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Hollow: The Cavalry

by Xaraphyne » June 3rd, 2015, 2:49 am

Even though they once dumped a crate of dismembered corpses on her and Fhenrir’s lawn, Xara got along just fine with the Grim.

The trolless got along with everyone, really. From Grim to Sanctuary to Bloodsail to the Horde military, she knew how to make friends wherever she went no matter what their alignment or predilections. While she hadn’t been able to quite fit into the Grim’s ranks, she had salvaged the situation well enough that she could occasionally show up at their meetings without getting thrown out. Of course, it was hard to judge how much an accomplishment that really was considering the number of people that wanted to show up at a Grim gathering probably wasn’t that high.

The little rogue Kyoukimaru, prowling around the area, spotted her first. The trolless was atop one of the great roots that snaked from the loamy earth – the flora-heavy Hyjal was where the Grim had gathered this evening to inspect and interrogate would-be recruits. Being a short distance away from the group meant she was only able to pick up part of the conversation, but it was a good spot to observe without intruding or interrupting. She grinned at the rogue, who seemed startled to see her. “Lookin’ fer somethin’?” she asked.

He eyed her, but, having seen her around Grim before, left her alone. Xara settled back to watch the meeting continue. There were a couple of new orcs and elves being questioned by Khorvis and Ruuki, and at times any of the other members gathered. Xara wondered how many would wash out, finding the Grim too harsh for their tastes. She took out a small magical keg and set it down, and begin helping herself as the meeting went on.

Inzema and Lupinum soon joined her up on the root, and one of the new orcs whose name Xara hadn’t caught. Ruuki and Khorvis continued conducting the meeting; Xara noted that Lilly wasn’t present, but she had been busy lately. Kyou ran in energetic circles around the gathering and Gazreeth paced back and forth. Cen posed her strangely-phrased inquiries while Borghul made sour comments at every opportunity. The new recruits answered questions warily and watchfully, still learning the ebb and flow of the Grim’s power dynamics. Syreena noted Xara’s presence; Xara just smiled at her.

The meeting seemed like it was coming to an end soon; Khorvis was asking if there was any more business to address. Xara was thinking about going down and speaking to Khorvis when someone new appeared... quite literally.

“What of mine, High Inquisitor?” the newcomer asked.

The trolless looked over to see what appeared to be a human woman a short distance away on the root, dressed in plain black with a half-face mask and smirking down at the gathering. A couple other Alliance had been unwise enough to pass by too close and had found a quick fate already this evening. However, at the sight of this one, several of the others simply froze, including Gazreeth and Syreena. Xara blinked. “Where’d you come from?” she said.

“Heh, ya missed a Supplicant?” Borghul said. He hadn’t bothered turning around.

The human woman was carrying something. She threw a staff down to the ground below. A red-haired scalp decorated its top. As far as gruesome went, Xara was pretty sure everyone here had seen worse, and wondered what the point was.

“I even brought you a present,” the woman was saying.

The others were still reacting. Ruuki snarled and drew her blade; Gazreeth took his sword. “Please let me kill this thing,” Gazreeth said. Several of the recruits were smart enough to take out their weapons as well, and they weren’t the remainder. A slight movement behind her was the only warning Xara had to duck before Inzema’s dagger flew overhead, directly for the human woman.

In response, with a casual cock of her head, the woman let it fly by.

Xara revamped her estimation slightly, but still didn’t bother getting up. She settled back again to watch and sipped her drink, not exactly worried what with three full fists of Grim all standing by.

“What bad hosts you are,” the woman chided.

“Aw, look. It wants to play,” Borghul remarked.

“She’s got stones, I’ll give ’er that,” Xara commented.

“Speak your name, stranger,” Khorvis growled. He had advanced and stood below the root, staring up at the woman with his one good eye.

“I think the Shadowblade already is acquainted with me,” the woman said sweetly.

Xara looked at Syreena, but Gazreeth was already speaking. “That’s a Morinth,” he said.

Xara’s expression changed.

18:41:20 [Lilliana-TwistingNether]: I don't know how to play the game, just rp.

Posts: 39
Joined: December 31st, 2014, 2:00 am

Re: Hollow: The Cavalry

by Xaraphyne » June 3rd, 2015, 2:50 am

Xara didn’t know it, but she shared some mannerisms with Lilliana, things that marked them as closely related besides their appearances. At the drop of a hat, Lilliana could go as cold and unsympathetic as marble, revealing the Grim that always lurked below her friendly exterior. While Xara did not have the same capacity for pitilessness, she did at times drop her carefree, jovial exterior to reveal that she knew exactly what was going on and that taking her lightly was a mistake.

