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Meanwhile, shortly after Mida's meeting unfolded in Fizwitz Village, far to the north Grand Foreman Gazlowe was overseeing the laborers at the so-dubbed Bilgewater Lumberyard. A small work force of about a dozen goblins were out chopping down the massive trees and lugging them to stripping machines to turn them into more usable blocks of wood, pealing off all the natural bark, stems and leaves with a single run through. On his daily rounds to the worksites, Gazlowe took notes of how well production was going, number of workers, amount of output generated, and many other things that were all to be reported back to Mida in their one o'clock meeting today. As he took notes and names, however, he noticed someone was missing.
Gazlowe lifted his pencil from his clipboard and put it behind his ear. He looked up and shouted at the nearest goblin, "Hey you! What's your name?"
"Me?" Fedekkes said, hauling a large tree trunk to the stripper, "I'm Fedekkes."
"Fedekkes," Gazlowe asked, "Where's that one guy that's usually out here this time of day? Normally I've got at least ten goblins working this joint, but today we're kind of behind."
"Which guy?" Fedekkes asked. She sat her log on the conveyer belt that lead into the machine and stopped for a breather. Her clothes were filthy with dirt and pit-stains from working so hard on the daily grind.
"You know, name begins with a D I think, handy with machines, has a weird messed up arm left arm?"
"You mean Don?"
"Yeah!" Gazlowe said, snapping his fingers, "Don Señor Boom. That's the one. He does good work out here, and I haven't seen him today. I'm not about to have low output the day I have to give an already lackluster report to Her Tallest, you know where to find him?"
"Oh…" Fedekkes paused, scratching her head, "Oh! That's right! Don mentioned yesterday he may be late to work. Said he's got some sort of… surprise?"
Gazlowe groaned, "A goblin engineer with the word 'Boom' in his name has a surprise for us… why do I not like where this is going?"
Just then, a buzzing sounded off in the distance. All the working goblins stopped and looked around to identify the noise. It drew closer and closer, emitting mechanical buzzing and stomping. Up from behind the southern hill came Don, piloting a crude, hand-engineered shredder fashioned from scrap metal. The sight of the shedder caused all the lumber-hauling goblins to cheer and sigh in relief; a shredder meant things were about to get a lot easier in the Bilgewater Lumberyard.
A thick, green smoke rose up out of the exhaust pipes in the back of the shredder. No one knew what was powering it, or why it came out green, but no one cared. There was no menacing face on the shredder or protective paneling. It was the skeleton of the shredder; the bare minimum for it to still be operational. Piloting it at the control panel, atop a heavily patched driver's seat was Don himself. He moved the shredder past the on-looking goblins to the northern wall of trees. He lifted his massive buzzer blade and with a few quick swipes, took out an entire wall of three large trees. They quickly toppled over, almost crushing a few goblins, but were quickly lifted into the stripper. Don sawed away more and more, until the entire northern wall of the lumberyard was gone, creating a path to the shore below the hill. With nearly two whole days worth of lumber cut in a matter of minutes, the goblins cheered and rushed him happily, but Don only blushed and drew down the visor over his seat bashfully.
"Great leaping lepers!" Gazlowe shouted, "That's some damn fine work there son!"
A quite and humble "Thanks" came out of the shredder.
"I've completely made up for all the lost ground this week, and just in time to! I've gotta' turn this report in to Her Tallest today, and I'll be sure to mention your name, Boomie!"
The shredder exploded with noise again as the blades started spinning at chopping speeds. Green smog billowed out of the shredder violently as it turned around with loud, mechanical stomping. The other goblins scattered in fear as an angry voice shouted from inside the shredder, "What did you just call me?"
Gazlowe stared in fear, "Um, I was just saying that…"
"No one calls me that!" Don shouted. His buzzer blade lifted high up above Gazlowe and prepared to swing it down upon his boss, but as he did, the shredder's balance was suddenly thrown off. The blade rose so high and back, and he was standing so close to the edge of the hill already, it was just enough weight him down and pull the shredder back. Don uncomfortably made some wobbling noises, struggling to maintain balance as the shredder began to fall backwards, head-over-heals, down the hillside. With a scream, the machine fell backwards and toppled down the cliff.
Gazlowe lowered his guard and looked over the hill. Below them was a completely destroyed shredder and a goblin crawling out of its wreckage with both embarrassment and scorn across his face. In angry humiliation he wrapped a cloth around his now-exposed, mangled arm and stomped off unhappily. Gazlowe turned back to Fedekkes and shouted, "What was that all about?"
Fedekkes shrugged, but another goblin, Brumley, stepped forward with a raised hand and said, "Well, sir, Don doesn't like being called that, and he's not one for large amounts of attention either."
