Silent Scream-IC

World’s End Tavern: Role-play and Fan Fiction
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With her manicured fingers and deft touch, Sylvia attached the small figurine to the length of chain she had dug out of her bag. "I used to study jewelcrafting when I was young, until I found better ways to spend my time. I still carry the small jewelers kit with me, just in case it comes in handy. You will help me won't you Harry? I will wrap it up and you can give it too him...tell him it is from a secret admirer...it would mean so much to me...knowing he has it...please Harry? I would be so happy if you did this for me...but you cannot tell anyone who it is from!! It will just be our little secret..." she whispered as she took the newly made amulet and began arranging it in a small jewelers box.

She wrapped it with fancy paper and added a red bow. "All you have to do is give it to him, when you are off work and can go somewhere that is...you are allowed to go other places aren't you? I mean...I hope you can...it would make me so sad if you can't.." she turned her blue eyes on him and a sweet pout. Her soft hand going out to touch his hand as it lay on the table.

"I would be ever so grateful...I think I could easily fall for a sweet guy like you..." she whispered sweetly. She was pouring on the charm, hoping he would accept and keep her secret.
Rhian hauled herself up from the crates, pausing for a moment to give Longshore a disgruntled look when she realized that he had eaten the muffin, and walked in towards the crime scene, giving the officer who had barred her wide berth. Longshore immediately went nose to the ground.

She stopped by Malakai and listened quietly as he explained the situation. Her gaze went to the body; it was messy—there was nothing clean or neat about this job. It reminded her of a body she had found that had been mauled by a bear. That wasn’t pretty, either. The amount of blood that stained the cobblestones was immense and a trail led down the street.

“We will follow as long as we can,” she said finally, pulling her gaze from the blood trail back to Malakai. “If the killer crossed the canal, I can’t promise that he’ll pick up the trail. Water is a good way to keep from being tracked. If he was injured through…” she looked down the street after the trail, “then he can follow the blood.”

Longshore padded around the body, whining as he did so. After several minutes of investigation, he roamed a small distance away and lay down by an area of cobblestone that appeared slightly darker than the others. Circular… patterned… all too familiar…

“Warlock…” she breathed, her stomach dropping out.

“Warlock! This one’s a warlock.”

Rhian subconsciously wrapped her arms around herself, her face a mask of unhappiness. She didn’t care much for warlocks. In fact, it could be said that she hated them—every last one. Not that a human warlock had done anything to her, but the Blackrock orcs were another story altogether and she lumped the whole lot of them in together. Probably unfair but she didn't care. She was glad that Malakai’s attention had been diverted by the gnomes making the discovery. It would give her some time to compose herself. She didn’t want him thinking that she wasn’t up for the job.

Longshore returned to Rhian and sat down. He whined questioningly when he sensed her agitation and she lowered one arm to rest her hand on the back of his neck. The other stayed firmly wrapped around her.

This was not good news: fourth murder and third perpetrator. Three were on the loose now? Rhian gave a small sigh as she thought through what she knew. Two city officials were dead, one military, the other civilian, and now a nondescript warlock. Were the stars and moon misaligned or was there something more going on here?

“This is a third person,” she said slowly, putting the warlock out of her mind for the moment, “as for connections?” She shrugged one shoulder, “I don’t know but we’ll see where the trail leads.” She looked at the body of the warlock, “Both of them.”

She glanced down at the wolf who was watching the gnomes with some interest, “Ready big guy?”

She gave a curt command and he slowly ambled to his feet and put his nose the ground, slowly walking towards the body. She then led him to the blood trail and gave the same command. He spent some time here before moving off. Rhian glanced over her shoulder to see if Malakai was behind her, then followed Longshore, jogging along behind the wolf until he came to a stop by the canals. He padded back and forth at the edge for several long minutes, whining softly, before he lay down and gave Rhian a disappointed look.

“Water, hmmm?” Rhian crouched down and rubbed the wolf’s neck. “Well, don’t count yourself out just yet. The person had to come out somewhere on the other side. We just need to find a bridge and hope the person is bleeding.”
The young boy crouched in the alley behind a seedy tavern that operated at all hours of the day. He nervously picked at his nails while waiting for the dwarf. The whole place smelled of stale alcohol, vomit, rotten food and urine. He could hear rats scurrying about behind the boxes and he drew his legs up off the ground.

After what seemed like an eternity, the dwarf ambled out. Although the dwarf wasn’t frowning, he still appeared menacing. His long black hair, bushy black beard, and small squinting eyes combined to paint a rather fearsome picture.

“Wha’ ye wantin’, lad?” the dwarf spoke quietly.

“The house ye wanted me to watch? Guard was there with a tracker,” the boy said. “Big wolf, too.”

“Wolf, eh?” the dwarf considered this. A tracker was not a good thing. In all honestly, the dwarf had not expected that the city watchmen would bring in a tracker, but it was good information. “Sounds like we be needin’ us a bit o’ sport, lad. Head inside and get yerself a bite ta eat—my treat. We’ve got some things to discuss about this tracker.”
The sun coming up did not help Amarlei. She had spent the better part of the night working on her latest gimmick. Her success depended on getting Sylvia out of the house. However, at the moment it was surrounded by Watch members strolling around. Her frown deepened as she noticed they seemed to be keeping an eye on each other as well.

There was no way she could get close enough to even get into the building, and it would be a one way trip, as the alarm would be sounded as soon as she tried anything. The short time she had spent napping in her rented apartment refreshed her. She needed to put her plan in place, before another day had passed.

Walking along the canal she noticed Malakai and another woman with a dog, no that was a wolf! Amarlei froze, she was terrified of wolves, and it made her blood run cold when she saw him trotting beside the woman. She was still quite aways away, and across the canal. Her simple dress and basket on her arm marked her as just another citizen, the potion she used to turn her into a human worked well.

It was with some curiousity she heard a bell and saw Malakai take off towards the Mage District. The next thing she knew a few gnomes were rushing off too and yelling for citizens to get out of their way. A few moments passed before she heard the rumors. Another murder and this time it was not her. She almost grinned as she thought of the Watch being short handed.

This might work in her favor, if she could just get a few more distractions it would make her job so much easier. Strolling down to the bank, she listened to the citizens complaining.

"What is the Watch doing? Nothing!" said one.

" The fourth murder in a weeks time! Are we even safe to walk the streets?" said another.

She had to put on a proper concerned face as she conducted her business in the bank. The angry remarks kept getting more vocal. Amarlei almost felt sorry for Malakai, although it looked like he was kind of soft on that human with her dog. As Amarlei walked along towards Old Town she wondered. Who was staying with Sylvia? A strange feeling crept up on her and she almost broke into a run. Something warned her to stay calm and she looked around carefully before walking into the alley and ducking into a vacant building. There was an upper floor and she could see that there was light coming from there, the window was broken and glass was everywhere.

