RP:A Delivery Made
Part of the Hour of Wolves Arc
Summary: Meri makes good on her initial deal mysterious entity she encountered but ultimately ends up high tailing it out of there, after keeping up her end of the bargain, before curiosity gets the better of her.
Faux Twilight Cavern
A sense of ancient, arcane power permeates the chilled air as the southern tunnel opens abruptly into a massive cavern. Very little light enters this area, for the only opening that can be found aside from the entrance tunnel is a perfectly round hole in the distant roof. Yet one can't help feeling as if they're in the wide open despite being below ground. The walls are a peculiar wonder and aid to the strange illusion, appearing to be almost entirely basalt unnaturally polished to a glossy sheen, giving the cave the uncanny appearance of an inky night sky--with the ceiling gap above small enough to pass for a moon. But it's what lurks amongst the basalt that is the true source of the strange atmosphere: stars, infinite and brilliant in their eternal shining. These stars, however, are not quite the same as the ones in the night sky, albeit being remarkably passable at first glance; rather, they are myriad gemstones embedded into the walls--fluorite, for those able to recognize such things--in an array of colors, from flawless white to glowing yellow, serene blue and glistening violet, all eagerly catching faint light and reflecting them in an eternal mimicry of winking starshine. Any can tell this place is no longer purely a natural formation, if ever it was one. Enchantments long have been woven into the very core of this strange cave to maintain the careful appearance of an open sky beneath the earth. Further travel into the cavern will reveal a massive underground lake occupying the northern half, its unfrozen but deathly cold waters lapping at a 'beach' of black sand and rounded pebbles of blue fluorite. If one possesses night vision or squints to their fullest, they may just spy what appears to be a large glacier and structure in the center of the lake. The home of this place's creator? It's impossible to be certain, and there seems no obvious way across the waters to reach it--a lurking, intelligent presence seems to suggest even attempts at flying across will prove fatal. A powerful and protective spiritual presence is here.
Smuggling into Frostmaw was not exactly the easiest of affairs, everyone was on high alert after the attack on the celebration. The situation with this drug problem needed to be put to an end, there were routine patrols occurring to try and solve the mystery of where this dust was coming from and how it was getting into the city. A plot and plan had been hatched by the people that were providing the bulk amount of red dust to Meri. A carriage was loaded up, with a mix of red dust and salt -- because they need salt in Frostmaw, right? To melt the ice? Meri did not agree that was this the best course of action, considering events in the area had people on high alert. A carriage full of cargo seemed like a ploy that would draw too much attention of those do-gooders like Lionel and Rorin. So the plan was adjusted and all red dust was removed from that carriage, only to be replaced with a bit of a surprise for anyone who might get too curious and start nosing around and asking questions about what manner of cargo this carriage was carrying. In short, it was meant to be a distraction while Meri herself snuck the dust into the city via a bag, enchanted by a woman named Rachelle so that it holds far more than its size might suggest while also not weighing down the person carrying it. Just a brown bag, no real different than that brown bag she is often prone to carrying around when she travels to begin with. It did not look overly stuffed, in fact it looked fairly empty. At this point, even if Meri had encountered someone on her way here, she really has no reason to raise any suspicion for most inhabiting Frostmaw. The woman had fought with quite a number of the warriors, conversed with them, drank with them, patrolled with them. What cause do they really have to question her? Meri was en route to deliver her end of the deal, dressed from head to toe in black clothing and bundled up for warmth to combat the permanent chill of Frostmaw, made worse by the fact that the sun was not out to offer additional warmth. The hour was late. There was only a hunch as to where Meri was supposed to bring this supply, a certain cave. Of course, a call could come to summon Meri elsewhere.
Time. Presence. Posture. Sincerity. There were allotted times Balgruuf was allowed to pray, when all of those still faithful shed their earthly pallor and donned the greatness that was God of War. His presence was always attended to, be it from the polite watchers who reported the "guest's" whereabouts to the Queen or by the shaman in his pay who kept his secrets as well as his religious facade intact. And there was his posture; deferential, defeated, and defamed; pious, reverent, and newly devoted. But it was his sincerity, that most noble and most telling of things, that he commanded with the greatest ease, not once giving his jailors an inch to suspect he was nothing but reformed. He waited in the cave where he had met the woman before, the presence, time, and posture, on his knees before the shaman, all very suspicious until the shaman held the bowl over the bowed Balgruuf's head. He spoke in great length about Aramoth's grace, strength, and authority. He ordained the cave and the occupants with flung droplets of cold liquid. He continued on with his prayer, his litany, and his service, even as Meri made her way into the cave. ‘And the wolf and winter will ease their howls!’ The shaman’s hand rose, his finger danced in a righteous fury. It was a motion, no doubt, a sign; Balgruuf rose and turned, awaiting fully the arrival of Meri to whom the shaman gesticulated. The Frost Giant was quick to make his way to her, his voice as low as his lowered head. “We must speak softly,” Balgruuf instructed with a nod, his hands held open before his stomach for the benefit of the smuggler.
