Lorelli was seated at the middle table sharpening her daggers when Kyraine came upstairs, Blue padding quietly along behind her. The warrior’s plate armor clanked slightly as she made her way over and set her helmet down on the wooden surface. She watched Lorelli quietly for a moment.
“You expecting that bad of a fight?”
The rogue looked up with a slight shrug of her shoulders. “Always safer to expect one than not, right?” The bruising from her broken nose was starting to fade, now a sickly green color against the lavender of her skin.
“Of course.” Kyraine pulled out a chair and dropped into it. “What should I expect?”
“Ti’Shoren and I go way back. He did the occasional deal with Lyas so that brought him to Darnassus on occasion. He brokers solely in information, keeps his nose clean of everything else. Might be he’s more ruthless for it.” She ran a hand through her hair. “When I left Lyas’ employ he continued to contact with me up until I joined Seven.” Lorelli held up one dagger and then the next. They must have passed the examination because she returned them their places on her belt. “He refused to speak with me ever since. So, I guess this is kind of a big deal.”
“Could be a trap.”
Lorelli grinned at the other woman across the table, “Could be. That’s what you’re here for.” The rogue got to her feet, pushing in her chair, “Ready to go?”
Kyraine rose after her and picked up the helm, “Sounds like fun.” Blue, who’d been lying next to her chair, raised his had as she moved. He pushed himself up on his massive paws and followed to the door.
Lorelli paused to glance back at the empty table, going back over her conversation with Bricu in her head. Next time lass, just user yer own knife to cut yerself. It’ll save us the fuckin’ trouble. She could still hear the sound of her knife clattering against the table as he’d tossed it back to her.
“Not too much, I hope. I have more than enough people angry with me.”
With the rebuilding of Stormwind came expansion beyond its original walls and the addition of at least fifty new taverns, bars and inns. One of these was the Little Flipper nestled in amongst the docks and storage sheds of the harbor district. Considering its locale the Flipper was well lit and clean, but small. Lorelli had to duck a swath of fish netting coming through the door. Behind her she heard Kyraine telling Blue to stay as not all of the city’s drinking establishments were as tolerant of animals as the Pig and Whistle.
The bartender was a dwarf who’s long grey beard was gathered at his waist with a silver tie that had small seashells dangling from it. He hailed them from behind the bar as he finished pouring a drink for one of the other patrons.
“Welcome, have a seat. What can I get you ladies?”
Lorelli paid no heed to the drinkers at their respective tables. She crossed to the bar and gave the dwarf a smile. “We came to see the shore.”
For a moment the bartender’s smile faltered. He recovered shortly and nodded. “O’course. Pair o’ pretty things like you, why wouldn’t yeh be? T’is a little cold fer swimmin’ but the view is nice if yeh like that sort o’ thing. S’cuse me a moment.” He set the bottle down and disappeared into the back room.
Lorelli glanced over her shoulder at Kyraine. “Keep your hand near your sword.” The look Kyraine shot her was equal parts irritation at the rogue’s need to state the obvious and alertness.
The dwarf reappeared and eyed them both up and down once. “There’s a great view just down the way. Take a left out the door, head west for two blocks and turn towards the water. Say hello to the man in blue and tell him Vereid sent you.”
Lorelli placed a couple coins on the counter which the bartender, Vereid, scooped up and dropped into his apron.”Thank ye kindly, miss.” He leaned over the counter dropping his voice, “Be careful, aye?”
The rogue nodded and added a few more coins to the bartender’s collection. She turned and headed out the door, Kyraine following close behind.
“A warning?” The warrior asked.
“Maybe. He was difficult to read.” Lorelli raked a hand through her hair, making her anxiety evident. “I think we take it as such for now, eh?” She stopped and turned to face the other woman. “What do you think? We can head back to the Pig and forget this. Your call.”
Kyraine seemed to consider. Blue had come to stand calmly at his master’s hand, eyes bright and alert. “I say we press on. What are the chances he’ll grant you another meeting if you bail on this one? If he’s still as connected as he used to be we could learn somewhat. And there’s two of us now, aye? Three, if you count Blue.”
“Which I do.” Lorelli patted the wolfhound-mix on the head before starting out again.
There was indeed a young man dressed in a blue coat on the corner when they reached the correct intersection. He was a human of roughly sixteen, the coat a little lose on his lanky frame. His dark hair was fell in his eyes in curls and he seemed uncomfortable with it that length as if he’d recently cut it short and it was finally growing out again.
