Phinn Bennerton, daughter of "Slick" Nick Bennerton, a two-bit theif and con-artist late of Stormwind, may not have known who she was exactly, but she knew what she was, and that helped.
"Ah've go' a job fer ye..." The voice came through her Hearthstone. "Th' pay will be good, an' th' work light."
"Hey, ya know, I don't usually arrange these transactions by Hearth. I'm a more up-front an' personal kinda gal," Phinn said, sitting back in a chair with her boots kicked up on the table. In her other hand she held a half-smoked cigar, waving it around and using it to punctuate her sentences. The fact that nobody could actually see her doing this at the moment didn't deter her in the slightest.
"Ach, this'll be worth yer while...meh business keeps meh down in th' Mountain, bu' believe me, ah can more than arrange fer meh intentions ta be made clear...go ahead an' check yer mail, lass," The voice said. She could hear just a hint of a malicious grin in it.
She supposed it went with the territory - the kind of work she did, gathering information, odd jobs that other people didn't want to get their hands dirty on, she didn't usually run into a whole lotta particularly Orphan Matron-ish kind of people. Still. Once in a while it might be nice to not be contracted by a complete lowlife.
Opening the package addressed to her, she stepped back and took a long, thoughtful drag off her cigar, the smoke billowing up around her face. For an Elf she didn't actually look a whole lot like one - no tribal markings, a bit shorter than most, her ears a little less long and goofy-looking than your average frippy treehugger. Despite that, though, the differences between her and all the other street brats of Stormwind were clear for anyone to see. It didn't make growing up easy, compounded by the fact that both of her parents, as far as she knew, were human. She wasn't stupid and neither was her father, but in all his screwed-up life, even after her mother passed on, he never breathed a word to contradict the fact that she was his daughter. It made her job easier a lot of the time when she just imagined the marks she went after were the kids who used to tease her, tug her ears and push her in the canal for the Sewer Beast to snap at.
Times like this REALLY made it a lot easier, she thought, as she regarded the pile of gold spread out in front of her.
She spent the next few weeks sticking to the shadows in the Park in Stormwind, watching this Wisps and Spirits tavern, marking the comings and goings of the staff and patrons. It wasn't so much that she was especially good at going undetected as people were largely so busy going about their lives they didn't even think to notice the smoke rising slowly from near the walls. Her hair tied back efficiently and her clothes dingy and functional leather, not a lot of people noticed Phinn now that she wasn't busy trying to grow up with the inevitable contact of other children. She wasn't like the graceful, beautiful Human and Elf girls who breezed by in their carefully-embroidered dresses, giggling and tossing their hair just so. Phinn rolled her eyes.
She knew what she was.
Finally reaching the end of how much she could find out from a distance, she got a little more personal with the locals. People would give away all kinds of information if they thought they were just having a friendly chat, especially if Phinn was buying the drinks. What kinda people work here? Yeah? What about them two Dwarves that seemed ta watch the place at night? Yeah, she heard about the wedding. Cute. Say...what were their names again?
Later that night, Phinn took out her Hearthstone. "Hey yeah, it's me," she said into it simply. "I've got a bead on that girl I'm watchin', and the guy too. Yer right, they're getting married. This Sunday."
The voice on the other end grew quiet, dark with menace. "Then we've got ta take care of things before then, aye?"
Phinn frowned. "Look...I'm really more of a hands-off kinda person, ya know...an' if this girl is someone yer gonna want ta get along with in the future, maybe we should try Plan B first? I'm a big fan of Plan B..."
The voice sighed in frustration. "Meh family honor is on th' line. This is more than jus' revenge, it's BUSINESS, an' ah canna allow this ta interfere wi' tha'..."
"Listen, yer payin' me ta suss out the situation, an' this is what I suss. I think that Plan B might be a good try. And then, if that don't work...we can go back to Plan A."
"Fine. FINE," The voice on the other end snarled. "Bu' this is already costin' meh a lo' more than ah wanted ta spend...make th' deal."
Phinn found Draeg Flamebeard at the Cathedral, looking pained and worried. He made a gesture at the altar, whispering to himself silently - funny. Dwarves weren't usually the praying type. She caught up with him outside, by the fountain.
"Hey Flamey, ya gotta minute?" She said, resting one foot on the stone bench next to him, grinning around her cigar.
"Ach, ah suppose," Flamebeard sighed, still looking distracted, worried. This'd be a lot easier if he was already in a distraught state of mind for whatever reason.
"Listen, ya seem like a stand-up kinda guy, so I'll level with ya," she said, gesturing to him. "I work for certain persons who wanted you to know something...yer wedding. Can't happen."
Flamebeard looked up at her sharply, really looking at her for the first time, narrowing his eyes.
"Now...fer all this to just go away, they're more than willing ta compensate ya fer yer time an' effort." She tossed a bag next to him on the bench, certifiably triple-counted as containing fifty gold pieces. "This here is a downpayment, an' the rest'll be paid after ya take it inta yer head ta just disappear, if ya catch my drift...two hunnert an' fifty more, for a total of three. A Dwarf could start a nice new life on that, find some other girl. Someone without so many strings attached, if ya catch my drift..."
Flamebeard stood, his eyes livid, and grabbed the cigar out of her mouth, flicking it into the fountain. "Tell th' Spearhewers tha' ah'm no' for sale."
