Disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction brought to you by Zen and Raelynna – Some of the events were taken directly from Role Play – some just from many hours of conversations about our characters. We wrote this together as a means of sharing some of the fun we have with these characters with the rest of the community. Enjoy!

Chapter one
Business as usual

“Lt. Duncan?”
The soft voice of his secretary wakes him from a daydream.
“Lt. Duncan, there’s a Miss. Foxworth here to see you.”
The brown haired middle-aged man nods and replies “Very good Clara, please send her in.”
The red headed young girl nods and motions to someone outside the office then steps aside to let the visitor through. Lt. Duncan straightens his SI7 uniform and adjusts his office chair so it’s upright as a very well groomed Gilnaen woman with coal black waves that cascade down her back wearing proper horned rimmed glasses and an elegant dress strolls in. “Good afternoon Lt. Duncan.” The lieutenant nods in greeting. “Please have a seat Miss. Foxworth.” He gestures to the chair across from his desk. She takes a seat in a very polished and proper fashion. Ever so formal and doing her best to convince everyone that she was just so – The formal Gilnaen lady. Harmless.

“Now as I understand ma’am you wish to discuss the bounty for Mike Willison.”

<[#]>

“Eh Mikey ow’ did that last job go?” The brash looking Dwarf inquires as the rest of the gang, eight in total of various races gather around the campfire; their leader a rough and tumble looking human smiles, then holds up a rather sizable bag of coin. “We did quite well lads.” The bandit leader looks away for a moment distracted. “What is it boss?” the Dwarf asks. The leader shrugs “Nothin… thought I saw sum thin spark for a moment.”

<[#]>

Greta ‘Foxy’ Foxworth smiles and accepts a cup tea from Clara. “Thank you.” She turns her attention back to the man across the desk from her. “I have an opportunity for you lieutenant. You want Mr. Mike Willison and you’re willing to pay the sum of one thousand gold for his capture alive or dead. Is this correct?” The lieutenant nods looking a bit puzzled. “Yes that is the posted bounty…” There’s a ‘chirping’ noise from Foxy’s purse she smiles as she takes out the small triangular device and places it on to the desk. Lt. Duncan raises an eyebrow “What’s this?” Foxy presses a button on the device causing a holographic image of group of men gathered around a campfire to project above the desk. She gestures to one of the men in the hologram. “My client has located Mr. Willison but as you can see he’s not alone.” The lieutenant leans into examine the image “How recent is this?” He inquires. With a coy smile she replies “This image was taken a few seconds ago. Now for the opportunity I mentioned earlier…” She pauses a moment to sip her tea. “For the sum of ten thousand gold you can have the heads of Mr. Willison and his entire gang, all the men responsible for those bank robberies and the deaths of two of your agents. Furthermore I can have them here by the time we finish this pot of tea.” The lieutenant raises both eyebrows looking shocked, Foxy isn’t quite sure if it’s from the price or what is being offered.”

<[#]>

From his hiding place nearby the tall, rather scrawny and scared Night Elf Feral Druid Engineer loads his rocket launcher. One pull of the trigger, one well-placed explosion and the world would be a safer place and he’d be quite a bit richer.

<[#]>

At the behest of the lieutenant his captain joins them in the office to discuss the possible capture of the Willison gang. “Sir she says her agent can capture all of them for ten thousand gold.” Foxy politely clears her throat to get their attention. “To be clear gentlemen that’s for their heads… ‘capture’ would imply ‘alive’ they won’t be.” She looks at them pointedly over the rim of her glasses. The captain, a rather stout and proud looking Dwarf frowns “We’d prefer to have ‘em alive lass, they might be able to provide intel about the other crime syndicates.” Foxy frowns ever so slightly. “I’m sorry gentlemen but capturing the ‘entire’ gang alive is quite a task. We might be able to arrange it for the proper price though. A moment please.” Foxy presses her finger to her ear activating her ‘Com-link’ a small radio based communications device.

<[#]>

Zen sighs and curses quietly as he lowers his weapon. He activates his own Com-link and responses to the voice of Foxy in his ear. “Alive? There are eight guys over there.” He grimaces as he looks over at group of thugs gathered around the campfire. A gas grenade could knock out a some of them maybe a few Sticky Shockers, but he would have to engage in hand to hand combat, a risky venture at best. “It’s poker night Foxy I’d much rather just blow these guys up and be done with it…”

<[#]>

Foxy nods then turns her attention back to the SI7 officers. “Gentlemen my client is dealing with time constraints as well as high risk factors. He would need quite a bit of incentive to try to capture all of them alive.” The captain frowns and inquires “How much more ‘incentive’ we talking?” Without batting an eye Foxy replies “Another ten thousand.” The Dwarf slams his hands on the desk and exclaims “What?! Twenty thousand gold? That is outrageous!” Foxy smiles and sips her tea. “I realize it is quite the pretty copper but keep in mind this a rare chance one that won’t come again. Think it over, there is time… but not much.” The lieutenant looks to his superior officer and in a hushed tone says “She’s right sir we’ve been trying to track down Willison and his gang down for months, so far our agents have yet to so much as lay an eye on him.”

