Friday, April 15, 2011

A Matter of Influence

As the Ramkahen night continues to cool, the situation inside of the nightclub on its outskirts is beginning to heat up. Captain Renault twirls the ends of his thin mustache nervously while walking toward the entrance to greet the newcomer. As Captain of the local expeditionary policing force, it is his duty to see to the comfort of foreign dignitaries. The man whose arrival he was warned about, Major Strasser, happens to be a high ranking member of Schnottz's personal army.

Strasser's short stature and green skin stick out like a sore thumb in the establishment. Not to mention his sandy uniformed, clearly decorated in Schnottz paraphernalia. Every eye in the bar turns to regard him with suspicion. It is likely that each one of them has at some point run afoul of his Commander in one regard or another. Renault groans inwardly as he envisions the reams of paperwork that would be forced upon him should something unfortunate befall the major. For all of his bluster as to Schnottz's lack of influence in Ramkahen proper, the Commander did have long arms. Figuratively speaking, of course. Goblins weren't usually known for their physical reach.

Along the way, Renault snatches up Carl, the headwaiter. Major Strasser would have certain expectations, and it was in his interest to be sure that those were seen to. The more comfortable he could make the major, the better.

"Carl, see that Major Strasser gets a good table," Renault advises. "One close to the ladies."

"I have already reserved for him the best," Carl resplies, "knowing he is a goblin and would take it anyway."

Stepping up to the much shorter dignitary with Carl at his side, Renault does his best to look down in what he hopes is a non-patronizing manner. Never know when someone is touchy about their size, he reflects. Carl, naturally sensing the importance of the situation, sweeps a hand before him.

"Welcome to Rick's, good sirrah," he intones. "Please allow me to seat and serve you. In that order, if you wouldn't mind."

The goblin simple stares at the man with beady eyes.

Renault clears his throat. "Shall we, Major?"

With a sharp nod, the goblin steps around both men and makes a beeline for an empty table near the piano. It is in a prime location of the club, the only one in the vicinity that is not filled. Carl and the Captain follow quickly.

Once they are seated and drinks are ordered, Carl departs. Renault finds himself alone with the Major, though out of the corner of his eye he can see that several of the man's compatriots have also been seated nearby. I'll probably have to pay for their drinks too, the Captain muses.

"Guten Abend, Captain," the Major speaks. "I trust you haff been informed of my mission?"

Renault waves a casual hand. "Of course, Major. We were very concerned when rumors of the deaths of two of your men reached us."

"Zhey are not rumors. Zhey are truth," the Major explains. "And ve are most concerned vith ze papers zhat vere in zheir possession. Zhey vill be of great interest to certain indiwiduals."

"Yes, sir, I understand."

Thankfully, before things could get uncomfortable, Harrison walks up with three drinks. He sets one down in front of each of his patrons and keeps the third for himself. Leaning casually against one of the other two empty seats around the table, he eyes the goblin.

"We are honored tonight, Harrison," Renault speaks up. "Major Strasser is one of the reasons that Schnottz's Third Reich enjoys the reputation it has today."

Strasser turns an unreadable eye to the Captain. "You repeat Third as if you expect zhere to be ozzers!"

"Well, personally Major, I will take what comes." Renault sips his drink.

"And vhat is your nationality?" Strasser inquires of Harrison.

The man smoothly replies, "I'm a drunkard."

"That makes him a citizen of the world," Renault observes. He can't help but notice that the denizens at several of the nearby tables are hiding smirks at the joke, and hides a satisfied one of his own.

The goblin appears nonplussed. "Ve haff a complete dossier on you: Harrison Jones, citizen of Stormvind, age 37. Cannot return to his country. Ze reasons is a little vague. Ve also are avare of vhat you did in ze Lost City, Mr. Jones, and vhy you left." He pulls a thick collection of papers from somewhere within his uniform and slides them across the table toward Harrison, who picks it up casually and begins to scan it. "Don't vorry, ve are not going to broadcast it."

Without lifting his eyes, Harrison responds, "Are my eyes really brown?"

A frown cracks the mask of the goblin. "It vould be vise to vork vith us, Mr. Jones."

Harrison turns to Renault. "I'm on their blacklist, Louie, their roll of honor!" It is Renault's turn to frown. Fortunately, Harrison excuses himself with a long drink and a slight inclination of his head. "You'll excuse me, gentlemen. Your business is politics, mine is running a saloon."

They both watch him go, though whether the dark glint in the goblin's eye is interest or revulsion, Renault does not know. Best not to worry about it and return to the matter at hand. The Captain sets his drink on the table and leans forward, stroking his mustache.

"Realizing the importance of this case," Renault explains, "my men are rounding up twice the usual number of suspects."

The goblin nods absently, his dark eyes still fixed on the departing form of Harrison Jones.

If only I could read a goblin... Renault sighs to himself. Better watch yourself old friend.

4 comments:

  1. Eagerly awaiting word from Ful and his demons! =)

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  2. Yes, this is a bit of a side journey. In case you haven't noticed, I'm basically doing a parody of Casablanca. Dece is going to play the role of Ilsa. It's something fun to keep me busy.

    The problem I have with returning to Ful et al right now is that I don't have anywhere for a story with him to go. Since we're doing wipe nights in our raids, not getting much of anywhere, it isn't very epic unless I can write a crazy fake kill scene or something ;-).

    In any case, I'm always open to suggestions if there is something you though "hey, it'd be neat to see minions do this" or whatever. That's generally how I come up with mine.

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  3. Is the Majors first name Gregori?

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  4. I didn't specify, but the character in Casablanca is actually Major Heinrik Strasser. Any particular reason for Gregori?

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