Previous installment: Crestfire
“Please remain in the queue, foreigner,” the half-orc guard ordered, once again, as Kael tried to jump the queue. The line snaked all the way out into the sandbox streets, starting at the top of the pyramid that housed the magistrate of Crestfire – a representative of the interests of the local guilds and temples. The only equal to Magistrate Kiri would be Captain Jhova Kherd of the Town Guard.
In an effort to address their need for water to sustain them for their trek, Meowzer and Kael had gone to the magistrate to investigate the problems with the water plant. The word on the street was that the magical purification plant’s maintenance had been made difficult not only due to the lack of Ankorian mages but mainly due to the presence of a monster. As enterprising adventurers, Meowzer and Kael felt it only a small hindrance to their quest.
Backing away from the irate guard, Kael nudged Meowzer.
“You know elvish, right?”
“Ark,” Meowzer replied.
“Perr, perr,” Kael smirked. “Let’s try this. I’ll pose as an engineer from Aulsan. You are my interpreter. Follow my lead.”
Before Meowzer could give his consent, Kael approached the guard.
“Mo ik o picaais tren. O gyreela luktek’gron en’ Aulsan.”
The guard scratched his head. Kael breathed an inward sigh of relief. Meowzer caught up and ‘translated’ what he heard.
“My colleague here is an engineer from Aulsan. He heard of your water troubles and wants to see the magistrate to discuss details.”
“Well,” the guard scratched his head. “It’s not protocol, but these are trying times. Go ahead.”
The pair passed the guard, to the groans and insults of the peasants and merchants in the line.
The entrance hall was a bustling hive of bureaucrats, lobbyists and pencil pushers. A guard, at Meowzer’s questioning, indicated the direction to the magistrate.
Magistrate Kiri was a young cat-folk. While small of stature, she bore the weight of Crestfire’s governance on her shoulders.
“What can one do for you?” she asked, not lifting her eyes from her paperwork.
“Ukle gured. Vurm mon urz. Twaa truar defaia tru’ac te mon, twa shonda varmari Kael’thas en’ Aulsan.”
Meowzer ignored the elvish, hoping Kiri didn’t understand the tongue.
“My colleague here is an engineer from the faculty of alteration at the Aulsan College of Magic. We have heard that you have trouble with your water plant.”
Kiri looked up, pausing her work.
“Trouble? We’re a desert city that used to thrive as a trading hub along the Pike River. There is no longer a Pike River, but instead a gaping crevice of desolation that makes this city useless. The corruption in the water makes non-magical desalination impossible and there is no more Ankor to send mages to purify water for us. To add to this, we can’t even diagnose the problem in the water plant because everyone who enters winds up dead.”
“Sounds like trouble.”
Kiri looked irritable but regained her composure.
“Crestfire has seen better days. Onto business, we aren’t taking formal contracts to fix the water problem because we cannot adequately formalize the requirements. We don’t know what’s in there or what is actually wrong with the plant. Only person who may know is one of the Captain’s men, who came out covered in blood and blithering like an idiot. You can go see him at the temple east of the northern gate. Otherwise, there’s an open reward for fixing the plant – 100 gold pieces.”
Meowzer made a show of translating to Kael.
“Moa defaia uree adro, filf!”
Meowzer tactically mistranslated, “Thank you. Professor Kael’thas will investigate matters to the best of his expansive ability.”
Kiri nodded as they departed.