A Tangle of Thorns

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A Tangle of Thorns

Post by Guest on Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:57 pm

With a hood pulled forward to obscure his face, Arli sat in a darkened corner of the smoky Inn and cradled a small glass of bourbon between his hands.  He admitted to himself that it was a little melodramatic even for him, since it was the sort of Inn that had he tap-danced to the bar dresssed in armour of sequins and gold, no one would have said anything.  It was the sort of bar where if you wanted to leave it in one piece, you didn't ask any questions of anyone.

Arli glanced up as a female dwarf walked in, the flaming red of her hair contrasting starkly against the black of her armour and mask.  She paused and looked around as Arli pulled down his hood and stood up, greeting her with a casual half-wave. The red-haired dwarf's head snapped around and fixing her eyes on Arli, she strode purposefully over.

"Hey -" Arli started to say, reflexively dodging to the side as she raised her hand to strike him then with a curse that would have embarrassed even the barman, she dropped her right hand and struck hard with her left.  The whole Inn saw nothing.

"Ow..what the fel?" complained Arli as he rubbed his reddening face, a strong Thalassian lilt to the words spoken in common.

"This!" exclaimed the small angry female as she shoved her right hand, wrapped in black bandages, in his face.

Arli glanced up at the patrons of the Inn who as one, were very clearly not watching, then hissed "sit" as he sat back down and pulled up his hood.  The dwarf angrily pulled out a chair and glared at him as she sat down.

"What ha-"

"Ye could'ha said!" she exclaimed as her good hand slammed onto the table.

"About wha-"

"Tha' protection them bag'o'bones have sprung up around tha Keep!"

"Ah..."

"Ye knew di'nt ye?"

"Well I.."

"Damn ye!" she exclaimed as she again thumped the table with her good fist.

"Calm down" hissed Arli, surprised that he'd actually managed to get a word in.

"Don't ye go tellin' me to calm down" she hissed back.

Arli cursed under his breath, why didn't he stop and think before getting her to work for him?  All the signs were there - female, red-head - fel he should have known from Dianthaa that it was a dangerous combination.

"Ye'll be paying extra now, medical bills for gettin' the shadow burn treated!"

"Sure..sure..no problem, I'll cover that."

"Aye like hell y'will"

Arli nodded "I'll pay two hundred extra, money isn't an issue, I told you that. So, did you do as I asked?" he asked keenly.

The dwarf paused, the extra gold would easily make up for the inconvenience and it wasn't like the task was going to be that hard to do."The Keep, it has a shield, I canna get past and then them Deathguards appeared, it must'a set off some warning".

Arli nodded again.

"So ah left, while I could, and anyways, ma hand needed some attention before the burn caused serious damage"

"ok...right...well I still want the contract fulfilled.  Instead of the Keep, try the approaches or searching the lands of the forsaken.  Bound to find one in the colours of the Hand of Damnation eventually."

The dwarf rubbed her bandaged hand absent-mindedly as she considered what he had said.  "Aye...ye could be right.  I'll set up camp nearby, spend a few days in the area".  

Arli smiled and nodded in encouragement.  "And the rest?  You got the tabards sorted?"

"Aye, symbol in blue like ye asked"

"Good, and you're using the cover name I gave you?  Remember, when you get one, make sure that you say your name which is why you gotta let them live so they pass on the message.  Well...the first one anyway."

The dwarf rolled her eyes. "Aye, I know, it's a beatin' and a warnin' and y'reckon they have enough left up here" she tapped her head "t'understand what it means"

Arli smiled and nodded again.  "They'll know it's a warning from me alright, but have feck all to nail on me for it" he laughed.

"Right, give me a few more days and I'll have the first part done"

"Good" said Arli with a warm smile "I'm relying on you Ilra"

The dwarf rolled her eyes again " Y'clever ass name isn't one I'll be answering to, sonny"

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Re: A Tangle of Thorns

Post by Guest on Tue Dec 03, 2013 2:14 pm

"So, whatcha got, Bud?" asked the goblin in a low voice as he looked across the table at the blood elf in the dark and smoky Inn.

Kel'dos flipped open the flap on his leather satchel and lifted out a small, plain, hessian sack and placed it before the goblin sitting across from him.  The goblin lifted the sack and nodded slightly "Heavy, good" he said as he untied the string fastening it closed and tipped the contents carefully onto the table.  He ran his hands across the pile of goods, spreading them out and picking up the ones that took his interest, examining each closely through a loupe before returning it to the pile and picking another.  "This the lot?" he finally asked, Kel'dos gave a silent nod in return.  "Don't seem much for a place that big" he said as he scooped the jewellery and small precious metal ornaments up and put them back in the bag.  Tying the knot he looked at Kel'dos, his eyes narrowing slightly "You sure this is everything?".  Kel'dos leaned forward and rested his arms on the table, clasping his hands befoer him as he looked steadily at the goblin.   "I know what I'm doing, I picked up the most valuable items that could be sold on without too many questions.  You want the other tack then send in an amateur". The goblin grunted in return and placed the sack into a larger duffle bag on the chair next to him.

