Daniel and I decided to stay on the roof for a little longer. After we were absolutely certain that the guards had given up their search, we decided to head back to the market district. Daniel suggested that we avoid wandering into public areas until we returned to Serenity’s mansion. I concurred, I wasn’t sure if the seraph were any good at picking out unusual individuals in a crowd but I did not want to find out. So we decided to avoid any major streets and stick to the more secluded areas of Divinity’s Reach.
Most of the time we would nearly run into the seraph guard and needed to find a way around them, getting to our friend’s house took much longer than expected. Daniel and I arrived much later than expected, as soon as we knocked on Serenity’s front door we were met with her enraged face. Daniel and I stood frozen, uncertain if the anger was directed towards us or someone else.
“What the hell took you two so long?” She asked doing her best to keep quiet.
“There were a lot of guards,” said Daniel. “They made it really hard to get here unnoticed.”
Serenity simply replied by rolling her eyes.
“Well get in you two!” We wasted no more time and followed the human into her house. “Honestly you guys took your sweet time, being around Argus is an agonizing experience in itself. Let alone our history.”
“So you two have history?” I asked knowing very well that they did.
“We had a fling, stuff happened, people died, it wasn’t my fault,” Serenity spoke very quickly and dismissively. Daniel and I exchanged a brief glance practically having a conversation with our eyes. I knew him well enough to know what he was trying to convey.
“Pretty obvious what these two had if you know what I mean,” I imagined his voice saying those words.
I could tell that Daniel was able to decipher what my look meant as well.
“Daniel, this is none of our business. We are not getting involve.”
“But I’m curious!” He would say with his pleading eyes.
I simply raised an eyebrow. Daniel pouted in response. Finally, we reached Serenity’s study. We found Argus and Simon standing by the corner waiting for us.
“Took you guys long enough!” Exclaimed the Norn. Simon simply gave an indifferent snort.
“We were delayed on the way,” I said. “Avoiding the seraph proved to be complicated.”
“Well whatever it is it doesn’t matter now.” Serenity walked over to her desk, took her seat and placed her feet on the desk. “So you have them?”
I nodded as I took out the notes from my coat pocket and walked over to place them on the desk. The thick packet of notes slapped the wooden surface as it landed. Everyone decided to take a closer look at what was in front of us. It was a rather simple assortment of notes. All of them seem hastily jotted down and they had many scribbles around them as if someone was testing their quill for ink.
“So…” Said Daniel. “This is it huh?”
“Is anyone going to read it?” Argus glanced around at the group. Serenity gave me a brief glance as if telling me to go ahead. With a nod, I seized the notes and began reading out loud.
So far the investigation is sounding very strange. Random corpses found across Kryta, all of them appeared to be messengers of some kind; the locals said they were couriers. There’s something from the description of the murders though, I will have to investigate the bodies before making any assumptions. But who needs a courier these days when there’s asura gates?
Day two. So far, the investigation leads me to believe that these ‘couriers’ deliver more than love letters and parcels from distant relatives. They’re starting to look less like couriers and more like smugglers. I am investigating the corpses tomorrow; perhaps they will provide some insight.
Day three. I noticed something interesting about the bodies, though it was difficult to see until someone had pointed out to me that the bodies were organized by race and not by where they were found. I would have to find the idiot who thought of that brilliant idea.
None the less, further investigation proved to be fruitful. Not only have I discovered how they died but I have found a pattern. Not only were all the bodies killed the same way but every single group had at least one charr in it. Which leads me to believe that whatever is killing these couriers is solely targeting charrs. What also strikes me as interesting is how they are being killed.
Every single charr has their chest cracked open, their hearts are missing as well. All the other bodies are intact though (aside from the wounds that killed them of course), It seems that the killer had no interest in the hearts of others. The bigger question is, why is the killer interesting in charr hearts?
I trailed off as I began to scroll through the notes. They did not seem to have any more helpful information . Only diagrams and summaries of the bodies that were found. Some accurate drawing demonstrated how the heart had been torn out while the chest was cut open with precision. I could still barely believe what I was reading however. By the time I finished, I noticed that all eyes were on me. Daniel looked concerned and so did Serenity, Argus simply looked befuddled.
“Well it seems these assassins are only targeting charr,” I said as I tossed the notes onto the desk and did my best to sound indifferent. I quickly searched for a place to sit down and decided to rest on the velvet couch by the center of the room. Daniel joined me a second later.
“You alright, big guy?” Asked the human placing his hand on my shoulder.
