The climate in Almund during Saun was truly a vile thing. There was just enough rainfall to make the cobblestone streets muddy and caked in filth, but not enough to alleviate the sweltering heat nor the suffocating humidity. How anyone could stand to live in the midst of such atmospheric oppression was a wonder unto itself. A testament perhaps to the hardiness of the people. Indeed, they'd endured much lately, with the burning and destruction of so many of the structures, homes, and businesses. Still, mold and filth clung to the repurposed woodwork of the buildings, like sea slime, and the people there wore weary faces.
There were a good enough amount of people moving through the streets, helping to rebuild and doing search and salvage. Often for the common good, as Scalvorites didn't abide those who tried to profit from misery. Even those that clung to the old ways had a peculiar comradery for those who were their neighbors.
Woe moved among them, cloaked in anonymity and unrecognizable beneath the masked hood he wore. His mask while identifiable enough on its own, didn't betray his identity to anyone who saw him. Perhaps only those who looked closely enough would note the wings and horns spreading from the shadow he cast behind him. But few would bother to look his way twice, as he was invoking the effigy of his dragon patron, Kuvarakh, by whose grace Woe had discovered a gift of allaying any potential attention his presence might garner.
He'd been malingering around the facility, Dukahrn's facility, built out of the hollowed out and barnacle-marked shell of an old brig. He was here looking for the man, known as Wraps. A connoisseur of medicines of many kinds, and perhaps needing some for himself. Arjori had betrayed her meetings with the strange Mortisse, who had somehow survived an initiation of Graft gone wrong. Woe frowned. He knew something of failed initiations, having contributed his own fair share of failure as a mage.
Yet he stood, vigilant near the streets of Dukahrn's for nights and days on end, looking high and low for any sign of the cloth-wrapped leper. He turned his every sense toward that end, ignoring all external distractions, and there were a lot of those. Courtesans desperate for coin, hawksters desperate to grab anyone's attention, and the urchins plying the sympathies of passersby, and alternatively learning a craft all their own, picking pockets and purses, while their mate gave a sob story or a shoe shine.
Despite the Saun stench and filth, Woe couldn't find it in him to dislike Almund even now. He could forgive the climate, but the city reminded him of his origins, in Lowtown of Andaris.
His waiting bore return on the midday break, as a cloth-wrapped, rather chipper for a leper - leper began walking down and toward the entrance to Dukahrns facility. In through the cabin door, and Woe was swift to take a casual step toward the entrance himself. The leper wasn't far from that entrance as Woe made his, just hobbling a few meters down the hallway leading into the backrooms, where drugs and medicines were sold, as Woe understood.
He'd been to Dukahrn's before, for medicines and drugs. In fact, this place was his source for Euphoria, which was grown... someplace north of Rharne from what he heard, in illicit farms on the former colonial ventures of Rynmere. The plant had its roots and origin in Rynmere itself, and had spread as far as Ne'haer. Woe had ambitions of stocking his own in time, if he could only get his hands on a plant, or a viable bag of seeds.
He moved behind the leper, courteously allowing him to hobble ahead, ,bent over a cane as he went on his way. Eventually they deposited themselves in the medical and herbal supplies of the place. Where much of the dealinlg in drugs went on.
Woe lowered his mask, and spoke to the depositor. "Do you have the latest shipment of Euphoria?" He held out his hand, having paid ahead of time. "I come on behalf of Charon." Charon being Woe's working alias for the gathering of smuggled goods, medicines, and drugs. One couldn't be too careful, and Woe would've been remiss not to learn a thing or two about subterfuge in his time spent with Magpie.
The depositor nodded his head, and slid the box over as soon as he heard Charon's name referenced, and the seal was shown.
Woe took the package, depositing it in his cloak of hiding. He was about to leave, when he caught the eye of the leper. The wrapped-man quirked a badly decayed brow, and mutteered with a mirthful lilt, "Having a party are ya? What I wouldn't give to be there!"
"You are very welcome." Woe said, catching the leper somewhat off guard. "I don't think I've seen you here before, Mister...?"
"Ahh, they just call me Wraps." The leper coughed into his hand, and then stuck it out for Woe to shake. The mortalborn only gave a trill's pause before taking his hand and shaking it. The flesh was badly mottled, he could feel the texture of it even beneath the linen wraps.
"You should come then." Woe insisted, "It's to start on the first week of Vhalar. And perhaps you might find other things you're looking for while there?"
The leper man looked a little taken aback by the man's willingness to shake his hand. Woe could sense his incredulity rising, and decided that perhaps he'd overplayed his 'hand'. (No pun intended).
"Well... After I deal here. I'll meet you in the lobby then, if yer serious." Wraps murmured, and then turned his attention to the depositor. Woe nodded, and made a show of leaving by the threshold, but remained a few meters down the hall, just within ear shot of the deals going on in the depository.
The leper man ordered some things that Woe knew of, and other things that made him quirk a brow. Strange things, like Oh'Deer blood, Emperor Bat urine, and fur of a Temple Monkey. As well as a wide variety of plant-based ingredients, and some minerals. Must be some strong medicine...
Woe mused to himself, but shrugged it off as he proceeded to the lobby after snooping.
There, Wraps met him a few bits later, carrying his satchel in one arm while clutching the head of his cane with the other. "Do you need help with that? I can help you carry it wherever you're going?"
Woe offered his hand, to which 'Wraps' looked for a few long trills, before acquiescing to hand it over. "Now, this party isn't to start until the first week of Vhalar. But in the meantime, perhaps a bit of introductions are in order."
The mortalborn smiled at the leper, "I represent a well-to-do client from outside of Scalvoris. Charon. You probably haven't heard of him. But he has eyes and ears across Almund, and in the Merchant's Guild, and even the Council."
They walked out of the facility, and into the streets. From there, Wraps led him down the ways, through main thoroughfares as well as some narrow alleyways, and then into some of the lower passages, near the harbor.
Finally, Wraps turned to Woe at the furthest point he was willing to take the mortalborn. Much to Woe's disappointment, he could sense in the mind of the leper that this was giving a wide berth of his intended destination. But at least it narrowed the search somewhat. Woe could work with the knowledge that the Court of Miracles was somewhere within the Harbor, or close enough as made no matter.
"Charon may have something for what ails you, even. It's not often we find a failed initiate living a full and independent life." Woe shot after Wraps, as he departed. Wraps halted in his tracks, seemingly as if struck. But then quickened his pace over the mortar and cobbles, into the piers which led out across the way.
Woe didn't do him the discourtesy of following him. If he was discovered, he would risk betraying his immediate intentions, which would only cause more suspicion. For now, he would give the quarry some distance to operate within, and feel comfortable enough in their own space.
Woe stalked off in the other direction, headed for the Bones, where he intended to stay until the first week of Vhalar began, through which he intended to celebrate the Immortals Festivals.
He had a loto of work to do, to prepare for his esteemed guest, and he was determined that it should not go awry by dint of any outside interference. So he had to secure the location, and then he would be prepared to commence with his 'Party'.