The Seven Assassins (Fantasy RP)(Started, Closed)

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OOC: If you are interested in this RP, but don't know what it is about, here is the recruitment thread:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/540.828571-The-Seven-Assassins-Interest-thread?page=1
The first post will have all the info you'd need to have a character, and PM me if you've got an idea for a character.

Now, on with the RP:


Shrewn Marketplace:
''Explain again.'' he mumbled.
''Hmm?'' the grey haired noble replied lazily,
''I said explain, why can't the Guard do this? Why do I have to recruit outside of our own channels?'' The young man asked, this time irritated.
The noble sighed,''Asking over and over won't change the answer, but fine.''
she told him, sliding a Silver penny to a nearby stall and plucking an apple from the nearby basket,
''The Guard can't be trusted with this task, simply put, its been infiltrated one way or another. Notice how the past few killings have been done with little interference from them?''

Dareon fished through his head, trying to think of any City Guard being present during any of the recent attacks, and came up blank.
''Thats why I'm sending you to trace these attacks yourself. No outside interference.'' the noble told him, beginning to walk away, her long flowing cloak trailing after her in a blue streak.
''Tasina,'' Dareon called her through the now bustling street. ''I'll speak to you later at the embassy, after I've assembled a group''
Stopping, she nodded, making her way into the courtyard.
Dareon continued down the cobblestone street and into the harbour, holding a set of dossier with one arm and adjusting his dark red hood with the other.

Southron Bridge:
Brady took two looks out towards the massive stone bridge before returning to his post. The bridge (like the others to the west and north-east respectively) connected Great Holem to the other landmasses, the Southron bridge is perched 20 metres above the water level and stands several kilometres long.
Built as a testament to the Grand Alliance's power and ingenuity, Brady has been guarding the Stone entrance to Greater Holem for decades, and while at first he was enthusiastic at protecting the city, now he deals more with drunken fools and those that set up shop on the bridge.
Looking down at his uniform, he sighed sullenly. The Greyguards, they were sometimes named. For the Murky Grey colouring of their armour. His was far from new, but all the wearing of it had made his gear a lighter shade than others at his post.
Some days, he just wishes that something would happen, anything, just as long as it didn't involve his head on the line.......

Port Neven:


Telesse grabbed her satchel and made her way onto the pier, watching the Avison move out of the harbour and out toward the bay.
For a trading galley, it was surprisingly fast, sometimes she questioned if it even unloads its supplies before setting off again, but that didn't matter much to her right now.

Right now what mattered was finding who sent her this message

Port Neven, Near the Kingsburry Tavern. I will be wearing a red cloak outside the building. 4 Days.
So, unphased by the vague letter she had recieved earlier that week, Telesse set off down the narrow embankment, past mercenaries and traders, past dirty children and growling dogs. The air smelt of fish and waste as usual and Telesse kept an eye out for a tavern.
After taking a few corners and more than a little bit of asking around, she finally arrived at her destination.
''Ah, there you are. Telesse Fleetwood is it?'' The red hooded man asked her from a table outside the building. She nodded and took a seat next to him ''So, how would you like a job?''

As Larsel wandered on the Southron Bridge, he saw Brady, the guard of the bridge. They had passed each other on numerous occasions, but after dealing with a few bandits outside of the city, Larsel was in the mood for some conversation.

Through his time, Larsel had quickly noticed how large of a name he and his group of mercenaries were making for themselves. A few dead barbarians and a large military victory and all the sudden he was equally feared and held up by the people. He could tell many of the nobles didn't trust him, but the people were more than glad to have his army in their city. This was strange for Larsel, who was used to being abused and ignored by any city he came in. But, the coin was right here, the people were nice and there was a lot of fun to be had, in more ways than just violence.

Larsel had blood splashed across his armor, but little else to tell he was in a fight. His lance was strapped to his back and Larsel seemed very cheerful to anyone passing by. He walked up casually to Brady and said "Hey, Brady right? Yeah, let me in."

