin fails to evade the two of us. He's far too busy engaged in debate to pay us much mind, which is just... suicidal. Isn't this the elf that nearly died? Isn't this the one who was so upset at the idea of the entire thing being caused by his blood being used, or his hair? How am I really close enough to be touching him right now? Idiot!

Lilliana grins at me, "Let's braid his hair." I cackle. Yes, let us.

A new elf growls under his breath, standing up from the chair and walking over to the paladin, shoving a flask in his hands, "Drink, and shush already" His tabard matches his hair, a sort of orangey-brown, bearing the icon of a torch. He's not affiliated with either Sanctuary or Grim, but neutral? Interesting. "This is a bar, not a debate lounge. Settle already." T'suro blinks stupidly at him, and the new elf crosses his arms, matching the paladin's gaze with a rather disciplining glare.

"All I know is that you're one dead Grim away from being in my crosshairs, kid. And that's not a spot you want to be in." Selash informs the paladin.

Kiannis adds "The Grim have been around much longer than either you or I have even been a part of the Horde. Since even before your own colors. I would recommend you not speak on matters you do not fully understand."

The elf opens his mouth again anyway. "Sanctuary was formed to promote peace. We believe in the original tennants of Thrall's Horde. And Vol'jin has stated he wants  to re-establish those same tenants."

Lilliana takes a step to the side, giving me half of T'suro's head to play with as I pass her a chunk of hair to work on over there. She's relatively short, for a troll, shorter than I, and now she's opposite me. I have a relatively private space in which to do whatever I want without undue notice. Everyone's attention is on the paladin blocking view of me, or on the pirate who for once does something I don't mind. He bursts into a huge and boisterous song about some salty guy named Aran. I bet he'd taste delicious. I reach up to adjust my vest, and in doing  get a hand on the doll hidden there. Sing out, Shiergate, sing out. 

"Uh huh.  Nice story." Syreena's voice practically drips with venom. "You're an even bigger idiot than you look if you think the purple people have never committed crimes against the Horde."

"....that's nice. This bar was created for people to get drunk, relax, and for Tahz there to make some gold off our addictions. Maybe have some respect for that, eh?" says the new elf, still trying to diffuse the situation. 

T'suro keeps on, oblivious to more than simply his own doom standing at his back. "But hey, say... I dunno...  Sylvanas becomes Warchief. Then you Grim, I suppose, would get DIRECT FUNDING to do whatever you want."

I yank on T'suro's head, presumably to realign it to a proper positioning for our makeover. Really, it's a covering sensation. A thief's trick. Pickpockets often intentionally bump or otherwise put hands on a target as a diversion to distract from the more stealthy motion of relieving them of the weight of their coin purse. A mind can only process so much information. Overwhelm it, and the theft may as well have never happened for all the victim knows. I yanked on the paladin's hair, jostling him and causing a gap to form between his neck and the edge of his armor. With my other hand, I try to drop the doll in.

T'suro swats at our hands. Lilliana giggles, "He's resisting, Derecho!"

"Ya be havin pretty hair elfy." I soothe. I lie. "I be wishin sometime I be havin hair dis smooth." The doll didn't quite make it to my goal. Instead of being sandwiched securely between the padded underlayer and metal, the doll is stuck inside the collar of his actual shirt, held in place by it's arm now pinned. If he moves in such a way to loosen that spot, the doll will fall. Being next to his skin, he'll notice it move for sure. 

"Whatever... you seem too stuck in your views to change. Or at the very least, if there are ANY sensible members of your order, they don't socialize." 

My window of opportunity is closing fast as the paladin alienates those attempting to help him while further antagonizing those against him. Syreena has hands on her daggers, looking like a cat with her prey within pouncing range. The neutral hunter turns away abruptly and heads over to Tahzani back up from the galley, offering assistance in removing troublemakers to lower decks. The troll looks mightily tempted. I have a few more seconds, maybe, before he notices this gaggle of girls playing dress up with their life-sized elf doll. 

Khorvis waves a hand at Syreena. "I spoke once. Tahzani's bar do not be a battleground. I will not longer be spilling blood under his keep." 

T'suro lurches. He's getting away! I curl my hands, letting his locks snatch through my nails because what I want to do is dig them into his soft tender neck and feel his jugular pop. 


Lilliana lets go of the lock of hair she was messing with when T'suro stalks off angrily.  She grins at me, "My hair is prettier than his!" This is true. I love her red hair.

Tahzani has noticed us. He watches T'suro stalk away, eyes narrowed, and I know he's not so dumb as my target is. He's thinking about voodoo, I guess. I realize that there is a strand of hair stuck under my fingernail, and I stare at it with a mixture of contempt and also disgust. Tahzani sees it too. He moves. The bartender is casual about it, stopping along the way to refill drinks and check on his customers, but the aim of his trajectory is undeniable, like gravity. He makes his way over to us. "...Ladies. Please gimme de hair." He phrases it politely, but there is a steely tone of command hidden in there somewhere. 

Lilliana gives Tahzani a dirty look, "Come on." 

Hair is just one of those things. Finding a filament nestled inside food where it doesn't belong can instantly turn my hungry stomach to a rebellious one, and put me off the meal entirely. 

There is an amount of suspicion to Tahzani's gaze that I don't like. Does he think I wanted the hair? I don't want it at all. I'm not a witch, I'm not a hexxer, and I do not want this elf's hair on me. Lilliana stuffs her hands into her pockets, though I'm pretty sure she has no hairs. I love her for that characteristic brattiness. Probably, she did it in defense of me, and too just to be contrary. 

The sea breeze shifts, making the hair tickle along the back of my hand. I nearly gag, unable to help thinking of such times that a hair as long as this has been swallowed partway. 

I decide that the best way to kill that suspicious gaze, and distract my own mind from it current bent, is with some fun drama.

"Take it!" I cry. "Oh please, be gettin it offa me!" But I wave my hand around and shake it in fake desperation to jar the offending strand loose myself, making it incredibly difficult for anyone to actually help as requested.

Tahzani blinks at me and tries to reach out for the hand with the hair stuck to it. For a moment I delight in the game of keepaway, but he is larger than me, with longer reach and much more strength. Eventually he snatches my wrist. The small bones grind together in his grip. I'm caught! Game over.

I still. Having part of me trapped is not enjoyable, and calls up bad memories. My instinct is to yank away and run. Yank away and then reverse for an attack. Being caught is never a good thing, and has never led to good things. If he is anything devious like Lilliana, or like me, this can be the start of the end for me. Has he been playing all along, just waiting for the opportunity to hex me back? Does he have rope hidden in those robes somewhere? Or iron cuff bracelets?

My own paranoia and imagination stresses me out.  I shiver in reaction. 