It was hard to walk over the broken glass as she made her way to look outside. A ragged curtain fluttered over the window. Peering out she was delighted to see it overlooked Malakai's house, and conveniently on the side where the window was into the kitchen. Setting up her spyglass on a tri pod, Amarlei looked down into the small house. There at the table was a man and Sylvia, they seemed to be talking while eating breakfast. Amarlei's stomach growled and she made a face. She needed to eat soon, but no time now.

Amarlei watched as she saw Sylvia trying to get the man to take a small package. The rogue was worried, if he took it and moved to the Castle with it, Amarlei was afraid it would be bad news. She wished she had a way to hear what they were saying.
Corporal Harry Blackstone may not have been with Malakai and Rhian, but he was having troubles of his own. Trouble with a capital "T" and it stood for Sylvia Grayson. The young Watch officer was trying his best to keep his eyes from straying in her direction but it was no use. He was captured, captivated by her beauty, the melody of her sweet voice sounding in his ears. He could only wonder how Malakai resisted such a thing..though that might not have been the case given the stain of lipstick on his cheek the other night. Did he? For a moment, a twinge of jealousy shot through him, his eyes narrowing as he glanced at Sylvia. Her mouth was moving..she was speaking!

Varian, the King? His frown deepened, what in the world was she talking about? Was she that silly of a woman to think that he could just march into the Stormwind Keep and hand some trinket to the king? "Uhh, Miss Grayson..I..I'm just a corporal, I ain't any different than any other person when it comes to the king. I've seen him from a distance but I don't..exactly have the authority nor the status to even be close to him." It pained him to say it, his heart nearly sank as he realized that he couldn't do what she asked, how disappointed she would be in him.

"The Commander, he could..if you, well I could ask him. He is a relative of mine, he'd help me..maybe, but I have to know..If I do this, I want to know what's going on between the two of you. That lipstick was yours, I'm not here to be some pawn for you..If you're after Malakai, don't go through me to get to him." His arms folded over his chest, his eyes narrowing as he fixed her with a glare.

His "glare" melted the very moment she said that she could be falling for him. For him?! His heart nearly skipped a beat as he quickly snatched up the package, stuffing it into his pocket. "I'll see what I can do, I swear it, Sylvia. I'm dependable, reliable, trustworthy..all the things you -realy- need in a guy, not like that Jenkins'. Who knew what he was up to! You were just eye candy to him, but to me..you'd be so much more!"

He relished the touch of her hand to his, the feel of her warm skin against his own. Was this a dream? If it was, don't let it end..not now, not ever! "I'll just wait until Malakai returns and say I have to run an errand, I'll get this to the proper people, you'll see."

---------------

Malakai tilted his head to the side, watching with curiosity the way Rhian spoke to Longshore. The wolf wasn't a pet to her, he was a companion, a best friend to help her. Was it silly to be jealous of the creature? He got to stay by her side, listen to her, keep her safe throughout all her journeys. Wait, what the hell was he thinking?! There was a case at hand and he was too busy chasing after something that probably would never happen anyway.

The Watch Commander straightened his uniform with a sweep of his hands, following after the duo as they moved along after the trail of blood. Just as he suspected it came up "dead" at the canal, but his hopes were restored when Rhian said that she might be able to find it again on the other side. "There's a bridge not too far from here, at your pace, a minute or two."

He quickly took to the lead, weaving his way through the crowd that was now gathering. Questions were being thrown at him left and right, "Is this a serial killer? What's be doing about this? Why isn't the Watch keeping people safe?" Malakai gritted his teeth through it all, a pained expression crossing his face. This was his city to protect and he was failing them, they were losing faith in him and his office. He had to hurry, had to renew their faith before things turned even more chaotic.

Malakai led the way to the bridge, quickly crossing and looping around to the spot opposite the canal where the rest of the team was. His eyes wandered the ground, searching for any speck of blood or trace of someone passing through recently. "You know..if we don't find the trail here, I..know of a place that we can look into. It's dangerous..generally where most of the "criminal" type fall back to. Cut-throat alley. You'll not find a more..vile place within the city walls."

He still maintained hope that Rhian would be able to find something, the last thing he wanted to do was take her to -that- place. Most Watch men knew to avoid that place unless back-up was nearby. It was somewhere even Malakai had to watch his back 'lest he end up just like the warlock across the way.
Longshore spared Malakai a glance that seemed to register what the man was thinking about the relationship between the wolf and the huntress. The wolf then yawned, displaying a mouthful of sharp teeth, and looked up at Rhian. Truthfully, the wolf rather liked the man who had been accompanying them for the past few hours. He didn’t yell, smell bad—although both he and Rhian were getting there—and seemed fairly easy going. All things the wolf found comfortable.

Rhian followed Malakai towards the bridge. Around her, Rhian could hear people talking about the murders and the inability of the watch to do anything to stop them. Some whispered, others were more obvious in their discontent. They watched Malakai and bombarded him with questions. She noted his pained expression and her heart went out to him.

“You’ll find the people who did this,” she said quietly, raising one hand as if to place it on his arm, but she let it drop back to her side. He didn’t need something else for the good citizens of Stormwind to talk about.

She had winced a little when he mentioned how fast she moved. She really needed to learn to slow down, she told herself. The speed at which she moved through Stormwind had been developed over the past eight months that she had lived there. Uncomfortable with being in the city and quite aware of all the vulnerabilities that a lone woman had walking the streets, she had sped up her pace. It had not occurred to her that Longshore’s presence had deterred many would-be assailants. They opted for someone who wasn’t accompanied by one hundred sixty pounds of teeth and fur. It wasn’t that she was unduly paranoid; in her travels the presence of the wolf had done little to dissuade gnolls, trolls, and various wild animals from seeing her as an easy target.

She also needed to learn some proper manners when it came to the city. Her backwoods habits just didn’t fit in well here and while she wasn’t aiming very high on the social ladder for human companionship, someone who didn’t smell like fish was definitely a plus. While Longshore went nose to the ground again—she figured that he had to be having the time of his life—she gave Malakai a wistful glance. He was by far the most interesting person she had run into in Stormwind and it was in his favor that he didn’t seem intimidated by Longshore. But now, his attention was back on the case, his curiosity in her apparently satisfied.

She turned her attention back to the canals, thinking about the lipstick on his cheek and that he was out of her league. That, of course, wouldn’t stop her from forming a crush, but she had survived unrequited infatuation before and she would do so again. But, not now. There would be time later to think about it, when they solved the case.

“Where is the nearest footpath leading out of the canal?” she asked when Longshore came up empty. “He may have chosen and easy way out of the water. It is still early; I doubt that all of the puddles have dried up yet.”