Felldryt was walking around the docks, giggling as he practically skipped along with a wide smile on his face, which as visible due to his helm being fixed upon the pommel of his sword. People new to the area stared at him, wondering if he was insane, while the regulars recognized him and smiled at his antics. He was quite oblivious to this, however, due to the thoughts that pervaded his mind.

Today really was quite a happy today, because not only had he gotten paid, but they even gave him a shiny rock! Such a pretty thing, glossy black with blues and reds swirling through it. He wondered if he could talk a smith into putting it into the pommel of his sword... He'd have to think on it, first things though: Food! With such thoughts in mind, he decided to go to the Kingsburry Tavern. Slightly salivating at the thought of their delicious stews, not to mention these odd bread stick things they made, he started to make his way towards it.

Inquisitor Marlocke was in a characteristically bad mood as he stalked through the marketplace, his two guards trailing behing him. Note - stop hiring dwarfs for my personal guard. Not only had the wretched woman had the gall to tell him to 'report' to a mere guardsman of all people, they had picked Shrewn market for the meeting. Marlocke avoided the southern market district on principle - full of swindlers, pickpockets and a general abundance of riff-raff.
Also, his hip was playing up again.

Ah. Red hood, holding a stack of papers. That one.
"Wait here," he said curtly to the guards. He set off, adjusting his badge of office, and completely missed the insult that one of his loyal men muttered behind his back.

Marlocke was distinctly unimpressed with what he saw. The man didn't even look thirty, and he is supposed to be leading this investigation?
"Guardsman...Alexander, I presume?" he said dismissively.

Southron Bridge
Brady stopped leaning on his pike and took a more upright position, glaring at the mercenary's bloodstained armour and shook his head.
''D'you really think I'd let you in the city in the state you're in? I'd jump in the bay if I was you.''

A few moments passed, and Brady shrugged, there was no point in swaying him, and to be completely honest Brady couldn't be bothered anymore.
''Larsel. I have a message for you though,'' he said, pulling out the parchment he received earlier. It was wise not to say from who though, as Brady didn't care to be involved and didn't want Larsel asking questions.

Port Neven
Telesse held the note in her hand and waved it in front of the red cloaked guard.''So, this is yours?''
''Yes, I'm assembling a team. For a job, if you're interested'' he said, removing the hood from his head, revealing his dark brown hair and face. He was older than her definitely, but seemed a bit too young for his position, but this intrigued her.
''Names first, and why should I join your team?'' she asked.
''Dareon is the name, I need your skills.''
Telesse scoffed. ''Me? What possible skills do I have''
Dareon drank from his flagon and then leaned back. ''You can blend in. And you can fight. The pay is good and you won't be alone.''

Something about this whole arrangement seemed suspicious to her. She could control plants and the ground, but that does her little good in the city, and there are probably better Mages and Sifters than her he could have found.

''What's the job?'' she asked.
''I can't say, not yet. Wait for the others to arrive and then I'll outline it''
''Hmm''
Begrudgingly, Telesse got to her feet ''well then I had better get a drink.'' she mumbled, heading into the tavern.

Felldryt was just outside the tavern when a wriggling thought made it into his mind: He'd forgotten something. So, completely ignoring the man that was standing there, and the woman that'd just went inside, he started to empty his pockets where he stood. After a few minutes of searching, which included him finding a bit of old cheese he'd forgotten, a small dagger that was bent in two, and an obsidian sculpture of a panther, he finally found the bent and folded letter he'd been given.

It was an odd letter, really, just saying to be at this tavern today, and that he should talk to a man in a red cloak. Looking up, he realized he was standing right in front of such a man.

"Good day! I'm Felldryt, but you can call me Fell! Or even Dryt! They also call me 'That one fairy', though I've no idea why, I guess it's because there's not many of us up here. What is your name, anyway? And are they serving that delicious stew inside yet? Why are banana peppers so delicious?" After finally ending the torrent of words, his smile widened even further than it original was.

