Liam stood on the balcony of the inn and looked out across the desert. It was a clear night across Tanaris, so even from Gadgetzan he could see as far as the northern Troll ruins and even make out the Silithus outline in the sky to the southwest. Of course, Liam couldn’t have named any of those places before today, let alone determine where they were. It had been a long day and he just enjoyed being outside. While there was still hustle and bustle throughout the town below, it was somewhat quieter up above.
Liam had put a little faith in Flagsworth and entrusted in him the docking of the ship, and it pleasantly had gone off without a hitch. He also kept his word with the alchemist when Drake awoke. He spared him his life, though they did end up selling him to Nigstrom, the owner of the cage fighting that was an incredibly popular attraction. It took several of them, but they convinced him that having a medic on hand would be good for business.
He left Flagsworth to determine who would be best for the transaction of goods versus new goods to transport. Surprisingly, he selected Kheiro. He said the Tauren was far wiser than anyone on board and Liam had to agree with him on that. Plus, Kheiro knew the port of Ratchet rather well and that was their next destination. It only stood to reason he could gauge what would be of value there, too. Plus, he could be trusted not to run off with the gold, or blow it in a game of Bilge Dice or Kings…
Liam took the hint from a pestering nose and squatted down to give Drake a scratch. A thorough one, almost making up for the days they had missed out. As always, his thoughts came out loud to the dog.
“How did we end up here bud?” It was an answerless question of course. “It feels like just yesterday I awoke in the grave, with no idea how I got there. Now, we’re sitting here and I have no idea how that came about either!”
The dog looked at him, cocking his head slightly toward the boney hand scratching him behind his ear. Liam looked at him and knew the dog didn’t have an answer. He also clearly didn’t care what the answer was, he was just happy to be back with his master. Liam was happy to have him back as well.
He turned to see the Orc coming through the archway and stood to greet him. The hulking green man stepped across the balcony and towered over Liam. Not nearly as much as Kheiro did, but the height and girth was more than enough to show just how meager Liam was in his undead form.
“Are you all set, Logard?” When they left the ship anchored just off the coast, the orc had made it clear he would not be returning with them now that he was no longer a prisoner.
“I am.” He paused to size up Liam. “I don’t do thanks well. But, I owe you my freedom.” His eyes focused on Liam and seemed to almost be looking into him. “I don’t know what happened on that boat, but I do know that much.” He didn’t say anything more. He merely pounded his chest with his forearm, then turned and left.
Liam looked down at Drake. “No, I don’t think I’ll ever find any comfort in an Orc’s presence either.” He leaned on the hard rock railing of the roof and stared out once more. Liam considered himself of reasonable intelligence, but he was at a loss for his current journey. When he was alive, everything had purpose. In the time since he was no longer alive, it’s been more of a take what came his way approach. He wasn’t sure how he felt about that or how he felt when he thought back to how he became in charge of the ship. What did happen to him anyway? He was still in control, he just didn’t care. And would it happen again?
“We have finished our exchanges with the merchants and other ships.” Kheiro’s deep tone calmly interrupted Liam’s thoughts. “I have done my best with what goods we had. Your crew is taking the wagons back to the ship now.”
Liam stared an eye right through the moon as Kheiro knelt down to remind Drake he had not forgotten him. The dog snatched the small piece of Talbuk Venison the Tauren had brought him and laid on the ground, tearing at it vehemently. “You just have to keep poking me with those Captain comments don’t you?”
Kheiro stood and turned to Liam. “My moments of casting an innocent jape have passed. I speak now in the literal sense. Whether it pleases you, or it doesn’t, you have been deemed the Captain of the ship. The crew, as such, is yours as well. Thus my remark.”
It didn’t matter what he said. The moment the Tauren started talking, Liam felt like a jerk for immediately attacking Kheiro. The adventure thus far could not have been much easier for him as well, and he was the only friend outside of Drake who Liam had in this life after life. He looked to the Tauren to apologize but no doubt sensing that, Kheiro changed the subject.
“Ratchet is our destination, but our journey there might not be without obstacle,” he said. Reading Liam’s face he continued. “The Goblins, while honestly dishonest, have some interesting technology. If that is to be believed, then hard rain is expected among the deep waters.” He scratched his forearm slowly before continuing. “The consensus is that we’re far safer not straying far from shore.”
“I see no problem with that,” said Liam. “If it takes longer, that’s not a big deal is it?”
Kheiro looked at Liam as he always did when he was about to teach him something new. “It is not a matter of time so much as a matter of where it takes us.” The Tauren turned to look towards their docked ship. “Unless marked as an Alliance vessel, few ships are welcome in Theramore these days.”