Keldu walked through an alley, and nearly jumped when Reims stepped out fo the shadows. 'Oh, it's you. What's up?'
The sight of this jawless, shambling forsaken always put him off a little bit, especially around mealtimes. Reims gestured to the sky, but Keldu didn't understand. 'I'm sorry Reims, but what do you want?'
Reims sighed heavily and took out one of his throwing knives, tossing it in a looping arc toward the roof of the building next to him.
'Ah, you want to go up... Well, why didn't you say so? I can help you there...' And with that the gigantic Tauren hefted Reims with one massive arm, and tossed him upwards....
Scrambling and hissing, the Forsaken finally made it up on to the roof, and looked down into Keldu's smiling face. Winking, Reims then broke the gutter, covering the tauren in rainwater and leaves.
The pair snickered and then went their separate ways.
Dark clouds hid the moon. Reims watched from his rooftop perch as Krelle and Tellas crossed the plaza below. They passed the fountain where Ariyana was sitting with her impromptu date. Neither party acknowledged the other. Ari had her mic off and the entire scene passed before him in an eerie silence.
He felt a breath on the back of his neck.
Reims spun around, a tightly controlled slash cutting through the air behind him. Nothing.
"Boss," he said softly, glancing over his shoulder. Krelle and Tellas were almost at the tailor's door. "Something's stinks here…"
"Too late now," her reply whispered over his com. "We expected trouble. We'll deal."
Tellas' sharp rap on the tailor's door echoed through the thin air. Reims got up, creeping through the shadows towards them. Ariyana's laughter floated up to him as Keelen's door opened, spilling golden light across his walkway. A loose shingle shifted behind him.
Reims spun about, his daggers in his fists. "Oo's theah?" he demanded in broken Orcish.
A ghostly laugh answered him as a dark-robed elf faded into visibility. The man was already casting. Too far, Reims thought even as his first dagger whistled through the air.
The dagger bounced uselessly off of the elf's magical shield. The spell took the rogue full in the chest.
Ariyana sat on an ornate bench by the plaza's fountain, the trickle of water blending in with the idle chatter of her new friend "Fael." She largely ignored his conversation, though. She had been scanning the skyline for Reims since his warning over the com and a sudden movement caught her eye. She gasped, rising to her feet at the flash of magic from the roof.
Fael sprang to his feet beside her. "What's wrong?" he said as she put her hands to her mouth.
"What's going on here, Keelen?" Tellas' was saying, his voice carried over the com. She concentrated on what she was doing, trying to ignore the conversation in the tailor's shop.
"That poor man! He's been polymorphed!" Ari cried in artful dismay, pointing up at the rooftops.
Fael frowned. "What was he doing up -"
"DO something, Fael!" she wailed helplessly.
"Of course, my lady! Do not fret - I shall restore him at once!" The elf turned, dramatically raising one hand as he dispelled the enchantment. Reims' black form phased back into shape and Ari was briefly curious as to what his vicious, guttural curses meant.
"What makes you so sure?" Krelle was saying to someone. She sounded pissed.
"Who's that goin' into the tailor's?" Keldu's voice rumbled over the com. Ari glanced to the shop and saw a tall elf in robes silhouetted in the light from the doorway.
"A 'age." Reims spat, sprinting across the rooftops towards an upper window of the tailor's shop. A mage.
"What's going on here?" Fael demanded suspiciously.
"Korttie?" Keldu asked.
"Um…" Ariyana faltered, trying to pay attention to three things at once.
"He be in mah sights, Keldu."
"That man is going into my uncle's Keelen's place!" Fael exclaimed, and started to run towards the warlock's house. Ariyana grabbed his arm, pulling him around. He stared at her.
"On three, Kort. One. Two. Three."
"GUARDS!" Fael bellowed, turning away.
"What makes you so sure?" Krelle asked Keelen, her voice cold. The warlock was lounging indolently in a deep chair strewn with silk pillows. His sister - his older sister, Mirnellan - stood beside him. Her full plate's matte black finish seemed to absorb the light from the candles.
"Because we have you outnumbered, for one thing," a high, amused voice said from behind them.
"Who's that goin' into the tailor's?"
"Ah, Finstral, so good of you to join us," Keelen said.
The elf that stood in the doorway was tall and thin, almost emaciated. He nodded once to Keelen, then gave a half-bow to the blood knight. She nodded back silently, her head the only part of her body not sheathed in armour.