"Tahzani! Give me the strongest stuff you have, please." T'suro calls.

"Just a minute!" Tahzani wipes at my hand with a hexwoven cloth, catching the hair. He pulls. The tip of the strand is what he has, not the root, so the scaly layers lay like mini hooks, making a terrible friction against the movement. I can feel the entire length of the icky hair as it slithers along, being pulled between the curve of my nail and the puff of finger it protects.

Finally, the thing is pulled free. Then, he just lets it go. I stick my finger in my mouth to rip off that nail with my teeth and chew until I can't feel anything but pain. I watch the hair drift down until the sight of it is lost against the deck boards. T'suro's hair is brown, and it would be nearly impossible to find it again hidden now among the grain texture of the wood, not to mention stains and other dust or trash littering the deck. My eyes linger on the spot I think the hair must be, still loathing. He's just going to leave it there?

Lilliana grins wickedly at me. She leans over and whispers, very quietly. "He doesn't miss a trick, huh........?"

I blink at her. Sure he does. So did she. I grin. I glance to T'suro and the troll. The bartender is handing him a bottle I recognize as being one of the stronger liquors. I can hear him murmuring, telling the elf to aim for the ocean and take it slow because that shit hits hard.

Shiergate is staying out of trouble near the veiled woman. She's new here. I heard her asking incredulously how people could try to kill in Tahzani's bar and then still expect a drink afterward. Shiergate comments on the quality of his drink, saying it warms his bones. She tells him fire does, too.

Closer to the bow, Khorvis has schlepped over to the other group. They seem to be discussing weapons. I heard one compliment the other a moment ago, and now they were all debating the merits of bullets over arrows, guns over bows. 

T'suro completely drains his cup, then sways as it hits him as warned. After a long moment he throws his mug overboard. "It's all a joke."

The doll is still in place. I have an idea. "Oooh, ya be gonna be having a shootin contest?"

Edited by Derecho

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Khorvis brightens. "Aye! She has the right idea. I do think the lot of you should organize a proper ranged contest."

Nanorii grins. "Oh that could be fun."

"I won the last one I had against Xaraphyne..." says her husband.

"How about bein now? Sure ting, we got stuff ya can be aimin at, ya?" I want this to happen.

Lilliana gets the giggles right before the atmosphere cools noticeably by a few degrees and snow begins falling from a clear sky above us. Lilliana grins at Syreena, who winks back. People look up in surprise, hold their hands out to catch flakes, or make signs with their fingers to ward off evil. Some curse. 

Shiergate starts screaming about curses. "Unnatural snow! This boat be doomed fer Jonesy Dave's LOCKER!" My teeth ache from clamping them together, grinding. All talk of a shooting contest has effectively been killed. Damn it. I glare at the pirate, knowing what's coming next. "I KNEW IT! CURSED BY THE SEA WITCH!"

My voice is heavy with growling menace. "Be stoppin now." I'm furious.

"You thar! Make this end!" He points at me.

T'suro grabs at his stomach at the edge of the boat and lurches a bit. Lilliana stands on her toes, and leans on the barrel to look over everyone's heads at him. Is he gonna puke? Syreena also eyes the elf, but her gaze is decidedly more calculating. I wonder what she will do. Push him overboard? Khorvis said no blood on deck...

Ranadarus crumples up the snow in his hands, then his ears twitch as he hears T'suro lamenting, stepping away from the group. He moves to stand near the edge of the boat, "You alright, bud?"

"The witch's curse has ensorcelled this vessel!" 

I have a problem to deal with first before I can devote the proper amount of attention to putting my poor victim out of his misery. "If'n I be a witch, be it not smartah fo ya to be shuttin de fuck up or risk my wrath an be cursin YA?" I question Shiergate.

"Thar'll be  a bullet in yer brain fore that happens! I faced enough o' yer kind on the seas!"

"Ya be a zombie, not I. Ya really tink a bitty bullet be stoppin a troll?"

Lilliana 's face scrunches up into one of overly pure distaste at T'suro's show of weakness over by the edge of the boat. She gives Syreena a look full of unspoken meaning. The rogue glances at Lilli, then slides off the barrel. 

T'suro glances up at his companion. "I feel like my life's just one big joke, and my unnatural death will be the punchline..." Lilliana trails the shadowblade, and they both join the two elves.

"It is, and it will be." Syreena smiles behind T'suro. 

"Tahzani said aim it over the edge!" says Lilliana mischievously.

Shiergate answers my question of troll constitution versus a tiny bullet. "Aye! Worked fore, can work agin ya bilge-blooded taint scrubber!" I growl, but then a floating crystal has everyone's attention, including his. Tahzani pokes it, and says it is as cold as ice. Presumably, this is the real cause of the falling snow, and so the pirate is happy enough to leap into action against it instead of me directly. "AHA!" Shiergate fires wildly at the crystal, "It be tha witch's charm!"

Tahzani ducks down as the undead begins shooting. "PUT IT AWAY!" I hope he doesn't get shot. I don't duck, but I am slightly crouched, stalking.

At the edge of the boat, Syreena reaches out to try to shove the paladin. Lilliana helps. T'suro teeters at the edge. She then glances at Khorvis, grinning. "No bloodshed on deck." she announces, but he's preoccupied with the blasts coming from the rear deck, a dagger in his fist. He hadn't even seen. The bounty man has his own revolvers drawn. The browncoat elf is hiding behind his arms as if they make a decent shield against bullets. His own imagined safety takes precedence over the paladin going overboard. 

Shiergate finally runs out of ammo, "It be indestructible!" He hadn't hit the crystal one time. 

Tahzani slowly rises and looks at the pirate with a wince that gives expression to what's probably a painful ringing in his ears. Sure enough, his voice is much louder than necessary as he shouts. "IT be RIGHT. DERE! Jah can hit it wit a sword!" I'm close enough, and his back is exposed, so I leap for the pirate, my hands curled into claws. "Just cause jah have a gun don' mean jah have ta shoot-EH!"

"THE CURSE BE TOO STRONG! ABANDON SHIP!" Shiergate was yelling over Tahzani, right before I land on his back. 

"What the fuck?!" I hear Lilliana's shout.

I swiftly clamp my legs around the zombie, trapping one arm to his torso and keeping myself in position high enough. I lock my ankles and shift my grip from his shoulders to his head, trying to gain enough purchase to twist it off. I forgot I am supposed to be ripping arms off. He jerks, foiling my attempts. "BAH!" His hair is nasty. I decide I'll be happy enough with just scalping the man.


Shiergate whips out a grappling hook with his free arm and fires it wildly. There is a thunk as it seats somewhere and he pulls the trigger trying to fly away free. With me on his back, this plan doesn't quite work as intended. He goes, and me too, the both of us spinning wildly out of control. 

