Silent Scream-IC

World’s End Tavern: Role-play and Fan Fiction
Prev 1 3 4 5 8 Next
Longshore looked up from his intent sniffing in the closet to give the Watch Commander a wary glance. After a moment, he padded over and sat down next to Rhian, his guarded gaze on the Watch Commander.

Rhian could not blame the wolf, the man looked decidedly put out. She spared a brief glance at the smudge of red barely visible on his cheek. With a bit of embarrassment, she realized that it was lipstick. That, coupled with the lack of a wedding band made her wonder if he had run off last night to meet a courtesan. Honestly, he didn't strike her as the type but then, she had been wrong before.

Rhian understood that most men in the city preferred their women beautifully coifed and dressed--Rhian could not attest to being either of these things. On a good day, she could pass as pretty--her bright blue eyes being a saving grace--but she was painfully aware that she was not meeting any standard of elegance or sophistication. She was about as simple in her appearance that one could get and learned the hard way that simple was best for her; she was not going to set herself up for failure again.

At least he remembered that he had not gotten her name, but the scowl he had given her when he spoke had her wondering what she had done to offend him. Or maybe he was just tired, his clothing was wrinkled and his face weary; she decided not to speculate on what kept him up last night.

"Rhian Bardsley," she spoke quietly as she self consciously tucked a strand of strawberry blonde hair behind her ear and turned towards the door. Her voice was actually sounded rather nice with a slight lilt to the words; unfortunately, her penchant for succinct speech negated any truly musical quality that it might have had. "We are finished here. We'll see if the blood elf is still in the city."

Since she had been unescorted all night, she assumed that she would remain so. Longshore gave the signal that he was ready to track and now it was time for them to earn their pay.

She picked up a rifle that had been leaning against a wall and gave Longshore a short command. The wolf stood, put this nose to the ground and trotted out the front door and to the street. After a few seconds, the wolf took off at a fast pace. Rhian started after the wolf, her long legs easily keeping up. Rhian hoped, rather belatedly, that if the Watch Commander did intend to go with them that he was in shape.
The small house was not as quiet in the early morning. Sylvia waited until Malakai had left before she lazily got out of the bed and went to the attached washroom to clean up. She looked down on her rumpled clothing and made a face. This would not do, she needed fresh clothing!

Wandering back into the bedroom, she found the note and read it. "Hmm, he thinks of me as a potential girlfriend. How quaint...a dinner for the prisoner..." she mumbled to herself. The window was not much help as she went to it and looked out. She could see watchmen planted as guards outside and could hear the distinct grumbling of Blackstone as he sat outside the room.

Knowing it would be risky, she went to the door and opened it. Blackstone looked a mess, he was obviously nursing a hangover. "You look terrible...why did you get so drunk anyway? And if there are guards all over outside, why don't you go and change clothes? I am fine in here alone. I am getting hungry however." she smiled slightly.

The front room was small and the kitchen was not much bigger as she wandered into it. She found some tea and put a kettle on to heat some water. She watched Blackstone out of the corner of her eye. "I am sorry if I upset you...this is all so confusing to me. You are brave and I guess you did not deserve my comments. But what happened to the note I gave you? All I asked for was some clean clothing from my apartment. Cathy knows what I wear most of the time. It's not always like this.." she indicated her skimpy outfit, now wrinkled quite badly.

She fixed the tea and sat at the table. Her soft brown eyes looked at Blackstone with some sympathy. She could tell he was not a hit with the ladies and was almost begging for attention. "So someone else was in my apartment you say? I do not have many women friends...most are...not around anymore. Maybe the same person who was after me, could have been the one who killed Archie. I am glad such strong brave men are protecting me." her voice soft and appreciative.

"When you make a report to Malakai, tell him I need to talk to him. I might be able to remember something, after I have clean clothes and some food. I am sure you understand." her lips curled in a sweet smile.
Rhian Bardsley. Malakai nodded, folding his arms over his chest as he continued to observe the two at work. When he caught Rhian's gaze and the embarassment written on her face, he instantly reached to brush at his cheek, already knowing what she saw. "..I, nevermind." What answer could he possibly give that she would believe? Better to just keep quiet and not help her paint a bigger picture of him being some sort of scoundrel.

When she announced that she was finished, he kicked away from the wall and started for the door, following after them. "I will accompany you, if I won't be getting in your way. I..learned a bit of tracking myself, but I doubt I'd hold a candle to your companion here. There is one other place that I would ask you to visit before we start through the city. Another murder, similar to this one, a couple this time though. We're not sure if it's the same killer or not, it'd be a help to us if we could..try narrowing this down a bit more. One is bad enough, two of them is trouble."

Malakai would take the lead, glancing over his shoulder to make sure Rhian was in tow. It wasn't far to the other crime scene, a few blocks over from Jenkins' house. This place too, had a Watch presence, a few of the guards standing around making sure to keep unwanted people from venturing onto the property. When they saw Malakai they instantly snapped to attention, flashing salutes to him and Rhian as they passed. "At ease, has anyone tried to gain entry? Anything suspicious at all?"

"No sir, it's been quiet. Curious folk come up and ask but we just send 'em away, don't want all the gossip getitn' round the city."

The commander nodded, "Good lad, I know this isn't the most excitable of jobs but you're doing it well, I'll send somone to relieve you soon." He moved past, gesturing for Rhian to once again follow as he entered into the home. "This is the Kristoff's place, city officials just like Jenkins' though..there ties to the government aren't consistent. Jenkins was military, Kristoff was just a politician."

His shoulders shrugged, "Maybe you'll be exactly what we need to find the connection. Perhaps Jenkins' was here...or Kristoff was at his place?" As his gaze met Rhian's waiting for her to begin doing her think, he absently brushed a hand at his cheek making sure he was still not marked.

"I'll let you lead, if you need information, I'll provide."


