((I needed to share this, because it was quite possibly one of my favorite things to write, and quite frankly, I'm surprised I'm still alive after what i did to Taldrus' character. But it was so worth it.))

 

Drastic Measures

 

Goldshire.

It wasn’t exactly a blistering boil on the face of Azeroth. No that was a metaphor reserved for even more bawdy places. The names of such as Bilgewater and Booty Bay came more readily to mind. But it was still a pretty sizable blemish in the middle of Elwynn Forest. And it was still a festering hub for seedy and unsavory goings-on, with equal types of people to run them. It was perfect.

He knew it.

And he knew she knew it.

That’s why it had taken a great deal of convincing, and Drician working his characteristic charms in a practically begging fashion to get Chrissinne to agree to make the detour. The warden was on a very direct errand for a very established druid that she actually held in some sort of a good esteem, and the stop was completely unnecessary, not to mention pointless, in her view. 

Though the monk managed to weave a few convincing arguments, and offered a couple promises he had very little, if any, qualms with following through. Even with these working to his advantage, he still figured he had better luck pulling an infected tusk from a quillboar. However, she’d managed to yield, which was a huge but welcome surprise. Then again, it was a real shock when Chrissinne yielded to anything. It was even more so when she didn’t ask any questions. Though Drician wasn’t about to let the opportunity to bask in this victory pass him by.
It wasn’t long before he was beginning to wonder if it was worth the effort.

It took even less time for him to be sure of it.

Just when he’d gotten the cards laid out in his favor, the game went south, and quick. He’d been caught in his act. He knew it the moment he felt an entourage closing in at his back. Drician wasn’t sure just whom it was that sniffed him out, but he’d managed to narrow it down to the surly, foul breathed dwarf to his left, or the dark-haired human with the golden eyes that bore into him like a pair of drills from the opposite side of the table. Either way, they knew he was cheating at a man’s game, and they’d sent in the reinforcements.

The gig was up. He had to back out. He had no choice, to be perfectly honest. To continue would only cause trouble. Causing trouble would cause a scene. And while a scuffle over a poker game was nothing unheard of in this black pit of a forest clearing, it was something that he wanted very desperately to avoid. After all, causing a scene would alert Chrissinne of this nasty little habit of his. Not to mention, he’d convinced her to come here, and then ditched her for a good couple hours under the guise of having a “surprise” in store, which he didn’t expect to be a lie. 

Therefore, he’d left her alone in this gods forsaken place, surrounded by a mob of the type of people she hated the most (if there was even a type she loathed over all others, given that she hated just about everyone, he was sure that they were among the patrons of Goldshire.). And if it was brought to her attention as to the real reason why… Well, her wrath was exponentially worse than any beating these oafs could dish out, and he was not too keen on experiencing either, much less one right after the other.

And so, Drician relented. He exposed himself, and laid all cards on the table, including the literal ace up his sleeve, along with every ounce of gold he had to his name. He even allowed himself to be frisked just to make sure. The swindling monk had made it out of there by the skin of his teeth, and ever grateful for the benevolence. But he’d also stepped from the back room of the Lion’s Pride absolutely penniless.

This was going to take some explaining, wasn’t it? He cursed himself for not thinking this plan all the way through as he sauntered through the bustling tavern, rubbing the back of his neck. It seemed as though he was going to incur the warden’s rage anyway, unless he came up with something quick. But that was something he’d always prided himself on, being quick and absolutely brilliant when he needed to be.

There was the all too familiar weight of a very certain pair of eyes upon him, and in that instant, he knew it was too late. A glance up, his stare locked with hers, flat, cold and unfeeling as ever. A smirk quirked its way across his lips. Time to put that brilliance to work. The monk was already beginning to mull ideas in his head, deciding which would be the best to bring to fruition as he sidled ever closer to her harsh glare.

She was a sight for sore eyes in the midst of the rest of the crowd; pretty as a picture, even with her blank and unfeeling expression, and chin raised slightly upwards in a manner that was almost condescending. She wasn’t happy, even though she didn’t show it. He could almost feel the anger radiating from her, even at this distance, and it was all being channeled toward him. It was then he decided he should start with the truth, or at least some variation of it. If there was anything he’d learned about dealing with Chrissinne was the fact it was in one’s best interest to be upfront and honest. She was bound to find everything out anyways. She was a warden, after all.

