The night was clear but the moon hung low in the sky casting long shadows across everything. The air carried the slight chill of winter though it never seemed to snow in Stormwind. It was colder on her rooftop perch, though Lorelli paid it no mind. She’d been sitting here the better part of the evening watching the door to the Pig and Whistle. Annalea maintained vigil by the door currently and if the other woman didn’t shift or breathe into her hands occasionally, Lore might not even have known she was there.
The rogue dropped silently from the roof and made her way to stand the doors-width from Annalea. “How is she?” Out of the corner of her eye she watched Anna’s head whip around to look at her. Perhaps she should be more careful in the future about startling magic users.
“Lore? What are you doing?” Anna’s voice carried an undercurrent of concern. It made sense, both Illi and Kyraine had been the targets of attacks and there was no disputing it was related to the Lotus runners and this Angel who seemed to be in charge. The natural assumption was that Lore herself had been identified and would be next. Which of course, was the point of tonight’s escapade but no one but Lore knew of that plan.
Lore stretched, she had sat on the roof an awfully long time. “Keeping an eye on Illi and Kyr.”
Anna raised an eyebrow, “Oh? And who’s keeping an eye on you?” Of course Anna knew what the rest of the Riders were up to that evening, but would she believe there was still a guard trailing Lore? Probably not, the rogue knew her colleagues better than that.
“Every one’s busy planning. There wasn’t much else I could do to help, so I thought I’d make myself scarce. Keep out of trouble.”
“By trying to get yourself killed?” Anna asked incredulously.
“Of course no…” she paused. There had been something faint, just enough of a sound to catch her attention. She held up a hand for quiet, then put a finger to her lips. “Stay here. Keep your eyes and ears open.”
Anna started to protest but the other woman had disappeared. “Lore? Lore!” She threw up her hands in disgust, “Bloody Elune…” Something told her now would be a good time to get in touch and find out who had Lore guard duty tonight.
Lore made her way across Old Town using the network of alleyways and rooftops. Someone was tailing her and it wasn’t one of the Riders. This was exactly what she’d been waiting for. Now to hope this wasn’t as much of a fool’s errand as it easily could become. First she needed to lead them away. Away from the Pig, away from Anna and Kyraine. Away from anyone else who might come by the bar.
They stayed right with her. That was fine. Perfect even. The key was not tipping the other off that she actually wanted to be followed. Out of Old Town, across the canals, into the Cathedral District. She ducked behind the large shadow of a chimney billowing smoke into the night sky. There she held her breath. Whoever they were, they were good. She almost didn’t hear them moving past her hiding spot. There was faint scraping of boot leather as they dropped into the alley below.
Lorelli moved soundlessly toward the ledge. On first glance over she almost missed him tucked back into a shadowy corner as he was. He appeared to be of average height for a human, leather clad and hooded, in good health although slight of build. The daggers on his belt were well taken care of, but the hilts showed signs of wear. So he knew how to use them, this could get interesting. Quickly, quietly. She’d only get one shot at this she knew.
She dropped from the roof, one arm coming hard around his neck. “Who are you?” She demanded.
He had the advantage of strength. He grabbed a hold of her arm, tearing free of her grip and throwing her over him. She moved with the momentum, rolling to her feet and drawing daggers in one smooth motion. He regarded her quietly, weapons already loose and in hand.
“I suppose it was too much to hope for an answer.”
He rushed her. He was fast. Lorelli was faster. Not by much but it was enough. She spun left aiming a kick for his stomach. He brought arms in a crossed guard to block but her momentum pushed him back. He took it and rolled, coming to his feet to charge her again before she had a chance to turn to face him. She whirled, blocking his blades, one, two. She took that moment to push her advantage, he almost matched her for speed but he was losing ground.
“Quick, ay? Eh like thit inna bird.”
“Oh, aren’t you adorable?” She snarled. “Its not too late to give up. I just want information.”
He shook his head. Steel glinted in the periphery of her vision as he aimed a strike at her neck. She ducked but his other hand was already in motion. Their almost even speed got the better of her then. She blocked his second dagger but not before it bit through fabric and deep into the flesh of her side. It didn’t’ feel as if anything vital had been punctured but the loss of blood would eventually be problematic.
Lore winced and scowled, “Great. Now you’re actually trying. I was so hoping this wouldn’t’ be easy.”
“Eh’m never easy, love.” He yanked his daggers back and thrust what would have been a killing blow if it landed at her chest. Loreli threw herself backward and came to her feet. He was right behind her. Lorelli dodged, stepped in behind him. He was already moving away from her but she struck out at him, scoring her dagger across his back. Leather parted under the blade barely grazing the skin underneath. He rounded on her then, putting his extra strength behind his attacks. Lore gave ground and that was all it took for him to start driving her back. She could feel the force of his blows in her wrists, in her arms, in the wound he’d given her. Her vest was soaked with blood, she was vaguely aware of the breeze blowing across the skin.