<[#]>

Zen drums his fingers on his thigh looking around in a bored manner. “Come on Foxy…” He looks over at his targets again, they are sitting around their campfire all nice and cozy completely unaware of his presence. (Used to be to be so simple find em, slice off the head, get the money, and go home. Now it’s all about politics and putting on a good show for the press.) The Druid sighs and looks at the time display on his goggles again, sure enough it was about five seconds later then when he had just checked. (The money is better though… Foxy has them talking five digit range. If this works out I could have a new a down payment on new lab.) The chirp of his earpiece snaps him out of his internal monolog. “Zen they’re willing to go as high as sixteen if you can bring Willison and his second in command alive.” The Druid shifts from his resting spot to look at his targets again. “sixteen minus your cut… not bad. Which one is the second in command?” After a moment the reply comes “The Gnome left side of the camp one Mark Commanman.” The Druid raises an eyebrow “ ‘Mark Commanman’? That’s a Gnomes name?” He asks in disbelief. Another moment passes and then “Apparently he took that name because his given name rhymes with a Gnomish word for uh… ‘lady parts’.” Zen shakes his head in disbelief, Foxy continues “There is an issue though. They want proof, to know that you’re truly there and that this isn’t some trick.” The Druid rubs his chin thoughtfully for a moment. “Alright have them pick out two of…”

<[#]>

“My client wishes for you to select two of the more… ‘expendable’ gang members as part of a demonstration.” The SI7 officials look confused then choose two a Worgen and a Draenei across the campfire from the gang leader. Foxy nods “Now, just to make sure we’re clear you only want Willison and Commanman alive the rest can die?” The captain nods and the fate of six men are sealed.

<[#]>

“… right so theres not one but two of them elven beauties in the lake naked as blue jays and I’m right there to see the show.” The other bandits hoot and holler as Jayboy tells his story. “So I start creep up ta get a better look when–” he pause as something shiny flies past his field of view and lands in the campfire from “What was–” there is a loud poof and the flame is suddenly snuffed out. Panic and confusion set in as the group is shrouded in darkness. “What happened?” Someone cries out. Willison tries to take control of the situation. “Calm down boys! Just chill a minute. Jake relight the fire.” A gruff worgen voice responds “Yeah boss I got the light righ ere— gah!” Another voice “Jake wha — no!” Silence falls over the group with only the sound being fleeing footsteps.

<[#]>

“A moment gentlemen the image is being updated.” As she speaks the holo-image of the bandits gathered around a campfire flickers and is replaced by a new one. Now four of the gang members are standing looking around confused and panicked, two are on the ground clearly bleeding from their necks with one leaning over them checking the bodies, the last is standing over the fire trying to relight it. “I trust this proves the legitimacy of this operation?” The captain looks a bit baffled and nods. Foxy smiles not a happy smile but a content one. “Very well then, Clara how about another cup of tea?”

<[#]>

The fire roars back to life casting the darkness away allowing the group to see their fallen comrades. “What happened to ‘em?” “Someone ripped their necks open!” The kneeling bandit explains. Willison draws his pistol “We got company lads!” The second in command draws his daggers. “Malorne, Fintly fan out and find… where the Fel is Malorne?” The group turns to where their Elven compatriot had been a moment ago, and through the darkness outside the light radius of their camp fire. They can see his glowing amber eyes and nothing else. “Malorne, what are you doing?” He doesn’t respond save for a muffled cry. “Malorne?!” There’s a loud SNAP as the glow of the eyes turns sharply then fades. The bandits are so struck by this they don’t think to attack until after the sound of footsteps and it’s too late.

<[#]>

Foxy sips the last of her tea, the last cup of the pot and wipes her mouth with a lacy handkerchief. “Well gentlemen my client should be here any moment. Perhaps you might start getting payment ready?” The SI7 agents have their gaze fixed on the latest holo-image. They had watched each update as one by one each criminal was picked off. The hardened Dwarf captain even flinched a bit as one the images showed a bandit mid being exploded by a grenade. The refined lady cleared her throat once again trying to draw their attention. “Gentlemen.” This time they looked at her and she smiled politely. “As I was saying my client should be here soon–” Foxy is interrupted by Clara peering into the office. “Sir, there is a rather ticked off looking Night elf outside waiting to see you. He’s with a Gnome and Human… and the human is carrying a bag that seems to be oozing blood and I think I saw an ear sticking out…” Foxy smiles, and in a happy tone states “Ah right on time.”

