On Thursdays I hone my writing skills with a little serial, raw and uncut. Gather round, gather round, tis time to let Ragnar and his pack loose upon the city of Myrrhn!
If you want to start at the beginning click this link, and follow the links in comments to read along.
If you missed last week’s chapter, here it is.
“A trap that summons an elemental?” I said. “Who would be able to make something like that?”
“There are at least a hundred elemental craftsmen of that skill level registered in the city,” said Murith. “We try to keep close tabs on them. I don’t see a makers mark on the ring though.”
“Not a legal sale then,” said Renoit. “That tells us something.”
“Can you persuade the watch to lend you a mystic analyst Murith?” I asked.
“Well this is a murder case, but I would hate to have to explain what we were doing with Madrinpo here,” said Murith, brows furrowing. “Besides, if they have compromised the Guild and the Doxies union, who is to say they don’t have agents in the watch.”
“I can get someone to look at it,” said Sildus.
It didn’t surprise me that the Guild had that capability; the Assassins of Myrrhn are the best for a reason, after all.
“How soon?” I asked.
“Tonight?” said Sildus, almost apologetically. Murith’s eyes widened. I imagined she was thinking how many cases she could solve with that kind of swift action on the Watch’s behalf. Sadly, that is not how Myrrhn worked.
“Very well,” I said. “I will meet up with you at the Inn of the Willing Wench tonight. For now we should disperse. I will help officer Murith with her statements regarding the demise of Priest Madrinpo. The rest of you should be on your guard, just in case.”
“Do you think we will be targets now?” said Renoit, trying to sound nonchalant. I could tell he was excited, however, at the prospect of being attacked. No doubt his house had some elaborate defences or he’d learned a new move he wanted to put to the test. Renoit needed to let himself out his cage more often.
“I expect so,” I said. “It might be prudent for everyone not directly protected to try to meet up with us tonight.”
Sildus was waiting at the Inn of the Willing Wench by the time I made it there. Night was blanketing the city as I entered, signaling a change in the tenor of the place. The merchants and the more respectable people of the city flowed out of the streets, into the safety of their homes or well appointed places where one could enjoy the nightlife without fear of crossbow bolts, while everyone else who was unfortunate enough to be out after dark kept an eye on the shadows.
The Inn of the Willing Wench was a safe place. The owners had fought of several assaults over the place’s long history, and only a fool would attack it now. It was well known that they paid both The Guild and the largest of the Mercenary Companies based in Myrrhn to keep the Inn neutral. A wise business policy, if well beyond the means of most. Consequently the Inn was always busy, and ours was hardly the only group of schemers in the place.
I was especially delighted to see a sinuous form draped around one of the massive spits rotating around a well-tended fire pit. Coilers, a form of enormous aquatic constrictor oft mistaken for a true sea serpent, are a common source of meat in the North, but a delicacy in Myrrhn. I helped my self to a heaping plate, smiling broadly as I greeted the waitresses and cooks.
Sildus tracked me through the room. I took my time, in case anyone was watching, before sitting down with him in a booth concealed in an alcove.
“Did you get any weapons past the doormen?” I asked.
Sildus smiled. “I didn’t need to. The room is full of weapons already. I would say that the policy of taking weapons at the door benefits me more than anyone.”
“True, I suppose,” I said between mouthfuls of serpent. The sauce, blueberry and blue cheese, was excellent. I generally prefer my meat unadorned, but this was a glorious addition.
“Are you interested in what I learned?” asked Sildus.
“I am,” I said. “But I figured that you aren’t the type who likes repeating himself. Murith is on her way, and I expect Git and perhaps Renoit will join us as well.”
“Yes. I did not want to be rude earlier, but is he… that… Renoit?” asked Sildus.
“Probably,” I said.
“You have interesting friends, Nordan,” said Sildus.
Just then Murith appeared at our table. She looked upset. Git and Renoit were with her.
Before I could even invite her to sit down, Murith said, “Ragnar, we have a problem.”