Tension and Release, Part 1

Eliân pulled the split cigar from her mouth and sneered at him. “What the fel was that for? Do I know you?” She looked him over, as she slid a small pistol from her pocket. She raised it, waiting.

Mehe ignored the pistol. “What did you want with Niqi?” he demanded, unperturbed.

“Oh for love of…another one? I didn’t want a damned thing with her. I was sent to gather her, ok?” She flung the broken cigar to the side, her eyes never leaving him.

Mehe’s eyes narrowed. “What for?”

“Not any of your business,” She grunted. “House members are the only ones privy to that.”

Mehe arched an eyebrow at that. The shadows drew swiftly towards him, obscuring his form. He dodged out of the line of fire, hurling his dagger at the hand gripping the pistol. Eliân tried to turn, but wasn’t quite fast enough. The dagger caught the end of the barrel, knocking it aside and pulling it from her grip. She fired unintentionally, though by some luck, she only hit the corner of a building. In an instant, she reached into a pouch and threw down a handful of flash powder, allowing herself time to vanish and begin to search for him.

Clever. A grin touched Mehe’s lips. He drew the cloak of darkness more closely around him as a shadowy dagger materialised in his gloved hand. Holding his breath, he listened for the telltale creak of leathers or rustle of cloth as he crept forward. Eli moved ever so slowly, dropping a smoke bomb, further obscuring her from view. “Why are you interested in the girl?” She whispered, moving a moment after asking. Mehe did not deign to reply. He stood still as his ears twitched at the soft hiss of the smoke bomb, noting where her voice had come from.

She moved slowly, her soft soles moving silently along the stones. She positioned herself on a small ledge opposite from her previous location. “We can do this all day…or we can talk.” Mehe considered this, turning his head to peer in the direction of her voice. He retreated from the cloud of smoke, the shadows muffling any sounds of his movement. She tossed two smoke bombs in opposite directions, watching them roll along the ground. “My job is to keep the House safe. Give me a reason to assume you are no threat to them.” She shimmered into view.

Mehe grimaced. Much as he was enjoying this game, the bloody Kaldorei woman was taking up too much of his time. Niqi could be in Kalimdor by now for all he knew. He reluctantly crept further away from the smoke, edging his way towards the path back to the Cathedral.

“That includes her, in case you are wondering.” She took out another cigar and lit it.

He paused at that, glancing back at her. “How do I know if you’re telling the truth?”

“You don’t. But I will tell you this. There is a very angry monk meditating in the doorway. Her mate was assaulted by 3 men in stealth. Go check it you don’t believe me.”

“Hmm.” Mehe straightened, allowing his cloak to fade away, though the dagger remained in his hand. “Is Niqi safe?”

“She has been delivered to her mate and family.”

“Is she safe?” he repeated.

“Yes.” She raised a long eyebrow. “Why?”

“My mate will need to know.” He turned around to head back towards the Cathedral.

“Where are you going?” She demanded, hopping down from the ledge.

“To see if what you said is true.”

“For your mate. Why does you mate need to know?” She strode over to him, ready for an issue, but trying to determine if he is any threat to the family.

“She’s important to him.” Mehe glanced at her impassively. “You did just bloody burst your way in and hauled her off right in front of him.”

Eli grunted. “I had a job to do. Tell me your mate wasn’t the one with the tendril…” Mehe gave her a deadpan look. His eyes did not return to their usual blue as the black blade of his dagger gleamed in his hand. “I’m going to take that for a yes.” Her own thin dagger slipped into her hand. “I wouldn’t have even spoken with him if he hadn’t interfered.” He snorted derisively, turning towards the Cathedral. “I would advise you not try to enter the area of the infirmary she is in.” Eli cautioned him.

“And why would I take advice from someone who, for all I know, just kidnapped my mate’s friend?”

She shrugged. “Your life. There’s ten members of the House in there. Nine of them ready to kill just about anyone who enters that is not one of them.”

“Mehe!” Anas’s worried voice rang out, startling him. The Ren’dorei man turned to peer at his mate sprinting towards him. Anas slowed to a halt a few steps away from them. “You,” he murmured in recognition, seeing the Kaldorei woman. Eli prickled.

With the sound of a herd of charging elephants, an enormous lightforged draenei came galumphing up behind Anas. Despite his enormous size and charging movements, he seemed no worse for the activity. Mehe’s gaze slid to the newcomer. “Who’s that?” he asked, his grip tightening on the dagger.

