Dwyna thrust herself against the stone wall and cursed at the burning sting she felt in her waist. She had been running hard, and hadn't eaten for well over a few days. At least she thought it had been a few days. Divines spit.
Ah, yes, the Divines, the lord of Mundus. Her eyes set on Masser and Secunda, and she narrowed her eyes suspiciously. Were they watching her right this instant? Mocking her from their heavenly bodies because of her weakness? The moonlight only helped in revealing her location to each and every guardsman within the city.
And Dwyna of the Reach did not want to be spotted by guardsmen. Not now, not ever. Her profession made her a character of questionable moralities already, and even though there was little to separate her appearance from the women of this city, she nevertheless remained a reachmen descent. She'd removed her tribal paintings and groomed her long, black hair back.
She briefly touched the scar running along the length of her neck and closed her eyes. Since the death of her mother and tribe, Wayrest had proven the only relative safe haven from which she could continue with her plans. Yet, the last thing she would want to get caught up in were the laws of a city that favoured the nobility and merchant families. Her reason for being here was clear, though. She had heard it was the home of Harlwystyr Ealthar, her father.
And so a lone and starving Dwyna raced down the alleys and dark streets of the kingdom's proud jewel, searching for the man she had never known, but was intent on seeking out. She was of the Reach, in a city that was not kind to her people.
A young woman now hiding between two decaying warehouses down at the docks. A woman with a fire in her eyes, and a figure designed with nimble features. Drawing upon knowledge on breton culture, she'd adapted a nickname - "the Soft Silence" - but still men chuckled at her when she spoke it in the rotting taverns by the waterfront where few questions were asked.
But now the winter was creeping in, and she was not sure how much longer she could go on before the cold would claim her.
These days, Dwyna spent most of her days hungry. Hungry and furious. Fear was not an unknown companion to her either, and she felt that it, too, helped in keeping her alive and on her toes. She realised the influence of the Thieves Guild reached to nearly every beggar here, and if that wasn't enough, the crown mages weren't to be trifled with either. Even with the little magic she knew, she was not a match to any of them, and at best a laughable challenge.
And so she remained here, crouched, and struggling to prevent herself from begging for food and coin. It nearly drove her mad.
And madness is something she could not afford.
She could see her own breath as she sighed. Sure, she lithe enough to escape if she had to, and a dagger if things should get ugly, but she was neither a master thief nor a great warrior. No, she was merely another lonely outlander in High Rock; and partially so because she had no noble name or a shop of her own to make life relatively easy.
Spitting, Dwyna reached for the bag of coins she had lifted from one of the dead merchants' pocket earlier and opened it to see if she would go hungry tonight...
Four gold coins, old of appearance but worth their weight and meaning, and enough for bread. They'd have to do.
She then heard something and stiffened, her head resting against the wall as she pulled the worn travelling cloak up around her shoulders and neck. Curiously, she tilted her head to peer around the corner.
The merchant known as Largreve was walking down the alley towards her, a dagger barely gleaming from the strap that held it at his arm, and with an elegant cape that seemed entirely out of place down at these parts of the city. The man's slow pace did nothing show the bloody deals of a few hours ago, and he looked like any respectable lord who had lost his way and wandered into the wrong section of town on his way home after a business meeting.
Realising that the man would turn down her path, Dwyna was quick to withdraw from view and use the wooden ladder to get away from the street. Once she sat comfortably on the rooftop, she peered down just in time to see him pass under her.
And then the old tiles gave in.
She screamed, and the merchant froze and looked up, his mouth widening as he saw a feminine form fall down upon him from above. He only had time to breathe before the young woman crashed into him, smashing him against the snow-layered streets. Dwyna's hands landed on his chest, and she felt something break as their bodies tumbled down a couple of steps.
Having witnessed what the man was capable of, she used one hand to hold her cloak over his head to shield his view and bore down her kneecap against his waist, whilst forming her hand into a fist and slamming it at the man's throat as hard as she could.
This bought her enough time to ignore his groan and fall, and she quickly reached for her own dagger and cut the pouch with gemstones from his belt, took it, and unclipped her cloak as she hastened to leave this street. When Largreve peered up, he saw that he was alone.
Dwyna hadn't gotten far, however, and had in fact only just turned the corner. A shout rang out from somewhere ahead, and the flickering light of torches reflected in her dark eyes.
The Soft Silence cursed again and changed direction.
What a strange life to lead, she thought for perhaps the hundred-and-fifth this night, if my sire truly was a great wizard of the realm. Where's my safety, my privileges, and my power? Where's my ability to magically teleport away?