Tussle in the Jungle - Chapter 2
Debriefed and Disrobed
It had begun drizzling by the time Veldrinas had led Vasedra to the Snug Harbor Inn in Boralus.
After dismounting his felsaber and dismissing it through a demonic portal the demon hunter makes his way into the tavern, shaking off the excess water from his arms as he does so.
As he steps past the threshold the night elf scans the room with his sightless gaze, quickly ascertaining if there were any threats. Fortunately, nothing seemed to be amiss as many travelers, adventurers, and even a few Alliance soldiers were gathered around tables and the bar, drinking, laughing, and seeming to have a good time.
Vasedra followed the demon hunter in silence as she had most of the way to Boralus, pausing under the awning of the inn to shake half-frozen water from her cloak and cowl. Her false blue gaze sweeps the room around Vel's shoulder as she lifts her hands up and drags her fingers over her horns to straighten her short, black hair.
The "warrior" taps each hoof point twice on the doorstep before she follows after him. She finally speaks for the first time in a while as they wander in, and it's an inane little mutter of, "It's nice to be out of the rain."
Veldrinas turns to look back at the void knight and motions for her to follow him. He then makes his way up the stairs and down the hall to stop in front of one of the rooms. He produces an old fashioned looking key from a pocket and slides it into the lock and turns it with a squeaky click. The night elf then opens the door wordlessly and steps inside, again motioning Vasedra to follow.
Sedra follows Vel into his room, her curious gaze sliding around the space as she does, though she keeps her silence. As the demon hunter clicks the door shut behind them, she plops her pack on the floor and unclasps her cloak, pulling the wet fabric free.
While she hangs the clothing on a bed post, she dryly intones, "You have my attention. I want to know everything you do."
Veldrinas takes a deep, steadying breath and begins to pace slowly around the cramped room. After a few moments of contemplation, he breaks the silence.
"I will start at the beginning. Do you remember about a week ago when we fought those cultists? After we parted ways, I was intercepted by a forsaken assailant. Fortunately, he was no match for my prowess. I found on his person a letter, a list of names of Alliance prisoners with orders to interrogate and execute them."
The demon hunter takes another steadying breath before he continues.
"My sister's name was on that list."
Veldrinas stops pacing and clasps his hands behind his back as he turns to face the draenei and awaits her response.
The eredar nods, watching Veldrinas sharply. "And you said you know where she's being held? If it is as heavily guarded as you say, then this is likely a stealth mission."
She tilts her head and raises a brow at him. "Or were you hoping to leverage me to help you cut a bloody swath through them?"
The demon hunter shakes his head emphatically.
"No, I will not give myself over to a bloodlust. We will need to keep our wits about us if we are to survive. This will be a stealth mission."
As Veldrinas moves closer to the draenei, he pulls out a hand drawn map of the aforementioned camp and its vicinity and kneels to spread it out on the floor in front of him.
"We will need to reconnoiter the camp to discover the guard rotations and hopefully we will also find out where my sister is being held."
The night elf turns his gaze to look up at Vasedra.
"If you are up to it, we could leave as soon as you are ready."
Sedra nods slightly as she crouches down beside Veldrinas, examining his map with careful attention. The frivolity of her earlier attitude has dissolved, though there is still a certain banked element of eager, pleased hunger in the way she leans forward.
"I have my leathers with me. If stealth is required, perhaps they are better than this bright plate." Though she says it with matter-of-fact calm, the brief glance she flicks toward Veldrinas is slightly tainted with an ill-defined edge that looks something like worry or uncertainty.
"I can be ready in a few minutes."
The hunter nods tersely in approval and points towards many places in the camp shown on the map.
"During my preliminary reconnaissance, I spotted guards in higher concentrations in these areas, which would seem to indicate that these locations are where prisoners might be being held."
He then pointed to a few areas around the camp.
"I noticed these few spots are not as patrolled as the others, I think we could find a gap between rotations and slip in unnoticed."
The night elf's expression turns grim as he points to four spots surrounding the camp at exact intervals.
