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Nov 30

Chapter Three: More Than Just A Courier (Part 1)

AnavariDRBanner Chapter Three: More Than Just A Courier (Part 1)

It had been several weeks since Daniel and I had found a comfortable house to live in the Salma District. The money from Serenity’s job was more than enough to make sure we found a place that was decent enough for a pair of freelance couriers. Of course we still needed to make money in order to keep our stomachs full, which is where Serenity came in once again. She had put in a good word for us, a VERY good word.

We would get various assortments of jobs to take items and trinkets around the city. It was small, local work, but work none the less. Turns out people pay good money to have messages sent in a discreet manner, and not only messages but packages as well. Daniel and I charged extra for anything that was more than just a written letter. Business was plentiful to say the least, but it was still nothing compared to the large scale deliveries we were used to.

Divinity’s Reach was definitely a big change from anything else that I was used to. The Citadel was different; it had the sound of battle and the roars of iron and steel. The streets of the Salma District however, had a more comforting feeling. The Citadel on the other hand made me feel protected.

Not everything was a blooming ray of sunshine though. I was still a charr in a mostly human city, and not everyone was in love with the fact that they now had a charr for a neighbor. That was to be expected, not everyone welcomed my kind with open arms. In fact, the only human I know who is overjoyed by the presence of charr is Daniel. It was a trivial issue however, a mere inconvenience. There were more pressing matters to worry about; Daniel and I recently received a letter from Serenity. She had another job for us, a big one.

I stood in my bedroom waiting for Daniel to return with breakfast. Neither one of us really knew how to cook so we had to buy already prepared meals on a regular basis. I sat by my desk that was positioned right in front of the window, It gave me a nice view of the city streets. It was also a good look out for when Daniel what about to return. I could see the human already making his way up to the door. Then I heard the sound of the front door open and close.

“Hey fur ball!” called Daniel from the living room. “I brought us some food!”

I threw on my robe and made my way downstairs from my bedroom. “What did I tell you about that name? Do you want me to punt you out of the window?” I made sure the tone in my voice was sarcastic enough so it could be taken as a joke.

“I honestly don’t see what’s so insulting about that name,” replied Daniel with a shrug. He then continued to place the bag of wrapped food on the kitchen table. “I think it kind of fits you, you’re fur being fluffy and all.”

We both took a seat. I grabbed a knife and began to spin it around my fingers as Daniel went ahead and served the food.

“Last I checked a fur ball also meant a wad of partially digested hair from a common house cat.”

“I think you mean the term ‘hairball’,” countered Daniel. “Well if you don’t like it then how about…”

Daniels eyes lit up as a light of inspiration flickered in his eyes. I knew I was not going to like this.

“Kitty!”

Dammit Daniel, I thought. He could clearly see the look of displeasure I was giving him.

“Aw, does Kitty not like his new nickname?” Daniel spoke as if he were talking to a small infant.

“Well kitty certainly does not like the term ‘fur ball’ or ‘kitty’, and repeating such names again may provoke a pounce from said feline.”

“…Did you just call yourself a cat?” said Daniel with a snicker.

I gave the human an expression only he would know the true meaning of. I gave him a wide toothy grin as I tilted my head.

“Uh oh.” Daniel’s expression signaled that he knew what was coming.

I pounced.

Before Daniel could react he was pinned to the floor of the living room. This was something common between us. He would always push the wrong buttons and it would result with him against the floor with a charr holding him down. Of course he was in no real danger, I would never make any real attempt to hurt him and neither would he. Even when I pounced I made sure my claws would not even graze his skin. The look on his face was always amusing to watch however.

“Okay how is it that I never manage to dodge that?” asked the human in frustration.

“Aw does the little human not like his new spot on the floor?” I asked imitating Daniels tone from earlier.

“Okay you made your point,” said Daniel. “Now get off me, I’m still hungry.”

I removed myself from Daniel with a chuckle and we both continued to eat our breakfast. After eating we quickly prepared our traveling gear for our next job. The letter mentioned we would have to travel quite a distance. So we brought the usual essentials, and we made sure to bring a variety of poison antidotes so there would not be a repeat of last time’s incident.