Blackstone was saved by a knock on the door as he was melting to Sylvia's disarming smile. "What is it? Oh, thank heavens!" He returned to Sylvia with a small package, "Malakai sent this for you, some clothes, some food, even a bit of wine!" He quickly handed them to her, turning away and crossing back towards the lone table in the room. "There you go, Miss Grayson. He has delivered just as he said he would. If you have something to say about the case, you can say it to me. The message will find him.
Longshore, who had been set to take off like a rocket, screeched to a halt, his nails making a clacking noise against the cobblestone. The wolf turned to look back at the pair, his expression clearly showing his displeasure at being rerouted. Slowly, he turned and padded back to where Rhian stood and looked up at her, his gaze expectant before turning to look at a pile of boxes. His ears perked up at the sound of scurrying.

“No rat chasing,” Rhian murmured as she listened to Malakai talk about a second murder victim in the same night. Someone had been busy.

"I will accompany you, if I won't be getting in your way. I… learned a bit of tracking myself, but I doubt I'd hold a candle to your companion here…” at this point, Longshore glanced at the man as if to say, ‘Of course you don’t!’ Rhian just nodded.

She followed Malakai through the streets, Longshore padding along behind her, nose to the ground. She didn’t speak at all but seemed to maintain awareness of her surroundings; small turns of her head to look around and above her. At times it was clear that she was used to walking at a much faster pace—she came close to passing him on more than one occasion and stopped walking to let him get ahead of her three times.

Once again, she found herself in a neighborhood where the house was far too expensive for one of her meager earnings. She gave the tall townhouses a wistful glance as she walked past them. The boarding house was all she could manage right now, but one day she’d be in a place where she could afford a home of her own.

When the men guarding the house of the murdered couple snapped to attention, she had to admit that the amount of respect that Malakai received from his subordinates was impressive. He also seemed to at least take some interest in them—whether that was genuine or him being polite, she didn’t know.

She stood at the door to the room for a long while. Behind her, Longshore snuffled about, his nails clicking on the wooden floors. She watched him for a long moment before turning to look at the room.

“This was a different person,” Rhian spoke these words even before she entered the room where the man was killed.

She stood in the doorway and took a long look around the room, her eyes stopping on various places and spent a lot of time looking at the floor. Eventually, she dropped to a crouch and tilted her head her gaze still on the floor, a small frown crossing her features. Any tracks on the floor were not visible; the housekeeper had been vigilant in keeping the dust off the floor.

“Longshore hasn’t cued a familiar scent,” this was added belatedly as she considered the room. The Watch Commander would probably want to know why she thought it was a different person and she reminded herself that he could not read her mind. "If the two men visited each other's houses, it has not been for a long time.

“Do you know if the two men are connected other than being prominent in the city—such as the same clubs, same city projects, or, um, same mistress?” she asked glancing over her shoulder at Malakai—this was by far, the longest string of words she had uttered. Just because a man was married didn’t mean that he didn’t keep a mistress on the side.

She had to wonder if the murders were related or just coincidence. Of course, there were some people who simply didn’t believe in coincidence and while Rhian wasn’t apt to write everything off, she knew that there were some people out there who spent needless hours trying to make connections where there were none.

She rubbed her hands over her face, wishing that she had taken the time to stop by a rain barrel to splash some water on her face. She had been up all night and was beyond the point of dragging. She and Longshore had yet to start tracking. Perhaps a warm scone and some hot tea would perk her up. Perhaps she would run into a street vendor when she was done here. The thought distracted her for a moment and she gave the room a wistful half-smile.

Deciding that there was nothing else for her to observe in the room, she gave a command and Longshore trotted in. The sooner he was finished gathering the scents the sooner they would be on their way. Rhian pushed the thoughts of food and her bed to the back of her mind and tilted her head back against the wall and closed her eyes while she waited for Longshore to catch the scent.
A slight look of annoyance flickered over her face as Sylvia watched Blackstone go to the door, she had composed herself before he turned around however. Taking the package she inspected the inside with some speculation. She found a modest blue dress and a container of some kind of stew. It was marked from the Pig and Whistle.

Carefully she took the dress out and set the stew on the table. The bottle of wine was a nice touch and she smiled at Blackstone. "I will just go and shower and change then...maybe you can heat up the stew? I have no idea if Malakai has anything here to cook with or whatever. Maybe if you set this crock on the stove it will stay warm until I get back?" she took the dress and headed to the bathroom. She had no idea her short skirt would be such a problem and she just walked off, her hips swaying.

In the bathroom she tested the water first and found it got hot fast. She had to use Malakai's shampoo and soap again, but she somehow did not mind the clean scent. She toweled off and walked into the bedroom with the towel around her, slipping on the blue dress and tugging it down over her hips. It say the least. She had to squeeze and shove things around to get her charms into the bodice. The skirt was full enough to hide her swaying backside, but it did have a nice way of swishing around when she walked. The waist was tight and she had to wonder if the seams would hold, but she did not have much choice, at least it was clean.

Her hair combed out and slightly damp she walked back into the kitchen where she found the stew on the table and the wine bottle opened. It seemed to be lamb stew, or at least it smelled like it. "Thank you Blackstone...umm do you have a first name? I cannot remember if I heard it?" her voice sweet and coaxing as she sat down to eat.
"This was a different person."

Malakai slumped, a sigh escaping his lips upon hearing the news. He had hoped it would be limited to one person, one was enough, now there were two. His arms folded over his chest, gaze following Rhian as she entered into the room. He found himself wandering towards her, crouching down beside her, looking at the floor the same as she was like he could actually see what she saw.

"No, I've no idea about that. Jenkins had one mistress, Sylvia Grayson...the woman we have in protective custody. As far as I know, Kristoff was happily married to his wife. It's not the business of the Watch to look into gossip surrounding public figures, that would be an exhaust of all our resources."

His silver eyes scanned over the floor, narrowing, looking for any sort of detail that might lead them somewhere. He saw nothing just as he expected, these killers were professionals, clean and efficient. It was only luck that they even found the hair at the other crime scene which allowed them to narrow it down to Blood Elf for the first. They still didn't even know if the Blood Elf was male or female, though they could assume it was the latter considering the woman Blackstone encountered..unless that was just a decoy.

