The Box

16 Jul

Upon returning home at the end of the night, your character finds… a box before his or her door.  It’s rather common-looking, as boxes go — a simple wooden crate, about two feet on a side.  There are no markings telling its point of origin, but your name’s stamped in big, block letters right on top.  It’s closed with a simple brass hasp.  No one appears to be around that witnessed its delivery.

As you peer at it, something shifts inside:  just the faintest sound of movement, then all is still again.

What do you do?

***

The night’s air was crisp and cold, as it often was in Dalaran. With the city so high on the northern continent, Mishaweha wondered how they didn’t all freeze to death.

“Magic, probably,” she mused to herself. “How like mages, to force the elements when they only need to ask. Even the air spirits here would be willing to listen.” Misha stretched her fingers out to play against the air, smiling briefly. At least the elements and their issues were simple… compared to the mess she and her comrades had been dealing with for the past few days — the Scourge. They were fortunate enough to get a break from the front lines, if only for a little while.

It was well past midnight, as evidenced by the lack of people on the street. Very few were out and about, and those who were either hurried to their destination or loitered with intent. Misha was one that hurried, from the ‘portal room’ to her ‘home away from home’ at The Filthy Animal.

The inn was eerily dark and silent. Only the main fire still burned, giving the central room a dark red glow. No servers walked about, the kitchen was silent, and even Uda, the ever vigilant innkeeper, was nowhere in sight. Not to say the place was unguarded, though, as her wolves still lay at the entrance. One lifted his head to sniff at Misha as she walked in, but quickly laid back down, snuffling with disinterest.

Carefully, Misha made her way past to wolves and upstairs to her room, fiddling for her key in the dark. A few minutes later she found it (along with the rest of her keys) buried at the bottom of her pack. A few minutes after that, she located the correct key for the door. After the key was found, however, it was very quick for her to unlock the door, take a step to go inside —

And trip over a two-foot wooden crate that had escaped her night-vision. Misha fell straight forward and face-planted into her room with an extremely-loud-in-a-silent-house crash due to all of her mail armor she was still wearing.

She stayed absolutely still for a moment, taking full account of any injuries (nothing serious, though her chin would probably still smart in the morning). It seemed that no one was up to see, which was good. This wasn’t very dignified for a tauren of her stature. And there were no cries for silence, which meant either her neighbors were dead asleep or too tired to complain about noise.

Mishaweha laying awkwardly on the ground after tripping on a box.

(( This is sorta what I envisioned, but it's not accurate. Just look at that armor - Misha wouldn't be caught dead in that! >.> ))

A few minutes later Misha had untangled herself from the floor and moved the offending item into the middle of the room, instead of right outside her doorway. It was just a plan old wooden crate, as far as she could tell. A simple latch, easy enough to open. It had her name on it.

Oh — and it had moved.

It was a subtle movement, just a little jitter, a tiny shake — but it definitely had done something. Misha figured that since boxes typically don’t move on their own, there had to be something inside.

“And who,” Mishaweha wondered, “would leave me a plain box with something alive in it? And what, pray, could it be?”

She had a hunch about who gave it to her, at least. But as to what it could be…

“Only one way to find out…”

She deftly undid the latch, opened the lid, and peered inside to see…

“A mechanical squirrel?”

The squirrel looked at her with green glowing eyes and chirped, mechanical-like.

Carefully, Misha reached in and pulled out the squirrel so she could get a better look. It tilted its head to the side and continued to look adorable. Misha’s eyes narrowed at the squirrel as she proceeded to search the box, with one hand, for a note of some kind. But there was nothing but box.

“Someone who knows me, knows when I’d be on leave, knows how to make useless mechanical contraptions, and loves surprising people? It could only be…”

“Mamisha,” she muttered aloud. As if to confirm her suspicions, the squirrel made that adorable mechanical chirping noise again. Mishaweha sighed. Her sister would do this. Leaving her no note, not telling her what it is, leaving ‘the present’ in an inconvenient place… yup, it smelled of younger sister.

“I don’t even know what I’d do with you,” Misha murmured at the squirrel. She turned it different angles and examined it some. “Do you need to be wound up? Or do you have some crazy power source?” Cursory examinations showed no keys or other winding mechanisms that she could see. The squirrel barely struggled as she checked the surface.

“Hm. I suppose you’re girl too, huh. Do you need to eat?” Misha smirked slightly at the thought of a mechanical squirrel eating (“Gears and oil?”), and offered a finger for it to sniff. The squirrel sniffed it and cocked its head again, looking ever more adorable. Misha tried not to be taken in with it’s cuteness.

“I guess I’ll worry more about this in the morning.” Slowly she got up from her sitting position, still holding the squirrel. She moved to place it back in the box, but after it gave her the most piteously adorable puppy dog face (a great feat, considering it was made of metal), Misha placed the squirrel on a nearby table. She then closed the box, tucking it under the table where people can’t trip on it, and then got herself ready for some well-deserved sleep.

Shame she didn’t know that mechanical squirrels have built in alarm clocks. A shame indeed.

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