"You didn't really think you'd get away with blackmailing us, did you?" the mage said to them through a sneer.
"He be in mah sights, Keldu."
"And such a clumsy attempt, too. Tsk."
"On three, Kort."
Here we go, thought Krelle.
"Come in, cousin," Keelen purred.
"Come greet our guests."
The mage flinched violently as a glowing arrow ricocheted off of his mana-fed force field. The shield wavered, allowing Keldu's three-inch rifle round to blast through his left shoulder. Blood and shards of bone sprayed Tellas and Krelle as the slug travelled between them, missing Keelen's face by less than a foot as it tore a chunk off of his chair.
"GUARDS!" came a shout from outside.
The mage crumpled to the ground with a gurgling cough as the blood knight drew her sword.
"Get the door!" Krelle ordered. Tellas leapt over, pulling it closed. Keelen was staring at his chair. Mirnellan was closing. Krelle bent to get her daggers but the elf suddenly charged, slamming her shield into the tiny Forsaken. Krelle felt her cheekbone shatter under the impact. She flew backwards and her head struck hard against the solid ironwood doors.
The room spun. Tellas was in front of her, blocking the elf's advance. He was saying something but the words made no sense. Krelle rolled to her hands and knees near the fallen mage, struggling to think. Her right eye socket had swollen shut already, she could feel the blood oozing down her face. She stared at the dark red drops on the floor between her hands.
The mage was moving. Struggling to reach something. She crawled over to him, her arms shaking. He was tugging a potion free from his belt. Tellas was yelling now, the com buzzing in her ear. The mage saw her. His eyes widened and he opened his mouth, but only coughed up red foam. She spat blood into his eyes and fell onto him, grabbing for the potion.
She saw a brilliant blue flash as a burst of cold hit her back.
Bloody ashes! Ari thought. She knew she had seconds. She whipped out her sap, struck Fael across the back of the head, then quickly put it away as he fell senseless to the ground.
"Guards! Help! Someone!" she cried, bending over his inert form. She wept in feigned hysteria as she stole his purse. "Oh no... Fael! Guards, help!"
A thunderous clatter of steel boots announced the arrival of the night watch. Damn, they're fast.
"What happened here?" the lead officer demanded.
"Bandits! They attacked my Fael and robbed him!"
"What did they look like, and which way did they go?" he demanded sharply.
She hiccoughed, wiping at her face. "It was some Forsaken! They're all worthless thieves! They hit him and ran off! Three of them!" She spotted Keldu and Korttie sprinting around the west side of the plaza. She pointed east, towards Murder Row. "They went that way!"
Tellas flung the trap at Mirnellan's feet. The hunter thanked the spirits for their mercy as it went off, encasing her in magical sheet of ice. He glanced at Krelle - she was drinking something - then spun to face Keelen. The warlock had backed away, yelling for his succubus. Tellas gulped, gripping the hilt of his sword more tightly as the dark curtains at the back of the shop slowly parted -
- and the most gorgeous creature he had ever beheld stepped through. His sword fell from numb fingers, clattering uselessly to the ground as he took a step towards her. She was perfect. She was a goddess. He would do anything for her.
"Would you kill for me?" her voice echoed in his mind, the sound an aching promise of pleasure to come. Her black eyes filled his vision.
"Yes," he croaked out loud. The eyes flashed.
He spun around, lunging at Krelle.
Keldu's hooves thundered over the paving stones as he and Korttie sprinted towards the door, ignoring the disturbance near the east end of the bazaar.
"Tellas? Wha - no!"
Keldu slammed his shoulder into the door, shaking it on its hinges. It was too thick to break, he could feel it immediately. He growled in frustration, trying the latch only to find it locked. He looked to Korttie as the sounds of grappling came to them over the com.
Korttie opened her satchel, pulling out her last three explosive traps with a feral grin. He nodded but held up a hand, looking southeast. Once the guards were out of sight… He reached for his own traps.
The potion flowed down her throat, the soothing warmth spreading rapidly outwards as her broken bones were mended. The potion suffused every part of her body, heightening her senses. She stood in one smooth gesture, time seeming to slow down just for her. She took in the situation. Her and Tellas against Keelen and his demon. Not good. She could hear Keldu and Korttie panting, though - backup would be here soon. They only had to delay Keelen for a few moments…
"Tellas?" she asked as his sword fell from his grip. "Wha-" she started to ask, then took a step back as she realized what was happeneing. "No!"