"Don't you think you should have mentioned that before? I mean, I do try my hardest not to enrage goblins riding shredders." Gazlowe angrily barked.
Brumley shrank back for a moment, "I'm sorry, I didn't think…"
There was a loud explosion off in the distance that cut Brumley off. Gazlowe, as well as all the goblins in the lumberyard, quickly turned to look out at the shore just north of their location. With Don's path cut through the forest, they could see straight down to the beach, and what they saw shocked them. Dead ahead was a massive oilrig that had just erupted with a large, black stream of oil. Just next to the rig was a crudely fashioned dock, and, most importantly, a ship; a goblin ship.
"That's not one of ours." Gazlowe shouted, both in anger and confusion, "We haven't made it to that shore yet, let alone started tapping it for resources."
There was silence for a moment as Gazlowe stared in frustration at the new sights. Fedekkes stepped forward and decided he would say what they all were thinking, "Well, wait, if it's not one of ours, then who's is it?"
"Well they're clearly goblins." Gazlowe said, "Look at the ship, and the machinery. I doubt they're among us though, given their ship's presence. Looks like this island's been discovered, fellas. And whoever they are, they're tapping into our resources."
"What are we going to do about it?" Brumley asked.
Gazlowe thought for a moment, "I say we go down there and meet them; see who they are and what they're up to. This island belongs to the Bilgewater Cartel, so they're the ones trespassing here. Brumley and Fedekkes, I know your names already, so you two can come with me. We'll grab that Don fellow too. He's good and feisty if we run into any trouble. The rest of you stay here and get that lumber processed."
Out at the oilrig, the massive collapse of the forest wall in the distance equally drew their attention. The oilrig had just been completed by goblin engineers, and was pumping for the very first time. One lavishly dressed goblin stared out through a telescope at the hilltop where he saw Gazlowe attempting to climb down the hillside.
With a hiss, he muttered, "Gazlowe, bane of our existence."
"What milord?" A goblin engineer asked.
"Lower the flags." The leader ordered. "And get any non-goblins on this expedition somewhere out of sight."
"Why milord?" The engineer asked.
The lead goblin slapped the engineer and shouted in his ear, "That is Foreman Gazlowe of Ratchet! He's one of the number one enemies of the Venture Company! If he sees us waving our flag, we're all doomed."
"Yes milord!" The goblin engineer whimpered.
"Gazlowe… been a thorn in the Venture Trading Company's side, in my side, for too long, him and his entire Steamwheedle Cartel. The world is sundered by a cataclysm, we travel all the way out to an uninhabited, unexplored island just created a few weeks ago trying to find that weasel of a Trade Prince only to find you out here? This… This is going to require some… craft."
"The flags are down milord!" A goblin shouted, "And the gnolls, kobolds and humans have been shooed deep into the mine at the Slave Pits."
"Good." He responded, "Now you other goblins follow me. We've some negotiating to do, and for the love of gold, don't let them know we're in the Venture Company! Let me do the talking, okay?"
Gazlowe, Brumley, Fedekks and Don all charged up to the platform of the oilrig. All but Gazlowe were quite out of breath, who quickly shouted at the first goblin he saw, "Who's in charge here?"
"That would be me." A goblin said. Gazlowe and his companions turned to see a very well-dressed goblin with a group of thugs around him. He had on an extremely thick, fluffy coat that was surely only to show off his wealth given the heat of the jungle, and a massive, black top-hat bigger than his head. His robe dragged on the metal framework of the oilrig behind him, which was followed by four heavily equipped, burly goblins. The goblin grinned a massive, devilish grin as he waltzed up to Gazlowe, and with a brief glint in his eye he said, "My name is Gallywix. I'm in charge of this oilrig."
"Who are you here with?" Gazlowe asked, "What organization?"
"Organization?" Gallywix stuttered, searching his mind, "We're with the… K… T… C."
"KTC?" Gazlowe asked, "What's that stand for?"
Gallywix spat out the first words that came to his mind, "Kalimdor Trading Company."
Gazlowe glared suspiciously, but shrugged and said "Never heard of 'em."
"Not surprising." Gallywix said, "We're a rather small organization of goblins trying to stay under the radar of Undermine."
"Well, that's nice," Gazlowe said dismissively, "But you all seem to fail to realize that another cartel already controls this island."
"Really? Which one?"
"The Bilgewater Cartel." Gazlowe barked.
Gallywix had fully expected him to say the Steamwheedle, given Gazlowe's presence. Hearing the Bilgewater Cartel, though, triggered a thought in Gallywix's mind, but he did not express it right away. First, he had to toy with Gazlowe for a bit longer to get more information. Gallywix looked at the Gazlowe with a certain faked interest and asked, "Bilgewater? Here? Why are they all the way out here?"
