[Story] Story a Week 19

[[ Prompt: Dice

Yeah it’s Sorias again, haha. I like writing him! ]]

Sorias fetched another platter of drinks from the back room, opening the tap from the enormous barrel and shoving the mugs underneath. Inevitably, some spilled this way, but it was much faster, and if the patrons were happy, Blackbrew was happy. Besides, the stuff was stolen anyway, so he didn’t care too much if a little was wasted. He emerged from the back room with the tray of drinks, hurrying around to set one beside each person seated at the table. When he’d accepted the job, of course he hadn’t known exactly what the dwarf had in mind. But barmaid was certainly not what he expected. He wasn’t just serving drinks, though. He was watching the entrance for anyone suspicious, and watching the patrons for any weapons or otherwise out of the ordinary. When he’d first started, Sorias had asked what that meant, and Blackbrew said that he would know when he saw it. He was right about that. The dwarf had given him a dagger of his own, finer than any he’d had in Kalimdor. It was long and straight, with serrations along the sharper edge and a delicate curve to its tip. Sorias liked it a lot, it reminded him of an eagle’s claw. He had free rein to use it whenever he deemed it necessary — which thus far he hadn’t. But he liked knowing it was there all the same.

“Oy, elf!” shouted one of the dwarves. “We’re starvin’ here.” Blackbrew — and the other dwarves — never called him Sorias. He was “Stretch” to Blackbrew, and simply “elf” to the rest. That suited him just fine. He was all too happy to leave his old life behind. Sorias pushed through the swinging doors into the makeshift kitchen, piling a bowl with stale bread and some suspect cheese. Their food wasn’t the greatest, but no one came here for the food. It was an underground alehouse, like several around Ironforge, sort of an all-in-one vice central. Blackbrew held nightly gambling, as well as selling stolen and smuggled goods, occasionally a hired woman would stop by to work the crowd as well. Sorias knew of a few others, Blackbrew paid him to visit them and get information, but it seemed that Blackbrew’s was the longest-running. It likely had something to do with the hefty bribes paid to the guards. Sorias himself was also something of a novelty, he’d not seen any other elves in his time in Ironforge.

Most of the patrons were huddled around the dice table, stacked with piles of gold coins. Sorias had never seen that many coins in one place before coming here. They won and lost them like it was nothing at all. He hadn’t actually figured out the rules, they were complicated and seemed to change at the whim of those playing. Sorias heard the rattle of the dice in the shaker and then a tremendous roar from the dwarves at the table. He guessed something good had happened.

“Why don’t ye join us, Stretch?” Blackbrew asked, with a sly grin. Sorias knew what that grin meant. It meant he wanted to win back all the money he’d just paid Sorias this week.

“I don’t know if it’s a good idea–”

But before he could protest any further, he’d been herded into a chair that was much too small for him and was seated at the table with the others. He still had no idea how to play, but he wasn’t about to admit that in front of everyone and look foolish.

“Yer turn,” said the dwarf behind him, with a curly red beard. He pushed the dice shaker into Sorias’s hand.

Reluctantly, he shook it and poured the dice out onto the table. There was a collective gasp from the dwarves. Was that good? He had no idea. The faces of all five dice had threes on them.

“Bite my foot,” grumbled one of the dwarves, tossing his hat down onto the floor. “I’m out.”

Blackbrew grinned widely and pushed a stack of gold coins over to Sorias’s seat. “Well done, Stretch.” He had no idea what he’d done, or why it was good, but seeing the coins made his eyes widen. They were huge and heavy. He didn’t even know how many there were. It seemed the game was over for the night. The dwarves who remained moved to different tables to talk or do business. Blackbrew slipped the dice into his pocket and winked. “Now get back to work, Stretch.”

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