This was one of those times. She studied Morinth closely, remembering what Aaren had told her. Morinth was a formerly-Alliance terrorist whose war crimes had earned her enmity from both sides. Recently, Xara had been down to the Bloodsail to follow up some leads on her at Aaren’s request, and Xara knew Aaren had been afflicted by Morinth in some nefarious way.

"That is Morinth, Lasher,” Ruuki confirmed to Khorvis.

“A Morinth?” the woman was saying in response to Gazreeth. “That’s hurtful.”

“Unlike many others, I am not tricked by your parlor tricks of doubles and body augments,” Gazreeth said.

That was why they hadn’t attacked outright. Killing this Morinth would accomplish nothing. The woman’s head turned, and Xara saw the amethyst implant that covered part of the right side of her face, including the eye.

“Morinth is marked for death by the Mandate and the Commander,” Khorvis stated.

“So, do we kill her or hug her?” Gazreeth said. His sword shone as he shifted, ready.

Xara decided to try and get what information she could. “What’d you do to Aaren?” she asked.

However, her question was ignored. Morinth was still looking over the gathering with a smile. “I wonder where your little Inquisitor has gone...” the woman said thoughtfully. “Oh wait. I know. Currently bleeding like a stuck pig in my house.”

A deadly chill touched Xaraphyne. She didn’t quite grasp why – she didn’t want to – but dread blossomed in her stomach and spread through her veins like poison she could feel. “What? Who?” she asked.

“Touch me, and I keep playing with her,” Morinth concluded.

“Who?” Xara demanded again.

“Auntie Lilly, of course.”

18:41:20 [Lilliana-TwistingNether]: I don't know how to play the game, just rp.

Posts: 39
Joined: December 31st, 2014, 2:00 am

Re: Hollow: The Cavalry

by Xaraphyne » June 3rd, 2015, 2:51 am

The threat wasn’t even meant for her. Morinth was holding Lilliana over the Grim, and had barely even glanced the trolless’ way. But the words squeezed Xara’s heart in a vice. She rose to her feet, her teeth clenched. Morinth giggled dismissively.

“I told you,” one of the recruits hissed to Syreena.

“The Chatterbox? No loss there,” another whose name Xara didn’t know said.

“Is it true, Khorvis?” Xara asked, her voice low and controlled. “Where's Lilly?”

Khorvis’ mangled expression was unreadable. “Lilliana is missing tonight,” he said. “May be there do be some truth in this shadow’s face.”

“So what if there is truth in her words?” Gazreeth said. “If we let her hold a Grim over our heads she wins.”

“You think holding one Grim will protect you from the rest?” Syreena asked Morinth.

“Of course not, I know your reputation,” Morinth said. “But, I figured I’d offer a trade all the same.”

“This is new,” Borghul commented.

“Trade for what?” Syreena asked cautiously.

“Hilgrande,” Morinth said. “I miss my little dwarf friend after you so callously abducted her.”

Xara wanted to kill her. She wanted to murder her. But doing so not only wouldn’t get Lilly safe, it wouldn’t even hurt the real Morinth. She didn’t know when she’d drawn her bow but she clutched it uselessly at her side, now.

A mage had walked up to the gathering. Xara hadn’t spotted her hovering at the edge of the treeline earlier. “She is dead,” the mage stated factually. “I killed her today, actually.”

“Well then...” Morinth said, “guess Lilly will have to suffer for it.”

“Where is she?!” Xara demanded.

Lupinum’s jaw was clenched shut. He was as affected as Xara. Everyone else either masked their expressions better, or simply weren’t as worried.

“Don’t worry, I won’t kill her,” Morinth added.

“You could do us the favor,” the one who’d called Lilly the Chatterbox said.

“Callin’ bullshit. Callin’ it now,” Borghul said.

“I’ll make sure to heal her before I start again,” Morinth elaborated.

“You BITCH!” Xara shouted. “WHERE IS SHE!”

Morinth giggled again, only amused by Xara’s distress. “Why don't you ask Zema?” she suggested. She blew a kiss past Xara.

