A Good Detective Detects
- --by Durgaraf
((This is a brief summary of what happened at the Ball last night, or at least just pertaining to the Finger anyway =P I apologize if I forgot something, it's been 20 hours since then, I'm hopped up on sugar (birthday candy), and I'm on 2 hours of sleep. Oh, and I found out this morning that the Air Force has screwed me out of getting promoted for a second year in a row so yeah! Good times! ^^))
While the black silk adorned with silver dragons and emblems was perhaps a bit darker than the majority of Ball's attendees, and the emblems hanging from the blue rope tied around his left shoulder stood out, Durgaraf was pleased that his dress uniform blended in relatively well among the formal wear. Granted, he was the only one there who was obviously armed with the u'phol-talah strapped to his back. Next to him stood Felena, the Lady adorned simply in a colorful dress, her hair collecting all the light from the room. She could not seem to escape from all the party-goers who were constantly seeking her attention. Durgaraf glanced at the latest arrival, evaluating them. Twice now someone had bared a blade in front of Felena and the Warder was not about to let the Lady he was escorting be threatened.
In addition to his role as a bodyguard however, the Warder had another goal here. It had been just a few days since the Third Finger had been snatched from their hands the moment it was sealed away. Durgaraf was convinced that the culprit was at least attending the ball tonight. He remembered the scent well, and could still catch it lingering in the air, though with all the commotion it was similar to picking a thread from a tangled ball of fuzzy yarn. He scanned the crowd again, only paying cursory attention to Felena's discussion with the newcomer.
Patrons danced near the center of the chamber which was well lit by the candles and lamps even though outside night had fallen. Formally adorned attendants continued to arrive and depart from the chamber's single entrance. Most of the attendees however stood around the sides of the chamber in small groups, chatting amongst themselves in hushed tones.
Another lady approached and Durgaraf's cold silver eyes flicked across the room to fix on her for a moment. With long, blue hair almost as dark as Durgaraf's she wore an elegant black dress. "Greetings, Lady Felena. Are you enjoying the evening?" Her voice was smooth and confident and Durgaraf couldn't help but narrow his eyes just a little. The scent was stronger since she had arrived.
"Why, yes, Lady Sunya. I have had a great time, in no part due to thou's organization of the event and my escort for the evening." Felena held a small, white palm out towards Durgaraf casually. It nearly reached his belt in height. "Allow me to introduce Warder Durgaraf Frostmoon."
The Warder made a deep and formal bow towards the newcomer and at the same time sent his thoughts through the guildstone to the golden haired Dame beside him. "Lady, I believe this is the thief. I cannot be absolutely sure, but the scent is very much the same." For Felena's part her expression never changed from Light-empowered joy. Durgaraf's stony face remained devoid of expression, but his eyes latched onto Sunya as if moored there.
"Excellent, I am glad to hear it. I thought you may like to know that the auction will begin soon. We have many rare items that I'm sure you and your escort would be very interested in."
"We shall be sure to pay very close attention then." Durgaraf's voice was deep and solid and steady. Sunya gave them a polite smile and with a small bow, left to approach a corner. A moment later her voice rang through out the chamber.
"Welcome all. In a few moments we will begin our charity auction. As we announce our rare finds please remember that the proceeds from this event will go to the children of the orphan, who so need our patronage."
Durgaraf and Felena moved casually towards a wall near the auction block. Felena continued to intermingle while Durgaraf fixed attention like cold steel on the auctioneer. With each item she would declare its rarity and value, and while a few items truly were rare and valuable, the majority seemed to be of the quality often used by those beginning their travels.
"Lady, what should I do if she places the Finger on the auction?"
"What dost thou mean?" Felena's composure and discipline were such that she could carry on a discussion happily with a knight of Stormwind while discussing this dire situation.
"It is too busy in here for me to lift it quietly without another noticing. I could take it by force, but likely someone would be injured in the process."
"How much money do you have?"
"I may be considered wealthy by some, but my purse has limits. Do you mean to bid on it?"
