After a brutal week, it is time to delve into the world of Ragnar Grimfang once again. Written Raw and unedited. I hope you enjoy the escape as much as I do.
“So, Sildus, who wants you out of the way?” I asked the assassin, meeting his eyes.
“I’m not certain,” said ‘Sildus’, frowning. “The most likely answer is another assassin, who else could could manage to slip in after I left and then kill poor Harald and Sapphire? But I am not high enough in the Guild to attract that kind of hatred from my peers.”
“An assassin could be working as a proxy for someone else,” I said. “That’s not unusual…”
“But I did not see any contracts out for Harald or Sapphire,” said Sildus.
“Suppose the real killer’s plan was for you to take the blame?” I said, taking a swig from my glass. “Why would they take out a contract if the Guild’s wrath was meant for you.”
“So it must be an assassin,” said Sildus, face darkening. “Taking direct contracts is forbidden.”
“What are you, some kind of dark knight?” I said, smirking. “Killing people is also technically illegal, but that does not stop The Guild. For many of your brethren it is only a little step from betraying the laws of civil society to betraying the laws of the Guild. If they thought they were getting paid enough and would get away with it, then I’m sure someone would be able to hire them.”
“Isn’t that a little complicated?” said Sildus. “The simplest answer is usually the best, one in my experience.”
“And yet, here I am, allowing myself to be persuaded that the most likely suspect is not the killer,” I said.
Sildus winced, realizing his mistake.
“This is a human affair,” I continued. “And some minds prefer to hide behind a veil of complexity so that they are invisible to the lazy and the simple.”
“That makes a kind of sense,” said Sildus.
“So, now that we have widened the list, who wants you, or your lovers, dead?” I asked. “It would have to be someone wealthy I suspect. Skilled assassins are rather expensive.”
“When I found out who did it…” said Sildus, voice cold. Anger poured from him ,the first real emotion I could sense.
“Vengeance can wait,” I said. “After all, if someone is clever enough to manipulate the situation this much, then it would not be much more of an effort to point you in the wrong direction, just in case. It is best to be certain of our target before we make them pay the blood price. Now, who are your enemies? and who disliked Sapphire? is there any chance of another jealous suitor?”
“Suitors? not likely,” Said Sildus. “Sapphire disengaged with any men who she did not favour, but she did it gently. She understood the obsessions of our sex, and arranged for another girl to entangle anyone who she did not want to keep. She could afford to be choosy.”
“You must be honoured,” I said, unable to keep my teeth together.
Sildus glared at me, but nodded after a moment. “In a way, I was. She was an amazing woman. You think of her as just a whore, no doubt, but she was witty, funny, so full of life–“
“I apologize,” I said, holding up my hand. “I have often paid the price for being too glib. Who else might wish you or Sapphire harm?”
“Are you sure it wasn’t someone after Harry–Harald?” asked Sildus.
“The boy doesn’t know Myrrhn well enough to have that kind of enemies,” I said. “His kin blame you, because they can’t think of anyone else. If Harald had an enemy among my people they would know about it. We tend to be more direct in dealing with our problems in the North.”
“That doesn’t seem to hold true for yourself, Ragnar,” said Sildus. “The city must be rubbing off on you.”
I chuckled at that. A fine jest.
“Well, Sapphire’s sister has always had it in for her,” said Sildus. “Sapphire is actually from one of the Seven Families. Her Father kicked her out after he found out that she had taken up with a gardener’s boy. Her sister inherited, and hated Sapphire on principle.”
The Seven Families were the oldest and richest families among the Merchant classes of Myrrhn. Whiles their power waxed and waned, often eclipsed by more ambitious merchants, the Families were well served by their ties. In truth they were more like clans, extended kinship groups that formed a close-knit power structure. They definitely had motive and means, but I could not see why they just wouldn’t take out a regular contract.
“I will delve into that connection,” I said. “What about you, would anyone want to seek vengeance against you.”
“I’m sure they would if they knew about me,” said Sildus. “But I make sure to cover my tracks.”
I nodded. Braggarts were rare among the guild.
“Does your master have any enemies?” I asked. “Competitors within the guild who might want to taint his name by making you seem like a failure?”
Sildus paused, brow knitting. “You know, that makes sense. My master now holds a high position within the guild. I will have to find some way of asking him.”
“Meanwhile I will sniff around Sapphire’s sister,” I said.
We drank a little more, then I let Sildus out the back door. I spent the rest of the evening trying to figure out how to protect the house against a repeat of such an intrusion.