The Search for Information

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Syreena saluted to Khorvis when she found him upstairs in the Wyvern’s Tail. He was attempting to look stealthy, hiding in the shadows, but Syreena didn’t seem to even notice he was trying. “High Inquisitor,” she greeted, earning a nod from the rugged orc.

“Shadowblade Syreena. I do see that little Ber is ... in one piece.” Khorvis referred to the undead, patched up worg that followed at Syreena’s heel.

“You could say that. I'm not sure who's responsible for it. An anonymous gift.

“May be the same cretin who cut down your noble pup?”

“You think a rylak raised him? Or you think it wasn't a rylak that killed him?” Syreena mused aloud. “But...why would anyone want to hurt Ber?”

“You do be a woman with many enemies. I would not put it past an Alliance dog to strike at you through your pet.”

"Only Alliance?" the Shadowblade asked with a slight smirk.

“If I did recite the list, we would be here until the moon rose again.” Syreena grinned at his answer, and the two continued to make idle chitchat for a while longer as they waited. Finally, a third Grim arrived.

Lupinum greeted them and took a seat near the patchwork worg, and Khorvis began speaking on the true purpose of the meeting.

“Syreena, your skill with poison do be well known. But always I do hear of it slaying your foes. I do wonder if you know more ... mild tonics,” the High Inquisitor inquired as he leaned against the wall uncharacteristically.

“I can make potions or flasks for just about anything.”

“Anything, aye? I do wonder, is there a tincture that could blur the imbiber's memory, so that they might forget some small span of time?”

Lupinum blinked slowly while the little rogue answered thoughtfully. “Hm, I don't know if I've ever made one like that, but I could try it. I usually just whack them over the head if I want someone to not remember something. Sometimes it even works.” She looked curiously at Khorvis and asked, “Do you want to forget about your fel troubles?”

“It do not be for me, Syreena. The past do be a useful tool to learn from. And a weapon to keep away from our enemies.”

“There are also ways to manipulate the mind...,” Lupinum added, drumming his claw against the worn table. “I'm sure Lilliana knows more, but things can be... shifted into distant memory.”

“Aye, brother. But you and Lilliana do not possess the stealth needed for the first strike.

Lupinum cracked a small smile. “True enough.”

“I'm sure I can come up with something,” Syreena assured him. “Who's forgetting what?”

Khorvis ignored her question for the moment and continued speaking to the priest. “But your knowledge of the mind, especially human ones, Lupinum, may be of use to Syreena in crafting this poison. A guide for the maze, aye?”

Lupinum clacked his claws loudly. “This sounds interesting. I'm going to assume you want this... whatever this is, to be as discreet as possible?” He looked over his shoulder for a second.

Khorvis shrugged his shoulders against the wooden wall, failing to look clandestine in a positively foolish manner. “As for whom, Shadowblade, there do be scouting reports of that Cup and Blade caravan traveling through our Barrens.”

“Trespassing,” the rogue declared. “We should wipe them all out!”

“May be you do know of their lot?”

“I've heard of them. Not much--just that they're Alliance, right?”

“Aye, inferior races of the Alliance and largely peaceful, fools that they are.”

“I'm unfamiliar with the name,” Lupinum told them. “But that seems reason enough.”

“But they do travel greatly, and hear a great many things from the lips of more bloodthirsty pinkskins,” Khorvis informed them. “Lilliana's work with gathering information from the blue badges do be lacking, and I do grow impatient.” He scowled as he said the trolless’s name.

“What would you have me do?” the little rogue inquired.

Khorvis turned to Syreena with a ferverent gaze. "Move through the shadows around this Caravan and find an Alliance cur who has the look of some importance. And take them, silently.”

Syreena nodded. “I can do that.”

“And the poison,” the High Inquisitor added. “Your mark must not know your face or their captors. Our reputation does precede us and if they do know our name, they will know that death do be inevitable.”

“They won't give us information if they know they'll die anyway?” Syreena guessed.

“Would you?”

