Jeremy Feasel tossed his verdigris velvet top hat on the varnished trunk. His plan continued to work. Pocket the Eye, a bait-and-switch, three-card-monte scam, and the Draenei girl would return. He didn't acknowledge the presence of a malnourished goblin maid named Ranucul, who trailed him, offering comfort and services as he needed. She picked up the hat, brushed it with care, and set it on the mannequin's head, a perfect replica of Jeremy. The false head looked at her lovingly, she imagined, and she gave it a little kiss, for luck. A small grease spot stained the lips.
The Darkmoon Faire founds its new home in autumn. The weather never changed in its plasticized, protected, and private locale. Only the phase of the moon told the carnies, fire jugglers, barkers, and grizzled roustabouts it was time for fresh wave of innocent fair goers. Low-hanging fruit, easy pickings one and all. And they came, one and all.
Feasel kept the pets: a tonk, full of spit and power; Fezwick, a fez-wearing monkey of such a foul disposition, such atrocious, simian hate, he should have been put down years ago (he got into the Dwarfs' stout and pissed in the fresh-squeezed lemonade--those were the gentlest of his deeds); and the crown-jewel -- The Darkmoon Eye. This Eye was no match for her dragon, a child of Deathwing. But she was a mage, and mages want magic, all they can greedily get. She underestimated Feasel, month after month. She didn't know she wasn't fighting a fair fight; she was fighting lust.
At first, she just walked away, bandaging her dragon, or mending her mechanical squirrel. She came every day of the faire. Her qualified team won match after match, and he would hand her the greasy, creased crushed blue velvet bag. She would open it, and usually find a few tickets, a cage or broken leash, and a hairball or two.
Then she began to slap him.
And then hate him.
It was now summer.
Hate turned to indifference. With this, he knew he was losing her. But he had no more tricks up his sleeve, and no more rabbits in his hat. (No more rabbits because Jeremy was a terrible magician, but a wonderful grifter.) He didn't know what to do, because he knew at some point, if she got the pet, she would stop, and if she didn't, she would leave, too. She didn't strike him as a patient mage.
Ranucul visited Rona Greenteeth. Rona fed the goblin a dumpling, then provided the cure upon trade of an ascot pin and hair strand. In the puce hat band (dyed with blood and set in the heat of dark, smoky fires), she tucked the tincture packet. If all worked as planned, Jeremy would relinquish the Eye, the girl would vanish, and Ranucul would owe Rona a huge debt.
The Faire is still in town, and the moon is still full. Tomorrow offers waning chances.