"Ship wreck." Gazlowe said still with confidence, "They were escaping Kezan, and trying to find safe harbor when they got caught in the crossfire of Alliance and Horde ships, not to mention a storm."
"Oh dear, I heard about that… what happened to Kezan and all. Pity."
Gallywix's pomp and arrogance annoyed Gazlowe to no end. He gritted his teeth and said, "Quite. Now, what are we going to do about this territorial dispute?"
"Oh, first I've a quick question." Gallywix asked. Wording his question carefully, not to reveal his true intentions of coming to the island, and asked, "Whatever happened to that Trade Prince of yours?"
Gazlowe shrugged, "I don't know. He wasn't my Trade Prince."
"Maldy." Brumley scoffed, "Monster. We don't know what happened to him."
"We've been here for a while now," Fedekkes said angrily upon hearing that name, "and no sign of him. Odds are he died in the shipwreck, but rumors have it that monster may still be among us."
"You've got to be joking!" Don said, "If that sorry goblin is still alive, I'll personally rectify that myself if I ever find him."
"That's enough you guys!" Gazlowe barked, not wanting to reveal any information about their current situation.
"So," Gallywix grinned, "I'm to understand you have no Trade Prince here?"
"Damn it you three!" Gazlowe shouted, "And no, we don't have a legally official trade prince, but we do have a leader. Her name is Mida Silvertongue, and she will not be pleased to find out another organization is siphoning her resources."
Gallywix struggled not to laugh. He had heard the stories of the prodigal, kind and, therefore, foolish Baron Silvertongue, so nothing with such a name in it could sound threatening to him no matter how it was spun or said. He held back his breath and said, "Yes, I'm sure of that. But I'm sure as you can see, we've already established quite a bit of an operation here. These islands were newly formed by the cataclysm, you see, and therefore legally belonged to no one. We came here seeking out fair profit, and now we've already a mine established southwest of here, and we just got this oil platform up and running. Given that, there was a fair run for land on this island, and we've grabbed what we could."
Gazlowe about snapped at the arrogant goblin, but was suddenly stopped. A loud, piercing shriek cried out over the entire island, causing all the goblins to slam their hands over their sensitive ears. They screamed in pain, but it couldn't be heard over the shriek. It wasn't any bird cry, or creature that dwelt on Azeroth; only something dark and demonic could make a cry this loud. Some goblins even fell to the ground it was so sharp and stabbing, slicing and slashing at their eardrums. It didn't even last for ten whole seconds, but it felt as if it would never end.
Once it did, Gazlowe let go of his ears as all the goblins – Bilgewater and "KTC" – looked around, confused and scared.
"What…" Gallywix said, taking deep breaths, "What was that?"
"I don't know." Gazlowe said, "I've never heard that before."
Gallywix placed his hand over his pounding chest, and Gazlowe took fast, deep breaths, as did all the goblins.
Don tapped Gazlowe on the shoulder, spooking him for just a second, and whispered into his ear, "Perhaps it would be most prudent if we went to tell Her Tallest about these KTC people, and investigate that shriek."
Gazlowe nodded to Don. His three escorts that had come quickly turned around and fled. Gazlowe glared at Gallywix and said, "Look pal, we're not done here. We've got a large force of goblins set up on this island, and we control most of it. I'm not saying you've got to give up what's yours right now, but at least give me the chance to inform the Bilgewater leadership you're here before you expand any further, for your own protection."
"My own protection?" Gallywix asked, "Is that a threat?"
"Take what you want from it." Gazlowe said, turning to leave the platform, "But the Bilgewater goblins are a crazy lot. I've spent my life working for the Horde and the Steamwheedle Cartel, but these guys aren't like any goblins I've ever seen. They attacked an Alliance vessel, and an Alliance fleet, head-on. It would be a terrible tragedy if you accidentally got in their way."
"You!" Gallywix shouted. Being in the leadership of the Venture Co, Gallywix already held a strong hatred for Gazlowe. Now, he was forced to bite his tongue until it bled, stopping himself from blowing his cover. Many questions and angry demands filled his mind, but for the time being he could not afford to make an enemy; Alliance, Horde, or otherwise. He took a deep breath, looked at Gazlowe and, from behind his grinding teeth, muttered, "Fine. We will not expand further into the island." Gallywix glared straight into Gazlowe's eyes and hissed, "For now." In a tuff, Gallywix turned around, sending his violet robe twirling behind him and he stomped off to the ship near the oilrig.