The door shook behind her, but she didn’t have time to turn and let them in. Bloody Fel! So close!
The agile little rogue ducked under his first grab, rolling to the side. He lunged at her again, managing to get a hand about her arm even as she spun, kicking him in the head. He shook off the blow and pulled her into a grapple. Krelle spun in his arms, leaning forward to use his own weight against him as she flipped him smoothly over her shoulder. She heard the latch rattle as Keelen laughed.
Tellas rolled quickly to his feet, his eyes glowing as he lunged for her again. She felt the amulet under her dress turn to dust.
"Oh no you don't!" she yelled, hopping backwards out of reach. Her hand grasped a small pouch from her belt and she hurled it into his face. He staggered back with a hoarse shout, clawing at his eyes. Keelen was actually cackling in glee as they fought, but the succubus looked displeased. She cracked her whip, issuing a short command to Tellas in the strange demonic tongue.
Tellas flinched as though she had struck him, then looked to Krelle, his eyes glowing again. Rotten felshards he knows about my mask! She charged him in a desperate rush, knocking them both over with a flying tackle even as Keelen's front door blew inwards.
The sheer force that five concentrated explosive fire traps can put out is impressive even when dampened by an ironwood door. Any hope the wounded mage had had of surviving that night ended as a ball of fire erupted through the shards of the door, charring him from crown to sole. The blast also shattered the crystal sheet encasing the blood knight and she quickly worked her way free of the ice trap's debris. Krelle and Tellas rolled together on the floor, him trying to crush or strangle her, her smaller form and greater agility making it impossible for him to get a solid grip. Keelen's succubus kept her attention focused on the elvish hunter even as her master stepped forward to join his sister.
As the smoke cleared, Keldu and Korttie stepped through the sundered doorway, Korttie's massive cobra, Vespa, rearing her head behind them. The huge Tauren's rifle was leveled at Keelen's head.
"You lose," Keldu said.
The blood knight charged them even as Korttie stepped forward. Her 200lb frame stopped the charge short as she caught the elf's sword between the blades of her claws. The hunter and the blood knight strained against each other, shaking with effort as each tried to disarm the other. Korttie growled low in her throat, her skin darkening as she flushed in anger. With a sudden hiss of steel the two warriors spun away from each other, blades unlocking.
Keldu fired once, the crack of the retort loud inside the house. He'd been aiming for a glancing blow - they couldn't kill the warlock yet - but he only caught the edge of the warlock's robe as the elf frantically ran back towards his minion.
Vespa got there quicker. Rearing up in front of the succubus, her fangs flashed in the light as her serpent jaws opened impossibly wide to swallow the demon's head. Her fangs pierced the black skin just above the wings and the two creatures fell writhing to the ground. Keelen cried out in chagrin as Keldu reloaded.
Korttie bellowed in berserker rage as she charged the blood knight. The elf's reflexes had been honed through centuries of battle, however, and were too swift for her. Korttie gasped as the elf's sword slid cleanly through her shoulder. She dropped her claws, one giant hand instinctively clutching the hilt as she coughed a mouthful of blood onto the elf's face. Mirnellan grinned evily, sharp little teeth gleaming between her lips.
"Not so fierce now, are you?" she sneered, twisting the blade.
In a normal, mortal race, pain is a powerful deterrent. Pain means you are about to die. In trolls, who habitually regenerate from anything less serious than a beheading, pain is not something to be feared - or even avoided. It is a force to be channelled.
Korttie grinned, barring her fangs between her bloodied lips. Her grip tightened on the hilt of the sword, the other long arm snaking around behind the elf to grasp her by her hair. She wasted no words in witty repartee but pulled herself closer, letting the blade slide further through her shoulder. As they came together she let go of the sword, wrapping that arm around the elf's shoulders. Mirnellan's sneer faltered as she felt herself pinned by the troll's massive arms. She tried to bring up her shield to push her off, but Korttie was stronger than she was. The elf looked up in sudden fear as Korttie yanked her head back by her hair, snarling down at the pinned blood knight.
With two sharp jerks, Korttie stabbed out Mirnellan's eyes - using her tusks.
Krelle rolled under Tellas, keeping her chin tucked down as his hands went for her neck, jabbing him in the face when his eyes started to glow. An explosion rocked the room as she got her knee between them. A gunshot rang out as he elbowed her in the face. She tried for a headbutt but caught his chin. Suddenly he spasmed and went limp. An elf girl was screaming in agony. Krelle shoved Tellas off of her and rolled to her feet.
