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(Story) A Chance Encounter in Stormwind (part 2)
Adri prime
adriellyn

Karella turns with a look of bemused surprise on her face, tossing her dark brown hair over her shoulder.  "Please!  I'm not a 'm'lady'!  And what about?"  After a look, her expression becomes quizzical.  "Do I know you?"

Dree smiles to her, looking faintly embarrassed.  "Sorry, m'lady... and perhaps you do.  But if so... would you mind if we discussed it in a quieter place?  Over by the canals, perhaps?"

Puzzled, Karella nods and starts to follow the other woman.  "All right..."  They walk a short distance to a less busy area along the waterways.

Looking about to be sure no guards are too near, Dree turns to Karella again.  "As to whether you know me... I've learned enough, and changed in attitudes enough, that I hope the answer is 'no', but ... you may call me Dree."

Karella gasps, her eyes darting around, and seeing that there are no guards to summon, but then she lets out her breath again and icily eyes the disguised blood elf.  "So spying is the use you've put that 'knowledge' to?" she hisses.

Dree shrugs slightly.  "At first... and through that I learned to lose most of my hatred."  She sighs softly.  "I know I said I'd not bother you again.  I can only hope that merely asking to speak with you doesn't count as 'bothering'."

The former Alterac servant continues to eye the other woman, then throws up her hands with a huge sigh.  "Fine!"  She turns with a swirl of her skirts and takes a seat on a bench at the edge of the waterway.  "Talk is cheap, I guess."

With a relieved smile, Dree sits on the bench as well.  "It might not be, for me... but thank you, Karella."

The dark-haired woman eyes her suspiciously.  "I'll not aid you against the Alliance."

A knowing smile and a nod meet that declaration.  "Of course not.  What I would like to ... well, hire you for... is for deception, but only to keep me here among friends."  At a surprised look, she nods.  "Yes, friends that I have here.  They're good people.  You may know some of them, even... and if you don't, I rather think you'd like them, for all that they are adventurers."  She smiles at the chuckle that gets her.  "Only some of them know what I am, and I need to keep it that way.  I've found a hole in my adopted identity - which is very nearly what you were, as I'm sure you've surmised."

Karella nods slowly.  "I had guessed... and what is that hole?"

"Songs.  Music in general, really."

A brief look of bafflement gives to a slow, knowing nod.  "Ah.  I see."

Dree nods in turn.  "Yes.  Just so.  The one part of 'how do you do things' I never though to ask of you... and you were never relaxed enough in showing me - not that I blame you! - for it to happen."

A sigh and a nod, then a hard look.  "And who am I hurting if I help you with this?"

The elf smiles and gives a soft sigh in return.  "I sincerely hope and expect that no one will be hurt by it, Karella.  These people... most of them have taken me in as family.  Any hurting has already happened by the deception that's in progress.  But you could help those who do know not have to do without me - or I without them - and further help those who wouldn't want to know by making it less likely that they should ever need to know."

The human consider quietly for several minutes.  She looks out over the waterways, and at all the buildings, finally turning back to Dree.  "You said you'd hire me."

She nods.  "I did.  I have appropriate coinage in rather better quantity than I did last year, and your time is worth something, just as the task is worth quite a bit to me."

"How much?"

The elf gives a wry smile.  "I know not what your time is worth.  I've not kept track of you, Karella - I truly meant to leave you be.  Please, if you're at all willing, tell me what I'll need to pay you, and we can set up appointments at your convenience."

The brunette stands and starts pacing about in front of the bench.  "I don't much care for deception."

Dree nods with a weary sigh.  "Nor do I really blame you.  If I must take another trip up to those mountains, and find another way to learn what I want to know... well, I will if that's what it takes."

Karella whirls about, flaring her skirts as she faces the seated woman.  "That might be your price.  My sister, Karelita."

Dree blinks in surprise.  "In all that time of travel, you never mentioned her... you were that unsure even at the end that you'd made the right choice?"

"No!"  She turns away, flushing with shame.  "No, Dree.  By the time we were here... I just didn't want to ask something like that of you.  We'd come too far to go back for her, or at least for me to think you would."

She sighs, nodding agreement.  "I ... probably would not have, then.  But now... yes.  Her name is Karelita, you said?"

Karella turns and surprises the elf by grabbing her in a tight hug and starting to cry.  "Oh, thank you!"  She shakes her head and takes a deep breath, trying to fight back her tears.  "Get her back to me... and I don't care what you're really about.  You'll have whatever you want from me!"

Blinking in further surprise, Dree reaches up and gently wipes the tears away from the other woman's cheeks.  "You will still have to tell me what your time is worth when I return...  I have changed enough since our journey together that recovering your sister is free."  She starts to stand, but the sudden collapse of a crying woman onto her prevents it.  Helplessly, she does what she can to offer quiet comfort until the brunette lets go of her.

"M'lady, I swear to you, if you come back with her..."

Dree puts her finger on the other's lips.  "If I do... let's not count on what we can't predict.  But if it's possible, I shall do this thing for you.  Be well until I return."  She slips off the bench and hurries off toward the Dwarven District, with the Alterac native watching after her with a tearful combination of fear and hope.

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