Gazlowe scoffed, "What a clown," as he darted back to town. Still, he scratched his chin briefly as he thought to himself, "Gallywix… that name sounds so familiar."

***

As Gazlowe met Gallywix on the other side of the island, Mida, Bowie, Fizzex and several other goblins that they had grabbed in Oomlot were just arriving in Town-In-A-Box, where Flagg was preparing his men for combat. The two hunters Khazar and Blunderfix had successfully spread the word of the Horde's presence, and many able-bodied goblins were getting armed and ready in the small outpost town. Upon entering the village, Flagg quickly stole Mida's defenders and drafted them into his own ranks. Goblins that had not been professionally trained to be soldiers were laughable in their attempts to be so. They were hardly the most organized group, and Flagg's difficulty keeping military order among such ranks became very apparent. Mida even had to send Bowie to find an Undermine flag somewhere in the camp because none of the soldiers seemed to know where their own flag was. Goblins were running about madly; getting weapons and armor, coming and going to the blockade to the south, trying to hide from their angry CO, and some simply stood there, not caring for the seriousness of the situation. Mida, having lost her guide Fizzex, was busy trying to stop Commander Flagg for just a few seconds to figure out what exactly they were up against and how to get to the Horde base. Eventually, she ran into him as he left a supply shed. He had just finished scolding an engineer for melting down a whole crate of ammunition earlier that day to build a mechanical back-scratcher.
"Flagg!" Mida shouted, "I need a word!"
Flagg came to a screeching halt, turned to Mida and quickly shouted, "I'm sorry My Tallest, but my hands are just a little full at the moment with these untrained, attention-deficit goblins. I've got our defenses as good as they can be, don't worry." Of course, immediately afterwards he turned around and ripped a tarp off of two cowering goblins and shouted at them to get to the armory.
"I know." Mida said, "But I need more information about the Horde's exact location. Have you scouted out the hillside?"
"Sure, why not." Flagg said dismissively, clearly not paying attention. He instead immediately ran across the compound to a group of idle goblins chatting and shouted, "What's wrong with you idiots? Didn't I tell you to get to the blockade?"
"Wait!" Mida shouted, trying to grab him, but it was no good. "Damn it, I need more information than that."
"Perhaps I could be of assistance." A pleasant goblin voice said from behind Mida. She turned around to see a young goblin woman in a humble, yet professional dress, with pale blond hair up in two long pigtails. Her face was exceptionally adorable for a goblin, and her makeup beautiful. What a girl like this was doing in the middle of a military station was beyond Mida.
"Who are you?" Mida asked.
"Oh, do forgive me." She said politely. With a curtsy, she continued, "My name is Sassy Hardhearted. I've recently found a job working as a secretary for the Commander, and as a messenger between here and Oomlot Village."
"Secretary?" Mida asked, "Then can you fill me in on specifics?"
"Of course, ma'am." Sassy said. She picked up a smooth, sanded, hand-crafted clipboard and began reading off of it in her soothing voice, "Commander Flagg has ten goblins armed and ready at the road to the south. The remaining forces are staying here in the outpost, including Flagg himself, as to keep a close watch on the Horde. With more people here, he believes they can better assist should things go badly by being a shorter distance away. The Horde is positioned just at the top of the hill to the north. The commander advises we approach it from the east side of the outpost by taking the road to Oostan and veering westward at the river, crossing it and scaling the hillside."
Mida listened intently. When Sassy was done talking, Mida raised a curious eyebrow and only said, "Strange, I never pegged Flagg as the secretary type."
"He's not, ma'am." Sassy said, "He usually complies reports on his own, but all of this happened so quickly he had me write as he dictated. Luckily, I was in town delivering a message from Oomlot Village."
"So, by recently found a job," Mida started jokingly, "You mean within the past few minutes?"
Sassy giggled daintily, "You could say that, ma'am, yes."
"My Tallest, there you are!" Bowie said, catching up with her, "I got lost when a bunch of goblins came screaming in through here. I guess Flagg's got his hands full with…"
Bowie paused and stared at Sassy. Sassy looked around Mida to Bowie and stared right back. Mida stood aside, and looked at the two goblins, staring intently and silently at one another.
Bowie's eyes narrowed, and with a grunt he said, "Hello… Sassy."
Sassy grew half-a-smirk and angrily turned her eyebrows inward, "Hello Bowie."
Mida turned to Bowie, "Do you two know each other?"
Silence. Neither goblin responded.
Mida looked to Sassy, back to Bowie, back to Sassy, and still nothing. With Flagg still barking orders in the background, Mida aimlessly tossed out the words, "Um, guys? What's going on here?"
"We are having a feud." Bowie sharply said.
"Correction, HE is feuding." Sassy said, "he's the one that can't let this go."