She took in the scene. Korttie was leaning against a wall, pulling a sword out of her shoulder with a shaking hand. The blood knight was the screaming one, and she was writhing on the floor at Korttie's feet. Keldu had reloaded and was taking a bead on the warlock. Vespa was wrapped around something - the succubus. Keelen was staring wildly, his back to a wall. Tellas sat up groggily, shaking his head. Krelle offered him a hand up and he took it, his eyes flinty as he looked across the room at Keelen. They stepped up to Keldu together.
The big Tauren gave them the barest nod, keeping his rifle sighted on the warlock warily. Korttie sighed as the longsword fell to the ground and sank to her knees, leaning against the wall, coughing wetly and spitting blood onto the floor. Krelle glanced over at the troll, but she looked more angry than afraid, so she didn't say anything.
"Well, Keelen?" she asked wearily, speaking loudly to be heard over the wailing of his sister. "You ready to give in or what?"
Keelen's eyes' flashed, their glow brightening in defiance. He took a slow breath in. Krelle thought he would make a speech or something, but he didn't. He screamed.
Krelle staggered back a step, her mind blanking in panic at the sound. The warlock's scream channelled the Fel energies of his craft and the sound they each heard was their own death wail, with the promise of an eternity of suffering at the hands of demons. Krelle half turned to flee, but forced herself to stop. This isn't death… she thought, tearing her eyes away from the door, back to the keening warlock. Her mind flashed back, images of nails against wood… a chain… rats. I've faced death before, she remembered, growing more certain. And this isn't it.
She turned back to face Keelen as the fel magic faded. Keldu and Tellas had fled. Korttie was unconscious, as was Keelen's sister. The warlock stepped forward, snarling at the lone rogue as he crossed the floor. Krelle bent, removed the daggers hidden in her boots and came up into her slightly-crouched battle stance.
Keelen stopped in the middle of the room, his eyes ablaze. He raised one hand palm-up before him. Darkness gathered above it, a tightly contained swirling vortex. "Shall we see if you can dodge this, little one?" he spat, his face twisted with hatred.
Krelle's heart sank. She recognized the spell from her last fight with a warlock - she had been able to vanish in time to throw off the human, but the balls of fel energy had tracked Nerrok even as he dodged. She looked at Keelen's face and backed up a step. Somehow she didn't think she'd be able to dodge this one…
A piece of shadow detached itself from the high ceiling, falling through the air to land solidly on the warlock, bearing him to the ground in an eruption of dark energy as the spell was interrupted. Keelen cried out, once, and then was silenced as Reims viciously sapped him across the back of the head. Krelle felt a flash of déjà vu, but it was gone before she could chase it down.
Reims stood up, looking at her gravely. "Sorry to take so long," he said softly in Gutterspeak.
"Oh, I dunno," Krelle said, feeling a bit dizzy. "You certainly surprised Keelen." She slid into a chair as Tellas and Keldu ran back into the room. Tellas came over to her, concerned, but Keldu relaxed immediately when he saw Reims standing over the warlock.
"Nice," he remarked laconically. Reims gave him a nod. As one, they all looked to Korttie.
The troll was lying unconscious in a pool of blood - and snoring loudly.
"Would you kill for me?" It had been too long since Tellas had last controlled demons and he wasn't prepared for the full force of the succubus. The magic that swirled around her pulled at his skin. He wasn't ready for her and in that moment, she had him. He felt the sword drop from his hand. His fingertips tingled and the hunger was upon him.
"Yes." His voice sounded hoarse and far away, like someone else speaking. Yes, I will do whatever you ask. Just give me one taste.
He didn't recognize the warbleing voice that assaulted his ears. It cut through the haze of his rapture. She would hurt me. The succubus' voice whispered in his head. She wants to hurt me. Kill her.
He spun around, lunging at Krelle.
"Tellas?" The voice grated against him again. It had to be stopped before it pulled him away from the glorious demon. "Wha-" He dimly saw the surprise cross Krelle's face and she took a step back. "No!"
She spun and twisted like an evil dream. He lunged and felt her foot make contact with his head. For a moment, he recognized the little rogue and wondered what he was doing. In the next moment, the demon's song clouded his vision again. The eel has magic. Take it!