Xara couldn’t help but look back at the rogue behind her. Inzema didn’t look like he followed. “Asssk me what?” he said.

“Big words fer a little person,” Borghul was remarking of Morinth. “No offense to our Goblin folk...”

“None taken,” Gazreeth said.

“I don’t understand why no one has killed this human yet,” one of the orc recruits said.

Having heard enough, Khorvis snorted at Morinth and uncoiled the Lash at his side. “Take her,” he said.

“Alive?!” Gazreeth said.

Others weren’t hesitating. Xara spoke quickly. “Morinth, whatever you want, I’ll—”

One of the warriors had leapt up onto the root and was already swinging. But before his axe connected, Morinth smiled, and the amethyst eye exploded, leaving her head a burnt cavity and dropping her corpse to the ground.

18:41:20 [Lilliana-TwistingNether]: I don't know how to play the game, just rp.

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Re: Hollow: The Cavalry

by Xaraphyne » June 3rd, 2015, 2:52 am

“DAMNIT!” Xara swore.

“I didn’t blow her up,” Borghul said.

The warrior kicked the corpse. Syreena said, “It wasn’t really her. Another dummy.”

“You’re a bunch of damned fools!” Gazreeth said. “She comes here, we either kill her, or we take her, either way she got what she wanted.”

“Bloody fel,” Khorvis said.

Xara wanted to strike out at something, anything, but there was nothing. She sank to the surface of the root, trembling with helpless rage.

Ruuki sheathed her sword, looking highly unsatisfied and very angry. “What do we do about Lilliana? Do you think she speaks truth?”

“I don't think she does, Reborn,” Lupinum said quietly. He stared at the staff with its scalp. Xara refused to look at it.

One of the new recruits whose name Xara didn’t know spoke up; a blood elf hunter. “Lilliana’s communicator abruptly went dead several hours ago. I mentioned it at the time. But as a supplicant, I was ignored.”

“Qaro,” Syreena said. She pointed at the mage. “You need to question that dwarf some more. Find out where Morinth’s headquarters are.”

“I feel like I’m taking crazy pills over here,” Gazreeth said. “The dwarf is where it wants to be!” He devolved into incoherent expletives.

“Qarosimae. Is the dwarf dead?” Khorvis addressed the mage.

“No, I lied,” she replied calmly.

“When I left the interrogation, Qarosimae was cooking the Dwarf’s legs with them still attached,” Ruuki said.

“Sure, let’s talk more business in public, and get more Grim dead or captured,” Gazreeth said sarcastically. “Fantastic ideas!”

Xara slowly rose to her feet. Turning around, she reached out to take Inzema’s arm. He simply looked at her. “What do you know?” she asked him through gritted teeth.

“I don’t know nothin’. Honessst,” he said.

He didn’t come across as the trustworthy type, but it wasn’t because of dishonesty. Xara let go of his arm and said anyway, “So help me every god out there, if you’re lying...”

Gazreeth had caught the exchange. He said, “You know, Inzema is one of the few here I completely trust. He is too batshit crazy to be working for the wrong side.”

“Inzema!” Qarosimae called. “Get your ass down here!”

Xara remembered, now, seeing Qaro at the battle versus Accalia with Inzema, but she didn’t know what their relationship was. She came down from the root as well as the rogue went over to the mage. The group continued muttering amongst each other over Morinth’s appearance and revelation. Khorvis looked like he was fuming within his feedbag at the crumbled order of his meeting.

“We have to get her back,” Xara said, not knowing to whom she spoke. “The Grim’s a family, but she’s my sister.”

Technically, Lilly was Xara’s aunt; but in her heart, she was her sister, with no one else in the world a closer match. But speaking that made Xara remember what Morinth had said. ”Auntie Lilly.” The woman had been speaking to Xara, then. She knew exactly who Xara was and how much she would care.

“Family?” Borghul snorted. “Heh, okay.”

Syreena was looking at her. “We’ll find her,” she said.

If it had been possible to appreciate those same words from the not-typically-optimistic rogue under different circumstances, Xara would have, but right now she didn’t have the thoughtfulness to spare. Her attention moved to Qaro and Inzema. The mage had placed a hand over Inzema’s eyes. “He’s had a taste of Morinth’s magic as well. Interesting.”

