Chapter 1 – Union Greetings

A sunny day blossomed over the busy streets of Stormwind as the polished white stone of the city towers glistened from the daylight. Traders yelled throughout the city to sell their goods while men, women and children walked through the streets and entertained themselves from a variety of sources ranging from musicians to magicians. On one side of the city however a brown-haired young man stood facing a two-story building with a paper clasped in his right hand, silent to and toward the busy streets around him.

The young man stood at a height of 5’6 and was dressed in brown and silver chain mail. On his back hanged a medium-sized targe and a short sword sheathed to the right of his waist. The young man had light facial features and looked as if he had no business donning any weapons or armor since there were no scars or battle marks present. After some thought he finally walked up to the building’s double-doors and moved to grip the handle, his oak-colored eyes filled with anxiety.

Before he could grasp the handle a young woman looking around his age burst through the doors and slammed right into him, causing them both to cry out in surprise. Some of the townsfolk nearby laughed as they watched the two collide and fall onto the cobblestoned road with the commotion of metal and flesh. The young woman pushed herself up promptly and looked over the young man.

The young woman was dressed in red and yellow leathers and a tabard with an insignia of boots with wings stitched in black. The tabard’s lining was also colored black while the background was red, just like most of her outfit. The orange-eyed woman stood at a measly 5’4 and her hair was concealed under her hood. Once she helped the young man up she apologized profusely.

“It’s alright,” the young man casually responded as he rubbed his left arm. He was a bit more built than the woman but it felt as if she tackled him at full speed. The young woman was about to run again but the paper in the young man’s hand caught her eye.

“Wait a minute,” she started, pointing to the young man. “Are you here for an interview?” The young man looked to her, caught off-guard by the question.

“Huh?” he said absently, then quickly affirmed with a nod. “Oh, yes! Is this the Freelance Carriers organization headquarters?”

“Union,” the young woman corrected. The young man furrowed his brows and looked to her confusingly. She spoke again, this time fully correcting him: “It’s the Freelance Carriers Union headquarters, not organization!”

The young man rolled his eyes. “Whatever, is this the place?” The young woman nodded and ushered him in. As she did so she asked for the young man’s name.

“Davian Lyremin,” he responded. The young woman nodded with a smile and introduced herself.

“Robin Illmus! Welcome to FCU HQ! Let me show you to the headmaster’s office.”

As they walked through the building Davian could clearly see how cramped and busy the organization was. Numerous times the two had to rifle their way through speeding bodies and sidestep delivery carts filled with packages to make it through several halls toward the headmaster’s office. Even though the halls were cramped each time Davian peeked into a room he could see that they were spaced and open for free movement. After several long minutes the two finally made it to the headmaster’s office at the end of the hall.

The whole building had a wooden finish to it, perhaps made from dark oak or some other fine wood. Despite the cramped halls it looked as if the building was well-cared for even with all the business going on. For some reason though it did not quite feel like some business building but more along the lines of some huge house. As Robin opened the door labeled “Headmaster” Davian expected some old noble to be sitting at the end of the room behind the table and large stacks of paperwork.

Instead, a large orc dressed in heavy black and gold plate with spikes adorning his shoulder pads and helmet greeted his eyes. The orc could not be taller than 6’2 but all that plate armor clouded his true height. The orc’s dark brown eyes whipped to Davian and all he could do was stand in fear, terrified by his presence. Robin pushed him in and he toppled to the floor and scrambled to get up.

As Robin closed the door the orc stood from his seat, showing that he really was around 6’2. His plated armor looked brand new and impenetrable, as if the best of steel could not put even a scratch on it. His cloak hanged still behind his back as he crossed his arms and looked to Davian expectedly. In a frantic moment of terror Davian could only figure to don his weapons and fight the beast but he was having trouble trying to unclasp them.

Robin watched as Davian as he fumbled with his shield and sword, then laughed at him. “What are you doing?” she questioned as a sly grin pulled over her face. Davian tossed her a confused look and then glanced to the orc, who still had his arms crossed. He did not look amused in the least bit.

Davian fumbled to pull his words out. “Y-you mean he’s allowed to be here?” Robin nodded and stifled some chuckles as the answer slowly moved through Davian’s mind. He then looked to the orc again and realized he was wearing the same tabard as Robin was.

The orc pointed behind Davian and spoke. “You’re looking for that idiot, the one behind you.” Davian, slack-jawed and in awe, finally processed the orc’s words and whipped around to find a human with glowing light blue eyes staring right at him.

The human stood around 5’5 and had a rather creepy smile on his face as he stared directly into Davian’s eyes. Like most of the people he saw the man was donned in red and the FCU colors, the only difference being that he was in plated armor instead of leathers or cloth. However, his hood was cloth and masked the man’s black, dried-out hair. There was the light smell of death lingering over him that Davian did not recognize but he was not concentrating on that as he screamed out in surprise.

