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Rina listened to what the dark elf told her what he knew of Rivan and nodded slowly. [#DC143C "I know someone who works with the fisherman's village a lot as an apothecary and healing mage. He's one of the best here so he works with the nobles too, but there's a chance he can give me some advice on how to approach the wood elves."] she sighed as she ran a hand over her hair, glancing around at their surroundings and then up to the sky to check how much daylight they had left. If she was quick she could probably get there and back to her inn before dark.
Because she wasn't raised around elvan cultures, Rina was lacking in her knowledge of the belief systems of the different elf races. She'd only known wood elves in passing, having one older woman pop her with a spoon when she'd accidentally broken into her home in an attempt to escape a pursuer. She'd then commented that Rina was too skinny and forced her to join her for dinner.
Rina glanced up at Nameless for a moment before turning down an alleyway, [#DC143C "I'm going to check in with the healer, you're welcome to tag along if you like but we have to be discrete."]
She paused for a moment, glancing up to the rooftops of the buildings surrounding them and out into the busy street they just left. She had the feeling of being watched, the hair on the back of her neck stood on end. Her instincts screamed at her to hide. Stifling a shudder, she turned down another alleyway before she used magic to hide. A simple spell designed to make it hide her features, making her harder to point out from anyone else. Nameless and any elf would see through it as well as anyone with any trace of magic but someone without it would have trouble locating her.
Moving through the city in a complicated route, just a precaution in case she was being followed, she eventually came to a small building just on the edge of the city. Rina walked around the back of the building toward an outdoor cellar before jerking the doors open and dropping down into the dark. Once inside, she took a set of stairs that led into the building until she reached the top and climbed into what was the back room of the apothecary shop, a place where clients weren't allowed.
In front of the shop, she could hear a couple of familiar voices and a third that she assumed was just a customer. As the bell on the door chimed, signally the departure of the customer, the curtain leading into the back room fluttered for a moment before an old man passed through it carrying an arm full of glass vials.
The old man with glasses resting on his nose paused in the doorway a he looked over Rina with a sigh, [b "Don't tell me you've been hurt again."]
Rina blinked, [#DC143C "You haven't seen me in years and that's the first thing you say? Not at least happy to see me doing fine?!"] she frowned.
The old man sighed again, shaking his head, [B "I'm glad to see you haven't gotten yourself killed yet but your presence always means my workload is going to get harder."]
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[i They fear outsiders.] Said so casually. He didn't answer her correctional statement about vendors. He was aware how much they talked. How much they noticed, how much they disliked races outside their own. Especially if you were an evil dark elf walking in the street, definitely up to something nefarious and definitely someone who you didn't want to serve or look at or leave alone. His blink was all he offered her by means of response.
He blinked again at her generalization, feeling like it was a bit more pointed now. Or was she just thick?
Exhaling softly, he nodded again as he was given information. It was a beginning piece they could get started with, perhaps. But the morrow would be the thing that would tell once Rina got whatever information or lack thereof that this informant would dig up in a singular evening.
His gaze hopped to the side, straightening a bit as he gazed around, glancing over the wary gazes and pretending not to notice. "[+purple He wasn't very friendly,]" the drow said, nodding. "[+purple His father's attitude ensured that. Acquaintances, more like. But I don't know who he went to personally. It was before my time with the family, mostly.]"
His voice dropped again, "[+purple But the interest in necromancy, the- affinity, I suppose, is something you won't have to dig too deep into.]" The look on Rina's face told him she was already aware of that part. That gave her two options. The Fisherman's Village- with the mostly wood elf, drow/dark elf, tiefling and immigrant population. The wood elves with their old, ancient elven voodoo culture dealing with life and death, and undeath, and their secrets; pulled out of their swamp village homeland when the high elves came in and established a city.
The drow, culturally different, a diaspora of both races, forced to flee proper, accepted elven culture during the war of the gods millennia ago. His people. With their fanaticism about their goddess, their desperations to please that delved into the things upstanding, moral elven society looked down their noses at. But those who had surfaced, few as they were, were mostly outcasts from proper drow society, or fugitives. Penniless, and wary. Their secrets would be guarded.
"[+purple But his name resurfaced after the Rising,]" he said, voice still low, beginning to be difficult to hear over the din of an alive city. "[+purple That's what she wants you to find.]"