As we made our way out of the door Daniel stopped.

“We’re missing something,” he said.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “We have our weapons, clothes, food, emergency antidotes, what else do we need?”

He bit the knuckle of his index finger as he searched his memories. Then he snapped his finger, “bedrolls.”
“You bought bed rolls?”

“Well it was either that or having to deal with you and your mood swings the entire trip.” Daniel ran back into the house. I could hear the shuffling of several items being thrown about as he searched his room. After a few minutes he returned with two bedrolls. One was much larger than the other.

“They didn’t have Charr size so I got you norn sized one.”

I took the bedroll and tied it to my pack.

“That was very nice of you, Daniel,” I said still a bit surprised that he went through all that trouble. “Thank you.”

“Don’t mention it!” said Daniel with his usual grin. With that Daniel and I began to make our way outside the city gates. The sun was steadily rising beyond the horizon as we maintained a calm pace. Upon leaving the city I was met with a familiar sight. A small human woman with a gentle face and flowing black hair stood there to greet us.

“Well you guys took your sweet time,” Serenity’s voice was as soft as always. “I’ve been waiting all morning.”

“What are you doing here, Serenity?” I said as I examined her attire, she was not wearing the noble outfit when we first met her in her mansion. It was heavy plate armor; it gleamed as the rays of sunlight bounced off it. A massive sword was hanging over her back. She began to make her way towards my direction. It was obvious that she was comfortable with the armor from the way she moved around in it effortlessly. In fact she moved with a slight grace in her step.

“Well isn’t it obvious?” she brushed her hair of her face and gave me a look of confidence, “I’m joining you for this job.”

“Joining?” Asked Daniel in disbelief. “What for?”

“Well I don’t want a repeat of what happened last time so I’m taking every precaution. Which includes me tagging along. Don’t worry this won’t affect your reward.”

Daniel and I exchanged puzzled looks.

“Alright…” I said with a slightly noticeable tone of suspicion. “So will you be briefing us?”

Serenity gave a slight nod.

“A simple delivery, from here to Hoelbrak.” Serenity retrieved a sealed letter from inside her armor. She offered it to me and I gladly took it. With that the three of us walked down the road of Shaemore and began our journey.

“Okay spill it,” said Daniel as we left Shaemore. Serenity strode alongside us as we kept a brisk pace.

“What do you mean?” asked Serenity with a raised eyebrow.

“We’re not stupid. You could have just sent in a few body guards if you wanted extra protection for the job you could have just hired a guard or two. You wanted to come yourself, why’s a rich informant mansion lady like you joining us on this potentially dangerous journey?”

Serenity raised her hands at the question and said, “You got me. Truth is I did have another reason jor joining you guys on this.”

Daniel crossed his arms. “Okay then, at least you’re honest. So what is it? Don’t trust us to do the job right?”

Serenity brushed a strand of hair away from her face. Fortunately her expression did not seem to change. I was concerned that perhaps Daniel’s words were becoming too forward and could possibly insult her. That would have been bad for business.

“Truth is…” said Serenity with a sigh. “I know you two are more than capable of protecting yourselves, and I’m sure you can do the job adequately and efficiently. You two have the skill and know how. I’m just here for back up…at least that’s what I tell my butler.”

“And what will you say to us?” I asked.

Serenity paused before answering. “The life of an informant can be a bit… repetitive. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great and all, but a hard working business woman needs her hobbies. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m using you guys as an excuse to go out and travel.”

I did not know how to take such a confession. I did not mind that we were merely a medium for her to escape her job for a while so I was not angry; in fact it made no difference to me. I already knew from Daniel’s observation that she knew her way around a fight, so as long as she did not affect the reward an extra sword was fine with me.
“Well you could have just said that,” Daniel’s suspicious tone was fading. “The big guy and I were worried that you were hiding something serious.”

“Well there is one more reason,” added Serenity. “You two… something’s very different about the two of you. Besides the fact that a charr and a human are getting along of course. But something tells me that our association can only lead to something interesting. I don’t care if it’s good or bad, but as long as it’s interesting… I’m game.”