“You know that I am small compared to most charr,” I said indifferently. “But yes, I am fine.” I could not be further from the truth. I now knew that these assassins had begun attacking me solely because I was a charr. In a sense I had endangered everyone around me, and it didn’t seem like these assassins would stop any time soon. I could tell that there was something more to the grand scheme of things. Exactly what, I was uncertain of. I had this faint feeling uneasiness creep up my spine, my mind began to swim around in a cesspool of possible outcomes for this situation, all of them were disastrous.
“So what’s our next move?” Asked Daniel facing serenity. The other human simply leaned on her chair and stared towards the ceiling.
“Argus!” Called out Serenity. “I need you to start singing.” Serenity took the notes and thrusted them towards the norn’s direction. “I want you to warn everyone that they’re after charr and make sure these notes reach an observer.”
“Start. Singing. Argus.” The norn did not seem to want to debate further. So with that he took the notes and made his way out of the mansion with his pig. The three of us stood there in silence for several moments before anyone decided to say anything. Finally, Serenity rose from her seat and moved over to the window.
“I doubt anyone here is up for some sleep right now,” said the human as she fancied a brief glance outside. Daniel and I responded by shaking our heads. “okay!” Serenity marched over to the exit and beckoned for us to follow. “The night’s still young. How about we go have a drink, it’ll get our minds off of things.”
“You wanna get a drink?” asked Daniel in disbelief. He then shrugged and seemed more than willing to participate.
“I don’t drink alcohol,” I said sinking into my seat.
“Then we’ll get you some berry juice,” offered Daniel. “C’mon, Anavari. We could use some fun about now. It’ll be good for us.” The human started tugging my arm in a feeble attempts to pull me out of the couch.
“V-Very well…” I said rising to my feat. “I suppose we do deserve a bit of… fun.”
“Fantastic!” Said Daniel with his wide grin, he began to pull me towards the door and I followed suit. “I know this great place by the carnival! Best cider in the entire city!”
It was fortunate that Divinity’s Reach was active no matter what time of day it was. Mostly it would be the trade district and eastern commons that would have the largest amount of people, which would make it slightly easier to go about unnoticed. Despite all the time that had passed, the seraph were still looking for us. They did not see our faces however, so the hoods were no longer necessary. As far as we were concerned, we were as safe as can be.
Daniel was guiding us through the carnival, we could see large tents with spiraling colors and people walking about to enjoy the nightly activities. Since it was well past midnight, the performances were slightly different. Much more theatrical than what you would see during the day. More musical numbers instead of parlor tricks.
We reached a particularly large set of a castle; I had seen this stage before. Most of the main attractions would take place here. It was completely empty however, apparently there were no performances scheduled for the night. Daniel continued walking until he reached the curtain and entered without any restraint. Serenity and I exchanged a brief glance of uncertainty before entering as well.
What we found behind the curtain was surprising. Turns out someone had organized a small party. Many guests, mostly carnival workers, were sitting about a wide room with props and different setting scattered about. Food and drinks were placed around the room for everyone to enjoy to their leisure. Daniel walked ahead of us as he greeted all the party guests.
“Fear not everyone the party can now start!” he called out as he walked in long flamboyant strides.
“Look everyone, Dan’s here!” Said one of the carnival works. Suddenly, the entire party turned to greet him and us.
After a series of introductions Serenity and I discovered that Daniel would journey out here on his spare time. Turns out everyone here liked him very much. Within mere seconds we had drinks shoved into our hands and we were drifted away into a whimsical dance with music that came from an unknown source. Fortunately, I managed to escape the dance in time and moved over to a lone corner as I watched Daniel enjoy the party.
I decided to take a small sip of the cider. I could taste a bit of the alcohol in it, but it was a much smoother experience than my first time with charr whiskey. As alluring as getting drunk sounded at the moment, I wanted to keep my senses at the moment. So I placed the drink aside as I saw a glowing light enter the room and change colors according to the beat of the music. The area had so much magic being casted in it I could practically smell it.
“You know your face looks much better when you’re smiling,” I rounded towards Serenity who had appeared by my side. She took a swig of her cider every few seconds as she sat down.
“I am sorry,” I said with a sigh. “I suppose there is too much on my mind at the moment.” I idly took a sip of the drink I had set aside.
“Yeah I don’t blame you,” chuckled Serenity. “Not every day you find out something as big as this.”
“This will only get bigger,” I mused. “Life will not be easy until this ordeal is over.”
“That much is obvious. But it’s no excuse to enjoy this moment of peace.” The human nudged my shoulder. “Maybe we can talk about something to help you cheer up. How is it living in a house with Daniel?”