Outside the office as bruised and bloody Willson is carrying the aforementioned bag in one hand and his Gnomish second-in-command on the opposite shoulder. Sitting on a nearby bench is an even more bruised and bloody Zen being treated by one the medics with the Druid protesting mildly. “Look lady most of the blood isn’t mine it’s not that bad.” Foxy and the two SI7 officers come out to greet them with payment in hand.

A short while later…

“Foxy look… while having someone to carry the head bag is nice, this whole ‘take them alive’ thing is too much work and too much risk…” The Gilnaen lady nods in an understanding manner. “I know sweetie kitty, but times are different. SI7 needs to be able to show the public they’re safe. That means criminals to prosecute not chunks to sift through. Look it will be a few days before any more big bounties are posted, we pretty much cleaned out their coffers on this one.” She states with a slight smirk. “Why not take some time off and enjoy your monetary gains.” Zen nods “Well tomorrow is the big Templar pub night.” Foxy nods “Have a night on the town maybe meet a nice girl have some fun. I think you’ve more than earned it sweetie.” The Druid rolls his eyes (Just went through a nasty break up. don’t think I’m ready to meet anyone.) (Turns out dating the crazy sniper lady was a bad idea after all.) (Still… haven’t had a night out in quite awhile.) “You’re right Foxy. I’ll take some time off, after tonight I could sure use a drink.”

Chapter two
Just a girl in a tavern

Raelynna entered the tavern that night looking rather awkward as usual. She managed to put on a dress, but that was only because after a few more than awkward instances, she learned that people in human areas tend to stare if you just roll out of bed and go do your errands. Her hooves clacked on the stairs on her way up to the tavern. The ropes and lush foliage of Booty Bay reminded her of her lost home…memories tucked somewhere back in the furthest abscesses of her mind.

She looked under the tavern at the foundation of the building…sitting on planks that dug into the sea floor. “This building's structural integrity would be easy to compromise. I hope that they have a good evacuation plan in place.”. She let her hands fall to the side and walked in. The tavern was full of people that night and for a woman who was used to talking only to those who spoke to her in an academic setting – situations such as these made for…interesting times.

“May I get you something to drink sister?” The Draenei woman asked softly in the native language that immediately put Rae at ease.

“Do you have anything to cut back on the nerves? I am a bit overwhelmed here…” She smiled shyly at the server who just wrote something on her pad and smiled. She returned shortly with a tumbler of bourbon and handed it to Rae.

“Drink it slowly, if you are not used to consuming alcohol, it might make you feel funny, but it will certainly loosen you up.”

Rae took the drink and smelled it first. “Smells like about 20% distilled spirits. This means that at my current metabolic rate I can consume exactly three before I am naked doing tribal dances on a table.” Rae laid some extra coin on the serving tray and smiled softly before taking her first sip. She grimaced at the taste, but the flush to her cheeks was almost immediate and she began to feel somewhat relaxed.

Looking around the room she spotted lovers holding hands, People dancing together – the sounds of jovial laughter filled the room.

“Hey there beautiful..” The voice from the human mage leaning on the bar was soft. He spoke with a drawl that Rae remembered reading about in her literature on human languages. He must be from one of the areas outlying the human city…She thought and immediately began to observe him.

He was in good shape, probably about mid to late twenties in human years. He wore blue robes and a smile plastered to his face.

“I haven’t seen you here before…I think I would remember that…What is your name?” He asked. His eyes trained on her chest before looking up into her eyes.

She opened her mouth and thought for a moment about how to speak to this human in common.

“I am called Raelynna. You have a very healthy muscle mass…My guess is that you likely metabolize alcohol spirits much more effectively than most, due to your size and apparent tolerance for jovial drink.”

The mage looked at her and blinked his eyes. Rae just smiled and cocked her head to the side, completely unaware that she sounded at all awkward and or out of place. They stood there looking at each other for a good long moment before she felt a tap on her shoulder.

Behind her was a tall, slim Kaldorei man in goggles with what appeared to be a rocket launcher strapped to his back.

“Is this guy bothering you?” Before she could answer properly, she turned around and the mage – seeing an out from the awkward conversation had blinked somewhere across the room.