"Shut up!" Bowie shouted, "I know you cheated!"
"You can't prove that!" Sassy shouted back in an angry mock.
"Look, guys…" Mida said, trying to settle this most untimely argument, but she was immediately cut off.
"A.C.M.M.E. never should have given you that degree, you didn't earn it!" Bowie barked.
"You're just butt-hurt over the fact that I'm the only one that got a higher grade than you, and that I'm a better secretary than you!" Sassy mocked in an adorable charm.
Bowie snapped the pencil in his hand and shouted, "Okay, that's it little girl!"
"Will you two stop!" Mida shouted, spreading her arms out between the two in fear of a physical fight. "This is NOT the time for this, whatever it is!"
"Yes ma'am, forgive me." Sassy politely and calmly said, passively mocking Bowie's angry scowl.
Bowie tossed his broken pencil away, and grumpily mumbled, "Yes My Tallest."
"Good. Now, Bowie, did you find what I asked you to?"
"Oh, yes My Tallest." Bowie said. He pulled up a torn piece of cloth he was dragging behind him to reveal it bared the regional symbol of Undermine that goblin trade vessels often flew.
"Great work Bowie." Mida said, "Get it mounted on a pole. We'll be carrying it with us to the Horde camp. Hopefully they'll still respect it as a sign of neutrality."
"Yes My Tallest!" Bowie shouted, grabbing nearby wooden poles to hoist the flag onto like a banner.
"I'd like a Horde flag too." Mida said, scratching her chin, "If we can bare both our own symbol and theirs, there's a good chance we won't be attacked."
"I happen to have one." Sassy gleefully said. Mida turned to her in disbelief, and Sassy continued, "Well, we have one. Commander Flagg managed to salvage one from the shore, and ordered to keep it in storage with the rest of the spare fabric we've found."
"Can we have it?" Mida demanded more than asked
"Of course. I'm more of the company clerk in this military town than secretary anyway. I have access to all of the supply sheds, and you've certainly the authority to open them, My Tallest."
"Hey!" Bowie shouted, dropping the wooden pole baring the Undermine flag, "You do NOT get to call her that, understand? That is OUR name for her, okay? Not to be used by the cheating, conniving, treacherous likes of you!"
"Bowie shut up!" Mida shouted, "And pick up your flag! You'll be carrying it to the base." Bowie growled at Sassy once again, who only grinned and beat her pretty eyelashes mockingly at him. He stomped back to his flag and began lifting it high above his head. As he did, Mida turned back to Sassy and said, "And you'll be carrying the Horde flag."
"WHAT?!" Bowie shouted louder than he had ever shouted. "Are you saying I have to work with HER?!"
"Yes Bowie. You and she are the only goblins here that seem to have any sort of professionalism when it comes to diplomacy or generalized people skills."
"But she's…"
"She's as professional and official of a diplomat as we can get on this island!" Mida shouted, "Besides, she knows the way and has all the information we need. And since Flagg nabbed our guide, we need her."
Sassy grinned smugly at Bowie.
"Wait, wait, wait," Bowie said, "We don't have a security detail?"
Sassy pulled her report back up, "Commander Flagg has requested all possible goblins trained in combat to report to him for posting."
"But what about us?" Bowie asked, "Who's going to defend us?"
"I will." Mida said, "I'm just as good as any security detail. Besides, I don't want to bring heavily armored soldiers with us anyway. We don't want to appear hostile, which is why I need both of you to calm down."
Bowie staggered unevenly under the weight of his flag as Sassy went to storage and retrieved the Horde banner. She raised it on a pike just as high as Bowie's, and carried it to the edge of town. Once notifying Flagg, Mida, Bowie and Sassy all began their walk up the hill to the northwest. Flagg took his position in the northern-most lookout tower in Town-In-A-Box to keep watch over them. The choice to go without soldiers was one of mixed feelings for him; he knew Mida could defend herself, but wished she'd have brought more if only for intimidation purposes. He knew this was a diplomatic mission, and it did, after all, give him more men to command from his outpost. There was then something in the wind that unsettled Flagg, and he suddenly felt extremely thankful he had the troops he did.
Upon at the top of the hill, in the Horde base, orc peons were throwing together tents and raising banners as the commanding officer of the Horde expedition watched over them.
"Make sure those tents are anchored well, mon!" Commander Dula'jin said, "Dis be a tropical island, and we're on a cliff overlooking da sea. If a tropical gust come up on us, we could be swept away like trash!"
"Commander Dula'jin!" An orc grunt shouted, "Something is approaching the camp!"
"What?" Dula'jin shouted back, "What is it? Is it Alliance? Did dey reach dis island before us?"
