As Mallory walked the streets of Darnassus, her eyes landed on a tall night elf druid walking purposely her way. "Mallory Everley?" he asked.
"That's…me," she answered hesitantly.
"Your presence is requested in the Moonglade," he said, handing her an envelope. Looking down at the envelope in her hands, she saw glowing faintly on its surface the crest of the Kirin Tor.
"Please see to it promptly, if you would," the druid continued. "We would like your friend to vacate the area as soon as possible."
* * *
"Hello again, Mallory. How is your sister?" Rann sat comfortably in the same chair Shadowsage had been in a few days prior, when Mallory had accidentally offended her, sipping on a hot drink.
"Much better," Mallory answered, looking around for a similar drink, but finding none and taking a seat across from Rann. "Bairne is defeated, and I think that whole mess is finally behind us."
"Good to hear." Sip. "Sorry for making you come all this way, but I needed to speak with you and…well, I may be a member of the Alliance, but that doesn't guarantee me any warmth of reception in Darnassus. Or here, for that matter. I can't be certain that the guards would check my eye color first, you know."
"I… suppose not. You're not the only one with that problem."
"You must mean Sage," Rann observed.
"Actually I mean Ærte—"
"The Wardens at least are distracted enough to leave you be." Ærtemis' voice had appeared and interrupted Mallory mid-sentence…and in the middle of saying her name no less.
Mallory blinks. "Oh…hey."
Rann looked almost like she had already seen Ærtemis, even though she hadn't. She looked at the visitor with unsurprised but interested eyes. "And you must be Ærtemis, then."
Ærtemis nodded at Rann in acknowledgement. "The Wardens would be a bit more distracted by me than you, particularly after the last few days."
"Still, I'd prefer not to take my chances." She turned back to Mallory. "Ironically, that's the same reason I need your help in the first place. I need some help finding someone — and the Kirin Tor are playing politics. Someone on the outside might be better suited than myself right now."
Ærtemis tilted her head.
Mallory nodded. "Well, I definitely owe you one."
Rann interjected with a sly grin. "More than one…and the person I need you to help find…you owe her mother one too."
Mallory wore a confused look on her face for a moment. "Well I'm just in all kinds of debt, aren't I? Okay, so how can I help? And…so this is…Shadowsage's…?"
Rann finished the sentence, "daughter. She was a pupil of mine… I haven't seen her since, well…shortly before Theramore."
Ærtemis blinks. "So, in essence…. we're looking for a mage who dissappeared about two years ago?
Rann scratched the back of her head, an embarrassed flush coming over her face. "Y-yeah… She might have gotten caught up during the purge of Dalaran." Her face hardened. "When Jaina Proudmoore decided the Kirin Tor didn't need half the Kirin Tor."
Mallory shook her head. "Wait a second — Shadowsage has several daughters. She said so. Why not go to one of the others?"
"They wouldn't know where to find her," Rann answered. "I don't think they keep in touch that often."
Ærtemis hmmmed musingly. "I've not heard of many families that find years of no contact…. normal." She shrugged, clearly brushing the train of thought aside before asking, "Caught up in the purge of Dalaran? So she's not alliance in origin? That… will complicate a proper cold-trail hunt."
Rann nodded. "Not much is normal about this family," she chuckled. "Shadowsage is a blood elf, but Kageseji's eyes don't have much green tint to them at all. A happy accident of genetics, in this case. She very well could have gotten through the purge being mistaken for an Alliance high elf, or not even have been in Dalaran at the time. But if I know her…and I'd like to think I do…safe money is on her being there when it happened." She looks down. "I almost wish Razboom was here. He'd be able to sweet-talk his way in without breaking a sweat."
Ærtemis blinked. "…Razboom?"
Rann shook her head, as if not realizing she had said that out loud, and took a sip. "Sorry. A goblin I know. A trade prince. Haven't seen HIM in about two years either, come to think of it."
"…Must be a different goblin," Ærtemis reasoned. A one-beat pause. "Why do you think she was there during the purge, isntead of her being somewhere else and simply out of touch?"
Rann stares off into space for a moment. "She…never struck me as the traveling type. If she didn't have some specific reason to leave Dalaran, she would probably just curl up with a book somewhere."
"Would she not have gotten out during the purge?"
Rann nods. "That would mean she either convinced others that she was a high elf, or she escaped to Silvermoon. Or…possibly…was imprisoned. There has to be a record somewhere showing what happened. A prisoner manifest, a census indicating her as a high elf or a Silvermoon refugee…something."
Mallory stood and began to pace the room, tapping her chin in thought. "I could try, but I'd be lousy at improvising my way into somewhere I'm not supposed to be, like in Dalaran. And forget Silvermoon." She turned to Rann. "Seriously though? Two years, and you just now thought to check on her?"
Rann looked away. "I… thought she was with her mother."
"I doubt I could sneak around Dalaran well, even if I have a few ideas of where to look."
Rann shrugged slightly. "Why? Wardens are known for their camouflage."
Ærtemis laughed softly, holding up her hand…frost-rimed armor and all. "I'm passable at sneaking, but I am a death knight." Rann shrugged in reply, appearing unconvinced. "But how… does not hearing from her mother in two years give grounds for you to believe she was with her?"
"Her mother works for the Bronze Flight," Rann explained. "Once in awhile, she…disappears into another time. Sometimes she takes her kids with her. Shows back up a year or two later like nothing has happened. It's happened before… I thought that was the case here."
Ærtemis paused in thought. "The Bronze Flight… That adds a lot of strange. So the one we are looking for. Describe her, please."
"She's… a little bit shorter than me. Blond hair…" She hesitated, looking for more descriptors. "Erm…fond of a sky-blue color? She wears her Kirin Tor tabard religiously, though I'm not sure how much help that'd be to you in THAT city. Oh, and purple eyes. Sorry, should have mentioned that earlier."
Ærtemis tilted her head again. "Purple eyes, blood elf with blonde hair. And you said her name was Kageseji. Mage, I am assuming, given her alliegence. I've started trails with less. More hands would be… useful."
Mallory looked at Ærtemis knowingly, and smiled. "I know where we can find more hands."