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.