Suspicious: Part 2
(The Founders Arc – Chapter 2)
Elishtar Fangblade sits on a rickety wooden chair at a cafe in the bustling Boralus evening, enjoying a plate of sweet rolls and some sort of thick, savory stew that smells heavily of herbs. Her head lightly pulses from one too many ales the previous morning, and the cloud of slumber still mutes her senses. The Kal’dorei woman seems a contradiction in many senses of the word: blinded and tattooed like an Illidari, but wearing the leathers of a traditional Sentinel. Her tattoos visibly glow through any cloth that covers them, and they seem to cycle between midnight purple and a golden yellow and back again.
She smiles faintly, happy to have a few minutes to herself before the night’s work would begin as she dips a round piece of bread into the stew and savors the warmth that flows down her throat and radiates from her stomach. She would have never guessed that running even a small military operation would be so much work …but here she was. And she enjoyed it. Maybe not as much as she enjoyed the rush and thrill of battle, the caustic hiss as demon blood hits air, the blur of motion as she moved between foes and victims alike. Parts of her missed Argus, the war against the Legion. The war against the Horde had been, comparatively… dirty. She frowns, thinking of the young Tauren brave her blades snuffed out the week before. Part of a raiding party against the Kul’Tiran humans. Her ‘allies’. How long had the Tauren been the allies of the Kal’dorei? Ten Thousand years sharing a continent with them, and she could not recall a single war. Then the orcs and humans came, and… “All fel broke loose…” she says, quietly, to herself.
Suddenly not so hungry, she stands and tosses down two gold coins, her waitress-daughter away inside the building and thus unable to protest the generosity. She grabs the large Illidari warglaive, topped with a stylized screaming Nathrezim skull and flickering with enchanted shadow-flame, and attaches it to the latch in the back of her harness. She wanders up the street, keeping to the growing shadows between buildings and her head down, so her long silver hair covers most of her blindfold.
The light within her feels it and reacts before she is even conscious of something happening. Her tattoos flare up brightly, the golden yellow color intensifying to a blinding white, and even as her ears twitch and she registers a sudden thunderous crack, a rumble, and the corona of magic pulsing from up the street, wounds from the last battle only half healed and scarring smooth out to fresh skin. And then, just as quickly as it was there, it is gone, a wave of energy that cascades out over a few blocks and recedes, but where before maybe two dozen humans were before her in the street ahead, now there are a little less than twenty. Four or five souls just simply -wink- out of existence for no discernible reason.
Her breath heaves in her chest as she scans behind her as far back as she can, to make certain her daughter is still at her work. Sure enough, there is her soul, cleverly disguised to match the non-demonic exterior she wore when away from home. A brief wave of relief passes through her, before she turns her attention up the street where the unknown pulse came from. Her ears can pick up cries of anguish and anger from up ahead, and she rushes forward, preternaturally fast.
Another night elf- like her, silver haired, but wearing some plain Kul’Tiran robes, sits in the center of a small crowd, being aggressively handled by a human with shoulders as broad as the sea wall that protected the main portion of Boralus from the sea. The woman is clearly trembling, afraid and weak. The crowd is angry. She hears the word ‘witch’ being whispered. Elishtar frowns, and places a hand upon the hilt of a standard Darnassian blade, sliding it free of its scabbard but keeping the enchanted warglaive at her back.
“I think.” Elishtar says, projecting her voice in a slow but powerful timbre, “That the lady would like to be left alone, no?”
The humans slowly turn to look at her. Even without the cursed blade, imposing tattoos and demonic features, she has the cool confidence of a fighter who has seen entire lifetimes of warfare.
“All true. I will not ask again.” Elishtar says, a demonic echo creeping into and beneath her voice, like the shadow of a leviathan beneath the waves. Most of the humans scatter, slowly perhaps, begrudgingly. But a few stay. The tough guy holding the prone woman stays.
The other night elf, pale and tearful, takes advantage of her assailant’s distraction to yank his hand free of her mouth, gasping out in slightly slurred Darnassian, “Sister… please. T-tell them that I did not harm their kin. I… I would never… It was the awful thing that knocks!”
She sniffles and shoves at the powerful man’s wrist as he turns back to her, trying to silence her once more with a growled, “Y’tryin’ ta curse us agin’, witch?!”
He yanks his arm from her weak grip and hauls his hand back, clenching it into a fist. Elishtar takes the moment to capitalize on the brute turning his back to her and steps in, striking him at the base of his skull with the pommel of her blade – a medium strength blow, enough that he’ll feel it for a few days, not enough to make him dumb for the rest of his life. To the man’s credit, he drops the woman and stumbles but doesn’t fall. The Huntress lifts a brow, impressed.
As he regains composure, the other humans start circling. A dagger shimmers in the day’s dying light, and someone else finds a broken oar, holding it shakily. Elishtar holds her blade out, slowly turning, a promise for the humans if they pursue this further.
“If you think this woman is guilty of witchcraft, the Sentinels will allow an interview with an Inquisitor from Drustvar. Send for one. Until then, she is under our protection. I apologize for whatever magical tragedy just befell you, but you will not resort to mob justice.”
The priestess at her back, freed from the bruising and also supportive grip of her attacker, droops amidst an odd collection of dry and now dirty carrots, an ugly blanket, a few flasks of something and a broken basket. She gasps for breath as if she’s been running a marathon, her hair dangling down around her face as her head lolls forward, and she blinks her eyes closed.
The big guy groans in pain and shakes his head, rushing forward with naught but inarticulate fury on his tongue. The Huntress side-steps quickly to his side, leaving a single foot outstretched to greet him and a flat, empty gauntleted hand striking him in the face, sending the man careening out of control away from the priestess and clattering to the wet street below. The others spare glances between themselves, and Elishtar swings with her blade, sending half of the broken oar down to the street as well. The more violent remnants of the mob scatter.
Elishtar waits a moment to make sure they have dispersed and leans down to pick up the other Kal’dorei woman. “Ishnu’alah, sister… let’s get you someplace safe.”