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Elunara

Orlesian Grump Elf
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
16
#1
((11 Firstfall, 35 Dragon – Early Afternoon – The Docs - @Celeste Monroe ))

Let it never be said that Elunara didn't at least have a bit of luck on her side. Horrible, twisted and sometimes downright rotten luck, but still luck. Her second day here and there was no sign nor word from Zevran but she had found a bit of work. And no, it was not darning socks – nor was it anything so righteous as helping the guard this time. A search and rescue so to speak. Benjamin, the boy she had entertained on their voyage here, had gone missing.

It would have been comical how quickly his mother had changed her tune, learning that Elunara was indeed more skilled in matters other than hide and seek, had it not been about her missing son. She had been nothing more than an elf – a babysitter and servant on the boat. But, the woman had all but thrown herself at her feet when Elunara came around to return the plush animal he had forgotten – not even a full day and adventure had called to the young lad like a moth to flame. He had apparently disappeared sometime during the night.

Children would be children. Or so she had thought, up until her searching all morning and now into the afternoon had turned up neither hide nor hair of young Ben. No one seemed to have seen a short mop of curly dark hair and probably a face still smudged with mud. Perhaps it was because she wasn't at all familiar with the layout of the city, or more probably, she had absolutely no connections to anyone here, but no one really wanted to talk to her either. Even to the elves in the Alienage she was nothing more than an outsider yet; someone to be watched.

Why had she agreed so quickly to this again? ”Maker va savoir pourquoi...” [”Maker knows why...”] A soft grunt escaped her as she answered herself out loud, heading toward what she hoped was the direction of the docs. He had promised her a swim lesson after all, perhaps he was simply exploring by the water. She tried in vain not to think about what might have happened should he have fallen in, her steps quickening despite herself.

The sound of birds crying overhead reached her ears well before the sound of water or the sight of boats and it was these that she followed until she reached the somewhat more familiar sight of the docs. She had just spent a good portion of yesterday here after all. A bit more luck was slipped her way as her eyes settled on the ship that had gotten her here, a few of it's sailors still hanging around. She approached directly, not wanting to waste anymore of the day than she needed. It was an elf that she approached, not bothered by the fact that he was working in nothing more than a pair of cropped pants.

”Do you remember a young boy who got off your ship just yesterday? About this -” she measured with her hand, ” tall and dark curly hair?” A grunt was given in reply and the elf took it to mean she could continue. ”He went missing last night. Did he come here at all?”

”First...it ent my ship,” he clarified with a bit of amusement, a finger lifting then to scratch at his chin. ”If the Captain overheard me talkin' like it were, I'd be overboard faster than you can blink those pretty blue eyes of yers.” Alright. Well, with that out of the way.... ”Eh....couldn't tell ye lass. There was a few of 'm playin' with a ball 'fore breakfast. Don't remember the color of their hair m'fraid.” A hand was tossed through a length of copper red hair as the elven sailor shrugged his tan and tattooed shoulders, shooting her a flash of a smile before he moved onto some menial task to be done on the deck of the ship, leaving her alone once again. Put off and out of ideas she leaned up against a bit of parked cargo, her arms folding over her chest.

So much for her luck...
 
Last edited:

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
201
#2
”He went missing last night. Did he come here at all?”

Celeste only caught the tail end of the conversation as she headed back toward the Wicked Grace after having checked yet again to see if the new masts had miraculously arrived, but she'd seen the elf's gesture indicating someone just past waist high on a human. 'He' was undoubtedly a child. Missing. In Kirkwall.

Shit.

Life wasn't good for a kid alone in any city, but the City of Chains was worse than most. In addition to street gangs and slavers, you had the charming local color of blood mages and abominations. And qunari. Can't forget the fucking qunari.

If Téo had been here, she'd have turned him loose; he'd developed a bit of a following among the local wharf rats, and he'd probably have had the kid tracked down in an hour or less. He was in Antiva City with Gideon, however, so after a moment's weighing of the options, she approached the elven woman, who was leaning against a stack of crates with vexation crackling in blue eyes as the sailor she'd been questioning went about his business.

“Your kid?” she asked. “I know the docks pretty well; I can help you look for him.” In just about any other city, she would have been confident that they would find him alive and none the worse for wear, but Kirkwall was Kirkwall, so alive was about as good as she was hoping for and more than she was honestly expecting.
 

Elunara

Orlesian Grump Elf
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
16
#3
Irritation was starting to build as dull anger in the middle of her chest – How was she supposed to comb over this entire city? She didn't know these walls like she had come to know Denerim. Was there hope for Benjamin while it was her that was heading the search? Doubt was annoying and it was keeping her stagnant when she should have been moving. She found herself not for the first time wishing she had packed up and left right when Zevran had – perhaps she wouldn't be in such a situation.