He could feel the amulet under her dress as he grabbed her and pulled her close. The rogue shifted her weight and threw him. He rolled and spun and was on her again. The hunger burned brightly and he pulled the magic out of the amulet through her garment. The tiny surge would not be enough to sate his hunger this time. The mask. Take her mask.
Krelle yelled something, dodging away. His eyes burned as she threw blinding powder into them. His mind cleared again. What am I doing? Krelle?
The succubus' whip lashed acoss his shoulders and her voice was in his head again. "You are mine," she hissed in the language of demons. "Your soul belongs to me. Now, finish her and you shall drink from the bottomless pool of magic for eternity!"
He lunged again, grabbing wildly for the Foresaken girl's face. With each blow she landed, his mind wrestled for clarity, but he couldn't focus. There was nothing to hold onto. Then he caught a familiar glint amid the black hair of his foe. A single scale from a dragonhawk sparkled there like a jewel and in that moment, he pushed the demon from his mind. He felt his body convulse and then it was dark.
The next few moments were a blur. Screaming terror. Falling shadows. Magic subsiding. Gods, what have I done? He rushed to where Krelle sat catching her breath. "Inya' Falore? Are you alright? I am so sorry. She was in my head. I..."
Krelle waved off the concern and gave a lopsided grin, as though it had all been some happy game. Tellas' eyes burned green as realization of what he had done - what he could have done - settled upon him. He turned and rushed the dazed warlock, knocking Reims out of the way. He set one knee against Keelen's chest and grasped both sides of the warlock's face. "This is what happens when you cross me and mine," Tellas spat in Sin'dorei. The air crackled, as he pulled the mana out of the warlock. He was not Tellas the Hunter now. He was Valendil Brightglade, heir to Laire Andon, wielder of Zin'Serrar and he had every intention of draining this sorry fraction of a Blood Elf dry.
Catching the look from Krelle, Keldu moved forward, trying to prevent damage from being done that would take a priest to fix. Keldu reached down trying to pull back Tellas' arms to simply restrain him. Both the guttural snarl and the quickness of the blood elf caught the Tauren off-guard. The elf's sharp elbow rammed back hard into Keldu's solar plexus, freeing him for a moment.
Keldu staggered for a moment, knocked back the unsettling feeling of not being able to breathe more than the elbow itself. Tellas had pounced back on Keelen, looking to kill or worse it seemed. Despite the pain, Keldu reached forward again, this time snagging Tellas' arms and pulling them back behind them. It was going to be ugly though. The blood elf was struggling to free himself and was capable of inflicting serious injury in the process. Keldu persisted, trying to calm the blood elf to no effect, "Easy there fella' - Boss wants him alive ..." Tellas growled and ...
"Tellas!" Krelle's voice cut across the room like an arrow flying to its target. Krelle was small, almost tiny, and her voice, though raspy, was that of a young woman but the effect it had was instant. Tellas' head snapped in her direction and he froze, at least for the moment ...
Ariyana watched as the city guard ran off to the east and sighed. She ached for a bit of bloodshed tonight but was too aware of what was on the line for this job. She reigned in her bloodlust and turned to the shop and watched the ensuing chaos. A small wicked smile formed on her face as she watched the door be blown from its hinges.
She shook her head and went to work quickly. She picked up Fael and dragged him to a near by bench. She took out a bit of knock out poison and poured a small bit down his throat to keep him out until the battle was over. The Tigers did not need another distraction and he could be used against the warlock later on. With that job finished she took to the shadows and crept to the store, with a dagger in the left and her sap in the right.
She stopped in her tracks as Keldu burst back through the door screaming in terror. She sneered as she thought about who they were fighting and about how this shortens the timeline with what the Tigers can work with. This plus the fighting would bring back the guards in no time. Time was now her foe and it was a foe that gave her no pleasure. She quickly made her way in just in time to see Reims crash down upon the warlock, knocking the bastard out. Still high on alert she assessed the situation and was deciding on where to hide the dead and the unconscious as Keldu came back into the room. Tellas finally came back to his senses, or so Ariyana thought.
When Tellas snapped and went after Keelen, the large Tauren was first to act by grabbing the elf. Krelle screamed for his attention which caused a pause in Tellas' fury. It was then Ariyana acted. Swiftly she strode beside Tellas and raised her hand. With a single swift motion she brought her sap down upon the back of Tellas' head. Without waiting for his reaction she moved inbetween the hunter and the fallen warlock. Her other knife quickly finding its way to her other hand she frowned as there would be no time to actually enjoy this.