I shrugged. “I have no complaints…” I looked into the crowed and spotted Daniel dancing and drinking at the same time. He was switching dance partners every few seconds. “Daniel and I have known each other for a while, so living with him is pretty much like how we used to travel. We are close, so it is a comfortable life… until recent events of course.”
Serenity and I sat there for a moment, simply staring at the party.
“Out of curiosity, how close do you think you are with Daniel?” I glanced at Serenity with a raised eyebrow.
“You know, how close are you two really? What exactly do you want out of your friendship?”
I could smell the alcohol coming out of her mouth, and her face appeared to be a bit red. Perhaps she had downed several more mugs of cider before talking to me. It took me a while to respond, I simply moved my gaze over to Daniel and held it for several seconds. It was a question that I had never considered until now…
“…I will tell you once I figure it out for myself,” I said as I took my drink and rose to my feet. With that I walked out of the backstage and decided to stand by a nearby wagon. It wasn’t too far from the stage, so I would be able to see if Daniel or Serenity were looking for me.
I took another swig of cider and gazed into the starlit sky. Memories of my time in the citadel began to resurface. The time Garfas won the bet, where he gave me the same book I had my eye on for quite some time, I did my best to remember what happened after that event, but I could not draw out anything. Such memories were always blurry whenever I would try and remember.
“Washh you doin out here?” I looked at the source of the slurring voice and found an inebriated Daniel looking at me with half closed eyes.
“How much cider have you had?” I asked looking at my own mug.
Daniel simply looked at his mug for several seconds then rose an open palm at me. “Thish many!” He said with a giggle. “I thinks there was more booze in it than I thunk.”
I released a sigh. “Well come sit next to me before you fall on the floor.”
“You’re a grape friend!” Said Daniel as he practically threw himself into my arms. I slowly lowed myself and made sure Daniel was placed gently onto the ground besides me. The human started leaning into me.
“Yes Daniel?” I said reaching for my drink and taking a sip.
“I think we gots to talk!” I looked at the humans grinning face.
“I knowsh we both says that we won’t get into our past liveshh… but when you were all super ghost charr back there… you scared me there.”
I averted my gaze and leaned into the cart that was by my other side.
“I’m sorry you had to see me like that… I promise it will not happen again.”
“Nah!” The human dropped a closed fist onto my shoulder. “Nah! Nah! Nah!” Now I was confused. “I don care bout that! I saws that you were a very mad charr. I wanna know why my grape charr friend is so angry!”
“It’s alright Daniel…” I said. “There’s no need to—”
“Yesh there is!” Continued the human. “Something’s ish wrong and I wanna help ya!”
“Daniel,” I warned. I was beginning to grow angry.
“You gots to talk about it! I can help y—”
My anger escalated at an alarming rate. Before I knew it, I had seized Daniel by the neck and pinned him to the floor. Seething with rage I stared down into his eyes. However, Daniel did not seem to react to my sudden change, he simply took note of his predicament and smiled at me.
“Ya can’t hurt me big guy,” he said. “I know you can’t. Jush like I can’t hurt you.”
“Shut up!” I roared. “Shut up or I swear I will squeeze the life right out of you!” I was breathing so heavily and was so livid that I was not thinking of what was coming out of my mouth. “I am not a simple book that you can read and make a deduction out of. I am fine!”
“Ish that why you don sees it? Just bury it sho far that you forget it’s there?”
“I am fine!” I repeated.
“Are yous telling me or yourselfsh?” Daniel slurred.
“THERE IS NOTHING. WRONG. WITH. ME!”
Daniel looked into my eyes, his face solemn. “Then why are your eyes so sad?”
“I…” I could not answer, my anger quickly began to vanish as I realized what I was doing, what I could have done. “I… I…” I scrambled back into the cart. My hands shaking, my breathing erratic. I felt as If I had just left a battle.
“What are you two doing out here?” I heard Serenity’s voice nearby, I turned and found here standing not too far from us. Her arms were crossed with an irritated look on her face.
“W-We were…” I felt a small mass come in contact with my body and found that Daniel had fallen asleep on my shoulder. Serenity looked at my current state and shrugged.
“If you guys wanted to go home then you should have said something!” She motioned us to follow as she began to make her way out of the commons. I glanced at Daniel and quickly picked him up. I heard a groan of displeasure as he was placed on my back. He held onto my neck as I held onto his legs. I began to follow Serenity as I hoped that Daniel was too drunk to remember what happened.