"Quick! You've got to help me!" The stranger implored, pleaded as Mab opened the door to her apartment. She glanced around, pulling the purple robed apprentice looking guy into the apartment.
"Did anyone see you get here? Did anyone watch you come to my apartment?!" She asked with a fervent tone. "Answer me!" She closed the door, closing the blinds.
"N-no, I just went to the- I wandered into the portal and picked a random floor, random apartment, I'm in trouble I-" he stammered.
"Don't say another word, not another word! They might be watching." She started putting cloth over her crystal ball collection. "I don't need to know, I'm not asking questions." She went over to her potion collection and started handing the young man bottles. "You'll need these, one is for being invisible, one is for long stride step, you can make half the city in just a few steps, but watch that you don't smack into buildings. This one helps you scry on the area, so you can see around corners without being seen. This one turns you into an unassuming cat, it'll last an hour, use it wisely. The bag will shift with you, don't worry about it."
The apprentice took the bag, opening his mouth again. "Miss I jus-"
"No, no not a word!" Mab repeated, throwing open her icebox, tossing cheese and meats onto the counter, wrapping them, placing some elven bread and wine in with it. Honey comb for a treat. Cookies, a few cupcakes, some left over cheesy pasta. "This will get you through to anywhere you need to go, for at least a week, it'll keep, it's got special spells on it, just open it and that'll be that." She sealed it all into his bag as he followed, the confused mage starting to dance.
"Ma'am please, I just need to-." He pulled her sleeve urgently.
"No, no, I can't know, they might probe my thoughts! Come on, this way, into the portal, it'll send you out at the winery, just act natural, if you need to hide further, ask for the aged Sylvan cheese, they'll know what to do." She pressed him into the portal, having sent him with supplies and food. The mage appeared on the other side, holding a bag of food and potions, in front of the Dalaran Wine and Cheese shop.
"I just needed to use the bathroom." He said to no one in particular, looking at his things. The shop would have one at least.
Against the chattering sound of rain on the stained glass windows of Salazar’s study, he toiled over various tomes relating the alchemical question of crossing over into the Nether. Muttering to himself, he scribbled his thoughts on various pieces of parchment scattered over his table. The evening was still early at Blackmoon Citadel, but Salazar was taking time away from Dalaran for some peace and quiet, or so he thought.
He only had a moment’s notice at the sound of footsteps on the other side of the door before a hooded stranger barged in and shut it frantically behind her. She turned with her back to the door and pushed up against it, as if to prevent someone else from coming through.
“Quick! You’ve got to help me!” She yelled, out of breath.
Salazar arose from his seat and blinked forward within two feet of the intruder. His eyes flared up with arcane energy and he readied his hand for an attack to placate the unwanted guest.
“Who are you and why are you here?” Salazar said through his teeth.
The intruder looked up from under her hood, her gaze meeting his. A wry smile formed across her face, “It’s been a while, Sal.”
Salazar stood for a few moments as realization came across his face, his eyes returning to normal as he relaxed his stance.
“How did you… I thought you were dead. I haven’t seen you since--”
“Since you abandoned me in Outland after we escaped that Orcish jail cell?”
The lady took off her shroud and walked over to the couches by the fireplace, dropping it on the cushions. She lifted her foot up onto the table and began to remove the various knives hidden inside her boots, “Don’t worry, Sal, I’ve forgiven you for that transgression. Besides…” she stopped herself, observing an elven blade she’d removed from her other leg, “don’t you remember all the fun we had?”
“That was a long time ago, Charlotte. Times have changed… I am not that man that you hunted chimera with.”
She turned around and slowly walked up to Sal, playfully putting the blade up to his chest. She dragged the tip up from his belly up to his sternum, smiling with one tongue licking the top of her lip. “Got to admit we had a blast, living every day as if it’d be our last… hunting and gathering for scraps and hoping we’d live to see another day on that infernal hellscape.”
Salazar then snapped his fingers, the blade forcefully ejecting from her hand as he levitated it next to her, the blade pointed at her neck.
She laughed, “You’ve gotten better since then, Sally boy, but where’s the fire? That devilish remorseless attitude? The fel?”
“I am not that person anymore, and you need to leave.”
Without paying much attention to the knife following her mid-air, she plopped down on the couch and crossed one leg over another. “But you haven’t even heard what I need help with. It’ll be worth your while.”
“You have five minutes.”
Chuckling in a cockish tone, “I’ll do it in two. Since we last saw each other I’ve been hunting bounties across Azeroth for pay, and the last one seems to have come back around.”
Salazar stopped her, “Is that what all the knives and trinkets are for?”
“I hope that doesn’t count against my five minutes, Salazar.”
He looked at her sternly, “I’m listening.”
“Well, as I was saying, my last bounty involved retrieving an object for some high brow Redridge noble, and I may have ruffled a few feathers in retrieving it.”
