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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 None of the pictures resembled Rivan but she did spot one that looked outdated.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.
[right [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/19/0f/06/190f062d22005b8b4508d7bbe8f5bc0b.jpg]] Melchior's head, with the soft bump into his nose, twitched back before doggedly reaching forwards to smell her fingers this time, black nose wet against the half-elf's skin. His crimson eyes would flicker up to her and back down again, unnatural for an animal, and not albino based upon the darkness of his nose. He nudged up underneath her palm, pushing the hand back at her, and took a step past it, gazing at her, waiting to see if he could come closer; ears pricked forwards.
Nadia's painted lips curled in a smile, showing the glint of gold on her teeth. "[+gold You catch on quick.]" and then offered a casual shrug, setting her own glass down and moving again to sit languidly down on the chaise, sliding a hand through her hair. "[+gold No, I don't usually care if one- in the face of trouble or need- say with a bit of confidence that it's me backing them. It's this instance.]" Her eyes moved to the window, narrowing slightly in thought as she looked out. "[+gold I don't want my father to find out. At all. Really, ideally, anyone. I lead my own life, he knows that.]"
Her eyes moved back to Rina, seeming to consider that. Did she want her to bring him back? They glanced to the side. "[+gold Communicate to me first. Only bring him if it's an emergency.]"
At her second question, Nadia's purring, amused smile bloomed again, gesturing vaguely. "[+gold Mm, black hair, gold eyes, an undercut, if I recall...]" she responds with a roll of her wrist, flipping her own raven hair languidly, gold eyes turning to Rina again. "[+gold His name is Rivan Siannodel.]" Nadia's voice dropped at that, intimately, secretly, leaning in towards Rina with very serious eyes, gauging her response.
A sigh escaped her, laying her head back on the chaise. "[+gold The last known place he was found... was C'est-Vrais*.]"
"[+gold It's all touchy information...]"
[size10 *big, coastal city. Think stylized, fantasy New Orleans type. Enchanted swamps skirting the city, mean wildlife, big port, voodoo/wood elves. Very mixing-pot type of city, though originally wood elf territory. Some big shit went down in the city though, recently, and it's known for being overrun now and again with undead: vampires, ghouls; zombies, mostly. Rina may or may not know what happened, depending on what sort of character she is.]
Rina watched the hound curiously, just to be sure he wasn't interested in attacking her as soon as she let her guard down. Setting her glass down carefully, she held her hand out tentatively to him, letting him sniff her hand.
She looked up at Nadia as she explained why she needed someone to get information for her, [#DC143C "That makes sense. I suppose that also means you also want my working for you kept secret as well?"] she asked. It could reflect badly on Nadia if people found out that she had a halfbreed thief in her employ.
She nodded as Nadia explained that she'd be looking for information about someone, [#DC143C "That much I can manage. Do you want me to find him and bring him back to here if he is alive? What does he look like and what's his name?"] she asked. Rina wondered momentarily if this man she wanted her to find was a lover of Nadia's but decided to it better not to ask.
[#DC143C "Of course I'll also need to know if you have any leads as to where he might have gone. And if there's anything I should be wary of while asking about him. People get really defensive when someone starts asking around about touchy information, the last thing either of us need is someone after my head."] Of course she had no intention of telling Nadia at the moment, that there were already humans after her head, though none knew where to find her.
[right [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/19/0f/06/190f062d22005b8b4508d7bbe8f5bc0b.jpg]] Seeing that Rina wasn't moving either hither or thither, the large white dog leaned forward more on delicate toes and the wiggling nudge of a curious nose was now in the hip of Rina's clothing. He circled her, tail moving in a handful of wags at a time as he began to explore, to feel out the temperament of this stranger.
Nadia chuckled softly, "[+yellow Yes, I'm an heiress.]" calling herself that was still something new and strange. Even in her position it wasn't often used. She was referred to as Lannith's daughter, mistress, and the like. "[+yellow But, in being an heiress, being so public, there is much I cannot do that could garner some attention I'd rather not have.]"