“I wouldn't anyway,” she answered, bringing a wicked grin to Khorvis’s face. “I’ll get to work on a memory loss potion right away.”

“You both will,” Khorvis ordered, and Syreena nodded. “There do be no room for error in this.”

“Of course, High Inquisitor,” Lupinum assured him.

“This ... BLOODY resurgent Eternal Aegis do be a new thorn in our side, along with that cursed Jade Lion,” the orc stated. “The high command does need to know the names of their leaders, and their lines of supply.”

“So you want me to question them after I get them away from the caravan?” Syreena asked. Khorvis grumbled with some wrath, trailed off, knowing the burden he had already placed on the two Grim.

“No, though I do not doubt that you join the Inquisitors in poking their mind with your daggers, once we have one.”

“The dungeon then?”

“We should be cautious about that,” Lupinum warned. “I fear we have loose tongues in the ranks.”

“Your duty is to secure the hostage and maintain our anonymity. Our dungeons are too obvious, and the other prisoners will gab their gums,” Khorvis clarified. “Find a quiet location, hidden away.” Syreena nodded, and Lupinum pulled out a map to look at. Khorvis appeared to relax, the element of subterfuge temporarily lifted from his unaccustomed shoulders. “That do be all I have for you two. A poison, a mark, a caravan, and silence. Lok’tar ogar, Grim.”

Lupinum tucked the map away and stood back up. He and Syreena offered their salutes to the High Inquisitor and left him with his drink to start their assignments.

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After some time searching the Barrens, Syreena found the group Khorvis had mentioned. She had taken extra precautions to avoid detection this evening, and she carefully stayed hidden in the shadows of the tall grass. She followed them to the Great Divide, where they stopped and talked for a while. She was close enough to hear them, but she wasn’t very proficient in common, so their words were only gibberish to her ears.

Syreena studied each one of them in turn, trying to determine which of these foul Alliance people would best fulfill the High Inquisitor’s purpose. A large Draenei man, a worgen woman, a human male in a pretty dress, a Draenei woman with a bow, a human woman, and Siane. The little rogue was tempted to mark Siane as the target for Khorvis, but she didn’t think that’s what Khorvis had in mind. Besides, The Grim had already had Siane as a guest in the garrison’s dungeon once.

She continued to study each individual. Finally, her gaze settled on one and stayed there. Syreena grinned, remembering where she’d seen this one before. Yes, this was the perfect choice for so many reasons. She snuck away to wait for the cover of darkness.

The newly remodeled secret prison would very soon have a guest.

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Beryl, ever watchful, noticed nothing amiss as the caravan traveled north across the Barrens. Once they reached the Alliance hold, and Tuuro received permission for the caravan to camp there, she finally let her guard down.

Setting up her bedroll and getting ready to turn in for the night, she then fed and watered her companion. As she turned to re-enter the tent, she felt a sudden pain on the side of her head. Only darkness followed...

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Siané had spent time in the Barrens before, in a small hut in the dry northern plains. The moist, colorful jungle in the southern half of the territory near the Great Divide evoked none of those foreign memories. Making her plodding way astride her black goat, the elf listened and watched as birds chorused, insects buzzed, and large beasts stalked just out of sight in the dense foliage.

Her business as Sanctuary’s emissary to the Alliance had brought her here, where the Alliance were aggressively pushing forward into what was once handily Horde territory, but it wasn’t because of the politics of the region. “Tuuroto the Starseer,” Commander Julilee said. “I’d like you to find him and reestablish a dialogue. I haven’t spoken to him since he was of the Redblades and a messenger is better suited to finding a traveling caravan than a letter.” Following the trail of the Cup and Blade had brought her here, and judging by the recent tracks that indicated a large party had recently passed this way, she had nearly caught up to them.

She was still surprised when she rounded a bend and saw the group gathered at the river. Dominating was the massive yak loaded with goods, astride which sat a bare-chested draenei man, but there were almost a handful of others as well, not one similar to the other. As she approached, Siané started to be able to make out their voices over the noise of jungle and river.

