By Xullrae Zauvir
Chapter 1 - Meetings and Acquaintances (part 6)
Several hours later, it seemed Xull'rae's "errands" were not done. Upon returning from her previous ones, she was given the task of showing Horock around the city without a chance for a bath or rest. It was a good thing she had eaten beforehand. Though she was annoyed, she cloaked herself well for this venture into the city. Swathed head to food in the infamous black piwafwi..which is a fancy drow word for cloak. Indeed she did not look out of place arriving on the streets, in fact she blended in. She hated playing tour guide today to the newly recruited male but duties were duties.
They were now in the Bazaar, overlooking many vending stalls, a place to pick pocket and not be singled out easily. She kept conversation small to make it seem that they BOTH knew their way around. As a new person could have troubles here and get lost easily. "As a said, just hurry and get the things you need from the vendor over there." Her voice was raspy and more masculine to hide the fact she was a female, and she stooped some giving the appearance of someone old or humpbacked so no one questioned why she concealed herself in the cloak.
As he followed the female through the city, he could tell that she resented being what she called a "tour guide". No matter. She was helping him to find his friend Drazoul, besides he wanted to know what was going to happen when the adventuring band was put together under what he considered that "pompous ass" Cogliostro.
As she spoke and stooped, he began to approach the vendor that he had identified. He beckoned her to follow him, and he knew that he had better keep control so that one would be able to tell that she was a woman in this area. Besides, if she left him while he was at the vendor, he would be hopelessly lost in this city of misery, where no one was once lost was never found again. "Okay, I will go purchase the rest of the required equipment." he said as he continued to walk towards the indicated vendor. Xull'rae followed in a quick but hobbled step, muttering and mumbling the entire way, as she quickly signaled in drow sign that his friend was last seen near said vendor, as priests had given a brief description of what he was wearing.
Drazoul in his disguised form, stood close to six feet and had shoulders broader than two normal drow bodyguards. every inch of him was laced in muscle and that was in part thanks to the form he took on, a drow. He wore very fine noble drow clothes or so it seemed. The yuan-ti noticed Horock at once, but his friend seemed somewhat lost. He walked towards him wondering if his friend would remember this disguise he had used it before but it was a while since he had last used it. so he decided to take out the onyx dog and summon his pet if need be.
Looking around, Horock notices his friend walking toward him in his drow guise. He couldn't help but smile in private amusement. For all that he said he hated the race, he sure seemed to often use that disguise in order to stay hidden in several areas. As he approached, he raised his hand slowly in greeting. As he approached, he said "Hey Draz. I trust your trip was successful?" He did not introduce his master, as he knew she would introduce herself when she thought it was the right moment.
Drazoul looked at his friend Horock and merely grunted in reply. Xull'rae said nothing, but her gaze was intense behind her hood as she surveyed this tall creature who appeared to be drow..appraised his fine clothing and his mannerism..they did not exactly match her kins behavior, something was amiss. She couldn't place what yet..maybe it was the height..it was rare and considered unatural..but she kept to herself and let them reacquaint without interrupting.
As she didn't say anything, he decided not to introduce her, as she was his elder in the sense that she was more experienced, and he had no place to. "Draz, what where you doing out here? I mean, couldn't you have done that in your, you know, the way you usually are?" As soon as he said that, he put his hand over his mouth he realized that he had just made a huge mistake, even though no one probably heard it. As he was trying to recover, he said ."Anyone make fun of your size today?" in a snickering voice.
Drazoul noticed something odd, his friend was alone he had not noticed the still and silent cloaked female. He thought to himself, how could Horock know his way around unless he had someone guiding him? He spoke aloud in a deep voice. "Horock how did you get here by yourself?". He flicked his wrist and one if his custom made daggers came to his arm discreetly he was ready for anything even treachery from the one person he considered friend.
"How did you survive this long by yourself is the real question. It had always been my assumption disguises were used as a means to draw attention away from oneself, not add to it." The voice was one they had become aquatinted with earlier that day, the deep, penetrating rumblings of the shaven-crowned human, who now stepped forth from a nearby stall, coming to rest some few steps from the disguised halfblood, a definite frown upon his ageless visage. Even tall and broad as the halfblood appeared at the moment, the human dwarfed him in both respects.
After a moment, his irritated glare was turned upon the halfblood's companions in turn, a slight shaking of his head being all that was offered in further recriminations.
Xull'rae was the shadows now..silent and blending in so well with the crowd..she had not moved at all but due to that she was extremely hard to spot, stooped as she was..she actually looked like a bundle of rags on the street, not a figure.
