- This article is about the short story. For the titular creature, see Uninvited Guest. For the Kezan quest, see .
"The Uninvited Guest" is a short story by Kami Garcia published in the anthology Folk & Fairy Tales of Azeroth. It is illustrated by Mark Gibbons. The story tells the origin of tossaways, goblin trinkets used to ward from a monster known as the Uninvited Guest.
The story opens with a frame narrative of an old goblin woman at a market warning a group of children not to flaunt their wealth. She recites a familiar nursery rhyme: "In dark of night and bright of day, / Keep in your hand a tossaway. / Guard your fortune, mind your greed, / Or else the Uninvited Guest will feed." The children heed the warning and each throw a tossaway behind them as they run off. It's noted that while every smart goblin carries a few tossaways with them, few know the true story of their origin. The story thus moves into the second, main narrative.
Years earlier, Klaxz Boompowder, trade prince of the Steamwheedle Cartel, and his wife Slixi (implied to be the same person as the old woman) attend the funeral of Klaxz's rival, Rikter Hogsnozzle. As is traditional, the funeral attendees place burial gifts in the coffin, and Klaxz impresses everyone by including a galleon—a long-lost and now priceless type of coin—among his gifts. Unbeknownst to to the others, the galleon he gifts is a fake since he does not want to part with the real deal. This display of unbridled greed attracts the attention of an invisible creature which later comes to be known as the Uninvited Guest. It follows Klaxz home and starts feeding on his thoughts of greed, growing stronger in the process.
Klaxz starts to act strange: he forgives debts, offers discounts, and soon begins giving away his and Slixi's valuables, claiming that they have more than they need. Slixi sends the bruiser Bang to uncover the source of the prince's madness and hides his stash of real galleons in the woods. Bang returns with nothing but vague tales of an invisible evil that sucks the souls of its victims and can only be seen under a full moon. Klaxz's affliction worsens, culminating in him giving away the last of his belongings and walking away, never to be seen by Slixi again. When she returns to their now empty house, she realizes that the Uninvited Guest is still there and flees into the moonlit woods to dig up the galleons, now the last thing she owns. She trips, drops the coins, and manages to escape from her pursuer after she catches a glimpse of the Uninvited stopping to count the galleons. She settles in a tiny cottage and invents tossaways: painted-gold coins identical to galleons. The tale of Klaxz's fate spreads and everyone who hears it rushes to the market to buy Slixi's new invention.
The story ends with a reminder to the reader that the Uninvited still roams Azeroth in search of new victims, Klaxz still wanders around offering gifts to those he meets, and on quiet nights, some say that one can hear an old woman's voice reciting a familiar rhyme.
- South Sea (mentioned)