Dainty Rose

“The idea had been growing in my brain for some time: TRUE force. All the king’s men cannot put it back together again.” Jocey spits a string of phelgm. “Know what I’m sayin’, girl? My ol’ pa was one of the masons, you know. They fuckin’ ruled this place. King’s still owe me backpay, y’know.” She straightens up, flips her hair, tries to sound healthy and happy as the night elf pass by. “He-eeey! Han’some, amma lookin’ for a par— yeah go on the fuck get goping then, you fucking jerkoff tree fucking hugger!”

She swings from moody to insane in seconds. Jocey is a Real Ess Three, as we call them. Stage three. She’ll be dead in a couple of weeks. Me, I’ve been careful, so far. I haven’t got scourged, not yet anyway. Nah, it’s not the scourge scourge. you won’t get what Jo got from bad grain. You’ll get it from fucking. Healers are pretty much baffled ’cause nothing they try actually works.

Oh, I’m sorry. You didn’t know that, did you? Well, see, some diseases are so terrible that the kings court don’t even talk about them. Besides, it’s mostly sailors, skanks and soldiers that got it.

So far …

(Jocey slept with the son of a noble last night, gone slumming. He’ll be coughing in a couple of days. Trust me.)

Jocey coughs. I don’t like her cough, it sounds like death. She runs a fever. Beads of sweat drips from her hairline, getting caught in her eyebrows. I always assumed night elves were immune to human diseases. You know, if Jocey can catch the plague, what about me?

I try not to think about it. I light a clay pipe – mostly tobacco, because fireweed is expensive – and drag deep. The few grains of fireweed makes my head a little like cotton. Couple of nights ago I managed to snag a draenei trader. He’s known for carrying contraband weed from Draenor. Shit’s good, yo. Tonight it’s simple leaves, he’s gone back to the Big Dee. I miss him, even though he wanted me to dress in a plaid skirt and call him daddy.

“Should’a gone to Westfall when Van was there,” Jocey mumbles. “Should’a … ”

I just nod. Jocey is drunk and sick. She always talks big when drunk and with her fever, well, you know. The only reason I still stand next to her is because she’s my friend. She’s taught me everything. I mean it – everything. I always remember her truths. I won’t ever forget them. There’s just three of them but on the street you got three seconds to make a decision.

It’s a life or death decision, too.

First truth: The Death Knight is the best, male or female doesn’t matter. Death Knights just wants to talk. Sometimes you have to rub them but they really don’t get off from it. They just want to be touched, down there, you know? Get a Death Knight and you won’t have to work for the rest of the night. Just listen, or pretend to listen. Look closely though. Some of ’em wants to hurt you. You know it when you see it. If you don’t it’ll be too late. I’ve been lucky, I’ve only met the talking dead. I always listen to them.

Some people have a lot of words inside them and no one to tell them to.

Second truth: Dwarves are the second best. They never want the “full one”. They’ll be embarassed the whole time. Male dwarves push themselves to come as fast as they can just so they can get out of the situation. Female dwarves fake it. They handle drink just fine, and most of them are so drunk that they’ll pass out before anything happens.

If you want a good nights sleep, get a dwarf.

Third truth: Wax. Yeah, wax is important. Bees wax. You heat it up a bit, then shape it anyway you want. Jocey usually apply one of her lacerations to her forehead. I prefer to just dot some stuff on my lips. Oh right, you wonder why? See, it’s simple: If you look sick you won’t get anyone but Death Knights. They don’t care if you’re stage three because honestly – nothing can be as bad as their so called life. Boils and wounds keep humans away, especially the hu-men. I’m pretty good with the wax and chicken fat.

“Check him out,” I say, nodding at the draenei coming up the street. He’s got a leather backpack slung across a shoulder and his eyes are big, suprised. “First timer, girl.”

I saunter up to him, reach out with a hand and gently tug at his pale blue mage robe.

“Hey, han’some.” He looks down on me. I see it in his eyes. It’s always the same look. A profound suprise. As if he never knew he even had thoughts like that. “I’ll be your girl if you want me to.”

“I … ” He stops, mostly because of the braying voices from across the street. The Slugs Head Inn at Harbor Lane is not a place you want to pass by if you’re not human.

“Go back to the void you fucking demon!”

An empty bottle crash against the pavement. A throng of laughing men outside the inn holds up a rope.

“Don’t mind them,” I say. “Some people don’t change, eh.”

I can’t believe what I see. The tenderfoot bluey strides across the street, hunching his shoulders. Halfway across the street he … darkens. Then things happen very fast. I just watch from the other side of the street, mesmerized, shocked. Such power … I will never forget the screams as the painful words of shadow seared the simple minds of hateful men. He leaves them there outside the pub, writhing in pain, as he cross the street and returns to me. He looks down on me, smiles and say:

“Get rid of the wax on your lips and we’ve got a deal. What’s your name?”

I strike a pose. Gotta sell the wares, right?


“I’m Rose.”