Meri's arrival into the cave was not marked with any flamboyance or commotion, the woman's steps were as silent as possible - if only because she was in the midst of conducting a shady act. The presence of both shaman and Balgruuf are observed and noted with a silent, studious stare upon her approach. There were many that put their faith in the gods, some served a couple, others dedicated their entire lives to just one deity. Meri was the sort of woman that did not fall into either category. With this in mind, that blank stare does not break even when the shaman wags his finger at her as a sign to....? Not interrupt? A signal that she was noticed? How much did Meri care at present? Not all that much, still no outward disrespect is shown to either figure...or so she believes, such things are always left up to interpretation. Balgruuf's approach and words are marked with a nod of her head to signal her understanding. The open hand is regarded with another look, the tattoo artist making to move to take hold of it. That is not why she believes it was presented. Instead gloved fingers work to unfasten a certain inconspicuous bag that has been lashed to her belt loop. Once freed, it is dropped into Balgruuf's hand where the bag falls unimpressively limp. Appearances were deceiving in this case and inside Balgruuf would find an ample supply of the dust that he had bartered for. No words would come from Meri, not at this point, Balgruuf was left to take the lead and speak his piece as he saw fit.
There were two planes of activity, two levels of action. After speaking his peace, his mouth remained shut, his eyes remained level, and by all outward appearance it would be a staring contest between the tattoo artist and the disgraced Frost Giant. But below his neck, business was being done. He was now armed only with the bag he held in his hand; the other moved within his cloak. We fear not the hidden dagger of enemies and friends.... The shaman extolled no sooner than Balgruuf’s hand moved. For those who are patient are rewarded! Her gloved hand, emptied of a negligible weight, was heavied by pouch that clinked and jangled as it settled. And those who work in the shadows, who rob those who treat the in all fairness, will most assuredly be dealt with. Balgruuf let his chin drop a fraction of an inch, a physical response to the preaching-cum-conversation between himself and Meri. Let those who lie speak now. Let those who speak truths leave now!
The pouch was accepted but there was a distinct lack of reaction, no greedy smile, no smug smirk. At best she looked skeptical, backed by the realization that she has been beyond reckless in her last meeting in this very cave. The words spoken are regarded with a slight life of a brow. It was like Meri was being spoken to in riddles, but the woman was able to get sense enough of the point being made to her. "I speak the words that suit me, when they suit me, be it truth or lies. I have held to my end of our original deal." These words come with an instinctive step backwards, half-anticipating that the Frost Giant may have no appreciation for her sentiments. This is not an entirely misguided and unfounded movement for the last time they spoke, she had this nagging impression that 'no' was not a smart thing to tell Balgruuf, at least not without some attempt at her life. What Balgruuf seeks to gain with his actions in this area benefit Meri little outside of boons promised, and the tattooed woman was starting to come to the realization that these promises, like anything else, may be too good to be true. Is the cost really worth it? Depending on Balgruuf's reaction, Meri may be taking several more long strides to keep a gap between herself and the Frost Giant. Which is more superficial security than anything else, as if Balgruuf would not be able to close the distance faster than she can create it. This little human may have bit off more than she can chew.
Balgruuf watched and he listened, though he did not speak. He let her speak…and damn herself. There was no honor among thieves, no scruples between smuggles, and certainly no lie in this woman’s damnation. Something would have to be done with her. She would not keep her mouth shut. Promises given will be promises kept. But, tonight, we pray! Balgruuf turned from Meri and made his way back to the shaman, the pouch moved from hand to hand, person to person, from body to body. The shaman was quick to infiltrate his ceremonial items with the package, its contents hidden within tools of his trade with a few quick shuffles. And like those who Aramoth calls, we go. Go! The Frost Giant’s head was bowed, his lips moved in mumbled prayers, a fraction out of devotion and more to hide the sounds of shifting fabric. Meri would most certainly not receive a second opportunity to leave unharassed.
In many instances, curiosity often gets the better of Meri and creates situations where she is basically begging for trouble. Would she even be in this situation if she had not been overly interested in what a certain voice that invaded her mind may have had to offer? No, she would not be. Perhaps there may be some who might want to push their luck and press for answers to questions like 'who are you' and 'what are you doing this' but, no. Meri is going to take full advantage of this opportunity, making her escape while Balgruuf's head is bowed and those prayers are being uttered. Her end of their bargain has been kept up to the best of their understanding, her want to be nosy has been beyond dated. As such, Meri won't even issue a single word of goodbye, her exit is made before she manages to get herself in another stupid and reckless situation.