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(Story) A Chance Encounter in Stormwind (part 1)
Adri prime
adriellyn

As she leaves the counting house and steps off the path to survey the crowded trade district, Dree sees a familiar gesture flash near what might be a familiar face.  She walks along the edge of the street to get closer, and hears the matching voice as well.  She pauses there in the shadows of the alchemist's shop, matching the woman to her memory to be sure....



The blood elf waited quietly in her perch above the settlement.  Hidden by night and the shelter of the rocks on the bluff above the buildings, she knew she could not be seen.  She looked down on the festivities of this local gang of the Syndicate - she could not bring herself to acknowledge their status as nobles of Alterac in their current sordid existence.  They were entertaining visitors tonight - messengers from a bigger, neighbouring gang, bringing word from their actual leaders.  As such, the doors to the great house were open, and the drink was flowing rather more freely than usual.  Jendria could see much of what was happening through the window and door that faced her way.

The drink was having its predictable effect, and things were getting rather rowdy in the hall.  Some of the 'lords' were grabbing at the serving maids, and getting progressively less playful about it.  Then one of the visitors grabbed hard at one of the women, yanking her to him and kissing her roughly.  In his drunken haste, he neglected to account for the platter of roast she was carrying, which fell onto him.  He roared out in angered indignation, leaping to his feet and losing his hold on the serving woman.  Seeing the wrath in his eyes and knowing his drunken state, she ran out of the hall.  The local lord and his cronies guffawed, and the other messenger laughed along with them, but this merely goaded the standing thug further.  He raced out after the wench into the night.

The fleeing woman tried to keep to shadows, going low behind the fences.  Jendria blinked at this, realising that the human had been in this position before.  She turned her attention mostly away from the hall to see what would happen.  The bellowing man was at first blinded by the sudden transition from lit hall to the night, but the woman's light clothing and motion soon gave her away to him.  He charged after her and quickly caught up with her.  A hard blow alongside her head dazed her and she fell half-senseless to the ground.  "I'll show you how you entertain a guest!" he hissed at her as he started undoing the fastenings on his breeches.

The billowing mass of deeper shadow behind the blood elf moved closer as it sensed conflict within its mistress.  Jendria bit at her lip, considering what would shortly happen, debating with herself.  Why should I get involved?  She's only a human!  -  Yes, but she may actually be innocent of their wrongdoings... and you need information.  Breathing a silent sigh, she knew she was only fooling herself.  Hated enemy or no, she couldn't just watch things happen here.  She waited until he had exposed himself and was starting to yank at the skirts of his intended victim, then a shadowbolt hit him from the darkness just as the voidwalker reached him to start tormenting him with the flesh-rending properties of its strikes.  She followed up with a curse even as she leapt down from her hiding spot to land lightly beside the other woman.  She commented in thickly accented Common, "They don't seem to treat you very well here."  This was accompanied by a further negligent casting of corrupting magic on the man, and then a directed brief chanelling of shadow energies to put the cloud of fear into his mind, making him run about while Zhar'gore continued to flay and torment him.

The collapsed woman watched in horrified amazement, clutching at her skirts and drawing herself up into a ball on the ground.  Her strange rescuer flung additional shadow magic at her assailant, finally chanelling dark magics to finish separating him from his soul forever.  "Hold, my friend."  The voidwalker paused at this, not continuing to close toward the women.  The human gasped, becoming even more afraid, when her rescuer drew back the hood of her cloak, revealing her pure white hair, milky skin, high pointed ears, and glowing fel-green eyes set in high cheekbones about a slim, straight nose and a prim mouth with nicely painted lips above a small, pointed chin.  "So.  I don't think you wanted what he had in mind... but I may have just made it rather difficult for you to return."  The blood elf tilted her head as she regarded the huddled woman on the ground.  "You have a decision to make."

Blinking in confusion, the human looked up, shocked out of her cowering by the odd declaration.  She huddled up tighter, hugging herself and moistening her lips so that she could speak.  "Wh... what do you mean?"  Her teeth chattered, whether just in reaction or in a new kind of fear she wasn't sure.

The sin'dorei shrugged with a negligent wave toward the riotous great hall.  "You could go back there, with the corpse out here to explain, and try to escape any consequences to yourself by telling some story - maybe even the true one - of how someone else came to kill that lout.  There would be very little evidence to support your claim, however, and at best your lot would remain the same, even if it did not get worse for you."  She tilted her head the other way, regarding the human more closely.  "Or, you could take the opportunity to leave this abuse, and make a new life for yourself somewhere else.  Under other circumstances, of course, someone of your station never really has that option, as you'd get yourself killed in the wilderness trying it.  But this time, you have the option of an escort to a place where that potential can actually happen for you."

The huddled woman's mouth gaped open, and it took her several moments to gather her wits enough to respond.  "Wh.. why... M'lady, why would you do that for me?"