Lupinum sat down heavily, his face drawn in. Borghul was speaking to the new recruits; Kyou appeared to have been feasting on the corpse. Khorvis looked like he was boiling over with rage. Qaro pulled a key from her robe and a book from her belt, and consulted the book before drawing a sigil on the ground.

After a few moments, the mage said, “Fuselight by the sea. That’s where she is right now.”

“Lilly is?” Xara said, her focus narrowing.

Khorvis cracked his Lash loudly over the assembled. The deafening noise reverberated along the trunk of Nordrassil. “Enough gossiping like dwarven goodwives! This meeting of the Inquisition does not be over! Back in ranks!”

“I’m going,” Xara said. She went to her hippogryph and mounted up. She heard them saying it was a trap; that preparations had to be made. She didn’t care, and knew they didn’t care what she did. She wasn’t Grim.

She was Lilliana’s sister.

18:41:20 [Lilliana-TwistingNether]: I don't know how to play the game, just rp.

Posts: 39
Joined: December 31st, 2014, 2:00 am

Re: Hollow: The Cavalry

by Xaraphyne » June 3rd, 2015, 2:53 am

“Fhen,” she said into her hearthstone as the hippogryph spiraled into the canopy. “I need you.”

Her voice was calm, but only as a the swiftness of a deep river’s deadly current appeared calm on the surface. Fhen heard the urgency beneath and his reply carried the inflection of his full attention. “What happened?”

“Lilliana is in danger.”

It turned out he was neck-deep in Ashran and couldn’t get out for at least an hour. Xara would be in Fuselight by then. He promised to meet her there as soon as he could.

She opened a channel to her guild, next.

When she touched down in Orgrimmar, she already had a handful of scrawled letters in hand. She shoved them into the nearest mailbox and turned around to grab the first elf in a robe she saw, trusting they’d be a magister. “Portal to Stonard,” she said. “Thousand gold.”

In the Swamp of Sorrows, she set out for the coast.

The letters made their way to everyone Xara could think of to call on. Every friend and ally she knew she could count on, or who cared about Lilly. However, with one exception, she didn’t write anyone in the Grim. They would already know, and would want to make their own plans.

As it turned out, being able to make friends wherever you went was a good ability to have.

18:41:20 [Lilliana-TwistingNether]: I don't know how to play the game, just rp.

Posts: 39
Joined: December 31st, 2014, 2:00 am

Re: Hollow: The Cavalry

by Xaraphyne » June 3rd, 2015, 9:29 pm

In Fuselight, Xara started hitting up goblins about recent goings-on. The lead was immediate: the ship full of dead Bloodsail to the north was kind of remarkable. They hadn’t been dead this morning, but as of a at least an hour ago, they all were.

Considering it was Bloodsail among whom Morinth had been working before, it certainly sounded relevant. Of course, a ship full of corpses wasn’t especially useful to anyone, so it sounded like Xara was too late. Nonetheless, the trolless headed north to check it out.

Atop the hill, she peered at the ship. It wallowed ominously in the water with no sign of activity. A human corpse was draped over one of the guardrails. She was about to head down to find a way to board when she was abruptly tackled.

She hit the earth with a grunt, finding herself pinned with the muzzle of a gun pressed to her head. More importantly, however, she found she recognized her assailant. And by the look on his face, he only then recognized her too.

“Wut tha shit?!” Cobrak said.

He stumbled off of her in chagrin and Xara pushed herself up. He was changed since the last time she’d seen him; the orc’s lost eye, formerly an eyepatch-covered empty socket, now housed a glowing green orb reminiscent of some warlocks’ abilities.

“COBRAK!” shouted a new voice.

Naheal, whom she’d contacted on the way, crested the hill. At the same time, Lupa was lunging out of stealth for the orc. Xara reached out. “Lupa! Back!” The cat skidded to a halt, but bared her immense fangs at Cobrak in warning.

Cobrak looked between them. “Tha bloody fell you two doin’?!” he demanded.

“Looking for Lilly!” Xara retorted.

“Lilly?” he repeated blankly.

“I’m looking for you and Lilly,” Naheal told Cobrak.

“Morinth,” Xara said. “Morinth took her.”

The color drained from Cobrak’s green face as he stared at her. “Wut,” he said.

“She showed up at the Grim meeting... Morinth.. Look... What are you doing here?” Xara asked.

Cobrak ground his teeth. “That... goddamn... idiot!”

“She’s got Brey,” Naheal said.