"You know..if we don't find the trail here, I..know of a place that we can look into. It's dangerous..generally where most of the "criminal" type fall back to. Cut-throat alley. You'll not find a more..vile place within the city walls."

“Cut-throat alley?” Rhian repeated. “I was told to avoid it not long after I came to Stormwind.” The Stonemantles, the dwarven owners of the Hart and Stout, had been adamant about places ‘a young lass like yerself’ shouldn’t visit. “I also want to follow the trail of the dead woman—see where she came from. That may give a little more information as to why she was killed.”
“Cut-throat alley? I was told to avoid it not long after I came to Stormwind.”

Malakai nodded, "Whoever it was that told you was wise to do so. Cut-throat alley is..exactly as the name implies. The worst of the criminal population functions from there, I can't tell you have many murders we investigate that end up with our suspect there, or the killing having occurred there. Being Watch Commander doesn't even afford me the liberty of walking through there without my pistol drawn and ready for action.

"If we have to go there, we will..but I'd rather not venture that way unless I'm operating at full capacity." He was tired, every muscle and bone in his body was crying out for rest, it wouldn't be too long before he'd have to give in to it. He shook his head, clearing his thoughts as he glanced at Rhian. "Let's finish this up after..a bit of rest? I'll have this place roped off so we need not worry about the scents being lost to us. My men are stretched thin, if this keeps going on..." He didn't finish the sentence, he didn't want to think about it.

"Fizzle!" Malakai cupped his hands to his lips, calling across the canal to one of the Gnomes. Once he saw the Gnome was looking his direction, he pointed to the area they were standing in making a circular gesture with his hand. Fizzle nodded and immediately signaled to one of the men standing next to him, handing him a roll of tape to seal off the scene.

"That's taken care of.." He nodded to himself, turning back to face Rhian. "I'm..sure you're exhausted..and hungry, but..the offer still stands if you wish to, have a bite to eat and relax." This time he kept his composure, even managing to smile as he gazed at her. "No offense to Miss Grayson but we don't exactly..fit into the same category of things..It'd be nice to have someone to talk to, someone I could relate to."

Thinking on it, he sounded rude. It wasn't that he was insulting Sylvia, just expressing that he'd rather talk with Rhian than her. That wasn't such a harsh thing was it?

"Right here, sir?"

Malakai turned towarsd the patrolman and nodded, "Yeah, rope this area off if you would please. Just from..there to where we are now. Also, have Fizzle do the same on that side over there, we'll need to see where that warlock has been too." He nodded once more to the man before focusing his attention back on Rhian, watching her curiously.."Shall we then? If not, I'll still escort you to your residence, I don't want anything happening to you.though I'm sure Longshore would prevent that too."

He glanced down towards the wolf, reaching a hand out to rub between it's ears if he allowed it. It reminded him of his own pet dog, so long ago. A loyal creature that followed him about all over the place. "Isn't that right?" He chuckled softly down at the wolf before withdrawing his hand, stuffing them into his pockets while looking back to Rhian. It would be a shame to lose her after the case was done, judging from everything about her, she wasn't big on the city life at all...

"I'd also..like to ask if you would consider a more than temporary position in the Watch? I mean, not permanent such as..myself but, perhaps someone that I could come to..we, could come to if we're in need of such services again? I suppose it's a bit early to be asking, but I thought I'd gauge your interest on it.."
"I'm..sure you're exhausted..and hungry, but..the offer still stands if you wish to, have a bite to eat and relax. No offense to Miss Grayson but we don't exactly..fit into the same category of things..It'd be nice to have someone to talk to, someone I could relate to."

Rhian nodded her head in agreement when he spoke about exhaustion and hunger. While she wasn’t particularly excited about the prospect of meeting the mysterious Miss Grayson, she knew that it was going to be in the best interest of the case to do so. Miss Grayson would be able to tell her about Jenkins’ habits, friends, clubs, and anyone who might have had a reason to quarrel with him… all places and people that could provide valuable clues.

"Shall we then? If not, I'll still escort you to your residence, I don't want anything happening to you, though I'm sure Longshore would prevent that too."

Longshore, who was sitting beside Rhian, didn’t look up at the comment. The wolf was tired to the point that he was not even interested in the scratching of rats in a nearby alley. He sat still, only giving a small grunt of appreciation when Malakai place his hand between his ears. When the hand was withdrawn, the wolf lay down on the street and let out a sigh.

“Whatever you’d think is best,” Rhian turned to face Malakai. “I would like to get some clean clothes,” one hand reached up to touch her tousled hair, “and a brush. My boarding house isn’t too far from here. We are ready to go if you are.”

She turned to go, happy that at least this time she remembered to tell Malakai that she was ready to leave rather than just walking off. Longshore groaned and hauled himself up off the cobblestones to follow.

Rhian gave the wolf a sympathetic smile, “You did really well, big guy. I think we can head in and rest for now.” She glanced over at Malakai when he mentioned putting her ‘on call’ for the City Watch. “Work is always appreciated. So, yes, you can put me on call… or whatever the Watch calls it.”
Malakai didn't know why his professionalism chose to abandon him but upon hearing Rhian speak of a brush, he couldn't help but voice the opinion which fought it's way past his lips. "A brush? I don't see what you would need that for, you look absolutely amazing just the way you are." He paused mid step as the realization of what he said dawned upon him and he glanced in Rhian's direciton. "I..don't mind me, must be the exhaustion."

He clenched his jaw, cursing himsef as he started walking again at her side. Luckily it wouldn't take them long to arrive at the boarding house. He was familiar with the place, knew the owners, but didn't have need to come around too often. "I'll just wait..down here." He mentioned to Rhian, seating himself in the front room to allow her privacy.

As soon as he sat down, he let out a sigh of relief, his bones and muscles doing the same. He closed his eyes for a moment, sinking into the comforts of the chair, folding his arms across his chest. Wouldn't it be nice just to fall asleep right here? He chuckled at the thought, opening his eyes to make sure that it didn't happen. While he waited for Rhian, he mulled over the developments in the case. Three dead, two political, one warlock..What could these people possibly be doing? Rhian did say that it was a different killer this time..again, but was there a connection amongst them? Who did they work for? Why were they killing these people, and more importantly, would there be more?

His brow furrowed as he thought on the subject, if there were more, they were bound to make a mistake at some point, but then again, that was such a morbid resolution to his problem. He didn't want more people to die just so he could solve a case. There was also the fact that his members were stretched thin already, the Watch needed a recruiting drive to replenish the ranks but at the moment, who would want to join the "failing" organization.

