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Greetings, welcome back to the fireplace. Sit down and let Tallavanor fill your mind and keep you distracted from this ‘social distancing’ that is all the rage (Editor: Seriously though, please follow CDC guidelines to keep yourself safe with COVID 19).Last time, Tallavanor and the crew had a rendez-vous with Gregario’s contact. Today, Tallavanor takes part in a clandestine midnight meeting at a Brothel. How clandestine could it be? Let’s see as Tallavanor takes it away.

house beside soil road during day

Photo by Michel Berube on Pexels.com

The Gilded Spirit – a five story tall building with the most discrete entrance I’ve seen this side of Tres-Abellies. After a trip to the Barking Satyr, one might expect an even more opulent place. That placed screamed money. This place whispered power.

One door, two paths. The bouncer looked at us, face blank and stern. Gregario whispered a password. “Upstairs or down?” The brick of a man asked. We glanced at each other, before Claudia finally said “Down, assuming there’s no women.”

The man nodded. “Down it is.” We stepped in and he closed the door behind us. The bouncer ushered us downstairs, before returning to his post. We had entered a warmly lit pub, beautifully appointed in an upscale manner. A barkeep filled the glasses of the half-full establishment with dark liquids and the sound of quiet merriment filled the room.

“Drink?” The barkeep asked after we took a booth.

“What do you have?” I asked. The man smiled.

“Everything, but the punch bowl is fresh.”

“The punch, then.” I replied. Everyone else chimed in as well. We all wanted the punch.

Four glasses of punch later, we sat, talking quietly as we waited for our contact. Midnight. Ten past, fifteen past. We started to get nervous. Was it a double cross? Would our contact show?

Eventually, he slipped in the door.

“Valentin.” He said by way of greeting. A shiftier man I don’t think I’ve ever met, and I’ve met some shifty people when I was undercover. Come to think of it, I’ve met some shifty people in uniform as well.

“Does the Table know you’re here?” He asked Gregario. He shook his head. “Well, you might want to tell them. I can tell you about Ramfk. We’ve been trying to get a lever into him for years. We think we’ve found a way. His second son has gone insane, according to the pitiful handful of reports we’ve managed to uncover. There’s rumors spreading that his son went crazy about 2 months ago. His eldest son works handling the business while Prince Ramfk deals with the political side.”

I had pulled out my notebook and was writing all this down. Finally, some decent information! Part of me recoiled at the blackmail part, but another part saw a way to get more information to put this case to bed. Well, more like claw back a bare handful of splinters in a wall.

“What can you tell us about the murder of the Chancellor?” I asked. This was the key component. I needed more information. The case didn’t make any sense until we closed that gap.

“Only what everyone else knows, maybe a bit more. It was either the city guard, and they’re tight lipped about it. They’re professionals, you know. Former mercenaries. But unless his own guard turned on him, which is unlikely. Then it must have been magic. They found him, dismembered in his own chambers.”

“When?”

“4 weeks or so? More than a month and a few days. The city’s been in a tizzy about the damn election sense then.”

“So why does Prince Ramfk want the post of treasurer?”

“Not sure – his monies are all in the trade galleys and the silk market. Everything above board so far as we can tell.”

“Who is running the investigation?” I asked. I wanted to know if there was a contact I could talk to. Maybe even glean some more information from.

“Heins Yakim. Competent, strong, intelligent. Running a manslaughter investigation out of District 3 – the Market District, since you don’t know which one that is.” He sipped his water and leaned back. “Good luck getting anything out of him. They aren’t even calling it murder. Can’t prove nothing.” He said.

“Looks like you may have to talk to him.” Said Alastair.

“You’d probably be coming with me. Being a war hero might get us in the door more than my city watch contact.” He shrugged, looking self important.

“Do we have a contact in the city government? Someone who might be able to get us some more information about the election? or the players?” Gregario asked. Interesting, thinking outside the box. I thought.

“Yes, one of the alderwomen is working with us. Bridget Alexander. ” His voice dropped to a whisper. “Relatively new to us, but still useful. Recently appointed to the council. Helps us down at the docks. She might be helpful to ya.”He looked at the clock on the wall. “Gettin’ late. Going to have to be leaving soon. You need anything else?”

I had one more question. “What else is happening in the city. Big cities are never quiet.”

“There’s more killings in the Dwarven district, though you won’t hear about them from the city watch. Considering that the north bankers leave the dwarves to their own business, I wouldn’t be surprised if no one thought to look to the south.”

“So there’s murders to the south and the north. They have to be connected somehow.” I said.

Valentin hummed. “mmHmm. Perhaps. You’ll have to figure that out. The Table will help you, but we’ll need that report about Skona and Count Usher.” He looked at Gregario, who nodded.

“I’ll be off.” He slipped out. I turned to look at Gregario, but Claudia beat me to it.

“Okay, Gregario. Talk. Tell us about the Table”


 

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