Alinash frowned as he heard the murmured voices in the room next door. He couldn’t make out what they were saying. He never could, nor did he really want to, but it sounded like they were already enjoying themselves. His long ears laid back as he got up and started getting dressed again. The less he had to hear of ‘that’, the better.
Idiot boy. They don’t care about you. Syrina’s voice. Another memory. He wished he could forget. Laughter next door reminded him that staying in Harrier’s room any longer tonight was not going to make things any better. He had tried to stay, once. After a sleepless night of constant nightmares, anxiety, and pitiful sobbing, he had vowed never to put himself through that again. He pulled his laces tight on his boots and opened the window.
He climbed out, scaling his way up to the roof easily. There, he headed west over the roofs of the connected buildings. He wasn’t sure where he would go tonight. Harrier had urged him to give up on retrieving his stupid bauble, so he wound up wandering aimlessly in the opposite direction of the house he had been watching for all this time.
He did have to talk himself out of going to watch the house some more. After all, watching wasn’t going in, nor would he see his opening to go in if he wasn’t there to watch. Things won’t be any different tonight than they ever are. Always the guard. He reasoned with himself as he climbed up to one of the higher roofs in the district. But not in back. He stopped and looked back in the direction of the house. No. Keep going. Go see Star.
Star. He hadn’t planned it, but he was relatively close to where she worked. His ear twitched. He didn’t want to. Her touch would remind him of the touch he didn’t have, he wasn’t allowed to have, tonight. Someone else was experiencing that right now. You could go see her to talk. His ear twitched again at the thought. As if whores ever had any good advice. But then Star was older than most of the whores Alinash knew, and he had gone to her before, sometimes just to talk. She was the only person in Stormwind outside of the people he live with who knew him well enough that he could remove his hat in her presence. His ear twitch again, almost dislodging his hat. He pressed it further down on his head, and climbed down the alley side of one of the buildings. He pulled the brim of his hat a bit lower as he walked into the street and across to another building.
He’d been here before, and though it had been a while, he knew the routine. He sat at the bar, far enough away from others who were also sitting there, having a drink. He did his best to look unapproachable and waited for the barmaid.
“What can I get ya, hon?” a woman on the plump side asked as she walked towards him on the other side of the bar. The Madame, though if anyone important asked, she was just a barmaid.
Alinash leaned forward, keeping his voice low, “Is Star busy?”
“She just went upstairs, love.” The woman replied just as quietly. “Perhaps you’d be interested in Basil or Clover instead? They’re both free right now.”
Alinash shook his head, “No, that’s okay. I’ll wait.”
“Can I get you something to drink then?”
“Sure, a dwarven stout would be good.”
The woman smiled and served his drink.
Five dwarven stouts later, Alinash decided he had enough. Star was obviously too busy for him, and he was at the point where his fingers and toes were tingling. He stumbled out the door, and leaned against the wall he was supposed to climb. What are you going to do? Climb up and pass out on a roof? You’ll be picked up by the griffin patrols first thing in the morning. He frowned deeply. He couldn’t very well pass out in an alley either, and guards took much more notice of individual people at night, especially ones who couldn’t walk in a straight line. Walking home on the street was out of the question. He had to climb up.
Getting up on the roof proved to be less of a problem than he thought it would be. Staying upright once he was on top was problematic. He stumbled more than once as he crossed over the partitions that raised up between the buildings. He frowned in frustration. He couldn’t stay up on the rooftops for the rest of the night. He could go home, but he dismissed that idea rather quickly. Never again.
Fifteen minutes later, he found himself at the spot on the roof where he had spent many nights with an excellent view of the house he believed his bauble to be in. He hadn’t planned it, but here he was.