We skitch along the cable's path, which Khorvis happens to be in the way of. We collide. He rebounds hard into Syreena before falling, rolling to the edge of the deck and nearly over. The shadowblade does go over, but then vanishes, to reappear behind Lilliana, eyes wide. 

Shiergate and I ricochet the opposite direction, toward the many spinning paddles of doom called a wind gauge. I throw my weight over now on purpose, causing the both of us to fall rather than get caught up or skewered in that contraption. I get dragged along for another few feet before the cable sideswipes me into the pole. I wedge hard against the thing, and Shiergate rips free from my grasp.

"Ya be mine pirate! Done pissed me off!" I screech. Then sensation shocks into me, through my neck, shooting down from my skull and shoulder in a radiating agony. I moan just a little, and reach up numbly to try and cover and squelch the pain in my head. "Owie." Gradually, the pain does fade. Thank you, trollish regeneration. I sit up slowly.

"Everybody okay? Nobody got hit?" Tahzani is doing a once-over with his eyes, checking. The rest of the bar-goers slowly right themselves and return to normal. No one seems to have been injured but me. "It be okay everybody!"

Lilliana looks to me from the edge of the deck. "Were you trying to take that guy's head off........?" 

The browncoat elf and I both notice T'suro's disappearance then. He turns an accusatory questioning look to Syreena and Lilliana. The rogue smiles innocently and shrugs. I remember that I was trying to get everyone to shoot stuff.

I pull myself to my feet, and can't seem to quite find my balance. I stumble. "Shootin done?" I complain loudly, "I wanted to see de bows and de guns." Nevermind the one I already did see. I want to witness competent shooting. The boat and horizon tilt further. Or maybe that's me. I slump back to my knees, dizzy, and return the hand to my head, checking for blood. There is none. I have to just wait for this wooziness to subside.

I watch the group where T'suro disappeared. Khorvis is still splayed out on his belly. Was he shot? Then I hear the paladin's voice. "...why?" The question sounds flat.

Khorvis yanks, and I see Syreena and Lilliana both reaching down. T'suro reappears, pulled back up onto the deck. The Lasher releases his wrist, but doesn't stop his glare. "You did ask why Vol'jin leaves the Grim to themselves and the Mandate? Because we do be true to our oaths." His turns that angry gaze to Syreena. "I did say there will be no spilling of Horde blood on Tahzani's deck. You can hold me to my bloody word."

Syreena frowns at Khorvis.  "You just saved a Sanctuary traitor.  I didn't spill any blood on the deck!"

"Heeeey, don't glare at Syreena!" Lilliana adds. "I was gonna leap of faith his butt before he hit the water!"

T'suro blinks at Khorvis. He smiles slightly. "Should have let me drop then. Bloodless death." I peer at the paladin. Does he want to die? How fantastic that would be?!

Khorvis says nothing else. He marches off and tips the barkeep on his way out. Tahzani holds onto the handshake with coin in it a blink longer than needed. "Tank jah Khorvis... ...Moah den de tips... tank jah." Lilliana sticks her tongue out at her High Inquisitor on his way out. Syreena grumbles irritably, then glares at T'suro.

"So.... no fun shootin den?" I whine. "I been practicin at de faire." I'm disappointed. I would have liked to hide the hexbag inside a clay pigeon and watch the paladin jerk and thrash when one of his friends shot it from the sky. I would have loved the irony in that. 

Tahzani comes over to our side of the boat. He asks in general, "...Okay... Everybody good heah?" Then he revises "...Well das a big freakin' nope but does anybody need a drink?" Funny man. I wave vaguely. Tahzani passes me something. I can't taste properly what it might be. I thank him.

T'suro looks at Syreena and shoots her a quick grin before turning to his one friend left. "I appreciate that you came over. Thank you." Then he blinks and looks around. "Where's Shiergate?" Syreena glances behind her to make sure Khorvis is gone, then looks back at T'suro, eying the distance between him and the edge.

"He be a fuckin wuss, is where." I answer.

The browncoat hms. "Yeah. Sorry I wasn't more help. Maybe get away from standing at edges of things... and turning your back on people who don't like you much. Or wear less for metal plates so you don't sink."

"You a good swimmer T'suro?" asks a female, coming up to them. She wears a brown torch tabard too, and green goggles like her guild mate.

"I, uhh... I suppose?" he answers. I wonder. How good of a swimmer can you be when you're bleeding out, sharkbait?

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Syreena scratches the side of her head, where the pink elf ear is stitched, then tilts it, studying T'suro. Is she still undecided on a second go of it? I thought her more aggressive than this. I'm almost certain she can't just leave the insult to her pride alone, especially when he is just so annoying. Lilliana turns to the group of elves and waggles her fingers in a mimicry of witchdoctor casting like Aderlee demonstrated some days ago. 

I cackle at her. She's got the right idea.

Tahzani is summoned away to the other side of the boat, where I had forgotten the pandaren were still. Had they slept through the shooting, was their food coma that deep? I hear them suggest a cook off and big feast to make everyone happy. It makes me laugh, their one-track minds.

Syreena is still staring at the paladin. "You're the one who attacked Khorvis the other night."

The browncoats have taken their own advice and stepped back from the edge of the boat. The girl says to T'suro "Seriously... You are tempting fate standing there."

He really is, isn't he? I reach up to fiddle with my hair. My questing fingers fail to find the bone shard I'd embedded there. I try not to frown and continue patting, as if setting the jungle flower bushiness back to rights after having taken that tumble, as if anything can be done to improve this mess atop my head. Whatever. Still, I cannot find the bone. It isn't here. Now I do frown. I start looking around on the deck to find it.

T'suro ignores his ally, choosing to engage with Syreena. "Yes, well, I paid that price. Your oaths are the ones that prevent killing other Horde."

"Prevent?" Lilliana teases. She grins at T'suro.

"Yes, you're right.  I took oaths to not kill other Horde...." Syreena's words come slowly, through a grin. "But it never said anything about ears. Every time a purple people hurts a Grim, another purple people is gonna get hurt. Again."

"...right. Anyway..." T'suro drawls. Tahzani suddenly dashes through the crowd, between T'suro and the Grim and dives overboard. "...what the-?!"

"Bartendah?" I see him, and then I shoot a glance at the pandaren. What the hell did they say to him? The guy blinks a few times in surprise before rushing to the edge as well. 

"Tahzani!" Lilliana runs the few steps to peer down after him, bumping a shoulder into T'suro. She stops. The panda doesn't. The chubby bear glances around, then jumps after the bartender. His date stares open-mouthed. The elves just blink.

"Tahzani knows how to swim." Lilliana points out. "And breath underwater. And stuff." She doesn't look too worried.

