(( This is largely reserved for SCG members to post concerning cases and situations that would affect the entire agency. OOC comments are fine, but anyone outside the guild wanting to contribute ICly, please contact Landreth or Diggsby! ))
Part 1 - Enter the CatEdit
Liz had gotten used to being a cat. Did that over a year ago, when she had no other option. But still, it sometimes rankled her that she had to choose not to wander around on two legs most of the time. The training that Stephen recommended after her disastrous trip to Stranglethorn had been helping her to control her emotions. As a result, she could summon or suppress her fears almost at will, allowing her to control the whole cat process. Mostly. The arcanist, Farion, whom she was reluctantly coming to regard as a friend, still had not untangled the full key to the transformation. 'There is Old God magic involved,' he'd said, helplessly. It was simply beyond his current understanding of magic.
However, since the actual cat-transformation was his doing, Farion had at least been able to unravel that water would temporarily undo his magic. He'd said it made complete sense in retrospect, since his other specialization was hydromancy. Liz thought it sounded like he was just guessing. Regardless, once she had gotten back from Stranglethorn, she had a few new problems.
During her interrogation in Booty Bay, a mage kept forcing Liz back into her human form over and over when pain and fear overwhelmed her. Farion told Liz he wasn't quite sure how she was still alive after that. The process was essentially layering transformation on top of transformation, because they could only approximate her actual form and superimpose it onto the existing transformation of the cat. The transformations didn't go away -- they were just temporarily overruled when the cat form was invoked again. From Liz's recollections, they must have transformed her nine or ten times. Farion had eventually explained the typical, gruesome results of that kind of treatment. Lethal quantities of arcane residue would be produced after about four consecutive changes, sending the delicate balances of organ function into complete disarray. Without the training necessary to manage the residue, it would build until its resonance was so strong that the subject in question could no longer maintain cohesion. In essence, she should have just fallen apart after around the fifth or sixth time they imposed a human form onto her. It wasn't a pretty thought. 'Old God magic' was the answer she got accompanied with a shrug when she asked why she hadn't exploded or whatever.
The problem this caused was that when she was in her natural form, the power of those many superimposed transformations lingered in a powerful mystical cloud. Farion told Liz that from a magical perspective, one could use her human form as a magical lighthouse. Any mage could zero in on her from miles away. It was how he had found her in hundreds of miles of jungle. If he could find her, whomever had come after her in Booty Bay could, too. And so, for the past few months, Farion had been walking around as 'Leslie,' and Liz was the clerk's unusual feline companion 'Lucky.' Stephen had figured it out immediately. Dashaun, nearly as quickly. Once Farion and Dashaun had established an uneasy truce over Farion's impersonation of a city official, the ruse was allowed to continue in the hopes that either the root of the threat against Liz could be found and negated, or if not, at least present the Interrogators with an extremely unpleasant surprise if they tried to pluck Leslie off the streets again.
The new Captain also knew what was going on. Before he died, Dashaun had insisted that Farion go to the senior officer and tell Landreth what the situation was, as well as report to Master Shaw at SI:7. Liz had suspected that Farion had probably skirted a few details without affecting the important elements of truth. He had come to Stormwind to find out who had murdered his father. And at the time, he had engaged Liz's services as a private investigator before she had gone to work for the SCG. That was over two years ago. However, he tended to avoid divulging where he had come from.
But now, Captain Landreth was putting Farion on the spot and brought him in to 'ask some questions.' Liz had slipped into the office and tried not to draw attention to herself. At the very least, this was going to be interesting. She just hoped it wouldn't get ugly.
Part 2 - "We're Going Where?"Edit
Landreth had invited 'Leslie' into his office. There was still a great deal of chaos in the aftermath following Dashaun's death, though the newly-appointed Captain was imposing order with a grim determination and no small amount of frustration. Officers were inexplicably absent, others not following protocols and jeopardizing the prosecutability of cases, a crop of new recruits nowhere near ready for duty, and more new cases coming their way than they had personnel to handle -- it was the stuff of Capt. Landreth's nightmares. During this time, the only ones who seemed to be solid were his clerks who were functioning more like officers than his actual officers. It couldn't continue this way. Clerks weren't sworn officers. Although the evidence that they had produced was solid, their word in court was less credible than that of sworn officers. They didn't have the authority to pursue, arrest, or detain. Worse, their civilian status became a liability in the event that they were hurt or killed attempting to perform duties reserved for officers. He had to put a stop to it.