“No…Not at all. We were merely conversing and I was noting to him that he could probably consume more Distilled Spirits than anyone in this room due to his apparent tolerance and the amount of lean muscle mass on his slight skeletal frame.” She blinked at this and looked the elf over.

“Is that a rocket launcher strapped to your back?”

“Yes, it is. Most people think it is a gun of some kind. Well… it is a gun in the sense that if fires a projectile but—”

Without even asking Rae took the Rocket launcher off the mans back and began to take it apart in front of him quickly.

“Umm…what … hey careful!” He exclaimed, but before he could continue, she had the whole thing modified and reassembled.

“You miscalculated the amount of force needed to get optimum distance. Your math was flawed. I fixed it for you. I believe the words you are looking for are ‘Thank You.” She smiled at him – completely unaware of the social faux pas created by her mannerisms.

Zen looked the device over “So you lengthed the barrel and re-enforced the compression chambers…” He then nodded in a satisfied manner and with a smile said “Thank you.”

He ran his hand nervously through his hair pausing to scratch the back of his head and looked at her, almost dumbfounded. “My name is Zen… Zen Fateshifter.”

“I am called Raelynna.”

“Do you want to go out onto the porch and talk? This building makes me nervous. I don’t think they have a properly planned evacuation drill…” She asked him, her smile now a bit more relaxed.

“Oh you’re telling me! You have no idea how many times I’ve tried to talk to the owner…”

Chapter three
So I meet this girl…

“…she’s brilliant, and possibly as crazy as I am. I’ve never meet anyone like her!” Via his Com-link the whole trip to Tex’s lab Zen spoke about the girl he had met last night. The elderly Night elf hunter Mason Windstrike wearing casual attire looking every bit the historian he is smiles and shakes his head a bit. “I’ve never heard him so happy before.” From his perch atop the desk the upper half of Tex Nickelsupport wearing his usual robes and pointy hat a text book Gnomish Mage with arms crossed sighs. “Yeah I’m over joyed for him…” The lower half of Tex continues to pace back and forth. “Now what would make me happy is if he could get here and fix this!” He gestures to his legs which stop pacing as he stomps his foot in anger at his current predicament.

<[#]>

Zen slows his chopper to a stop just outside the concealed entrance to the garage of Tex’s lab. He looks around for anyone that might have followed him and from his perch on the Druid’s shoulder his owl Lookout does the same. The lab is located in a non-descript alley of the city of Ironforge far off the main causeways, none too far from Zen’s new home. “You see anything Lookout?” The owl replies with a soft hoot and a shake of his head. “Good me neither.” With a quick press of a button the hidden entrance opens and he drives in, parking in the usual spot.

<[#]>

Mason sets down his book and eases out of his chair as Zen enters the lab proper, Lookout leaves his perch on the Druid’s shoulder to fly to a roost set up in the corner. “Glad you’re here my boy.” The Druid nods as he makes his way over to the portal controls dodging around Tex’s legs along the way. “So what happened exactly?” He works the control just try to close the portals to de-separate Tex as the Mage explains. “I was installing my new replacement legs had trouble leaning over so I figured if used a portal…”

A short while later…

Tex stretches a bit making sure he still has full range of movement after having been de-separated. “All better now Tex?” The Druid inquires. The Mage nods “Yes indeed good to be back in one—“ They’re interrupted by the sound of the door opening they look up to see a pair of familiar faces. “Howdy Foxy… and Lt. Duncan was it?” Zen looks a bit surprised; it’s quite rare for a member of SI7 to show up on one’s proverbial front door step. The Lt. was the first to speak. “Mr. Fateshifter… SI7 is in need of your assistance.” Foxy frowns a bit as she explains “Sorry sweetie kitty. I know I said you would have a few days off but something has come up.” Foxy hands Zen an SI7 file he starts flipping through it as Lt. Duncan casts a wary glance at Mason and Tex. “This is a matter of the highest secrecy…” Tex and Mason exchange a brief look perhaps wondering if they should leave but this notion is dismissed by Zen stating “They’re on the team, no worries.” Lt. Duncan starts to protest but Foxy soothes his worries by explaining “Don’t worry they don’t cost extra.”

