(Part 8 ) For a complete list of this series, please go here.
The sound of an explosion caused Aerissa to bolt up out of bed. Locke sprang from the bed, alarmed, and crouched before the door. Aerissa patted her hands over her head and torso, satisfied that she had not been hit with anything. Grabbing her bow and slinging her quiver over her shoulder, she popped her room door open with her foot.
Aerissa padded out the door quietly with bare feet, crouching along the railing. She motioned at Locke, who took the lead down the stairs. The pair crept their way down to the common area of the Inn, but were surprised to see everyone going about their business in a calm manner. Aerissa wiped at her face nervously. Maybe they hadn't heard the explosion? she thought. She silently shook her head, knowing it would have been impossible to miss that loud of a noise.
“What are ye doin' creepin' on my stairs with yer weapon ready to fire? Someone could lose an eye!” The Innkeeper cracked a crooked smile, her empty eye sockets looking directly at Aerissa and Locke.
Aerissa cleared her throat. “I hear-heard an explos-” she stammered, unnerved by the eyeless vision of the Forsaken Innkeeper.
“Bah!” The Innkeeper waved her hand dismissively, placing a towel over her shoulder. “That just be the apothecaries with them experiments. Sometimes they mix things that go ‘boom'!”
Wide eyed, Aerissa cocked an eyebrow. “It was just… someone mixing potions?” She laughed to herself, feeling her heart beat slowing.
The Innkeeper nodded curtly. “Aye. But it does well to wake ye up in time for work, hm? I be suspectin' ye be needin' yer boots. Come to me when yer ready, eh, Elf?” She pointed a boney finger at Aerissa's bare feet.
* * *
It took some time for Aerissa to adjust to life at Tranquillien. She had gotten used to the solitude the woods and animals offered her. She was glad to be around others again, but it felt very strange to be amongst Sin'Dorei (Blood Elves) and Forsaken. Over the past week, the Innkeeper, who Aerissa came to know as Twyla, kept her busy with cleaning the Inn. There was much to be done and the disabled Forsaken couldn't keep up with the traffic of adventurers and heros that came through her doors. The cellar also was in need of Locke's services to keep it free of rodents, which he happily obliged.
Aerissa started to fall into a routine, but did not spend much time talking with anyone other than Locke and Twyla. She had so many questions and thankfully Twyla had many answers. Aerissa felt ashamed that she did not know more about the history of her race's land. She was quite young in elven years, but it did not excuse her ignorance.
“Ahh, Rissy, ye shouldn't take it so personal. Ye suffered quite tha bump to da head. That may be affectin' ya more than ye know,” Twyla wagged her finger at Aerissa, who was sweeping the kitchen floor.
“But Twyla, how'd I not realize I was crossing the Dead Scar? That horrible path of destruction goes for miles and cut my own beloved city into ruins. No wonder I felt a presence in the air and heard whispers in the wind…” she shook her head sadly, her eyes watering.
“Eh, you were in an unfamiliar part of your land. These lands are large and you are not well traveled, missy. Let's not dwell on the past, hm?” Twyla stoked the fire, adding bits of meat to the bubbling cooking pot.
Aerissa nodded numbly. She was still wrought with hazy memories and confusion. The dreams had ended, but didn't help her with much else. Occassionally she'd feel a piece of a memory and lose it before she could get a firm hold on it. She kept getting glimpses of herself among lots of young children. Some smiling and laughing, others crying.
“Ye should talk to the guards. I bet they could use an extra hand guarding against the forces of the Scourge,” Twyla stated nonchalantly as she stirred the stew.
Aerissa paused, resting her chin atop the broom handle. She would certainly feel more useful if she helped reclaim this land for her people from the Scourge. She had questioned why the Forsaken would have forces here amongst the Blood Elves. Especially since many Forsaken had been corrupted with the same plague of the Scourge and had created the Dead Scar across these lands as they assaulted the elven capital of Silvermoon City.
Although Aerissa knew that the Forsaken had broken free of the mindless and Lich King controlled Scourge, she couldn't help be suspicious at first. However, Twyla helped to explain that it was in the interest of the Forsaken as well as the Blood Elves to eradicate the Scourge from the lands of their beloved Azeroth. Many of the other Horde races, although accepting of the Forsaken and the Blood Elves into their allying forces against the Alliance races, were suspicious and mistrustful of them. As the Taurens, Orcs, and Trolls saw it, the Blood Elves and Forsaken were liabilities to be watched closely, but needed to flesh out their forces.
“I'll keep that in mind, Twyla, thank you,” Aerissa finished cleaning up the kitchen and took a bowl of stew for her and Locke to share. She chewed slowly, mulling over the information she had gained and the suggestion of helping the guards. She didn't know if that would pay for more than her space, but that wasn't any worse than her current chores.
* * *
“But, sir, you don't understand! I must have a new weapon to help with the fight to drive the Scourge from these lands,” Aerissa placed her hands on her hips, trying to persuade the goods trader, Tomber, into giving her a new dagger for some of the skins she had brought with to Tranquillien.
Tomber chuckled, shaking his head. “Elf, I can't just give these away. These skins are tiny and poorly treated at best. Who'd buy 'em from me after buyin' 'em from you? I need to see coin!” His voice rasped, the Forsaken trader unwilling to budge.
“I told you, I don't have coin. I'm just trying to fair trade. You are a goods trader, afterall.” Aerissa crossed her arms over her chest, setting her jaw. She knew she needed a new dagger among other things.
“Missy,” he said, holding out his hand palm up, “coin!” Tomber tapped his open hand repeatedly, quashing Aerissa's hopes of working out a trade with him.
She let out an exasperated sigh. “If I knew how to get coin, I would do it! So far I'm only able to cover my room and board,” she pleaded.
Tomber shrugged, tilting his head towards the Inn. “Why don't ya check the wanted posters? I bet if ya are a decent huntress you and dat ragamuffin cat of yers could cash in on something.” He turned around, closing up the hatches on his trader wagon. “And don't think of comin' back here without coin,” he muttered under his breath.
“Wanted poster….” Aerissa trotted over towards the wooden sign outside the Inn, just off to the side a bit. It had lots of faded and torn parchments tacked to it, but there was a fairly fresh one pinned in the middle. Aerissa's eyes lit up. She grasped the parchment in both hands and tugged it off of the sign. Carefully folding it, she placed the paper into her pack before entering the Inn.
** Please note that some of the events included in RP pieces are based upon actual in-game role play. Also, some of the events and/or character names may have been altered during the transition from in-game RP to story formation. **
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