Leslie regarded him with the kind of cool appraisal he had come to associate with the doppelganger. Which was exactly who he wanted to talk to. She had admitted that Master Shaw tried to recruit her when she had made the report demanded by Spero. That was a hefty recommendation. Landreth had later confirmed this through his own channels, and particularly when he had turned down a politely-phrased demand to 'temporarily assign' his clerk to SI:7. That was going to cost him down the line, he knew. But the resource she represented was far too valuable to let go. Besides, the government-mandated changes to their filing security and protocols gave him every plausible reason for denying the request.
"So," the aging paladin stated into the patient silence that had filled his office. "I need to understand why you're still here."
Leslie's brow furrowed as her eyes narrowed in confusion. "I don't... quite follow you, sir."
Landreth spread his hands in a faint imitation of a shrug. "I want to understand why you are working for the SCG. Why you're delving into cases. Conducting surveillance. Following my orders above and beyond what is expected of clerks."
The look of confusion took on a slightly defensive aura. "Has my work been unsatisfactory?"
Landreth shook his head. "No. Not at all. It's been quite exemplary, in fact. But I thought that you are just here to protect the real Leslie. There would be no need to perform any duties other than strictly clerical ones to maintain that facade." He looked at her, pointedly. "So... why are you doing all these other things?"
He watched as a mix of emotions warred across Leslie's features as she considered his question. Confusion. Anger. Disappointment. Finally, the studious calm returned. "I simply wanted to help. I thought I was."
Landreth folded his hands on his desk. "You are, without a doubt. Have you ever engaged in criminal activity, or been charged with or convicted of any crimes by the government of Stormwind or any allied kingdom? Barring this rather condoned-after-the-fact impersonation of a government official?"
The look of confusion was replaced by outrage. "No!"
"What if I were to give you an order that you knew was illegal. What would you do?"
Outrage gave way to incredulity. "I'd find some way not to do it."
"What if you were sworn to obey me?"
Leslie's eyes went suddenly still. Something in their depths seemed... old. "Laws aren't always right or just. But people are even more fallible. I prefer to side with the law."
Although seemingly straightforward, the answer was non-committal. It meant that most of the time, Leslie would side with the law until a conflict with loyalty forced her to judge the merit of the law. Landreth wasn't sure he liked that answer, but it was probably better-considered and more realistic than most answers he got to that question.
"I'd like to swear you in."
Leslie blinked at Landreth several times. "What?"
"You," he said, pointing at Leslie. "I want you to be sworn in as an officer. As yourself. Not Leslie."
"Ah,..." she started, then shook her head and waved for a time-out. "There's something you need to see first, I think."
Landreth shrugged slightly. "All right? Show me."
Leslie held up a finger. "Not here. Here would be... bad. We need to take a little trip."
The captain regarded her with apprehension. "Where to?"
The disguised clerk began sketching a doorway in the air. "Shattrath," she replied absently, as she focused on her incantation.
Part 3 - "New Cadet on Deck"Edit
Post by Tirien » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:57 pm Verin goes to speak immediately, stepping forward along the burst of adrenaline the question had prompted. He catches himself, stopping, reminded that this is an interview, and things had to remain professional. "I would - ..." After a short moment he returns to where he was standing, taking in a breath and leveling his expression, cooling his flash of intensity, "I would not follow it.”
As the thought of his interview passes, Verin settles back down in his seat, leaning against the wood and taking the moment to relax, letting the memories the question had brought up fade. In front of him lay several tomes, papers, and writing utensils scattered about one of the empty desks not being used in the haphazard reorganization the place currently soldiers through. He was lucky enough to get a hold of a few copies detailing various protocols, procedures, rules and laws that he will need to learn, hopefully at a decent pace despite knowing nothing of the subject.