"These watchtowers will be a problem. All the foliage was cleared around the camp when it was constructed. So our only advantages are darkness, speed, and the fact that the camp has no walls. These watchtowers are also equipped with searchlights that we will also have to avoid. And to top it all off, every guard that I saw was a forsaken."
He tilts his head up to look the draenei in her falsely blue eyes.
"Do you still feel up to this?"
The void knight takes the question seriously. "You've seen the camp. If you believe we are sufficient, then I will give my all to see that we are."
After a brief hesitation while she examines the map, she frowns slightly. "You should know that the Forsaken are... naturally resistant to some of what I can do. It gives them some small advantage."
"Then we will just have to do it the old-fashioned way if the time comes."
After a brief pause, Veldrinas nods once and begins to gather the map and fold it up. "Alright then, do whatever you need to do to get ready, I will be along shortly."
The night elf stands up, puts the map in the trunk at the foot of the bed and turns to face the void knight with a heavy countenance.
"There is one more thing, the camp is a short way south of Dazar'alor. If even the alarm is raised, we could be facing an army of Zandalari trolls and who knows what within minutes."
The demon hunter pauses and looks away for a moment and his voice becomes quiet.
"I just want you to know that I appreciate you being here to help me. This... means a lot."
"You don't need to thank me, Veldrin," the void knight says, turning away and stepping over to her pack. "You did the same for me not so long ago." And with a hand negligently waved, the topic is dismissed.
Sedra rummages in her pack and pulls free a few pieces of leather armor, flashing him glimpses of tones of purple and blue amongst a grey-dyed base. While she starts working on the buckles of her plate, deft fingers quickly freeing her pauldrons, she asks, "Your sister. She didn't choose the same path to power that you did?"
Veldrinas stands to his full height and begins working on the buckles of his own pauldrons. At Vasedra's question, he gives a long sigh.
"No. It's a... bit of a long story. We were both supposed to be mages given that we are from a Highborne family, but I never had the knack for it like Fendassa did. So I became a soldier, served in the military through the War of the Ancients, and all throughout the Long Vigil, until the Third War. But ever since I became a demon hunter, my older sister and I haven't really gotten along."
The night elf finishes with his pauldrons and starts working on his cloak and hood next as he continues.
"When my wife was murdered by the Burning Legion during the Third War and my home was destroyed, Fendassa offered to take me in while I recuperated from my loss. I thought I would be a bother, but she told me that she would help me as long as I needed. Unfortunately, to my shame, I chose vengeance over family. I wouldn't have become a demon hunter if I would have just stayed."
The night elf then pulls out felstalker leathers from the trunk and tugs off his jerkin.
"We haven't spoken since I left. Honestly, I don't even know how she'll react when we find her."
"Does it matter?" The question comes as the void knight peels her chestplate free and sets it on the floor with care. "Whether she thanks you or not, she'll be free and safe."
Her vambraces are very quick to follow. After a brief glance around the small room, her concession to modesty is to turn her back to the demon hunter before she pulls off her long-sleeved tunic and drags on the grey sleeveless one that goes with her leathers, careful not to dislodge the pale, metal tiara that she wears in her hair.
After a moment of silent contemplation, the demon hunter places the jerkin into the trunk and then his leather bracers and boots are removed and placed in the trunk as well, leaving him only in his trousers with his back to the draenei.
"Perhaps you are right. Perhaps she will be grateful for being rescued from certain death. Maybe that will be enough t...."
He doesn't get a chance to finish as he suddenly growls in pain and doubles over onto the floor clutching at his chest.
Sedra spins, her hand going to the hilt of one of the swords she still wears as she looks for the threat. But after a wary second, she releases the blade to drop down at his side, "Veldrinas? What is it?"
"Its nothing." The elf manages to say through clenched teeth. Though by the pain he appears to be in, it certainly isn't just nothing.
"Please, not yet." Veldrinas whispers. "Give me more time."
He gives a shudder and gasps as another wave of pain washes over him.
She frowns. "Don't treat me like a fool. I haven't enough respect for your secrets to let them risk my life." Though she stays crouched at his side, a cold hand on his shoulder, her tone is hard. "You cannot rescue your sister if you are curled on the floor as the blades come at you."