The Watch Commander shook his head, happening to glance up just as Rhian returned. A brow lifted in amusement as he gazed at her, mouth somewhat agape. "I..think I stand corrected," was all he could muster before his professionalism once again made it's return. "Shall we then, Miss Bardsley? I think a rest and some hot food will be just what we need to kickstart ourselves."

He smiled and held the door for her before following her back out to the street. He glanced skyward, noting the dip of the sun across the horizon, night was soon to approach. The'd have to hurry if he was going to entertain his guest and get her back before night fall to make sure nothing was awaiitng her.

"This way," He spoke, gesturing down the street for Rhian and then starting off. The city was quieting down, less crowds out on the street, especially with the unsolved murders going on. People were living in fear for their lives and Malakai really didn't blame them. As they walked the streets, he made note of how few men he had out patrolling the streets, not nearly enough coverage for the city.

It didn't take them long moving along on the backstreets and out of the way areas for them to reach Malakai's home. He had tried to take the least traveled paths to prevent them from being followed, or at least fool whoever would be doing such. "Here we are..It's not much..but I hardly stay here, the office desk is more my bed than anything." He shrugged, signaling to the men with eyes still on the area that they were approaching. He tugged open the door for Rhian, waiting for her to enter before he followed and shut it behind him.

"Miss Grayson?' He looked about, seeing the woman sitting there..but where was Blackstone? "Miss Grayson..this is Rhian Bardsley, a tracker who has decided to lend a hand in the investigation. I think with her help we can close this case much quicker, she's already done a great service...but, where is Blackstone? Is he..in the back room?" As he spoke, he went to the door of the bedroom, pushing it open and looked inside..seeing no one.

Where..did Harry go?

(1/2)
Blackstone couldn't wait much longer. He had to do this, Sylvia would give him a chance if he just did this for her. He was antsy, sitting in the chair beside her, clutching the "gift" she gave him as if it were sacred to him. Beads of sweat formed on the man's brow as he anxiously looked to the door, waiting for the return of Malakai so he could be off. It seemed like an eternity of waiting, Sylvia would not stand for this. He had to show her that he was his own man, that he didn't need Malakai's permission for everything.

"Sylvia..I..I'm going to go and get this package to the king like you asked. I'm..sure you'll be safe, right? There are men outside that will protect you..but maybe, I should just take you with me.." He thought on it a moment before shaking his head canceling that thought in an instant. Malakai would tear him limb from limb if he returned and his "lead" witness wasn't there. "No..I probably shouldn't, but I'm worried."

He looked over at her and smiled nervously, rising up from his chair. "I'll be quick..yes, in and out, I'll be back before anyone can get a hold of you." He leaned towards her as if to kiss her, but then moved away, thinking it was too forward. She would favor him -after- he took care of this for her. The thought propelled him out the door and into the night. The men on duty saw this but thought that it must've been ordered by Malakai at some point because why else would Blackstone be leaving?

The Corporal ran through the streets as fast as he possibly could, rushing for the keep. He didn't know how far he would get but it was worth a shot. The Keep wasn't too far and hopefully Malakai was still much too busy with the investigation to return.

(2/2)
Watching the house from across the street and up high in a building condemned to rot, Amarlei frowned as she watched the man get up out of his chair. He seemed nervous and excited about something. She was astonished with his decision to leave the house. He took off on a dead run, and it looked like he was heading for the Keep.

Her heart pounding, she got up and packed her spyglass up and put it in the basket. Stealthing out of the old building she worked her way through the shadows to the tree leaning over Malakai's house. The guard who walked around the outside of the building did not see her as she crept up behind him. The blackjack hit a nerve on the back of his head and he went down quickly. Amarlei dragged him to the tree and tied him there with a gag in his mouth.

The tree was next to the bedroom window and she looked inside, Sylvia was still in the kitchen and sitting at the table filing her nails. Intent on her manicure she did not see Amarlei peering from the bedroom. The rogue took out her blowgun and fitted a dart inside of it. She had to be fast, there was no time to waste. A deep breath and she lifted the dart to her lips, a puff of air and the tiny dart landed on the back of Sylvia's neck. Sylvia swatted at it in irritation, thinking a bug had flown into the open window in the bedroom.

Amarlei smiled and waited a few moments, Sylvia sighed and leaned down and put her head on the table. Within a few minutes she drifted off to sleep. The rogue slipped quietly into the room and retrieved her dart. This poison was slower acting and would just put Sylvia into a deep sleep. She would simply fade away gradually and never wake up.

Worried that someone else would come in to check on the girl, Amarlei went back out the bedroom window. It was getting very dark now and she knew she had to leave town, but she was worried about Blackstone. Where was he going? Slipping through the shadows she made her way to the alley. The dark haired dwarf was there and he looked at her with a smile.

"The deed be done? Good...now we must prepare for the repurcussions. They will be huntin' fer ya serious now, best ye leave town, lass. That tracker will be on yer trail fer sure." his concern for her was in his voice.

"The human who was guarding her...she gave him something and he took off on a run towards the Keep. I do not know what she gave him but he was very nervous." the rogue was getting ready to go to the roof top and call her wyvern.

"What? I don't think...maybe...I will go after him and see what it is he carries, go now, get out of here..and your payment is in the box at Booty Bay. I will meet you there when I can." he was disturbed at this news, but had to get Amarlei to leave quickly.

Amarlei nodded and climbed the stairwell in the old building and went out onto the balcony and used her skill at climbing to get up on the roof. It was dark up there and no one ever looked up. She did however and noticed the patrols flying about. Waiting until they were out of range she blew on her silent whistle and called her wyvern. He was a dark blue in color and came down out of the sky at her call. He made very little noise as he landed on the roof. Climbing on his back she took off before the patrol came around again.

The dwarf meantime had scurried out of the alley and headed for SI:7 he found a couple of his agents and sent them after Blackstone. He simply told them to give the copper a tumbling and pick his pockets. Whatever it was he carried had to be examined. A kaldorei female rogue dashed off after the man and caught up to him just as he was entering the Keep.

"Well, hello there handsome..." she purred at him as he tried to dash past her. She did not have to do more than sidestep and he would trip over her foot. Using her arms to catch him she chuckled as he stumbled against her. The package he was carrying looked suspicious and she got a very bad feeling about it.

"I have had men fall for me before, but not this bad.." she murmered. Her silver eyes caught his gaze and she smiled at him. The markings on her face made her appear to be crying red tears. Her long deep blue hair fell past her shoulders, it glistened in the light from the torches fixed to the building. She was a good foot taller than him, her voluptuous figure was tightly bound in leather. He might notice her hands clutching him as she looked into his eyes.