For the second time, Malakai sighed, shaking his head as he lifted himself from beside Rhian and fell back towards one of the walls. He watched as she did the same, calling in Longshore to take over and use his nose. While the wolf was occupied searching for scents, his gaze lifted to Rhian again, studying her features. This was infinitely better than being cooped up in that old house with Sylvia. Her world was miles apart from his and he could hardly entertain her with anything that he knew. This tracker on the other hand appeared simple, just like him, living life at her own pace.

"You look tired, I"m sure you've been at this all night, Miss Bardsley. After your wolf is finished, let's take a break. It helps to examine things from outside of the big picture. Once our "noses" aren't so deep in this mess, perhaps something will clear up for us. Umm.." He started, but stopped, glancing in her direction again before looking away. An idea had crossed his mind, invite her to dinner. Longshore there would be able to sniff out anyone that had been in the area, and Rhian might..actually be what Sylvia needed, another woman.

"Well, if..I mean, you're going to be resting and probably eating, could eat at my place, I mean..not alone with me, but we've some people there that you might need to see." The transformation from confident and professional to a stammering wreck was surprising to even Malakai himself. He could only shake his head, lifting a hand to rub his eyes as if the "exhaustion" was making him a bit silly.

"You'll get to meet, Miss Grayson, our lead witness..and perhaps she'll reveal more to you, since..women like to talk to....each other?" He shrugged, kicking away from the wall, a hint of red touching his cheeks as he raced for the door. "I' outside, just come along if you wish to go." Then he was gone, down the stairs and out into the night, letting the fresh air cool his senses.

Blackstone was having trouble concentrating. He could not keep his eyes off Sylvia at all, hard as he tried, they just kept wandering. He nearly missed when she asked him his name, shaking his head to disturb his thoughts as he looked up. "Name? Yeah..umm, Harry! My name is Harry, Miss Grayson." He stared at her a moment before popping up from his seat, "Let me go get this heated up for you, I think the commander will be returning soon and we can all have a nice sit down" He quickly shied away from her alluring smile, heading for the small stove in the kitchen.

"Hurry the hell up Malakai..." He muttered beneath his breath.
“It's not the business of the Watch to look into gossip surrounding public figures, that would be an exhaust of all our resources."

Rhian gave a soft laugh at this. Probably inappropriate, but she found it humorous. She wasn’t certain if Malakai was trying to make a joke or not—the man was entirely unreadable—but she liked dry humor.

She didn’t say a word when he came and crouched down beside her. She wondered if he’d see anything on the floor but like her, he didn’t. The place was quite neat and like the previous crime scene void of anything useful. She and Longshore would have their work cut out for them.

"Well, if...I mean, you're going to be resting and probably eating, I…you could eat at my place, I mean…not alone with me, but we've some people there that you might need to see."

Rhian didn’t turn to look at him, but her lips quirked in a small smile. He had certainly backpedaled his way out of the invitation being personal in any way—not that she would have taken it as such.

"You'll get to meet, Miss Grayson, our lead witness..and perhaps she'll reveal more to you, since..women like to talk to....each other?"

If he thought that she would have anything in common to discuss with Miss Grayson—someone’s mistress—he was about to be handed a huge tureen of disappointment. Rhian knew without a doubt that she would not be able to speak to any of the topics that would interest such a woman. Anything that Rhian was interested in, the woman would find a dead bore. Besides, Rhian had a tendency to be rather blunt and would probably end up with her foot in her mouth or offending the woman.

Of course, Rhian could amuse herself by seeing how many times she could say the word ‘no’, in a single conversation.

It also didn’t help that Rhian wasn’t much of a talker—except for her travels; she could wax poetic about those but few people wanted to hear the stories. She found that people mostly like to talk about themselves and the things that were important to them. So she listened—a lot. At the moment, it was mostly listening to drunken dwarves lamenting or praising various things – ale, axes, the new forge, or some woman’s buxom bosom—but it was a way to spend the evening.

She could hear Malakai hurrying out of the house. He moved so quickly that Longshore paused in his investigation to watch the man beat his retreat. The wolf trotted to the door and looked out to make certain that there was no one who needed to be chased off and/or bitten before he glanced at his mistress and went back to work.

Although the correct thing to do would be go to the house and meet with the people he wanted her to meet—and why were they at his house and not at the watch station?—she was tired and wanted to sleep a while, something she wasn't certain that she'd get to do if she ate breakfast at his house. But sleep might not be in the picture just yet.

As for dinner, she didn’t want to pass up the promise of roasted duck glazed with boysenberry sauce with potatoes and red peppers that had been cooked in duck fat… and a nice pint of ale. Especially since she was supposed to shoot and deliver said ducks this morning and the meal was free of charge. Otherwise, she could not afford such a luxury.

She loved duck and being a hunter, she could indulge herself as often as she liked, but certainly she could not cook the fowl as well as Mr. Tully, a retired chef who lived three houses down from the boarding house where she lived. The offer didn’t come often and she was torn.

Did she take the familiar comforts of the boarding house or uncomfortable conversation with a woman that she knew she had nothing in common with and a man who sounded as if he really didn’t want her to come to breakfast in the first place?

Uncomfortable, she decided, she needed the job.

Longshore finished his inspection and trotted to Rhian and laid down, signaling that he was ready to move. She walked outside to where the watch commander stood. Perhaps she could compromise.

“I don't want to be an imposition and I have a duck waiting for me for dinner,” she said coming to a halt in front of him. “I'm going to shoot it, so I would like to eat it. I could come after breakfast. Or, if you prefer, I could bring something with me so you don’t have worry about serving me.”

There, she’d given him an out to the invitation and he could choose to take it or not.

Rhian shifted the rifle from one shoulder to the other while she waited for him to reply. She’d let him learn the hard way that not all women could converse well together. One finger tapped the butt of the rifle while she considered that thought.

Maybe she’d leave the rifle in her room. Might be safer that way.
Deep underground in a location few thought to look, the Master sat in his easy chair in front of a crackling fire. A crystal glass containing a substancial amount of plum brandy in his hand. He studied the flames dancing in front of him. His voice when he spoke was cultured and distinctly elven.