He looks away from the paper covered chaos and back to his own. Their purpose, educate the clueless man on the way things are done within the SCG. Looking at the impressive pile, Verin holds up his current notes to the light of the candles. He lets out a sigh as he slumps further down the chair, creasing his robes and knocking over his staff along with a few loose pages, promptly grabbing the attention of a few clerks near him. He gives an apologetic smile to counter their frustrated, over-worked glares as they resumed.
“One would think I have a mind for these things considering my old Church duties…” He thought, settling the papers back to the desk, his staff now securely resting in the corner near him.
A sigh escapes, revealing his apparent limit of protocol and procedure for the moment. He leans forward to blow out his candles, opting to maneuver the motion into a stand. A yawn escapes as well and Verin finds his body stretching. Almost immediately, another clerk swerves to dodge his carelessly outstretched arms, eliciting a grunt of frustration from the woman. Verin had barely noticed, eyes shut.
“I’m glad someone is able to relax.” She says sarcastically.
Verin looks back with a somewhat blank stare causing a scowl to replace the woman’s frown. She glances to the equally chaotic pile atop the desk behind the man.
“I hope you notified someone about borrowing those.”
Verin reaches into the small pack at his side, producing a small paper.
“Right here, each book’s name and place is indicated on it. The library worker has a copy as well.”
A touch of relief shows as she exhales a breath from her nose.
“At least there’s that then.” She looks back up to the man with a cold stare, “Clean up if you’re about to leave.” Verin gives her a nod, turning back to the desk. He stacks his notes and separates the books into piles, though otherwise leaves them to return to later. He does pick up one book though. The manual of protocols any guard should memorize. With it in hand, he walks toward the stairs, making his way to the Captain’s office.
Part 4 - "Well...Now What?"Edit
Post by Diggsby » Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:28 pm Leslie-cat scrambled through the portal after the other two. She had never been to Shattrath more than a couple of times, and even then, Farion almost immediately had her airborne and on their way out to the Twisting Nether. The last thing she wanted was to get lost in a city filled with strange and frightening people.
She followed the Captain and her double as they wound through the streets and onto a magically driven platform that lifted them to one of the upper rises. Her delicate cat-nose could smell the Captain's anxiety. He stood out even among the few humans who were out and about, the silver, blue and gold of his polished armor and official tabard marking him as a very unusual visitor to the city. Now they stood among an area that was controlled by the Silkies, or Pink Bits as they were more crudely called. Half the derogatory nicknames that circulated around the docks, she never understood. She'd hired enough blood elf berth-warmers to understand that one. Though she supposed it might be less used among the Greenskins, to whom most other races probably looked 'pink'.
They went to an inn, which was predictably draped in bright, beautiful silks. The golden-haired innkeeper gave them a curious look, but only in passing. Leslie-cat was fairly certain it was not unusual for a human couple to come seeking a room there among the Scryers. Her double, Farion, reached down and picked Leslie-cat up, setting the little black cat on the innkeeper's counter.
"My familiar," Farion stated, which halted the innkeeper's hand in mid-air as she was on the brink of petting the cat. A look of understanding dawned in the innkeeper's eyes, which narrowed in newfound interest in the plain-looking, human woman standing in front of her.
The blood elf smiled a tad uncomfortably. "My apologies Magustrix... your companion is most welcome." Even Leslie-cat had learned what almost every sticky-handed, too-rough child had failed to learn, despite her growls and lashing tail -- it was very impolite to handle a mage's familiar.
So the trio made their way to the room according to the innkeeper's directions. It was small -- only a single bed and a couple of chairs with a table. There was a small room off to the side, which turned out to be a washroom and bath. Not surprisingly, it had running water. After a brief inspection, Captain Landreth turned to the woman in the room. With an airy shrug that encompassed the room and somehow far beyond the walls, he said, "And now?" The gray-haired paladin looked peeved and if possible, even more uncomfortable than before.