Five minutes after that, he had made his way to the other side, where he had a view of the courtyard behind the house. He shrugged to himself. Nothing to lose. He started scaling down the wall into the courtyard. He lost his footing near the bottom and dropped, less than gracefully, onto the cobblestone below. That’s going to leave a bruise. He picked himself up, and steadied himself against the wall. Maybe this was a bad idea. He bent over and threw up. A very bad idea. He suddenly felt like going home and crawling into bed to go to sleep. He glanced up at the back door of the house. He was so close. His bauble was inside. How could he give up now? He stood up straight, letting another wave of nausea pass before he stumbled towards the door.
He peeked inside first, the clear glass window of the door offering an unobstructed view of the kitchen. It appeared to be empty. The houses residents and servants must all be to bed at this hour. Except the guard in front.
He put his hand on the door knob and turned it. Locked. I hate locked doors. He pulled his hat up for just a second. Only long enough to pull one of the hair pins that held back some of the loose stands of his long blond hair out. After pushing his hat back into place, he bent the pin and inserted it into the keyhole. It took him twice as long as it normally would as he fumbled with the lock, almost dropping the hairpin more than once, but finally he heard the click. Success. He turned the knob and slowly opened the door.
He crept into the kitchen, slowly closing the door behind himself. What now? He frowned. He hadn’t thought this far ahead. His bauble wouldn’t be in the kitchen at any rate. In a bedroom probably. He frowned even more at that thought. The people who lived here were most likely in their bedrooms at this time. Idiot child. What did you expect? He shook his head trying to rid himself of Syrina’s words. As he did he lost his balance and fell to the side, bumping one of the kitchen counters. He struggled to regain his balance, and managed to dislodge a neatly stacked pile of cooking pans, sending them crashing to the floor.
Not your stealthiest move. He scampered to a hiding place in case someone came to investigate the noise, squeezing himself between the end of the cabinets and shelf unit.
He waited, and it wasn’t long before he heard footsteps on the staircase. They padded softly and slowly. Then silence for a few more moments before a floorboard creaked. Who ever it was, they were getting closer.
Alinash held his breath. Light flooded the kitchen as a conjured orb glowed in the center. Shit. A mage.
“Come out! Show yourself!” A woman’s voice called out.
Alinash stayed where he was.
“Look, you should probably show yourself now before I get the guards to find you. You don’t want the guards to find you. They’re much less understanding.”
Alinash remained in his hiding place, but the adrenaline had stirred up a new wave of nausea. Just make it until she leaves to fetch the guard. Then slip out the back door and scale up the wall. You can go home and be safe. He had barely finished the thought when he retched and lost what was left of his stomach contents.
“Ugh. Wonderful. What did you do? Drink canal water?”
Shit. He pressed his hat down as far as it would go, and prepared to bolt. Before he could move, the mage said a word and ice cracked out along the floor. His feet froze in place. He reached for his dagger, catching himself with his other hand as he almost fell over again. The moment his hand touched the floor, the ice formed around it, and left him with just one free hand. He left it resting on his dagger, but did not move any further. The woman was walking again. He lowered his head, making sure not to look up and show her his eyes.
“There you are. You made a mess on my kitchen floor. Why are you here?”
Before Alinash could even decide if he was going to answer or not, his hat was lifted swiftly off his head.
“Look at me when…”
“Well, what do we have here? An elf? Look at me, elf.”
He was already beaten. There was no use denying it at this point. He looked up, hoping his green eyes would somehow be overlooked.
The woman smirked. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. Look, return to Silvermoon and tell my father that I’m still not interested. Understand?”
Return to Silvermoon? What would a human be doing there? Then again, he was in Stormwind, so he could hardly point fingers.
“Do you understand?”
Alinash nodded, “Okay.” Leaving the building alive and free sounded good. Following her instruction to go back to Silvermoon sounded optional, and not something she’d follow up on anyway.
She tossed his hat back at him and stepped back while the ice disappeared. “Good. Go.”
He wasted no time in following that order. He shoved his hat back over his ears and dashed out the door. He quickly scaled up the wall and started heading back home. Maybe it would be best to pass out in bed for the rest of the night.