“What? The glowing puddle of magic? Looks safe enough,” a female worgen was saying. She was dark-furred and of all of them the only one who did not appear to have a mount.

“Per’aps ve should take sample of vater,” the draenei man said.

A draenei woman with an indecipherably spiky beast at her side had noticed Siané’s approach. She turned to face the newcomer, not unfriendly but clearly expecting to be paid heed to. “Hello,” she said.

“Hello,” Siané responded. “Is this… the Cup and Blade Caravan?”

A human man in robes looked over as well. “Indeed it is!” he said.

“Well, this is quite the surprise,” said another voice, this one quite familiar.

Siané saw Skylah Mackinzie approaching with a warm smile. Definitely not a member of the caravan, or at least Siané was pretty sure she wasn’t, Skylah headed the Ambassadors of the Twilight Empire – of which Siané was one, in addition to being an Emissary of Sanctuary. “Oh, Chancellor Skylah!” Siané said. “I wasn’t expecting to see you here!”

“I could say much the same for surprise,” Skylah said. To the group she remarked, “It would appear that you have two Empire Ambassadors along for the ride this evening.”

“Great! The more the merrier!” the human man in robes said.

“A Quel’dorei maiden,” the draenei man was saying. He hurriedly hopped off his yak to approach as well. Siané blinked at him, wondering why he appeared to be blushing, but she spoke to explain her presence.

“I’m here on behalf of Sanctuary, though,” Siané said.

“No matter who you are here on behalf of, it is good to see you,” Skylah told her.

“’ave ve met, dah?” the draenei man asked.

“I don’t believe so…” Siané said. She slid off her yak to curtsey before him. “I am Siané Dawnlight, Emissary of Sanctuary, and Ambassador of Twilight Empire.”

“Well, that explains why I didn’t recognize either of ya right off the bat,” the worgen female said. “Ah well.”

“Twilight Empire AND Sanctuary,” the draenei man said. He sounded very pleased, and certainly grinned very widely as he tipped his hood to her. “Varm pleasure smiles, dah. It is honor.”

“Dah, Tuuro,” the worgen female muttered.

“I am Tuuroto ze Starseer,” the draenei man went on, “and zhese are my comrades.” He started pointing them out and making introductions, starting with the worgen woman. “Mercenary Tesia Lucero—”

“Tesia Lucero!” the worgen female spoke for herself. “I do things.”

Siané blinked, but Tuuroto was continuing on. He indicated the human man, who bowed as he was introduced. “Kirin Tor Pyromancer Zant Truthvood,” Tuuroto said. Skylah happened to be next in the direction in he was going, and he gestured at her next. “Chancellor Sk, bah, you know Skylah.” The human woman chuckled and waved her hand. Last Tuuroto pointed at the draenei huntress. “And Rangari Beryl of Nagrand.”

Siané nodded at each in turn. “My pleasure to meet you all,” she said.

Tuuroto definitely looked a shade of pink as he grinned at her. “Now zhen, did zomevone say you are joinin’ us, dah?”

“Tuuro, you’re gaining color,” Tesia noted. Beryl laughed.

For lack of anything else to say, Siané explained, “Commander Julilee sent me to renew dialogue between our groups.”

“Oh, Miiis Julilee? I ’ave not ’eard from ’ere in quite zome time,” Tuuroto said. “Especially after zome... unfortunate incidents ve ’ad as caravan vhen ve visited ze Silvermoon region.”

“Is woman we were meeting in the Eversong, yes?” Beryl said. She had an accent like Tuuroto did, but spoke considerably less.

Tuuroto shook his head. “No, zhat vas Miiis Kiraleen. Miiister Z’s associate from ze Outriders.”

“I see,” Beryl said.

“…haven’t seen him this colourful since the day we told him about the treasure chest we hid for his birthday…” Tesia was saying.

Skylah looked towards Tesia. “Does he do this when there is promise of reward?”

“Sometimes. Has to be a big reward, though. And extra shiny coins.”

