Investigation

The tangled alleyways that snaked through Stormwind’s Old Town were a place that no respectable citizen would ever contemplate visiting. Leafsong, who never contemplated referring to herself as respectable, entered the twisting passages with a faint sense of trepidation. When she had first established the GHE in Stormwind, she had spent hours acquainting herself with the notorious inhabitants of Stormwind’s poorest district; memorising faces and making contacts. She had found much in common with the human city’s criminal element, being from a similar background herself. Indeed, she felt that the scheming desperates of Old Town were far more relatable than the lofty priestesses and Druids of her own race.

However, nearly two years had passed since she had last visited the deepest bowels of the alleyways. She had faithfully continued to visit up to the sixth month of her first pregnancy, meeting clients and making deals; until her mate had followed her one night, gaped in disbelief, and forbidden her from returning. The next night, in lieu of her actual self, she had sent Lindel Windvine; one of the GHE’s longest-serving retainers. He had proved surprisingly competant, and had continued in the role; returning weekly to the GHE: SW with new clients, new contacts, and news on the newest faces on the grey market scene.

That was, until two weeks previously, when he had disappeared without a trace. His mate, a slender, quiet Kaldorei male with the sad eyes of a Taunka, had confessed his worry to Leafsong. Leafsong had proceeded to throw a tantrum (much to the amusement of her watching babies), wailed, delayed, hand-to-head; but had finally capitulated and agreed to look into Lindel’s mysterious disappearance.

Hence why she was spending the evening in Stormwind’s grimmest district, instead of curled up on the sofa happily counting the week’s profits. She hurried through the twists and turns, remembering the old short cuts, meeting no eyes. She recognised several faces, many of them sporting new scars or other signs of wear, but they showed no sign of recognition in return. Catching the silvered flash of a blade in the corner of her eye, she quickened her pace, mouth set in a tight line. Dressed in her threadbare, much-patched clothing, her hair bundled beneath her cap; she blended in as well as a seven foot, rail-thin Kaldorei possibly could.

“Well, well: Twiggy Gladefall.”

The old greeting stopped her dead in her tracks, and she glanced behind her, warily. An old dwarf was sitting cross-legged on a barrel, merrily puffing away at a long pipe, bright eye eyes twinkling. Leafsong inwardly cursed Lindel, then forced her mouth into an unnatural grin, crossing over the slick cobblestones.

“‘Ello, Tumpty” she said cheerily between clenched teeth, taking in the sight of the rotund, smirking dwarf. He leered at her, chewing the end of his pipe maniacally.

“Here’s a good one” he hiccuped, his whiskery face tilting towards hers. “What’s the difference between a Gladefall and a Kaldorei woman?”

She inwardly wished for a crack to open up in the cobbles and consume him whole.

“I dunno. What is?”

“A Kaldorei woman has beauty, class and grace! WAAAGH HAR HA HAGH”

As he collapsed into convulsions, Leafsong vehemently wished him dead, her mouth contorted into a grimace. Gradually his chortling faded away and he squinted at her, appraisingly.

“So, settled down with a couple of sprogs are we?”

“SPROGS, what does mean?”

“Bairns, y’silly lass!”

“…. What does mean?”

He made a vague cradling gesture and finally she understood and nodded, knowing the network well enough not to be disconcerted that they kept tabs on her.

“I’ve seen your man around,” he said after a few moments of silence, fiddling with his tobacco pouch. “Mean old bugger.”

She nodded again, gloomily, thinking about the piles of cash waiting to be counted at home. Reminding herself that those piles had been slightly smaller with Lindel’s absence, she cut across the old dwarf as she was about to speak.

“Tumpty, eh. You know my man Windvine.”

He glanced up at her sharply, his fingers coming to a pause on the buckle. “Perhaps.”

She met his eyes for a moment, then continued.

“‘E go missin’. This does not please me: he is valuable asset.”

As he pondered to himself, Leafsong nudged her bare toe between the cobblestones, gouging a channel in the caked mud. Finally he cleared his throat and she looked up.

“I could not tell you what I know, watch you ask around Old Town all night, but I got a soft spot for Kaldorei lasses- even skinny, shapeless ones.”

She watched him quietly, her pale eyes fixed on his face. She had the sinking feeling that he was about to request a payment for his troubles; and began inwardly calculating how much she was going to dock off Lindel’s wages.

“And in addition to that, there’s a very scary man pointin’ a gun at me face, so I don’t believe I got much choice in the matter.”

She swung around in alarm.

“The mean old bugger was just passing,” snapped Ashamal in perfect Common; the grey streaks in his hair appearing silver in the moonlight. He held the gun with one deceptively casual hand, eyes the muted amber of a falcon.

Leafsong waved at him feebly and he shot her a look of pure evil. In their native tongue, he berated her: “You shouldn’t have come here alone, it’s far too dangerous.”

She shrugged at him and he exhaled, irate. “Let’s just extract the information from the midget and leave.”

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Aphel said,

    Badass ending with Aphel. GOOD JOB. Hate when people treat Leafsong like that.


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