"Yes but WHY?" T'suro wonders.

"Why don't you go find out?" She pushes the paladin gently, not hard enough to make him sail over.

"Maybe he is checking on that crazy undead guy that jumped earlier?" The browncoat girl elf guesses.

"Well, he seems fine." the man shrugs. Tahzani screams that he's melting. The elf revises. "...or not." The girl panda blinks at the scream, then jumps down to the edge below, landing with grace.  She then sprints forward, leaping at the last possible second and performing some trick to land gracefully on the beach nearby.

Tahzani is melting? From a little bit of ocean water? How silly! I shout back "Ya be not made o ice, fool!" Belatedly, I realize this is another opportunity. With Tahzani occupied, there's a chance I might even succeed this time. I cast my eyes around again checking for my bone shard. There! Wedged between the boards, it is. I reach.

"Tahzani, I'm gonna send T'suro in after you for rescue!" This time Lilliana stiff-arm's the paladin hard. 

I sit back on my heels, feel for the proper place, then swiftly slide the sharp bone tool home into my hair, in through the hex bag hidden there. This is utterly perfect! No blood will even be spilled on the deck. T'suro screams in pain and grabs his midsection, then gets shoved off the boat. He crashes into the water, I can hear it.

"We warned him, no?" asks the girl elf. I cackle. I get up, happy at the lack of vertigo this time, and amble over to be able to stare down into the water. There is no elf there. Encased in all that heavy plate, I wonder if he'll drown.

Her companion sighs. "...this is the stupidest shit I have ever seen here." Almost reluctantly, he calls his drake, mounts it, and directs it out over the water. He steers it lower but hesitates, as if to ascertaining what the paladin's swimming abilities are. Instead of resurfacing, my sharp eyes pick out the telltale dark cloud of blood in the water. "Oh bloody hell.... FAY!" He jumps off the drake.

Syreena says to Lilliana "Your boyfriend's weird." Then, almost innocently, "Where'd the purple elf go?"

It's as if talking about him is a summons. Tahzani materializes behind us like some sort of Loa-sent Nightmare spawn whose sole purpose is fucking up all my best-laid plans. He is drenched, and squeezing water from his apron. "...Where's T'suro?"


"Um..." says Lilliana.

"He done sunk." I inform him. I can't help the bubbling laughter after saying this. I peer over the edge of the boat. The cloud is growing with every second, and it starts to drift following the current.

Tahzani follows my gaze. "...Uh. Why is de watah RED?" I know why. He and Lilliana both rush down to the lower deck.

It takes several tense, silent moments before anything else happens. I imagine the paladin dragged down in the anchor weight of his own armor and struggling futilely. I imagine the panic that must cause. Suffocating to death is one of my own greatest fears. Is he grimacing in pain? If he is, can he taste the metallic copper of his own lifeblood mixed in with the ocean brine?

The pandaren bear appears in view, treading water. He doesn't seem to be expending much effort to do so. Maybe all that fat is buoyant. The browncoat elf resurfaces, his elbow clamped around T'suro's neck. This close to the surface and no longer obscured by plating, his gut wound is obviously gushing. It's almost artful the way it spreads out from them. 

"He's bleeding, heal him or get him on deck!" the elf calls. 

"Get him to shore!" The pandaren relieves the browncoat of the burden of T'suro, lifting the elf's weight up onto his belly as he pivots to a backfloat. His girlfriend treads water beside him, helping to keep the both of them afloat.

"Whats happening down there?" Fay calls.

"T'suro be unconscious an' bleedin'!" Tahzani yells back. I can hear bare feet slap on deckboards as someone rushes, running back up and around to the upper edge. Lilliana comes muttering, calling my bloody ocean artwork gross. Then she snickers as Syreena voices our common hope out loud that maybe T'suro is dead.

Propped on the pandaren's belly, it's a simple enough task for the elf to get his drake to act as retriever. The animal flaps powerfully, throwing spray into the eyes of those in the water but lifting my victim higher in it's claws.

Lilliana uses her magic to pull him across to her. "I just pushed you.....what's your problem!" she yells at him. He can't hear her, of course. She hesitates, then starts a channel. I watch curiously, one of many.

"Wha all da yellin be... abut?" My competition from last week, Araku arrives admist the chaos. He falls into the same onlooker role. 

"Oh.....oh...." Lilliana stops her spellcast. 

The wound is not closing. That spell should have closed it? Instead, his bleeding has slowed marginally. What a wonderful development! I hide the gleeful clap of my hands by changing the excited grip to something more like a worried wringing. The paladin looks dead already. Is he gonna die? What a shame!

The rescuer elf is lifted up on deck by his drake next. He immediately kneels beside T'suro too. Seeing the elf still bleeding, he starts a more mundane triage, rearranging the paladin's limbs and probing to find where the wounds are. "You got any bandages, Fay? This dumbass got himself cut somewhere." He is remarkably calm. He realizes after only a moment that T'suro is not breathing. He begins stiff-arming all of his weight onto the prone elf's chest in a curious crushing motion. What is he doing?

Faylea takes a long deep breath and starts taking out some bandages. "Yeah was just about to."

"Oh! Elfies, do the thing!" I advise helpfully. "Where be Tahzani?"

As Fay takes over the care of T'suro, her guildmate looks up, staring hard at Syreena. "Did you do this?"

The rogue looks calmly at him, but doesn't answer. Lilliana defends her. "Syreena wasn't even near him. I was the one that pushed him." She's regained her feet and now hovers a few steps back, giving the elves room to work. Rather than keep arguing, he makes the concerned hum of any classic doctor as he shifts his attention to his packs. I assume he's searching for something that might help.

"Alright. What happened?" Tahzani demands. He is trailed by two very bedraggled pandaren coming up the ramp. "Somebody shoved him off de boat an' he started bleedin'?"

The girl bear looks to T'suro a worried look on her face. "I am a Mistweaver. Can I help?" she offers.

"I shoved him off.... I said I was sending him down....." she admits, frowning, "But like....." Syreena suggests the panda can help by delivering cupcakes to Stormwind, to the orphanage. "Syreena!" Tahzani echos the browncoat's suggestion to heal, calling her by name. Shun nods after slight hesitation staring blankly at Syreena. "Do mistweaver shit...mine doesn't work. Look." Lilliana moodily hurls balls of healing magic mixed between holy and not so holy at T'suro. 

T'suro finally stirs, coughing up bloody water. Fay rolls his head to the side and lets him clear his airway as she reaches for bandages to try and stem the blood flow.

"If someone can heal him that would be great. Or else I will stitch him up." Fay tells the group.

"No, don't stitch him up!" Lilliana objects. "He'll just bleed inside like that, look at it!" They do look. Nothing so far is working. T'suro is dying.