"I see, so the young Sindorei is having problems with this assignment? I had thought she was resourceful...professional. Time is getting shorter. The warlock embedded in Stormwind must be constrained. He is powerful, but not immortal. It may be time to call in reinforcements to aid her. If she cannot handle this simple assignment, perhaps she is not worthy of the Taipan." his displeasure was obvious.

The dwarf cleared his throat and scratched his beard thoughtfully. "'Tis not like she has much choice. Things be happenin' beyond her control. She did not break cover...still they know there is a blood elf in the city. Not yet do they perceive the warlock. He would be too much for her to take on alone. I have ta remind her there is a hunter on the scene as well. 'Twill make her job that much harder."

The Master frowned and spoke quietly to the dwarf. "She has yet to prove she can handle one woman, who is even now poised to set in motion events that could very well upset the balance of things. That would not do...not at all. The hits have to be surgical, unobstrusive. Until we can work out a way to take out the warlock, negotiations are still pending. If the Stormwind Watch can only handle a few cases at once...perhaps a few more to keep them busy enough to give our agent some leeway." he sipped at his brandy.

"Send in some recruits to create a small distraction...perhaps a few low level hits to give them some practice. Nothing to tie it in to the Jenkins case. Random hits on those who are troublemakers anyway. You have your assignment...go." he resumed gazing into the fire.

The dwarf bowed low and turned to leave. "As you wish, Master. It shall be done." his comment made as he began formulating a plan. He had a few new recruits who needed to prove their usefulness. Practice was practice, no matter how you looked at it. Benefitting the organisatiion was only a good thing.

The young human male was sitting in his usual spot at the Blue Recluse. He was not surprised when the blackhaired dwarf approached him. He looked perplexed however when the dwarf merely sat and ordered ale. After the barmaid left the dwarf handed him a small slip of paper and a sack of gold coins. The note read as follows:

"There are warlocks in the city of Stormwind who are not what they seem. The time for a culling has been long overdue. Seek out those who are known to frequent the Slaughtered Lamb. Follow them and observe. Caution is advised, as they are under the control of one in the city who is mind controlling them. They may do things that would jeopardise the security of the Kingdom. Take them out, quietly and efficiently. Leave no trace behind, but if you are caught, you are on your own. Destroy this message and leave if you understand. Questions are best passed in this way."

Gerry nodded at the dwarf and smiled, he was finally getting a chance to prove himself. He carefully lifted the note to the candle at the table and set it aflame, making sure it was consumed before finishing his ale and getting up from the table.

Gerry made his way to the Slaughtered Lamb and settled down to wait and see who was going in and out of the dark tavern. It did not take long for a female warlock to make her way into the bar and head directly down to the basement. She did not look at him or the bartender. In fact she seemed to be moving like an automaton. Her eyes were fel green, but it was the blank stare that caught his attention.

Frowning slightly he looked over at the bartender and blinked in surprise. The man had not moved or even blinked as the woman passed him. In fact if Gerry had not simply sat down at a table, he would have noticed he was the only customer. And yet the bartender had not made one move to ask him for an order. Gerry felt the hair stand on the back of his neck.

He stood up then and went to the back of the room to the doorway leading to the basement. A sickly rotting smell wafted from the stairwell and he felt the nausea in his stomach. He knew that smell, undead..and this was not a good place to be at all. Hastily he backed up and turned to go out the door. The bartender still did nothing as he quickly raced out the door and melted into the shadows to wait.

It did not take long, the woman he had seen earlier came out and headed down the path. Gerry gave her a ten count head start before stealthing up behind her and catching the warlock before she made it to the light of a lamp. His strike was quick and clean, but still she put up a fight, clawing at his face and hissing with fury. She called up a demon who charged at Gerry and knocked him to the ground.

The demon did not last long as Gerry was too fast and agile. It took him longer to dispatch the warlock however as she started drawing his very life from him. He barely managed to make it to her and slash her throat to silence her. She went down pretty fast after that. Gerry was hurt, but not badly, more his pride than anything.

He looked around and saw a guardsman coming, he had no time to hide the body. Vanishing into the shadows he made his way to the safety of the canal and dove in quietly. He swam to the pier and walked out casually, dripping onto the sidewalk with blood and water mixed. His next stop was to Cut throat alley where he found the thieves den and had a healer tend to his wounds.

The healer shook her head at him, "Not good to tangle with warlocks, but best for you to high tail it out of the city, they will be looking for you."

Gerry nodded, "Good idea, I will head to Westfall. Peace..." and he was gone to the gryphon master to head out of town.
A young boy was crouched behind a bush not far from Kristoff’s house. His face and hands were dirty and his clothing was worn and torn. His hair, a grubby blond color, was unwashed and uncombed. It hung in limp strands touching his shoulders, a testament that it had not been cut in some time.

He had fallen asleep sometime ago, but voices had woken him. Rubbing his eyes, he watched as a tall man with dark hair marched into the house followed by a woman and a large wolf. The boy blinked at the wolf, having heard terrible tales of the things a wolf could do to people. He had never seen a person torn apart by a wolf, as the stories had told, but he had seen the remains of a chicken coop that had been ravaged by a wolf. It had not been a pretty sight.

He had no idea that wolves could get that big.

He relieved himself in the bush before creeping closer to the house, waiting for the pair to come back out. Hiding in a hedge row across the street he bided his time by picking the dirt out from underneath his fingernails and making the decision as to which street vendor he would steal his breakfast from.

The man emerged first, his expression somewhat chagrined. The boy looked at the scar that ran across the man’s face and wondered how it got there. His clothing indicated that he was with the city watch and the boy unconsciously pulled himself further in the hedge. City watch officials didn't take kindly to thieving street urchins. Especially when they were spying.

Several long minutes later, the woman and the wolf emerged. She said something to the man about breakfast and impositions—the boy wasn't entirely certain what an imposition was. While the pair stood there, the boy turned his gaze to the woman.

She was dressed in brown pants that had been patched at one knee and a dark green shirt under which was a thin white undershirt. Her boots were black leather. She looked as if she belonged out in the woods and not in the city. He looked at the rifle and realized that the city watchman had called in a tracker. This was something that the dwarf who had promised him twenty copper and a new pair of shoes to watch the house for the next few days would want to know.

