(Part 36) For the rest of this series, please go here.
Aerissa returned to Tranquillien a few hours after sundown. Her fingers were sore from heavy use of her bow, particularly on the way back. She was tired and longed for a hot bath and a soft bed, but she knew she needed to report to High Executor Mavren first. He was going to need to know she made it back – alive – and of her findings.
As she entered the room, Mavren leered at the sight of the blood and grime covered Aerissa. “You look to have done more than merely scouting, Elf.”
“Yes, sir. Most of this,” she looked down at the red spatters across her leather armor, “is fresh. There were a lot of spiders and bats to clear out after the sun went down.”
He snorted, “Well, you are here and still alive. So what do you have to report?”
She dropped a ragged piece of cloth on top of his map. “There were ghosts all around the spire as well as this caster I encountered.”
“Dead, I presume? Unless you ripped this off as you ran from them,” he grumbled, rubbing his thumb over the cloth.
For the next hour or so, Mavren interrogated Aerissa about the scouting expedition at Windrunner Spire. She described everything she saw and heard the best she could. As she answered his questions, she kept touching the pocket that contained the locket she found.
“Well, as I suspected, something has occupied the spire.” He scratched his scalp, squinting at the cloth. “I'm not sure if it's bad or worse news that it's occupied by Scourge rather than Alliance. I guess Deatholme is getting crowded. It's a shame they have taken over the spire though.” He rummaged through a drawer and tucked the robe sample away.
Aerissa reached into her pocket and clutched the locket. She withdrew it hesitantly. “Sir? I… I also found this on the acolyte.”
High Executor Mavren cocked his head to the side as Aerissa slowly opened her hand to reveal a piece of jewelry. He grabbed it from her hand and turned it over and over, examining it. He opened the locket carefully and rubbed his thumb over the inscription.
“Well, I'll be… the Lady's locket,” he whispered with awe. He sat down on a stool with a thump. Aerissa tried to wait patiently, biting her lip to keep from saying anything. Mavren looped the delicate chain over his finger and dangled the locket in the air.
Aerissa's curiosity grew. “Sir?” She prompted gently.
“Aerissa, do you know what you have recovered here? You have recovered the locket of Lady Sylvanas Windrunner. In her elven form, she knew that spire well.”
“Her elven form, sir?” she asked.
Mavren shot her a look. “Lady Sylvanas was the first to break free of the Lich King's control. She helped the Forsaken become of their own mind and will again so as not to be mindless Scourge wreaking havoc as he sought fit.”
Aerissa's eyes widened. She nodded slowly, trying to make sense of what he was telling her. “I wonder when she lost it?”
Mavren's eyes flashed with anger. “Probably the day Arthas killed her and then raised her as a banshee,” he spat out the words. “You. You must take this to her. Go to the Undercity and return this to Lady Sylvanas, Aerissa.” He set the locket down on the table, pushing it towards Aerissa.
“Me?” Aerissa was shocked. “Why would she have an audience with me?”
“You found it. As much as I'd like to be the one to return this to her, it wouldn't be right. Consider it an order from me, if you must.”
“B-but to the Undercity?” Aerissa's shuddered at the thought of an entire city filled with the foul stench of undead. It was one thing to be around Forsaken such as him and Twyla here in Tranquillien, but to their city?
“Yes, to the Undercity. Is that a problem?” he sneered.
Aerissa swiped the locket from the table. “N-no, it's not a problem. Just,” she took a deep breath, trying not to let her disgust show, “I have never been there. I've never left elven lands. This is the farthest I've been, and this is still technically elven land. I-I don't know how to get there.”
Mavren mulled this over for a bit, peering at Aerissa intently. “Well, you don't seem to have a mount and I'm not going to expect you to walk there. You could fly, but I'd suggest finding more presentable attire for an audience with the Lady.” He narrowed his eyes at Aerissa's armor. “You can get there from Silvermoon City. Ever since your kind – Blood Elves – joined forces with the Horde, an orb of translocation was set up for quick, instant travel between Silvermoon City and the Undercity.”
Embarrassed, she looked down at her clothing. “I'm not even sure this is proper attire for Silvermoon, sir.” She stood up slowly and pocketed the locket.
“Elf?” Mavren rasped as Aerissa turned to leave. “Don't forget to take this.” He set a small coin bag on the table. “Payment for your work today. And, perhaps it'll come in handy, given your new assignment.” Aerissa thanked him as she took the coin bag. He waved her off, suppressing a smile.
As Aerissa walked over to the inn, her stomach was in knots. She could no longer avoid going to the city. She needed to consult with Twyla about this tonight. But first, she needed to clean up and have a warm meal.
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