Edited by Derecho

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Tahzani kneels down over T'suro, inspecting him. The paladin doesn't seem to be healing at all, the wound in his gut is still open and oozing. "When did he take his armor off?" I can hear him murmur as he probes gently. His fingers linger over the button placket of T'suro's shirt, stained and stressed from being yanked opened to grant access to the belly wound, but otherwise undamaged. "Looks deep... Real deep."

"He couldn't have gotten that falling on anything on his way down." the browncoat says "not with the stuff he was wearing..."

Shun says "I shall do what I can to help." She holds one of her paws over the hole, not quite touching it.  She closes her eyes and furrows her brow in concentration.  As she does so, a green, soothing mist emanates from the palms of her hand, easing around and slowly entering the wound.

"Why don't we just end his suffering for good?" Syreena is full of suggestions today. "He's just a Sanctuary elf.  They've got like a thousand more." Lilliana again hisses the rogue's name harshly.

I add. "May it be he was askin fo it?" I watch the mist flow, and the paladin's liquids. Whatever Shun is trying is having the same extremely blunted effect as Lilliana's healing, only slowing the process of the elf's death and not reversing it. I find this incredibly interesting. My spell is still active, and it is resistant to tampering. Why? I almost want to step forward and offer my own healing abilities just to get the chance to see what is going on in there. But, I don't.

Syreena's comment elicits more than just the harsh whisper of her fellow Grim. No one is paying attention but me as T'suro's eyelids slowly crack open. Those eyes are glazed, so shiny with pain, so pretty. They roll involuntarily every few seconds, unable to hold focus, but T'suro glares at the rogue.

The pandaren man also glares at Syreena "Sh-shut up you bag of bones!"

Syreena slowly lifts her gaze to him.  "What did you say?"

The poor wet guy gulps as he stares at the undead in front of him, but he maintains. "I said s-s-shut up!  You aren’t helping!"

Syreena stares, then states simply.  "No. Now what are you going to do, hm?"

Shun snaps her eyes open, bringing her hand away.  She frowns, then bows her head in way of apology.  "I do not understand, but the mists do not seem to be helping.

"Stitch him, Fay." tells the browncoat. The man ushers Araku forward with the vague instruction to please assist as he can.

Lilliana objects again. "You don't stitch someone like that. I just freaking said!" The other troll silently offers the little elf woman a sack of herbs to work with, and fresh bandages. "Araku, is that like, renewing?" Araku looks surprised to be called on directly. Fay motions him beside her, and he lopes up into a crouch, getting his first real good look at it now. She knee-walks sideways to be sure he has room. 

"I.. I t-think this is the end... for me..." T'suro's whisper is almost lost in the whirlwind of directions, comments, and arguments, but it causes all of them to cease, if just for the amount of time it takes to blink an eye.

"T'suro? Jah awake? ...Well dat sucks it must hurt sometin' awful. Do jah remembah what happened?" Tahzani touches a finger gently to the wound  to dot his finger with blood. He holds it closer to his face to inspect it. I watch him intently. What is he going to do?

"Felt... like... stabbing... and then... bitch... pushed me off..." 

The cadence of the paladin's words is immensely satisfying to me. Every breath is apparently agonizing. I did that. Yet even convinced he is on his way across the veil, he dares to keep throwing insults? I know how much Lilliana hates being called that term, having used it myself in her vicinity. "Oooooohhhh," I jeer.

Tahzani inhales deeply. "...Where's his armah."

Syreena and the panda bear are still in their strange standoff. What is he going to do about it? "I-I wont fight you, and I know you wont fight me!"

"You know I won't fight you?" the shadowblade giggles. "Are you Sanctuary too?"

"I-I-I heard one of your members say the grim wont spill any blood on Tahz's ship!" Shun looks down at T'suro, concerned.  She glances up, then sees Syreena facing Fenlao while holding two daggers.  She blinks her eyes, then darts forward. "And I'M not, I’m part of Borrowed time"

"Khorvis said that.  Do you see Khorvis here now?"

"Lilly. WHERE IS HIS ARMAH?" Tahzani says again.

T'suro coughs more. The strength in him is drastically reduced from his first round of coughing, but the effort screws his face into a grotesque mask of agony. 


Lilliana is busy casting a spell to suppress pain when her mate asks. ""His armor....? I'll uh....." She stops what she's doing with a great deal of hesitation. That spell at least seemed to have been helping and might have made the paladin able to speak easier, but she has the same instinct to follow sure commands in a crisis that anyone does. If Tahzani told me to do something right now I know I'd be jumping to comply. She is no different, and she trusts him.

Tahzani has little patience though. The healers can't heal, over there is a confrontation accomplishing nothing either, and he has a missing piece of the puzzle to contend with while a customer lays here dying on his deck. Speed is of critical importance. "FUCK'S SAKE YOU'RE ALL USELESS!" he laments. I very nearly erupt in laughter. The bartender begins scanning the deck hurriedly. He hadn't seen, and I know the thought process behind his search. Did the paladin abandon the plate before or after the dive? Lilliana knows, and she's at the edge ready to go find it. Tahzani moves to follow. He points a long finger as straight an arrow at Syreena as he goes. "Sy! No stabbing!" he forbids. 

The browncoat looks over at Tahz, "What? Where are you going?" Is that panic tinging his voice?

The bartender doesn't hear, only demands "WHERE IS HIS ARMAH?!" again.

"I don't know, I said I'd go look!" Lilliana cries, taking his frustration personally. She goes to look, performing a graceful arcing dive off the edge and leaving Syreena with the pandas.

I answer this time. "He done sunk wit it."

"In the drink! He was sinking so I ripped it off!" the browncoat confirms. Tahzani dives off without a second word. "....Sure as hell didn't stop this from happening. He can get something else later."

Araku comments quietly "We need ta keep fluids in 'im afore dey all leak out." This makes me realize that I'm thirsty. I spin on my heel toe to go over to the keg. I fill two mugs with foamy beer. I saw a field medic sterilize with scalding liquor once. It's a decent cover. Maybe. "Dis help?" I offer one and only one cup, gulping from the other.

He looks at me, and doesn't call me an idiot. "Ayh, der be coconuts on da boat, ayh? I need some of dem! We c'n use fer replacin some o da elfies blood!" He starts digging through his pack for tools. He didn't issue a request for action, so I stand there watching him and sipping.

Syreena and the pandas are still bristling at each other. Shun has interjected herself, making Syreena at least hesitate enough in placing the woman's identity for Tahzani to issue his restraining order. "Please put your weapons away." Shun implores. "There is an injured person here already.  There is no need to make the situation any worse."

