Prompt: May 7, 2012 - Surprise http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/surprise?s=t. . . . . "Take a squadron out to Blackrock tonight, Commander."
. . . . . "Yes, sir." With a stiffness born of a life-challenged state, the draenei female's plate-gloved hand snapped up in salute at her superior officer. But there were only the two of them around, and she'd learned to grow brave around this man who'd once tried to have her beheaded. "May I ask vhy, sir?" she dared.
. . . . . "You may ask." An insufferable smirk settled in the hardly-visible opening of his greying goatee. "And this time I will answer," he relented, leaning back in the wooden chair built along the lines of a body half his build. For a moment, she feared it would break under the stress, but dwarves make chairs to survive tavern brawls - one plated human was not enough to bother its small, sturdy frame. "There has been word of an expedition of scholars heading down into the old Molten Core, but not word of their return. Given the elemental instabilities in the cities of late and the area's known fire problems, the 1113th was asked to send a retrieval team." The draenei female let her hand slowly drop and return to its usual position folded with its partner at the small of her back as the Major continued, "Fire is somewhat more of a problem for us sometimes, so I am sending a healer from the Icecrown company."
. . . . . "Ekanos?" She perked up. She rather liked the gentle druid healer and his polite manner; he was much easier to herd around than the cranky old Farseer mercenary from the Major's illicit hired company.
. . . . . But the Major shook his head. "No. Laurenhall's indisposed. Hangover from Brewfest, I believe. I have a new hire. He will meet you ther-"
. . . . . "As long as it is not zat cranky old Farseer!" she broke in.
. . . . . Major Orill almost smiled. Almost. "No. As I said, you will meet the new hire there. Now get that squadron moving. They will make the forges cold if they keep standing out there."
. . . . . Valdiis rubbed her gloved hand across the back of her neck. She didn't sweat in the heat, but her bloodworms got more active as they warmed up and one of them had decided that right between vertebrae C4 and C5 was a great place to set up a salsa dance. Not, of course, that she thought of it in those terms. Consider it a literary device. A not-entirely-gentle nudge was enough to get the little parasite calmed down as she led the squadron of seven's trudge up the ashy side of Blackrock Mountain. The heavy iron door leading inside was open, but then it always was. Her adjunct healer was nowhere to be seen. She turned to address the squadron as they finished the ascent and fell into formation, and that's when one of her Corporals nudged the Private next to him and pointed behind her. The titansteel shoe nailed to the bottom of her hoof squealed on the stone beneath her as she spun.
. . . . . Telaar was always hungry, always low on food. Feast days such as this one were rare, but visitors from Shattrath had brought several crates of supplies. At the unavoidable insistence of her harridan mother, Valdiis was sitting stiffly in one of the round-backed chairs of Telaar's rest and social hall, glowering at the door as she waited for her...date. Even thinking the word made her angry.
. . . . . At least she'd managed to escape with her dignity and avoid Omii shoving her into a dress.
. . . . . And there he was, all broad and tall and a little soft in the middle, like a strong man gone to seed. His armor gleamed as if it hadn't seen hard use in seasons and his short, dark hair was rumpled like he could care less that he'd come to meet a female to whom an arranged marriage might well be in the offering. With a booming laugh and an easy smile, he flopped bonelessly down across the table from her and proceeded to order for the both of them: mudfish.
. . . . . She hated mudfish.
. . . . . Dinner was strained, though she suspected he didn't notice it. If she'd stripped down and danced the kamil-amir on the table, the only thing he'd do is complain that she was blocking access to his food. She'd barely touched her mudfish and he was just leaning forward to ask if she was going to eat that when her brother - her nether-blasted, meddling, eldest brother - passed by the table with a smirk and a comment about how she would sleep with anything wearing pants.
. . . . . The ensuing brawl destroyed two tables, five chairs, one rug, and eleven dinner plates. The gleaming, chubby vindicator's only contribution was to snag her mudfish off the table before she picked it up and chucked it at Zunaadrin. If she never saw the oozy Ortuuze again, it would be too soon.
. . . . . There he was, all broad and tall and a lot soft in the middle, like a strong man gone to pasture. His armor gleamed as if it hadn't seen hard use in seasons and his short, dark hair was rumpled like he could care less that he'd come to meet a Commander of a military unit paying him handsomely for healing. He grinned broadly and lifted a hand in greeting as she sneered at him.
. . . . . "You."