"Hey...HEY!" Phinn wailed. "I only just STARTED that one!" She sighed, kneeling to get down to eye-level with him. "Look, Flamey..."
"Meh FRIENDS call meh Flamey," he snarled. "Ye can go righ' on callin' meh Flamebeard, or pref'rably SIR."
Phinn rolled her eyes. "Look, I'm just the messenger here. It's nothing personal. It took me some doin' ta get this offer on the table in the first place, an' it wasn't their first choice. Take my advice...take the money. One way or another your wedding just AIN'T in the cards, an' this'll be the last NICE offer ya get."
"Then ye can deliver a message fer meh, too," Flamebeard said with a hateful glare. "Ah'm no' fer sale, ah love Sara, we're gettin' married no matter wha' her bastard father says, an' Drundil Spearhewer can jump straigh' in 'is Forge."
Phinn sighed in exaspiration as she watched him storm off, his back stiff with fury. She removed her Hearthstone and contacted the appropriate parties..."Yeah, all right, you were right. I guess it's back to Plan A."
She turned to go and nearly ran into someone standing right behind her. Mentally cursing herself for being so unaware, her eyebrow went up as she recognized one of the people she'd met in the bar earlier. She'd seen him around a lot in her information sweeps in the Park, usually up to no good, usually chatting up some girl or another. She hadn't gone out of her way to spy on him, but damn, some people just had no concept of when they were being watched, and every bit of information she picked up might later prove valuable to someone else who'd pay for it.
"I think I might have a business proposition for you..." Erunamo said with a grin.
"Business, eh?" She smirked in return. "What makes ya think I'm that kinda gal, Mister Tall Dark an' Handsome?"
"Oh, something tells me this kind of business is right up your alley..." He said, gesturing for her to follow him out of the main thoroughfare.
"All right then...I'll need details, terms, the length of the contract and the specifics of what you need, and of course, compensation," Phinn rattled off casually, her standard business spiel.
Erunamo laid out a simple job for her, just more information gathering, and one that she'd already half-done anyway out of simple curiosity and in case such a thing proved to be profitable in the future. She haggled the pricing with him and coins changed hands.
"Now that that's taken care of," Erunamo said, stepping closer. "How much would it cost to have you on my arm?"
Phinn glared sharply. "A lot more'n what you have, I bet. I don't go in for that kinda thing."
Erunamo sighed. "That's not what I meant. Look, Pretty Phinn, would you like to go get a drink?"
Phinn practically laughed in his face. "Now now, you can knock that off right now, boss. Fer one, I'm workin' for you right now an' I don't think that'd be a good idea. Fer two...I know what I am," she glared.
"Oh? And what's that?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.
"A big gangly goofy Elf-lookin' girl, plain as the day is long, too skinny an' I can't do a thing with my hair around these huge damn ears," she said with a laugh.
Erunamo smirked. Smirking seemed to be his natural expression. "Well maybe that's my type? C'mon, what can it hurt?"
"Fine fine...I'm always up fer a drink!" Phinn said, caving in. "I'll take ya to my old stomping grounds...I literally grew up in this place..."
Some time later in the Pig and Whistle, Phinn was surrounded by empty mugs and swaying in her chair. "...An' so that's the job I'm on now. Mostly like your, information-gathering, although...yeah, moving on to another phase soon..."
"So this job, who's it for?" Erunamo asked, leaning forward casually.
Phinn grinned, knowing the tools of her own trade when she saw them. "I can't say. What kinda work would I get if I went aroun' blabbin' the business an' names of my clients to any Tall Dark guy who bought me a drink?" She took a long drag off her cigar, blowing the smoke in a puff in Erunamo's general direction.
"You know, you really shouldn't do that," He said, frowning. "It's got to be bad for you..."
"Yeah, it's gonna kill me someday, or so I hear...although that's not really how I see it goin' down..." Phinn drew a thumb across her throat with a grin and made an awful hargling sound. "Jus' like my dad...took the wrong job for the wrong people, got slow, got stupid...got dead...say, are ya gonna drink that or what?"
Erunamo pushed the drink over to her with a perplexed expression. "You're...different than a lot of the other girls I know, Pretty Phinn..."
Phinn studied the bottom of her mug carefully, looking for any stray drink that might still be hiding there. "Seraphinn," she said quietly.
"It's a pretty name," Erunamo said with a smile.
"It's a stupid frippy Elfy name," she said, glaring into the mug. "But I guess since my mom passed away right after givin' it to me, I suppose my dad figured he'd stick with it."
She pondered this quietly for another moment, and then looked up at Erunamo. "An' now...it's time fer me to go be sick."
Erunamo sighed and patted her back as she was ill into a barrel in the kitchen. "All right, you feel better now?"
"Some," she said sullenly. She couldn't believe she'd told someone her real name - she hadn't spoken it aloud herself probably in damn near her whole life. "Look boss, yer really probably better off goin' and findin' that Roguey girl, the human I've seen ya about with. This here is just business, an' it's best we kept it that way."
Erunamo sighed. "I suppose. I'll expect a report from you later, Pretty Phinn."
Phinn glared and held her head in her hands, trying to make the room stop spinning. "Knock that off..." she said in his general direction, but he was already gone.
She knew what she was.