Syreena glances past the pandas towards the spot where Tahzani disappeared, then looks back at Shun.  "There's gonna be another one if you don't MOVE!" She takes half a step towards them, feigning a stab 

Shun's date is frantic after she steps between him and those eager daggers. "No! Stop!" He quickly digs in his bags and pulls out some food and thrusts it towards Syreena  "Here, just eat this!" 

I cackle. "She be dead, panda. I can be takin dat dough."

Syreena blinks at the food being shoved at her. She slaps the plate aside and takes another step towards the panda man. "Ack! That was good food...." Shun reacts in a different manner than her date. I can see her eyes narrow. Then she simply presses her hands together and lowers her head. My instinct tells me this is not surrender, but readiness. Words and gifts have failed. I think she is prepared to fight. 

"Ayh, yer nah doing nuthin, ya laydayh?" a soft comment pulls my attention back to Araku. He has supplies laid out. Some hollow tubes and a long thin needle. Seeing these things sends a shill down my spine and I step back without meaning too. He peers at me. "De.. summat?"

 "Me?" I stall. Who else would he be talking to? He nods at me. "I be no witchdoctah. Wat ya want?"

"Ya c'n find da coconuts though?"

"Oh! May it be." I nod at him. Right. Coconuts. I'm hungry. Araku smiles tensely at me as I run off for the galley. 

The kitchen is a disaster. Dirty pans have been left on the stove and become charred, giving everything an acrid smell. Ingredients are abandoned in the last convenient place they could be set after use. A thin film of grease has settled on every surface. I begin rummaging through cabinets, barrels and sacks, searching. Muffled voices filter to me between cracks in the ceiling among random thumps and bumps.

"Should get him back to base... this place clearly isn't safe for him." 

"Some fucking magic is stopping us from helping him."

"Stuff him with this, we're taking him to the infirmary." 

"K-kill... him... and I'll... h-have you arrested... Syreena... Sh-shadowblade..." Then T'suro screams, presumably as the thing gets pressed into his gut wound. Safely out of sight, I allow the smirk to spread across my face at that lovely sound. 

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I eventually find coconuts. I grab two, and turn around to rush back upstairs before a thought occurs to me. If they find the doll, there is the possibility that removing the skewer from it might not stop the spell, because the real instrument of T'suro's injury is not the doll, but the punctured hex bag. If it doesn't work, then they will start looking for something else as the cause, and I'm wearing a convenient bone, aren't I? 

I drop the two rough spheres and yank at the tie in my hair. I unwind, freeing the bush, and carefully work the hex bag and it's lance up through the frizz. I look around for a moment. I briefly entertain the question of what might happen if I relight a burner and stuff the bag into flames, but then I decide there isn't time. I crouch and tuck the pouch behind the leg of the oven. The grime there is thick and goopy. I'm pretty certain no one has laid eyes on that area in years, much less soap. I embed the bag and then straighten. 

For a moment, I stare at a thick syrup-like substance on the tip of a finger. I shove the finger in my mouth and suck. My tongue works, wiping. Cleaning. The coating tastes bland, of dust and oil but not the flavor of whatever cooking it had originated from. Pity. It's rather vile, actually. Once cleaned, I raise my hands and retie my hair in place. I snatch up the coconuts and leave the trashed galley. 

"I been findin some!" I announce in sing-song as I arrive back topside. Araku looks up, hopeful. He smiles with genuine gladness to the expression. I feel oddly proud of the simple accomplishment that initiates such a look on his face. Then I recall that I'm helping. I don't want to help! I shove the fuzzy orbs at his nose. "Here!"

T'suro is folded up slightly, the browncoat's arms hooked beneath shoulders and knees. The paladin's knuckles are white, fingertips curled so tight into the other elf's arm that they appear blunted. The grip makes the browncoat wince in a pale shadow of the wounded man's own grimace. T'suro is struggling to breathe. Every hitch has a matching seize of muscles in reaction to pain, which causes another gasp. 

"Tahz!" I hollar, "He don be lookin good mon!"

Moving their patient is obviously not such a great idea after all. The browncoat very gently lays T'suro back down and extracts himself, then he steps back and actually scratches his head, coming up empty for options.

"Where are they? What's his armor got to do with that gut wound?"

"I be not knowin. Last week, dere be not a scratch on it." I say helpfully.

"Ayh dunno," Araku echoes, "but ya put a hole in each o dese Rand?"

The browncoat so named blinks wide-eyed at coconuts being shoved at him, "What?"

"You put holes in things! Put holes in coconuts!" 

Rand just stands there with a mixture of worry, confusion and just plain bogglement paint on his face. He's irritating. "Oh for de love o... be handin dat back!" I'm tired of that stupid face he's making. I reach for a coconut, and this seems to jar him back to reality. 

Rand unfolds a multitool and attempts to do as requested. "Uh, here?" I watch the non-islander fumble with the hard-shelled delicious fruits with a small amount of budding amusement. T'suro's gonna die before this fool pokes a hole!

"Dont let tha fluid leak!"

" he going to die if we do that?"

Lilliana comes dripping up onto the deck. "Hey.......take that shit off of T'suro....stop doing what you're doing." She waves at Fay holding a wad of cloth and what might even be a tabard in T'suro's belly. Araku stops too.

"Stop trying to stop the blood from coming out. Are you serious?" the elf asks.

"Yes I'm serious. Araku can do what he's doing, but you guys..." She points to the elves, "STOP."

Rand narrows his eyes at Lilli, then looks back at T'suro... noting that compressing the wound has just made the 'leaking' slower. "...take it off, Fay. We're not helping any." Araku holds out a hand for a holed coconut impatiently. He gets one, and the browncoat folds the multitool back up, puts it away, then crosses his empty arms to watch what happens next. Fay sighs and obeys, joining him. T'suro coughs some more and wheezes.

Araku swiftly takes the coconut, hooking up a small tube to it and upending the sphere holeside-down letting fluid flow into the line until it starts dripping out the needle at the end. He pierces the needle sharp into T'suro's arm, in the largest vein he can find. This is a neat trick.

"What I mean.....Tahzani said.... you..." Lilliana points from Fay to Rand to Kiannis. "Do like that.....arcane silence thing elves can right now." She looks at Kiannis. "Please."

Rand blinks, but does as requested, stepping closer to the fallen paladin. Kiannis's eyes glow brighter for a moment as he instinctively draws the latent magical energies of the area. T'suro clutches himself with a strangled gasping, then drops to the boards limply like a puppet with it's strings cut. 

Fay stands there holding a bloody tabard, feeling it over in her hands.


Lilliana eyes T'suro closely. The paladin lays with a dark pool growing on his belly now that pressure isn't stemming the flow, and no one is healing. Shun sits back, the fur of her brow wet. Her casting stopped with the arcane torrent, but it's clear she was putting considerable effort into her attempts to save T'suro's life. Araku sighs as he holds the coconut aloft, letting the fruit's water flow in to replace some of the lost volume of blood.

