Been a while since the last chapter, eh? Anyway, this chapter is set eight years later, in Year 15 when the Twilight's Hammer is being a general pain. Also, for reference to Jazax's age, he was born in Year -12, or 12 years before the Dark Portal was opened. He was 17 during Year 5 (chapters 1 through 4). Now, in Year 15, he is 27. And yes, that means he is indeed 40 years old during In Our Nature.
"Eh? What's this'n do?"
Jazax furrowed his brow, glancing over at the bald dwarf impatiently.
"Don't touch that," He sniffed, glancing back to the heap of wires he was digging his hands into, "It'll explode."
"How come I ain't surprised... " The dwarf sighed, shaking his shiny round head as he stepped away from the grinning goblin bobblehead.
The dwarf meandered to the other side of the room, his thick fingers tapping on the side of the crossbow slung over his shoulder. He peered at the various odd contraptions around the room before coming to a halt in front of a little black sphere. It was rather unassuming in appearance, especially compared to everything else in the room. His free hand moved towards the sphere before recoiling.
"Ah bet this one explodes tae, aye?" The dwarf glanced over warily.
"If I made it, and it's in here, then yeah, it definitely explodes," Jazax snorted, more interested in untangling the wires in that moment.
"Aye, but what is it?"
"What's what?" Jazax briefly looked up in disinterest, "Oh, that? That's the Plan B."
"Plan B?" The dwarf perked an eyebrow, "What's the B for?"
"...Obviously, it's B for… Bartram," Jazax answered sarcastically, returning to his wires.
"Nae B for Bald?" Bartram grinned, the sarcasm going right over his bald head, "Did ye make that for me?"
"Jeez, you really ain't a credit to your race's intelligence, buddy, y'know that?" Jazax muttered under his breath, pushing his goggles up, "I make bombs. Now, you wanna take another guess what the B stands for, huh?"
"Awright, awright! Just a question, lad!" Bartrom furrowed his bushy brown brow, "How come yer sae crabbit?"
Jazax rolled his eyes. He didn't even understand what that dwarf was saying half the time, and it definitely wasn't a problem with his Common. Unfortunately, this was definitely one of the times he could figure the gist of what Bartram was talking about. He gave a quiet sigh, setting down his mess of wires and looking over towards the grimy window. Outside, it was a sunny day in Booty Bay. The orange sunset was glistening off of the crystal clear water like a mirror, and something about it made him nostalgic. The sad kind.
"I dunno," Jazax shrugged a little, "Guess I have been kinda in a bad mood lately."
"Ah suppose there's a reason, aye?" Bartram perked an eyebrow.
"Yeah, I guess, maybe, I dunno," Jazax shrugged again, "It's nothing."
"Oh, no ye dinnae," Bartram huffed, putting a hand on his staunch hip, "Dinnae think ye kin scouk it from me. A've known ye fer eight years, aye? A'd say we're mukkers. Thick as thieves! Literally! So just tell me awready, laddie. We dinnae have a' day!"
Jazax furrowed his brow, only understanding about half of that. He was pretty sure half of those were made up words. Either way, Bartram was scowling at him impatiently, so he decided he'd better just say something.
"...Eight years already?" He frowned, his gaze moving back to the window, "And I'm still right here? Jeez…"
"Aye?" Bartram cocked his head to the side, "Well, where else would ye expect tae be?"
Jazax shrugged again, looking down to his workbench. It was rusty, and singed, and covered in soot. He frowned again.
"I feel like I'm the bench," He mumbled, causing Bartram to raise an eyebrow.
"Huh? Er, what? Ye keep getting blown up but keep standing?"
"I mean, that's a given," Jazax shrugged once more, "I just mean that I feel… y'know… old?"
At this, Bartram set a hand on this round belly and let out a hearty laugh.
"Ye, old? Please! Gimme a break, laddie! Ye'r nae even in yer third decade! A'm awready intae mah second hunner years!"
"Hey, well, goblins don't live all that long," Jazax grumbled, glancing aside, "Mostly due to user error."
"Aye, bit ye'v ne'er blown yersel' up. Nae tae death, anyway."
"That ain't the point, Baldy," Jazax rolled his eyes, wiping his grease-covered hands onto his dirty coveralls, "Just feels like I'm goin' nowhere real fast, y'know?"
"But where would ye even want tae go?" Bartram shrugged, "Seems like all yer kind wants tae be 'ere in Booty Bay."
"It ain't where I am," Jazax sighed, "It's how, y'know? It don't matter if I'm in Booty Bay, or Mudsprocket, or freakin' Northrend. I ain't really anywhere if I still belong to the Cartel."
Bartram nodded thoughtfully, recalling the scraps he'd been told about the situation over the years. He didn't really understand much about the deeper inner workings of the Cartels, even though he was employed by one himself. The other races were always welcome as hired muscle, maybe even foreman of some small scale operation. But there was a reason you never saw anything like a human Trade Prince. Beside the fact that the other races could never keep up, of course.
"That's a real bee in yer bonnet, ain't it, Jaz?" Bartram sighed, "Ever thought of just… goin' away? Just disappearing?"
"And go where?" Jazax smiled bitterly, "There ain't anywhere I can go that the Cartel won't find me. You know that."
"Then how come nae dae something else? Git more dosh?" Bartram suggested, "Ah bet th' Baron wouldn't mind ye givin' us help on collection work."
At this, Jazax paused. For the past eight years, he hadn't done anything but work on explosives for Revilgaz's fleet. Maybe a change of scenery would be just what he needed. And if it came with the possibility of getting more money, too… well, how could he say no to that?
"Alright, Baldy," Jazax nodded after a moment, "But, wait, us? Who's us?"
"Ah, right, right! Ye haven't even met mah partner Tezz yet!"
"Tezz?" Jazax asked, perking an eyebrow at the name.
It didn't sound like a Dwarvish name to him. Not Dwarvish at all.
"Aye, she's mah dagger," Bartram said with a firm nod of his head, "Bout as pointy as a dagger herself! Maybe tis just how ye Goblins are, eh?"
Jazax perked an eyebrow, his suspicions confirmed.
"A Goblin woman, huh?" He tapped a finger against his grease-stained chin, "Sounds like a pain."
"Ain't that the truth!" Bartram snorted, twirling a finger around the curled end of his bushy brown mustache, "Ah reckon a'd find a demon more personable than her."
"Yep," Jazax nodded with a faint grin, "Definitely a Goblin woman."