"Yes, thank you."
Anavea tried her best to appear regal as she sipped an expensive port from an expensive wine glass. But even with her best clothes she was outclassed here, as shown by the contemptuous looks from the other patrons. Mostly the women. A restaurant by the Court of the Sun, she knew, was not a place for the middle-class likes of her.
"I've heard good things from some friends of mine." Professor Aresh said, continuing the small talk. "Lord Dawnforge sends his regards."
Word of mouth was still the best way of finding work, she thought.
"Thank you." Anavea replied politely. Lord Dawnforge had purchased a collection of Hakkari bijous from her a year or so earlier. They hadn't been easy to find.
Professor Aresh steepled his fingers together and took a moment to compose his thoughts. He was the typical scholarly type - thin, well groomed, unimposing and always appearing to analyse whatever he sees. After a long breath, he took a sip of wine.
"I am writing a paper, as professors tend to do." he began. "I'm writing about governments. Particularly the evolution of governments."
"Well you aren't short of case studies." Anavea replied. "The founding of our own city would be ideal."
"Our history is indeed an interesting one." the professor said vaguely, avoiding the subject. "But my interests lie in other societies as well, as we are not the only species to suffer a change of government. I have studied the old Arathi splintering, the rise of the Horde, the founding of Orgrimmar, the goblin cartels and more recently the Zandalari and the old Pandaren empire."
"Sounds like an impressive lineup." Anavea remarked. "Particularly the goblin cartels. What do you think influenced their linking of commerce and government?"
"Aside from greed?"
"Naturally." Anavea chuckled. "Their trade fleets introduced themselves to the world, so the Trade Princes were in effect then. My guess would be that Kezan had scarce natural resources. The most shrewd trader could dominate."
"The only resource they had in bulk was called kajamite." Aresh said. "Without much else, trade sanctions between tribes would have been as effective as war."
"Colonisation must have quick for them. Abundant resources and opportunities just a short distance away."
Aresh smiled. She noticed he had a nice, genuine smile.
"Well unfortunately, this has nothing to do with goblins." he took a sip of wine. "What I need you for involves the Wildhammer dwarves."
Anavea pursed her lips. "Alas, the Ironforge Library is not as easily reached nowdays."
"Our own library rivals theirs, but we digress." Aresh said quickly. "I wish to write about their cultural splintering and changes to government. There are books on this, but not detailed enough for my liking."
"So this is where I come in?"
The professor nodded, taking another sip of wine. "In particular, I want you to go to Grim Batol."
"The old capital?" Anavea sipped her own wine to hide her fidgeting. "Wouldn't the Explorer's League have picked that place apart by now?"
"I have friends in Ironforge." Aresh said matter-of-factly. "Fellow scholars as uninterested in faction politics as I am. They assure me that large chunks of information are missing."
"What do you want me to look for?" she asked, almost impatiently. She was already excited.
"Edicts." he said. "Government records. Court listings. Information on taxes, expenditure and trade. Perhaps something to tell us how and why their Senate disbanded. Sometimes it's the small things that cause the largest changes."
"I'm sure a civil war tops their list." Anavea quipped and when he didn't smirk, she recomposed herself. "Anything beyond their exodus north will have to be found somewhere else."
"Then we may have to do business in the future." Aresh replied. "If I am satisfied with your work."
Anavea smiled. "And when do you need this completed?"
"I have other areas of research to invest in." he replied. "So I can wait a short time if need be. The biggest leash will be your funding. Any information you uncover will be distributed in our circles. They'll eventually find their home in Ironforge, no doubt."
Anavea reached across for a handshake. It clearly displeasured him to do it, but he gently shook it as he would a lady's hand.
"If you need to reach me, go through Dizzy."
"I will." Professor Aresh said. "Now good day."
That was her queue to leave, much to the satisfaction of the other high-class patrons.