The Narrator's blog
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The cell door slams shut with a stomach-turning CLANG. You listen to the guard’s footsteps echo down the corridor outside, then fade into dripping water and quiet sobs, now and again interlaced with the scrape of chain upon stone. A short length of chain extends from a loop set into the masonry of the wall to the heavy shackle about your ankle; you can move a little ways, but not without the iron digging into your flesh, even through your clothes. At least your hands are free, if only to stuff under your arms so the chill doesn’t get to them.
You certainly weren’t planning on being thrown in jail tonight.
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Grasping the back of your chair to regain your balance, you demand the dwarf tell you what she thinks she’s doing. Perrinale, his eyes wide and mouth open, leaning back as if the posture could keep the dwarf from cutting into his neck, stretches out his fingers as if reaching for something on his desk. You follow his eyes and glimpse a twisted wand lying among the papers. It seems to be glowing slightly. Quickly, you look back to the dwarf.
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Pulling your attention away from Kenseth's sobbing widow, you move past your escort and into Inspector Perrinale's office. The chaotic bustle of the corridor calms as the tall elf closes his door, the guard from downstairs left standing sentinel outside.
Perrinale's office appears in a kind of disarray that seems unfamiliar to the furnishings, as if this was a particularly busy day. A goblet resting on its side at the edge of his desk slowly drips clear liquid onto sheaves of paper covering the floor below. As you move to a chair you catch it up and place it upright, startled by the piercing stare of the Investigtor as you lift your eyes.
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A cold weight settles in your stomach, your fingers curling around the edge of the bar. No longer interested in your half-finished meal, you wait, motionless, until you hear the dragon Miranda’s footsteps blend into the voices and music descending from the party upstairs. Slapping some coin on the bar, you shove yourself out of your seat and hurry from the Legerdemain Lounge.
Obviously, she knew who had killed Kenseth. Why else would she have spoken that way? Dragons. They always seemed to know everything, keeping it to themselves and pulling the strings that suited them from the background. Meanwhile, decent men like Kenseth end up dead and fools end up living in the sewers. You wonder about your dwarven tail as you chew over your thoughts, but decide to not even glance behind you. If she continues to follow, she’ll just be walking into the Dalaran Constabulary anyway.
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Miranda the not-so-well-disguised blue dragon stares at you when you ask if she could possibly explain the whole situation. Then she slowly, gradually smiles, showing her sharp canines again, as her long fingers pluck a fruit-laden toothpick out of her cocktail.
“How adorable you mortals are, always asking for explanations. Always asking us to reveal our plans. This is where I’m supposed to speak in a clever parable, aren’t I? Where I will somehow draw parallels between some fictional events and what is happening as we speak without ever spelling it out? I could do that, you know.”
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“What do you mean, ‘Who are you?’??” The strange woman beside you retorts, looking quite taken aback at your inquiry. “Didn’t they tell you all about me? Their dragon contact? You’d think they worshipped the ground I walked on half the time.”
With a look to the bartender, a drink arrives before her momentarily, which she sips as if she needs the alcohol to calm her down. A little ruffled by her initial answer you mention casually that you had noticed, indeed, that she probably was a dragon in disguise.
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As you wind your way out into the open street, you find your feet turning towards that beacon of light and life in the still night of the city, the Legerdemain Lounge. While adventurers of both the Horde and Alliance had their own styles of taverns for rest and relaxation, the Legerdemain was something else entirely. Perhaps a bit of elven opulence, perhaps a splash of human recklessness, perhaps a touch of gnomish ingenuity, perhaps a large dollop of goblin greed: it all came together in the colorful vibrancy of the Lounge.
Obviously, a private party was being held in the upstairs rooms and balconies tonight, as groups and couples and the occasional loner either waltz into the building or stagger out at your approach. Thudding, humming music spins around the lights shining from the upstairs windows, and the smell of alcohol and perfume hits you as hard as a bouncer as you step inside. You swiftly turn away from the lobby, where bouncers are indeed waiting to deny entrance to those without an invitation, and make your way to the relatively undisturbed bar.
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You take a long moment to look over the motley crew of characters before you, with their rather cliché group name. They stare back at you expectantly. At this point, all you want to do is get out of the damp stink of the sewers, so you tell them yes, you will help them, if you can.
“Oh, I knew it!” The gnome claps his hands together and breaks into a grin. “I knew we’d find a ally!”
