“Rah-jah-neee” a voice in the darkness hissed, causing the petite blood elf to stop dead in her tracks, a slow tickle of fear tracing up her spine. She whipped around to the direction of the voice, squinting into the blackness, shadows dancing across the stacks of crates and bags.

Ratchet was unusually quiet for the moment and she was alone, dressed more for a bar than a fight. Anjasa cursed at herself inwardly for her carelessness, reaching into a boot for the small, serrated blade she always carried.

She crouched a bit, poised to spring when a loud burst of drunken laughter spewed into the street. She brushed a loose strand of hair behind her ear as she gave one more darting glance to the garbage before darting off towards the gaggle of young drunkards.

~~

“Someone is followin’ me,” she whispered to Jumwa, sitting next to him in a tiny booth. Between them, on the table, was a large pitcher filled with a crimson liquid. He poured some for himself, taking a long, slow sip. Anjasa’s eyes were wide and dark, the usual glint of fun missing. She shivered slightly, though the room was hot with bodies, and her normally pink-hued skin was pale and drab.

The bar around them was large and the Tauren Chieftains played on stage, drowning out any bit of conversation to any a couple of yards away. The bodies of the crowd moved in unison, their glinting forms rubbing together as they jumped and danced.

Jumwa put the heavy mug on the table with a hollow ‘clunk’, pushing it away slightly, looking at her in the face. His eyes were cold and hard, his expression stern. He nodded and turned back to the crowd, laying a heavy, blue arm over her shoulder and pulling her to him roughly.

“D’en we find d’em and kill d’em for scaring my Anjasa,” he nodded again, leaning down and kissing the crown of her head. She nodded against his chest, a dull shiver running down her naked arm.

~~

For a few days the shadows stopped chasing her and she concluded she was jumpy over nothing more than a brief spurt of paranoia brought on by her drugs. However, there it was: a solid red envelope waiting for her in the mail, chicken scratched writing on the front in a brilliant gold, addressing it to her. Looking on either side, staring suspiciously at those around her she pocketed the envelope and moved to the nearest inn. Curtly booking a room and throwing down the gold up front, she scurried up the stairs, slamming the door behind her.

She moved to the tiny red table next to the window and tossed the envelope onto it, plopping herself down in the chair, staring. She brought one of her hands to the other, ringing them and pressing at her cuticles. Slowly she reached for it, then retreated, her slender hands shaking violently. She bit at her lower lip, her green eyes scanning the paper for some form of a trap, her mind reeling with possibilities.

She slowly grabbed for the dagger from her boot, slicing the end of the envelope open and letting it flitter to the table. For a quick moment she thought of how harmless it looked, knowing nothing the letter contained could be good news.

Dearest Jenek,

I hope you will pardon using the name I am most familiar with as opposed to your newest one. I must say, I much prefer Jenek, as it were. A shame you did not keep it.

Let us not worry about such frivolities, however. I, of course, have contacted you for a purpose. Since you have left Stromguard, it has been through much hardship. Having followed your lengthy career for some time, I have recently discovered that you have acquired quite a bit of wealth. Wealth that could be better used paying back your debts, with interest.

I certainly hope you remember me, Jenek. I may be heartbroken if you do not. Should you choose to comply, I hope you will come meet me outside the gates this evening. If you do not, we may have to pick apart another of your nearest and dearest.

Love eternally,

Hammand

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