His gaze went to the large grayish wolf that was standing next to her with his nose to the ground. With a start the boy realized that the wolf was looking right at him. He backed away quickly, the bush rustling with movement. Once clear, he darted between the houses and worked his way through the backstreets, constantly looking over his shoulder, terrified that the wolf might be on his trail.
"Find anything out in there, sir?"

Malakai nodded to the watch men on guard, "Miss Bardsley is of the belief that these are the works of two different people. I believe her, she's good at what she does. You boys keep your eyes peeled, look out for each other, you see anything, don't go alone to pursue it." He stared at them both for a moment before giving each a soft clap on the back. He turned just as Rhian had exited from the house and started to approach him.

She was going to decline, the invite was much too weird and completely off base. He shouldn't have even asked her, it wasn't "professional" at all. He mentally shook his head at himself while he waited for her to turn him down.

“I don't want to be an imposition, “I could come afterward breakfast. Or, if you prefer, I could bring something with me so you don’t have worry about serving me.”

"No, you wouldn't be imposing at all, Miss Bardsley. I..didn't mean to make it seem like I only wanted you to come because of..Miss Grayson. -I- would like you there. As for your duck, that is fine by me, I could..perhaps escort you there and back? You do have a badge on and while I"m sure you'll be fine, I insist that I come along just for safety measures. No doubt if the two killers are about, you've attracted their attention."

Was that..a smile? How devilish of an excuse he came up with to further extend his time with the woman. He was quite proud of himself for not being reduced to a stammering mess again, it was easier to hold his composure when talking of things that he could relate to. He studied her face a moment, wanting to gauge her reaction to his words.

He shifted, waiting what seemed like an eternity, his gaze lowering to Longshore. A brow raised in curiosity at the wolf who seemed to be staring off..into the hedges around the side of the house. How strange, he thought. If there was something there, would he have not signaled to Rhian? Still, Malakai followed his gaze in that direction, a hand drifting to one of the pistols holstered at his side.

When he heard the faint rustling indicating that there was indeed something in the bush, he rushed forward. He could see nothing, the bushes were too thick and he was much too big to give chase that way. He would have to circle around and by that time, who or whatever was there would already be gone. His expression turned to a frown as he turned back to Rhian, "Yes, I would be best for me to escort you."
Malakai had reiterated his invitation and Rhian realized that he probably wanted to talk about the case in a location that would afford not much opportunity to eavesdrop. No doubt he wanted her assessment of the two crime scenes beyond the fact that she thought the murders were by two separate people. But why his house and not the watch command? Did he not trust the people there? Certainly his office was secure enough—it had a door.

“As for your duck, that is fine by me, I could… perhaps escort you there and back? You do have a badge on and while I’m sure you'll be fine, I insist that I come along just for safety measures. No doubt if the two killers are about, you've attracted their attention."

At this, Longshore huffed and spared the man a glance as if to say, ‘Why? She has me,’ before turning his attention back to the bushes.

Malakai did have a point about safety, she mused, her expression thoughtful as her gaze rested on a rose sitting in a flower pot. She had traveled extensively across various lands—some of which could be downright hostile—and managed to come out alive and mostly unscathed and thought that she could well enough take care of herself. He -had- smiled when he finished explaining why she needed an escort to show he meant well and she decided that his offer really wasn't up for negotiation. He was just being polite in how he phrased it; he fully intended to go with her whether she thought it was necessary or not.

The sun was almost up and she was really hungry and thirsty. Her stomach growled with the thought of food and at the moment, a warm bowl of oatmeal would be just the thing--she'd have the duck later. She mentally plotted out a path that would take her to the small lunch house by the canals that served up oatmeal each morning with just about any trimming one could imagine. She wondered if heading by there would be too far out of the way.

“Isn’t that part of the job with the watch?” she asked, her attention switching from the rose to him. “I take that risk? But, if you are concerned,” she nodded, “alright. It won’t take long to get what I need. I live….”

Whatever else she was going to say was lost when she followed Malakai’s gaze to Longshore who was intently staring into the hedge. Probably a small animal since the wolf really wasn’t alarmed. Rhian was a bit surprised, though, that he didn’t want to run it down and eat it. Had the dwarven hunters at the Hart and Stout spoiled him on leftover meat trimmings and shanks?

Her thoughts were cut short when whatever was in the hedge took off. This was not a small animal, it was much larger. Again, Longshore made no move to chase, which made her wonder who had been in the hedge and what they were doing there. All the scenarios that she could think of didn't bode well considering the murders in the last twenty-four hours.

Malakai was not so nonchalant about whoever was in there. When they took off, causing a rustle of leaves and twigs, he had rushed forward. She supposed that with the two murders in one night, he could not be blamed for being cautious. She slowly walked towards the hedge, thinking that Malakai appeared quite imposing when he frowned. The scar did little to help that and she figured that he could be truly intimidating when he was angry.

She gave a command and Longshore simply looked at her. She sighed and propped one hand on her hip and pointed to the bush, “Just go!”

The wolf slowly padded forward and trotted around the hedge sniffing. He followed the trail back to another bush and circled it a few times, whining. Longshore, satisfied, padded back over to Rhian and sat down, giving a large, tooth filled yawn.

“I know you are tired,” she told the wolf with some sympathy. “Not too much longer.” She turned to Malakai, “If he runs across that scent again, he’ll let me know.”

With that, Rhian patted her leg and started down the street, retracing the path they took to get there. If she had had a bit more social polish, she would have realized that she neglected to tell the Watch Commander that she was ready to leave.
Malakai was completely oblvious to Rhian's parting, his hawk-like glare still fixed on the bushes as if something was still there. Was it one of the assassins? Were they following him to find out where Sylvia was stashed? If they had been, he had revealed a bit of crucial information to Rhian inside the house. His frown deepened as he glanced in the direction of his home. Blackstone was there and a handful of plain clothes officers but would that truly be enough to stop one of these professionals, or both if they teamed up? A finger tapped against the trigger of the pistol still gripped within his hand as he thought.