Larsel was looking up at the sky, Brady was chewing him out for showing up bloody, would scare some of the peasantry likely. Larsel didn't really care, if he was insistent enough then he would get in anyway, besides, jumping in a lake with his armor was out of the question. He had made that mistake once a while ago, the chafing was a punishment the dark mercenary in silver armor was not up for repeating.

''Larsel. I have a message for you though,''

Oh, this was interesting. Larsel stuck his hand out, reaching for the parchment and asked calmly "Do tell, what ever could it say?"

"Wha'? You talking to me?" The young guard cocked his head. Marlocke adopted a tone of polite disgust.
"Yes. If you are guardsman Dareon...er, something. I was told to meet you here."
The guard sniggered.
"Well...I ain't. And we wasn't. So, you're not."
Marlocke waited for the grin to fade off the idiot's face.
"You lookin' for Darry? You missed 'im. Gone to the tavern 5 minutes ago. Kingsburry, down the docks."

Fuming, he set off towards the harbour, with his two highly amused guards following behind. Today was not going well.
After taking a moment to recover from the smell of the place (a self-respecting Inquisitor does not frequent such establishments) Marlocke spotted a different red-cloaked figure, who appeared to be in conversation with a small, excitable person with a worryingly large sword. He moved a bit closer.

Telesse returned to find Dareon struggling to cope with a very excitable fairy. ''Oh, its going to be one of these missions.'' She said quietly.
''Alright alright, calm down. Use your words'' Dareon had at this point almost given up on the fairy by the time he saw a shadowy looking figure appear nearby.
So, nearly backhanding the fairy out of the way, he got up to greet him. ''You must be The Inquisitor.''

-----

By now Brady was irritated ''Larsel I want nothing to do with this, now just do what the letter says and leave me be.''
He told him, waving the now small queue that had assembled behind Larsel on into the city.

Felldryt bounced back, seemingly forgetting about the man as soon as he started talking to the newcomer. So, completely unaware of his surroundings, he walks into the tavern and orders himself some cheese stew and a bacon loaf to go with it. Smiling at the little fairy's choice in food, she went to the cook to tell him his favorite customer was back in town, and was rewarded with a groan coming from the man. While waiting, Felldryt had set his helm on the bar and was busy spinning himself around on the bar stool.

"You must be The Inquisitor."

Marlocke inclined his head. "Jaerus Marlocke. At your service." A thought struck him suddenly, and he peered at the speaker with suspicion. "You...are the one I am supposed to be meeting? About the, ah, deaths?"

Dareon nodded, ''Take a seat, the others should be arriving soon, I hope...'' he told him, pulling up a seat to the left of Telesse around the wooden table.

Rekta stands at the bow of the ship drifting into the harbor. Looking over the people bustling around and putting one clawed hand across his nose from the smells drifting off this city, even a 100 yards still from the dock.
this smells worse than a 10 day old corpse. How the hell do they stand living in this?
Having long had everything he had left with on his person he makes sure the cap for his quiver is tight before taking a small step back and taking a running leap from the bow as it drifted forward, much closer as he contimplates the reason anyone would want to live in this filth. Flying through the air as he keeps his eyes focused on one of the docks his clawed hands just catch it, digging in and making him swing under the dock for a second before lifting his legs and catching a piece of the underdock and climbing his way up above, to the slightly wide eyes of the by-passers who witnessed his jump. Shaking him self and starting to down the docks he makes another face and almost regrets coming here. The overpowering smell of fish and thousands of people mixing together to make a scent that was making his eyes water. Speeding up and looking around he walks under this small winged thing with a sword larger than himself and into a tavern
Jaerus Marlocke. At your service. You...are the one I am supposed to be meeting? About the, ah, deaths?
jumping up to a eat on the bar and raps the bar.

"I need something that smells better than outside. Anything will do. And what are the rumors around the city? Is there any work for a man hunter?"