If she was Benjamin where would she travel to?

The answer to her question did not come, but the Orlesian's attentions were quickly snatched up at the sight of blonde hair wafting around tan skin. A scrutinizing gaze quickly and freely roamed over this new stranger, disappointment dusting her face as she registered that it wasn't Zevran – not even an elf at that. Still, there was a charm to her, if first impressions could be trusted.

”Your kid?” The woman before her wasted no time in making her intentions for interacting obvious. “I know the docks pretty well; I can help you look for him.”

Elunara's lips thinned as she pressed them together, trying to decide if she should trust this woman. What would she want in trade for her time and energy on this? It wasn't often there wasn't some sort of catch. There was the faintest thought that perhaps this woman might be the very reason Benjamin was missing in the first place. Such an idea was dismissed. She didn't want to think that poorly of someone she had just met. Not yet anyways.

“Not my child, no.” She responded with new determination, pushing away from the crates and barrels she had been leaning against, her accent barely touching her words. “A human child. Benjamin.” Her bare feet shifted, her weight redistributed as she continued her description. “Longer dark hair and messy – amber eyes.” She hesitated, trying to remember if there was anything else that might help them. “He told me he liked to swim. I thought perhaps he had come back to look at the boats though I hope he did not go into the water.”

Was that enough to go on? Either way she'd be ready to follow this woman at least for some time if she was truly offering her help. They could sort out matters of payment later if it came to that.
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
201
#4
The elf regarded Celeste warily for a long moment, and the sailor did not press further. Just about any elf had good reason to be suspicious of humans, especially on the docks, where an unsolicited offer of help could have hidden strings leading directly to the cargo hold of a slave ship.

“Not my child, no,” she said at last, deciding and stepping away from the crates with an expression set in resolution. “A human child. Benjamin.” The Orlesian accent in the Common was faint but there, along with a touch of Fereldan dialect. “Longer dark hair and messy – amber eyes.” Celeste nodded, waiting as the woman searched her thoughts, pale blue eyes focused inward. “He told me he liked to swim. I thought perhaps he had come back to look at the boats though I hope he did not go into the water.”

“That makes two of us.” Celeste peered over the edge at the floating layer of scum, her nose wrinkled in distaste, “but unless he's blind, I think that's going to be a long shot.” Unfortunately, it might have been the safest option, though being human meant that the kid would be just a sliver safer than an elven child, if only from the assholes who considered 'rabbit hunting' to be a legitimate sport.

There were plenty of other dangers out there, though. “I'll get us some more eyes,” she promised, looking to her ship and pursing her lips: one long whistle, one short. Heads appeared at the rail, and when Celeste waved, three of the crew filed down the gangplank: Bailey, Piotr and Sorcha.

“What's up, Cap'n?” Bailey wanted to know, giving the elf an appreciative look but keeping his distance; he knew the realities of life as well as Celeste did.

“Missing kid,” Celeste replied, then repeated the elf's description to them. Piotr's green eyes went wide with concern. He likely knew the dangers more than anyone present.

“We'll find him,” he promised the elf earnestly. As the fear from his years in slavery eased, the gentle heart that had somehow not been withered came more and more to the fore, though he could be ruthless when the subject of slavers came up.

“Bailey, Sorcha, Piotr,” Celeste introduced them in turn, “and I'm Celeste Monroe, captain of the Wicked Grace. Such as she is right now,” she added with a resigned grimace as she regarded herstill-mastless ship.
 

Elunara

Orlesian Grump Elf
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
16
#5
“That makes two of us.” The woman agreed as she stole a glance off the walkway and into the murky waters below, pulling a face shortly afterward. “But unless he's blind, I think that's going to be a long shot.” While Elunara had to agree, it was slightly reassuring to hear someone else voice such thoughts aloud.

“I'll get us some more eyes.” Wait...more? Her own gaze pulled up from the lazily lapping dirty waves below to follow after the woman who had come in like a storm and taken up this quest with the gusto of a strong gale. And she had more eyes? A sharp whistle pierced the air, along with Elunara's ears, the sound long and then shorter. Turning her head, pale eyes narrowed upward toward a nearby ship, her expression skeptical. True to this stranger's word however, three heads peeked over at the two of them and quickly filed down the gangplank when waved at. Just what exactly was all of this help going to cost her in the end?

