Kaeya leaned back against the sun-warmed stone, staring off over the worn walls of Dalaran to the distant, snow-capped mountains. The sun was dipping down through the clouds that shrouded the mountain range, and the rogue had a thoughtful expression on her youthful face as she studied the colors it painted the sky.
“Hello,” a polite voice came from beside her. She turned her green gaze, raising an eyebrow slightly to note the speaker: a young woman, blood elf like herself, with long, curled locks of red hair.
Kaeya tilted her head, wondering what she wanted. The last person who’d attempted to beg coin from her had ended up floating in the Undercity gutter, and Dalaran had a wonderful shark in its sewers here to dispose of corpses. “Lockbox?” she asked mildly, as that would be the only other plausible reason a complete stranger would be questioning her.
The girl smiled gently. “Oh, no. Kaelynn sent me… you’re Kaeya, right?”
Kaelynn. What was that druid up to? The rogue’s eyes narrowed as she studied the other elf: some mail gear, a crossbow slung over the shoulder, a faint smell of engine grease and… animal? A hunter. “Yes, I am Kaeya,” she replied carefully.
“Oh good,” the girl’s smile deepened. “She said you could help me with gathering ore… you see, I am trying to level my professions, engineering and jewelcrafting, and she said you were one of our farmers.”
The rogue grew still, staring hard at the hunter; only her hair moved, blond strands drifting in the faint breeze. “Our…?” She said after a long moment. Her gaze studied the hunter more carefully, eyes moving up and down, noting the battered boots and rusted gauntlets, and… that dagger. With lightening speed, her hand darted down and unsheathed the dagger from the hunter’s belt, flipping it deftly in her hand to study it. The hunter made a face and started to complain, but she held up her other hand to silence the girl while she looked over the blade. Heirloom quality. Agility enchant. Familiar grip. Nock in the blade, 2.3 inches up from the hilt, from…
Kaeya’s eyes narrowed to slits. Turning the blade in her hand to offer the handle back to the hunter, she sniffed. “A fellow alt. I see. So that’s why the cursor hasn’t been doing anything to remedy my weapon situation in recent weeks. Feh.” She looked back to the sunset, a dour mood now souring the view.
Looking over the blade herself with curiosity, the hunter now seemed skittish. “I’m… sorry? Um, well, I will be needing ore… starting with copper, actually. I had originally been an alchemist, but the shaman took over on that front…”
“The shaman, yes,” Kaeya said moodily. “At least she was able to farm for herself. Do you have epic flying?”
“Hmph. Suppose you’ll be plundering my hard-earned gold, too?”
There was a snarl to her right, and Kaeya just raised her eyebrows. Of course, a hunter, there would be a pet.
“Kisa!” the hunter chided her pet. A white leopard was just faintly visible, prowling up to Kaeya’s side with its lips curled up around its saber fangs.
Kaeya rolled her eyes: the prowling shadows were HER domain. “Down, kitty, it’s not like I haven’t dealt with feral druids more powerful than you. Hmph.”
“Kisa, come,” the hunter asked, pointing behind her. The cat hissed at Kaeya once more as it padded around her and obediently sat behind the girl, then began licking its paw nonchalantly. “I’m… sorry if I’ve given you the wrong impression… look, I don’t really care about the epic flying. I mean, I have two drakes idling in the bank, but for a hunter, that’s kind of expected, you know? Stables… pets…” she watched the rogue, noting her attempt at humor had failed. “I just need some ore is all, and I thought the alts were supposed to help each other.”
“Great. Well, I guess this means I may actually see some play time,” Kaeya remarked.
The hunter smiled genuinely, “See, there’s always a silver lining!”
“I was being sarcastic. Did you fall and hit your head during the opening character creation cinematic?”
The hunter blushed. “No…”
Kaeya gave her a sidelong glare, silent for a moment. Then she stood, straightening, and dug a whistle out of her pocket. “What’s your name? I have to mail the ore somewhere.”
“Oh! Um, Kotonni.”
“Is that Umkotonni or just Kotonni?” Kaeya said, rolling her eyes.
“Right. Ore. Copper all the way up. What a quest. You want it smelted to bars, or can I just lob chunks of ore at the nearest mailbox and listen to the mailman complain of rock dust and property damage?”
“Oh… half and half, I guess. I need to prospect some for gems.”
The rogue blew on the whistle, and after a moment, a large war-feathered raptor dropped down from its perch on the roof. It bent its head, sniffing predatorily at the hunter’s pet, and warbled to itself as Kaeya caught its reins. “Shinies!” Kaeya mocked, admittedly jealous as she swung up onto the raptor’s back. “Well, Kot, this will take a while. Don’t pressure me or you’ll be getting [Pocket Lint] in the mail.”
Kotonni grimaced. “Please don’t call me that…”
“Fine. Seeya, Kot.” With that, the rogue urged the raptor forth into the busy streets of Dalaran.
Little did she know that that evening, as she pitched her tent under the stars in the red sands of Durotar, that the world was about to change.
The Witcher, Diversity, and those darn SJWs
5 days ago