He shook his head, Sylvia had enough protection for right now, Rhian on the other hand was alone save for her wolf. Speaking of which, he had not heard her speak for a moment and glanced in her direction. "Rhian?" He blinked when he saw she wasn't there and started to look about the area. Had they got her while he was transfixed on the hedge?! What of Longshore, would he not have made some sort of sound, a signal, something?! His right hand drfited down, grasping his other pistol as concern flooded him. If they could just do this in such an open area, no one was truly safe.

"Uhh, sir. I believe she went that way."

Malakai glanced up to see one of the post officers pointing down the street towards the retreating shapes of Rhian and Longshore. "Right.." He ndoded his head, holstering both of his pistols at his side, "I'll just be going then, keep both eyes open. Any trouble, ring that bell." He gave the both of them a crisp salute before quickly moving off down the street in tow of Rhian.

She was fast, he would give her that. It didn't seem like a second ago that she was standing beside him and now she was almost all the way at the end of the street. He had to run at full speed to close the distance.

"Rhian..I mean, Miss Bardsley, you'" He spoke the moment he caught up to her, falling into pace on the opposite side of Longshore. Malakai glanced in her direction as he walked, studying the side of her face, the way her strawberry blonde hair flowed while she walked. When he realized he was staring a bit longer than he should have been, he quickly turned away, turning his gaze to their surroundings. He recognized the street, hell, he recognized them all. A good copper knows where he's going.

"So, how did you get into tracking?" He asked her while looking about making sure there were no threats closing in on them.
Rhian had no idea that the Watch Commander was not with her. Lost in her own thoughts about the crime scenes and what she and Longshore would need to do to track down the perpetrators, it wasn’t until she heard him running up behind her that she realized that she had left him behind.

"Rhian..I mean, Miss Bardsley, you'"

She almost told him to just call her Rhian. She wasn’t used to being referred to as Miss Bardsley, but she figured that he was a city official and was trying to be both professional and polite.

“I walked off without you…” she both sounded and looked embarrassed. Her blue eyes were wide when she looked at him and she had partially covered her mouth with her hand. “Sorry about that.”

He wasn’t the first person to comment on how quickly she moved, but by far he was the most polite. She needed to slow down and not move through the city like a pack of gnolls was chasing her. Too much living alone and running from gnolls, she thought. The year she had spend traversing Azeroth had done little to hone her social skills for the polite world. For good measure, she slowed her pace some. If you wanted to change a habit, why not start with the present?

Longshore, who was well aware that she had walked off without Malakai, snorted.

“I suppose I need to learn to slow down,” she looked up at him with a rueful smile, “and tell people when I am leaving.”

She returned to looking at the street and soon became aware that he was staring at her. Self consciously, she ran the tips of her fingers through her hair to tuck it behind her ear. Absently, she wondered what he was finding so interesting about her. Probably curiosity, she told herself, remembering the smear of red lipstick that had been on his cheek; he needs me to help solve these two murders and he probably wants to make certain that I can do the job.

She knew she was looking more than a little disheveled. Her hair had not been brushed nor had she bathed in the past twenty four hours. Her clothing was thankfully still functional, if a little wrinkled, but she could live with that. She’d eat, splash some water on her face and clean her teeth and then she’d be ready to go. A bit of a nap wouldn’t hurt either, but she doubted that sleep would be on the agenda anytime soon.

When he asked how she got into tracking, she was quiet for a long moment before she finally answered.

“It is a way to make a living. I am a decent shot,” she patted the butt of the rifle, “and got lucky enough to get a mentor who was a skilled woodsman. It is something I ended up having a knack for. It comes in handy, especially when I was in Redridge.”

Her footsteps were taking her along a familiar path towards the boarding house. Longshore, recognizing the area, perked up at the thought of going home. The lunch house with the oatmeal seemed quite some distance away and Mr. Tully was probably still asleep at this early hour. At this point, Rhian just wanted food and just about anything would do.

She fell quiet again, her gaze roving of the area. Spying a bread vendor, she opted to make a quick detour across the street, but this time, remembered for forewarn her companion. “I am going to see what he has to eat,” she nodded towards the man before picking up her pace and moving across the street. A quick exchange later, she happily bit into an orange muffin.

After a few moments of chewing then swallowing, she looked at him again, “What made you choose the city watch?”
The Recluse was quiet tonight and Barl thought he would have enough peace to finish the novel he was reading. He sat at a table with a lamp over his head on the wall. Just enough light to read by. In his mouth was an ornate pipe, wisps of fragrant smoke drifted from it. His hat was on the seat next to him and he had his feet up on the opposite chair. On the table was a mug of stout and it was about half empty.

A commotion from the doorway caught his attention, a very excited young priest was jabbering at a mage. "I saw the body! It was that creepy warlock gal Freda, and her throat was slashed and she was stabbed in the back! How can the Watch allow these things to happen? It was close to here too!! Only a short distance up the hill towards the Slaughtered Lamb! It's not safe to walk alone here at night, I am going to complain to the Watch Captain if I see him."

"Now Sally, compose yourself, you know no one really cares if a warlock is killed. They are just a bunch of demon lovers who should be eliminated anyway. I don't know why they are even tolerated in the city. As far as I am concerned they can take them all out and clean up that filthy hole of a tavern as well. Too bad Deathwing didn't hit the place on his trip through Stormwind." Randal was trying to sooth her, but it did not stop her from trembling and babbling about the crime rate going up.

Barl almost snickered into his mug of stout. He hoped Gerry had made it out of town. Leaving a body lying around was not a good sign. Perhaps he had been interrupted? He shrugged and looked about the tavern and noted most did not seem to care about a murder of a warlock. A few warrior types offered to escort Sally home, though their leering faces did nothing to encourage her safety.