Looking back at this scrap of conversation he had heard, sitting down nodding to the bartender when a cup of sweet wine is set down. Placing a silver coin down he dips his claws into the wine and wipes it off under his nose, breathing through it a few times and deciding that it smells better, but only marginally. Listening to this conversation by the men and bug at the door.
Take a seat, the others should be arriving soon, I hope...

The city was even more glorious than Kaddika had dreamed! One of his patients, a traveler returning from a business trip in Greater Holem, related fascinating tales of the city's tall buildings, bustling crowds, and of course, its peerless docks. But before the patient fainted from blood loss, he mentioned the magnificently grand bridges connecting the city to the mainland.

It had taken a whole day, but Kaddika crossed the eastern bridge and was inside the city proper, his feet sore and his stomach growling. Now that he could admire the city firsthand, he realized it was indeed beautiful...and terrifying. Every tangent alleyway snaked into darkness like a shadowy finger enticing him to some horrid ambush at the hands of a dozen vicious thugs.

He shivered and hastened his stride, reflecting on the note he'd been given at the bridge checkpoint. One of the guards, hearing his name, pulled the snow elf aside and shoved it into his hand, instructing him to follow the directions.

Kingsburry Tavern, written in a fine cursive along with some simple directions that it lay by the waterside - the docks, he guessed. Before long, and after several awkward looks from the people he asked, Kaddika found himself standing in front of the bleak tavern. In spite of himself, the nervous elf rather wished the establishment was as rowdy and hectic as its neighbors. After nervously adjusting the medicine satchel slung around his shoulders, he placed both hands on the double doors. Swallowing hard, he pushed inwards, hoping more and more there wasn't a band of thieves waiting to cut his throat.

The Marketplace

Marcelle Mauri had been tailing the Inquisitor for some time, always mindful of his every step and glance. She didn't know his name, only recognized him from some of her previous 'cases', and based on how little they had interacted, instantly pegged him as being filthy rich, and undeservedly powerful. During all the time she had been tailing him, she couldn't help but notice how rarely he seemed to look over his shoulder. Either he was naive or arrogant enough to believe his enemies couldn't touch him with his bodyguards around.

Now, Miss Mauri had not been observing him long enough to see who his enemies were, but chances were good that he had plenty, and whoever they were... they might pay to get some kind of dirt on him, whether it had to be lifted from his person and estate, or fabricated.

That could be looked into later, once she had determined what sort of mark he was. For now though, she simply observed as he made his way through the streets, and eventually met up with a guardsman. As their movement slowed, she realized that slowing herself down would only cause suspicion, so there was only one thing for it...

she kept going until she literally bumped into them, and landed her ass directly on the street after smacking into the guardsman that the Inquisitor had been talking to.

"Ooof!" she grunted before attempting to regain her composure as she started to pick herself up off the floor, "Forgive me sir, I don't know what I was thinking. Are you all right?"

Telesse seated herself with a cup of wine, not taking her eyes off of the lizard for a moment. ''So, what exactly ARE you? Some kind of Beastlander?''

Marlocke quickly stepped around the sprawling woman and through the doorway - he certainly didn't want to be part of a spectacle. It was bad enough that he was in this part of the city to begin with; no need to draw further attention.
A quick investigation of the clientele revealed nobody who looked a likely member of an investigation team or guard council. The green scaly fellow at a nearby table was an unusual sight, but he seemed to be fitting in with the rest. The most notable...person in the place was some sort of drunk dwarf spinning around on a chair, a sight that served to convince Marlocke to avoid the bar. In fact, probably best not to touch anything either.
He stood stiffly by the wall, adjusting his cloak slightly so that both his badge and the sword at his hip could be seen.

So, what exactly ARE you? Some kind of Beastlander?

Looking over Rekta looks this human female up and down.
"Yes, I'm a beastman. Lizardman from the south of that land. This is my first hour in this city, i had come here because i heard it was the center of the world."

