Continued from Part 1
“But I just wan-”
The thunder rolled overhead, every bit as violent as the roiling black clouds would lead one to believe.
Rainseeker just sighed and stared hard at Abohba. The orc innkeeper just stood in front of the door to the bathing rooms, arms cross’d her chest, with a deceptively ignorant expression on her brown face.
“I’mma sorry shaman, but th’ bathin’ rooms be in use. Besides which,” Abohba leveled a knowing and slightly accusatory gaze at the young shaman, “Ya need ta pay to use the tubs. Be three gold pieces lass.”
“Three whole gold pieces for a measley bath?! That’s highway robbery! Why, I could go outside and get a bath for free!”
The innkeeper was quick to loose her teasing tone as she waggled a finger at the other orc, “I’ll have ye know our water be heated, and we have nice soaps and adventureres from all over Azeroth come to rest their weary bones here. And I’m thinkin,” Now the inkeeper grabbed a fistful of Rainseeker’s top-knot and pulled the orc close, “That yer not wantin’ a bath at all. Sergent Tigerfeet be a great elder, worthy of ye respect, and ye’ll not be botherin’ her when she’s takin’ her leisure. Ye want to make a fool of yeself ye can durn well wait until she’s done!”
With a rough shove Abohba released Rainseeker’s top-knot and propelled her back towards the public dining area and the laden trestle tables.
“Huh, I’d have figured another Orc would properly respect a shaman…” Rainseeker grumbled to herself as she made her way back to the abandoned plate, “S’not like I meant the old cow any harm after all. Hmph”
As Rainseeker sat at the table, absent-mindedly chewing a hunk of fat, the fury of the storm outside slowly abated. It wasn’t untill the torrential downpour, visible beyond the sheltering overhang of The Filthy Animal, had slowed to a more steady shower, that the door to the back bathing rooms opened and the Druid rejoined the inn at large.
“You had a problem, calf?” Grated a voice in Rainseeker’s ear.
She jumped and whirled to stare, wide-eyed, at the Druid.
“You never take your eyes off a feral, calf. And even then, there’s no guarantee of your safety.”
As Rainseeker watched, eyes going even wider, the ancient druid slid silently onto the bench. The three-fingered tauren hand reached, not for the salads and steamed vegetables favored by most taurens, but for the roasted meat. Yet the hand that grabbed for the haunch had five fingers, and tawny golden fur, and as Rainseeker watched with growing horror, claws the size of knives slid from the hand-turned paw to sink deep into slab of roasted boar.
“Like I said, calf, it’s best to respect your elders. Not everything is what it seems, and I’ve run these plains for a good deal longer than you.”
Rainseeker swallowed, and set her shoulders, “I’ll have you know that I myself am an accomplished warrior for the horde! Why, just earlier this week I was battling toogh and nail to halt the Alliance enchroachment into the Orcish homewo-”
“Outland?!” Tigerfeet brayed loudly, her deep laughter booming above the general din of the tavern, “Calf, I have conquered outland. I have bested the Naga in ther cavern, I have conquered the Tempest Keep. I have been to the Black Temple and paid Illidan his due. The Outlands are nothing but a training ground now for calves like you.” She turned away from the shaman, intently seeking another cut of meat.
“And so what if it is? Just because you did all those things doesn’t mean you can rest! The scourge have shown us that!” Rainseeker’s bravado had fallen away, replaced with righteous indignation at the Druid’s dismissive attitude. She leveled a hard stare at the Tauren, “I’ll even wager there are worse evils to be met than the scourge.”
Tigerfeet paused and turned one cold, feral, eye on the shaman and whispered, “Yes, calf. There are.”
…. to be continued. Part 3