“So here’s the scope of it loves…” Foxy stands at the head of their meeting room table as the holo-projector in the middle of the table hums to life and begins to display images of various mugshots, locations, webs of names and places explaining complex relationships. “Turns out Wilison and Commanman in addition to their bank robbing activities were also smugglers. During interrogations they gave up the locations of several storehouses of various illicit items.” Zen nods as he listens (Okay so in addition to head bag carrier they’re some benefit in taking them in alive…) (Still too much trouble though.) Foxy gestures to a holo-image of a rather run down but otherwise un-noteworthy warehouse “Turns out they were smuggling more than they knew. SI 7 found a secret compartment in a shipment of stolen antiquities in which there were several encoded messages using known Forsaken cyphers.” She manipulates the holo-projector to bring up an image of the encoded message and it’s translation. “They were unknowingly adding a Forsaken cell… one that may very well be operating within Alliance cities.” The others react with shock and surprise. “So they’re using smugglers as a means of covertly carrying messages… clever.” Zen quips. Mason, Tex, and Foxy give him ‘you have missed the point look’. “Oh… and Forsaken terror cell… that’s not good.” The Gilnean lady continues “Gentlemen… last night we uncovered a piece of a much larger puzzle that connects some of the dots so to speak.” “Foxy who was the message being sent to?” As the Druid asks she is already bringing up the image. “We don’t know for sure…” The holo-image displays some profile and location information but no picture. “The target is code named ‘Mountaintop’ he is believed to be a Death Knight four feet ten inches tall and about seventy-five pounds. We believe he is intended to receive the shipment with the encoded message at this tavern in Booty Bay in a few hours so we need someone there on the ground tonight.”

Thinking back to the girl he had meet at the very same tavern the night before Zen was all too eager to go. “So I head back to Booty Bay tazer this guy and drag him back to Stormwind? Sweet how much we getting?” Foxy frowns a bit “They’re willing to pay us four thousand but he has to be alive AND willing to talk. You’ll need be less… well…” The Druid gives her a confused look as she searches for the right words “Less you then usual, all of his parts have to be attached… and not just in the bag he’s holding…” Zen rolls his eyes “I only did that the one time… and technically it was what they asked for!” The room falls silent for a moment then Foxy clears her throat and turns to Tex and Mason. “Well while he goes and plays fetch I have some more coded messages for you two to crack.”

As Zen heads back to his chopper to make his return trip to Booty Bay he thinks back to last night, to her.. (I wonder what she’s up to right now…)

Chapter four
Tactical Evasion

The rather tall Draenei woman was crouched inside a crate somewhere in Booty Bay. Deep breathing, trying to slow her heart rate. The two large brutish looking men were taunting her.

“Come out Come out wherever you are little one…You know you can’t hide from us forever…”

A loud crash as one of the shipping containers is literally crushed. Rae flinched and curled herself up tighter into a ball. Trying to fight back tears.

“You can’t do that…You know they want her alive – they have spent entirely too much money and time training her…”

“It is just meant to scare the little one…” The first man speaks softly before clearing his throat and listening for any sign of her presence…

“She’s not here. The boss is not going to like this…”

Both of the men turn around and walk, leaving the room in silence. After a good long moment Rae let herself breathe. She stood up, trying to tiptoe the best she could with her hooves on wooden planks and head somewhere – anywhere new to be safe. She looked in her bag at the strange communication device Zen had given her the night before. She finally took it out of the box and placed it in her ear like he had showed her how to do.

“Raelynna?” The calm voice on the other end of the Com-link was not that of Zen, but a very soft spoken Gilnaen woman.

“Zen? You sound like you turned into a woman…Is everything okay?”

“This is one of Zen’s associates. You can call me Foxy. I understand that you are in a bit of a bind yourself miss Raelynna, so I will make this brief. I do not know what Zen has told you of his life, or who he is and what he does for a living…but he is in grave danger at the moment and you’re the only one that can help him. I’m going to need you to listen very carefully to me.”

Raelynna shook her head in mild disbelief, but what could she do? “Yes. I understand. Tell me how I can help?”

“Very good. I am sending his coordinates to the Com-link now. When you are ready, push the green button and you will see a three dimensional image in front of you. This is in real time, and we must act quickly.”

Rae pushes the green button to see an image of Zen at the tavern where they had met. He ducking behind a table loading his rocket launcher, one the lens of his goggles has been shattered he’s clearly bleeding… A LOT so much so his hands are shaking as he loads the weapon. Some sort of energy blast crashes through his cover sending a spray of wood chips all over. He pops up and fires the rocket launcher while yelling something, then he looks shocked as another blast files at him forcing him to duck so he doesn’t lose his head. He turns and runs out of the frame of the camera as the view changes to something that she can not really make out. Something big, loud, very upset and throwing what looks to be an entire pot belly stove at Zen…

“Miss, that tavern is not safe. It has no proper evacuation plans…Why would you send him there?”

“In all fairness Raelynna, this is kind of a regular occurrence for him… also judging by the sight of whatever it is he’s fighting he might have ‘evacuated’ himself already.”

Author Zenru
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