Duugvilder found the innkeeper at the front desk. “Thank you for taking care of her over these last few days. Obviously, you will be reimbursed for your time and lodging for as long as she and I stay here, plus extra to show my gratitude.”
The Night Elf nodded. “That is very kind, master Duugvilder. Still, there is the matter of…” He nodded in the general direction of the supplies that Duugvilder had brought with him. “I’m sure you can understand…”
“Of course. As I will be using your kitchen to cook for Annie Mae, you will be paid for my…intrusion.”
“That is…not what I mean. You brought bear meat. As I explained to your…friend…that is a bit of a taboo in these lands.”
“Understood. But she requires it to bring her to full health. If you would direct me to whichever Druid I need to speak with to settle this unpleasantness…”
The Night Elf shook his head, and Duugvilder knew that this conversation was about to take an unpleasant turn. And, while he hoped certain skills that were learned while working with the Wildfire Riders would settle this, he had the sinking feeling that neither scrolls nor the art of negotiation would suffice.
“Master Duugvilder, it is not a matter of greasing the correct palm…”
“I do not assume that bribes will settle this. But she needs to eat. She wants to eat bear meat. So if an offering or a prayer of thanks and forgiveness must be made, then I am willing to do so.”
“That is simply impossible, Master Duugvilder. You are a Gnome, and clearly not a follower of our ways.”
Duugvilder’s eyes narrowed at the thinly veiled slight. He pulled out the scroll from a satchel and unfurled it. “As you can see, I am not JUST a Gnome, sir. This officially recognizes me as an Ambassador for Gnomeregan, and hero of Gnomeregan’s liberation, signed and stamped by the High Tinker Mekkatorque, himself. I am subject to all rights and privileges due the position. And while I am still willing to discuss this further with the appropriate Druid or recognized official, I am sure you understand that it is no longer a requirement.” He tilted his head, as if to challenge the Night Elf to refuse again, but Duugvilder prayed that the scroll – and he hated himself for using it in this way – would be enough to change the Innkeeper’s mind.
“Master Duugvilder, obviously we respect your position and the powers associated. However, you must understand…”
Duugvilder cut him off. “This conversation is becoming an embarrassment to the both of us, sir. perhaps we can retire to an office or more private quarters. There is no need for others to hear the remainder of what is becoming a tedious negotiation. Please lead the way.”
The office was hardly large, but it was big enough to suit Duugvilder’s needs. The Night Elf led him in and sat behind an ornate desk. He opened his mouth to continue the discussion, but snapped it closed as Duugvilder started to change.
Duugvilder, at roughly three feet tall, should only have been about a head taller than the desk, but he was leaning forward over it with his feet firmly planted on the floor. He loomed over the Night Elf, with his arms planted on the desk. The Innkeeper could see beige scales rising from Duugvilder’s forearms and neck. “What magic…” was all he could manage as Duugvilder seemed to fill the office. His blue eyes had widened, but had taken on a golden tint, and his pupils were black slits.
“No magic, Innkeeper,” Duugvilder growled, his breath coming in hot bursts. “The end of negotiations. The Gnome you house is the only being in creation that I care for, and not you nor your Druids nor any spirits will deprive her of what she needs to regain health. As I am a just being, you will still be reimbursed for the privilege of her care and keeping, but do not test my patience further!”
The Innkeeper’s mouth opened and closed, but no sounds came.
“You will provide me access to your kitchens, and you will stay out of my way. If you deem it necessary, you will set up a meeting for myself and the Druid. You will stay out of my way for the duration of my stay. Do you agree to my terms, Night Elf??? SPEAK!!!”
Duugvilder knew he had pushed things more than far enough, and was relieved when the Innkeeper gasped, “Yes, sir! Of course, Master Duugvilder! Please accept my most sincere apologies for such confusion…”
Duugvilder allowed himself to revert back to proper form. “Thank you, sir. I appreciate your understanding. I will go start cooking the Lady’s meal. If you could be so kind as to point me in the direction of your kitchen…” Duugvilder paused. “And there is one more thing I will ask from you.”
“Name it, Master Duugvilder.”
“Your discretion. I will have it. No one needs to know what transpired here.”
The Innkeeper led Duugvilder away from the office. As he followed behind the clearly terrified Night Elf, Duugvilder glanced up towards the room where Annie Mae was staying. You will laugh when I tell you this story, he thought. When I tell you how I was able to provide you with bear burgers, you will laugh in disbelief and demand that I show you how I can change. Then you will hop on my back and I will fly you to Feralas and Nagrand and everywhere else you wish to see. We will travel to Uldum so you can see the lands where this…change occurred. Then I will take you back to Redridge and I will care for you and love you, if you will let me. But first, you must see all this and laugh…
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