Skulley's been spending her Tuesday evenings in a tavern called the Pig & Whistle. It's officially owned by the Langstons, but a group of entrepreneurs (read: reprobates) called the Wildfire Riders, headed by a fella named Tarquin ap Danwyrith, are heavily invested in Old Town's most famous pub and spend a lot of time there. (Tarq's got a really nice ass. At least, Skulley thinks so.) Anyway! Tarq and his group have (repeatedly) pissed off some higher-ups in the Stormwind government's secret service (that'd be the SI:7) and the head of said organization wants him in custody. The authorities staged a raid on the Pig one evening in an attempt to serve an arrest warrant to a mysteriously-vanished Tarquin. Skulley decides she doesn't want to be questioned and tries to slip out the back. Oops.
Out of the Frying Pan Pt. 1
It was a sight easier to maneuver past the kitchen than it was to fade unnoticed from the tavern's open hall, and Skulley relaxed a bit as she put on her best casual face. She lit a cigarette, hit the back door without breaking stride and sauntered into the night. A hand closed on each of her thin upper arms and she smiled, exhaling smoke through her nose and saucing up her usual clipped accent.
"Yarr mates, glad t'see yer not too shy t'approach a lady walkin' all by 'er lonesome in a dark alley."
The guards didn't return her cheerful grin. Without looking around, Skulley counted her opposition. Four--no, six--uniformed guards in plate and armed with steel surrounded the back door of the Pig & Whistle, the one on her right towering a good eight inches over her, the one to her left squat and swarthy. Two men dressed in street clothes smoked nearby, watching with great interest. She smiled broadly and produced a convincing hiccup.
"Cat got yer tongues, I see. Pity that, coulda used one of a night. How're ye lads?"
One of the smoking men strolled over to the pool of sickly light that washed over the Pig's back porch, stepping just inside the circle it made and tipping back his cap to peer up at Skulley.
"Think you can just slip out the back in the middle of a raid, do you? Bring her down the stairs, Hensel."
She allowed herself to stumble ever so slightly on the last step. Both guards tightened their grip on her arms. "World's a bit wobbly t'night, sorreh boys. Mind lettin' a lass have a touch more a' her ciggy 'fore it burns down ta ashes?" She lifted her hand but her arms were pinned firmly to her sides by the guards. Ol' Plainclothes plucked the cigarette from her spindly fingers and put it to her lips, solemn as stone as she sucked in a lungful of fragrant smoke and batted an eyelash his way. He dropped the rest on the cobbles and crushed it beneath a scuffed black boot.
"Thanks, love. Yer a great help. Not t'mention ye've a splendid arse."
"In me left pocket, love. S'deep, though. Y'might hafta dig 'round fer it." A brisk search yielded nothing but a sly grin and a theatrical lowering of the lashes. "Mayhap it's in me other pocket, darlin'. A girl forgets day ta day which side 'er pants is buttoned on, an' all that."
He checked the other, flushing slightly when his rummaging elicited not only a slim wallet, but a husky purr. She tilted her hips almost imperceptibly toward him and grinned. He jerked his hand back as though stung, cleared his throat and flipped open the fine square of folded leather. The papers inside were a fine reproduction, truths and lies spread liberally throughout. She hoped they would suffice.
"Bold as brass... Skelton, is it? Never heard of any Skeltons around here. How long have you been in the city?"
"Reckon two weeks, give 'er take. Me ship's docked here fer a spell." Skulley smiled sweetly in spite of the gauntleted hands curled around her arms, digging painfully into muscle. She summoned another drunken hiccup.
"Have you seen one Tarquin ap Danwyrith this evening?"
"Aye, but don't hold me t'that. Never did have a good look at his face, had me distracted wi' his magnificent backside an' fuckin' amazin'... hat."
"Is he still on the premises?"
"Didn't see where he got off to." She staggered a bit on her high-heeled boots, then steadied herself and gave her interrogator a wink. "What's yer name, handsome?"
"Officer Newhall to you. Tell me, Skelton, what's your business with the Riders?"
He pinched the bridge of his nose. "You were just drinking with them and leering at their gods-damned kingpin."
"Oh, is that them, then. Well, I s'pose I give 'em me coin fer whiskey, an' th'pleasure a' me company free a' charge."
"Have you ever, or are you currently working with or for any of the Riders or their associates?"
"I take orders from one bloke. Only th' one, an' he's no more a Rider than yer mother's a--"
He raised his hand, cutting her off. "Answer the damn question."
She spat near his boots and licked her lips. "No, I'm not, an' I haven't. That's th'honest truth."
"Nine out of ten liars love to use that phrase."
"Nine out a' ten statistics is made up on th'spot, Officer Whoever-Ye-Are, an' ten out a' ten arseholes love ta cite 'em."
Newhall leveled a piercing gaze at the lanky woman, sharp green eyes boring into her dark and mirthful ones. He didn't particularly believe her claims, nor did he disbelieve. Shaw had his knickers in a twist, however, and his orders were clear. A raid, particularly this raid, wasn't something to be taken lightly. It'd be in the papers tomorrow under headlines in three-inch print and he'd be damned if he didn't make every effort to make it count. It would be best to take her in for more questioning; a humbling would be even better, given her defiant and fearless smirk, and he'd be more than happy to deliver it. His silent deliberation was cut short by the next comment dropped dryly from her purple-painted lips.
"Don't suppose ye'll let me be on me merry way soon, officer? Got work in th'mornin', an' t'be honest yer about as much fun as a boil on me arse."
A cold steel bracelet clicked around her wrist. If the cuffs were any bigger she'd have been able to slip right out of them; as it was, the tightest setting was only made effective by the jutting crest of bone just below her skinny thumb. Some quick shuffling by the guards ensued and Newhall was able to fasten the other cuff behind her back. She didn't fight.
"Adelaide Skelton, you're under arrest for public intoxication. Bodrick," he addressed the other plainclothes smoker, "keep an eye out for more stragglers. I'll take her in."
Skulley aimed a wink and a kiss over her shoulder in the direction of Newhall's partner as he led her away. His face was branded on her memory. "I will, love. I will."