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(Part 32) For the rest of this series, please go here.

Varray kept a firm grip on Aerissa's elbow as he escorted her down the ramp.  His strength surprised her considering how lean his build was.  As they reached the end of the ramp, he asked, “Where is your room?”

With her free hand, she tucked a lock of hair behind her ear.  “This floor will be fine, thank you.”  She kept her gaze straight ahead.

“Are you sure? Those stairs might be difficult to navigate with that limp.”

Before Aerissa could respond, a young elven woman with dark brown hair appeared at the top of the stairs at the other end of the hallway.  With her skirts gathered in her hands, she walked briskly towards them.

“Ah, m'Lord, I have found you.  I had suspected you had gone to the top deck.”  As she drew closer, Aerissa could see that her cheeks were flushed from rushing up several flights of stairs.

“You suspected correctly, Rae,” Varray responded matter-of-factly.  He had paused at the end of the hall upon sight of the young elven woman, but had yet to release Aerissa's elbow.  Aerissa, uncertain of what to do, just stood there next to him.

Rae stopped a few feet away from them.  She smoothed her skirts, then bowed low before Varray.  “The others are ready to leave and your mount has been readied,” she informed him, keeping her eyes low.

“Thank you, Rae.  I shall be prepared to depart shortly.”

“As you say, m'Lord.  I shall report back to the others.” As Rae rose from her bow, she did not look directly at Varray.  She did, however, glance at his gloved hand on Aerissa's elbow.  Rae shot Aerissa a dirty look before turning to leave.  As she turned, Aerissa noticed a small black band on her upper arm.  It looked to bear a crest of some sort.

Varray turned to Aerissa.  “My apologies for her rudeness.  Now which room, Lady Aerissa?”

Aerissa opened and closed her mouth, uncertain of how to respond.  She was puzzled by the woman referred to as Rae for she seemed to act subservient to this mysterious elven man next to her, yet she was elegantly dressed and groomed.  And there was that look…

Feeling a gentle squeeze at her elbow, she turned to look up at him.  “Lady Aerissa? Which room?” His gaze was piercing, giving her a slight chill.

“Who was that?” she blurted out.

He raised an eyebrow, a bemused look on his face.  “Who? Lady Rae?”

Aerissa nodded.

He waved his free hand dismissively, “She's my wife.  As I said, please forgive her rudeness.” He stepped forward, applying subtle pressure to Aerissa's arm, guiding her forward.  “Now which room.  I must be on my way shortly.”

Furrowing her brow, she chose not to say anything further regarding Rae or the peculiarity of the encounter.  She pointed at Twyla's door.  “There will be fine, thank you.”

He nodded curtly, guiding her several feet down the hallway to Twyla's room.  He finally released her elbow as she reached for the doorknob.

“Thank you, Lord Varray, for the assistance.  May you travel safely,” Aerissa said politely.

“Take care, Lady Aerissa.  Perhaps we will cross paths in the future.” He bowed his head before going downstairs.

Aerissa breathed a sigh of relief once he was out of eyesight.  She quickly closed the door behind her and hobbled over to the bed to lay down.

* * *

As soon as Alynedarra reached Silvermoon City, she headed straight for Murder Row, the seediest place within her people's capital city.  It had been quite some time since she'd last set foot within the walls of Silvermoon.  It was just as beautiful and magical as ever.  So typical of my race, she thought.  The city used to be even more magnificent.  Aly only knew it in its current form.  Half of Silvermoon City lay in ruins, a constant reminder of the Scourge attack and the sundering of their precious Sunwell.

“Lookin' for something?” a raspy voice asked from the shadows of the alley next to the Murder Row tavern and inn.

Aly ran her fingers through her hair, sauntering closer to the voice.  “Perhaps, are you?” she asked coyly.

Snorting, he responded, “Isn't everyone?”

Aly smirked, stepping into the alley.  A pungent smell assaulted her nose.  She wasn't sure if it was due to the garbage cans or the man behind the voice.  As her eyes adjusted to the shadows, she could make out a hooded figure leaning against the wall.

“Ahh, a repeat customer, I see,” he reached into a deep pocket to produce a small herb sack.  “For you, 2g.”

Aly stopped in her tracks as she processed what he said.  “Repeat customer? What are you talking about?”

He cackled, the laugh giving way to a rough cough.  “I recognize you.  From the boat.  Now-”

Aly rushed at him, knocking him hard in the chest with her hand, causing him to drop the herb sack.  She pushed him against the wall, pressing her forearm into his throat.  “Who are you? What boat?”

He gasped, moving and twisting his head, trying to release the pressure on his throat.  “The boat.  Booty Bay.  Bloodthistle.”  He struggled to swallow between words.

Aly eased up a bit.  “Bloodthis-” She looked down, picking up the herb sack.  She opened it, finding it full of bloodthistle.  A sly smile spread across her face as she popped one of the dried, red leaves into her mouth.  Her tongue tingled beneath it as she swirled it around before cheeking it.  “I owe you a bit extra, don't I? For the sample you gave me on the boat…”

She released her grip on him, backing up quickly.  She kept her guard up and stance solid in case he tried to attack her.  Instead, he rubbed his neck, coughing and hacking loudly.  He shoved his hood back, exposing himself as a Forsaken.  “It was a free sample, but after choking me, you owe me 5g.”

Aly flipped a few gold coins in his direction, not wanting to get too close.  “Seriously, man, I apologize.  You know what it's like when an elf is craving…”

He leered at her.  “I doubt you were craving.”  He picked up the coins, pocketing them.  “Heh. I get it though.  Being recognized is not always a good thing.”  He rubbed at his neck again.

Aly nodded slowly.  “I imagine in your business, you can understand and respect that to a degree.”  The last of the leaf dissolved in her mouth.  She closed her eyes briefly, then popped another leaf in her mouth.  “This is fine leaf.  I'll be on my way now.”

As she strafed out of the alley, the Forsaken held up a hand.  “Wait, Elf.”

Aly paused, watching him carefully.

“You need anymore or know someone who's looking for something… ask 'round for Theryos.”

Aly nodded again and quickly left the alley.  She was hoping to start asking around about the elven woman, but decided that could wait until the morning.  She hadn't expected to score bloodthistle tonight, but she couldn't risk anymore clouded judgment tonight.

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We are a family of gamers. Mom (Darcy/Syrana) and Dad (Brian/Sideshow) have been gaming for as long as they can remember back when you only had a joystick to use and saved your games to cassette tapes.

They've been gaming together since they met in 2002. Sometime after 2006, they both started playing World of Warcraft and did that for many years. They started this blog, originally called Sideshow & Syrana which has now transitioned to the new Stay-At-Home Gamers site, while keeping all of the original content.

Starting in 2010, two more gamers came along (now known as Princess Boo and Mr. X) and they are now old enough where they both enjoy playing games and watching others play games. They are both excited to have others to watch them play their favorite games. Come along with us and let's enjoy these games together!