"No sir! They appear to be… goblins."
"Goblins?" Dula'jin said with a curious ring. As if to himself, he said aloud, "could dey have survived dat storm too?" He reached up and swiped a telescope from the grunt and peered out down the cliff. Sure enough, a small envoy of goblins was walking straight up on the camp – two baring the banners of the Horde and Undermine, blowing majestically in the wind, with a third, much taller, prouder looking goblin in between them leading the group. He immediately tossed the telescope back to the grunt and ran out to meet the goblins. If they were in fact the goblins he thought they were, he knew they were no enemies.
"Hey there!" Dula'jin shouted, "You goblins! Who are you?"
Mida stopped a few yards ahead of the commanding troll. She smiled pleasantly, and for the first time in a long time switched into her business mode. How she had missed the feeling, as she uttered the words, "Greetings good sir. My name is Mida Silvertongue, acting leader of the Bilgewater Cartel. We mean you no harm."
Dula'jin nodded, "Aye, and I be Dula'jin, commanding officer of dis outpost. Tell me sumptin, are you goblins da same ones we saw get caught in our crossfire with de Alliance?"
Mida nodded, "Yes, we were aboard a vessel called the Hulking Hippo." Her eyes narrowed, "I believe you set our stern-most sails on fire."
Dula'jin chuckled, "Yeah, dat was our old commander, Warlord Thrush. He fell in combat with de Alliance. I apologize for any furder damage he may have caused in his… zeal."
Mida nodded, "And I apologize for the loss of your leader."
Dula'jin smiled, "Dat's enough of dat now." He signaled to two grunts behind him and shouted a command in orcish. They quickly fell into position behind him just as Bowie and Sassy were to Mida, and walked out of camp to her.
Sassy leaned in towards Bowie and whispered, "Do us a favor, and keep your mouth shut, huh?"
"I'll keep my mouth shut if you keep yours shut!" Bowie snapped back, "Which must be exceedingly difficult I'm sure."
"Be quiet you two!" Mida whispered back at them.
Dula'jin stood in front of Mida now, face-to-face. He was a blue-skinned Darkspear troll, standing at just under twice Mida's height with his hunched back. His tusks were long and straight, and hair was a short, but wooly and purple beneath a dark green hood and cloak. Aside from that, he had on little more than a brawler's harness and a belt with a crudely fashioned Horde symbol belt-buckled holding up his tattered pants.
"Lady Silvertongue." Dula'jin said, extending his three-fingered hand downward, "It be a pleasure. I saw what you goblins did to de Alliance back dere at sea, and I gotta' say, I am a fan of your work."
Mida grinned and extended her own four-fingered hand to his, firmly grabbing and shaking it, "Commander Dula'jin. It's an honor. My people are all stranded here after the loss of our homeland in the cataclysm. We have established many settlements across this island already, hold many of its resources, and are more than willing to work with the Horde in the same manor we always have."
Dula'jin grinned, "Honest work for honest pay, eh?"
Mida grinned, "You can take the goblin out of the business world, but you can't take the business world out of the goblin."
Dula'jin burst into laughter, "Hah! Dat be the first time I've laughed since coming to dis spit of land. We, too, be shipwrecked here, and hunted by de Alliance dat's set up camp on de small island southwest of here. My ship was destroyed in de attack, but a second Horde Juggernaut, Draka's Fury, survived, even if barely. It crashed here on de island, and we are using it as our base of operations. Its commander, Captain Aggra, is our leader here. I was the commander of the first ship when it sank, so she made me second-in-command."
Mida nodded, "Duly noted. My primary mission today is to re-establish trade with the Horde. I'm sure you're familiar with the contractor Gazlowe from Ratchet? He's here on the island with us."
"Ah, yez." Dula'jin nodded, "I know of Gazlowe. He does good work, all dem goblins willing to work for da Horde do good work. In fact, I had told Captain Aggra you might be on de island somewhere. She dismissed it as irrelevant, but I knew you goblins are capable of good stuff. Dat's actually the secret reason I convinced her to let me lead de mission to dis island."
"Oh?" Mida said, "That interested in our services again, are you?"
"You could say dat." Dula'jin said with a grin growing on his face, "You see, Lady Silvertongue, I know, and I know dat you know, de Alliance tink of you as Horde. Dey want you dead just as much me or my men. Dey don't care."
Mida nodded, "I'm aware of this. Are you proposing something?"
"Yez. You see, mah-lady, I propose that you goblins join us, join de Horde, even if just for a little while, yah? We've got da man powah, you've got da resources. Together, we could teach dem Alliance a lesson dey'd never forget, heh-heh-heh."