"Krelle, and Reims get the dead and unconscious down into the basement. You think all this will go unnoticed? The guard will be her any minute and this is not what we need to see. Keldu, give me a hand if his rage overcomes his senses again."
She held out her right hand and slipped easily into the same battle stance she used for years. Her old wounds still ached but that just caused her to smile.
For the second time, Tellas' vision blurred and the world grew fuzzy. The night elf staggered, but Keldu kept him on his feet.
"Krelle and Reims get the dead and unconscious down into the basement. You think this will go unnoticed? The guard will be here any minute and all this is not what we need them to see. Keldu, give me a hand if his rage overcomes his senses again."
He tried to make sense of the words even as he watched the Foresaken haul away the bodies. Keldu stood behind him and Ariyana in front. He felt the Tauren's powerful grip on his arm and noticed that the woman was ready to stop him if he persisted.
"He was mine! Flesh to be wasted!" Tellas hissed in Sin'dorei. "No, he wasn't," came her smooth reply. He knew that Ariyana was right, but it galled him that he had been controlled, that the warlock could push him that far. His glowing eyes glared at the woman dangerously and he shrugged off Keldu's hold. Rubbing his head, he turned toward the entrance to cool off and deal with any guards. In a casual, subconscious motion, he flicked his fingers and sparks of excess mana splashed away like water droplets.
Light's end, I hate warlocks, Krelle cursed silently, frowning as Tellas stalked over to the doorway. She kept part of her attention on him as she spoke to the others.
"Ari's right, we have to do something about the door - not to mention Korttie and the elves."
Reims paused, lowering Keelen's shoulders back to the floor near the curtained doorway. "Boss?" he called uncertainly in Gutterspeak.
Krelle looked over. Crowded hesitantly in the doorway were the eight leper-gnome slaves from below.
The gnomes had done quick work. The dark curtain had been hung over the shop's doorway within minutes, a small neatly lettered sign affixed to the front.
Please excuse the inconvenience, but we are renovating the shop to serve you better. The shop will be closed until further notice.
The debris outside had been swept away and, outwardly, the shop appeared normal. Tellas seethed silently, but kept a watchful eye out for patrols. He was, after all, Keelen's new business partner and the best one to explain away any disturbances.
The gnomes seemed eager to please. The oldest of them bandaged Korttie and Mirnellan with a practised hand as Keldu kept a watchful eye on the little man. Others busied themselves cleaning up the mess from the fight. They worked carefully around Vespa who was sleeping now, a huge lump distending her belly.
The tigers made their way to the basement, leaving Tellas to collect himself. Keldu thoughtfully picked Korttie up off the floor and carried her - still snoring softly - down to the divan at the bottom of the stairs. Krelle wondered if she'd wake up before or after the hole in her arm was healed.
Reims had dumped Keelen's unconscious form in front of the low desk.
"Better blindfold him," Krelle said, remembering the trouble magic users could cause. "And tie his hands behind his back."
Keldu asked the question they'd all been thinking. "So... what're we gonna do with him?"
"We can't kill him," Ariyana said pointedly. "That would lead to a major investigation - and he has a powerful family."
Reims snorted as he knelt by the warlock, binding the elf's hands. Ari shot him a dark look.
"We never planned on killing him," Krelle said, crossing her arms as she leaned against the desk. "The original plan was to send him off somewhere remote, and keep his place." Her gaze went to the bound-and-bandaged Mirnellan whom Ari had thoughtfully drugged. "Plans change, though."
"He'd only be more trouble if you send him away," Ari said with authority. "He'd spend his whole time plotting the perfect revenge, and strike from where you wouldn't expect it."
"I'm beginning to suspect the same thing..." Krelle murmured, a faint smile on her lips. She absently wiped some of the blood off of her face. The healing potion had helped a great deal, but her cheek was still swollen. Or maybe that had come from wrestling with Tellas.
"We ought to keep him here, where we can keep an eye on him," Ari was saying. One well-manicured hand gestured with a dagger, the other was in a fist on her hip. "He'll only get up to trouble if you let him go."
Krelle nodded slowly. "It would be less suspicious if we kept him around, anyway. Like he said, he's been here for centuries. Taking us on as a business partner is much more likely than moving out."
"He's going to be a real pill at business meetings," Reims joked in Gutterspeak. Ari narrowed her eyes at him but Krelle just grinned evilly at the warlock. "I think we can convince him to play along. Starting with getting his sister's eyes fixed in time for her wedding, for one thing."
