Summary: Love and sucking up to the Warchief may be in the air, but not everyone's happy about it.
"A what for who?"
"Charm bracelet for the Warchief," the Crown Chemical salesman rattled off in a tone of exaggerated patience. As if he'd repeated the same phrase numerous times already. More than likely he had. I couldn't be the only person to doubt what I'd heard.
He fiddled with the fake wings attached to his shoulders. "Look, lady. It's like this." He plunked a purple chest the size of a tackle box at my feet. "You're out bringing glory to the Horde, destroying its enemies, and you find something interesting from them – jewels, metal, bone –"
"Sure! These babies, now – " He flipped up the chest's lid and brandished a pair of pliers. I skipped back. "Thanks to goblin engineering, they can not only extract but add polish and pizzazz to anything and turn it into lovely charms." He clicked the pliers, grinning like a proud papa. "Goblin ingenuity at its finest."
Uh-huh. Charm bracelets. "What happened to giving cards? Wasn't that all the rage?" Something about this time of year sent everyone, it seemed, into a frantic search for love, a good time, or simply a friendly face. I'd gotten one from an Undercity abomination once. It had been interesting, but sweet in a way.
"Hey, times change. Fashions change. Cards are out, bracelets are in! And these!" He ruffled a stack of white, red and pink paper hearts under my nose. You help pitch our exclusive goods , you earn our tokens. Get enough and you can choose one of our special prizes." A grandiose wave of his arm indicated a rack of dresses in different colors but all the same wear-on-a-dare design, bottles of perfumes and colognes, a stack of picnic baskets. I must have looked less than convinced, because he added, "Or perhaps you'd prefer a box of fire chocolates?"
I shuddered. "No, thank you." After four days of helping my family's business, I didn't want to look at any anything chocolate. Or smell it. Or taste it. The first thing I ate once back in Orgrimmar was fried thunderlizard tail with cheese-smothered hardtack and washed down with lots of Darkbrew lager. Gryshka was impressed. "I don't think I can help you."
"Eh, your loss." The salesman shrugged. "Even the Very Important People are getting in on it, the bracelet thing, you know? It's kinda like a competition with them all – Sylvanas, Cairne's kid, the Warchief…." He trailed off, fussing with his wings again. "Some say they're keeping a tally of who gets what from who. Can you imagine?"
Yes. I could. And judging from the glint is his beady little eye, so could he. Dirty little snitch.
A few days ago I could have walked away without caring. Non-orcs might be accepted grudgingly under Garrosh's rule, but a lot could be overlooked when it came to healers. Now, though…. I didn't have a tabard and it wasn't required, so the Field Marshal said. It was possible this Crown Chemical rep was lying through his shiny pointed teeth. Even if he wasn't, it was possible word wouldn't get back to Hellscream. Even though admiration was meat and milk to him.
I sighed. Stonebreaker Hold was having a basilisk problem. "On second thought, give me a kit."
The process was a bloody mess. Literally. I'm no butcher, or skinner for that matter. If I want hides I purchase them or bring the carcass in whole to the leatherworkers. I spent hours prying scales, fangs, claws and other body parts from not only the basilisks but the wolves who wouldn't take a shouted "Shoo!" for an answer. The tools seemed to have minds of their own, glomming onto pieces of "charm material" at random. Then they'd twist, snip, break, splice, trim and polish, with very little direction from me.
The tauren say the arcane is unnatural. These tools almost had me agreeing.
In the end, though, I had enough charms to fill the high-grade metal wire. I strung them back at Stonebreaker Hold, after a bath and a change of clothes, and lay the bracelet on the inn's wolf fur rug.
Somehow, the tools had worked a miracle. The bracelet looked...pretty.
Yes, and Garrosh would just love it. With a grimace I slid it into a lynx-skin pouch, and flew to Shattrath to find a friendly and reasonably priced mage for a portal to Orgrimmar.
The Kor'kron waved me into Grommosh Hold with barely a second glance. Garrosh looked away from the shaman he was talking to when I approached.
"You have something for me, blood elf?"
He sounded tired of the phrase, as if he really wanted to tell me to take my skinny weakling self out of his sight. I held out the bracelet.
"A token of esteem, Warchief," I said as he took it from me.
"My… thanks… for this bracelet," he replied. Torchlight glinted off one of the charms, and he narrowed his eyes."
"Basilisk scale, wolf fangs, spider chitin." He jangled the chain. "Where did you find them?"
His interest surprised me. "Terrokar Forest, Warchief."
He grunted. "It would have been better if they came from Nagrand."
Some people are never satisfied.