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They seem to lean in over you: the gnome, the goblin, the orc, the swarthy dwarf woman and the shadowy undead. Not even the orc, however, is showing any sign of violence towards you; they seem to radiate a strange, needy curiosity.
You clear your throat and start talking.
You tell them about seeing the squirrel in the Dalaran courtyard, and the corner of a cloak behind some bushes. You tell them about the body of Magister Kenseth sprawled in the grass, the paleness of his skin and the bruisings on his face and hand. You tell them about the note you found crumpled there, how you couldn’t read it and wondered what it was. You tell them about the arrival of the guards, your meeting with the elven Investigator Perrinale, and how you had planned on taking the note to him. Then you look to the gnome and the orc who had caught up with you in the alley and shrug.
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Your feet jam up against the slick pipe, even as another blast of cold air chills you at the very edge of the drop-off. You’re suddenly sick with vertigo; a winged shape hovers deep in a cloud, pronouncing the space between you and it and the ground. For a moment, you’re unable to move.
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As your captors approach, the dwarf standing sentinel raises a hand and takes a step towards them in greeting. Not wanting to risk another meeting with the orc’s fists, with all the strength in your legs you push yourself towards the cool fresh air spiraling up the tunnel.
With a thud you land on your chest, painful little rocks digging into your flesh through your clothes. You start to squirm, shoulders, elbows, knees and toes digging into the soiled tiles to inch yourself forward. From behind you, a bark of a laugh echoes in the tunnel.
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Everything hurts a little more than you’d like. Resting your head back against a cool stonework wall, you take a few long deep breaths, allowing your head time to clear. Gradually your eyes adjust to the flickering torchlight, and you’re able to discern figures approaching from a tunnel off to your right, beyond the dwarven sentinel.
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Trapped beneath the orc’s strength, face crushed against the stone wall, you suck a deep breath in between your teeth and summon all your power into your one free limb: your left foot.
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Glancing from side to side, you quietly inform the Investigator that you would like to speak with him in private, later, if possible. He gives you a long look then slowly nods.
“I see. Well, once we’ve transported the body and swept the area, I will head back to my office. I should be there in no more than thirty minutes. I will inform my secretary to allow your entrance. The Golden Tower, by the way.” He takes a small card from a pocket and hands it to you, clear printed writing and a slightly glowing arcane circle on the little slip of paper. “Investigator Laurth Perrinale, of the Dalaran Constabulary. And you may be?”
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The Sin’dorei approaches with long strides behind the two guardsmen. His features are sharp and his eyes narrow, a pointedness to his face accentuated by a blond goatee at his chin, which he strokes thoughtfully as he approaches the scene. Long red robes take a moment to settle around him as he pauses.
“So it’s true then. It’s really Kenseth, isn’t it?” He answers himself with a deep sigh, his eyes on the corpse.
The guard who had been speaking to you begins to give his report to the elf; obviously the Sin’dorei is an official investigator. As the guard gestures to you a long eyebrow raises and a green gaze scans your person closely, fine long fingers still stroking the goatee. The hair on the back of your neck stands up. He’s not just looking - you can feel it. He’s sensing deeply, surveying every movement of energy around you.
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You scramble back from the corpse at the guard’s approach, quickly shoving the little folded note into a pocket. “Master Kenseth?!” you exclaim, eyes wide. “He’s dead!”
The female guard, armor clattering, quickly takes your place by the corpse’s side, fingertips reaching for the neck to feel for a pulse. She shakes her head, in obvious distress. “He is! He really is! It’s too late for a priest, Markas, but call for help!”
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The courtyard remains empty, save for the birds and squirrels rustling in the tree limbs above. Casually, you make your way over to the body, leaning around a stand of bushes for a full view.
The body is that of a human male, of average height and solidly built. He is dressed in fine robes of gold and crimson, trimmed with lavender. The embroidered silk is twisted around his body, one leg bent beneath the other. His eyes are only half-closed, a hint of green showing beneath pale lids.
You just couldn’t resist the baker’s cart on your way out of Dalaran. After exchanging some coin for a friendly smile and a well-wrapped goodie, you had made your way to the center of town, meaning to cross soon towards the flight master. But the northern sun - warmer than usual on this spring day - beckoned you to sit and enjoy your treat, directing you to a bench in the courtyard at the center of the city.