She took a sip of the drink in her hand, sighing and swirling it in the squat, stemmed glass as she turned towards the window. "[+yellow When it's big news that you've even come into a tavern, there's so much limelight that it's difficult to do anything without it being broadcast.]" She looked over at Rina now, smirking. "[+yellow You, on the other hand, can slip in and out of an area rather easily, and even if they see your face there's no backlash.]"
"[+yellow And what I need,]" she said, moving back towards the littler halfbreed. "[+yellow Is information. I need you to find someone for me, or locate the whereabouts of his remains if he is no longer.]"
Rina watched the dog sniff at her but made no move to touch him. She wasn't sure she trusted him not to try to bite off her hand should she try to befriend him, though she was sure she'd need to eventually since it seemed she'd be working for Nadia for a while.
Once Nadia handed her the glass, Rina sniffed at it curiously. She wasn't much for alcohol in general, it dulled her mind and reflexes, made her sluggish, especially when she wasn't sure when she'd have to run away. Taking a tentative sip of the drink so not to be rude to her new host or employer or whatever Nadia was at the moment.
She eyed her curiously. Rina had definitely been wondering about that, [#DC143C "Yeah, it's crossed my mind. You're an heiress, aren't you? What could there possibly be that you'd need someone to get for you in secret that you can't just ask for?"] The question wasn't meant as an insult, Rina was honestly curious.
Curiously glancing around the room as if to make a point. Though so far she'd realized that Nadia didn't seem to care much about material things that Rina could sell, so whatever it was that Nadia wanted from Rina, she assumed it was important.
[right [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/19/0f/06/190f062d22005b8b4508d7bbe8f5bc0b.jpg]] Nadia smiled down at her new henchman, pleased with her gregariousness. Cooperation boded well for the little intruder. And she was little, at least in comparison to Nadia who stood already at 5'10" (177cm/1.7m). It didn't mean she was notably small, but she was small[i er], which was enough for the full-blooded elf.
She stepped back for Rina to get out, folding her hands.
Melchior, feeling the atmosphere of the room, now came up and reached forward with a long muzzle to smell around the air near Rina. He wouldn't touch yet, still a bit on edge since the whole deal.
The sorceress now shifted, leading Rina to her vanity upon which was a tumbler and glasses of what looked like a scotch or a brandy. She poured them each a bit, and handed one to the halfbreed, still wearing that ever-present, slight smile of hers.
"[+gold Well, now,]" she began. "[+gold I bet you're wondering why exactly I've bothered not to kill you, then. What's the big thing I need from a creature like you.]"
Rina blinked in confusion when instead of releasing her as she'd expected, the woman had shoved her into an armoire. She was dropped among the fabrics and many dresses haphazardly, but instead of being able to adjust her position, she froze.
She could hear the voice of a man who'd walked into the room. Rina assumed it was this woman, Nadia's, father. She carefully listened as the two spoke among themselves, catching onto some animosity that would explain why she was being hired by Nadia rather than deal with it herself or even go through her father.
As she heard the elf man walk ut the room, she silently moved to sit up, crossing her legs to wait patiently until Nadia deemed it necessary to release her from her wardrobe.
Once the doors snapped open, Rina looked up at Nadia, [#DC143C "Sure, why not?"] she said moving to climb out of the wardrobe, [#DC143C "I'm not tiny, by the way."] she responded with a small pout.
Rina stood, resting her hands on her hips and glanced around the room, she followed Nadia to the table for their night cap curiously. Part of her wanted to ask why Nadia was choosing to trust her for this after she tried to steal from her, to begin with, but she decided against it. Based on her earlier exchange with the woman, she doubted that Nadia had any fear of Rina stealing from her, or wasn't attached to anything to the point of fearing her stealing it.
[right [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/be/b0/69/beb0696f7a8740ae47a53916620304de.jpg]] The smirk ate at her, yes it did. And the temptation to waste time ripping it out of that face of hers was strong, for just a moment, before things went her way. Now she returned it with her own grin.
