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Phia

Hard Times in Silvermoon City

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The finest of silks. The purest of pearls. Jewel-encrusted goblets filled with vintage, pre-war sparkling wine.

Silvermoon City was known for its decadence, but the lavish lifestyle practiced by Nicoleta and Meike Feiniel surpassed them all. As the sole offspring of the "merchant prince" Finrod Feiniel, they commanded a wealth that rivaled the gross domestic income of most kingdoms.

Or at least they used to. It had been several years since their father left for the Outland with Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider, and although he had left his daughters with a significant trust....

Well...

Nicoleta Feiniel woke to a rapping on her bedroom door. She stifled a yawn and leisurely rolled out of bed, digging her toes into a pair of fur-lined slippers. Her father had given them to her on her thirtieth birthday. They were made out of some rare cat from some far-off land on the other side of the world and had cost a fortune, but she'd forgotten the details. She pinned-up her light blonde hair, cracked open the door, and was knocked back as Tavish, the family butler, stormed into the room. "Miss Nicoleta," he shouted, wringing his hands with worry, "I'm sorry to disturb you, but it's terrible!"

"Good grief, Tavish! What time is it?"

"It's two in the afternoo...."

"TWO IN THE AFTERNOON?" snapped Nicoleta, driving her finger into the butler's chest, "I told you not to wake me until four. You know Meike and I were out late last night!"

"My apologies, but it's an emergency, Miss Nicoleta!" Tavish stammered, "There's been a pro...."

"What's all this racket?" snapped Meike as she pushed her way into the room. She was the younger of the two sisters. Whereas Nicoleta was fair-skinned and fair-haired, Meike was golden blonde and tanned. It gave her a nice, "outdoorsy" look, but Nicoleta thought she looked like a farm hand. Conversely, Meike thought Nicoleta looked like a corpse.

She glared angrily at Nicoleta and Tavish. "Can't a girl get some sleep in this household?"

"I'm sorry, Miss Meike, it's just that there's be...."

"Spit it out already, Tavish, so we can get back to bed!"

Tavish swallowed hard and ran his hand through his hair in exasperation. It was thinning prematurely. "It's just that, well, I was setting our monthly expenses with Chivers, the accountant, and he informed me that... well... we've run into a bit of financial trouble!"

Meike looked confused. "Financial trouble?" she asked, "What's he babbling about, Nicky?"

"I don't know," said Nicoleta with a shrug, "What are you babbling about, Tavish?"

"I'm not sure how to put it any more bluntly, Miss Nicoleta, other than to say that you're broke!"

The girls broke into a fit of laughter. "Ah, Tavish! It's Fool's Day isn't it?" snorted Meike, "You had us that time!"

Tavish shook his head. "No, I'm afraid not. Our accounts are squarely in the red, my dear. There's simply no gold left to pay the bills!"

"But how can that be?" demanded Nicoleta, "Our father, the richest merchant in all of Silvermoon, left us with a trust! A sizeable trust!"

"Indeed he did, Miss Nicoleta, one that was meant to last for decades. But you've managed to spend it in just a few years!"

"What? How?"

Tavish paced around the room nervously. "Well, I hate to point fingers, but you have been living a bit 'over-the-top,' as they say. The lavish nightly parties, the sea of furs and silks, the imported Winterspring caviar and plainstrider fois gras from Mulgore, the diamond studded collars for your cats, and so forth. I think it was the gold-plated chamber pots that finally broke us."

Meike was shocked. "But surely Father accounted for those in our standard 'cost-of-living' expenses!" she shouted.

Tavish simply shook his head. Meike and Nicoleta collapsed onto the bed with a blank look on their faces. "Enough beating around the bush, Tavish," said Nicoleta in a daze, "How bad is it?"

The butler pulled a slip of paper from his pocket and passed it to the two girls. The blood drained from Nicoleta's already pale complexion as her sister snatched the note from her hands. Meike looked confused. "This looks like plenty of money!" she said merrily, "But what does that minus sign in front of it mean?"

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Nicoleta wept openly as a small army of arcane movers emptied the contents of the Feiniel family estate. Each mover carried armloads of classic paintings, boxes filled with rare sculptures, and buckets of gold-plated trinkets and gewgaws. To a casual passerby, it was like watching a parade of incredible wealth march down the streets of Silvermoon City. But to Nicoleta... well... they were taking all of her stuff!

She begged and pleaded as the movers stomped down the street with her prized collection of gilded gnome heads, but to no avail. "BZZZ... Contents of box to be auctioned to pay debts," it barked, "You have been repo'ed, citizen!"

After receiving the same response for her wardrobe of shadowcat furs, her collection of pearl-handled shrimp forks, and even the family butler Tavish -- he was being sold off to cover her extensive shoe debt -- Nicoleta slumped against a tree and broke down in wracking sobs.

Meike arrived a short time later and handed her sister a silk handkerchief, which was brusquely snatched by one of the arcane movers as it shambled down the avenue. She seemed nonplussed by the loss of her family fortune. "There, there," she said, consoling her sister, "Let it all out."

"But... but... I don't wanna be poor!" Nicoleta sobbed.

"Don't worry. I have a cunning plan!" said Meike, pressing a handbill into her sister's palm.

Nicoleta dried her tears and fumbled with the crumbled note. "What's this?"

"A scabby-looking orc was handing them out by the bank," Meike explained, "Read it!"

With a shrug, Nicoleta unfolded the paper and poured over its contents...

wantsyou1.jpg

The Horde is currently accepting applications from all able-bodied Blood Elves as we expand our operations into the Outland.

The Horde is an equal opportunity employer, with competitive pay rates and a wide variety of benefit programs, including a 401K plan. Our head office is located in Orgrimmar, and we have branch locations in Thunder Bluff and the Undercity. Silvermoon branch opening soon!

If you like to travel, meet interesting people, and have a strong hatred of gnomes, apply today!

Current available positions: Hunters, Mages, Warlocks, Rogues, Priests, Paladins

"So your plan to win back our fortune involves joining the army?" she said, passing the flyer back to her sister in disbelief, "Apparently our sudden descent into poverty has affected your brain!"

"Well, look here," Meike said, pointing at the note, "They're expanding into the Outland. That's where our father is. We'll just go out there, ask him for more money, and buy all our stuff back and resume the decadent lifestyle to which we've become accustomed to. It's simple!"

"I don't know. It sounds suspiciously like work."

"How hard could it be?" said Meike with a grin, "Look here. They need paladins. That sounds EASY!"

"Well, I suppose we could give it a try."

Meike nodded enthusiastically. "How bad could it be?"

* * *

Several weeks later, Nicoleta found herself standing knee-deep in a pool of grey, greasy water in Desolace, her armor covered in mud and assorted centaur entrails. A blood-thirsty gnome clawed at her neck with a pair of pointy daggers while she ran around screaming. "Ohmygod! Get it off! Get it off!"

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