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A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen)

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Glen nods, wincing a little once the door is closed. "Sorry about that there at the end. I just got paranoid and worried, and couldn't help myself. But yes, off to Old Hacari. You know her at all?"
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They haven't been inside the apartment for so long that someone remaining on the street is automatically suspicious, but Glen does notice among the rainbow of tiefling residents a woman with dark curls and skin which is a pale shade of violet--she was on the street earlier when they entered, and is now chatting quietly with a street-food vendor, apparently in the process of ordering lunch.

[OOC: And, no, Sunrise does not know Hacari.]
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Glen notices the tiefling girl without looking directly at her. "Are you sure this was the right house? That woman wasn't a fortune teller at all! What number is this place?" He turns his back to the girl, looking back at the house for a number. His voice lowers so only the other two can hear. "It may be nothing, but there's a violet tiefling girl with dark hair across the way, ordering lunch. Don't look right at her. She was there when we went inside. Keep an eye on her if you can. I'll try to as well." He turns back, speaking more loudly again. "No, this is all wrong. It's that way." He points in the direction the mother inside indicated. "Let's get going."
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She slaps him on the back, laughing. "Relax, we just took a wrong turn." Surreptitiously she glances around, sizing up the woman he pointed out.

(OOC: Insight 25, and thank you for the assist, 1st roll was a 7, lol)
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With careful cooperation among the group regarding when they look behind them, Sunrise does perceive that the tiefling woman appears to have more than passing polite interest in the group composed of a strange orc, an outside elf, and a famous singer. She may be following them.
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"Mmm. We have her interest," Sunrise reports in a murmur. "Not necessarily for bad reasons. Hang on, I'm about to make things awkward, maybe."

She leads the group down a side alley and stops, waiting just past the entrance to see if the woman will follow them.
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Glen nods and follows, waiting beside Sunrise. He puts his hand on his shortsword, ready to draw and strike at the first sign of hostility.
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After some time spent waiting, the woman wanders by the alley. She does look at them, and seems mildly befuddled to see them standing there waiting and watching people go by, but continues on her way without turning down the alley.
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Sunrise relaxes after she goes past, chuckling and shaking her head. "Well, I feel a little silly now, but that's better than the alternative."
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Glen puts his hand on Sunrise's shoulder. "Don't relax yet. Walking past is what I'd do there if I was following us. If she saw we'd continued down, she could have easily fallen in behind. But as it was, she could easily keep walking without arousing suspicion." He takes a step towards the street and looks back at them. "We should follow her."
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Jarek has been quiet for some time, trying to learn whatever he can from watching the experienced duo at work.  His normal response to encountering small children like Peace is to volunteer himself as monkeybars, but that didn't really fit the "worried brother bending the rules" persona that he was trying to project, so he said nothing unless it was to agree with the others or answer a question as briefly as possible.

By Kord, spying is hard.

But now they were perhaps being spied on themselves, which wasn't that different from being stalked by a predator, and Jarek knew a thing or six about predator behaviours.

"If she's trying to spy on us, she'll have to keep following us wherever we go, or guess where we're headed next and lie in wait.  It's always easier to ambush than chase in the open.  So--not to contradict, Glen, but--maybe we should just keep walking for a while and see if we see her again?  Or two of us keep going and one of us splits off to spy, and we see if that makes her nervous.  If we're really lucky, maybe she'll get spooked and our spy can follow her back to her den--uh, her safehouse, or whoever she's reporting to, I mean.  I don't know if we can afford to jump at every shadow; we're not antelopes."

Jarek pauses and stares at the wall, realising his predator-prey analogy is running into trouble in his head.  Jumping at every shadow is exactly what prey does, because it can't afford not to.  This is like a predator stalking a predator?  No, they want her to not think they're prey.  Because... prey for a spy is another spy, and an ordinary citizen is another predator: boring unless they're in the way.

By Kord, spying is hard.
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Glen nods, resolved. "Good point. I'll go. No time to lose." He pulls up the hood of his cloak and slinks out into the street, looking for the girl to follow her while trying to remain unnoticed.