The eredar leans back and folds her arms across her chest, the sleeveless grey tunic revealing the scrolling, pitch-black tattoos along her shoulders and across her collar bone that disappear under the fabric.
The demon hunter does not respond right away, instead, he lets out a grunt of pain as he puts his arms under himself, slowly pushing up until he is in a kneeling position.
He then rotates around until he fully faces the draenei, giving her a clear view of a small but complex rune, black and pulsing with void magic, inscribed on his sternum. After a moment though, the rune seems to sink into the night elf's skin and disappear entirely, leaving it smooth and unmarked.
"This will take some time to explain, but we do not have the time. My sister does not have the time."
Veldrinas then stands up and grabs the felstalker leathers he was about to change into. First, the soft leather kilt with boiled leather plates that protect the hips and a long one that travels down the front of the garment, then the sleeveless leather breastplate which would serve to protect the top half of his torso and his neck without hampering mobility.
Sedra watches the rune with furrowed brow until it is gone and then more, watches Veldrinas without moving save to uncross her arms.
At last, she sighs softly and straightens with a little nod, acknowledging his statement. "What makes it flare? If we can at least predict when you will be afflicted, then I can be ready to cover for you.
Veldrinas shakes his head. "This is not an affliction, at least, not one you nor I can predict or control."
The hunter tugs the leather breastplate over his head and fastens the kilt around his waist as he continues.
"All I can say for now is that it is connected to a certain individual. A ...reminder of a debt I must repay soon."
As the void knight goes back to putting on her leather armor, she grouches, "You aren't reassuring me that this debt of yours won't get us killed mid-mission, Veldrinas. Can nothing be done to shield you from whatever that is?"
Sedra leans down to unbuckle her cuisses.
At this, the night elf frowns, his displeasure at the circumstance evident.
"Alas, no. There is no way to prevent me from feeling the effects. All I know about the rune is that it is merely a physical symptom of an internal mark."
Veldrinas takes one step closer to the void knight and gestures reassuringly. "I can assure you that it will not interfere with the mission. I made sure of it."
The eredar pulls off her leg armor before she pauses to stare at Veldrin, an assessment that starts at his face and takes in every inch of him before returning there.
"You made sure of it..." she repeats, nothing of great faith in her tone. But she just shakes her head slightly and turns her back to him, starting on the leather ties on her long trousers under her armor.
"I'll do as you wish," she mutters, looking down as she works, "and hope that your confidence is well placed. If it becomes a problem, we'll deal with it."
Veldrinas's expression turns to one of grim certainty. "I would trust you to do nothing other than what needs to be done."
After a moment of silence, the demon hunter turns his back to the draenei, in an effort to give her a modicum of privacy in the cramped quarters. He reaches into the trunk and pulls out two short swords with their sheathes. After a brief examination of the blades to make sure they were battle ready, he buckled them to the belt at his waist and arranges them to hang on each hip.
In short order, Vasedra turns to face him in her blue and grey leather cuirass and pants, her odd blades at her waist. The pale metal band she wears across her forehead is a little out of place without the rest of her blue and cream and gold plate.
With the old armor laid carefully in the corner, she hefts her pack. "I'm ready. Let's go find this prison camp."
When the demon hunter turns around to face the draenei once again, he is sporting felstalker bracers that are the match to the rest of his attire.
"Very well," Veldrinas states as he finishes tightening the straps of his leather bracers. "We will need to either commandeer a boat or arrange for a flight to the location. But I am unsure as to the cooperation of any Alliance forces we might ask to aid us on this dangerous mission."
Veldrinas folds his arms and rubs his chin thoughtfully. "What are your thoughts on the situation?"
Sedra smirks and gestures back toward her armor. "You might be surprised at the assumptions you can cultivate in this new world at war, Veldrin. I know where we can get a flight."
The eredar steps past him toward the door before pausing and looking back. "If you're ready?"
The hunter nods in affirmation and gestures towards the door. "I am. Lead on, I will lock the door behind us."