24 May 2019

The Elf's Prisoner - Chapter 31

Chapter 31

Violence on the streets.
Inn of the Foxes, Silver Trailings, outside the Realm Below the Mountain
"It's the same marking," Jyslyn said, showing the recovered dagger to Kazimier.

"And there wasn't any blood on the ground beneath him?" Kazimier asked.

"No, sir," Leomund answered.  "The body was dead when he was stabbed, I'm sure of it."

Nyssa crossed the room to stand behind her squire.  "I've taught the lad how to tell how someone died."

"But why stab someone already dead?" Wren asked.  "It seems like a waste of time."

"If you're just killing someone, yes, it is," Jyslyn said.  "If you're sending a message, then leaving a knife in the heart of a dead man is a good way to do it."

Kazimier nodded.  "That makes sense to me," he said.  "And leaving a knife from someone outside the town is great at getting people upset  at the outsiders."

"I agree."  Jyslyn started to take the dagger back.  "Do you mind?  I may need a proper weapon while we're in Silver Trailings."

"Please.  Did you see if the body had any markings?"

Leomund shook his head.  "We heard the town guard coming and left, sir.  We didn't have enough time to do much."

"Don't worry about it, Leo."  Nyssa gave her squire's shoulder a squeeze.  "Chances are that you wouldn't have recognized any marks on him if you did find any."

Kazimier sat on his bed.  "You were in the Canal District.  Could he have been a sailor, part of a boat crew?"

Nyssa joined Kazimier on the bed.  "What part of the Canal District were you in?"

"The one with all the streetwalkers," Wren answered.

Kazimier gave Jyslyn a pointed look.  "Streetwalkers."

"I will explain later," the dark elf said.

"Yes, you will."  Kazimier ran his fingers through his short, dark hair.  "Sounds like an area controlled by a thieves' guild."

Jyslyn nodded, her copper red hair falling across her shoulders.  "That's my thinking, too.  A war in the underground could boil over and affect lives around."

Nyssa leaned forward.  "Your people have contact with surface guilds?"

"I know my family does.  I wouldn't be surprised if other families did, too.  It's all a source of income and it gives my family a hook into dealings here on the surface.  If my mother wasn't so busy fending off the machinations of other families, she'd have control over several guilds."

"Thank the Heavens for that."

Kazimier nodded in agreement.  "We now know that whoever is behind the plotting is active here in Silver Trailings.  Bodies don't appear out of thin air, normally.  We must be close, even if it's just to the troops who do the dirty work.  I'll pray that the dwarves see fit to meet with us.  The Niceans have answered, though.  Nyssa and I will go to their embassy tomorrow."

"What should we do?" Wren asked.

"Stay here at the inn," Nyssa answered.  "Wait for a dwarven response.  That goes for you, too, Leo.  The Niceans don't trust anyone right now.  If I brought you along, it'd raise suspicions among them."

"Yes, ma'am."

"I think that's everything."  Kazimier got to his feet.  "Everyone, go have dinner.  Have a rest after your excitement this afternoon."  He ushered everyone out.  "Jyslyn, a moment?"

The dark elf lingered as the others filed out the door.  "I know.  I shouldn't have taken Wren to the Canal District."

"It's not that, but, yes, you shouldn't have."  Kazimier offered the chair to Jyslyn.  "Please, sit."  He waited until the dark elf was comfortable in her seat.  "Is your family involved?"

"I don't know."  Jyslyn watched as Kazimier sat back down on his bed.  "I'm the youngest daughter.  My mother is the family matriarch, but she talks more with my eldest sister than with the rest of my siblings, and never shared anything with me.  I think my mother is too busy to get involved in the plot, though.  That doesn't leave out my sisters, though, except they'd try to frame a rival family.  The dagger has a mark meant for general trade."

"And the rest of your people?  Could any of them be involved?"

"Maybe."  Jyslyn slumped in the chair.  "Power is the main motivation in the Sundered Chasm.  Most of the Matriarchs are too busy trying to keep what they have while trying to gain more.  Throwing the surface into chaos doesn't bring power and may disrupt other plots.  That said, that's the Matriarchs.  There are those who see they won't have access to power and will latch on to anything that promises them riches."  The dark elf shrugged.  "I don't know who, though.  Maybe the Guild of Wizards, but they have other means to power."

"And the daggers?"

"Someone received a hefty amount of coinage for those."  Jyslyn smirked.  "The merchants in the Sundered Chasm have no problems selling weapons to all sides of a conflict.  They don't care."

"Thanks.  What do you have planned for tonight?"

"Not much.  Adjusting the dress I bought, mostly."

Kazimier raised an eyebrow.  "Found something in the market?"

"In the Canal District."  Jyslyn flashed Kazimier a smile.  "I needed something to wear that I'd find comfortable so I wouldn't distract you next time you came to my room."

Kazimier's cheeks grew red.  "Thank you for being so understanding."

Jyslyn reached out to the priest.  "I'm still learning.  I don't want to drive you away, not after everything you've done.for me."

"It'll take more than a bit of unexpected nudity to drive me away."

"I just have to find some way to pay Wren back.  Is there anything I can do in Wildwood when we get back?"

"Don't worry about it.  The Council of Matriarchs will cover the costs.  We are on a mission on the Council's behalf."  Kazimier stood.  "I'll have dinner sent up to you."  He offered his hand to Jyslyn.

The dark elf let herself be pulled to her feet.  "Thanks.  I'll think about who could be involved in the plot.  I'm getting tired of being left on the outside.  No, wait, that's not how you say it up here.  Tired of being left in the dark?"

"That's it."

Jyslyn pulled Kazimier in close to her, wrapping her arms around him.  She gave him a squeeze.  "I really do like hugs."

"I like them, too."

Next Week:
Magic lessons.

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