Ragnar Grimfang, twiceborn, exile, lone wolf on the streets of the City of Shadows.
I will have you all know that I braved kitten attacks on my hands as I typed this. Also, I am an uncle today, welcome Grace and congratulations to Aaron and Deanna :D
New to the serial? Start here and follow the links in comments to read along.
Missed last weeks? here it is.
I sent a message to Obsidian Tower, the redoubt of The Guild, addressed to the assassin that I knew by the name of Sildus. I sent it via the Myrrhn Street Couriers, using Madame Glorianna’s seal and my name. The Myrrhn Street Couriers are expensive, but they rarely failed. Rumour has it that they had an understanding with The Guild. I suspected my name would get Sildus’s attention.
Renoit was not difficult to find. Normally I would have trouble getting into Old Town, but with Sargent Murith at my side the Old Town watch was positively friendly.
Renoit owned a small villa in the middle tier. It had high walls and a well-tended garden out front. Old Town is secure enough that some people who live there leave their doors unlatched. Of course, Renoit did not, even though he had far less to fear than most people in the city. I knocked just loud and long enough to irritate Renoit and call him forth.
“Ragnar?” said Renoit, his lean face twisted indignation. “Who let you into Old Town?”
“I did,” said Murith. “Sargent Murith Stouthand, City Watch, sir.”
“I am pleased to make you acquaintance, Sargent Stouthand,” said Renoit. “But if this man expects me to testify on his behalf or vouch for his character or whereabouts I must decline!”
Murith looked at me doubtfully. I grinned.
“Actually Renoit, this is about business,” I said.
“What business could I possibly have with you?” said Renoit, a note of curiosity creeping into the symphony of arrogance.
“Do you remember how I was investigating a murder?” I asked.
“I didn’t do it!” said Renoit.
“Calm down,” I said. “I’m not accusing you. The victim was a prostitute at an expensive brothel. She happens to be the sister of Lily Gemarkand. The murder was done in such a fashion as to implicate The Guild and rile up my people.”
“Yes, yes. How does this interest me,” asked Renoit.
“We have reason to believe that the killer is in League with the Devout, masquerading as the leader of a Sirutiran sect,” I said.
“So?” said Renoit.
“Have you heard of the Devout?” I asked.
“Certainly,” said Renoit, puffing out his chest. “I’ve even killed one. I thought they were a broken power, however.”
“It appears not,” I said. “They are back. I fought one in Lily’d Gemarkand’s private arena, which means they have dealings in the city. They arranged for Sapphire’s death, mostly to sew chaos. One of their agents actually just tried to kill Madame Glorianna.”
“No!” said Renoit. I smiled inwardly. Renoit will get involved in any event he deems important enough. Once I dropped enough names that he recognized and respected it was easy enough to land his help. “This sounds important Ragnar. I suppose if the city needs my help… let me get Estelle!”
“Who is estelle?” asked Murith.
“His Rapier,” I said.
“Oh,” said Murith. “The city needs her too, I’m sure.”
“He’s actually quite good,” I said.
Git’s shop was closed for the day by the time we arrived. Renoit had to dress you see. Murith knocked, Git’s assistant answered.
“Sargent Stouthand, what is this about?” said the assistant, eyes darting between Renoit and myself. I looked like I usually do. Renoit was dressed in black lace, silk, and burgundy leather. He even had some kind of neck cloth I did not know the name for in some exotic fabric that I could not name. I expect that had he not been with Murith and myself, one of the Burning Hill gangs might have tried to rob him.
“We need to speak to Git,” said Murith. “It is urgent, but he is not in any trouble.”
“Very well,” said the assistant. “I’ll see if I can find him.”
Git’s assistant rose several degrees in my estimation. She was loyal and cool-headed, giving her master time to assess the situation and escape if need be.
Git appeared a moment later. The little Goblin was already dressed in a black leather overcoat with ivory buttons, a broad brim hat, and goggles. “Combat kit or adventuring?” he asked without prompting.
“Are you not curious as to what we are about?” asked Renoit.
“I am,” said Git. “But I am also bored. I’ve been waiting for a chance to test something. Besides Renoit, when I see both yourself and Sargent Murith I know it is important and above board.”
“Bring whatever kit has the most tricks,” I said.
“That was easy,” said Murith. “What next Ragnar?”
“Do we have anything resembling a plan?” asked Renoit.
“The plan is to go the temple of Kamesin Greeneyes and confront the priest,” I said. “Even if he isn’t involved he will know something.”