Rina sighed, [#DC143C "I wasn't asking them where he was, I was asking them what they knew and if they'd heard any rumors on his whereabouts. You'd be surprised how much gossiping vendors in the market or merchants notice. They fear outsiders, nobility and races outside of their own so they tend to keep an eye on strange things."] As long as her ears were covered, the human vendors assumed she was human as well and most just assumed she was an angry lover just looking for a troublesome man.
[#DC143C "The fact that you're following me just proves my point. People pay attention to those they don't trust."] she stared up at him, [#DC143C "But since you're here, you may as well relay this to her. I've enlisted help from an informant friend of mine. I trust him to keep it discreet and he doesn't know the details of why I'm here looking for Rivan, nor who sent me after him. I'll meet with him tomorrow to find out what he's learned."]
She walked alongside him, glancing at the faces of the people around her. She glanced up at his face as he leaned closer to offer his suggestion. [#DC143C "Mages, huh? I know of a few near and around the city. Do you know much about the type of company he liked to keep? The places he likes to visit? Things he likes? That sort of thing?"] she asked, [#DC143C "Or will I need to speak to M'lady for that?"] she added with a raised eyebrow.
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His head inclined in a nod, blinking slowly with the motion under thick, pale lashes. It was an expected expense, of course, but he himself was rather on the fence about paying too [i much] to get something done. Then it had the possibility never to get done at all. He was much more accustomed to the old, tried and true, method of threat. He would know it intimately. And was not above it if Rina wasn't going to get anywhere.
The lilac man exhaled softly, folding his arms behind himself. "[+purple Had we known you would be asking greengrocers where her brother was, we would have continued our search on our own,]" he said, glancing Rina over. She didn't seem like much, but she was a ready resource with how she had broken in, he supposed.
Tipping his head a little, he did follow her, adjusting his coat and smoothing it over himself better as he went.
"[+purple I can be of assistance should you request it of me,]" he said, inclining his head, again with that half bow at about the waist. Very formal.
He glanced around as she had done, stepping closer and dropping his voice, "[+purple Though, I might start with more magely types. The last our mistress has heard of her brother was when an adventuring party had come into the house, so says her father, looking for an elf that resembled the family.]" He arched a brow. "[+purple I would think that would be somewhere to start?]"
Rina nodded in understanding and relief. Knowing he was sent by Nadia meant that he wasn't someone trying to fool her into getting herself captured. Though she wasn't expecting Nadia to have a dark elf working for her as well. Certainly seemed like she had a large circle of elves around her.
She considered his question for a moment, [#DC143C "Yes, I may. Depending on how long this drags out and who I need to find in for an answer."] She had enough money to survive on for a few days but that didn't include bribing lowlifes for answers or the random information fee she might come across.
Rina stared up at the dark elf for a moment but shrugged when he refused to give her his name. It was a good enough reason for her and she wasn't expecting to be around him more than just to get a message from Nadia anyway, [#DC143C "Very well. Nameless, come on. I don't like being out in this city."] she said as she turned to walk out of the square.
She glanced around at the people scattered around them for a moment, checking to make sure no one seemed to recognize her. [#DC143C "Do you know any leads for where I can find Rivan or are you just here to deliver a message?"] she asked. People recognized the family name more than the his given name so if anyone happened to hear her speak his first name, they were less likely to be suspicious or overly curious.
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The locals didn't exactly recognize Rivan's first name off the bat, but if Rina dropped the name Siannodel, then they immediately knew who he was. Gossip traveled when your high elf eldest son resurrects his nursemaid from the grave and she kills someone. Yknow. But that seemed to be the extent of most's knowledge. He seemed to have disappeared, it seemed, after he was disowned. But, then again, she was asking mostly people on the street, vendors. Wealthy family gossip was commonplace.
The elf glanced to her from the corner of his vision, keeping his stance, his energy mostly forwards. Away from the 'favorite criminal' as Nadia referred to this Rina as, for the time being.
He arched a pale brow at the suspicious note in the halfbreed's voice, head tipping a little. So it seemed that his mistress wasn't the only one this one had contact with, unsurprising, but it meant there were people who knew her in this city.
"[+purple She asks if you need an allowance for your upkeep,]" he said, waiting to see if that amount of vagueness would clarify things. He wouldn't use her name if he could help it, especially next to the woman who kept asking about the Siannodel house reject.
The elf stopped this time, turning to face Rina when they came to a halt in the square. He bowed at the waist. "[+purple I remain nameless for the time being. You're on a trial run.]" His tone was curt. Polite, but not overly friendly. He, too, didn't know this woman either or what her intentions were.
