Friday, August 26, 2011

An Exit Strategy

Harrison cracks the door, peeking out into the cool Ramkahen night. Valentis stands resolute on the windward side, staring anxiously back.

"A moment?" he asks.

Harrison glances behind him.  The room is clear, so he widens the door.  Decedereful has fled to the back room.

Valentis strides into the room and removes his hat.  He glances around as if seeing the club for the first time.  Finally, placing a hand on the back of a chair, he turns to find Harrison regarding him.

"I do apologize for the lateness of my call, but I'm afraid it couldn't be helped," the Gilnean says.

Harrison nods, but says nothing.

"Mr. Jones... there is something we need to discuss."  Valentis twists his hat nervously in his hands.

"All right, then."

Valentis sets the hat on the table.  "I've gotten the gen that you're the man to ask about some papers of great value to me."

Harrison shrugs.  "And if I am?"

"How much do you want for them?"

Harrison frowns.  "Even if I had these papers, what makes you think they are for sale."

Valentis smiles.  "Everything is for sale in Ramkahen, Mr. Jones."

Harrison's eyes stray toward the door in the back.  "Not everything."

It is at that moment that they both notice that jacket thrown across an adjacent table.  A long moment of silence stretches as they both stare at it, Valentis in curiosity and Harrison in horror.  The Gilnean's eyes rise to meet Harrison's.  They seem to soften.

"Mr. Jones," Valentis begins after a moment, "I know a good deal more about you than you suspect.  I know, for instance, that you're in love with a woman."

Valentis pauses, but Harrison betrays nothing. 

"It is perhaps a strange circumstance that we both should be in love with the same woman," he continues.  Harrison's eyes widen, but Valentis barrels on.  "The first evening I came to this club, I knew there was something between you and Dece.  Since no one is to blame, I-I demand no explanation.  I ask only one thing."  His eyes burn with sincerity.  "You won't give the papers to me: all right.  But I want my fiancee to be safe.  I ask you as a favor.  Use the papers to take her away from Ramkahen."

Harrison cocks his head.  "You love her that much?"

Valentis smiles sadly.  "Apparently you think of me only as the leader of a cause.  Well, I'm also a human being.  Yes, I love her that much."

Harrison turns away.  His mind reels.  He needs a moment to digest the new information.  A saunter over to retrieve the wayward jacket fills the time.  He folds it neatly and places it on the bar.  It smells like her.

"Let's say I can help in the way you ask," Harrison says.  "Then what?"

"There is a plane, Gnomish, leaving tomorrow night," Valentis confides.  "The papers will get Dece and a companion safely into Stormwind.  It launches from the flats north of Ramkahen."

"I know the place," Harrison says.  He has been witness to other flights under cloak of darkness.  "I shall have to procure these papers, but I believe I can have them by tomorrow."

"That is all I can ask, Mr. Jones."  Valentis picks his had back up.  "I am most grateful."

Harrison waves a hand.  "You just make sure she's there."

"I will," Valentis replies as he moves to the door.  "You can be certain of that."  He opens the door.  "Good night, Mr. Jones, and thank you."

Harrison nods as the man slips out, his mind churning.

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