Eli turned to the Draenei. An enormous grin wrapped her features. “Hey, Big Man.” Sutrakarre nodded to Eli but gave her a cautioning glance.

“This is Sutrakarre. He said Niqi’s fine.” Anas stepped towards Mehe. “Are you okay?” he asked, glancing at the dagger in Mehe’s hand.

“He’s fine.” Eli muttered. “We’ve been dancing a bit, but no one is harmed.”

The dagger vanished from Mehe’s hand as his eyes faded to their pale blue once more. “More like wasting my damn time.” He glanced at Sutrakarre. “You think he’s telling the truth about Niqi?”

A deep frown broke across Sutrakarre’s craggy face. “Sutrakarre does not lie,” he rumbled in an offended tone.

“Of course not,” Anas said hastily. “Mehe was just—”

“They wouldn’t know that, Big Guy.” She walked over to stand beside him. She placed a hand on his arm. Sutrakarre grunted, looking unhappy.

“You’ll understand why I don’t take the word of someone in league with this woman.” Mehe gestured at Eli.

Anas nudged him. “Stop antagonizing him,” he hissed under his breath. “Do you want him to squash you flat?”

Sutrakarre blinked, alternating his gaze between the two men. Finally he looked at Eli, saying, “What is wrong with these men?”

Eliân shrugged. “Fel if I know. All I tried to do was gather the girl and get back here. Turned into a whole thing.”

The big draenei gave Eli side-eye, and added, “Sutrakarre think Eli might have been rough, yes?” She responded with a look of feigned shock and insult. Sighing, Sutrakarre replied, “Rough maybe wrong word. Maybe Eli was…abrupt?”

Eliân shrugged. “So? Not like I was taking her to a party.”

“Let’s just back away really slowly,” Anas whispered to Mehe. The Ren’dorei shot him an incredulous look.

Giving her a reproachful look, Sutrakarre turned back to Anas, bowing his head slightly. “Anas, please to pass on message from Nee-kee to tiny suspicious man. Eli and Sutrakarre must be about our duty.” He placed a large hand on Eliân’s back and gently nudged her to go inside.

Anas froze. “Oh! Uh, yes. I’ll tell Mehe.” He bowed at the Draenei man. Mehe said nothing, eyeing the duo.

“Am I to be expected to trust these people?” Eli shot Sutrakarre an irritated look. “They could be involved.”

“Eli, these friends of Nee-kee. She ask me to deliver message so they not worry,” the large Draenei offered. His attempt to calm the situation was cut off when Mehe snapped back at her.

“You could be involved, you bloody–”

“Stop it, Mehe.” Anas grasped the shorter man’s shoulder warningly.

Eli’s head snapped to Mehe. “If I was not willing to kill you and risk incurring the wrath of the House Patriarch, why in the fel would I do something so stupid as to try to kill his niece,” she hissed.

Mehe scoffed. “Kill me? Hah! As if someone so incompetent–”

“No one’s killing anyone, okay?” Anas glanced at Eli. “Mehe and I are going. Just leave us alone, please.” Mehe’s ears twitched at the pleading note in Anas’s voice. His tendrils coiled reassuringly around Anas’s hand still resting on his shoulder.

Eli’s hands flicked up, blindingly fast. Two small daggers left her fingers, removing a lock of hair from both men. “I am very deliberate about what I do. Make no mistake about that.” She stooped and picked up the hair, stuffing it into her pouch. “I have no fight with you. Unless I find out that either of you had something to do with this attack.” Turning to Sutrakarre, “I’m going to report in. Everyone is gathered now. Say whatever you need to these…individuals.” She started towards the Cathedral door.

Sutrakarre sensed that the situation was coming to a head. Both Eli and the void elf were practically vibrating in their desire to pick a fight. Heaving a great inward sigh, he realized he would have to get their attention off one another. Moving far faster than a person of his size should be capable of, he whipped the spear from his back and laid the flat of the blade along the void elf’s cheek. “Do not move!” he bellowed. “Sutrakarre has had enough of crazy elfs for one day!” Eli froze. She turned to Sutrakarre, surprised.

“No!” Anas cried. “Don’t hurt him!”

