[Story] Thorns – Scavenging

The Harrier made his way across the darkened Eversong Woods. It had rained the day prior, making the earth soft and yielding. It also meant he’d leave tracks, so he had to move with more caution than usual. He was already on edge, here so close to the blood elf city. His silver eyes, well suited to seeing in the dark, scanned the Scar for any sign of movement among the shadows. Though it wasn’t really the scourge that worried him, but the possibility of running into a person — specifically a blood elf person. Nash had said the area was “mostly” abandoned, but not completely. There still might be someone here among the charred and blighted ruins of the old city, for what reason, the Harrier could only guess. It looked pretty well picked over, from what he could see. The one pristine walls and towers were crumbled into rubble, furniture left broken and askew where it had fallen. A lot of it had been torn apart for parts, any good wood long gone. It reminded him of the way Gilneas had looked, when he’d last been there with Nash for their strange job from the dwarf. There was little chance of anything valuable left here, so he wasn’t tempted to stop and look. He was after something else.

While making their plan for going into the city, Nash had mentioned the arcane patrollers. The Harrier had heard of these, though never actually seen one in person. There were drawings in one of the books in the Stormwind Library, but it wasn’t very detailed. What the Harrier wanted to know were the inner workings, how such a thing was constructed. He was certain that he could make one of his own if he got a good look at one. Obviously, he couldn’t create the magical core that powered these, but he could come up with a replacement. Or maybe he’d ask the mage who had hired them. Nash wasn’t entirely sure how they worked, either. They had some sort of criteria to stop people who looked as if they might be up to something, but that sounded very imprecise. It made him worry all the more about sending his partner into the city alone. Though Nash seemed unconcerned — maybe even a little flippant — the Harrier felt a gnawing sense of worry as the time grew closer. Yesterday, Nash had planned to go, but the rain had changed his plans. He said that a busy market would make it easier for him to go un-noticed, which made sense.

The parts of the arcane patrollers were not difficult to find, as Nash had claimed there were many of them strewn across the area. It seemed that only the largest pieces were left behind, those too heavy for a single person to carry off alone. As he turned them over to inspect the inner workings, he saw that the parts had been stripped from many of them, probably to melt down the metal. It would be something to see one in motion! It was difficult to imagine the jumble of dirty parts walking up and down the city streets. The Harrier took his paper out from his pocket and began to draw the parts that he could see. In some cases, it was a guessing game which was supposed to go where, but he could puzzle that out once he was somewhere safer. The outer covering was inscribed with magical symbols, inlaid with red enamel. He wasn’t sure if that was part of the magic that powered them or not, but he copied them as best he could. He drew how the limbs attached to the central body part, and saw the place where the magical core must be held. That was missing too, but he imagined it was just an orb of some sort.

It was something to do, and despite the danger it felt satisfying to work on a project again. The last few days had been nothing but worry, and he’d found it difficult to focus on anything but the task in front of them. Some nights he found it impossible to sleep, a combination of things on his mind and his night elf blood that persisted in spite of his best efforts. Tonight was one of those, but he’d at least found something to distract him for a time. He’d return in time for Nash to get up and walk into the city. No doubt he’d stay awake the entire time worrying. As he pried open a head casing, the Harrier went over all of the things that could go wrong, and what he’d do if they should happen. For most of the scenarios, he had no plan at all. He couldn’t go into Silvermoon, nor did he know any blood elves well enough to send them after Nash. He’d had contact with a few in his  business dealings, but none that he knew well enough to ask for such a favor. Maybe the treasure hunter, but he hadn’t heard from him in years. The casing of the arcane patroller’s head finally pried open. It had been bashed in by something heavy, bending the thick metal out of place. Someone must have been very determined to hit it. He started to draw all of the parts, the gears and connections that held everything together. There was something else though, a different color than the surrounding metal. It looked to be made of some kind of crystal, perfectly round and smoothed. The Harrier guessed this had to be one of the magical cores, though long deactivated of course. Still, it would surely be useful in trying to make one of his own. He slipped it into a small leather pouch, then safely inside his vest. Maybe their luck would hold after all.


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