“I suppose I best keep an eye on the coin I brought along with me,” Skylah said with a small grin.

“Bah, he won't steal. From you. Directly.” Tesia paused, then added, “…probably.”

“Dah, ve ’ad plentiful plaaans for visiting ze Quel’dorei lands,” Tuuroto continued, then seemed to check himself. “B-but, again, now I am ranting.” He chuckled nervously.

“I heard you encountered some difficulties in Eversong,” Siané said quietly. “I’m sorry. It can be a very unfriendly place to those they consider outsiders.”

“Dah, ve learned zhat ze hard vay. Now I digress. Ve ought to resume our travel until ve find safe camp.” He turned toward his yak, and Siané got back up on her goat as the others turned to prepare to start moving again.

“Do you mind if I accompany you for a little while?” Siané asked, just to be sure, though he had certainly seemed welcoming.

“Not at all!” Tuuroto said with no hesitation.

“As I said, the more the merrier!” Zant agreed.

“More is safer,” Beryl pointed out.

Siané tried to look to Skylah for additional approval, but the massive yak had moved in the way. She would have to ask later to make sure she wasn’t interfering with Skylah’s business.

“Dah, as Zant and Beryl say,” Tuuroto said. “Alvight everyone. Double time in zpeed!”

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The caravan soon reached the Great Divide. There, it became apparent that they had no way to cross the lava-streaked chasm. While individuals could have been carried across on flying mounts, the massive yak and its cargo could not receive the same treatment. Tesia and Zant scouted each in different directions but saw no nearby crossings. Eventually it was decided that they would head northwest along the chasm and see if they could reach the Stonetalon Mountains from there.

Siané did get a chance to speak to Skylah briefly, who assured her her presence would not interfere with her business at all. She mentioned that she was traveling with the caravan for a few days not just for a change of pace, but also to observe the Empire’s allies.

Along the way, the party encountered a Horde tauren ensnared by a vicious tentacle plant. Though they freed him, his companions turned on them and they were forced to defend themselves. Siané was sad she didn’t even get a chance to try to speak to the tauren before they attacked. Tesia made quick work of them, all flying fur and claws and blade. They proceeded on shortly, not wanting to be the cause any more confrontations.

Next they came to what appeared to be some sort of abandoned Horde camp. However, after they entered it, Siané realized it was actually a tauren internment ground. Tuuroto didn’t appear to see any significance in that fact and wanted to claim a few of the ceremonial items left there, but the disapproval of his companions led him to abandon that idea. “Things to observe,” Skylah took Siané aside to point out. Siané nodded in understanding.

Several of Tuuroto’s companions seemed concerned by his behavior as well, almost as though finding it out of character for him. Siané made a note of that as well.

As the sky began to dim, they arrived at Honor’s Stand. The caravan entered the grounds and waited as Tuuroto obtained permission for them to stay. It was a somewhat fortified area, with well-built walls and a few towers, but obviously was not yet fully manned and operational as a post. The ragtag, colorful group stood out amongst the humans in their uniforms. Siané remembered walking around the Darkmoon Faire and wondering if she could belong there.

Tuuroto returned with a cask of ale and permission to make camp. A campfire was soon crackling and tents set up. Having not been prepared to stay outdoors, Siané hadn’t brought her own, but Skylah assured her they could share. Other members of the caravan arrived, catching up with the group for the evening.

Drinks and conversation flowed. It was pleasant and comfortable. Tuuroto retired early, but Siané got to know several other members of the caravan, and asked them about the life they led and what attracted them to it. Their reasons were varied, but in a way similar. They all wanted the freedom traveling brought.

Siané decided she would depart from the caravan the next day, after they reached Stonetalon. That would give her a little longer to reestablish common ground and maybe observe a little more, like Skylah had recommended. Commander Julilee would appreciate a thorough, thoughtful report. And more chance to show the Caravan the type of people Sanctuary were would help them be sure of an alliance as well.

More than a little buzzed, she eventually sought the shared tent to lie down and eventually doze off into a light sleep.

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