"It is an auction after all. I was recently delivered a thousand gold for the purpose of benefiting the orphans."
"Keeping a Fel Focus away from the Lost Cabal would certainly be in the best interest of the orphans."
After a time, while Durgaraf continued to monitor the auctioneer, Felena stepped away to enjoy a spin around the ballroom floor. Durgaraf felt a momentary regret at having bid as he did for the opportunity to be her escort. Though happily married to the Priestess Ailinel he had bid sixty gold on the hand of Felena for the Ball with the intention of being able to talk privately with her through the duration of the Ball without arousing suspicion. It had occurred to him that the Lady should be able to enjoy such an event with someone who could dance with her and perhaps do more than provide protection. That line of thought ended quickly though.
"Lady, they are about to announce the final item."
"And this is perhaps the rarest yet! It was crafted by our very own master craftsmen and should fetch the eye of the many who would desire it." Durgaraf's eyes narrowed dangerously towards the auction block as Sunya bent to reveal the final item... Durgaraf almost snapped visibly as she revealed a long curved blade. "A Frost Tiger Blade would be the envy of any..." Durgaraf had ceased paying attention to the auction and instead turned his attention back to the aureate tressed paladin moving about the center of the chamber.
"Never mind, Lady."
"Perhaps after they leave we could get it from them? Even across the room the Warder could see her smiling gaily and talking with yet another suitor even as she spoke directly to his mind via the guildstone.
"I could follow her. I have her scent surely, and her image. She has lost the element of surprise. I would not lose her this time."
"Yes, but what would you do when you reached her?"
"What would your Lady like me to do?"
"I would like to hear your opinion first, good Warder."
"For myself, a quick dagger in the dark can solve many problems if properly handled. This individual obviously knows of the artifact and whether or not they intend to use it as a focus, their intentions cannot be the same as ours. It may be best if they were permanently stilled." Durgaraf's thoughts conveyed no sense of pleasure or dismay at the possible act. If anything they may have given a tone tone of resolution.
When Felena spoke again it sounded somewhat strained, as if shocked by what he had suggested. "I would rather solve this without violence if possible."
"As you say, Lady Dame." Durgaraf didn't even catch the slip into the habit of referring to Felena doublely by her titles.
Later that evening, after Felena had retired from the floor and sought a place to rest amongst the benches along the wall, Durgaraf moved to be next to her again. It was well known that Kaldorei were tall. Even the tallest humans very seldom matched their height and Durgaraf was tall even for a Kaldorei. Next to the small, sitting form of Felena, the Warder seemed as massive as a wall.
"Lady, she comes." Felena looked up calmly. The last two minutes were the first when she had not been talking with someone. Still, she smiled happily.
"Hello, Sunya." The auctioneer smiled at the two of them.
"Hello Lady Felena, Warder Frostmoon." She gave a quick bow with each name. "I was wondering how you were enjoying the Ball?"
"Oh it has been most excell..."
In a rare breech of etiquette Durgaraf interrupted the Lady, his deep voice overriding her young one. "Actually, Lady Sunya, I did have one disappointment." Felena showed no reaction to the interruption but watched the two calmly, still smiling.
"Yes, there was an item, one of a kind in fact, that I was hoping I might see at the auction tonight."
"Ah, yes, well items like that are kept secreted away. We would not auction such an item here."
"Could you tell me just how someone would go about obtaining such an item then?"
"Of course. You'd have to go to our offices here in Stormwind, complete the necessary paperwork and then await delivery of the item."
"Yes, we actually get a lot of interest in rare items like that. You could say we had a finger on the business." At the word Durgaraf's face remained unchanged but his eyes suddenly took on a new intensity. His gaze could have crumbled stone and if he didn't know better he would have thought he'd seen the auctioneer wince underneath it.
"I am sure we will be seeing each other very soon then."
Sunya bowed, perhaps a bit lower this time, but only a small bit. "Yes, I am sure we shall."