Drazoul turned and glared at the human and replied in drow sign. I survived so long by putting daggers into the backs of people that ask stupid questions, and another thing I do not question your motives do not question mine!
An amused smirk was all the human offered to the Halfblood in response. However, he did turn then to settle his oak-brown gaze upon Horock. "I take it no one made our arrangement blatantly clear to your companion?"
Xull'rae continued to watch the conversations unfold..and from the humans statements she surmised that the tall figure was indeed NOT drow, but even now she stayed out of it, gathering info without really trying...and that...was a good thing!
Horock growled in irritation as the man stepped forward. "What do you want? Did you come to kiss my ass like I suggested earlier? You must REALLY be a weird guy" Horock said gruffly. He did not want Cogliostro here as he did not like the man, and took great pains to stay away from him. "No, I did NOT explain it to him as I have not seen him, and it has NOT been explained to me, either!"
Not daunted in the least, that thin, humored smile remained upon Cogliostro's lips as he took note of the drow male's ranting. "Mm, opinions vary, to be honest...and I dare say, drowess, you," Now spinning slightly to gaze upon her swath-guised form, picking it out rather easily from the crowd, though only by means arcane, to be sure, "definitely have your work cut out for you with this crew."
Not wishing to draw much attention to the drowess' position, he then turns about once more, this time turning fully away from them all, hands clasped idly behind his back as usual, to all appearances merely browsing the nearest stall's wares for the moment. Amongst other things, this was a small test to see how far the companions would push, as he now left his back quite exposed at the moment.
The Drow female, too was not daunted by the statements made in her regard and helped him cover up that there was a female around she leaned slightly whispering 'what drowess? I don't see a woman..he's weird'. Those statements quickly spread and the crowed shied and fanned away from the human as no one likes crazies in the city.
Just as the crowds dispersed, the crimson orbs of the disguised Malaugrym became eerily visible in one of the many shadowy recesses. In a matter of seconds his shrouded frame stepped forth with gnarled staff in hand, the butt adding a light click with every stride taken. His attention shifted to several, only to land upon the towering human, whom stood, with his back facing him. A mild sneer forming across his tiers, if only for a moment. Oh yes, he had time to think, though there were still pieces missing to the overall puzzle. As usual, he kept silent amongst the group in which he would be spending most of his time with.
Xull'rae stood fluidly, it looked eerie to watch the cloak flow and unfold to provide a humanoid shape, she looked like deaths cowl as she only nodded once to no one in particular..but it seemed a reply to the human.
As the Malaugrym approached, Horock looked at the back of the man called Cogliostro, and decided to leave him be. Even though he did not like this man, he he had not really given him any reason to kill him, not yet at any rate.
on the other hand was troubled. What troubled him was what the human had said
about a female. If the human knew he was in a disguise then perhaps the human
words held truth about that pile of rags. And true enough..the rags took
humanoid shape. It seemed to the yuan-ti that nothing could be trusted and no
one. Perhaps it was wounded so he offered to assist the cloaked figure, as it
seemed to be a part of this tiny gathering.
Xull'rae now standing quite upright, was giving him a glare of hate behind the hood. "You can get away from me before I give you a new face.." she whispered ominously.
the disguised yuan-ti grinned and thought to himself, drowess for sure no
other creature I can think of can me that kind of a first impression short of a
deamon. He then nods apologetically to the small hidden figure and walks
over to Horock hopefully out of the woman's reach.
Mm, it would only be an improvement...." The human mused softly to himself, overhearing the drowess' whisper easily enough, then he just shakes his head, confounded slightly at the Halfblood's demeanor and thought.
Spinning about lazily to face them, Cogliostro offered that same, self-smug smirk to the disguised Halfblood. "So, a short demon ye are from this point forward. Rather dismissively, he turns away once again, that gaze then settling upon the newest addition to the group, no explanation given, as none was probably needed, as to how he had discerned the Halfblood's thoughts. Now, however the Halfblood was forgotten, as one who could pose an actual threat to his being was present, in the form of a disguised Malaugrym...only to find that said Malaugrym had disappeared just as abruptly as he had intruded upon the scene. Frowning slightly, a bit confused by the Malaugrym's actions, he then simply shakes his head, and turns that gaze back upon the others. Silent for the moment.
Xull'rae meanwhile refrained on attacking the thing that had a tall drow form..picking up his thoughts without really meaning to, but controlled herself, staying still, not giving away her ability to mind read.