"I am an agent for SI:7, what is it you carry there and why are you headed into the Keep this late at night? You know the King is long gone to bed, he is a busy man. It looks important...may I see it?" her voice soft and coaxing.
Rhian blushed when Malakai stammered out the compliment about how she looked. He quickly back peddled, but she smiled at the cobblestones anyway. She was beginning to suspect that he was feeling very much out of his element when it came to subjects that didn’t deal with upholding the law or chasing criminals. It was making him rather endearing—a glimpse of vulnerability in an otherwise hardened man.

She ducked her head, another smile tugging at her lips as she remembered him pushing the stray lock of hair from his face. Oh yes… when this was all over, she’d be thinking about him; not in the capacity of the Watch Commander, but something far less austere. But that would probably be all that it was, thoughts. She doubted that he had room in his life for anything but his work.

Longshore ambled into the house after Rhian and made a beeline for the hearth. He collapsed in a pile of legs in front of it, sprawled out across the carpet laid there. It wasn’t long before he started snoring softly.

She left him in the front room and moved to her room. She shut the door and quickly went to work, stripping off the clothing she had worn for the last twenty four hours. They ended up in a heap beside the basket that served as a hamper. She’d deal with it later. Fresh underwear, socks, and an undershirt were quickly put on followed by a pair of black pants and blue shirt. Lastly, she cleaned her teeth and ran a brush through her hair, working out the tangles. Her bed was calling her, but she ignored it.

While Rhian was in her room, a rather stern looking gentleman came in through the backdoor and dropped off a wrapped package in the kitchen where an older woman worked. He walked with a stiff gate and his movements resembled that of a clockwork man that a gnome would make.

“Since you told me Rhian was out all last night and all day,” the man spoke with a cultured tone, “I had the duck brought in. See that she gets this?”

He walked out with the same stiffness and several minutes later, Rhian appeared.

Rhian could tell by the various expressions Malakai had worn over the past day that he was deeply troubled by what was happening and now as she approached she could still see it weighing on his mind. His expression changed for a moment, as he gave her a look that spoke of male appreciation, but it was quickly replace with his familiar business-like demeanor.

She collected the delicious smelling package, thinking that it would only be polite to share it, and nodded to Malakai indicating that she was ready to go. Longshore reluctantly rose from the hearth, giving both humans a baleful green glare and followed them out into the street.

The sun was setting and Rhian could hardly believe that night was falling again. The streets were comparatively bare tonight—last night a good deal more people had been out enjoying the evening. She glanced at Malakai who was surveying the streets with a grim expression. This was eating at him; it was written all over his face.

She offered him an empathetic smile. “You -will- find these people and bring them in,” she reiterated an earlier sentiment. “You’ve been up for some time now. Rest and food will clear your mind.”

They wound their way through backstreets to reach Malakai’s house. It wasn’t very big and when he mentioned sleeping on his desk in office, she gave him a curious glance.

“Doesn’t that get painful after a while?” she asked. “A crick in your neck?”

When he opened the door, she was greeted by the sparse furnishings, dust, and a few cobwebs. The house appeared wholly unlived in with the exception that the stove was burning and there an incredibly attractive and buxom blonde comfortably sitting at the table. Malakai introduced her as the witness, Miss Grayson.

While Malakai searched the house with some alarm at the missing Blackstone, Rhian turned her attention to Sylvia.

“Hello,” she said, trying to be polite but honestly have no idea as to how to proceed. She remembered the lipstick and wondered if the stunning Miss Grayson had been the cause.

Rhian was quite aware that she could not hold a candle to Sylvia Grayson. It was easy to see how Sylvia could make her way in the world by being a mistress. How do I not stack up? Let me count the ways! Rhian actually didn’t bother, there was nothing she could change or wanted to change about her appearance.

Aside from the long blonde hair, there was one glaring detail that was hard to overlook. Sylvia’s ample bosom. It was barely contained within the bodice of the blue dress, something that Rhian’s own meager charms would be hard pressed to fill. Rhian certainly hoped that the seams held—she did not want to see the jack-in-the-box effect that was going to happen if the bodice's stitching didn’t hold. When the poor woman disrobed that night, she was going to have a lot of red marks in some tender places.

(1/2)
“Hello,” she said again, taking a step towards the table. She waited several seconds for Sylvia to lift her head and respond, but she didn't.

There was something wrong with Sylvia… “Miss Grayson, are you alright?” Rhian asked, stepping towards the woman. Dropping the box of food on the table, she crouched down and opened one of the woman’s eyes and was met with a glassy stare.

Longshore who had followed Malakai into the bedroom, nose to the floor, suddenly scraped at the floor with one paw before laying down and growling. Rhian, who heard his nails rasping across the wooden floor felt her stomach go out when the wolf growled.

“Malakai,” Rhian spoke evenly, suddenly knowing what was wrong with Sylvia, and not caring about the impropriety of using his first name, “one of the murders was here… I think we need a priest for Sylvia or she isn’t going to be alive much longer.”

(2/2)
Malakai looked irritated. He had given the "boy" so many chances, looked past so many of his muck-ups, but this was the final straw. He shook ihs head slowly, thinking of some way to push Blackstone upon his return when Rhian called to him. He thought it strange that she used his first name but perhaps she was just becoming more comfortable around him. He turned to face her, glancing at the xpression on her face, then down towards Sylvia once the words she spoke had sunk in. "What?!"

He crossed the room in two strides, instantly standing at Sylvia's side. His hand went to her neck, pressing his fingers there to check for a pulse. She was still breathing but her heart rate seemed to be slowing to an alarming rate. He rushed to the door, throwing it open in one quick motion. "GET ME FIZZLE NOW!" He roared into the night towards the men still watching over the house causing them to flinch.

He wasted no time in rushing back into the house towards Sylvia. "I need to get her to Fizzle, he's studied the poison, if there's a way to cure it, he'll have it." He was careful when scooping her up, even in the situation at hand, he didn't want to..improperly touch her though it was quite difficult given her proportions. "Hold on, Sylvia..just hold on, I'll get you some help." He whispered down to her as he carried her from the house.

Malakai paused, glancing back in at Rhian. "See what you can find, there's got to be something there, they're not getting away with this one!" Then he was gone, running up the street back towards the Watch House.

----

Blackstone glanced nervously at the Kaldorei that had approached him. "I just have something from a friend, what are you stopping me for?! Can't you see the badge, I'm with the Watch, the Stormwind Watch! Corporal Blackstone is the name and I know the Watch Commander personally, this is a gift..from him! I'm not going back to tell him I failed, so you just.get your long-earred self out of my way!"

He struggled to break free, taking a few steps back and fixing the woman with a glare. "What's in here is none of your concern, SI:7 or not. You don't have any cause to search me, I know the rules!" Her seduction was hardly going to work on him, Sylvia was waiting back at Malakai's, she was all he would ever need. With that in mind, he took another step forward, clutching the package to his chest like a newborn babe. "Now then, out of my way!"