A grinding sound followed by a loud clang made them all turn to the back of the room. Keldu had torn down a large cage from the ceiling. The big tauren dragged the iron contraption over to the center of the floor, setting it down beside the warlock with a solid thud.
Krelle raised an eyebrow at him and he grinned.
"This'll help get him in the right frame of mind for the negotiations."
"Do it," she said.
Ariyana watched the little gnomes work, acting as the impromtu slave driver just to make sure the job was done before the guard made another appearance. With a satisfied grin she nodded as the curtain was hung and the sign was put up. It was then they spoke of what the next step was.
After it was decided to put Keelen into the cage Ariyana slipped out back into the streets to retrieve the knocked out Fael. She slung the man's arm over her shoulder and put on a disgusted face.
"By the Light Fael, I told you to stop drinking the wine an hour ago. Now look at you sweetie. We can stop at your uncle's shop to give you some time to sober up." She said in a annoyed voice as a late night walker passed by.
Once inside the shop she dragged him to the others and dropped him rather unceremoniously. She quickly went about to bind his hands, feet, and mouth. She then pickup up the elf and with a warm smile on her face she threw Fael into the corner, making a very satisfying thump, followed by a groggy and pained grunt from the elf. She then turned to the others as she drew a dagger and smiled.
"Consider it another bargaining chip to make our friend more able to see things our way." She said with a bit of joy in her voice.
Silvermoon was as brightly lit as ever and if it wasn’t for the dim stars and moon above the city you might think it was noon. Derona was taking her time walking through town, returning the salute given to her by almost every guard she passed. “Mental note” she thought to herself, “Wear something a bit less conspicuous next time”. Currently she was still in full blood knight regalia, a crimson mistress of the light just by looks alone. With soft curse she acknowledged yet another pair of patrolling guards as they saluted her.
Leaving the splendor of the court of the sun she entered murders row. Normally a place even the guards walked with no little care she passed through without a care. She smiled under mask as she rethought changing her armor. “Perhaps it has its uses after all”. Few thugs would care to challenge the might of a blood knight no matter how desperate they may be. She emerged from the shadows of the row into the lights and sounds of the bazaar. Every race was represented somehow, either participating at the auction block or haggling with merchants. Briskly she walks up to the tailors shop and stopped at the entrance, taking a deep breath and cracking her neck she walks in. With a curt nod to those present she begins to look around and examine the shop.
A harsh look was exchanged between the two well dressed men sitting at desks behind the shop. The taller one stood and inclined his head in a small bow.
"May I help you?" he asked in a tone that suggested he would rather be anywhere but here.
Derona continues to look around the shop, not looking at either man as she answers. "Well the answer kinda depends on who your boss is"
Tellas shot another glare at Keelen who looked as though he were about to answer the woman. "Keelen, why don't you go get some liquid refreshment for this charming woman." Keelen muttered to himself as he went upstairs to get some wine.
Turning back to the woman, Tellas said "Now then. I am the owner of this establishment, so perhaps I can be of some assistance."
He sensed that there were deeper implications behind the knight's question. Krelle had given him the assignment of posing as a shop keep and no matter how badly he wanted out of Silvermoon, he would follow her orders until she said otherwise. He had already failed her once, in his mind, and although she said that he should forget about his attack on her, he couldn't let it drop.
If this elf wanted more information than that, she was going to have to play the game.
Derona smiled under her mask as Keelen walked up the stairs muttering under his breath. Turning to Tellas she gave him a closer look. Something about his face was familiar but she couldn’t place it. In addition it was very odd that an elf with seemingly low levels of magic could order around one with more than enough magic coming off him. But that could wait, after all what self respecting Sin'dorei wouldn’t enjoy a good game.
"Well my good shopkeeper" she says, placing heavy emphasis on the word. "I’ve recently spoken with a young lady with a thing for masks, she mentioned this place and out of curiosity I decided to visit." Running a hand across a bolt of silk she raised an eyebrow at Tellas. "Sound familiar?"
Tellas put on his best casually haughty air and turned back to running a soft cloth across a heavily gemmed ring. He guessed that this knight was speaking about Krelle but no one who really knew the little undead girl would ever call her a lady.
"I find that in my line of work, there are many women who feel more comfortable behind a mask. Perhaps you could describe this particular young lady and what reason she might have had to mention my exclusive establishment?"
