Read Part 1 – Meticulous – here.
The rain continued well into the night. Annata sat flipping through a tiny, leather-bound book, her room illuminated by several candles and one rather smoky lamp.
Family Costa – a vast network of third cousins, step-sisters, nephews-in-law, and the like. Matriarch: Bella Costa; Children: Aniello, Joseph (“One Finger Joe”), Bartolomeo, Maria. Usual business: smuggling, black market goods, underhanded dealings. Generally tolerated by the authorities due to an uncanny ability to keep everything quiet and a few discrete, generous donations to the Stormwind Guard. Operates out of the Trade District.
She made a small note in the margin: Joey, Julia.
“And I am too old for you,” she thought with a wry grin.
Three days later, on the Stormwind Docks, Julia Gravano watched for new arrivals.
New she-wolf headed your way – silver in the black. Asking questions about the Sticks and Stones. Looking for work. Tell Mama I say “no more cheese.” – Joey
She picked out the woman, sitting on a shipping crate off to one side and carefully monitoring the proceedings, and found herself the target of a very pointed stare. Julia pulled on a neutral expression.
“Can I help you?”
“Probably. I’m looking for Julia.”
“Well, you found me. Did you want something?”
“I spoke with your cousin Joey out in Lakeshire. I’m looking for a spot of work, though not hauling boxes.” The Ravenholdt badge flickered through her fingers again, and Julia’s gaze wavered between the badge and Annata’s face. After a few moments of indecision, she spoke again, her voice less guarded than before.
“How much do you know about Stormwind?”
“Plenty of official history, not enough about how things really run around here. Anything I should know?”
Julia peered at the middle-aged woman for a moment. “The weather’s been rough on the business this summer.”
“Autumn’s always been better for this thing of ours.”
Julia’s expression relaxed visibly. “True enough. Well, Brass Ben’s trying to open up a business again, but he’s had trouble with regulations. Otherwise, we’re operating business as usual. Ginger Dan’s been on the down side since he lost a ship last month. Oh, and Ap Danwyrith is back. He waltzed back into town after the Great Northern War ended, and nobody’s heard a peep from him or any of his people since. Rumor has it his Underboss – Bittertongue – is even out for a commission from the Guard.”
Annata arched an eyebrow. “Really now…” She paused a moment. “Just one more question and I’ll get out of your hair. Any new scuttlebutt about the Stonemasons?”
Julia’s face darkened, and she hesitated slightly. “Nothing new in months. Any news from up North?”
“Lots of rumors, but nothing substantiated, which is partially why I’m here. Some of the reports are even mentioning Beve Perenolde again, but I’ve got my doubts on that front. Syndicate holdings are stronger since the Alliance forces went North and left them pretty much unattended.”
“Is Falconcrest still up to the usual?”
“As only he can be, yes.” Annata hopped down off the crate. “Now, where’s the best place around here to get a hot meal and some decent coffee?”
The younger woman smiled. “Most of us prefer the Gilded Rose these days, if you’re not particular about who comes in and out.” She lowered her voice. “And if you want Arathi liquor, the only place in town that sells it is the Pig and Whistle, unfortunately.”
It was Annata’s turn to offer the appraising glance. “Noted, and I owe you a good turn. If you’re ever up where the Ravens fly, tell them “The cauldron never runs dry”. They’ll take care of you.”
- Godmodding and Griefing (116)
- On Privacy, Real ID’s and Roleplay (49)
- XX and XY in RP (47)
- Population Disparity (34)
- Tanking Perceptions (33)