Jendria smiled, and chuckled dryly.  "Oh, there is a cost, of course.  You have knowledge that I require."

The servant blinked and started to stammer.  "B..but.. m'lady... I know nothi..."

An abrupt gesture from the blood elf cut her off.  "Tosh!  What you think of as valuable knowledge I already have.  What I need from you is the everyday details of your life.  How do you build your fires?  How do you go about sweeping a floor?  What are your holidays, and recipes, and spices, and other customs?  How does your clothing differ from mine?  Yes, especially the details of undergarments, I'm afraid."  She gestured to the half-clad body on the ground.  "But that, I promise you, is a line I shall never cross with you.  And if you stick with me through our agreement, I shall see you safe far enough into Elwynn Forest that you can safely finish the journey to Stormwind City on your own.  There will even be a small purse in it for you.  It should be enough that, if you're careful, you can get set up with gainful employment using the skills you already have - probably in an inn.  But at least that will be in a place with guards who maintain order.  You will be free of these louts and their assaults forever, and you only need to put up with me and my questions for so long as the journey takes us."

The human listened in stunned silence, her mouth working without effect for a bit before she managed to find her voice again.  "I... m'lady, I know not what to say..."  She stammed and blinked in confusion.

"Let us make it simple, then.  You may say 'yes', if you'll accept my offer and come away with me, or 'no' if you somehow truly wish to return to..." she waved toward the buildings with a glare of loathing in their direction.  "That... and its degrading and increasingly dangerous way of life."  She turned back to the human, looking at her expectantly.

Looking back and forth between the hall, the corpse, the demon, and the warlock, after several moments, the huddling woman started to shudder, but eventually nodded.  "M'lady... please... yes."

"Thus it shall be."  The elf nodded, then moved in closer, crouching down to be at eye level with her new companion.  "We can hardly go on with 'hey you'... though full and proper names on my part would be dangerous in the long run.  You may call me Dree, however."  She listened for an answer while eyeing the human, inspecting her for the extent of her injury.

"M'lady, my name's Karella."

Another nod met that introduction.  "Very well, Karella, how badly are you injured?  Can you travel tonight, or will I have to keep you safe against the entire armed might of this holding until you are?"

Karella's face blanched at that possibility, and she shook and stammered.  "N..no... m..m'lady.... I can ... I can travel."

Yet another nod, and the elf reached slowly out help draw the human up, standing gracefully.  Numbly accepting the assistance, Karella noticed that the sin'dorei's hands were elegantly manicured, and on their backs, very much those of a Lady... yet there were callouses on the inside like those of a tradesman or a warrior.

Once she had the servant standing, Dree released her, turning to move past the corpse.  She stopped to check the pockets of the breeches, then stripped the shirt off the corpse.  "Here.  It's rather a vile souvenir, I'm sure, but you'll need it for warmth until we get someplace where we can get you something more suitable."  A jet of fire from her hand obliterated the thug's other effects, and a nod to the demon resulted in having the corpse disappear into its shadows.

Stammering, and with a quick backward glance, Karella wrapped her late assailant's shirt about herself and followed the elf.

They walked in silence for a few minutes before the sin'dorei sighed and spoke again.  "There is something it occurs to me that you should know, and may not."

"M'lady?"

"It means something - or is supposed to at least - to be nobility, and not simply," a jerk of her head indicated the holding behind them, "a gang of thugs.  Our agreement binds us both, Karella.  You fear me - don't bother to deny it - and indeed I am dangerous.  I walk here with only a summoned demon to aid me, and I fear neither the demon nor the denizens of this land.  Yet I could not be of adequate protection to you were it not thus.  And so long as our agreement stands intact, I am your safety, and not a threat to you.  My wrath and power is reserved for those who would threaten you or me.  The escort to Elwynn Forest that I promised you as part of the bargain is one that will, inevitably, not prove uneventful."  She chuckled dryly as she watched the mix of emotions on Karella's face.  "But it will prove safe for you.  That is part of my side of the agreement.  Some of the questions I will need to ask you may make it not always pleasant - as may the weather - but it will be safe.  This, on the honour of my House."

The servant momentarily stopped in her tracks, her jaw dropping.  "M'...m'lady.... I..."

Dree shook her head, and reached out to take Karella's elbow gently to guide her into moving again.  "As I said, it is simply something you needed to know.  Let us get further away from possible pursuit before we make camp, hmm?  I don't think you'd appreciate it if I really did have to slaughter all of those they'd send after us, should they find us - so let's not let that become a problem."

Nodding numbly, the human stumbled slightly, but caught herself and quickened her step to keep pace with her odd protector, by turns both disturbing and comforting, hoping she'd made the right decision.



Satisfying herself as to the other woman's identity, the transformed Jendria watches for an opportunity to speak to Karella without interrupting her business.  After watching and following for a few minutes, chance finally comes.  "M'lady," Dree addresses her quietly, "May I speak with you for a moment?"

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