“HELLO!” the man yelled exuberantly as Davian recoiled. The man then quickly stroked the sideburns connected to his mustache and babbled, scaring Davian even further to the point he fell to his back. The man began laughing as he watched Davian scrawl toward the table and press his back against it.

Robin smacked the man’s head and scoffed. “Stop that, Cham! This is why we keep losing business!” Cham’s chuckling simmered down after the hit and he could only bear a smile on his face. The orc sighed, shook his head and then resumed the paperwork sprawled over the table.

Davian was confused, terrified, and horrified at everything around him. Upon closer inspection he realized the man was a death knight, one of many elite knights of the Lich King! His mind collapsed on itself as to figure out what to do but Robin’s presence caused him to calm down slightly. If she did not scare from such figures then supposedly this was all normal.

“G-gods!” Davian stammered out, quickly getting to his feet. “I – what – is this normal!?” Cham huffed his chest out and firmly placed his hands on his hips as he nodded with pride, grinning. Robin palmed her face and shook her head, groaning in embarrassment. In order to salvage the situation she looked to Davian and gestured to Cham.

“Davian, this is Headmaster Cham Baergs of the Freelance Carriers Union. I’m terribly sorry for his personality but this is how he is. Imagine how all of us feel!”

“Hey!” Cham exclaimed, looking to Robin disappointingly. “Not all of you hate me, right Reichel?” He looked over his shoulder to the mace on his back.

“Only when you’re acting responsibly,” a ghost-like voice spoke. Davian looked around and his fears lifted once more.

“W-who was that?” Cham’s mace lit up with green and then expunged into the form of a female specter. She looked as if she had a simple dress on and the remaining half of her body shrunk down to a ethereal tail toward the mace. Her short, ghostly hair floated about in strands as she hovered over Cham’s shoulder and looked at Davian. At first Davian felt apprehended by such a person but upon more inspection he felt at ease, almost as if the ghost reminded him of her mother.

“Oh?” the ghost inquired, her voice motherly and tender. She floated closer to Davian and looked over him. “I see, are you new here?” Davian simply nodded, which caused Reichel to whip toward Cham and gently slap him on the head. He grunted and Reichel began scolding him.

“Mister!” she said with an authoritative tone, wagging her finger at him. “What would Witzer say if he saw you doing this to all of our newcomers?” Cham looked to the floor like a whipped child and grumbled, rubbing his arm as if the words physically harmed him. As Robin giggled Reichel nodded matter-of-factly, then looked to Davian.

“I’m sorry, Cham has a lot of energy to dispose of. Are you here for your interview?” Davian fell silent for a moment, feeling rather uneasy from the company around him. After a minute he finally nodded, which Reichel responded by looking to the orc writing on the table.

“Khaadgrim?” she asked tenderly. The orc placed another paper on the stack to his left and lifted himself up.

“Alright,” he said quickly. Davian looked to him and the orc gestured to the door with his head. Davian was eager to head out of the office and opened the door to wait outside. As Khaadgrim walked past Cham the orc smacked him on the head and grumbled a word out.

“Idiot.” As Khaadgrim closed the door Cham could not help but to chuckle bit, which was quickly cut short by the glares from Robin and Reichel.

Cham shrugged with that silly smile still on his face. “Hey, he’s made it this far! That’s points for him, right?” Reichel crossed her arms and shook her head as Robin rolled her eyes and made her way out the office. Khaadgrim led Davian to a door a few doors away from Cham’s office and ushered him in, following behind and closing the door.

The room was spacious just like the others Davian saw as he walked through the building. This one did not really have much, furnished with only two wooden chairs and a table between them. Above and to the left of the room hanged a clock; below it a contraption filled with water hummed gently as Davian moved to take a seat.

Khaadgrim unstrapped his helmet and rested it on the table and then moved to the water-filled contraption. He took a cup out from his shoulder pad and held it under what looked like a nozzle and pressed a button, causing the contraption to bubble and then let out a cold stream of water. He then gave the cup of water to Davian, who took it rather hesitantly, and placed himself in the other chair.

Khaadgrim’s face showed much weariness from the wrinkles evident. Another thing Davian noticed was that the orc had no tusks, which he believed was a normal trait for orcs. Khaadgrim looked as if he was sizing Davian up, assessing if the young man could do anything worthwhile to his time. Davian took the orc’s staring to heart, feeling rather uneasy from his intimidating presence and also from the fact that he was an orc.

“So,” Khaadgrim finally began speaking as Davian gulped down some water, “How did you hear about us?”

Davian thought for a moment before he answered, trying to stifle his anxiety as he began to speak. “My father is a blacksmith and my mother is a caretaker at the orphanage. They both said I should join up with the Freelance Carriers Union since they relied on them a lot for deliveries.” Khaadgrim nodded at this, folding his fingers together as he leaned a bit more onto the table.

“Do you have any combat experience? Any prior jobs before this interview? What training do you have, if any?”