"You'll get the-"  The goblin stopped suddenly as he and Kel'dos glanced across the inn at the sudden commotion.  The slap as the dwarf hit the blood elf echoed across the inn, silencing the sounds of mumbled deals and plans.  The goblin raised a brow as the blood elf rubbed his face and scowled; he'd fully expected the young blood elf to retaliate with the blades and knives he was clearly well equipped with.  Instead, he flinched slightly as she then raised a bandaged hand and shoved it in front of his face.  The goblin looked quickly away, kicking Kel'dos under the table to get his attention as the elf seemed transfixed with the commotion across the Inn. Kel'dos blinked and quickly pulled up his dark hood as he looked back at the goblin.

"You knows better than to stare at anythin' in here, bud" warned the goblin, looking a moment at Kel'dos who looked like he'd seen a ghost. "Anyways, as I was saying, you'll get the fee agreed and a ten percent cut of what gets sold." he said as he took a pouch of coins from his belt and slid it across the table.  Kel'dos took the pouch and put it in his bag with a small nod.  He'd planned to bargain more, the haul was good and well worth at least a twenty percent cut but right now, he just wanted the goblin gone so he could decide what to do about the sudden appearance of Arli on what he saw as his safe territory.

~~~~~

Keeping his head bowed, Kel'dos surreptitiously watched as Arli and the female dwarf sat at the table across the Inn.  Their voices were now low and whatever had caused the original outburst was being settled over a drink.  It crossed his mind that it might possibly be a spurned lover, but, well dwarves had never been Arli's type and there was no suggestion of any intimacy in their body language.  Kel'dos watched as the dwarf stood up and left and as Arli downed the last of his drink and stood up, he knew it was now or never.  He quickly got to his feet and strode across the Inn, grabbing Arli by the shoulder as he reached the door.

"Kid.." said Kel'dos as he pulled down his hood.

Instinctively Arli's hands reached for his blades as he spun to face whoever had stopped him.  He stopped and looked "Kel.." he said, his hands remaining on the hilts of his daggers; the bruises from the beating he had received were long gone and he wasn't for a moment going to let that happen again.

"No trouble.." said Kel'dos as he took a step back, hands raised to show he wasn't armed. "Got a moment?"  he added, turning and walking back to his table as Arli nodded in response.

The two sat down and looked at each other for a moment.

"Thought you were dead"  Arli finally said.  "Think Chey did too, not a word to her was there?  No letter, no notes, visits, no feckin' nothing.  Remember Chey?  The wife you just abandoned?  You don't feckin' deserve her."  he spat, mentally kicking himself for speaking before thinking.  He'd told himself many times that he'd rebuild the bridges when Kel returned and already he was pushing buttons and winding him up.   The expected sharp retort didn't come and Kel'dos just nodded slightly.  Arli sighed and pulled down his hood as he leaned forward.  "Look..sorry... bit harsh".  Kel'dos half-smiled and shook his head "no, I had it coming.  What I did...how I acted.." stumbled Kel'dos, unable to find the words to explain why.  He sighed "never thought I'd say this but....good to see you, kid".  Arli relaxed and a grin replaced the look of tense concentration on his face.  "Likewise, Kel.  Glad to see you're still alive, really I am".  The two slipped easily into conversation, Arli filling him in on how the gang was doing, a raised brow in response to the news that Sab had moved into the flat and looking away as Arli said how Chey wasn't really 'Chey' any more and how she had lost the spark in her eyes.

"You're gonna come back soon, right?" said Arli finally.  Kel'dos shrugged lightly "I don't know, it's hard...do you know what I mean?".  Arli nodded "Yeah when I disappeared that time from Thorns, I wanted to return within a week but just couldn't do it...look, can I at least tell her I've seen you?  That you're ok?".  Kel'dos paused for a moment in thought then nodded "ok..just not where, I don't want her looking for me, not yet, I need more time".  "Sure" Arli replied with a smile "I'll figure something to say. Did I tell you that I've rented a cabin in Grizzly Hills, me, Robi, Chey and Sab are gonna spend Winter Veil there?   If  you..uh...get hungry then drop by, I've loads of food and drink being prepared by the Spire chefs".  Kel'dos shook his head and silently stared down as Arli carried on explaining where, when and just how much food and drink he'd arranged to be delivered.  A small smile crossed his face, once the kid got onto a subject he was excited about, there was no stopping him.  "I'd better go, sorry kid, I've another job on tonight and need to start traveling" interrupted Kel'dos as he stood up.  "Oh right, yeah, no problem" said Arli with a grin as he stood. Kel'dos paused then hugged Arli, slapping him on the shoulder "look after yourself kid, and watch that mouth of yours".  Arli grinned "sharp wit, sharp mind, Kel".  Kel'dos rolled his eyes; "more like big mouth, sharp reflexes, kid" he replied with a wink "see you around".  Arli nodded and watched as Kel walked out of the Inn then pulling up his hood, headed straight to the flight master - he couldn't wait to tell Chey and Sab.

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