Eyeing his hands as he felt the cloth Derona let loose a bored sigh. So, he probally wasn't the tailor shopkeep he was pretending to be. Those hands had seen more than wine glass's and needles. She turned away and walked up to a rack of dresses, speaking in her best disapointed tone. "I believe she had recently set up in Silvermoon, I got the impresion she owned the shop. But.. maybe I misheard her?" She glances at Tellas from the corner of her eye as she inspects a magnificintly tailored dress.
Tellas smirked at the elven woman's back. Krelle hadn't mentioned any new business, so he decided to keep up his preassigned role. "I believe the young woman in question is my assistant, Morna. She does have a tendancy to advance her position now and again but is otherwise quite capable. I did recently set up shop here and I've recently begun to expand our services to include fine jewelry as well as clothing. Perhaps I could show you some of the new arrivals from the Outlands?"
Derona couldn’t help but admire Tellas’s skill with words, and his discretion. The game was fun but despite that fact she was losing patience, after all there was a private room with her name on it at the Inn. Turning around she approached Tellas and placed an arm gently around his shoulder and turns him around to face the bulk of the shop."Well show me your best Shopkeeper. I have a heavy purse and an appetite for luxury." Then she feigned mild interest, "So this Morna is your assistant? Mind describing her for me, after all I wouldn’t want to think I’ve spoken with the wrong person."
Tellas gave his best charming smile. "She's fairly small, only about so high. Black hair, exquisitely dressed. Quite efficent." He left out her mask, that the hair was dyed black over her preferred green and that she was Forsaken. If this woman was some sort of spy, he'd rather end this whole business quickly and call Vanima and Lelya up from the basement to finish her off.
Derona gave Tellas an understanding nod. He was defiantly leaving a few things out, but she was certian he was speaking about Krelle. With a snort she imagined what could get a personality like Krelle to pose as the servant of an employee. But the time for play was over and it was time to get to work, or at least plan for it.
"Well, Tellas I think I have come to the conclusion that Krelle was indeed the person I spoke with, in fact she seemed eager to get me helping with shipments as soon as I could." she spoke in a soft voice that only he could hear with any clarity. "Now how could you forget she is also forsaken and I do believe she as I said, wears a mask." With that she gives a slightly theatrical bow, "Derona is my name."
Tellas visibly relaxed as Derona introduced herself. This knight could still be a spy. Krelle was a lot of things, but sloppy wasn't one of them. "I see. The boss is away at the moment. I'm Tellas. What can I do for you?"
Derona grimaced under her mask, she always did hate stating the obvious. Lowering her mask she began to speak.
"Well I came here to see when my services will be needed. Also I need to know what sort of quantities will be moved so I can prepare, even a blood knight has to have a reason for a guard to look the other way." she says just loud enough for him to hear.
She taps her foot and sighs as she looks at Tellas, that Inn seemed to be geting farther and farther away and she was more than ready to dig into good drink and company.
Tellas saw her impatience and it grated against him. The desire to have everything right now was one of the typical Sin'dorei traits that made him crazy. If this girl was a new recruit then it was time to teach her that life with the Tong meant doing things Krelle's way. He sat back down lazily and waved a hand at the chair across from him. He shrugged when she didn't take it and said, "As I said, Krelles away at the moment. Your services will be needed very soon, however right this moment, lend a hand on the third floor. There's some furnature that needs moving to make room for new shipments. And don't wander too far. I'm expecting notice from the Boss any minute."
The faintest glimmer of a smile crossed his face and he wondered what this self absorbed Blood Knight would choose to do.
Derona inwardly fought the urge to show him first hand her skills, and then she smiles. So this was the new game then? She smiles sweetly at Tellas and speaks. "Thank you for the invitation, I was actually wondering when you would show me the rest of the shop. And I believe I have a drink waiting me upstairs" Casually she walks up the stairs.
Keelen if she remembered the name correctly was bound to know something interesting, at least interesting enough to entertain her while Tellas played his little game. After all, a glass of wine would calm her down, then maybe she would share a glass of mana with Keelen. Maybe even Tellas she thought as a wicked smile apears on her face.
Tellas shook his head as the Blood Knight walked up the stairs. Once, the beauty of Silvermoon would have kept him amused, now it loomed around him like a coffin and it's inhabitants like nails poking through the lid. "I suppose it's a fitting punishement for my weakness," he thought "I should have been able to crush that demon."
Picking up the ledger, he went back downstairs, hoping that Krelle would send for him soon.