Xara looked over at him. He was expressionless, but him hiding his emotions was nothing new. “Brey too?!” she said.

“And the rest of the Deadshots,” Naheal said.

“Wait what?!” Cobrak sputtered.

This was going to hell in a handbasket. Xara got up, passing a hand over her face, as Cobrak and Naheal briefly discussed something about orbs. The news about the Deadshots was bad, very bad, but they weren’t her top priority. Lilly was. “Morinth was here not long ago, Cobrak,” she said. “Focus. What have you seen?”

“Gah, gah...” The orc made an effort. “That ship is onna hers.”

“They said everyone on it is dead,” Xara said.

“I killed ’em,” he said. “I’m tryin’ ta bait her couriers ta investigate.”

Xara’s investigations in Booty Bay had shown the Bloodsail were no more than hired smugglers to Morinth, but that was just their bad luck. “Fair enough,” she said.

“She’s not going to care from what I’ve seen,” Naheal said.

“No she will, because some cargo is on board,” Cobrak said.

“What cargo?” Xara asked.

“Constructs o’ sum kind.”

That is something I could use,” Naheal said with grim satisfaction. “Could you describe them?”

“I fink Draenei ones. Tha ones in tha dead place, Ookindar er sumthin’.”

“So like the protector...” Naheal said thoughtfully.

“That's fine and dandy,” Xara said, “but WHAT ABOUT LILLIANA?”

“I don’t fuckin’ know!” Cobrak said.

Xara grabbed him. “We have to find her,” she told him.

“I KNOW!” He took a breath. “I'm tryin’ ta find Morinth’s HQ right now!”

“She has an orb, right?” Naheal said.

Xara looked at him. “What are these damn orbs you keep going on about?”

Naheal addressed the orc. “COBRAK. Did you give Lilliana an orb?”

“Yes!” Cobrak said.

“Good,” Naheal said. “Then we can track her.”

“What are we waiting for then!” Xara said impatiently.

Naheal took an orb from his pack and started fiddling with it. Cobrak said, “Morinth knows about the orbs. Likely it’d lead right into a trap.”

“I don't give a damn,” Xara said. “If it leads us to Lilly, fine.”

“Then ye’re jus’ gonna git yerself killed,” Cobrak said. “She wants me ta follow it, so likely there’s a few o’ her Enforcers. An’ trust me. Ya don wanna face off against them witout preparation.”

A plan was beginning to take shape in Xara’s mind. It was crazy, but she’d done crazier things before. “Give it to me. I’ll go alone. You guys follow.”

“Listen,” Cobrak said. “That ship is our best bet.”

“Fuck that ship,” Xara said angrily. She wanted to move, now.

“Xara, Spirits, I wanna save her damn much as you do!” he said. There was a note of desperation in his voice, but Xara felt the same.

“Use me as bait, then,” she said stubbornly.

Naheal stepped forward and pushed her. Xara fell back a step in surprise. He said, “So, what? You're going to just charge in blind?”

That was rich, coming from him. “Don’t you tell me not to!” she said.

“Just go in, half-cocked, no plan, into something that you know is a trap?” Naheal said. “I’m not telling you not to. I’m trying to tell you to think it through!“

“You have a better idea?” she asked, adding bitingly, “Tip, anything that involves letting Lilliana continued to be tortured for awhile is a no-go.”

“She’d jus’ kill you,” Cobrak said. “I’ll be bait.”

Xara looked at him. “And she wouldn’t kill you?”

“She wouldn’t pass up on nabbin’ me,” Cobrak said. “She wouldn’t kill me. She’d wanna torture me.”

“She knows you,” Xara said, understanding.

At that moment, someone stepped out of cover.

18:41:20 [Lilliana-TwistingNether]: I don't know how to play the game, just rp.

Posts: 39
Joined: December 31st, 2014, 2:00 am

Re: Hollow: The Cavalry

by Xaraphyne » June 3rd, 2015, 9:31 pm

It was the blood elf huntress from the Grim meeting, one of the new recruits. Her name was Shaelie, and she’d been listening in. She’d been the one who’d heard Lilliana’s communicator suddenly go silent. Deciding they were all on the same page, she wanted to help.

The group discussed the plan further, and Cobrak eventually relented to let Xara be the target. Cobrak thought Morinth would continue to underestimate him as she had in the past, but Xara was certain she could get out of any tight spots. She had a knack for it. And Fhenrir would be right behind them.

