Time for some Shadow Wolf Sagas: Ragnar Grimfang, twiceborn, exile, arise! HAAUUU!
This is a serial blog story. Start Here and follow the links in comments to read the story so far.
Missed last week’s post? Here it is.
In my time in Myrrhn I have learned many odd bits of information. For example one of the differences between a bordello and a whorehouse is that the former keeps records of visitors and transactions, while the later does not. In the City of Assassins, prostitution is both legal, and socially acceptable among many circles. Visiting a high class bordello is nothing to hide.
The Pink Pearl’s client list and visitor’s logs were private and protected, of course, but working for Madame Glorianna gave me a way under those fences. Getting Sapphire’s client logs merely took time. Getting my old friend Watch Officer Murith’s assistance was somewhat more tasking.
“I don’t get involved with Guild business,” said Murith, brows knotting. “Nor do I deal with the Doxy’s Union, not to mention the leader of one of the Seven Bloody Families, Ragnar. You’re neck deep in shit and don’t seem to realize it, I’m not interested in an invitation to dive in with you.”
“Oh come on Murith, surely a talent like yours is wasted running herd on cutters out in Burning Hill?” I said.
“Sod off, Ragnar,” said Murith, frowning at me from across our table at the Willing Wench. “It is a stepping stone to a better position.”
“Watch Sargent,” I nodded. “Does hard work really pay off in this city?”
Murith rolled her eyes. “It isn’t about paying off Ragnar, it is about doing the right thing.”
“How much of the right thing can you do when you’re out on one of the minor islets, running patrol?” I asked.
“More than you’d think, Old Wolf,” said Murith, sticking her chin out. I decided to switch tactics.
“Maybe you’re right,” I said, holding up my hands. “I’m sure a fine mind like your’s can make a difference anywhere they put you.”
“Damn right,” said Murith.
“Still with a mind like that, you would think that the Watch would want you working on some hard cases,” I mused, trying to sound innocent.
“Ragnar…” began Murith.
“It’s almost like they don’t want a brilliant straight-edge high up in the Watch for some reason,” I continued.
“That’s a cheapshot, Ragnar,” said Murith. But her eyes dropped for a moment.
“It is true nevertheless,” I said. “I’m not sure that this business with Sapphire will make the city a better place, but there is a chance that this action leads to someone very big. If it does, I will do my best to hunt them down. Wherever you stand, the person who killed Sapphire and Bjorn is a diseased animal that needs to be cut from the herd.”
“Who talks like that Ragnar?” Murith muttered, shaking her head. “You’re right of course; you couldn’t solve this without me.”
“Naturally,” I said, smiling.
“Sildus appears quite regularly,” said Murith going over her part of records, making careful annotations in her ledger. “Once or twice a week for the last couple of years. Do you think he would be that careless with his alias?”
“Killers like Sildus rarely worry about their anonymity being broken, unless they are on the run,” I said. “They feel they can dispose of any inconvenience that discovery might impose. They are a lot like warriors in that regard. Besides he gave the alias under duress of sorts: I think the twins surprised him.”
“He was here? in your house?” said Murith, voice rising. “No wonder you trust him if you were at his mercy and he let you live.”
“Let me?” I said, hackles rising. “I could have taken him.”
“Sure thing Ragnar,” said Murith. “Ever heard of a thriceborn?”
“Very funny stump,” I said. “Remind me why I keep you around.”
“Because I am very good at what I do,” said Murith. “For example I can tell you that this name, Gylil represents miss Gemarkand.”
“Why?” I asked.
“It’s Lily G backwards, old wolf,” said Murith. “Spoiled princess probably thinks that this is a game. Also she only shows up on days when Sapphire is not working. They still meet at the Pearl, but Sapphire is not on the work schedule.”
“What else?” I asked.
“Quit drooling, who does that?” said Murith. “The name Sildus frequently appears on days with Bjorn Magnison. Bjorn comes and goes in stretches–“
“Whenever his father’s ship is in the city, I wager,” I said.
“Easy enough to collaborate,” said Murith. “Our Sapphire is very careful that her sister and the other two do not meet. The rest of the frequent names follow the usual patterns for callers at the Pearl. Regular appointments on regular days, booked long in advance.”
“You seem to know a lot about it Murith,” I said, smirking.
“I compared it to the other records,” said Murith. “It’s all about pattern recognition, my friend.”
“So if it wasn’t any of them, who else could it be?” I asked.
“Well, I’ve circled some of the more interesting names on the list,” said Murith. “These don’t follow regular patterns.”
I looked at the names. Greeneyes, A. Havek, Fosric M, and Irena Black. Another series of names were circled, with a small scribble next to each one. Murith looked at me expectantly. I looked back at the names. After a moment I realized that the names she’d marked this way all had common elements.
“This last name is the same person?” I asked.
“Yes, using a basic cipher to change alias with each visit,” said Murith. “I only noticed it because he or she often appears with Greeneyes. Greeneyes is a frequent visitor of the Pearl, but makes my list because he or she was there the day of the Murder and the last three times that Bjorn and Sildus visited. Likely not our main suspect, but definitely someone we should seek out. Could even be a hired assassin.”
Something about the name Greeneyes stood out in my mind. I could not quite place why, but I knew it was important.