“Nice day, huh?” Lorelli nodded to him when they got close, “Vereid, sent us to you for the grand tour.”
The young man eyed them both, lingering a while on Kyraine’s armor and weapon.
“He did, did he? I suppose you booked in advance then?”
Lorelli nodded, “Reservations should be well in hand.”
He nodded, once again eyeing Kyraine. “I’m going to pass you off to Sammy.”
He whistled and a girl even younger than he was came scrambling out from one of the alleyways. At least Lorelli was fairly certain she was a girl. It was hard to tell, as Sammy was skin and bones buried under lots of dirt. She couldn’t have been more than thirteen, with scraggly strawberry blond hair. She stopped in front of the pair and upon spotting blue her gray eyes lit up. She held out a hand for the dog to sniff. Blue seemed perfectly content to allow Sammy to scratch him behind the ears showing no sign that she could possibly be a threat. Shortly the girl gestured for them to follow, turned and skipped off down the street.
Lorelli and Kyraine exchanged a quick glance, shrugged and followed.
Sammy lead them through a nondescript door off an alleyway somewhere in the west end of the harbor district. The room was dark and smelled heavily of smoke and something else. The scent wafted through a entryway on the right. Blue paused, whining softly.
“Lore, you smell that?” Kyraine asked.
“Faintly. What is it?”
Lorelli came to a stop so abruptly Kyraine walked into her. The rogue stood there, mind racing. Could be a coincidence but it would just be stupid to assume such.
“S’not too far to the door. It’s your call, Lore.” Kyraine’s voice behind her was much calmer than Lorelli felt. It helped to steady her and she shook her head.
“No. If it is a trap we’re too far in now. Honestly, I like our chances better fighting than running.”
“Aye.” Kyraine patted her leg and Blue hesitated only a moment before crossing the few feet to stand at her side. .
Sammy was waiting for them in the doorway up ahead. The child stepped aside as they approached, bowing them through into the next room. It was much larger than the entryway, hazy and poorly lit. Around the room small pockets of people spoke quietly or engaged themselves in cards, dice, drink or the Lotus they had smelled upon entering.
“Smell’s starting to make my head swim.” Kyraine’s voice was quiet but to Lore’s ears it seemed to echo off every wall. All conversation had stopped as they walked in.
In the back of the room was a raised dais upon which a pile of cushions rested. Seated on the cushions was a very handsome kal’dorei male. His hair was a blue so pale it was almost white and it shown like a beacon in the gloom. On his right side sat a female Draenei, her hair up-swept, the neckline of her dress cut low, the slit at each leg cut high. She was regal and elegant and very much stood out. Behind them, at the back of the dais, leaning agains the wall were three figuresl. The left and right were large men, human with faces that said they’d been in more than a few nasty brawls. Yet, the one that caught and held Lorelli’s attention was the one in the middle. He was smaller than the other two, but his manner suggested he was very much in charge. Despite his hooded and shadowed face, she could construct his features from memory, see the cold malicious gaze in his eyes. It helped to imagine that his face probably mirrored her own, if not worse.
“You have got to be fucking kidding me.” She breathed.
“Hrm?” Kyraine was tense, next to her all of Blue’s fur was standing on end.
“That’s him. The cartel thug I fought.”
Kyraine stepped closer to Lorelli, her gaze locked on the middle man, her expression suggesting she’d very much like to run him through. The rouge almost expected the other woman to get between her and the group before them. Ti’Shoren’s voice broke the silence.
“Don’t hide back there, come here, come here. It’s been a long time.”
Lorelli set her shoulders and started towards the dais. Every step seemed to take forever. She found herself wishing in part that she hadn’t brought Kyraine into this, the other part of her extremely glad she had. If it came down to it, she would make sure the warrior made it out alive.
Ti’Shoren expression was warm and a broad smile graced his face. As the women entered the light from his lantern, his eyebrows shot up in surprise.
“Sweet Light of Elune, Lore! What have you done to your face?” He leaned forward eyeing more than just her nose. “Tsk tsk. Pity.”
Lorelli shrugged, “It’s nothing. Just a disagreement between associates.”
Ti’Shoren straightened up again, “You don’t say? ‘Cause the way I hear it, [i]someone[/i] almost took you out of the Game for good. Admittedly, I am very interested in who that might be.”
“Why? You looking to higher some more folks? I could make some recommendations.” She made a show of sliding her gaze to the trio against the walll. “Thought it seems like you’ve got a full house already.”