Her back hit a wall. Okay… this was definitely not part of the plan. She glanced around for an out. When one didn’t readily present itself she decided to make one. Pushing off from the wall she launched herself at him, twisting and slamming her shoulder into his face. There was a slick sounding crack and pain in her arm, blossoming out to ring through her shoulders. He’d buried his dagger blade in her upper arm down to the bone. They stumbled together a couple of steps, Lore recovered first, grabbing his arm she spun him around, his dagger tore free leaving pain in its wake that almost staggered her. She channeled it into landing a blow and sheathed her own blade in his shoulder. He pulled back, yanking free of her dagger and attacked immediately. She planted a sound kick in his stomach as she dropped to the ground. He rolled behind her and was back on his feet in an instant already on the offensive. For a moment she slipped inside his guard and grazed his face under his eye. He responded with a flurry of blows, together they danced back and forth across the cobblestones meeting slice for slice both refusing to give ground. Lorelli could feel her energy waning though. They’d both lost a lot of blood but she’d suffered worst of their wounds.
Lorelli gathered what strength she could and threw everything she had at him. He kept just ahead of her attacks but was pushed him back until he met the wall. She feinted an attack to his abdomen, slamming his head back into the wall with her free hand when he moved to block. A wet thwack resounded through the small space.
“You should count yourself lucky I just need information.” Her teeth grit, whether in anger or pain she couldn’t even say herself. “You should all pay dearly for what you did to my friends.”
“Keep gabbin’ bitch.” His voice was suppressing about as much pain as she felt. She could see the bruise from her shoulder tinging the parts of his face visible around the mask and hood he wore. He moved to attack, stepping inside her guard but brought himself too close. He missed with his daggers and settled for ramming his elbow into her face instead.
That was about the time she hit the end of the adrenaline. Lore doubled over holding her face as he stepped away. He didn’t wait even a second before he brought his dagger down on the back of her head. She went down hard, hitting the cobblestones with an audible thud. In her swimming vision she was barely able to make out his boots kicking her daggers out of the reach. The sound of metal skittering across stone echoing the sound of hope and life leaving her. This was it. This was how it ended. It could have been worse, she supposed. It could have been one of the Lowborne who took her out. She hoped Zha’ane or any of the the Riders didn’t go on some crazed Lotus Eater killing spree across the city as she was fully aware she’d brought this on herself.
He had leaned down next to her, his hooded and masked face a dark blur. A hand clamped tightly around her neck, air shut off from the rest of her body. She clawed at his grip but she had nothing left to fight with. He dragged her to her knees.
“Eh’m listenin’.” He snarled.
Distantly Lore registered the sound of running boots. This time in a gait she recognized. One chance she thought, you’ll only get one shot to make this work. She reached for his face and yanked his hood and mask off. His face made him appear mid to late twenties, though it was difficult to well with the sallow pallor and craggy planes of his skin. A scar tugged at one corner of his mouth. She did her best to memorize it, shape of he eyes, the nose, angle of the jaw.
He was startled. She produced one of the many knives hidden on her person and slammed the blade down into his thigh. His legs give out and they dropped into a heap.
Lore could see a blurry fair-haired figure running towards them. Can you see his face? Do know who he is? She tried to call. Her voice was weak and raspy. Her assailant has gotten to his feet and was towering over her prone form.
Another voice carried through the night, “Oh yeh fuckin’ WHORESON-”
The entire area lit up, brighter than any daylight. Stars exploded in her vision and she squeezed her eyes shut against the assault on her night vision. She tried to shake her head but everything hurt. A flash bomb, she guessed. Shadows started to form again, a light pressure on her shoulder. A hand?
“Awright, Lore?” Tarquin. She never thought she’d be so glad to hear one of those Northern accents that was so damnably hard to follow even when her head wasn’t spinning.
She tried to get her legs under her only to have the cobblestone rush up to meet her again. There was an awful lot of blood on the ground. It couldn’t /all/ be hers. Could it? Zha’ane was going to be pissed.
“All…” The attempt to speak grated at her throat and she paused, coughing. “…according to… plan.” She was going to feel like shit in the morning.
“The plan ta bugger off an’ get your arse killed?”
“That’d… be the one.” She inhaled, that hurt too, but she managed to grin. It probably looked rather deranged, battered as she was. Her face was already swollen. “You should have seen the other guy… I did.”