Drician slid into the empty chair beside her, angling so the wall was at his back. Couldn’t be too careful, right? The warden’s cold eyes followed him. There was no trace of what she might have been thinking reflected in those teal and silver hues, but that didn’t mean she was any less angry.  Drician pursed his lips, and averted his gaze. He decided to fix it on some  buxom babe worming her way onto the lap of some poor sap, who was about to be as broke as he was, judging by the slights of her hands. His fingers rapped on the table in a somewhat idle, but nervous fashion, as he fumbled over just how to break the news.

“Well,” he began, while running his free hand through his mane of blue hair. There was a pause in which he sucked his teeth with a short ‘tsk’ before continuing. “My idea didn’t go according to plan, at all.” He paused again, and gazed at her from the corners of his eyes. Carefully, he studied for any subtle change; a shift in her posture, a barely noticeable furrow of her brow, anything that might indicate her fist was about to make its way through his skull. She gave absolutely nothing. And he took it as his cue to continue. “So I uh… I blew all the money.”

“I fail to see why this is my problem. Aside from the fact that you have completely wasted my time.” Chrissinne’s reply came in her automatic monotone. It was as flat as her expression, with no lilt or tone that would betray any sense of emotion. Of course. They were in public. All of her walls had flown right back up, and were fortified the moment they set foot in the boisterous little town. She wouldn’t mention the fact that he had also, in essence, lied to her. That went unspoken.

Drician had a fleeting fear for the future of his ability to produce progeny.

He opened his mouth to retort, but she cut him off before he could utter a word.

“You have no more than five minutes to either remedy your situation, or at least make this little deviation worth my while, before I make my way to Darnassus without you.” There was no need for inflection to understand that Chrissinne was serious in every way. She would leave him here, and without a care, or a glance over her shoulder, really. She kept enough change in her pocket to cover her own expenses, so why should she? This was his problem, now. Not hers. And to be frank, she wanted little part of it.

Drician rolled his silver eyes and hunched over the table. Well she was being generous tonight, wasn’t she? Or maybe she just wanted to watch his suffering for a bit longer. Chrissinne was just a bundle of surprises. But five minutes… oh Drician Firestar could figure something out in five minutes, especially in Goldshire.

And perhaps he could kill both of those birds with one stone… He really was a brilliant son of a gun, wasn’t he?

A smirk curled its way across his purple lips, and he pushed himself away from the table. The chair scooted out from under him audibly, scraping across the tavern’s wooden floor. There was a tantalizing sway in his hips as he crossed the room, shoulders back and an air of confidence. He knew her eyes were fixed on him, just waiting to see what he had in store. (Or to see him fail. He wasn’t exactly sure which.)

In a fluid motion, he whisked himself up to stand atop an abandoned barstool. The slight, inquisitive tilt of Chrissinne’s head was caught out of his peripheral vision. It only served to make his grin grow.

The initial clap of Drician’s hands garnered him a few stares, and a faint lull in the loud drone of the tavern life. It was enough to make his voice heard, and that was all he needed. “Ladies and gentlemen! Well, mostly ladies… May I have your attention!” the monk bellowed. An eerie sort of hush followed suit. It wasn’t pure quiet, but it had taken the ruckus down to a dull roar. “I’m not the entertainment you were promised, tonight. But! I’m the entertainment you’re going to get!”

Almost every gaze was on him, now. And he was half expecting the obligatory rotten tomato chucked in his very direction. He couldn’t stall for too long, or he’d lose it. Quickly, those observant eyes scanned the throng. They found what they were looking for in one sweep. “Hey, buddy!” Drician called, jabbing a finger in the direction of a gnome wailing on a fiddle, who looked as though he would have preferred to have gone as unnoticed as he had been before. “Play me somethin’ a little more up beat, would you?”

There was a moment’s hesitation, but the gnome complied. The first notes of the song waivered over the heads of onlookers, and Drician wasted no time in making his purpose known. The rock of his hips fell in time, and his gaze locked with a human woman just at his feet. The wink he flashed, and the grin that accompanied it was enough to make her falter. With that, the show was on.

His hands travelled up his body, as he paraded himself about like a show pony on display. With every motion he’d drag his shirt up higher, and higher, revealing more and more of the toned muscle beneath, and how it rippled with every sway. But of course, he wouldn’t bare his chest, yet. Not until that bashful little redhead he’d made swoon only a moment before reached up to tuck a piece of gold in the waist of his leather pants. Well, that was one down. A couple… hundred to go. But hey, he wasn’t stopping anytime soon.