Davian took another quick gulp from his cup before answering. “My father taught me a little about shield bearing but it’s nothing advanced. I worked a bit helping children with my mother and did little deliveries for my father but neither were for payment. I can’t say I have much of any training for war or, well, anything.” He chuckled a bit and finished off his water.

“I see,” the orc acknowledged, moving to cross his arms. “How old were you when you helped your mother and father?”

“Around fourteen. I helped them until I was seventeen and my father taught me about shield bearing a week ago.”

Khaadgrim quirked a brow. “That’s a rather long while to be working. How old are you now?”

“Eighteen.”

“Hm.” Khaadgrim mused a bit, looking over Davian again. The stares were not as critical as before but Davian still felt uneasy.

“Why did you come to us for a job?” the orc asked. Davian nibbled at his lip.

“Well,” he started, thinking as he spoke. “My parents always talked about you, how you guys helped everyone you could and worked together with Horde members.” He strained to find the right words so he would not anger the orc. “I’ve never been in battle, nor have I had any real experience with the Horde. I wanted to see if they were as bad as everyone talked about.”

Khaadgrim mused at the human’s words, shifting his jaw slightly from side to side as he stared at Davian. Davian was expecting some harsh words but silence befell them for several minutes before Khaadgrim spoke again.

“You’re certainly an honest one, aren’t you?” Khaadgrim said with a slight tone of surprise. Davian rubbed his neck as he looked to the orc.

“My father always told me to judge lightly and act wisely. Though sometimes what people say I take too much to heart than I should.”

“Care to explain?” Khaadgrim asked genuinely. Davian did not expecting such a question but he felt he should answer it as best he could.

“My father gets a lot of business. I’ve heard a lot of the talk my father does with his customers and almost all of them had something bad to say when it came to the Horde. I’m aware of our history, but why should I judge if I never had any experience with the Horde? I’m sure all the bed-time stories about them eating children and torturing women and children aren’t true, but I can’t really believe they’re –”

“All that’s true,” Khaadgrim interrupted. Davian’s eyes lit up with horror as his jaw slacked. Before he could say anything the orc continued.

“Though, that’s all behind us I suppose.” Khaadgrim glanced at the lights above and sighed. “We’ve had a long history of suffering and treachery but my leader is trying to remedy that.” He glanced down and examined Davian’s face. A tinge of horror was still there but overall he seemed to have calmed down.

“You’re a bright boy,” Khaadgrim said with a touch of praise. “Though, don’t let the wisdom from this interview unnerve you. It is not what we used to be, but who we are now.”

Davian was still trying to process all this information. He fiddled with the empty cup and looked deep into it, wondering if it was a good choice to bother coming to the FCU at all. Khaadgrim watched the young boy muse over his thoughts and then decided to speak up again.

“Davian,” Khaadgrim called, catching his attention. “Whatever you may have heard about the Horde may be right or wrong, but what you should also understand is that not everyone is perfect, and that we all have much to learn about each other before the hatred can be stifled.”

Davian looked to the orc for a long while before responding, lowering his head to stare at the cup again. “I’ve heard that your people suffered under our care when you were imprisoned.”

“That is true,” Khaadgrim affirmed. He slid off a gauntlet and showed Davian the numerous whip scars over his arm. As the orc buckled it back on Davian nodded and continued.

“I know we’ve had our mistakes too, with the Defias and Alterac, I’ve read our history books before.” Khaadgrim nodded in agreement.

“Precisely.” Khaadgrim took out a paper from his shoulder pad and slid it to Davian. “While the FCU tries hard to ease the tension between our kinds we expect much from our workers. Before you sign this contract listen to what I have to say and I’ll give you some time to think about joining us.” Davian looked to Khaadgrim and nodded.

Khaadgrim continued. “You will learn how to fight while under our employment. You will be trained to use whatever weapons you wish or are able to use and will be instructed to fulfill your duties as quickly as possible. You will also be trained to use our communication devices and be given one should you accept to join the Freelance Carriers Union.

“Depending on what you are capable of will depend on where you are placed within the FCU. If you cannot meet the physical requirements of hard labor or long travel then we will try to find a more suitable area of work unless you decide otherwise or outright resign. You are expected to keep your equipment in working condition and your communication device on at all times regardless of status.”

As Khaadgrim briefed him Davian looked over the contract. It was filled with a lot of legal information concerning injuries and policies dealing with the numerous tasks the FCU dealt with. Once Khaadgrim finished he moved to the door and told Davian he would be waiting outside for his answer.

After Davian finished reading over the terms of conduct he finally reached the bottom where he was supposed to sign his name. His curiosity urged him to quickly sign the contract, and once he did he moved to the door with the empty cup in his pocket and closed the door behind him.

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About Grim Meteor

Hello. I write, stream, read, dream, and uh, do other stuff. Thanks for stopping by.
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