Wandering the market place in search of a decent meal, Rina picked up some fruit and some replacement provisions of the ones she used on her way here. She also took the chance to chat with the residents about recent events and rumors on Rivans location for her to take back to Nadia when she saw her next.
As she stepped away from a fruit stand after having learned nothing helpful yet again, a man stepped in line beside her.
Instinctively, Rina's hand went to the dagger at her back. She looked up at him as he spoke, her eyebrows raising as he mentioned their mutual acquaintance. [#DC143C "Which is who?"] she asked. If what he said was true, he'd say either Nadia or Dryn though Rina doubted Nadia would ask someone else for this.
She continued walking, keeping her hand on the handle of her dagger just in case he gave the wrong answer and was after something else. Rina wasn't exactly well known among most people here but she still had to keep the attention of certain men off her back. She couldn't trust that this man wasn't working for one such man who meant to take her prisoner again.
[#DC142C "Who are you anyway?"] she asked suddenly as they came to an open space with fewer people around and more space that she could move around if she needed to. Also, with plenty of alleyways she could dart down if she needed to run or buildings she could climb and escape.
[right [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/78/85/ff/7885ff3484715e8225d7ed1ff8faf027.jpg]] During the night, in the depths of the city, someone was killed. There is always someone killed in a city this big. It was an aching truth to those to whom it mattered- the good in the world- to those related to the unfortunate party. Such things. But. In this case, there was no one immediately known in relation. A vagrant was killed and found with their throat frankly missing on one side.
Splayed in the street, the man was found in a heap, limbs curled in, and face up towards the skies in a side street alleyway, head at an awkward angle. Very dead.
That same morning, someone else set out on a mission. Something much simpler, in theory, armed with only a description. And he knew the areas where he suspected he would begin his search. They were familiar areas, for the elven man.
A purplish hue to an underground creature without color for the surface's sun in the early, misty morning made him look to those who weren't familiar with his kind unreal. The undead for the most part didn't wander as the sun began to burn through the morn, not anything that would generally be fresh looking like the spring-stepped, focused elf. A zombie could stumble through the daylight, not much bothered. And it was way, way too bright for a vampire.
And so, casually, he eventually found the person he was looking for wandering amongst the marketplace, seeking out something either to pinch, or to buy as a meal. He fell into step beside them.
"[+purple Your first day in the big city,]" he said casually, walking beside her. The face she turned to was that of the elf. Unnatural paleness that lent a purplish hue, white hair, and a slight jaundice to the sclera of the eye, the irises pale. A drow in a black fine suit. A leather coat over pants and boots. Understated, but well made.
"[+purple Our mutual acquaintance sends regards.]"
Rina decided she'd be better off traveling by night to C'est-Vrais. There would be fewer people out paying attention to what she was doing that way and she could go ahead and begin her search for Rivan before Nadia arrived in the city.
The first thing she did upon arriving in C'est-Vrais was finding a room in a cheap backwater inn. It was safe enough to keep trouble away from her but discrete in order to keep people from noticing her. After hiding her supplies in her little room, Rina decided to explore the underworld of the city before the sun set for the night.
In one bar, she found a bounty board with flyers of various different runaways and criminals. None of the pictures resembled Rivan but she did spot one that looked outdated. The sketch appeared as a younger Rina, luckily, she didn't look quite the same as she did when she was younger. Glancing around to be sure no one was watching, she snatched the flyer off the board before shoving it in her pocket.
Rina strode up to the bar and leaned against the counter with a small smile at the bartender. On the outside, this bar appeared like any other, just a bar, though a little rough around the edges. But Rina knew the owner of the place also served as an information broker and smuggler.
[#DC143C "Is Dryn around?"] she asked. The bartender gave her a suspicious look but shrugged, [i "I don't know, girly, let me think."]
Rina scowled at him, standing up straight, [#DC143C "Either you can answer my question or I'll just barge into his office and explain to him that you refused to help his good friend."] she said, sliding a dagger out of her belt and spinning the hilt around her fingers deftly. This bar was visited by many a different race but it was run by a human staff and human men were simple to get around.
The bartender grunted by pointed to a door hidden behind a bright red curtain, [i "He's in there. Go on in, he's alone."] he stated as he turned back to his work. Rina grinned at him, sliding her blade back in its place on her belt, [#DC143C "Glad to see we agree."] she said as she strode across the room toward the door.