Taking a drink of the wine he dips his claws in it again and wipe some off under his nose, smelling it again and tapping the bar he is sitting at.

"Tender, i would like some meat, rare if you can."

A hooded man in the corner of the Kingsburry Tavern darting his eyes between the now many patrons of the establishment. He grinned slightly for the boldness of the Inquisitor, or perhaps his stupidity. Than again, he may already be in the knowledge of his pre-election to the group. He may not have need of his royal writ of assignment if so. But in good time will that be revealed. For now Ferik was content to sit in the corner. The Inquisitor would surly know who he is already and if so when ready, he shall make his introductions to the Lieutenant. Or, if he decides to leave due to a lack of information, a few heavily armed men would be blocking his path. Enough time to pass his papers to the good Inquisitor for... inspection.

"Tender, i would like some meat, rare if you can." The barman glanced at the small figure. ''We've got fish.'' he grunted.

Dareon stood up from the table and announced himself ''Greeting. I am Dareon, I've assembled you all here because there's a job I need doing, and you all seem to possess the necessary skills for it....'' He looked around to see if there would be any more arrivals... or enemies.
''If anyone else wishes to join us feel free to'' he said, in a raised voice.

''Um,'' Telesse raised her hand, and Dareon nodded. ''What exactly do you want us to do?''

--------
Southron Bridge

Brady yawned and looked up at the sky. It was late afternoon and he yawned. Long shifts like this will get him killed. ''It'll be evenfall soon, do you want to go get a drink?'' his fellow guardsman asked. ''You insane Belkin? The nearest good one is Kingsbury, and that's a good 20 minutes from here. And no, I won't be going to Froe's, I swear they piss in those mugs''
Belkin shrugged, ''fine, suit yourself'' he said, walking off and leaving Brady alone at his post.

--------
Embassy Towers
Tasina was escorted by her two guards to her office on the 8th floor. The Towers sprung up in the vast cityscape, each made of marble, with art and symbols etched onto the sides. Each tower bloc connected to the other by multistory bridges above the city which meant people could get to the other without traversing the dense streets below.
As Tasina approached her personal quarters, she was met by a snow elf in a single light blue garment with a cape to match. He was escorted by two Snow elven mages, and was her boss.

''Tasina,'' he said in faux courtesy, ''Take a seat inside, we need to talk''
Begrudgingly, she went along, with her guards watching as sentry outside, while his came inside with them.
The brown doors shut heavily behind them. ''What have you been doing to stop them? hmm?!''

''Excecutor Idarion, first let me state that myself and my agents are doing everything in their power t-'' Idarion raised his hand. ''Spare me, explain what you're doing right here right now to stop these killings. 6 ambassadors have been killed in the past 2 months. SIX'' he said, taking a sip of wine on a nearby counter. ''Gah,'' he mumbled, holding the cup for a second and watching the drink freeze in his hand until it met an appropriate temperature.
''...and 3 Chancellors, tell me and I mean honestly, do you even know what we're fighting?''

Larsel watched the two guardsmen bicker with one another. The note was short and strange. It wasn't how he normally did business, Larsel wasn't the kind to be shady. It wasn't really needed with his typical intimidation and high profile. People usually just kind of came to him with stacks of gold and said "Handle it.", and either he or his men did. It was quite simple, something was off about this guy. Larsel didn't like it at all.

"Hey Brady" Larsel began in a somber voice, he was thinking now, not being boastful. "I am going in the city, and if you try to stop me, I will throw you off the bridge." Larsel, hulk of a man he was, began walking in, staring at the note. Four days huh, how interesting.

Felldryt grabbed his food, tossing the stick of bread in the stew so that he could raise his hand.
"Oh, I'm joining!" Hopping off the stool, and landing with a thud, he drug the stool near the guard. Clambering back up it, he pulled the bread back out and happily munched on it, doing half circles on the stool so that he could continue to look at the guard.

