Clueless in Stormwind (Backbone of the Army)

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“This is an image of a slightly quirky draenei monk.”

 

“We need a mage.”
“Ye-eep.” Sergeant Rawlins took a few steps back, placed his hands on his hips and looked up at the towering pile of wooden boxes. “We need a mage, kid. Now where’s our port-a-mage?”
“Blinky?” Ravennah snickered. “Over there, under the furs. Poor girl’s overworked.”
“Ye-eep.” Sergeant Rawlins nodded. “Better get that mage functional. Be a doll and wake the gnome, will ya?”

Heroes depend on functioning logistics. This is a truth some people don’t like to think about. It’s easier – and more fun – to think of the bundle of rage storming the ramparts than the sad truth of so many failed heroics. Someone might have forgotten to check the straps to the armor on some unknown warrior who never got further than the enemy vanguard because his leplates fell off. Perhaps someone died in a field hospital because someone forgot to pack the priest on call a handful of sandwiches. A hungry priest don’t heal. So, while a frantic army did its best to stem the iron storm not far from the Dark Portal, Ravennah looked up at the tower of boxes and said:

“How the … I mean, seriously? Sarge? Two thousand boxes? Who the fu… I mean, who be like, y’kno’, su-uure, no problem, aight?”
“Ye-eep.” Sergeant Rawlins nodded, stroked his square chin and blew hard through his walruss moustache. “That’s magework allright. Snap a finger and viola! The front got’s it … ” He flipped through some papers. “Huh. Lucky charms.”
“Ain’t gettin’ paid to carry two thou boxes I’m not,” Ravennah said and hickuped. “‘sides, I should prolly not carry nothin’. Dem’s rum rassions we got fo’ lunsh … lucn… early dinner, dey really hit the spot.”

“Ye-eep.” Sergeant Rawlins nodded, slowly lighting a corn pipe, puffing it with a slow, somber look at the tower of boxes. “Wonder why they need a million lucky charms, though. You know, kid, I never understood why we imported those. Sure, the pandaren probably wanted to get rid of ’em but y’know. I hear they paid forty gold per ten charms too or somethin’. Bad business, that is. My ol’ man should’a paid twenty, tops.”
“Guess we need all the luck we can find,” Ravennah said. She sighed and shuddered. Bad news had been streaming in through the gates of Stormwind as fast as mercenary regiments and regular grunts had been streaming out. People were boarding up their shops and houses. Again.

“Ye-eep.” Sergeant Rawlins puffed his pipe, squinting at her through the smoke and nodded. “Bad one, this one. Seen a few, you know. This is a bad one, for sure.” He nodded, digging out a tiny lump of earwax from his left ear and wiping it off on his shirt. “Still, not as bad as the Scourge War. Slightly worse than the Dragon War and only barely better than the latest war.”
“You sure seen somethin’ ‘aven’t ya?”
“Ye-eep.” He chuckled. “But I’m just a kid compared to you, kid. You’re decades older than me, ain’tcha?”
“Draenei don’t think ’bout age,” Ravennah said. She sighed, walked over to the sleeping mage but didn’t wake the gnome. A few more minutes wouldn’t hurt.

There’s two kinds of people. Those who won’t rest until they fall flat on their face from fatigue – and those who conserve their strength, who takes their time. Those, who abide. Blinky was one of the former. Fear, fervor and a dash of panic had kept her going almost two days straight until she just toppled over and fell asleep before she even hit the ground. She didn’t wake up, not even when sergeant Rawlins dropped a bunch of wolf furs on her. They were supposed to go to the front, of course, but sergeant Rawlins figured that the grunts at the front wouldn’t have time to sleep. They would get their furs, soon enough, but sometimes a well rested mage is more important than furs for the front.

Sergeant Rawlins was one of the latter, one of those who conserved his energy and worked slow but relentless. That as one of the reasons he had ‘misplaced’ the requisition order for one million charms and instead sent 2 million blunderbuss shells to the front (his habit of ‘misplacing’ useless items was the reason he was still a sergeant; anyone else would have had his own office by now but sergeant Rawlins only had an assistant – of sorts). No doubt shells were more effective than charms.

As for Ravennah, she was lucky enough to stay behind the frontlines as sergeant Rawlins assistant (of sorts). How she ended up in Stormwind – and how she ended up as an assistant logistics sort of assistant – was a bit sketchy. She clearly remembered having passed out on a pile of sacks from too many Nethergard Bitter but she couldn’t quite remember when. Undoubtedly someone must have either ported her to Stormwind or – wich in a sense was even worse – gotten her there in some other way. She had a vague memory of cold hands and someone grumbling angry eredar curses.

“Oh light!” She dropped a box of lucky charms. The box split, a stream of tinplated wooden coins stamped with pandaren symbols spilled out on the ground. “Zavvie!”
“Huh?” Sergeant Rawlins looked up from his paperwork. “Wassthat?”
“My sister!” Ravennah sat down on a box filled with bodybags. For some reason it seemed fitting. “My dead sister. Well, she’s unlivin’, death knight ya kno’kay? She like got me outta Nethergard! Before! Y’kno’, before all the shit hit the fan. Or portal. Eh, whateva’, ya’kno like?”

“Huh.” Sergeant Rawlins nodded. Then he smiled. “Oh, one of them.” He put his clipboard away and lit his pipe. “Huh.” Sergent Rawlins sucked his pipe and sat back against a pile of sack of beans. “Well I know how that goes.”
“Uh-huh. So’she kinda got me out yeh an’ I kinda, uh … I dunno. Y’kno?”
“Ye-eep.” Sergeant Rawlins nodded. “Been there, done that. Me, a dwarf got out. But not ffrom Nethergarde, some other stinkhole. Bad one, that one. but not as bad as … well, never mind.”
“Dunno where she at now tho’.”
“Guess that’s the one over there, glaring at you then.” Sergeant Rawlins pointed at a death knight hidden in the shade of an oak some feet away. “Go get your break, kid. Take some time off. You’ve been working like a gnoll to get his candle back.”

“Oh … ” Ravennah took a deep breath and, very slowly, stood up, turning around. Then she raised her hand and managed a weak, embarassed wave and said: “Hi, sis.”
“Don’t you hi me, you little … ” Zavannah scoffed. “Have you any idea what I’ve been through just to keep you out of the Stockade!? Again, I might add!”
“Oh. Uh. Sorry?”
“You’re damned lucky you barely know how to hold a sword. Or else you’d be on the frontline like any other poor sucker. Come on, let’s go. We’re late allready.”
“Fo’ wut?”
“For. What.”
“Yeh I kno’. Sorry.”
“Light … ” Zavannah sighed. “Why do you insist talking like … like that? You’re a smart girl, a bit daft perhaps but that’s something different.”
“Eh.” Ravennah just waved her hand a bit. It usually worked. People rarely had the patience for more than that.
“Get on with it,” Zavannah said. She turned around and started walking. She didn’t want Ravennah to see her smile.
“Where we goin’?” Ravennah said as she hurried after her sister.
“The palace,” Zavannah said and turned an angry frown upon her sister. “The king wants to see you.”
“I’m in trouble again, ain’t I?”
“I’m quite sure you are more aware of what you might have done than anyone else,” Zavannah said.

That was the problem, of course. Ravennah was perfectly clueless.

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