�Absolutely not!� Mertassa snapped, her voice a harsh whisper. �I will not be responsible for that little vrykul�s safety!�

�I�m more than capable of fending for myself,� Mallory retorted. 

�We need our own eyes in the city,� Peter urged. �Besides, for all her interest in night elven history, Mallory�s never seen a night elf capitol at its peak, first-hand.�

�It is not a tourist attraction!� Mertassa hissed. �Do you not understand? There are more demons now than elves.�

�I assure you, I�m quite equipped for dealing with demons,� Mallory scoffed. �And I know Suramar is precious to you — it would be to me, too — but the reality is that usually when the Legion invades a place, there�s not much left standing when they�re done. This affords a unique opportunity that may never come again.� 

Mertassa folded her arms, pacing a small circle in the field where they met, casting furtive glances in various directions to watch for spies. Her post as an outrider afforded her some freedom to get away from the prying eyes and ears of Suramar City, but privacy could never be assumed, or taken for granted. Simply being seen with the worgen or his little priestess friend could spell doom for the nightborne soldier. 

She sighed, her eyes landing on Mallory. The little vrykul�s eyes weren�t pleading, but merely inquisitive. This wasn�t some little girl with stars in her eyes and dreams of a beautiful place. She may appreciate its beauty, but something told Mertassa that the girl had plans ready to be unleashed. Maybe letting her see how things worked in the city would be a good thing.

Finally, she shook her head at herself. Was she really going to do this?

�Very well,� she sighed. �Your name is Melline, but you won�t be giving it. You�re a noble who hasn�t the time to be questioned nor challenged. I will get you a palanquin, and an armed escort. And you will stay in that palanquin. You will not speak, or your disguise will be blown the moment you open that vrykul mouth of yours.� Mallory arched an eyebrow in reply. �I will do the talking,� Mertassa continued. �Do not let your eyes linger too long… Don�t let others see stars in your eyes. The places we will be going are hardly a distraction to the nobility. And if you�re caught�� She sighed. �I cannot guarantee your safety.� She hoped those terms would either scare the priestess away, or stifle her enthusiasm a bit.

To her surprise, Mallory smiled at her and chuckled. Mertassa got the sense that she had played right into the priestess� hands. 

Ash karath, shan�delar,� Mallory answered in perfect Darnassian, with a nod. 

�Let�s do it, honored ancient keeper.�

Mertassa chuckled. �Well, aren�t you full of surprises? Still, let me do the talking.�

Az�thero�dalah�dor,� Mallory replied with a flourished bow.

�I do so with honor.�

�Are you fluent, then?� Mertassa asked.

Mallory shook her head. �Not as much as I�d like to be… I can carry on a conversation, but not so well as to avoid detection. Especially not in a place where words are chosen so carefully.�

�So you�re learning, but you should be fine if one asks your name. Right, then. You�re Melline of House Stelleris, if you�re pressed.� Her eyes narrowed on Mallory. �Stelleris is a vile and dangerous name to fling around, however. Invoking it will make enemies. Use it only if you must, and be clear of the city before the thugs hired by that house catch your scent. They won�t take well to an imposter claiming and �tarnishing� the Stelleris name falsely for the sake of their own security.�

Mallory nodded with a smile. �Unsavory tactic, but one I�m familiar with. And I�m no stranger to disguises. Let�s get moving then.� She turned to Peter. �Thank you for the introduction. How is Auris, by the way?�

Peter nodded. �Of course. She�s well, but resting. The battles against the Nightmare have been… fierce. I�m sure she�ll be shoulder-deep in battle by the time I return.�

�Send her my best,� Mallory said.

�Mine as well,� Mertassa added. �Now, �Melline,� let�s see what I can do about getting you into the city.� 

Author Rann
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