For a second Kaddika thought he'd gotten away with his nondescript entrance. While the people in the tavern were chatting away, he had sidled along the wall and slipped behind one of the columns. He pressed himself close to the mahogany grain, trying to catch a hint of what they were all here for.

"If anyone else wishes to join us, feel free to."

That man in the intimidating armour was talking. Kaddika's breath caught in his throat, hoping he hadn't been noticed after all. So far their sizable group consisted of the young soldier, that girl in the dress, the creepy short guy messily dissecting his bread, the old man that had just walked in, and the...lizard. He hastily debated the chance these people were inviting him into the conversation just to bait him into stabby-range.

"Um, what exactly is it you want us to do?"

Kaddika decided he might be able to hide behind the column the entire time while the group continued talking. Although, the busy chewing of the tiny man reminded him he hadn't any meal for a while now, as did his growling stomach.

Not wishing to leave the Inquisitor alone for long, Marcelle ducked into the tavern, and scanned the room for him. Once she found him, she ordered two waters and headed his way.

"Thirsty, officer?" she said, taking care to look as if she were minding her step. "I just wanted to apologize for bumping into you and your friend back there."

She offered him a glass.

"Don't worry, it's just water," she said, still not taking the spot on the wall next to him. Not ready to push that angle just yet. Didn't seem it would work. Besides, the guy looked old enough to be her grandfather. "I'm Marcelle Mauri. Have you heard anything about the break-ins in the area?"

"Thirsty, officer?

Marlocke had been intently following the discussion at the table - no, no, DON'T recruit the mad fairy - and was annoyed at the interruption.
"What? I'm not -" She pressed a glass into his hand. He took it, a little confused, but didn't drink. He looked at her, there was something familiar - ah, the young woman from outside.

"I'm Marcelle Mauri. Have you heard anything about the break-ins in the area?"

Break-ins? That's hardly unusual in this district. Unless she's referring to... Marlocke didn't recognise the name, and she didn't appear to be wearing any obvious uniform or insignia.
Keeping his voice down so he could still hear the talk from the table, he said "Inquisitor Marlocke. You are not a guard. Or are you with...?" He gestured towards Dareon.

"Um, what exactly is it you want us to do?" he heard Telesse ask.
''I'm assembling a team. I'd like you're help, AS WELL AS OTHERS'' he said, calling into the shadows, Dareon knew some of the recruits must be hiding amongst them, that or he's merely chasing off stray cats.''For a job, it involves people with wit, cunning and skills in deduction'' He looked over at Felldyrt. ''You might want to tone it down'' He knew the fairy wouldn't change, it seems like the kind that would follow the group anyway even if rejected. Besides that, Dareon could always use him as a decoy.

''The job is to track down a few killers. The pay is good, and depending on your skills the job could be finished very quickly. You in?''
He couldn't give away too much, who knows who could be listening....

-------

Embassy Towers
''I'm having a team assembled, outside of the Agency to handle this. Officer Alexandre's in charge of it'' Tasina explained calmly. However Idarion wasn't complacent.
''Dareon? That.... novice? He stopped an assassination before yes, but luck and skill aren't the same, and outside the Agency?''
Tasina nodded, before Idarion glanced at her nearby table. It was lined in files and papers corresponding to active missions. The Snow Elf picked up a sheet and glared at it. ''Outside the Agency? Hmph'' He snorted, showing her the dossier of one Jaerus Marlocke.
''You have an Inquisitor from Mastiff in there, explain.''
Tasina scrunched her face up and puzzled for a moment. ''I didn't choose the dossiers, don't shift this on me, besides its our Agency that could have spies, not Mastiff'' she said, hoping her little lie at the start was bought.

Idarion moved to the shallow balcony nearby. ''I don't think you understand how important this assignment is.''
''I do-''
Idarion raised his hand to silence her, walking back to her ominously ''These killings have all been high ranking officials, and do you know what I am? A high ranking official. Without me half of our agency's external operations would be crippled. So tell me, do you want me dead?''
He gave her a look as so he didn't need a response. ''Because they might, and I enjoy living.''