"[+gold Perfect,]" the woman murmured. Fingers tightened on the lapels of the thief's shirt/cloak as Rina was pulled rather easily back in through the window.
Rina was, in fact, not released. Not right now. Instead, the doors to the armoire were pulled open and she was secluded inside among soft fabrics of varying thicknesses. Nadia's magic snapped like static in the air, building for just a moment before the air deadened with a crisp cold, as if finally discharging. There was shouting outside in the garden-
[i There she is! Get the thief!]
"[#449047 Nadia?]" came the voice of a man from the direction of the door to the bedroom.
Nadia's face wore a foiled purse to it. He came up to her, looking behind her towards the window. "[#449047 What happened?]"
"[+gold She got away,]" the sorceress ground out, turning her head sharply to the side.
He sighed through his nose, "[#449047 She- who? What's going on? I was told there was an [i intruder] in your rooms.]"
He received the explanation he asked for; Nadia had followed Melchior when he had heard a noise and just as she was about to lunge and grasp the slippery intruder, she escaped.
Melchior, seated obediently by the fireplace, shifted with a whine, looking between the two elves in the room. Nadia turned to him, smiling indulgently. "[+gold You want to go after that nasty intruder, don't you?]" she crooned indulgently. The animal responded with a whining bark, wiggling from the encouraging tone.
Lord Siannodel sighed impatiently, "[#449047 You certainly don't seem [i concerned] that your chambers just got invaded,]" he said, sounding snide.
"[+gold Why would I be?]" she responded, turning to look at him with an odd croon to her tone. It held knowledge in it. "[+gold That's what I've been designed to be, isn't it? To follow my family name and be just as fierce as my father?]" Her voice sounded almost mocking. "[+gold They just wanted [i things] anyways, nothing to concern yourself over.]"
"[#449047 Did you at least see what she looked like?]" He pressed, spreading his hands.
"[+gold No, sir. Hood and dark cloak, that was all. Pale, tiny hands.]" Her tone was almost mocking, the wiggle in her fingers almost palpable in the air.
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, eyeing Nadia for a moment. "[#449047 I see. You are unharmed? Flying after them as you seem to have,]" he was wearing thin from this sudden change in her demeanor, trying to reel back irritation at her almost playful tone.
Nadia smiled, "[+gold Yes, sir. No tiny thief would be able to break this skin. You know that.]" her tone was knowing.
"[#449047 Well, then. I need to reassemble our service. Let us speak of this in the morning, daughter.]"
"[+gold Yes, sir.]"
And with that in the next few moments the room was silent, save the gentle sounds of the wolfhound. The tap of nails on wood floor, snuffling at the seams of the doors Rina was hidden behind. Suddenly they were pulled open, both, and Nadia was stood there, looking inside eagerly for her new charge.
"[+gold So, little thief Rina,]" the elf said, gold eyes searching over the other's demeanor. "[+gold Shall we have a night cap?]"
Rina smirked slightly when she realized her comment had bothered the elf woman that much. It wasn't what she was trying to do at that particular moment but ended up being a happy accident. Her threat didn't really make her all that uncomfortable either.
She listened as she explained her offer. It didn't seem that big a deal or even that complicated with how she said it and besides, in taking the offer what did she have to lose? She was already risking her life by being found here.
Rina's crimson eyes glanced from the dog to the doorway as she heard someone coming toward them, panicked, she wiggled in her bindings, trying to get free before she could be caught by the owner of this house, or even recognized somehow, [#DC143C "Alright! I accept! Just release me and tell me what you want me to get for you."] she hissed in a whisper.
Rina mumbled a spell quickly and her hood flew up over her head again, hiding the shortened tips of her ears, she looked up at the woman. In an attempt to prove that she would cooperate she sighed [#DC143C "My name is Rina. I am formally agreeing to assist you in obtaining anything you need."]
Helping this woman in obtaining various things was better than some other situations she's been in before, even if this wasn't desirable either. Some of the humans who'd captured her when she was a child had made her life hell, she just hoped that the rumors of elves being fairer were true. She just really hoped this wasn't going to be the end of her just yet.
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