“They had us pinned down,” Fhenrir said through the hearthstone as Xara’s hippogryph again took to the skies. Naheal was giving her directions through Borrowed Time’s frequency, and she and Fhenrir spoke on a private one. “I’m still at least an hour away. Stay there and wait for backup.”

“I have backup,” Xara said. “Two Grim and a Borrowed Time.” She had failed to mention she was already en route.

“Grim?” he said, the skepticism in his voice heavy.

“It’s Lilliana we're trying to save, remember? We’ll be fine. We’ll be scouting out the area first so there’ll be plenty of time for you to catch up.”

He didn’t like it, but Xara didn’t want to waste any more time. Morinth moved fast; they’d seen that. A small, quick strike force was their best bet, though Fhen and his reinforcements would not be unwelcome once their presence became known.

She flew into the Twilight Highlands.

18:41:20 [Lilliana-TwistingNether]: I don't know how to play the game, just rp.

Posts: 39
Joined: December 31st, 2014, 2:00 am

Re: Hollow: The Cavalry

by Xaraphyne » June 3rd, 2015, 9:33 pm

The others followed behind the curve of the horizon, out of sight. She could hear them discussing scouting in her mind via the hearthstone magic; the range was more limited with the mental link than the spoken one, but that was fine for this mission. Shaelie was proving to be a prudent, thoughtful volunteer who paid close attention to what was going on around her and spoke with sensibility. Xara almost thought she didn’t belong in the Grim.

Naheal’s directions, determined from the orb, led her to the mouth of a cave. Xara dismounted and sent her hippogryph away. This went against their plan; there was only one entrance. But if Lilly was inside... Xara entered, sticking close to the wall and the shadows.

She was no Lupa to prowl unseen right under someone’s nose, but she did a good job of moving quietly. However, the cave proved to be uninhabited as she moved deeper in and came to where it opened into a wide cavern. A glowing pool lit the area, but the ceiling was lost to the shadows. In the center of the area lay a body in robes the same color as Lilly’s.

Basically, nothing else could have looked more like a trap.

It was her job, though, to spring it. Xara moved into the open, looking around closely for any signs of movement. When none appeared, she approached the body. It was face-down and unidentifiable. She knew the other three were nearby, ready to spring into action. Reaching out, she turned over the body, at the same time preparing to throw down a flare to disorient anyone watching.

It was she who was disoriented, however, when a flashbang explosive was triggered by the body’s movement. It knocked Xara back onto her rear end, dazzled and dazed. After a moment only long enough for her hearing to start to recover, a voice rang out. “Don be movin’ missy! Less ya be havin’ a new hole in yer head!”

It sounded dwarven. Xara raised her hands, blinking her eyes as she tried to figure out where it had come from. However, it wasn’t a dwarf who rode into the cavern in the next moment. It was a gnome atop a giant felhound. Xara squinted up at him, keeping her hands raised harmlessly.

“Pity,” the gnome said. “I had figured the legendary Captain Nawe would be harder prey.”

Xara grinned up at him. She rather liked being described as legendary. “I’m bein’ hunted? Always nice ta be wanted!”

“Oh well, Lady Morinth isn’t right one hundred percent of the time,” the gnome went on.

Xara lowered her hands slightly. “Who’re you, now? Since ya seem ta know my name already?”

“Oh my manners, of course! Master Doisswix will do,” he told her.

Naheal chose that moment to come out of his cover. Xara held out a hand to stop him, but it was too late. The gnome spotted him. “Hrm,” he said. “More flies to the spider?”

With that, he leapt down from the felhound, which immediately leapt onto Naheal, knocking him down and pinning him. It wasn’t as big as Alpha had been, but it was sufficient without Naheal offering any resistance, which he did not. Xara looked back at the gnome.

“I hear ya guys are lookin’ ta get your dwarf back... what was her name? Hilsomethin’?” she asked conversationally, as though nothing had happened.

“Oh yes, lovely Hilgrande,” Doisswix said. “A pity I will most likely never see her again.”

“Supposedly she’s dead,” Xara agreed, “but if she weren’t, well, in theory... I might have access ta her.”

The thought had been percolating in her head ever since she’d flown out of Hyjal. She’d heard what Qaro said: their dwarf hostage was still alive. And the Grim... trusted Xara. It was not out of the realm of possibility that Xara could, in fact, get access to the dwarf, without arousing suspicion. Of course, once that trust was betrayed, it would never, ever be restored... but if that meant getting Lilly back, some would argue that was more than worth it.