Mida smiled, "Thank you, Commander Dula'jin for your offer, but right now the Bilgewater Cartel is not interested in making nonrefundable, irreversible investments in any given faction."
"Lady Silvertongue," Dula'jin said with a new seriousness in his voice, "Wit all due respect, do you tink you can stand up against de Alliance on your own? And even if so, de Alliance is your enemy as well as ours. Wheder we would choose it or not, dat makes us allies."
As touching, and true, as what Dula'jin said was, Mida could not make such a commitment. The businesswoman in her still had not declared the Alliance enemies yet, but she dared not allow the Horde to learn this. "I understand, Commander Dula'jin. And I'm sure that we will accomplish great things together, your forces and my resources, but right now there are simply too few of us goblins left in the world for me to make such a one-sided decision just yet. Perhaps it's only my goblin nature telling me so, but I would much rather start our reborn relations off to a slower start than that. Hopefully, we goblins can get back to business as usual as quickly as possible, for the betterment of both…"
Mida was suddenly interrupted as a loud, piercing shriek – the same one that interrupted Gazlowe and Gallywix at the same time – rang overhead. All the goblins fell to the ground in pain, and even the orcs and their troll CO recoiled horribly. Being closer to the south, the noise was much more painful. Whoever or whatever was emitting it was nightmarish. Again, the blood-curdling, island-wide banshee cry lasted but for a few seconds before it stopped.
Bowie and Sassy had both fallen to the ground, dropping the banners. The orc peons hesitantly crawled out from the tents they were pitching, as Mida pulled herself back to her feet. Dula'jin uncovered his ears and looked down to Mida and asked, "What was dat?"
Breathing heavily, Mida responded, "I… have no idea."
Bowie and Sassy soon got up as well. They looked at each other, to Mida, to Dula'jin and back, scared.
Dula'jin's ears twitched, "I tink it came from de southwest."
Mida turned and looked out across the shore, "The same direction as the Alliance base camp."
Dula'jin nodded, taking a few steps forward, "You be right about that, Lady Silvertongue. It definitely sounded like it came from… wait, what's that?"
"What's what?" Mida asked.
"Down dere!" Dula'jin shouted, pointing to Town-In-A-Box. "Sumpting be going on down dere!"
Mida reached into her tool belt and pulled out a telescope. She flung it forward to extend it and looked down the hillside to the goblin outpost. She gasped as she suddenly saw three small drop ships landing ashore, all painted black and baring the mysterious symbol of SI:7. Before Mida could even swear, they burst open with black-clad humans, swords drawn, rushing the goblin village. She looked on for a second longer to see Flagg leap from the watcher tower, screaming like a madman into the fray. She threw her telescope back into her belt and instinctually started running back to town.
"It's the Alliance!" Mida shouted, "They're attacking Town-In-A-Box!"
"Town-In-A-What-Now?" Dula'jin asked, drawing his katana.
"It's our military outpost!" Sassy shouted, "They've been hunting us just as if we were members of the Horde."
"They don't care about race!" Bowie angrily shouted, "If you're not in the Alliance they want you dead!"
Dula'jin grinned, "Any enemy of de Alliance be a friend to Dula'jin any day, and a friend to de Horde!" He turned back to his camp and shouted in orcish again. All the orcs from the camp threw down their tools and lifted axes. Within seconds of his call, they were all charging the village. Dula'jin caught up with Mida half-way down the hillside and grinned at her, "Lady Silvertongue! Da Horde be right behind you to fight off dem ruthless hugh-mons! Lok'tar Ogar!"
The orcs billowed their war cry behind Dula'jin, and like stampeding rhinos charged passed the slightly stubbier-legged goblin. Mida almost fell over in the rush, but Dula'jin extended his hand once again, grabbed her by the arm and threw her up onto his back. She leapt onto and clung to him strongly, preparing to throw herself off and grab her daggers in one swift motion as Commander Dula'jin charged into battle.

***

Later that evening, just as the sun was starting to set, Gallywix brooded deep within his chambers aboard the Venture Co. vessel on the northern shore. In his modestly sized quarters was pirated booty and loot from across the sea, not to mention piles and piles of papers filled with plans and projects. The door to his room was intentionally left open, with two enormous hobgoblins standing watch outside of it. Inside Gallywix was shouting at, kicking, screaming at and beating his kobold servant and fellow member of the company.
"I told you to stay in the mines!" Gallywix shouted, kicking the pink rat-like creature now cowering in the corner and crying, "Stay out of sight from that cursed Gazlowe and his ilk! You almost blew the whole operation by coming above ground when you did!"
The kobold sniveled, "I sorry!"
