Echoes of Invasion: There’ll Be Heledd to Pay | Scene 13

With their costumes complete, Tric and Heppa return to the Parting Glass so that Heledd can help conceal Heppa’s fair skin. Of all the people they have met so far, Heledd seems the most likely to know such techniques, given what she has done with her hair. When the elves pass through the common room of the tavern, they find it devoid of customers. Not even Alric is around. They pass through the curtains to the kitchen. Heledd is still resting on the bed in Alric’s small room off of it. 

Before doing any further work on her disguise, Heppa checks over the injured woman. The waitress-cum-thief is still recovering. Damal administered the antivenom elixir that Heppa had brewed, and it is now purging the poison from her system. Heledd tells Heppa that it tasted horrible but she drank the entire large bowl of it. Heppa checks over the bandaged knife wounds, but there is nothing further for her to do about them now.

With that out of the way, Heledd mixes up a stain paste in the kitchen, which she and Tric then rub into Hepalonia’s skin to give it a more ruddy appearance. Heppa had the foresight to borrow gloves from Lady Glynnis, thus reducing the surface area they have to cover and the risk of dye rubbing off when she touches things. They focus on her upper chest, neck, and face.

Thinking again of Alric’s comment earlier this morning, Heppa asks Heledd, “Can you tell that I am an elf by how I walk?”

“Not necessarily that you are an elf specifically, but you definitely move differently than other people do,” Heledd replies. “I would expect a mage from Alduin to be more crumpled up and stiff than you are.” Tric demonstrates hunching over excessively. Heledd adds, “You swing in the opposite direction. Mages are not really known for being nimble, but you move like a dancer.”

“So more like this?” Heppa takes the walking stick in hand again and bends uncomfortably forward to lean on it. Like a dancer? What does that even mean?! “Am I lifting my feet too much?” Heledd provides some additional pointers, contrasting how Heppa’s regular stance has shoulders back and chest up, while for her Alduin mage persona she should collapse her chest and bring her shoulders forward towards each other. “Does this make me look older?” Heledd starts to answer, and Heppa quickly adds, “Human older.” Heledd and even Tric Manu look quizzically at her. “Not elvish older!” she clarifies. There is no way that she can think of to look like an older elf, but there seem to be lots of options for humans.

“It makes you maybe look older, but mostly it makes you look stiffer, which is more appropriate for somebody who spends their whole life just sitting in a chair reading dusty old books,” Heledd tells her.

Heppa practices walking back and forth through the kitchen so she can get more feedback from her local human movement expert. Then she pulls down one of the large metal serving trays from a shelf and uses it to try to see what she looks like as a human.

“Alric told me you two have a plan?” Heledd asks leadingly.

“Yes,” Tric says. “Do you want to know the plan?”

“I just want you to get both those rings back here,” she replies.

“And, you know, be safe and…” Tric prompts.

Heledd lets that hang in the air a moment before agreeing, “Of course.” Then she adds, “You haven’t paid your full bar tab yet.”

“Also, Alric hasn’t paid me what I’m owed for last night, either, so I definitely need to come back,” he agrees.

“Thought it wasn’t about the money for you.”

“That doesn’t mean I’m not owed the money. Let’s be honest. If I cared about money, I wouldn’t be telling stories here.”

Heppa knows it is not polite to laugh at others, but she does not manage to fully suppress the giggle at her cousin’s witty rejoinder. Heledd does not seem to take offense, though, and she and Tric Manu go on to discuss potential locations for ambushing Sleidr. It needs to be somewhere neutral, not affiliated with the Parting Glass in any way. Heppa would prefer for it to have sufficient plant life that she could use her bramble spell if necessary. Tric Manu suggests a rundown old house with a courtyard that he and Heppa passed on their first day wandering around South Tower. They can claim they are renting it since they are from out of town and the secluded location ensures no one will bother them. Heledd agrees that the old pre-war ruin down near the docks would be a good spot. She has been steady enough to help apply make-up to Heppa, but the injured woman is definitely not up to personally helping reacquire the rings, much to her chagrin. However, with the plan taking shape, she now seems to be more confident of the elves’ ability to recover them than she was a few hours ago.