“What's up, Cap'n?” A younger man directed this question toward the woman who had been helping her up until this point, and the title had Elunara arching a brow in silent contemplation. She did not miss the look he gave her but the meaning to such a glance was lost on her entirely. Instead her own gaze sought out the other two elves, reassured somewhat that they seemed as though they were among the “crew”. Surely she could trust for now they weren't the sort to barter in some of Thedas' more unsavory transport.

“Missing kid,” came the reply, along with a description of Benjamin. The elven man with the long dark hair reacted almost instantly, eyes widening to nicely show off the leafy green of his eyes. He reminded her of Ashran, something that had her dropping her gaze a little quicker than she would have liked to admit. There was no need to go remembering ghosts of her past today – not that the similarities of finding a lost child were lost on her. At least Benjamin showed no signs of being a mage.

“We'll find him,” he gave her his assurance and Elunara nodded despite knowing they were empty words until they actually did find him.

"I hope that is the case," she murmured out a response, her expression a somber one. She would celebrate when Benjamin was located.

“Bailey, Sorcha, Piotr,” The introduction was inevitable but she was still grateful for one despite wanting to get the search on the move. Going about saying, “Hey you”, all the time would have been horribly irritating. “and I'm Celeste Monroe, captain of the Wicked Grace. Such as she is right now,” the comment paired itself with a pained look as she regarded her ship. Was there something wrong with it? It looked fine in her opinion – save for missing the big wooden poles sticking out of it. Which, upon further review of other boats docked, seemed to be important. Mast or no, the ship itself was a sight to behold.

Elunara was not shy about looking into the faces of each member as they were introduced, her gaze sharply going over their features and committing them to memory. If there was to be fighting it was better to know who was on her side and who was not. Confusion on that would cost everyone and wasn't something she was willing to risk by being shy.

“I am Elunara. Fresh off a boat from Ferelden,” she stated, her words dipping into a more humble tone. “ So I ask you forgive any geography mistakes on my part.” Meaning she had no idea where to even start looking, let alone who she might lean on to get information.
“I am...grateful for the help.” Hesitation only because she knew better than to think this aid came for free. “And open to ideas on where to start...”
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
201
#6
The elf looked to each of them in turn as they were introduced, the blue eyes alert without either hostility or fear. Rare for an elf in any part of Thedas.

“I am Elunara,” she introduced herself in turn. “Fresh off a boat from Ferelden.” Her matter of fact manner shifted toward resignation as she added, “So I ask you forgive any geography mistakes on my part.”

“No worries,” Baliey assured her promptly. “Kirkwall’s tricky to find your way around in even when you’ve been here a while.”

“That’s putting it mildly,” Celeste agreed. The damn ‘Vints had started building a maze and everybody since then had just picked up where they left off.

“I am...grateful for the help.” The faintest wariness in the eyes; no elf would expect assistance from any human to come without a price tag. And Celeste might have one, but it wouldn’t be the type the other woman might be expecting. “And open to ideas on where to start...”

“I’ll check with the elves around here, see if they’ve seen anything.” Sorcha let her Orlesian accent touch her voice a bit more than usual: a signal to Elunara that they had a bit more in common. The elves of Kirkwall, like those of most other locations in Thedas, lived their lives just below the line of sight of most humans, which meant that they noticed things that shem eyes missed. A lot of them were Friends of Red Jenny, too; if they’d seen the kid, Sorcha would find out.

“He might have wandered off with some of the wharf rats,” Bailey suggested; when he’d been cabin boy, he’d frequently mingled with the orphaned and abandoned children that made the area around the docks their home. “Think I remember some of their hiding places. C’mon.” This last was to Piotr, who remained leery of wandering by himself.

The three of them headed off to their self-assigned tasks, and Celeste turned to Elunara. “Besides swimming, what does he like to do?” she asked. “Is he shy, the type to hide when he gets scared, does he like to explore on his own, or does he like being around new people?” Different searches would be indicated for each possibility.
 

Elunara

Orlesian Grump Elf
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
16
#7
“No worries.. Kirkwall's tricky to find your way around in even when you've been here a while.”

How reassuring. At least Elunara had some sense when it came to direction. Hopefully she could put it to use in this city and not end up wandering around the streets looking like a blithering imbecile. If Kirkwall was anything like Denerim, most people wouldn't jump at the chance to give a stranger directions, let alone an elf.

“I'll check with the elves around here, see if they've seen anything.” An Orlesian accent hung from the words now directed toward her, the familiar inflection reassuring even if she was a complete stranger. Celeste had certainly surrounded herself with a crew that made it uncharacteristically easy to relax around.

“Ah-Merci,” she managed to get out before Bailey had another idea on where Benjamin might have adventured.