He pursed his lips, “True. And good help is not cheap. Though it does bring to mind…” He trailed off waving his hand at the three men, “Leave us. I’ll send Sammy for you shortly.”
The middle man was the last to leave the wall. He watched Lorelli and Kyraine all the way until he was out the door.
Ti’Shoren patted the pillows in front of him, “Come, sit. Let’s not stand on ceremony, shall we.”
Lorelli came to perch on the edge of the dais. Kyraine and Blue remained standing at her shoulder. The rogue turned to face the other elf and his Draenei companion. “You do know your friend there is not in your sole employ, right?” She inclined her head after the three who’d left.
“Well of course, my dear. They’re mercenaries. They work for the highest bidder.”
Lorelli shook her head, “I’m not sure that’s true in this case. Shoren, give me five minutes with your man and ensure that no one will interfere. I’ll expose the truth [i]and[/i] tell you who almost killed me the other night.”
Kyriane’s hand clamped hard on the rogue’s shoulder. “Lore, you can’t. I’m not taking the blame if you decide to be stupid again.”
Ti’Shoren tapped a finger against his lips, smiling, “Lore, I do so much like your friend. She may not have the same type of beauty as yours but extremely charming nonetheless. Might I keep her?”
Lorelli scowled, hands going toward her daggers. The Draenei’s voice stilled them all, sounding as if it was coming from somewhere far off.
“Be wary of that one, she carries the curse and a wealth of blood matted in fur.” All heads had turned to look at the womani as she’d spoken.
“Saihira is a Seerer. A very useful treasure to have around in my line of work.” Ti’Shoren trailed a finger along Saihira’s jawline. She smiled serenely.
“So it would seem.” Kyraine’s reply sounded as if it came from between clenched teeth.
Ti’Shoren looked between the two women before him a moment, considering. “Interesting…” He rose to his feet and crossed to a small table laden with glasses and bottles. He poured himself a drink and turned back to face them. “As for your request, Lore. I’m afraid I have to decline. From the lines of your body, I’m pretty sure I know who you went up against, it explains a fair amount. I’d tell you to watch your back but I’m sure you’re already fully aware there’s a rather large target on your back. Regretfully, there is something else I need.” He snapped his fingers and at least one ‘patron’ from the tables around the room stood and drew weapons.
Lorelli was on her feet in a heartbeat drawing daggers. Kyraine was at her back, sword drawn, Blue had his eyes on Ti’Shoren, teeth bared, his growl deep and very threatening.
“Kyr, if we live, let’s not tell anyone about this, okay?”
“Oh, don’t be so dramatic.” Ti’Shoren waved his hand, “That’s enough my friends. I got what I wanted.” He hopped down from the dais as chairs scraped from others taking their seats. He made his way to stand in front of Lorelli.
“What are you going on about?” The rogue demanded.
Ti’Shoren was a full head taller than she and much broader in the shoulders. He was attempting to be imposing, it was almost working. “You hoped I’d miss it. The catch in so usually a fluid motion, the slight wince. You can’t fool me, you forget how I am. How long will your injury last, do you suppose? Will you ever be the same? Will muscle and tendon ever fully recover? I know a few who would pay rather well for this tidbit of information.”
Lorelli glared at him, “What have you gotten yourself into, Shoren?”
“Information, my dear. Same as always. That’s all the Game has ever been. Information. Who knows the most about who.” He took a sip from his drink. “I believe we’re done here. You may go, no one will trouble you on your way out.” He turned and made a bow to Kyraine, “It was lovely meeting you, please feel free to come see me [i]any[/i] time. Oh and Lore, if you see Wallace on your way out, tell him and his friends to come back in.” He left them standing there, returning to Saihira.
“Do you think he was serious?” Kyraine asked Lorelli quietly.
“I honestly wish I could say.”
“Do we have a plan B?”
Lorelli smiled ruefully, “That’s assuming I had a plan A.” She started for the exit, “So, the plan is, we walk calmly towards the door.” She only glanced over her shoulder once to make sure Kyraine was behind her.
They made it without incident out to the street and all the way back to Old Town before either of them even began to think about relaxing.
“I don’t know about you,” Lorelli finally spoke, “but I need a drink. And a big big bone for Blue.” She patted the dog fondly on the head.
“So, was it a success? Did we learn anything?”
Lorelli nodded, “I think we did. I’ll let you know as soon as I figure it out.”