“What kind of object, Charlotte? Who did you piss off?”
“I may have also retrieved a little something extra while I was retrieving the target… and it may be important to someone high up.”
“High up where!?”
“A certain Trade Prince? I don’t know the details, but I’ve been followed by some very angry little green people who have come to have a very peculiar fascination with myself, it’s all very jarring.” She said, though not sounding in the least bit concerned.
“Is that a joke, Charlotte? You stole from a goblin cartel? What in the world could you steal that they would go--- did they follow you here!?”
“No, no, I chased them off somewhere in Gilneas and hopped on a boat to this island, paid in cash. Slipped right past the guard, which, by the way, you need to review because if they let -me- in, then well, it’s a miracle you’re not dead already!”
Charlotte stood up off the couch, “Anyway, I heard that with your magic and all, you’ll be able to make my problems… disappear?”
“First I need to know what you took, then we’ll talk about how and if I’ll help.” Salazar said, looming over her as she got up. “Did you bring that object here?”
“I’m glad you asked! I did!” She meandered over to her knapsack, retrieving a carefully wrapped box and walked over to Sal to show it. “Come have a look-see Sal!”
The knife still levitated near Charlotte as she periodically turned to stare at it, blowing kisses and putting the tip of her finger on its edge, toying with the deadly weapon.
Salazar waved his hand over the box and with a little *click*, it revealed an ornate ring encrusted with rubies, sapphires and diamonds, and at the center of it all a chiseled stone made of Azerite. Sal looked at her with wide eyes, “Are you kidding me? You stole an Azerite ring from a Trade Prince? Which Trade Prince, Charlotte?”
“Oh, one of them. It’s so hard to keep track between all the bounties, but it was… Steam something?”
Salazar angrily shut the box and came up within inches of Charlotte’s face, “Let me get this straight. You, in your bounty for something unrelated, decided to casually steal a priceless Azerite ring from the Trade Prince of the Steamwheedle Cartel?”
“Well don’t look at me like that! It’s not like it was on his hand or anything, the Trade Prince is loaded as is! I snuck around and took it from his collection, what’s one ring, eh?”
“Do you have any idea the kind of target you have on your back? Goblins are a greedy people who keep track of every gold, silver and copper in their possession, and you steal this!?”
Salazar walked back to his desk, sitting down. “I can’t help you, Charlotte. At least in Outland we were stuck in that mess together, but now? You’ve dug your own grave and stuck your nose in something that’s going to have consequences.”
Undeterred, the lady meandered right to Sal’s desk on the other side and leaned forward with both hands on the table. “You want to know something, Sal? Not only did I learn how to survive by myself on that world while you unceremoniously left me hanging, but I learned a thing or two in my travels.”
“Oh yeah, and what’s that?” Salazar said, his eyes back on his reading.
“Everyone has a price.”
“And what’s my price, dear? As you can see, I’m not exactly wanting for riches.”
She stood up, “Oh for some it’s money, for others it’s a favor… and for some, it’s information.”
“And what kind of information? I have the full breadth of the Arcane and scryers at my disposal. Information is not something I have much trouble getting.”
Laughing, she said “I heard you’ve been making off-the-book inquiries about a certain Scepter?”
He stopped writing and stared at her, “What do you know of it?”
“Well, do you want to know or not? You help me, and I’ll help you…”
Salazar’s eyes darted back and forth on the table as he thought, “Fine. Tell me what you know about the Scepter, and I’ll see to it that you’re never followed by the goblins again.”
“Oh Sally-boy, I knew I spoke your tongue… considering it’s met mine.”
“That’s enough. The Scepter. Speak.”
She sat down on one of the swan-carved chairs before Salazar’s desk, readying herself for her tale. “A group known as the Vorag Sil have been making appearances around Azeroth, making use of the Azerite conflict while everyone is distracted. I last ran into them in Stranglethorn, where I must say… they left a trail of bodies in their wake. Then again, I’m not sure they could qualify as “bodies,” considering the corpses were all crystallized showcasing their last moments in eternal diamond beauty. You following?”
Salazar then muttered to himself, “So it’s real… the Scepter has resurfaced.”
“Yes, WELL, part of it. From what I know, they only have half of it and still need the other to do whatever it is the Scepter does when whole. But they’re coming for it Sal… and if I’m right, I think you know where the other half is.”
“Thank you, Charlotte. Well, a deal’s a deal. Follow me.” Salazar said, smirking.
She bounced up from her chair and went off to gather her knives and tools before Salazar stopped her, “Oh, you won’t need those.”
“It’s best you leave those here.”
Salazar then opened a portal to a dimly lit facility, a natural jungle-like aroma emerging from the other side.
“Where are we going?” She asked, squinting as she tried to peer through to the other side.
“To a place called Eden, where they’ll help you… escape your past.”