At least, as much made a convincing cover story.

Or backup plan.

“Oh yes, of course,” the gnome said amusedly. “And you would freely offer this?”

She smiled at him. “Maybe we can work together, eh? The Grim didn’t wanna make a deal... Me, I like deals.”

“Hrmm,” he said again, then abruptly called out, “Garfel!”

The dwarf made himself known, swinging down from an overhead roost. He was portly yet well muscled, with a braided beard. Xara glanced up appreciatively. “Nice perch!” she said. He would have had a clear line of sight from the shadows.

“Hmph. Should jus’ kill tha lotta them,” the dwarf muttered.

“Now now dear boy, must not be too hasty,” Doisswix said. “The Lady will be pleased with this.”

Naheal watched what was going on, not struggling against the felhound. His gaze focused on Garfel with that semi-absent look he always had whenever his runeblades were talking to him. As long as they didn’t suggest anything reckless, Xara was pretty sure she could still talk their way out of this. She looked back at the gnome.

“So, do we have a deal, or no?” she inquired. “By the way, I’ll need Naheal’s help, so let him up, please.”

“How else will we receive your dear cousin?” Doisswix said. “Well then. We will convene in our lovely estate.”

“Heh, got drinks there?” Xara asked. “I could sure use one...”

“If you would please disarm... and disrobe,” the gnome said, gesturing.

Xara blinked, then laughed. “At least get me the drink first!” she said. But she dropped her bow and reached for the clasps on her armor.

Naheal started objecting, but ended up sidetracking the dwarf into a conversation about someone named Jehossephine. Xara took the opportunity while removing her outer armor to adapt the plan. She wasn’t foolish enough to think the gnome believed her wholesale, but Cobrak and Shaelie were still undiscovered, and would be able to follow wherever they took her.

By the time she’d stripped off her outer armor, leaving her only clad in her skintight mail top and leggings, it had devolved into an argument. “Boys, boys,” Xara interrupted. “Lieutenant-General Fhenrir Phoenix is on his way here with a Horde battalion. Expectin’ ta find Naheal alive and waiting. So we might wanna get goin’. Leave him.” She nodded at Naheal. Fhenrir would be expecting her too, but that wasn’t the point. The threat was clear. She softened it with a grin for the gnome, putting her hand on her hip. “So how ‘bout that drink?”

“Git goin’ gnome,” Garfel growled, while glaring at Naheal. “I’m feelin’ hungry an’way.”

“Eep! How uncouth! Shall we then my dear?” Doisswix said to Xara.

“Let’s,” she said. Silently, she spoke over the team link. Cob, Shae, follow me. But make sure they don’t kill Naheal first.

Cobrak responded. I’ll follow Xara... Shae should stay with Nah.

It was just as well, because outside the cave, there was a covered wagon already waiting. Xara and Doisswix got on and it started moving. Xara tried to guess which direction they were going, but unfortunately had never been good at navigation, and eventually gave up. “Got any drinks in here...?” she inquired after a short silence.

“Unfortunately no, my dear,” Doisswix said.

She sighed, then smiled at him again. “I can be patient.”

The wagon rolled toward its destination.

18:41:20 [Lilliana-TwistingNether]: I don't know how to play the game, just rp.

Posts: 39
Joined: December 31st, 2014, 2:00 am

Re: Hollow: The Cavalry

by Xaraphyne » June 3rd, 2015, 9:34 pm

Silence was sometimes more effective than questions. Xara let it linger until Doisswix spoke up.

“We had thought to capture a different prey today,” he said.

“Heh, lemme guess...” she said. “Cobrak? I’m not sure he’s even heard the news yet.”

“I informed the Lady to send an arm or something!” Doisswix said.

“He wasn’t there,” Xara explained. Not for the gruesome gift Morinth had brought.

“Oh yes, but we had captured his courier,” Doisswix reflected.

Xara shrugged a little. “Can’t say I’m happy about this,” she said after a moment, “but... I understand. You guys are just tryin’ ta do what you gotta do.”

Doisswix responded darkly. “If anyone were to blame, it would be him.”

“Cobrak?” Xara said curiously. “What’d he do?” She made her tone sound inclined to believe him.