----

"Commander, there's..nothing I can do. The poison is potent, if I had been there when she was attacked, I might have remedied it, but it's too late now. She's passed, Light help her."

Malakai stood stunned, glancing over the Gnome to Sylvia laying on one of the desks in the Watch House. Papers were strewn all about the floor in their haste to get her in place so Fizzle could examine her. She looked so peaceful, as if she was just having a light nap. He walked to her, placing a hand to her throat, feeling for a pulse he knew wasn't there. "I'm..so sorry Sylvia. You trusted me, your life was in my hands..and I failed you."

"Sir, it's not your fault..We're being worked to the bone on this case, we wouldn't get anything done if you sat with her the entire time. "

He tuned it out, hearing only the sound of Sylvia's laughter, her smile, the touch of her lips on his cheek. It was no more, she was gone. His head shook slowly as he moved from the desk heading towards the exit. "Find Blackstone, arrest him for the murder of Sylvia Grayson."

"Sir..you, don't believe he had anything to do with it?"

"He left her to be killed, abandoned his post. He should know better, one of my officers should know better! He may not be directly responsible but her blood is on his hands as much as mine." Then he turned and left.

He wandered for a time, just walking the streets, completely oblivious to all the going ons about him. Eventually, he made it back to his house, standing outside the door before finally entering. What would Rhian think of him now?

"She's gone, Rhian. They got her." He sighed, moving to seat himself at the table. This was a side he didn't want anyone to see, the failure.
The tall Kaldorei agent looked with sadness on the young human. "There is a time and a place for these things...and you do not look like a person who would flaunt the rules. His Magesty is not accepting visitors. If you like we can leave it with his Senecal. I am sure he will be pleased to know his citizens appreciate him. Come, I know just the person to see." she released him and stepped into the hallway of the Keep and led him to the Guard Captain, Wilhelm Gabrial.

The small room where she led him held a table and a few chairs. She nodded to the Captain and went out a side door. About two minutes later a tall white haired man stepped into the room and smiled at Blackstone. "What is it you have there? It looks important..." he stopped and frowned slightly. Something was emanating from the package and it was not good.

"I am Magister Frank Jeffries, that package is very suspicious...where did you get it? I hope you have a good explanation, sir. There is reason for me to believe a security breach has been evolving in the City...if you do not cooperate I am afraid things could get very bad for you." his tone and manner were in no way reassuring.

The Captain got up from his chair and stepped towards Blackstone, a frown on his face. "I do not take security breaches lightly, Sir. Put the package down and let us see what is in it...now!" his voice did not brook any arguement. He had his hand on the sword on his hip.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The wyvern touched down in Booty Bay on the roof of the Salty Sailor tavern. Hungry from the long flight, he nearly growled his displeasure at the stable master. "Relax Greywing, we will probably be here for awhile."

She went down to the bank, and checked her box. There was a substancial sack of gold waiting for her there. Smiling she went to her small apartment and got ready for bed. It had been a long day and she was exhausted.

She was one step closer to her goal and it pleased her greatly. The box contained a cryptic note. 'Take heed this warning, enemies multiply. For every one you slay, more will take their place'

She folded the note and sat for a moment tapping her chin with it. Wiser words were never spoken. With a sigh she put the paper to the candle on her desk and watched it burn. The ashes settling in the small basin below the candle. Softly she whispered to herself as it burned. "Collecting friends only to watch them die is a lot harder than collecting enemies.."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The small hamlet of Westbrook was nearly empty. Except for the homeless who wandered everywhere and slowly starved. Gerry was afraid to go back to Stormwind. But his chances here were next to nothing. There was no work and not much food. Even farmers who had fields to work were afraid to go out. The harvesters were berzerk they said. Whispers came from Stormwind, "The city is becoming a dangerous place to be. Four murders in less than a week. What is the Watch doing to catch them?"

"Some say there is a shortage of manpower and others that they are in revolt, low pay and hard long hours."

Gerry decided to head to Lakeridge, at least there was work there. He packed up his meager belongings and headed out to see what he could find.
Several hours before, Rhian had wondered just how fearsome Malakai could be when he was angry. Now she knew. But it wasn’t really anger that was driving him, but fear. Sylvia had been put in his house to ensure her safety and it hadn’t kept her safe. This ‘Blackstone’ fellow would have a lot to answer for when this was over.

Rhian stood back while he scooped the woman up and watched as he rushed out the door, worry etched on her face. She nodded when he asked her to check the house for any clues.

Longshore, having cued for the murderer being the in room, was now standing on his back legs looking out the bedroom window. A gnome hurried in, giving the huntress a brief nod and stopped at the doorway to the bedroom, staring at the wolf.

“Uh…” the gnome set his bag down and considered the situation.

“He won’t hurt you,” Rhian stepped over to the gnome. “That is how they got in. I will take him outside and see if we can get a general direction as to how they got here.”

“Don’t go too far,” the gnome warned. “The murderer may still be around.”

Several of the officers looked up curiously as she and the wolf exited the building, one of whom peeled off to shadow her. She rounded the house to the bedroom and stood back to let Longshore work. It wasn’t long before they found the downed guard. The trail continued on and Longshore took off. This time, the trail didn’t cross water. She frowned as she thought she recognized where it was heading: the flight master. Who ever had done this was gone, their task here done. The officer who had been shadowing her reluctantly split off to question the flight master and Rhian reminded herself that she needed to get back to the house. Malakai wouldn’t be too keen on learning that she was off tracking a murderer when he got back.

The guard had been put on a stretcher when Rhian returned to the house. The gnome was still working in the bedroom. Rhian moved to lean against the doorframe and surveyed the room. Her eyes fell on a bag that was sitting on the dresser next to a piece of paper.

“Shall I check the bag?” she asked.

The gnome waved a hand towards it. With all that had been happening these past few days, he was overworked and any help would be appreciated.

She crossed into the room and picked up the bag. Her eyes fell on the piece of paper, curious to what it was. She scanned the writing, frowning when she realized that this was a note that Malakai had written to Sylvia explaining that he would be out. Her heart tightened with disappointment when she read the last two lines.

So his interest in Sylvia was more than just in keeping her safe. Rhian told herself that she wasn’t surprised, but it was still a painful pill to swallow. She supposed that it was good to get the disappointment over with now, but she wished she could have held onto the illusion that he might be interested in her for just a little while longer. She turned looked out into the other room, her eyes seeking out Longshore. He was laying in front of the stove in a pile of legs and fur, but wide awake. Between the two of them, she would always be able to provide for herself—sure, the arrangement might work best out in the middle of a forest, but just how bad would a life as a hermit be?