Stealth (moving at full speed while traveling alone) 18

Perception to spot the girl 7

Survival to track her if Glen doesn't spot her immediately 19
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She frowns as Glen leaves. "And if she's merely nosy, we could be wasting time," she murmurs fretfully, shifting her weight as they wait for his return.
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Glen does not see the woman when he slips out of the alley, possibly because he's concentrating so hard on slipping stealthily through the crowded narrow streets without being noticed.

Tracking her is harder: the roads aren't dirt and he never got close enough to smell her, so there's not a lot of trail to follow. He knows the direction she was walking in and that's a start, but when the street forks into three more streets a block down the road, he's pretty sure he's lost the trail.
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Glen steps back into the alley, more frustrated than dejected, cursing at himself. He walks back up to them, throwing his hood back angrily. "She must have slipped away into the crowd. I couldn't find her. I'm sorry." He sighs. Some ranger. "We should get moving."
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Sunrise shrugs philosophically. "If it's any consolation, she really didn't seem hostile, just curious."

She keeps an eye out as they head into the street again, glancing around for anything out of the ordinary as they navigate the narrow roads.
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Spies are paid to not seem hostile. That's why they're spies. Does she think I'm stupid? He falls in behind her and Jarek, looking again to see if anyone else looks to be suspicious.

Perception 24, Nat 20
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A flash of purple from one of the nearby buildings and Glen sees her again, but just for an instant before she draws back inside.
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Glen's eyes narrow. "Got her." He doesn't break into a run, but he walks very purposefully over to the door of the building into which she went and pushes on it, looking around, prepared to bashfully say he had the wrong house if someone inside objects.
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Sunrise's eyes widen. Glancing quickly at Jarek she strolls off in the same direction - not close enough to seem "with" Glen, but enough to see what happens and help if necessary.
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Maybe spying isn't as complicated as it looks.

Glen is an experienced fellow, obviously, but he's obviously got a fiery need to prove himself competent.  Jarek looks somewhat frantically between Glen's retreating back and Sunrise's face, trying to discern if this is as abrupt as it seems. She moves, and the frozen moment is broken.

"I didn't actually mean for him to run out there to start with..." Jarek mumbles, but they're obviously past that now, so he jogs Very Casually to stay close to the elf, letting Sunrise lag behind, hopefully further away from danger.

"I think we're on the wrong street entirely, friend," Jarek calls, for the benefit of anyone else nearby.
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Glen pushes the door open and is met by the befuddled and anxious faces of an elderly tiefling couple of obvious meager means. The small room is unbearably warm and steamy; the woman is up to her elbows in soap suds as fresh water boils on the hearth and her elderly husband hangs up wet clothes on lines that spread across the room in a thick criss-crossing pattern.

"S-sir?" the man stammers at Glen's entrance. "Welcome to o-our establishment?" He looks furtively towards a door to his left, back near the rear of the shop, before looking back at Glen with worried eyes. He very clearly would like this strange armed elf to be far, far away from him.
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Seeing the man glance at the door, Glen steps around him and heads for door at the back. As he passes the man, he pulls a gold piece from his pocket lightning fast and presses it into the man's hand. "Sorry for the trouble!" he calls back over his shoulder as he yanks open the rear door and steps through, looking again for the woman.
Perception 15
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Seeing Glen rush into the building, Sunrise grabs Jarek's hand and follows. "Sorry, sorry, don't mind us, just passing through," she says to the couple inside, hurrying to catch up.
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Suppressing a sense of deja vu, Jarek slows his charge and lets Sunrise pull ahead. The last thing he needs to do is blunder into a boiling kettle or otherwise give offence to this elderly couple.

"Sorry, don't mind those two, they're just in a hurry." He surveys the tieflings' work. "Actually, what are your rates like? I work--I have family who work on a ranch and they go through clean shirts like popcorn. Not to impose, but if you can handle really tough stains, we might have some bulk orders..."
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