Prying.

That was my first thought, looking for the best piece of information and get the best possible benefit from it. Typical for an informant. In this case, it was to see what story she could get from the both of us. I could not blame her, Daniel and I liked a good piece of information, it was in our business after all. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that her company was actually pleasing in some strange way.

“You said you are backup,” I said changing the topic. “Does that mean we should be expecting ambushes like the last one?”

“I made sure for my company to handle the information with even more discretion this time, so the chances are minimal. But then again that’s why I’m here, I don’t like to brag but I know no better fighter than yours truly. And based on the previous job, I’m certain that you two can handle an ambush. Besides, you’re no ordinary couriers so conflict is to be expected in your line of work.”

I was surprised to see how much Serenity knew about our ‘line of work’. She was right, we are not normal couriers. The truth is ever since the increase in Asura gates, sending messages on foot was a service that was rarely needed by the common folk. The rich business owner however, well that is a different story.

Like I heard from several of my past employers, “information is one of the most valuable commodities in all of Tyria, and the ambitious will stop at nothing to get their hands on it.” That is where Daniel and I come in. We avoid outposts, waypoints of any kind, and especially major cities until we reach the destination.

The reason? Well a smart courier always takes every factor into account. And it is standard to assume that every Asura gate has a set of spies waiting not too far away. The only solution is to avoid them all together. We take the long way and get paid quite handsomely for it. That is why we train ourselves in combat and that is why we make our own rules. Never look at the message, always keep it close, never show it to anyone, never speak of it to anyone, and only make the delivery to the person your employer described or to a trusted contact. Do all of this and you have a good chance of avoiding conflict.

However only a foolish courier expects an easy journey. It is in our nature to anticipate a worst case scenario and prepare for it. It is this sense of partial paranoia that keeps us alert; it is what warns us of the subtle rustling in the bushes, the glimpse of a silhouette from the corner from our eye, and the agonizing silence of the night. Paranoia keeps us alive.

Of course we are not the only ‘Secro messengers’ (the word originated from the name an old Charr who was discovered for delivering confidential intelligence to the humans shortly after the searing). We see a few on the road from time to time, but we know not to reveal their true purpose. Only speak to each other whenever we are not on the job. If the circumstances say otherwise, then act as if it was a first encounter. We only speak to each other in taverns and such, it is assumption that we head to a tavern or inn once a job is done (doing so before a job is done is considered to be signs of an idiotic messenger). We talk to each other about our recent journeys and old ones, but we skip the small details. After that we go back to work and act as if the conversation never happened. The reality of the matter is that we are no hidden organization, there is no guild hidden in the depths of Tyria, we do not congregate and we do not flaunt a banner with our group name on it. We are simply individuals who share the same job. If we receive a job that proves to be much more than what we can handle, then we know who to call (which is why we like to make allies, it is good to have a spare Secro on a moment’s notice).

“Interesting,” I said with a chuckle towards my realization. “I did not expect you to be one of our own, Serenity.”

“You catch on quick, Anavari.” Serenity swept her flowing black hair off her face. “By the way I looked into that piece of armor you gave me.”

“You gave her the assassin armor?” asked Daniel.

“I wanted to make sure if the group of assassins we were facing is a force to be reckoned with,” I replied. “Did you find out anything?”

“Unfortunately no,” Serenity gave a sigh. “It is not a piece of armor that resembles any of the assassin guilds that my company is against. Nor does it look like a noteworthy guild. This group is either new or so hidden in the shadows that no one has seen them and lived to talk about it. I sent the Armor to some other contact of mine to see if they could find out something.”

“So now you’re company has a hidden guild of assassins on its tail,” concluded Daniel. “What do you plan to do?”

Serenity gave a shrug. “I’ll figure something out. No sense in me worrying about it right now, we have a job to do after all.”

We all agreed that the issue with the assassins was better to be handled by Serenity and her company, Daniel and I had no business in interfering.

Written by Anavari