Is SI:7 recruiting dwarves?, and The Tail of The Tinkering Shaman

(( With Ethel's growing concern about Tiforis and Ovistine's continuing worry over Valinar — what with both of those lads having Shadow's Edge whispering to them now — a pair of dwarves found themselves wondering if it might be good to keep a constant eye on their menfolk. But how to get that eye into Icecrown Citadel, close enough to watch their battles? Well, a certain shaman was putting together a Jeeves, and… ))

Teu hummed to herself as she applied her shiny new Gnomish Army Knife to a King's Amber. Valyrie could barely watch; such a nice gem to be cut in such an amateur fashion! On the other hand, lately Teu had been making all sorts of neat things–target dummies (some of which exploded in a terrific burst of color when Valyrie attacked them), explosive sheep, and boxes and boxes full of saronite bombs.

"Do I get some?" Valyrie had asked, only to be met by an indignant puff of air and a five-minute lecture on how bombs are not for inside the house. As if the furniture didn't need replacing anyway!

It had brought a bit of company by, which was also welcome; Teu had mentioned that the tiny braided dwarf was coming over to help Teu put together her new robotic butler, who was apparently going to clean the house for them. Valyrie was entirely in favor of this plan. When the knock came at Teu and Valyrie's door, Valyrie hopped up and went off to answer it.

The braided dwarf looked up, and up, and squinted at Valyrie. "'Ey there, Miss Valyrie. Is Teu ready to get started putting her Jeeves together?"

"The butler? Yes, I think so. She's in the workshop, as usual."

"Thanks! I'll show meself back, don't trouble yourself a titch."

"Of course. Take care, have fun, all that stuff…"

"Will do, aye!"

* * *

Ovistine pulled the titansteel bar out of her pack and placed it carefully on the table. "There! Careful with it; I cast a levitate spell on it so it didn't weigh me down too much, but it's best to wait it out an' have the spell wear off before you start working."

"Oh! Yes, yes, certainly." Teu pushed her goggles up on her forehead. "It has been so much help, you and your expertise! So many thankings!"

Chuckling, Ovistine dug into her pack again. "You're welcome, lass. An' I brought you sommat else."

It was a Construct-Your-Own-Mechanopeep set, one which Teu had cooed over in the tinkering shop the last time she and Ovistine had gone out to shop for materials. She'd let it sit there, saying something about increased fees for outfit maintenance that Ovistine didn't quite catch, but with this plan of hers and Ethel's, Ovistine had seen an opportunity, and she'd gone back to the shop early this afternoon.

Once she'd figured out how to miniaturize the gizmos, the rest had been easy. Adjusting the parts to fit logically into the mechanopeep head had been a challenge, but a very welcome one. The holo-transmitter was even set up to project an image, a voice, or both, out of the mechanopeep's beak.

And, of course, she'd wired up the transmission recorders at home, made out of several databanks she'd recovered from Gnomeregan–she'd always figured they'd come in handy someday. More to the point, she had the data ready to print out on punchcards, so she could hand them over to Ethel if need be.

Of course, all this relied on Teuthida having the mechanopeep out of her packs, and that was something Ovistine couldn't control–but given her enthusiasm for tinkering lately, and the way she could customize the mechanopeep to have sparkles all over it, Ovistine thought the chances were quite good.

The parts for Jeeves she'd brought were just a backup.

It would have taken a far more experienced engineer to figure out what was going on; the Field Repair Bot 74A had been customized, but not in a way that was too terribly obvious. Ovistine encouraged Teuthida to use that bot's parts in Jeeves' head, and Teuthida cheerfully agreed. When Jeeves was finished, and Teu had hopped up to fling triumphant arms and tentacles around Valyrie, it was a matter of mere moments–and a quick flick of a gyromatic micro-adjustor–to get the recording and transmitting units turned on and working.

"Take care," Ovistine told Teuthida. Teu bent down and gave Ovistine an enthusiastic hug, too, and Ovistine squeaked a bit when one of Teu's tentacles brushed across her ear.

"Sorry, sorry! But yes, yes, thank you so much! And for the tiny peep!" She snapped her fingers at the mechanopeep, and it trotted over to her feet. "I will keep him out of harm's way! He can sit upon my totems during battle!"

"Good call, aye," Ovistine said. "Light be with you."

"The Naaru have not forgotten us," Teu said, and Ovistine nearly laughed–so many times she'd heard that phrase, but never in such earnest, at least not from a friend. "And the elements will be at my side as well."

Ovistine had let herself out, and after she hopped into her turbo-charged flying machine, she set the controls to autopilot and put her head in her hands for a moment.

Spying on the elf I–on the elf. It's come to that, has it?

She thought about the axe again, the way the runes had seemed to pulse. The way it had been cold to the touch, the one time she'd brushed against it. It feeds on souls, Valinar had said, and she wondered if he'd really considered what that might mean.

"No," she murmured, pushing the "manual" button again and drawing the flying machine out of its spiraling northward lean. "No, Ethel's right. They need us at their backs."

An' I'll be damned if I let my elf walk in there without some way to know if he's safe. I didn't wait all these years just to lose him to the Lightforsaken Scourge.

Steady again, she headed back to the portals in Shattrath City, more than ready to be home.

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