Well, the journey into Covington was eventful, to say the least. I entered the city the next morning under the guise of being a Fire Elf and made my way to a few stores to resupply myself with some needed provisions for the road. I then headed into the bookstore section and picked up a few books that I thought Jericho would enjoy. I found A History of Fiendish Appearances, the companion book to his History of Celestial Appearances. As attuned as he is to the dichotomy of things, I felt he would enjoy perusing the History of Fiendish Appearances. I also picked up a book entitled Oddities of Celestia. I shall have to read them on the way so I can talk to him about them when we are reunited again. I then made my way back to the Lazy Daisy, the inn our party was to meet at, to see if they needed a hand with the evening’s entertainment. The party had split up and were going their separate ways for the day. When I arrived back at the inn, I noticed the dancer Dahlia from one of the other inns I had been in. She, along with another bard, were providing some entertainment. Needing to get rooms for the night before I got wrapped up in performing and lost track of myself, I headed for the barkeep. To my surprise, however, there was another Fire Elf (this time an actual one) arguing with him about something. I hurriedly turned the other way to try and avoid being seen by the other Fire Elf and kept an ear out to find out when they stopped arguing. After a few moments, they were still arguing so I headed over to the other part of the inn to see if I could get a word in with Dahlia in between songs. I sat in a chair by the stage and waited for the song to be over. However, I noticed after a few moments that they weren’t doing individual songs but playing one song right into the next. They were quite good and had accumulated a good amount of tips so far. As I debated with myself whether to try and get Dahlia’s attention or not, the Fire Elf I had seen earlier stormed over to the stage and grabbed Dahlia by the arm. He dragged her out into the street, muttering something about an “agreed upon price” and “finding somewhere else”. Startled, I jumped up after them almost without thinking, with half a mind to offer them money to make up for whatever had not been payed, just to have a chance to play in a city again, with someone I knew to be quite adept at dancing. I called out “Wait” a few times but they seemed not to hear me. Trying to hurry a little faster, I finally called “Dahlia!” and that got their attention. The Fire Elf turned around, quicker than I thought possible and demanded to know how I knew her name and what my name was, as well as my parent’s names and the name of the city I came from. I took an instinctive step backwards at his barrage of questions and managed to tell him that I had heard him saying Dahlia’s name as I was leaving and that my name was Kiira. I asked him why the other things were important and he replied that Fire Elves were very rare. Not being an actual Fire Elf and a little afraid to give any definitive answers, I managed to neatly step around his question by telling him that it wasn’t really important. I pulled out my lute, a little nervously, and said “I’m a bard, actually, and I saw Dahlia dancing in the inn.” He simply said “Alright you can come” and quickly started walking again. Surprised by his quick words, yet not wanting to miss a performance opportunity with someone I knew, I worked to keep up with their pace.
Eventually, we came to a bar…something about an Inferno. Diego (the Fire Elf, I later learned) went into the bar to set something up. Dahlia and I talked for awhile. It was nice to see someone familiar, if only a little, again. It turns out that she had been traveling with Diego pretty much her entire life and that he managed her performances. He appeared a little cold and controlling for me but Dahlia said he wasn’t so bad when you got to know him. She was a little confused, as I had looked like a normal elf the last time she saw me. I told her that I had cast a spell to make it so, as it was easier traveling in and out of cities that way. Partial truth, I HAD cast the spell for just this reason, though it was to cover a Drow facade, not a Fire Elf’s. She reminded me a lot of Jericho as she told me that I should be proud of being a Fire Elf and that you should be true to yourself. We talked for awhile longer and eventually Diego came out again, saying that we were going to play at this bar. He told me that I would get a 10% share of the profits. I held back a chuckle at such a ridiculously low number. I didn’t make an issue of it, however. I hadn’t come back to the city to make money; I had come for the thrill of playing for an audience again and the pleasure of other artists’ companies. So I simply said “Alright” and followed them into the bar. Dahlia danced and I accompanied her in song for about a half an hour; pure pleasure. Dahlia turned towards me, her smile quickly turning into an “oh” of surprise. I then noticed, in quick, surreal succession, that I was sweating quite a lot and that my makeup would not hold out if wet. Shocked for a moment, I stood stock still, inwardly cursing. A quicksilver rush of adrenaline as I gathered my strength to run for it. Time froze and, almost in slow motion, I saw Dahlia put the smile back on her face and dance towards me. A little confused, I went with her movements and she managed to shield my face as I cast a quick spell to disguise my appearance and pull the hood of my cloak up, just in case. She whispered “we need to talk” into my ear and we stepped off the stage while she went out and talked to someone. A few moments later she came back and we went into the storage pantry of the inn. To my immense surprise, she didn’t even seem fazed when we went in and I told her that I looked like a drow when my makeup wasn’t on. She pulled out a makeup kit (with a lot of dark colors, actually) and proceeded to fix my makeup to its previous status, even applying some sort of powder that she said would make it last a lot longer. She reminded me again of Jericho and Sabwa as well as she told me that you shouldn’t judge someone solely on the color of their skin. I chuckled inwardly a little, thinking to myself that I was really grateful to have had the adventuring party I traveled with. I had met more people amenable to my drow appearance with them than I had met in years and years of traveling by myself. Dahlia finished up the makeup and we made our way back onto the stage, playing long into the night.
Awhile after that, I made my way back to the Lazy Daisy, the inn we were to be staying at that night. I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to have gotten the rooms and I grimaced to myself. I got so caught up in my playing that I had forgotten! I inwardly berated myself; THIS is why I had tried to obtain the room keys earlier. I noticed Ashleigh sitting in the corner with a pot of tea and a couple of cups and I made my way over to him and asked if we had gotten rooms, while I apologized for not performing that action. He said it wasn’t a big deal and handed me a room key. “Have you seen Alanna” I asked, meaning to apologize for forgetting myself and not meeting her here. He said that he had, but that she had left awhile ago with some guy. Startled, I looked up at him and said “she hasn’t been back?” He replied in the negative. “That’s not like her at all!” Now getting a little worried, I made my way back into the city to see if I could find her. The night passed with no such luck, however. Exhausted, I made my way back to the inn to find Ashleigh still sitting at the bar. I told him that I hadn’t found her but that I needed to sleep and would look again when I awoke. I then made my way upstairs and passed out for the night (or what was left of it).