Drazoul stares at Horock for a moment then shakes his head in annoyance. "This is a huge crock of shit you got us into but alas wouldn't be the first time!"
The Drowess looked right back at Cogliostro, her cold amber colored gaze offering a challenge. She had been very quiet through this whole thing, rare for her but should be proof to the human she could control herself, be a professional and good at her line of work.
As they were all together, Horock asked the question that he had to ask. "What do you want this time Cogliostro? I want to find out why I have been brought here!" he asked and demanded barely able to keep the irritation from his voice.
"Mm, think of it as having plenty of fertilizer from which your life may take sustenance." Cogliostro speaks in response to the Halfblood's musings. His gaze had come to settle upon the drowess, and by virtue of the fact he did not reprimand or goad her in any way, she could take note that he indeed saw the proof for what it was.
That done, he turned to address the true drow male, quirking a single brow in the man's direction. "And why would you ask that question of me? I did not bring you, nor summon you, to this place. I was simply, hm..... passing by.
"As for what I want, well, we shall get to that in due time."
Horock gave the man an angry look. "You know what I mean. Perhaps we should go somewhere where we can actually talk. I do NOT like being lead around by the nose." As Horock said this, he was taking a very careful look around at his surroundings, making sure that no one was eavesdropping on their conversation. He did not like it when people looked in areas that they had no reason looking in.
The Yuan-ti assassin starts to get irritated and tired of all these drow games he thinks to himself for a moment. funny how the human is more of a snake then I am. Drazoul then grins one of his rare grins at the irony of the thought, he then addressed the human in drow sign. As Horock has mentioned we have much to talk about, so please don't keep me in the dark if you don't mind.
"Then take your issue of "nose-dragging" up with the one who did so to you, not I," replied the bald human to Horock. A slight shrugging of his shoulders is offered to the drow male, then he twists somewhat to offer an impolite smirk to the Halfblood, quite adept at drow sign language, though he retorts aloud, not caring one whit who overhears the current conversation. "I'm also more of a man than you shall ever be, so it evens out I should say."
As he began to move along again the Drowess piped up in her own snide response to the Yuan-ti, though her tone was calm if flat. "Then go to the surface if you don't like the dark."
"Mm, yes, indeed, take heed of the drowess, there is a certain wisdom within her musings."
Drazoul turns to Xull'rae and regards her for a moment, pondering what she said with a calculating expression. Then turns back to the human and replies, "but of course your more of a man than I am and it is nothing to be proud of since I am drow!" He says it in drow, loud enough so people around can hear him, realizing he needed to keep a ruse up.
This time, a broad, very much humored, smile erupts upon the human's ageless, olive skinned visage. "Hm, best not to say that aloud, lest those true drow here take offense, and slay you on the spot. They don't take kindly to those lesser races such as yourself saying such things."
"Wow," Horock says in an amazed voice. "You really are the biggest prick of a human that I think that I have ever met. Would you please just do what you came to do and tell us and then be on your way and stop insulting the honor of people of our race. I do not take kindly to people making fun of my race or my friends, as they are." The last sentence was spoken in a low growl, barely able to be heard by the people around him, although he made sure that all three present could hear him.
"You have honor? Hm, mayhaps you are not a true drow either then." Smiling to himself, Cogliostro once again turns slowly, and begins walking back from whence he came.
Drazoul grudgingly takes the mans advice and stops talking but does end the conversation in a thought. Whether the human reads his mind or not, he didn't care. and those who can not see their own feet can not see the dagger approaching their back, but I do give you credit human you have out matched me in words and I have no will to see what you can do with blades or magic.
"So bystander who happens to be 'passing by' instead of arguing with them shall we go get a drink and rest ourselves..somewhere?" Xull'rae intervened before things got worse. She let the one in disguise slide by with his comments this time, though the more he talked the more she wanted to kill him.
But Cogliostro continued as if he had not heard the red headed Drowess, "and friendship is not a thing known amongst drow either, so maybe I should recruit a differing set of minions." Still walking, his pace even and smooth, he indeed 'heard' the Halfblood's grumbling, and answered aloud yet again. "At least you have some measure of intelligence, Halfblood...and aye, if ye wish to speak, follow me."
Finally, thought Horock. He is going to tell us what is going on. He beckons Draz to follow as well, and he hoped that Xull would follow also, even though he had NO control over her what so ever, and he knew it. Drazoul gave up the argument and follows his friends summons.
Xull'rae follows yes, but uses the crowd, as she knows several different ways to get to the Inn, even though she never had been inside it. She didn't want to be seen even cloaked with the ridiculous trio.
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