"Shut up!" Gallywix screamed, kicking the bruised creature swiftly in his kidneys. "And come to find out you've been hording the gold you find, hm?" The kobold whined loudly and violently shook his head no, but it did no good. Gallywix raised his cane and bludgeoned the creature's head again and again and again. He continued cursing and beating the creature for crimes he had been accused of, and some he actually did, for several minutes, with his door wide open for his crew to see. Eventually though, Gallywix's words began to digress, and take on the true core of his anger. Still beating the kobold, he began shouting, "Damn, damn, damn that Gazlowe! Damn the Steamwheedle! Damn that wretched Trade Prince Maldy! I wouldn't have had to come out to this island looking for him had he just meet me when he was supposed to in Azshara, and I wouldn't have run into that stupid, wretched, mongrel of a goblin Gazlowe! It wouldn't shock me if he's the reason my brother died while operating the Sludge Fen in the Barrens! He hated the Venture Co. so much because we were just so damn good at what we did, and tried to shut us down! Why can't that fucking idiot Maldy just show up already!"
Gallywix finally stopped shouting, and stopped beating the helpless kobold to catch his breath. Panting like an exhausted dog, he took a moment to look out his southern window because something caught his eye. Just out of the corner of his left eye, Gazlowe saw an unusual color in the western sky; not one typical of a sunset. It was purple. He dropped his lavish cane and walked to the window. Opening it, he leaned out it to see purple clouds far in the south-western sky. He stuck his head out the window, turned it upward and shouted to the ship's lookout, "Hey! Watcher!"
"Yes milord?" The evening watch goblin called back.
"Look out to the southern sky! What do you see?"
The goblin pulled out his telescope and looked southward, towards the Alliance-infested island. He leaned out, squinted, leaned out some more and took the telescope down. He rubbed his eyes in disbelief and looked again.
"Well?!" Gallywix demanded, "What do you see?"
The watcher could hardly believe the words about to come out of his mouth, "Well, milord, it's… smoke. Purple… smoke."
"Purple smoke?"
"Aye, milord. Purple smoke! I've never seen such a thing."
"Purple smoke." Gallywix said, scratching his chin. "Wait a second, purple smoke? Purple smoke! I only know one goblin in the world that intentionally creates purple smoke whenever he makes a fire. Watchman! Prepare to sail!"
"We can't milord!" He shouted back, "Repairs aren't complete. This ship can't handle a sea voyage yet!"
"Damnation!" Gallywix cursed, "Then get my shuttle boat ready, and prepare a landing team for it! It's stealthier anyway, and we could be heading to hostile territory!"
"Yes milord!" The watchman shouted, jumping down from his post and shouting orders.
Gallywix jumped up from his window and rushed for the door. When he bent down to pick up his cane, however, he saw the kobold again; now lying motionless on the floor.
"Damn it." He said, staring at the lifeless creature, "Guards!" The two hobgoblins walked into the room with their usual dumfounded, clueless look on their faces. Gallywix looked up at them, back down to the kobold and back at them and simply said, "Dispose of him."
The hobgoblins nodded, and one picked him up by his feet, and the other by his head, despite a hobgoblin being more than strong enough to lift him on their own. Gallywix tipped his top hat with his cane, fluffed his robes, and began walking out of the room, when he was interrupted by the dopey voice of one of his guards.
"Duh, boss?" A hobgoblin said, "Dis one's still breathin' a teeny bit."
Gallywix sighed angrily, turned and only said, "You heard what I said to do."
The hobgoblins nodded. Gallywix promptly strolled out of the room with a devilish grin on his face. He watched the floor shadows of the hobgoblins casted before him. They slowly stepped further and further away from one another with loud cracking and breaking noises until they flew apart, with a loud snap and squish, and tossed the two remaining, smaller chunks of kobold out the window to the ocean waves below.
Bilgewater, the Survivors of Kezan, part 13.

WARNING: For some reason, when this part (though no others) is viewed via Internet Explorer, apostrophe-related glitches appear all over the text. If viewed in Mozilla, there is no problem. Strange. Sorry.

Sorry for the delay. I finally got more hours at work! I'm actually on for four whole days a week now, so hopefully soon I'll be able to move out of my parents house FINALLY!

Anyway, about the story, this one is really more of two chapters thrown together. I didn't want to make two really short chapters, so I did this odd perspective of a single block of time - First Gazlowe's, then Mida's. I've one more perspective of this time frame to share, and if you read between the lines in this part, I think you'll be able to figure out who it is ; )

This could be the last part I upload before vacation, so enjoy it!
:iconfanfixxes:
Fanfixxes Featured By Owner May 29, 2010
Waah . . .awesome! Have a nice time during your vacation =)

For her Tallest!
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