The troll priestess isn't the type to understand curses and whatever else, but Tahzani is supposed to know. This worked last time. "Can you do it again.....make sure......? Kiannis, Rand, Fay?" she asks the elves. The Grim hunter does not particularly look pleased about it, but he holds a hand out in T'suro's direction, once more nullifying and absorbing traces of magical energies in the area.

"NOTHING..." I can hear Tahzani snarl angrily somewhere below us, returning.

"Huh?" Rand stands there stupidly. He watches Araku grab up the second coconut as the first one goes dry, switching them out. T'suro stirs, groaning.

"I said to do it again," Lilliana snaps at Rand, "and only Kiannis listened!" She glares.

I reflexively hold up my hands under the heat of that frustrated gaze, warding it away from myself. "I been helpin, I got de coconuts mon."

Tahzani appears. "Ah found notin' but de armah down below. Whoevah cursed him eithah still has de doll or hid it ELSEWHERE." He sighs and bites down on his lower lip. He presses the tip of his thumb over his eye and summons a fel green orb. The spell swivels about wildly, searching. 

"Fay, again, please." Rand directs. She seems really distracted with the tabard, lost in her own thoughts. She absentmindedly holds her hand out towards T'suro, sending out an other Arcane Torrent in sync with her guild mate.

T'suro lurches in pain. This time his jerking is enough that the elf ends up halfway on his side, trying to curl on himself in an instinctive posture that I know well. I resist a curse aloud. An unnatural bulge can be seen in the back of his shirt. Araku looks concerned and tries to assist the paladin to a more comfortable angle. His fingers find the doll at the same time that Tahzani's orb fixates. The bartender blinks and pulls his hand away from his eye, now reddened with irritation. Araku pulls at the fabric of T'suro's shirt. The tiny doll tumbles out to the deck boards with a soggy splatting noise. I blink at it and bend my fingers in a superstitious sign to ward off evil spirits.

"Oh." says Lilliana.

Rand looks disgusted. "...the hell is that? ...was that IN him?!"

"PULL DE SKEWER OUT! NOW!" Several people jump to comply. Araku reaches with his empty hand even as the other is still thrust in the air holding aloft the coconut. Lilliana beats him to it. She scoops up the tiny limp doll and plucks the bone from it. T'suro's body jolts, he grunts another pained cry and the sound makes Lilli wince. Tahzani looks between the doll and T'suro " Alright... Alright de wound should be able to heal now!" 

Shun and Araku immediately resume their healing efforts as the paladin sags back to the ground. Shun's boyfriend takes one look at her and then dashes off in the direction of the galley. One guess as to his goal. "Put de coconut on it!" I cry.

But the coconuts have been set aside. Araku has his hands laid gently on T'suro's belly as he casts in a sort of shallow trancelike state. Shun assists too, but she had already expended a great deal of power earlier in vain. She stops again after a moment, gulping. Her hands are shaking. Lilliana offers her pain suppression again, looking exceptionally annoyed to be doing such a thing for the person who blasted off Khorvis's tusk and continuously talks shit... and is weak as a baby.

"He's going to need a couple of days rest with all that blood loss. Either one of his compatriots can take him back to their base, or I'll offer our infirmary."

Tahzani looks relieved to see the healing spells having an effect now. He sighs "...Left de skewer IN de doll." I peer at him for the oddness in his tone. What's that supposed to mean? "What sorta sick, twisted AMATEUR... Leaves de pin in de doll!" Lilliana steps away from T'suro assuming Araku knows what he's doing. She hands the doll and bone to Tahzani. He takes them from her with a nod. He stares at my doll, holding it up close to his eyes and looking it over.

"He gone be okie dokie now?" I ask. "Ya been fixin it?"

Apparently he did, because T'suro groans. "...Am I dead?"

"No, you're still here to be annoying." Lilliana answers.

Rand is only slightly less caustic. "Yes. This is heaven. Lucky you. By the way, all your favorite Grims are here with you. So... maybe it's hell."

"...greeeeeeeeeeat..." T'suro arches forward, wincing.

Tahzani looks up from the doll, withdraws the bone he'd poked at it's back to see what it's made of.  "...Dis ting... It still be active."

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Syreena smiles at Tahzani. "Can I play with the dolly?"

"Mebee da cute elfie be safer in m' bed fer da week." Araku grins down at T'suro, only half joking.

"Thats right. Take good care of him, Araku." Kiannis agrees. The troll returns his stare with a wink. 

Araku pets T'suro's hair absently as he keeps mending. The elf isn't continuously aware enough yet to mind, slipping in and out of a sort of shock state. These listless periods are becoming shorter though as the healers work. I sigh. Eventually T'suro blinks and remains alert, if weak. Alert enough, anyway. He looks down at himself. ""...where's my armor? Where's my SHIRT?" Araku grins wickedly at him.

Rand continues along the same train of thought regarding this being the afterlife. " And I'm a spirit healer here to tell you you're as dumb as the plate you wear."

T'suro tries to push himself up a bit, looks lightheaded, giggles. "Shut up..." he mumbles to Rand.

Tahzani holds a water skin out for T'suro. "Jah lost a lotta blood mon... Jah gonna need ta push fluids hahd... Eat lots an' sleep moah." The paladin takes it and drinks after slowly getting himself into sitting position. 

The panda returns from the kitchen with food, of course. He takes one look at Shun who had just laid back where she was to rest and rushes to her. "Shu do you need anything?  Food or water!?" He fusses, placing a pillow from his pack beneath her head and then meticulously arraying a veritable banquet around her within easy reach. He sighs in relief when she stirs, blinking. "If you need more, I cooked up a whole bunch of food for everyone. Just rest now ok?" I think the whole thing is rather sweet.

"Well, T'suro... you got two choices. Either I can drop you off in my base's infirmary, or you can entrust someone here to get you back to your home fully intact." Rand explains.

"O, come hom w'th me." Araku leers again as he gently withdraws the intravenous line from T'suro's arm and caresses the spot with his thumb, healing that up as well.

Ranadarus looks at Araku, "Or that."

Lilliana eyes the weak elf. "Gee, T'suro, I could take you home." she offers with a disgustingly coy smirk that is more than inappropriate to the situation.

"...Hell no... I'll just... yeah, go with you guys. The paladin nods at Rand. Lilliana steps away, the level of disgust apparent on her face after that ridiculous look she feigned is dismissed.  She's not happy, not happy at all with tending to T'suro. She comes to stand by me. T'suro turns to Tahz. "Was it another voodoo curse?"