Somehow, he’d managed to lure the woman to him. Next thing he knew, they were on the bar counter, and she was his prop. Though, it really didn’t matter how they got there. All that really mattered was the fact the gold was quite literally pouring in. As a matter of fact, he nearly slipped on a stack of coins that had collected at his feet. The more that was tossed his way, the more he wriggled, gyrated, and perhaps even shed another item of clothing or two. Meanwhile, the poor girl was just trying to keep up.

Of course, he’d make sure to strategically angle his assets so the warden had a clear view. And he gazed at her, hoping to judge her reaction, despite the fact it would be hardly readable. She gave him nothing aside from her cold, hard stare boring holes into his head, and his back when it was turned. Well, he was aiming to make this trip worth it, all while raking in that dough. He figured he’d caught and pocketed enough to cover his end of the deal. It wasn’t what he’d lost, but it was something. And hey, he’d be able to follow through with at least one of those promises he’d proposed to Chrissinne once he finally got her up to the room. Then she’d have no room to be jealous, right? The thought made him break away from the human woman to actually face the warden.

She was gone.

Oh man. That wasn’t good. That meant his time was up, and she’d left without him. He didn’t even see her walk out the door!

A presence loomed at his back, and Drician whipped about to find the violet haired Kal’dorei had slipped up behind him. Drician grinned broader, and took a step to close the distance between them. With that one little move, he saw the briefest glimmer of something cross those cold eyes. Oh. She was jealous alright.

“Oh come on…” He murmured, leaning to press his forehead against hers and gave a roll of his hips. “I’m trying to make it ‘worth your while’.”

Chrissinne didn’t answer. But her full lips managed to crack into something he didn’t expect, a very faint smile, and it was so very sinister. The warden turned on the ball of her foot, her attention now toward the crowd gathering at the edge of the bar. “The bidding starts at 20 gold!” Her voice rang out over the cheers and squeals of the ladies at their feet.

“Bidding…?” Drician mouthed, trying to keep face as he questioned.

“That’s right, ladies!” the warden continued. That awful smile had not waned. “He can be yours for an entire night. Do I hear 25?”

So this was her game, huh? To sell him off for a night? That’s what she called spite? She must have been losing her edge. Drician snorted. Oh, well then. He’d play along. “C’mon. I’m worth more than that. Seventy-five! How about a hundred? Look. A hundred.”

“One fifty!” came a call from the back.

“Do I hear one seventy-five?” Chrissinne probed.

“Two hundred!”

“Two fifty?”

“One thousand gold.” The offer boomed from the back of the tavern in a deep, thick Draenic accent. The room fell to a near deathly silence in the wake, and Drician went still. The male Draenei rose to his hooves, a pale, giant and fine chiseled specimen of his race, towering above most of the other heads that surrounded him.

Chrissinne’s head moved to gaze over her shoulder at the rather surprised monk at her right. “One thousand gold…” she repeated, a certain kind of smug satisfaction evident in her voice.

“No…” Drician protested, quietly.

“Going once…”

“Chrissinne-“

“Going twice…”

“Fine.”

“Sold.” The single word was so definitive. And he could have sworn her smile widened. Then again, it could have just been a trick of the light.

The crowd once again erupted into a feverous racket, and parted like the ocean in the Maelstrom as the winning bidder ambled his way forward. He paused long enough to toss the heavy satchel of coins in the monk’s direction. Drician reached for the back eagerly, but Chrissinne was faster. Her hand closed around the velvet satchel, and she held it rather tauntingly in front of him, before giving it a reassuring toss then clutching it tightly. Her expression had fallen back into that unreadable line.

“Well, Drician,” she spoke softly in her usual droning monotone, “You certainly made it worth my while.” And she leapt from the bar counter, landing softly as a cat on the floor below. “I’ll meet you in Stormwind… For now, your prince is waiting.”

Drician heaved a small huff as he watched her begin to weave her way out of the Lion’s Pride, before she became lost on the throng. The outcome of the evening had been a far cry from what he’d hoped for, or even anticipated, but he couldn’t say he didn’t deserve every penance that had befallen him. It’d probably been a long time coming at that. In all the tenderness he’d managed to dig out of her, he had almost forgotten just how spiteful she could be. He found himself suddenly regretting not taking his chances with the poker game. Another sigh left his throat, and the Kal’dorei monk slid his way into the waiting arms of the rugged Draenei that was to claim him for the evening.

“C’mon big boy,” he said, giving the man’s chest a lethargic smack, “Make my night.”

Author Roderik
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