She’d be the crazy wolf lady living in the woods that parents told scary stories about to keep their kids in bed. Really not a life she wanted for herself.

But still, it had been nice to have him around... even if it was just tracking criminals through the streets. It had been nice to have had that illusion...

Now wasn’t the time to lament, she reminded herself. Someone had made an attempt on Sylvia’s life and had already killed someone else.

She upturned the bag, dumping the contents on the dresser: make-up, hairbrush, and other sundry things that a woman would keep. Her fingers lightly sorted through the items pausing when she came up with a jeweler’s box. Opening it, she found something odd.

A carved dragon…

Longshore howled. It was an eerie sound and one that was certain to garner the attention of everyone around. She hoped that Malakai’s neighbors were heavy sleepers. She could hear his claws against the floor as he scrambled up—moving fast for a wolf who was always reluctant to leave warmth of any kind—and he tore into the room snarling. He seemed confused for a moment, as if he was expecting something to be there, but soon turned his attention to the dresser.

A wave of unease came over Rhian and she shut the lid to the box and quickly dropped it onto the dresser.

“What was that?!” the gnome, wide-eyed, looked from Longshore to Rhian and back again.

“This… feels… wrong,” Rhian pointed to the box her words coming slowly. She looked down at Longshore. He had come running expecting a fight, thinking that she was in danger.

(1/2)
The gnome went over to the box and gingerly picked up it. He peeked in and shut it quickly. “Do not tell anyone about this!” he said, setting it back on the table. “Well, you can tell the Commander, he ought to know.”

“Know what?”

“That,” the gnome pointed to the box holding the dragon, “is an effigy of Deathwing: a cult symbol. I’ll have to call in an expert on this.” He wasn't certain how pleased Malakai would be learned about the symbol or that SI:7 was about to be called in.

Rhian returned to the main room, thinking over what the gnome had said about the fetish. Longshore followed her, still in guard mode. She picked up the box of food and after rummaging around in the cabinets came up with a pan. She dumped the contents of the box into the pan and set it on the stove to stay warm. Eating right now seemed inappropriate, but she knew that neither she nor Malakai had eaten anything substantial in a very long time. They would be no good in figuring out what had happened if they were starving and tired.

Malakai returned not long after. He had been gone for some time and from his face, Rhian knew that the news was not good. She watched as he strode wearily to the table and sat down, delivering the sad news about Syliva. Rhian listened as dusted off a pair of plates with a towel she had found.

She set the towel down and moved to stand by Malakai. Longshore stayed by her side, wary and watchful. “This isn’t your fault, you had someone here watching her,” she leaned down a little, tilting her head to look at him. “When you find him, he can tell you why he left. But you… you did everything right. He has part of the story... there was something going on here."

She reached down and placed a hand on his shoulder for a moment before turning away to the stove. As she served up the food she knew that he was regretting his decision to leave Sylvia here with someone else. He regretted spending the day with her and not with the voluptuous blonde.

‘She’s dead now,’ Rhian reminded herself as she picked up the two plates. The huntress was feeling rather uncharitable to Sylvia--she had died before Malakai could lose interest in her. Now he'd probably put the woman's memory on a pillar and who could compete with that?

Rhian's eyes went to the bedroom where the gnome was rustling about as he waited for his expert to come in to look at the fetish. ‘Of course, she may not have been so innocent at all. Nothing like a fresh dose of reality to kill an illusion...’

She set a plate down in front of Malakai before taking a seat opposite him. “Eat. You have got to be hungry. We can talk over what you know so far while you eat. We did find some things here—but it is all bad news. I know she was pretty," Rhian wasn't sure why she was trying to soften the blow, "but I think there was more to Sylvia than anyone here knew... and at the moment, it isn't looking too good. I -- we," now she was started to sound like Malakai, "found a fetish in her things... one from a cult."

****
The young boy picked at his nails. A plan was in place and he didn’t like his role in the whole thing: bait. Still, the dwarf had promised that everything was going to be alright. In the end, things were better for him if he stayed with the dwarf than if he continued on his own alone. The hunter was still in the house with the wolf and right now it was simply fear that was keeping him from going forward with the plan.

(2/2)
Blackstone frowned when the Kaldorei took him to yet another room, dumping him before some other people. His hand remained clenched to the package, eyes narrowing as one started to approach him making demands. "You listen here and you listen good, just as I explained to that long-earred girl of yours, this is Watch Commander Malakai Vnalia's package and you aren't touching it." He took a step back, his free hand drifting down to his side where a pistol lay. "Now then, the way I see it, you've got two options..get out of my way, or stay and face the consequences."

The Corporal curled his fingers about the butt of the revolver, unlatching the holster and tugging it free. He lifted it, leveling it at the advancing captain. "That's a nice sword but I don't think you've got much of a chance." His gaze turned towards the magister, "You over there, put your hands up, I don't want you trying anything! You both..are under arrest for..obstruction of justice! You both will be taken into custody and I-"

His sentence didn't complete as he was hit from behind, the pistol flying from his hand as he was tackled to the ground. "GET OFF ME! GET OFF ME!" He screamed, struggling against the weight pressed down on his back. There was a jingling sound, accompanied by the feel of cold metal against his hands as he was cuffed, restraining him completely.

"Blackstone, under order from the Watch Commander, I am hereby placing you under arrest for the murder of Sylvia Grayson." The voice from behind him said.

"Arrest?! ME?! Wait..Sylvia..Sylvia's dead?! No..No NO NO NONO!" He struggled more, tossing and turning trying to break free but it was in vain. The firm hold of the watchmen was unshakable and Blackstone finally just quit, breaking down into tears and hysterics.

"Whatever he has, we'll let you pursue it, sirs. The Watch has it's hands tied as it is." He spoke to the Captain and Magister before hauling Blackstone up and dragging him down the streets towards HQ.

"Who knew Harry, that you could fall so low. After all Malakai did for you..I should've stopped you as soon as you left the house.. Now I have to bear this just the same as you."

----------

When Rhian put her hand on his shoulder, he moved his other, reaching to lay his atop hers, a gesture of appreciation, and perhaps more. He felt the warmth of her hand, not like the cold which was starting to devour the warmth of Sylvia. He gave it a small squeeze, wanting to hold it a bit longer but releasing it so that she could go sit and eat herself. His eyes drifted to the plate of food, staring at it, his stomach roaring it's appreciation at finally getting a meal. "Thank you, Rhian." He said as he reached for the plate, starting to take a few bites from it.

There was no surprise registered on his face when Rhian told him of Sylvia. He glanced up at the huntress and nodded, "I had..a suspicion that there was more to it. She spoke of meetings with Jenkins, being told to stay outside while they went and did this "secret" business. I wondered why they wouldn't have disposed of her earlier, it's risky keeping someone like that around for too long. " He chewed a few more bites of the food before pushing it away to continue.

