The Marshal didn’t seem to know what to make of him, as most of the people of Westfall had to be coerced to join Lord Kobold’s army. Before Ezran could explain, using a tale he had cooked up of lifelong contempt for the other commoners and a secret admiration of Lord Kobold, a quel’dorei woman walked past, surrounded by guards. She seemed quiet and subdued, glancing at Ezran without much interest, but she didn’t seem to be a prisoner. Almost more of a noble lady overseeing the progress of the fortifications and training of the troops.
She wasn’t the Farstrider Ezran had been looking for, he was certain of that, but he marked her as a possible source of information. Luckily, she also provided a distraction to the Marshal, and the Marshal gave Ezran a soldier’s contract and told him to hurry along to the training grounds.
Ezran went to the training grounds, but he didn’t join in the training. He instead grabbed a few props to make himself look busy — rations and utensils to lug around on the pretense he was bringing lunch to the soldiers — and then he set to tailing the quel’dorei. Ezran learned her name was Jalinde, and she was indeed Lord Kobold’s mistress — they conspicuously avoided the term “wife” — but her enthusiasm for inspecting the troops was damped. After a short round or two of the camps, she was housed in the tower, set to leave for Stormwind in the morning.
Ezran returned to the cook’s mess to find a meal more suitable for an aristocrat than a soldier, then he presented himself outside the woman’s quarters as a servant.
Their first meeting was low key, as Ezran intended. He served her the meal, keeping his eyes on the floor and only lingering long enough in the room to straighten the bed covers. He made sure the quel’dorei saw his face and marked him, and then he left.
The next morning, he repeated the gesture, bringing her breakfast at the crack of dawn, and then slipping himself seamlessly into the group of servants packing her things and tacking her gryphons. When she flew out for Stormwind, he was with her entourage.
The entourage lingered only briefly in Stormwind, soon making their way to the Mages District where they secured a portal to Dalaran and the Broken Isles.
Jalinde seemed to come alive somewhat as they reached Dalaran. It seemed Lord Kobold was engaged in a war involving a demon incursion in Val’sharah. Was he there to fight them or to join them? was Ezran’s first thought, remembering the taint of fel he had picked up on in Sentinel’s Hill. He gleaned that many of the peoples of Val’sharah and Dalaran were suspicious of the lord’s methods, but that Jalinde’s loyalty to him was out of what seemed to be real love.
Only a few days later, as Ezran was walking the streets of Dalaran on a made-up errand nominally for Jalinde, but in reality was pondering over what he had discovered, he was approached by a courier, who claimed he was bearing a letter from the Farstrider Daelin. Finally! The Farstrider had apparently came upon one of Ezran’s drops or one of the farmers — he didn’t specify which — and he had much to fill Ezran in on, if only they could meet in person. He suggested a hunter’s lodge in Highmountain. Ezran deduced that Daelin was also wrapped up in the same conflict in Val’sharah as Lord Kobold was, by his writing.
Ezran slipped away from Jalinde’s entourage as easily as he had infiltrated it, and flew out to the lodge near Highmountain. He dropped his disguise fully and gave the passcode as Daelin had instructed in his letter, and he was quickly allowed inside.
He was immediately recognized by one of the hunters, who expressed his amazement that Ezran was still alive. The hunter offered they catch up over drinks immediately, but Ezran said he had a prior engagement. The recognition made him uncomfortable for some reason, and he wondered if maybe he should have kept his disguise intact.
The table the letter had indicated he sit at already had other guests. They didn’t remark on his appearance or his identity as Ezran carefully slipped in the chair.
No sooner as he had sat, but a hooded and cloaked figure emerged from one of the backrooms. It threw back its hood, and Ezran recognized Daelin. He couldn’t help a foolish grin at the sight of the old Farstrider, but Daelin didn’t return it, coming to the head of the table and placing his hands on it as if to brace himself.
“Today, we discuss how to assassinate Seryth,” he said, “also known as the Lord Kobold among the commonfolk of Westfall.”