If the Watch was kept busy they might be stretched thin enough for Amarlei to get close to Sylvia. It was the only thing that Barl counted on. Whether they came and talked to anyone in the Recluse was another thing all together. Rumors were already flying about, the going opinion was Jenkins had been murdered. Speculation ran high on suspicion of Sylvia. Barl shook his head and mumbled to himself. If Amarlei was going to take out Sylvia she needed to have a clear shot. Something that she was having a hard time lining up.
As a small time rogue, Gerry Halton was just glad he could get an occational job. If he played his cards right, the Taipan would train him to be an efficient killer. He was sitting in the tavern in Westbrook, absently rubbing the newly healed scratches and burns on his arm. He had been in a hurry when he had killed the warlock, he had left too many clues behind he was sure of it.

He looked around nervously and drank his mead too fast, nearly choking on it. How many times had he warned himself to make sure and cover his trail? He had run like a scared school girl, hitting the canal and swimming only until he was close to the thieves den in the canal district off of Cathedral Square.

Perhaps it had not been far enough. He had not thought to clean his blade, though it was mostly washed off from his short swim. He took it out and began cleaning it thoroughly, making sure to reapply the poisons. He could not afford the expensive ones. All he had was standard poison, just deadly enough to confuse a caster until the bleeding took over and they passed out.

He took heart in knowing that the Watch probably did not pay too much attention to warlocks. Though from what he could see in the Slaughtered Lamb, it seemed they were doing something there even creepier than usual. He sat thinking about it and could not remember any of the many lessons he had gotten over the years mentioning mind control or zombie like behavior in warlocks...unless there was something under the Slaughtered Lamb other than warlocks? He shuddered at the thought.
“What made you choose the city watch?”

"My father," Malakai smiled as his mind drifted back to his earlier years. "As far back as I can remember, most of the men in my family have been a part of the Watch. My father, his father, his father's father, and so on. I remember back when I was young, he used to tell me stories about walking the beat, the things he did in the city, the criminals. He toned it down of course, I was still a bit young and perhaps murder wasn't the best of topics." He chuckled at the thought, risking a glance in her direction.

"It a second world, I suppose. A city..within a city. On one end, I saw what I normally saw, the every day workings of the city, the struggle of life. My father opened my eyes to the other side, the monster that lay underneath waiting to devour it all. It made me so proud, having my dad, the "protector of the city". Of course, on the other hand, it didn't make me too popular with the kids in the neighborhood. I was a copper's son, a definite "snitch", so I was alone for the most part."

His shoulders rolled in a shrug as he patted the pistol at his side, "It helped me to work on this. Speaking modestly, I'm a pretty good shot..might even be able to show you up with that rifle of yours." He grinned, winking in her direction. "Anyway, my father died, be it for revenge or because it was just something I wanted to do, I became what I am today."

"It might not be the greatest job, hell, some wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole, but..I find it rewarding. Everyone on these streets can count on me to do my best when it comes to their safety. If they have a problem, I've got an ear. Only downside is, I'm so caught up in everyone else problems that my own sort of just get dwarfed in the process but sacrifices must be made for the greater good."

He chuckled softly, "Sorry, I didn't mean to drone on. I rarely have the time to talk about such things with my work life, nor anyone to listen anyhow."

Malakai brushed a stray strand of black hair from his vision, directing his eyes back to the street ahead. He kept telling himself he was silly for revealing so many things to a woman who would be nothing more than a strange to him. It wasn't as if she was actively pursuing a permanent position within the Watch, she just needed a bit of money. He sighed, cursing his own foolishness but decided that perhaps sometimes you just have to take a step.

"So, Miss there, anyone special in--" He had no time to complete the sentence as the sound of a ringing bell drifted on the winds to them. He frowned, frustrated because he didn't get the chance to finish his question and more importantly, because a ringing bell was not a good sign. He glanced in Rhian's direction, "Trouble, it can accompany me if you wish, or you can go get your food. I'm sure you are starved. I'll..hope to see you later if that's the case."

He nodded towards her before taking off in the direction the sound was coming from, breaking into a full run. When he arrived, he found the guard vigorously shaking his bed while hovering over a crumpled form in the street. Was it one of his men? Did the assassins seek to make an example of those investigating their crimes? Was it one of the people that was guarding Sylvia? Had she been discovered?

All these questions were racing through his head as he rushed to the guard, breathing heavily as he looked down to the body. A female..but not anyone that he was familiar with. Malakai breathed a sigh of relief, before glancing up towards the guard, "What happened?"

"Don't know, sir! I was just on patrol coming through here when I found her. I did..think I saw someone running away but I don't know know if it was just my eyes playing tricks or not. Is this them other murders, sir?"

Malakai shook his head, "I can't say. This one is a mess, it's not as efficient, maybe our killer was surprised by something...possibly you showing up and didn't have time to clean up. Either way, go back to HQ and get Fizzle and Wizzle, I'll cover the scene." He watched the guard quickly take off heading to obey his orders.

"Who are you," He whispered down to the corpse of the woman, kneeling down to check her pockets for any sort of identification. He looked up once more, hoping that he would see Rhian, if she did follow him, Longshore would be handy in this situation..not to mention having her nearby was also good
Rhian listened quietly and ate the muffin as he spoke, nodding her head on occasion and glancing up at him on others. She quirked a small smile when he spoke about murder not being the best of topics for a child. It sounded as if he had had a lonely childhood and she thought that it was to his credit that he opted to pursue the same career as his father. It also sounded like he had simply plunged headfirst into his career and that was his entire life.

She wondered what he did when he went home at night. Or did he leave the watch command so late that all he had time to do was grab a bite to eat, wash up and head to bed?

A strand of hair had fallen over his face and he pushed it away. It was an odd effect for a man who seemed so crisp and polished—to her it seemed that he couldn’t get disheveled. It also caught the attention of two young women who were standing outside the bakery who were now regarding him with some feminine curiosity.

"So, Miss there, anyone special in--"

The ringing of a bell cut off whatever else he was going to say. Longshore whined at the sound, knowing that it meant something was wrong and Rhian frowned alongside Malakai. What was going on in the city?

He took off in a run, after explaining that she could choose to follow or not, and disappeared quickly. Rhian stood there for a moment, debating whether or not she wanted to throw the muffin away, cram it down her throat, or try to carry it while she ran after him. Losing sight of where he went wasn’t an issue. Longshore would track him down. Deciding that she would eat half of the muffin and toss the other half in the nearest garbage can, she started after the watch commander, Longshore leading with his nose to the ground.

