Joined: 19 Oct 2010
|Posted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:11 pm Post subject: In Dark Places
|The city was dark.
Not a problem in and of itself, Boranos mused. He walked slowly down a broad Silvermoon avenue near the Bazaar, towards the shrouded district called ‘Murder Row.’ He reflected that it had actually been quite some time since anyone had reported a murder, or any sort of violence in that part of the city. The name had perhaps been conjured up to keep the nosier sorts and prying eyes away rather than to convey any genuine threat.
Also just as well. He was not dressed in his heavier combat armor, nor even his silver-and-red Farstrider mail, but had donned a simple crimson robe trimmed in black, the more to seem as if he belonged there. To passers-by, he hoped, it would appear he was walking serenely with his arms clasped behind his back, an insomniac magister out for a stroll, or some such. In reality, his left hand clasped an empty right sleeve. His right arm, concealed by the loose folds of the robe, reached across his stomach, and he gripped a balanced stiletto with his free hand. The robe was particularly loose and billowy in the sleeves, and he hoped that would lend some additional credence to his disguise.
If not, he might actually have to use the puny stiletto.
Boranos stopped outside the Row itself, pretending to study a levitating flower pot. His ears were alert, his eyes waiting for a shadow or flicker that would forecast the next step. That was how this particular dance worked, after all. He reminded himself that if he needed to find lodgings in the city again, he could, in fact, afford to move into a nice home away from this particular district. Dalaran was rapidly emptying, and he was considering offering up his bunk at the Filthy Animal as soon as he could move out. The Den, as he had heard it called, was normally the home of the Council and its allies. But as a new recruit, Boranos had misgivings about asking them for a place to stay. Even so, ‘underground’ was not an attractive option when whole regions were subjected to hellacious groundquakes. Even so-
And there it was.
The one, muffled footfall.
He had wondered on some of the earlier meetings if he heard it because he was actively listening for it, or if it were an intentional signal on the part of his contact. Regardless, it meant the next step had been taken for him. “Let’s dance,” he muttered. Then, throwing his careful disguise largely to the wind, he straightened up, snapped his heels together and executed a smart if a bit unpracticed about-face.
The elf was blond, his hair reaching down below the level of his shoulders. He stood a fraction shorter than Boranos, and possibly a bit wider. The newcomer stood half in, half out of the circle of light thrown by a streetlamp with a calm, if a bit bored expression on his face. He wore no visible weapons over his outfit of neat trousers, dark boots, and padded shirt. A thorough inspection of the shirt’s padding would show it was thick enough to turn a blade. The stranger spoke first:
“Doral ana’diel, malanore?”
Boranos inclined his head in greeting. He uttered a polite response, bowing slightly at the waist as he did so. The action changed the lie of the robe, concealing his movements as he released the stiletto and re-sleeved his right arm, producing a sealed scroll from the folds.
The stranger clicked his tongue in disappointment. “I miss the Third War,” he said, taking the scroll and breaking the seal. “Back then it was customary to conduct business over at least a drink, possibly even two.” He began to leaf through the scroll’s many pages. A tightly wrapped packet slid out of the middle and the stranger caught it in his right hand, well below his line of sight. “And thank you.”
Boranos spoke at last, “I’m losing contacts in Dalaran. And I need this sooner rather than later --” he paused, wondering how to finish the sentence. Boranos was one of the few people who knew the stranger by both his names: Keyen and Velizarii. The first he assumed was at least part of his given name, used during legitimate business. The latter was possibly a noble name, nickname, Thalassian vernacular, or something far more crude. Possibly a mix of them all. Before he could decide, Keyen spoke again without looking up from the papers.
“So the rumors are true,” he sighed. “Orgrimmar is burning.”
Boranos looked aside. “There have been fires all across the city, small and easily dealt with. All the same, word that the Horde capitol is on fire has, obviously, spread.”
“And if this is anything like our usual business, you’re going to ask me if any of our friends flying the blue and gold are going to take advantage of your little dilemma.”
Boranos paused. “You could sound less bored.”
Keyen met his eyes and affected a fake pout. “I’ll do it. You soldier types could stand to learn what a peace means. I miss being sent to find gossip for the squabbling high families-“
“I thought you said you missed the War?”
Keyen shrugged. “Sometimes? That is war. We done?”
Boranos reclasped his hands, sliding his right arm back into place inside the robe, poised above the stiletto. “I’m done.”
Keyen indicated the robe with a wave of the pages. “That’s a new trick, with the sleeves. May have to try that one. How’s the shoulder?”
Boranos stifled his embarrassment. “Better, as it happens. I still have that rifle, you know,” he replied, a touch of sentiment in his words.
Keyen looked back at the scroll, “I could always arrange for something more modern, say, without the bell-shaped muzzle. Clumsy.”
Boranos turned to leave “Al diel shala, Velizarii” he said, stepping into the street. As usual, he thought he heard a parting word in response. He turned around and found the lamp post alone once more, silently watching its street corner, oblivious to the goings-on around it. Tightening his grip on the stiletto handle, he walked with a more rapid step back into the relative comfort of the Bazaar.