Shoving the door open and standing in front of the desk where Dryn sat, gazing up at her lazily, Rina crossed her arms, staring down at him. [b "Haven't seen you for a while, pipsqueak, what brings you back here of all places? Freedom turned out to be too much for ya'?"] he asked with a smirk.
Rina ignored him, [#DC143C "I'm looking for someone. A male elf with golden eyes, tall with black hair. Went by the name Rivan."]
Dryn tapped his chin as he thought it over, [b "I can find out where he is, it'll cost you though. Give me a day or two to get the information and we'll talk payment then."] he sighed, [b "Now get out of here, before someone recognizes you, pipsqueak, I don't need that kind of attention here."]
Rina nodded, [#DC143C "Find me a lead by tomorrow."] she said simply as she turned to walk out the office and exit the bar. Now to see what she could find out on her own before tomorrow. Dryn was good but he was dirty, she needed to know more about the area before she listened to his information blindly.
[right [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/19/0f/06/190f062d22005b8b4508d7bbe8f5bc0b.jpg]] Nadia felt a smile come across her lips, watching the creature socialize like a proper dog. Melchior, however, with the new invitation, was more interested in getting a good exploratory smell over Rina. He resisted, just softly, and instead turned to start exploring and nudging at and smelling around other parts of her.
It was the sorceress' turn to have her lips curl in an amused smile now at the wrinkle in Rina's nose. Such a childish response to something actually rather serious. It was amusing, but that was about it, not being much of a response. But acceptable.
The elf shrugged her shoulders, the tasseled trim on her delicate robe shifting with the movement. "[+gold As you like. Find me at your earliest convenience and tell me what you know. Keep my name out of people's mouths, unless you can trust it'll get you through a door. Those exist, too.]" She explained, making a dismissive gesture. She assumed Rina would have figured that was implied, at least.
Another smile. It was an honest answer, if simplistic, potentially omitting. "[+gold Yes, of course,]" she responded with a certain genuineness in her tone. More than Rina knew. Her eyes for a moment lingered on the halfbreed before turning away again, back to the window, left open, and the drapes moving with the summery breeze.
"[+gold Well, is there anything else you need, or shall we hide you somewhere to go rest for the night? Or- are you the type to travel moonlit?]"
Rina blinked in surprise at the sudden affection and laughed, running her hand over Melchior's fur again. She carefully tried to move him from her face, amused.
She wrinkled her nose at that, it wasn't what she thought she'd say but she planned on running away and disappearing as soon as she could if he noticed her.
[#DC143C "It may be quicker if I go on ahead on my own and just meet you there,"] she answered. She also knew that she'd have to be careful about who spotted her in the city. It was possible that a few people might know her face there.
She took another sip from her glass as she thought over Nadia's last question. Shrugging slightly, Rina's crimson eyes turned up to Nadia's with a small smile, [#DC143C "As I said earlier, I was just looking for things to sell. A girl's gotta eat, right?"] It wasn't a total lie but it wasn't the whole truth either. She just wasn't sure she was ready to tell Nadia what she was really looking for.
Rina had come to find information about notable elf families and where to locate them. There was one family she was curious about and she'd assumed that a merchant as well off as Nadia's father, would have information on other wealthy and important elf families. Unfortunately, Nadia had interrupted her before she'd found anything of use. The search in itself was mostly harmless but it would to a lot of questions Rina wasn't ready to answer yet.
[right [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/19/0f/06/190f062d22005b8b4508d7bbe8f5bc0b.jpg]] With more encouragement, and a sudden lack of petting as Rina sat back against the wall, Melchior started forwards and started to lick at her face. He whined softly, stepping closer.
Nadia gazes at her, arching a brow. "[+gold You certainly will. And I won't know where. The swamps are large.]" She brought her hand up, checking her nails and curling her fingers to get a better look.
"[+gold Well,]" she mused, eyes returning towards Rina. "[+gold I suppose that's up to you... I could give you a ride, or just fund your transportation. I'll be at Persnick House in the upper district. Either way, really. I can- drop you in some dirty little alleyway, or on the edge of town or whatever.]"
Her brows pressed together with a smirk over the rim of the glass, "[+gold Oh, I suppose so, depending on where your morals lie.]" She glanced at Rina, amusement in her gaze.
