One More for the Road

This one is called, One More for the Road, based off this prompt in the World of Warcraft forums:

“The Challenge:
There are so many interesting denizens within the World of Warcraft Universe whose stories go untold. This week, we’re challenging you to choose one, and tell us the tale that no one has heard before.”

One More for the Road

Though the bar was more pristine than a Blood Elf’s armor, and held a shine despite the rough treatment it had seen in days gone by, Morag moved the clean cloth over the smooth wood out of habit. It gave his hands something to do, since they certainly weren’t preoccupied with serving anyone drinks. The green of his skin mottled with white on his knuckles as he clenched the rag, and continued to wipe with more force than necessary.

Used to be I was needed around here, he grumbled inwardly. The bar, Broken Tusk, had seen better days. Before that blasted Outland was discovered, they’d almost drink me dry every night. Morag wasn’t the only one feeling the pinch in his business’ purse. Many of the other drink and food vendors in the city rarely, if ever, saw business.

Desperate times called for desperate measures, so when Orgrimmar was rebuilt Morag had gone…nicer. His lips curled back from his teeth and tusks in disgust at the word. It couldn’t be helped, though, with all the new races joining the Horde. Like those namby-pamby Blood Elves. He’d had to adapt to cater to a wider variety of crowd, but nothing worked. The only time he saw any action was when some hot-blooded young fool would come in, order one of every drink, proceed to down them all in quick succession, and then vomit on his floor.

At least it gives me something to do, he reckoned. Cleaning up spew was almost a welcome relief to standing behind the bar, bored.

Then, to make matters worse, those Pandarens had come in with their specialty brews, and taken even more of his clientele. Morag spat in disgust, watched his spittle hit the floor, and debated whether he should bother to clean it up.

There was a time when being a barkeep had been his dream—what he had lived for. His father was the barkeep at the old inn before him. Morag had been the only one of his siblings interested in the crafting and selling of brews. The others had run off to join the Orgrimmar guards, and with three of five dead, it was only Komak and him.

If our father could see us now, both his sons failures, Morag thought bitterly. Komak had been promoted to Overseer by Garrosh, but didn’t last long before he was demoted back down to Grunt. Komak wouldn’t talk to anyone, not even Morag, about what had happened. Since his brother was his only consistent patron all day, though, he didn’t want to upset him. Gods forbid I lose the one person paying me money. Though most days Morag didn’t even charge Komak. He was the only brother Morag had left, and he was going through a rough time. Blood was thicker than coin, he reckoned.

“You going to clean that up?” Komak asked, with a slight slur to his voice. Considering his brother had come in to start drinking almost the same time the sun had risen, and it was now nearing evening, his fortitude was impressive.

“What’s the point?” Morag sighed, threw the rag onto the floor, and thunked his head down onto the bar, defeated. Komak didn’t take his gaze from his brew, and Morag thought that the end of it.

It was a supreme surprise when his brother’s favorite knife thudded down into the bar, mere inches from where Morag’s head rested. He looked up into his brother’s eyes, and determination that Morag had not seen in Komak since he was a Grunt the first time, burned there like the fires of Deathwing.

“Because you can’t give up your passion, Morag. Just because things aren’t so great right now doesn’t mean they’ll always be that way. When things are good, it’s easy to stoke that fire in your belly for your work. The true test of someone’s aspirations come when folks put you down for no other reason than they can, or even when they don’t notice you at all,” Komak said.

The alcohol on his breath burned Morag’s eyes, but his words rekindled a flame in his soul.

“So, what is it going to be, Brother? Will you lie down like a dog in the street and be trampled? Or will you clean up the floor and push on to better times?”

Morag paused for only a moment, then bent over to pick up the rag and proceeded to clean the spit.

“You talk too much, has anyone ever told you that?” Morag asked, and poured his brother another beer.

Komak took it, gratefully, and downed it in one swig.

“Yeah, Garrosh,” he replied, and went back to his place at the bar.

Morag poured him another beer, which Komak drank at a more leisurely pace than the last one, and the two of them fell into silence for the rest of the night.

The hustle and bustle of Orgrimmar droned on into the evening, but the thought of all those people not coming into his bar didn’t bother Morag as much now. As the time came when Komak usually headed home, he glanced at his brother from the end of the bar.

“You going to take that knife out?” he asked, and jerked his chin toward where it was embedded in the wood.

Morag glanced down at it, but looked up at his brother with a half-smile.

“Nah, figured I’d leave it there as a reminder from you to not be an idiot,” Morag said, and cleaned the bar around the knife.

Komak grunted, and a ghost of a smile danced across his lips.

“One more for the road?” Morag asked his brother.

“Sure,” Komak said, “and I’ll even pay you for this one.”

The two of them shared a chuckle, and Komak went on his way with a skin of Mulgore Firewater. Morag moved about the bar with a spring in his step, (if such a thing was possible for Orcs, that is), his purpose in life renewed by his brother’s words. He went out to the doorway of the bar, and looked up at the stars that blanketed the sky above Orgrimmar. People moved about with a sense of purpose, and he gave a welcoming smile to those who looked his way.

Better times are coming.

thebrokentuskint

Here you can see Barkeep Morag, who is the Orc behind the bar, Komak, his brother in front of the bar, and the knife now being left embedded in the bar.

Author: lotwordsmiths

Hello, there! I'm Toni, and I've been writing and reading primarily fantasy stories most of my life. What really set me on the path to be a writer was my 6th grade English teacher, Mrs. Thomas, who told me she could see me as an author some day. I made Legends of the Wordsmiths to share my stories, and hopefully, (someday), the stories of others, too.!

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