When she finally reached the crime scene, she was held back by one of the guards. The badge that she wore didn’t phase the handsome man who told her that she needed to stay back for now.

Longshore didn’t defer to the man, the smell of sulfur fresh in the air. The large wolf sniffed the ground, a low growl in his throat, then moved forward much to the guard’s dismay.

“NO! Stop!” he swung around to Rhian, “Pull that thing back!”

“He’s a wolf,” she replied—which just incensed the man—but whistled for Longshore to come back. The wolf paused, obviously torn, but obeyed.

“Just stay back,” the guard snarled, pointing to a pile of crates some distance away. “If you are needed, I’ll call you.”

Rhian retreated to the crates and sat down on one, crossing her legs under her. Since she hadn’t found a place to properly dispose of the rest of her muffin, she opted to finish it while she waited for the guards to finish with the crime scene. Soon, her gaze moved to watch Malakai as he worked. Distracted, she didn't notice that Longshore had leaned over and taken what was left of the muffin from her hand.
Fizzle and Wizzle quickly raced up the street, behind them the rest of their forensic team moved to keep pace while dragging the equipment. "Outta the way, outta the way!" The two Gnomes hollered for all those in their path, weaving through the protective barrier of guards until they finally reached the scene. "We'll take it from here, Commander."

Malakai looked up, nodding his head towards the two before turning his attention towards a commotion behind them. His brow furrowed as he rose up from beside the body, crossing the distance in two strides. "Officer, detaining these two won't be necessary. As you can see," He gestured towards the silver badge pinned to Rhian's armor, "they are with me. You did well but observation is key in all things." He clapped a hand on the man's back, before waving Rhian and Longshore in.

"Looks like a single victim, throat slit, not the same method as our other killers..too messy, though I belive whoever did this was in a hurry. A patrolman was crossing the area and found her while she was still warm, couldn't have been dead for long."

He lowered himself down into a crouch nearby but out of the way of the two Gnomes who were conducting their expirements. "There's a blood trail, footprints leading that way, killer might've been injured..but they disappear right there.." He tapped his finger to his chin, hawk-like gaze fixed on the point on the ground where the blood stopped. "The canal isn't far..that's probably the best escape route. It also makes tracking a scent much harder..or will it?"

He was unsure, the capabilities of Rhian's companion Longshore were beyond him. He glanced up in her direction curiosity painted across his face as he awaited her answer.

"Warlock! This one's a warlock." A cry came from behind him, forcing his attention from Rhian towards the two Gnomes. "A warlock? Judging from the identification I found on her, she's just a simple girl, her residence is not too far from here..not a rich district by any means." He shrugged, stuffing the wallet into one of the evidence bags and leaving it next to the two Gnomes.

Now he could finally direction his attention back to where he wanted it, Rhian. His silver gaze locked onto her, "Let's see if you can't find anything for us, Miss Bardsley. If this was the same killer, I'm not sure what this woman had in connection to Jenkins....though..Sylvia did mention he favored warlocks. Perhaps another mistress, or ex..mistress? " This case was just getting crazier and crazier.
The basement of the Slaughtered Lamb was a place very few ever visited, unless they were warlocks. The smell of sulfur, the distinct aura of foreboding, and the watchful eye of the guards in the various checkpoints in the twisting warrens below kept any sane person away.

On this day, a particular commotion was taking place in the deepest part. A vial of something very viscious smelling was hurled at the wall. "I don't care how they look at you! We have a job to do! The world is ending soon! Do you want to be part of those who are in power? Or those who are dead and gone? The time is getting short! We must move now!" the voice of an enraged man echoed in the chamber. He paced to and fro, stroking his beard and frowning. He had worked hard to make the warlocks in Stormwind acceptable. And now someone had killed one of his own, it made him furious.

The voice came as if from the grave itself, the deep tone growled in measured cadence. "We must be cautious. The plan is working, even now. Chaos spreads and fuels the confusion. Humans are so gullible, even you my friend are expendable, as is the agent we have in place. She will complete her mission. She must...her very soul is at stake. If you continue to rave, I will have no choice. Calm yourself, and watch the globe, see how she is doing. Even now her work continues as planned."

The Human turned to the Forsaken and his face turned white. "Forgive me Master. I am distraught, but I am under your orders. What must I do?" he glanced at the purple globe on the table. The image of Sylvia and a young Watchman came into view as he went closer to observe.


The small house held only Sylvia and Blackstone, and he was so enamored of the voluptuous blonde he could hardly think straight. His eyes kept going to the tight bodice of the dress she wore.

Sylvia tinkered with some trinket she had on her wrist. "I have to hand it to you Harry. I thought you were just another copper. But you are nice, I misjudged you." Her soft voice low as she gazed at him with blue eyes. She leaned forward with a secretive smile. "I think you might be just the one to help me with a childhood dream. I have always admired him...from a distance of course. Not in a romantic way at all...just a fan girl. I made something for show appreciation from the know, I just want it to be from all the little people..the ones he works so hard to keep safe..I am talking about...the King...Varion Wrynn..." she gushed as she said his name.

Blushing in a pretty way, she took the bracelet off her wrist and fiddled with it nervously. It was a charm bracelet, with many doodads and gems dangling from it. She removed a particularly odd shaped metallic figurine. Looking at it closely, she polished it on the hem of her dress. "I made this many years ago, when I lived in Redridge. It's a luck charm, supposed to be anyway..." she giggled nervously. Holding it in the palm of her hand she showed it to Harry.

The figure looked like a child's molded caricature of a human. It had a slight misshapen head and the arms and legs were not proportional. It was perhaps three inches long, with a loop at the top of the head where it fastened to the bracelet. "He can attach it to anything really, like an amulet to wear around his neck. Oh! I should do that...make a chain or something he can use." she blushed as she grabbed her bag and dug around in it searching. She had set the tiny figure down on the table.


Join the Conversation

Return to Forum