Part 5 - "This Is Awkward..."Edit
Postby Landreth » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:07 am Landreth had taken off his helmet, tucking it under his arm. In the span of a few minutes he had gone from wanting to swear-in the talented shape-shifter, to wondering what the hell he had been thinking. Shattrath was alien and disturbing. He'd had no cause to journey through the dark portal beyond getting supplies and basic support to the Alliance troops at Honor Hold. Worse, being surrounded by blood-elves made his skin crawl, and lent a fragility to his temper. Intellectually, he knew that these people likely had nothing to do with the horror of Theramore. But he had been in Stormwind when that betrayal and most sickening act of war had occurred far across the sea. He had been unable to respond to the rage and heartbreak of those grim weeks and months that followed, tied to the city guard and too old for enlistment. So, as irrational as it was, part of him wanted to plant a metal-clad fist into the head of the nearest blood elf, for no other reason than to alleviate a sense of impotence in the face of that massacre.
Two deep breaths and a sigh later, he was back in full possession of himself. The privacy of the room helped. Though it added another itching concern. Why the need for so much privacy? Surely the doppleganger didn't intend to seduce him? The thought introduced itself and summarily vanished as the Leslie-double gestured to a seat. "You may want to sit for this."
Landreth's first impulse was to refuse, but after a moment's consideration, he sat. The small, auburn-haired woman stood across the room from him, near the door. Part of him twitched at the idea of the exit being blocked. But then it dawned on Landreth that the doppleganger was worried about him. The captain had never considered himself terribly imposing. Certainly not like the mountain of a man that Spero had been. And yet, as powerful as the mage seemed to be, she was handling him with kid gloves. A movement at the corner of his eye drew his attention. The small black cat sat near the doorway to the washroom. Leslie. The real one. That's what is keeping the mage here. So long as mage wanted to keep an eye on the Guard's clerk, she would go to great lengths to keep from upsetting the Captain to the point of jeopardizing that position.
The mage opened and shut her mouth several times, evidently trying to think of a preamble for whatever she needed to demonstrate. Finally, she just sighed. What happened next would forever defy Landreth's attempts to describe it. In the blink of an eye, a pile of cloth and leather hit the floor as the thin, petite woman was replaced by a naked male elf at least half a head taller than himself. However, in the distortion of air around the figure, it was almost as if he could see one body deconstructing and the new one reforming. If one could imagine days or weeks curling and folding upon themselves, until that span of time was condensed into a split second, that was how Landreth witnessed the change. Even before the elf's form had fully coalesced, another shimmer had him dressed in a simple robe. Long, black hair spilled over his shoulders and down his back. A close, black beard traced the chiseled planes of his chin and jaw. Fel-green eyes blazed with arcane power.
Landreth was on his feet in an instant, hands balled into fists. All this time, an enemy right in their midst!
"I didn't have to show you this!" the elf stated, loudly, clearly, empty hands outstretched. Landreth paused. "I could have gone on as I was, swearing to serve Stormwind, guarding her heart, and you would never be the wiser!" The elf paused, seeing that his words had bought him time. "But I had to make sure that you knew, before you took my pledge. I couldn't give my oath, knowing that the truth might affect your decision. A secret like that would become another master, and I would live forever in fear that it would force my hand one day."
Landreth felt himself nodding. The elf was right in that much. Secrets became vulnerabilities which could be used to compromise people of honor. Anger still burned at having been so thoroughly deceived, but Landreth forced his hands to open. The level of honesty and trust shown to him was impressive. But even in freeing himself of the burden of deceit, the elf had just saddled Landreth with that dangerous knowledge. The captain scowled fiercely as he sat back down. Part of him wondered if SI:7 knew.
Landreth had not come to the decision to swear-in the mage, lightly. He was desperately understaffed. And there was no denying the elf's usefulness in research, or what enormous potential his ability to shapeshift represented. There was just that little, itchy detail of being racially aligned against the Alliance. The captain pinched the bridge of his nose.
He was going to have to think about this.