“He might have wandered off with some of the wharf rats.” Elunara's eyebrow arched at the unfamiliar term. Whatever she thought a wharf rat might be, she seemed to decide it better not to ask. “Think I remember some of their hiding places. C'mon.”

The crew that had quickly come to her aid now split up to search, Celeste once more turning to pick the elf's brain on the limited details she knew.

“Besides swimming, what does he like to do? Is he shy, the type to hide when he gets scared, does he like to explore on his own, or does he like being around new people?”

“He was shy at first but he warmed up quickly when I made him a toy,” she recalled slowly. After that small gesture it had been hard to return the boy to his mother, his curiosity and playful nature shining far brighter than the shyness he had displayed in their first moments. “We played hide and seek on the boat with some other children. He did not seem to mind other strangers when he was in my company.”

Elunara's lips pressed into a thin line as she contemplated what she had said. Had someone done similarly? Had their actions been on the malicious side? It was easy to consider the worst in a city as big as this one, the very idea hardening her features as her trademark scowl touched her mouth.

”J'ai un mauvais pressentiment à ce sujet,”{I have a bad feeling about it} she murmured, her gaze shifting from having been staring at the surrounding boats back to Celeste's face. “Have there been many reports on missing children recently?” Maybe the Captain didn't frequent often enough to know, but she could probably point them in the right direction of a place to find out. Maybe there would be something, perhaps there would be nothing. In any case, it was where Elunara suddenly very strongly wanted to start.
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
201
#8
Elunara seemed a bit taken aback at the barrage of commentary from the crew, but offered a thanks in Orlesian when she caught Sorcha’s accent and watched in bemusement as they scattered to search. It wasn’t simply altruism; they all remembered what had happened the last time they had been in Kirkwall. No child deserved what had happened to Téo’s little friend.

“He was shy at first but he warmed up quickly when I made him a toy,” the elf supplied when Celeste asked her about the missing boy’s tendencies. “We played hide and seek on the boat with some other children. He did not seem to mind other strangers when he was in my company.”

Shy around strangers was good, but the ones who preyed on innocence knew how to earn trust … like offering a toy to a child that had likely not had many in his short life. She didn’t understand the Orlesian words, but the expression on the blonde’s face mirrored her own unease.

“Have there been many reports on missing children recently?”

“Funny you should ask,” Celeste replied with a tight smile that made it clear that it was anything but amusing. “Last time we were in port, there were people going missing … kids and adults, out of Lowtown and the docks. Turned out to be a damned blood mage.” No need to state the obvious with regards to the fates of the missing. “The templars took care of that one, and I haven’t heard of any more people going missing since we made port this time, but this city is as fucked as they come. C’mon.” Turning, she headed out of the docks. “We’ll check around in Lowtown.” She could leave word with Lirene, as well, have her get her people looking.
 

Elunara

Orlesian Grump Elf
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
16
#9
From where they were standing just now, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Just another day where boats rolled softly on top of lazy swells of water. Sailors called out to one another, taking inventory or casual conversation while a few on the shores bartered or traded coin for passage. It would certainly be about the same anywhere else in the city; the surface image appearing as though nothing were out of the ordinary in the slightest. Peace was being kept, though through what hushed mouths was the question. Someone somewhere had to know where Benjamin had run off to. The idea that no eyes had spotted him in a city so large was preposterous – no matter how good at playing hide and seek he might be.

“Funny you should ask,” Celeste's voice was anything but amused and Elunara steeled herself against a shiver that suddenly tingled down her spine. “Last time we were in port, there were people going missing … kids and adults, out of Lowtown and the docks. Turned out to be a damned blood mage.”

Elunara could count on one hand the number of times she had actually come into contact with magic, her experience with it not exactly extensive. But even for as much as she cared for Aron, she could not say that even the best intentions for magic came without some sort of price. What was it that blood magic demanded? The question was not one she cared to dwell on and instead her mouth set again into a thin line.

“I have never come across a blood mage,” she confessed quietly, hopefully not needing to add that she wasn't keen on meeting one in the near future either.