"...Aye" comes the distracted answer. His attention is on the doll. His earlier words sink in for Rand, who backpedals from responsibility, asking the bartender to take point. Tahzani ignores this, instead extending a hand distractedly. "Sy, Ki... Somebody? Slash across de vein please?" My head tilts, wondering what he is about to do. Syreena and Lilliana both gawk.

More than one see this as a joke, thinking he's being dramatic about the constant bickering that results in so much bloodshed. "...Who would served me drinks then?" Kiannis smirks.

"Only if I can play with the dolly." Syreena bargains.

"Ah'm workin' heah, just gimme some blood ta work wit will jah? CUT IT."

"Is it to help that elf?"

Lilliana starts to obey. She pauses when Kiannis silently pulls a dagger and offers it hilt first to the troll. That's not what he asked for. When a slice fails to occur, Tahzani heaves a sigh that is more of a quiet roar, then bites down hard onto his own arm. He worries the flesh until he draws blood. He gets up to head down the ramp. 

"Ya be needin help?" I follow curiously. Behind us, I can hear people preparing to go home.

Tahzani makes his way a short distance to a clear space around the corner. I linger, watching, but don't interrupt. The troll drips his open wound in a small circle. Once completed, he presses his mouth to the wound to stem the bleeding and then begins tracing a circle with the fingers of his other hand, connecting the dots. There is a scuffling sound. I look up to see red as Lilliana leans to watch Tahzani too. Tahzani hovers his wrist again, dripping precisely on four sides of the finished circle like points of a compass. With these puddles he draws symbols.

Tahzani gently places the doll in the center of the diagram. I can hear him murmuring. Praying? "Blood is the price of your mercy. Blood has been paid. Sever the ties that bind this curse to flesh." He sets a finger down on the circle. There is a slight hissing sound as the dark red blood dries rapidly into a dull brown color.

Tahzani pokes the doll with a fingernail. I look up, listening for T'suro's reaction, or lack of one, I suppose. I hear him chatting with newcomers, not screaming.

"Ey T'suro! Jah feel dat?" He pokes the doll again, this time rather viciously. "T'suro! Don' leave me hanging!" Again.

"If you're doing something to the doll, I didn't feel it!"

Tahzani sighs, then pockets my deadly little toy. I sigh too. The fun is over.


The troll spins and turns to go back the way he came. I'm in his way. I smile shyly at him. He eyes me for a moment, but never breaks stride. He lopes past, leaving me alone. "...Show be oveh." I hear him say as he ascends. He clears his throat as he gets the rest of the way on deck. At first it looks like he's not in the mood to cater to anyone, but there are new faces. I hear him greet them. Nothing in return. I listen to him default to the same old routine. "Welcome ta de cantina. Can ah getcha anytin'?"

Lilliana gawks at Tahzani. Her expression is a direct match to my own incredulity.  A little bit of spell disruption from his own spilled blood after an elf nearly died, then back to serving drinks. Unbelievable. Lilliana shakes her head, then shoots a dark glance in T'suro's direction.

Rather than bother Tahzani to soothe my dry throat, I amble over to fetch one of the discarded coconuts. I suckle it, letting air bubbles filter through the tiny hole every now and then so I can pull out more water. All too soon it's empty. I place the husk between my feet, pivot my spear from my back and jam the tip swiftly downward in a practiced motion. Two halves fall open. I replace my weapon and sit right there to begin prying out the white flesh.

I chew for a moment before the seabreeze shifts and I can smell the faint coppery scent from the front of the boat. I eye the bloodstain on the deck. Struck with inspiration, I jump up and head belowdecks to find a mop and bucket. I can clean up my own mess for Tahzani, and if I happen to get elf blood on my coconut... well, who's to notice?

I forgot the panda came down here after I did, and nothing is where I remember seeing it. Not only that, but I can see no mop at all. I'm distracted thinking about the events of tonight.

Sure, this attempt failed too, but I have learned a lot. I need to direct the magic a bit more, if possible. Something not channeled, but seeded. Something that can take root and then grow on it's own. This will solve the problem of those pesky elves and that mana-sucking ability of theirs. The wisdom of trying to execute the kill in public is also contemptible, and I have only my own stupidity to blame. If I had acted in a more secluded place as planned, T'suro would be dead now for sure.

What had Tahzani meant about leaving the pin in the doll? Why was I not supposed to leave it with the victim? 

The only thing I can figure is that a smart target like him might be able to save themselves if they knew what was happening... but this is a pretty paladin, not a world-wise bartender. He wasn't even smart enough to not sit at the edge of the boat with handsy Grim surrrounding him!

My thoughts are interrupted by the bartender himself appearing in the doorway. He blinks at me. "Wat," I blurt.

"...Great. Somebody been stealin' from de lardah again." He comes at me, and for a brief moment I think he's attacking. I get the hell out of his way.

"Araku been wantin coconuts." I say lamely. He doesn't comment, digging a bucket out from a pile and throwing it into the sink, then locating the mop. He shuts off the faucet without a word, and lugs them both back outside. I follow, feeling like a child.

Tahzani tiredly hauls his tools to the dark stain on the deck. He dabs at the blood. I frown. He'll never get it off like that. He needs a bristle brush. After a minute he comes to the same conclusion and gets down on his knees, pulls out a scrubber and rubs vigorously. He's going to get his clothes all dirty, and then he can't serve anymore.

"Ey." I wave a hand down low so Tahzani can notice me. "Ey Tahzani." 

He glances at the hand, then jerks his chin up briefly before scrubbing more. "Jah? What's up?"

"Ya want I can be doin dat? I be shortah ya know. Closer to de ground. Ya got lots to be doin. I can be helpin?"

He sighs. "...No offense Derecho. But Ah can't trust... damn near anybody righ' now... Wit anytin'. Fah de second time in a week. Somebody gets it in dere heads dat dey gotta murdah T'suro... But dey can't do it anywhere else. Could happen anywhere else. But NOPE! Gotta do it on MAH FUCKIN' BOAT!" The troll suddenly rages. He punts the bloody water bucket overboard.

I'm swamped in guilt. I should have stuck with the plan. I knew the failures of last time, and I'd neglected to learn from all of them. Still, I refuse to be sorry for trying to put out that firefly's light. He deserves to die! I'm angry at myself, angry at Tahzani for causing this feeling. "I be not askin ya to be trustin me? I be askin if I can be HELPIN YA OUT mon. Be cleanin ya own fuckin boat, den." I shrug at him, shoving my hand in another pocket that I hadn't dipped into at the beginning of the night. I pull my fist out clamped around a few more silver coins and a lot of coppery ones. I fling these at him, since he loves money so much. He can clean that up too. 

I turn on my toe heel and stalk off. 


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