Frank stepped off the bridge into the Old Town section of the city. Though well kept, the buildings here definitely showed their age and everything needed a good cleaning. He could feel himself growing slightly uneasy, as often happened in places like this. The area was known for its shadier elements and even the city guard passed through less frequently.
Rounding the corner, he sidestepped a gap in the cobblestone walkway that had filled with water. The only sounds were his own boots and the water moving in the canal to his left, save a crow that watched him from the roof of the shop nearby. It cawed twice before taking flight, moving towards Lion’s Rest. Was that a crow, or am I being observed? A waft of cigar smoke drifted over, alerting him to her presence.
The elf leaned against the tree across from their meeting place. Her choppy cut green hair fluttered slightly in the breeze. A thick cigar clamped between her teeth, she puffed a bit before straightening. Frank approached and bowed, causing her to make a sour face. “Get outta of ‘ere with that formal shit,” she snapped.
He frowned, blinking a little. “Well ok then. You want to tell me what we are doing?” He straightened, tugging his shirt back down into place. Eliân jerked a thumb towards the building. “Aye,” he asked, looking it over.
“Empty shop,” she said simply. The dwarven lilt to her speech seemed more pronounced than it had at the meeting.
“This is where Niquisse was attacked.”
“You’re shitting me.” He stepped forward, taking a closer look.
“No, I really am not.” She stepped over to stand beside him. “She went in. Wanted ta consider it as a place fer her and her friend ta open their shop.”
“Yeah,” he replied softly. He knelt down, touching the flagstone that created the bottom step.
“She was lookin’ around, some drunk fat ass thought he’d ‘ave ‘is way.” She moved to a sawed off pillar beside the door. Hopping up, she perched herself on it.
The Gilnean frowned. “Do you know who he was?”
She shrugged. “Don’t ‘ave much more than a description. Human, large, brown hair, brown eyes. She said ‘e stank of old beer.” She puffed her cigar and blew a bit of the smoke away from where he was working before tossing the nub that remained into the canal. “But, Kalithil can show ya, most likely. ‘e did some magic shit in there. Watched things.”
Frank looked up and down the street a few times, then turned his attention to the facade of the shop. “So you are thinking what, some random vagrant?”
Eli shook her head. “No. She knocked ‘im out somehow. Ran off. Her,” she paused a moment, her jaw tensing. Through gritted teeth, she continued. “Friend came ‘ere soon after. No sign of ‘im. No traces at all.”
Frank arched an eyebrow and took a few steps back. He looked up and down the street, his focus seemingly on the buildings. He frowned, looking again. Eli watched him process the scene. “Ok,” he started. “So, I know this is Old Town, the dodge part of Stormwind and all. But this..” he made a sweeping gesture up and down the lane. “This is still the Canals.”
He pointed at the empty shop fronts. “Why are all of these empty?”
She smirked. “What do you think?”
“Canal real estate is the most desired in the city. If these are unused, someone is keeping them that way.”
Eli tapped the tip of her nose.
Frank sighed heavily. “And SI:7 is right over the wall, isn’t it?” He didn’t wait for her to respond to what they both already knew. He looked at the empty shops again. “Safe houses?”
“Possibly. Or some members of SI:7 want things back the old way.”
“Hmmm…” He glanced over at her, looking self-conscious. He sighed and knelt, taking a deep breath. He shoulders bunched up, his fingers gripping the edges of one of the stones.
The assassin rolled her eyes. “Oh, for fels sake… I don’t give a shit. I’ve been around enough worgen.”
Frank grunted and took another breath. The shift began, the cracking and snaps punctuated by his soft whines and growls.
“Screwed a few too,” she muttered. “Interestin’ experience, all in all.”
He didn’t dignify that with a response. At least the stretching clothing Niqi made for me work well. He moved in close to the door, sniffing it closely. He peered over his shoulder, noticing Eli silently observing him with an odd smile on her face. He shook his head and went back to inspecting the entry. Frank’s thick tail was absolutely still save a twitch every now and again. He paused after a moment and growled low. “Shadow magic here. Or something really close to it.”
“Niquisse’s from what I heard. She apparently panicked and hit ‘im wit’ somethin’ she described as icy coming from ‘er ‘ands.”
“Hmmm.” He continued checking the area, crouching lower. “Sour smell here. Fear…” He sniffed again and shook his head suddenly, whipping it away from the stone. “Pissed himself.”
“Good,” she chuckled.
He steeled himself and took a few long, deep breaths. “There it is. Someone else was here.”
Eli stood and jumped down from the pillar. She sauntered over, curious. “Whatcha got?”
“Leather. Sweat. But not filthy like the first guy,” he explained. “Just a working man…” he paused, sniffing again. “Hmm. Woman.”
She arched a long green eyebrow. “Picked up by a woman. Interesting.”
He nodded. “Don’t sense other magics. Maybe someone helped him out of here.”
Eli leaned against the wall. “Not bad. I’ll give ya two guesses on what yer first job with us is.”
He blinked. “You want me to find this guy?”
“Hey! You win the prize,” she joked.
He frowned. “isn’t this kind of high profile for the new fish?”
“Yes and no,” she shrugged. “We got almost no info on this jackass. And I got two new fish who are supposedly good at gatherin’ information.” She smirked as he shot her a sidelong glance. “Yer first task is ta meet wit’ the other one. Goes by Sellynna Greythorn.”
Frank stretched up to his full height, his lips pulling back from his fangs in what might have been a wry smile. “You guys don’t want to go after an SI:7 asset directly.”
“I don’t know fer sure it is yet. But I got a good idea of it. I wanna know exactly what we are dealin’ wit’ first.” She dug a fresh cigar out of a pouch on her hip.
The worgen shook out his limbs before shifting back into human form with a audible sigh of relief. He straightened his clothes and ran a hand through his salt and pepper hair. He cracked his knuckles and nodded. “No problem for me. I just like all cards on the table.”
She shrugged and bit the end off the cigar. “It’s a job. I don’t ‘ave time ta screw around. Well… not wit’ work stuff, anyway. I figured you’d want in on this, bein’ a friend o’ the girl.”
He nodded. “You’re damned right. So, I find the guy… What’s the deal?”
She lit her cigar and took a puff. “Depends on where ya find ‘im. Don’t be stupid. But, ya know,” she added with a wide grin, showing all of her teeth.
“Let’s say, hypothetically, I find him alone in a dark alley with no witnesses,” he prompted. His own grin split his face as hers remained just as wide. “Right on.”
“Boss don’t take kindly ta people hurting family. New girl should be over at tha Pig n’ Whistle.” She flicked the ash and took another puff.
“All right, another hypothetical.”
“I find him, but he is an SI:7 guy and they have him holed up and are looking out for him,” he described.
He nodded. “Copy that.”
“Doozy, me, Foro. No one else.”
He arched an eyebrow. “You’re the boss.”
“No, I’m tha one directin’ traffic. Foro’s the boss. But everyone else in the House would try ta go after tha guy and cause problems.”
“Gotcha,” he said, taking a deep breath.
“Now git! Sellynna should be waitin’ for ya. Ren’dorei, blue-grey skin, pewter hair. Two thick tendrils. Probably wearin’ that obnoxious purple and gold uniform.”
Frank blinked. “Uh… ok. On my way, ma’am.”
“Call me ma’am again and I will feed you yer fist.” She puffed on her cigar and turned from him, striding off towards the bridge.
Frank watched her for a moment before hurrying further into the district to meet with this Sellynna.