“Killing the Lady’s dear brother was very hard on her,” Doisswix said.

“Oh, he never admitted that,” Xara said. She pressed a little further. “Why do you fight with her, then?”

They had arrived, judging by the ceasing of movement. Doisswix got out and held open the flap for Xara. Outside, she glanced around, recognizing the place. They stood outside Grim Batol, the once-dwarven city built into a mountain in the Twilight Highlands. She had been here back during Deathwing’s reign of terror, with the original Borrowed Time, fighting those forces. But it was different now. Every guard at every post, in every tower, bore an amethyst eye emblem.

“My own family was wiped out by the Grim,” Doisswix said.

“Ah, that’d do it,” Xara said.

They walked through the gates. The place hummed with a level of activity akin to that of a military base; Xara would know, having accompanied Fhenrir to a fair few. “Wonderful time for retribution I imagine,” Doisswix commented. “Welcome to Grim Batol.”

Xara sensed her time to gain an advantage was fading as they entered the mountain. “I tried ta join ‘em, you know,” she said. “They told me ta go wipe out an Alliance settlement, kids and all... I couldn’t do it. Wouldn’t.” It was true, and it was also why the lawn deposit. It was a fine line she walked. “The Grim, they’re extremists,” she added.

“Quite so,” agreed Doisswix. “Frightful lot.”

“But,” Xara said, “they trust me.” She was semi-distracted, looking around as they walked in deeper. The sounds of a foundry and steelworking echoed through the cavernous underground city. Despite all the open space, the weight of the mountain seemed to press down on them. Xara didn’t like enclosed spaces.

“Anything for family, hrmm?” Doisswix said. “I quite understand.”

Xara glanced at him, thinking of Lilly. The gnome had barely even touched what she’d be willing to do for her. “I’m kinda fond of Lilly,” she said. “She’s all I’ve got. I’d sell out the Grim in a second for her.”

Convincing lies were seeded with truth. The most convincing lies weren’t lies at all.

They came to a central area. Causeways ran up and down alongside a great chasm, down in which a multitude worked on their project. And that project was a massive construct; the size of a fel reaver. Its eyes were dim, inactive, but it looked nearly complete.

“Whoa,” Xara said.

“Oh yes... quite...” Doisswix said distractedly. “Now then... I believe...”

Xara looked at him as he turned at another’s approach. In fact, several approached, though they were arguably one. It was several of the same human woman Xara had seen earlier at the Grim meeting, at least at first glance. Dark hair, black leather, amethyst eye.

“Whoa,” she said again.

The Morinths stopped, regarding her, as Doisswix swept into a bow. “Ah, ladies,” the gnome said.

“Doisswix... Doissy darling...” one of them said, approaching the gnome. Her sweet voice turned less than pleased as her gaze fell to Xaraphyne. “Why is there a troll in my base?”

18:41:20 [Lilliana-TwistingNether]: I don't know how to play the game, just rp.

Posts: 39
Joined: December 31st, 2014, 2:00 am

Re: Hollow: The Cavalry

by Xaraphyne » June 3rd, 2015, 9:35 pm

“Other than the one I’m playing with,” Morinth added, sweet again.

Xara wasn’t going to be so easily provoked. “I can give you your dwarf, that’s why,” she said.

“Of course you would... and how?”

“The Grim trust me. I can break her out.” Xara spoke simply, and with confidence. Watching Morinth’s face, with another couple Morinths also watching her, Xara wondered what power this was that let this woman make and control multiples of herself. Did she require normal people first to turn into her clones? Or did she grow them in a laboratory? “It’d be a shame to lose all of their trust,” Xara went on, “but, well... worth it. Regardless, they won’t see it coming.”

“Just like how I would not see the obvious tail you have?”

Xara’s mental track rapidly switched. She hoped desperately that that only sounded like exactly what it sounded like. “Oh, Lupa?” she said. She waved her hand, and the cat emerged from her stealth behind her. “She follows my commands.” If Morinth had detected anything, maybe she’d think it was just her pet. Xara held the woman’s mismatched gaze steadily.

“I’m SI:7, dearie,” Morinth said. “Don’t insult my intelligence.”

Yeah, that had been too much to hope.

“I've had eyes on you since you left that Grim meeting,” Morinth said, then, saccharinely, “How’s Cobby?”

18:41:20 [Lilliana-TwistingNether]: I don't know how to play the game, just rp.


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