“See?” Mehe said stonily. “I knew that Niqi girl was bad news. She, her bloody demon hunter friend and the rest of her crazy family.” He glanced back at the Draenei man. “You can take that out of my face, malanore. Anas and I are leaving Stormwind. For good.”

Sutrakarre blinked, somewhat taken aback. Chewing on his lip for a moment, he finally rumbled, “Tiny elf show disrespect and baseless suspicion. Never admit fault or admit wrongdoing. Tiny elf is coward or worst kind. City better off.”

“Whatever.” Mehe did not take his eyes off the Draenei. “Come, Anas. We don’t have anything more to do with these… people.”

Slowly, Sutrakarre pulled his blade back, planting the butt of the spear on the ground. “Walk away, little man. Keep mask of courage. All know it is lie.”

Eli raised an eyebrow. “That was surprisingly harsh for you.” She grinned wickedly. “I suppose I should go inside and tell the little girl that she won’t be seeing them again.”

“Tell her whatever you like, I don’t give a damn.” Mehe took Anas’s hand, ignoring the horrified look on his mate’s face. He turned around, pulling Anas after him. “Pack your things. We’re leaving now.”

Watching the tableau, Sutrakarre said to Eli, “Feel sorry for tall skinny one. He seemed nice.”

She shrugged, “He’s got a dangerous side to him. Might have been a good ally if he’s truly a friend.”

Tindomiel stepped out of the Cathedral, her pale face weary. She noticed the scene and smiled towards Anas and Mehe. “Anas! Mehe! Please, don’t go just yet! I wish to speak to you.”

“Keep your bloody words to yourself,” Mehe said without looking at her. “I’m done with all of you.”

“Mehe, stop! Where would we go?” Anas asked, craning his neck to peer fearfully back at Sutrakarre and Eliân.

“Anywhere away from these people,” the Ren’dorei retorted.

Tindomiel looked genuinely hurt. “I don’t understand…” She turned to the green haired Kaldorei. “Eliân. You need to go inside now. Forosuul wants to speak with you.” She called out to the men. “Please! Wait,” she pleaded.

Sutrakarre looked back and forth, confused.

“Anas! Please! Niqi is asking to see you,” she tried. “I cannot let her leave for her safety, but…will you come in?”

Anas paused at that, concerned. “Is she okay?”

“He’s not seeing her,” Mehe snapped.

“It can’t hurt to–”

Mehe whirled on him, his eyes blazing. “I defer to your judgement on many things, but not this one. I’m damn well not about to let you get attacked again.”

“Attacked?!” Tindomiel’s eyes went wide. “Who? Who did this?” Eliân started to make her way up the steps without a word.

“Ask that one.” Mehe pointed at Eli. “And that one.” He jabbed a finger at Sutrakarre. “I don’t appreciate anyone attacking my mate. Now just leave us the hell alone.”

“Eliân? Sutra?” Tindo looked visibly upset.

Eliân shrugged. “I didn’t attack them. I was making a point about my ski….” she fell suddenly silent at the look on Tindomiel’s face. Tindomiel’s usually silver eyes, had gone purple.

Tindomiel turned back to Mehe. “Tell me.”

“She can play at throwing her daggers all the livelong day, but she threw one at Anas and I will never tolerate that.” He pointed at Sutrakarre. “He backed her up too.”

Tindomiel slowly turned to Eliân with a look that would melt iron. “There is nothing you can say to me right now. Go inside.”

Tindomiel sank down to the steps, her silver hair falling into her face. “I am sorry, Mehe. Anas. Sutra was likely protecting her. Though I will let him speak his mind in a moment.” She held up her hands in a display of surrender. “Anas…Niqi is safe, but very upset. She is worried about you after what happened. She wants to see her brother, she said.”

Anas’s face crumpled at her words. “Niqi…” he murmured. “I need to go to her.”

Mehe shook his head. “No. I won’t allow it.”

“Stop it! You’re just as bad as she is!” Anas rounded on his mate, suddenly toweringly angry. “Why couldn’t you listen to me? What else did you think was going to happen with you two egging each other on?” He yanked his hand free of Mehe’s grasp. “I’m going in to see her,” he said firmly before hurrying up the steps of the Cathedral.

“Anas wait,” she reached up and pulled a feather from her shoulder guard. “Give this to the violet haired woman at the door. Tell her I sent you. One of Kalimè’s attackers was a Kaldorei with blue hair.” She held the feather out to him.

Anas accepted the feather with a nod.