"I kept her here because I knew she had information, she told me some of it, some of the stuff that made her out to be "innocent". I may not know..how to deal with women in the capacity of courting, but I can tell when something is being held from me. It's something you pick up on when dealing with liars over many years. She didn't tell me everything and whatever she didn't tell was going to be pretty damn important."

"I gauged her type. She's used to men falling all over her, taking one look at her hanging out of the dress and just losing all control of their senses. I figured I could use that to my advantage, if I feigned as if I was falling too.. Perhaps she would reveal more to me if she thought I was under her control, so to speak." He shook his head rising from his seat at the table to cross the room towards the bedroom which still held the Gnome.

"Anything else in there?" Malakai called from the doorway, peering inside. The Gnome glanced up just as he was putting the item in question back into the jeweled box. "No sir, just typical items of a female. I'm going to take this to intelligence, this..goes beyond us, sir. Criminals is one thing, a cult is another."

(1/2)
Malakai nodded, "You're right. Get that thing out of here, let those spooks deal with it." He stepped aside to let the Gnome scurry past. He entered the room, drifting towards the dresser with the contents of Sylvia's things. He glanced down at them, sifting through the pile with his fingers until he came across the note. A frown crossed his features, Rhian..must've seen this. Is that why she was acting so..strange about Sylvia?

He stepped back into the doorway, gazing at Rhian seated at the table. Did she really think Sylvia held his interest..more than her? Women. He would never understand them..but perhaps there was a chance he could learn about them, or at least one of them.

"Rhian, I'm assuming you saw the letter I left for her. I had hoped that she would be more divulging about her business if she thought I was finally succumbing to her charm." He crumpled the paper in his hand as he moved back towards the table. This time he drew his seat from the opposite side and pulled it closer to the huntress. "She was pretty, she was a lot of things..but outside of my duty, there was nothing there."

He flicked the crumpled paper in the direction of the fireplace, giving it one last look before turning his attention back to Rhian. "SI:7 will be taking possession of the artifact you found. I'm sure they'll try to butt into the case too, but I don't think they know how stubborn I can be."

"Something is bothering me though, if..these people were cultists and involved in the cult," He tapped his chin as he thought, "The people that are killing them..must be also tied to it, or aware of it and fighting against it. Perhaps..SI:7 already knows?" He shrugged his shoulders, "Enough..I'll drive us both crazy if I continue on. Let's just..eat and be prepared for the next step."

Tell her! Tell her! His mind screamed at him, trying to force him into action before another body was dumped on them or some other interruption came along. "But, Rhian..this case, has me seeing things in a different way. How..well, unexpectedly short life can be, how things happen and sometimes you just can't control it, no matter how much you want to." Quit blathering and just come out with it! "The point is..I invest way too much time in my work and these moments just pass me by, but...this is one that I think I'm going to try and take."

"Sylvia was pretty..but I think you're beautiful, and I'd like for you to stay around as long as possible..and not just for the job." Smooth, reallllll smooth, but that was the best a poor copper could do. And it was in the nick of time because the door soon burst open and a patrolman came inside

"Sir, we've apprehended Blackstone! He was..heading for the Keep..with a package, some sort of delivery to the King. He was stopped by SI:7..even drew his gun on 'em!"

Malakai nodded, "Very well, take him into holding. I'll be around shortly..I'd like another few moments here." He then turned his attention back to Rhian, watching for her reaction to his rather..awful confession.

(2/2)
The fragrance of fine pipe tobacco framed the easy chair in front of the roaring fireplace. The snifter of brandy sat on the table within easy reach of the well manicured hand that rested on the tome. "So...Sylvia is gone and the warlock is still in Stormwind? I am sure SI:7 will make some kind of effort to root him out now. There are enough clues left and they will have the manpower and tools necessary to take him out. I am sure we can bow out of that scene. We are after all just a small force of unknowns to them and to the Stormwind Watch. You did well, and will be rewarded appropriately." his voice a soft drawl as he resumed his reading.

"What of Amarlei? She be waitin' to be inducted. May we continue her trainin'? I think she did well, considerin' the obstacles that were in her path." the dwarf was concentrating on his words carefully. He did not want to push too hard, yet he felt she deserved something for her efforts more than gold.

A puff or two of the pipe was taken as the figure in the chair considered. "She is one step closer. Her journey will continue and her training will resume. I have something in mind, a bit closer to home. I have a plan formulating. Tell her to relax and stay out of Stormwind for now. Her time will come...soon."

The dwarf bowed low, "Thank ye, now I be goin' to get after that warlock...his time be done in Stormwind." he chuckled as he left the room.

-----

Gerry was in the Lakeridge Inn when he heard of the ruckus in Stormwind getting close to rioting. "What in blue blazes is happening? Something is definutely wrong, I could tell that when I was in the Slaughtered Lamb. I want nothing to do with warlocks!" he was nervous and gulped his mead as he tried to keep his voice down.

The dwarf shook his head and muttered to himself, then turned to Gerry. "Ye best be watchin' yer tongue, lad. It be gettin' too loose to be safe. Ye be treadin' a tightrope...watch it or ye be swin'in' at the end of it." his words were not lost on the human.

Ducking his head in embarrassment, Gerry kept his mouth shut. He waited for the next assignment with trepidation. he looked up in astonishment at the dwarf's next words.

"Ye be goin' back to Stormwind...and inta the Slaughtered Lamb...time ta test yer resolve and yer skills. I want ya ta lead the trail ta the basement and break his cover...ye got enough...guts ta do it?" his words were low and full of sarcasm.

Gerry faltered and almost reached for the mug of mead. The dwarf grabbed his hand and held it with a viselike grip. "Ye don't need false courage...set yer mind on the task...this be a life or death situation. Either ya have the luck or ye don't...skill test here...if ye can lead the Watch ta the warlock and show them his hidden lair...then be resourceful enough ta get outta there without dyin'...ye be worth further trainin'..if not ye be...dead.." he did not mince words with Gerry. He fully expected the young rogue to die in this attempt.

"I can do it...I will do it..." his words were spoken with a tremble as he considered his options. Gerry had no illusions, he knew what the dwarf was saying. He either succeeded or died in the attempt. It was a harsh reality that he faced, he had no family and few friends. If he was going to die, he would do so in defence of Stormwind. He considered the city his home. Even as a small time thief and burglar, he loved it and missed it.

The dwarf released his hand and nodded. It was time for the young rogue to polish his skills and this was an ultimate test. He could not help the human, it was his act to do alone. The Inn was quiet, thank goodness there were no others in the room paying attention to them. The dwarf got up and paid his bill, leaving the rogue sitting there contemplating his next move.

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