With that she shifted again more towards Rina, "[+gold So, tell me about you, little halfbreed. What were you doing on my father's property? [i Very] bold of you.]" It was as if they were sharing secrets to one another, about love interests, scandals.
Rina stroked the hound's fur while he sniffed at her face as she listened to Nadia. She pushed herself back up to her feet, crossing her arms as she leaned back against a wall.
She gave a small smile and a shrug, [#DC143C "Should he discover me, I can almost guarantee that I'll disappear, especially if he could cause trouble for me."] It was better for her to keep her past and existence a secret. It was helpful to know that Nadia at least would make sure he didn't send anyone else after her if he did find out about her.
Rina smiled, [#DC143C "Does this mean I'll be accompanying you to C'est-Vrais, then?"] she asked, raising an eyebrow, [#DC142C "Or will I be simply meeting you there should I come up with any useful information on the whereabouts of Rivan?"]
If she wasn't connected to Nadia in C'est-Vrais, things might be easier for her. It would be hard to stay out of notice if she were accompanying an elvan heiress. She thought it would be easier on them both if Rina kept away as much as possible given the amount of trouble Rina tended to fall into.
She picked up her glass once more and took a sip, shaking her head as Nadia asked if she knew why their father disowned Rivan, [#DC143C "I assume it is something he believes serious, correct? It must be something big if Rivan is in C'est-Vrais."]
[right [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/19/0f/06/190f062d22005b8b4508d7bbe8f5bc0b.jpg]] Kneeling in front of the large dog brought his head over hers in height, long maw parted in panting to close off and on as he was given newer things to smell. He bent his head so she could get to him, taking the chance to smell closer to her now that she was reaching for him. Presently his attention came more towards her chest and collar, snuffling around that as Rina let him nearer.
"[+gold He's been endeavoring to forget Rivan completely,]" Nadia responded. "[+gold Which, may mean that you need to disappear as well should he find you. And you know no one will look for you. I have clout on my own, but my father's eclipses me.]" her tone hardened at the end, a sneer lifting a part of her lip for a moment with a dark glance flickered towards the fireplace.
"[+gold I won't be far from you,]" the woman responded, taking up and taking a heartier taste from her glass. She sucked her tongue off her teeth, resuming that smile of hers. "[+gold I had planned on retreating to C'est-Vrais anyhow. It just seems your appearance is fortuitous for me with its timing.]"
She turned towards Rina and presented herself rather elegantly with a pose, and a roll of her wrist. "[+gold I am certainly in a position to be a rather effective patroness, don't you?]"
She knew their chances were high. C'est-Vrais was while a beautiful city, had its underbelly. And in those shadows was a healthy underworld, and a physical underground. The Fisherman's Village, the poorest district in the city skirting the bank of the Semble river, the biggest one cutting through the city and to the sea, and curling towards the piers and wharfs and port areas was full of it. Of life, and of undeath, and of the black market.
Nadia sighed softly, draining her glass now. "[+gold In his time, I'm sure my brother has made his fair share of enemies...]" her eyes traced absently for a moment, glancing outside. "[+gold Do you know why my father disowned him?]"
Rina kneeled in front of Melchior, still keeping her hand out to pet him. She carefully ran her fingers through his fur, studying his crimson eyes before she smiled softly, relieved that he didn't seem to want to hurt her now, probably because Nadia didn't mind her.
She nodded in understanding that her father not finding out about Rina's working for her, [#DC143C "Very well. I don't intend on telling people that I work for you unless I have to. As far as anyone knows, I'm just a wandering traveler, easier to be forgotten that way."] She wasn't interested in Nadia's father finding out about her, the last thing she needed was for him to see her and make a connection to her parentage.
[#DC143C "I'll keep in contact then but won't bring him back without a good reason."] she answered simply.
Rina's eyes widened in understanding as Nadia explained the appearance of the man she had to find and his name. So he was likely a sibling and if he were last seen in C'est-Vrais, then that most likely meant that he was in some kind of trouble and in hiding. Rina knew the place but she hadn't been there since she was young and wasn't high on the places she'd like to see again.
Rina sighed, running her hand over her hair lightly, [#DC143C "I know the place, though I'm not excited about going there. I'll head there and see what I can find out from the locals and the black market. I'll have to stock up on supplies first."]
She ran her hand over the hound's fur before adding, [#DC143C "Is there anything else I should be aware of?"] she asked, just making sure before heading into the dangerous territory after a man she knew little of.
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