“The templars took care of that one, and I haven't heard of any more people going missing since we made port this time, but this city is as fucked as they come. C'mon.” She turned and Elunara followed. “We'll check around in Lowtown.”

~~~

A little over a sodding hour later and Elunara had all but rocks to show for it. A few contacts she might put into use later but no one had seen the boy they were looking for – no one had even spotted someone who might have looked like him. Benjamin might as well have been a simple figment of her imagination at this point and her expression easily showed the weight of her frustration. However, just as she was about to suggest they take a small break and try another indoor establishment, her eyes narrowed in on a familiar face. Well, familiar as in she had talked with him today at least.

Dark ink swirled down a muscled and exposed tan left arm, pointed ears and rusty red hair peeking out from under a sailor's hat as his gaze focused in on herself and Celeste. He moved with a crowd but wasn't exactly doing a spectacular job of blending in with it, his attention directed elsewhere as soon as he caught on to the fact that he had been spotted. His stride was brisk after that, going so far as to push between the two women, his hand trying to subtly pass a piece of parchment into Celeste's palm. He wasn't the sort who passed notes discretely it seemed, the message falling to the dirt instead as he hissed out a soft “Shite” and stopped in his tracks to turn and face them, hands held up in a gesture of peace while large blue-green iris' darted back and forth around Lowtown as though someone might pop up at any moment.

“Alright, so i'm terrible at this 'stealth' thing...but,” he paused as his hand reached up to lightly itch at the scar that ran from under his right eye across the bridge of his nose., shooting each of them a glance. “I need to talk to you.” He reached out as if to take their hands and Elunara immediately recoiled, her hand reaching up instinctively to touch at the handle of one of the blades at her back.

“So talk zen,” she said as her lip curled ever so slightly. He hadn't thought it important to speak up before – now his actions were just suspicious. More so, his accent from earlier was gone as well.

A sigh left him as he glanced at Celeste, probably expecting her to react in a similar fashion. “Honestly,” he muttered before shifting a step back as though dealing with a snarling animal. “Can we at least go somewhere other than the middle of the street? I think I might know something on that kid of yours..."

Move or not, the elf had at least managed to capture interest and spoke soon after, occasionally shooting Elunara a worried glance as she had yet to move her hand from her blade. "After you asked me about that kid the first time it felt like something was off. I couldn't shake it. Like, you know when you walk into a room and forget why?” His eyes eagerly took in their expressions, hoping that they would show some sort of comradery in experiencing such a feeling. Elunara only scowled further, causing him to clear his throat and continue on.

“So, I thought about it for a while and it started coming back to me. There were kids playing ball. Weren't til after a bit o'thinkin' I could recall what they looked like. Someone came by and gave 'em all something to hold-dunno what- and that's when it became hard to remember 'em. But I think they went toward the coast.” The octave of his voice dripped lower, his expression becoming more troubled and his attention shifted toward Celeste. “We got some new orders as well on our ship. Cast off tonight but we're pulling up along the Wounded Coast before heading back to Ferelden. Never done that before. To be honest, I don't like it.”

"I still do not trust you," her eyebrows furrowed and the scowl she had been wearing since his arrival did not lessen. "But I have come up with little else." Elunara turned to Celeste, trying to digest everything he had said to them, clearly skeptical of the elf in front of them. "What do you think?"

(('Ahren' - 6dc066))
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
201
#10
Like most folk in Thedas, Elunara had never encountered a blood mage, and Celeste would be quite happy if it stayed that way, but even if one wasn’t involved, there was no shortage of nonmagical bad things that could happen to a kid too green to be streetwise. They needed more eyes out, and Lirene promised to provide them, but after an hour of tramping up and down the streets of Lowtown, they had come up with exactly nothing when an elf with a scarred face and a watchcap made an abysmal attempt at passing a note to them.

“Alright, so i'm terrible at this 'stealth' thing...but,” he offered as Celeste crouched to retrieve the scrap, her eyes shifting from him to their surroundings, looking for anyone who might be working with him, finding none. “I need to talk to you.”

“So talk zen,” Elunara told him flatly, stepping back from his attempt to take their hands and not quite drawing a dagger on him.

“Honestly,” he grumbled, looking to Celeste for support, finding none, and looking aggrieved about it. “Can we at least go somewhere other than the middle of the street? I think I might know something on that kid of yours..."

“This way.” Celeste jerked her head, leading them to the mouth of an alley, then a little way inside. If anyone came at them from the front, they could make a getaway out the back. If anyone came at them from the front and the back, this fucker was getting two shivs in the kidneys before they did anything else. “Start talking.” She knew him now; he was the sailor that Elunara had been talking to before … the one who hadn’t had anything to offer at the time. He had plenty to say now, none of it giving Celeste any warm fuzzies. Blood magic, slavers or undiluted bullshit.

“I still do not trust you,” Elunara declared when he was done. “But I have come up with little else.” She turned questioning eyes to Celeste. “What do you think?”

“I think his story smells worse than week old fish,” Celeste replied, looking him up and down. “But you’re right; we haven’t turned up anything else.” And the Wounded Coast was a damn sight better than Darktown. “What’s your captain’s name?” she asked him. She didn’t know every one who sailed the seas of Thedas, but the shady fucks tended to get a reputation .
 
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