Nodding at the bartender when he mentioned fish he drinks some more of the wine and grabs the cooked fish that is set before him, tearing it apart easily with his claws and eating it quickly. Everything on the plate gone in minutes.

I'm assembling a team. I'd like you're help, AS WELL AS OTHERS. For a job, it involves people with wit, cunning and skills in deduction. You might want to tone it down. The job is to track down a few killers. The pay is good, and depending on your skills the job could be finished very quickly. You in?

Looking over at this man talking. All this talk about cunning and skills and all making him interested. Turning in his stool to watch this man, looking him over.

"How good is good pay?"

Ferik drew a dagger from the back of his belt and a small slip of red backed paper from one of his pants pockets. The paper bore some official business that he was assigned by persons above those here for the duty of tracking the assassins and assisting the Inquisitor in the duties of doing so. Ferik attached the note to the daggers end and hid it behind his sleeve. A helping push off with he free hand set him on his feet. It was a short walk to reach him. All nonchalantly acting as if he was just going to walk by to make for the door. The dagger came round in his hand and in a flash had near shaven the Inquisitor but instead was brought around to eye level so he could see the note. "My, my. You must be more careful in the dragons den good sir". Ferik dropped the dagger to the bar top. The blade tip bit into the wood easily. "My papers, for your eyes". The hooded man folded his arms and took a step back from him.

"of course I'm in!" Felldryt said in an excited whisper. It really wasn't any quieter than what he'd said before, but it at least looked like he put effort into being quieter. Thinking for a second, he asked "Can I just bash baddies? Nobody ever seems to like it when I deduce things."

Marlocke's train of thought was interrupted - again - by a knife apparently materialising in front of him. Startled, he sprang back, dropping the water that the woman had given him.

"My, my. You must be more careful in the dragons den good sir."

The dagger's owner was a tall, hooded man who, from the look of him, was no average thug. Although he did seem to be accompanied by a few average thugs. The Inquisitor wondered, not for the first time, whether it had really been a good idea to send his guards home.

"My papers, for your eyes."

With as much dignity as he could muster (and trying not to think about the alternative connotations of what the man had said) Marlocke gingerly took the paper attached to the dagger.

"Inquisitor Marlocke. You are not a guard. Or are you with...?"

A simple question, but not the kind that Marcelle had gotten this far answering lightly. She covertly studied Marlocke's mannerisms and facial expressions. He did not seem to be suspicious, only startled and somewhat irritated. Ground that needed to be tread carefully, of course, but not too much to worry about.

"Oh, no" she said, offhandedly, as if no time had passed, "I'm not working with Dareon. Not at the moment anyway. I have worked with your department before on occasion, however. Right now, I'm just looking into some of the more open-and-shut break-in cases. Oh, forgive me, sir, I almost forgot."

She held a slip of paper for him to take.

"My card," she explained, "Marcelle Mouri, private detective. As I said, I've helped your department out in the past. Though I'm sure we've never met before, your superiors, understandably, don't like to acknowledge when they've been forced to get outside help."

She lowered her voice to a conspiratorial whisper after 'private detective'.

"I haven't yet been allowed anywhere near the crime scenes, so for the moment, all I have to work with is second-hand information; but I've heard the same core details over and over again. The break-ins were loud and obvious. There was no attempt at subtlety: broken windows, doors ripped out of their frames... and yet, pretty much nothing of any real value was ever taken: maybe a ribbon here, and a cheap pocket watch there, but nothing worth all of the effort." she paused to let that sink in for a moment. "I'm looking into this for some... interested parties who prefer to remain nameless for the time being, and would be happy to pool information with you and your department on these cases."

"How good is good pay?"
Dareon pulled out a small pouch of gold coins and slid it across the table towards the lizard.
''One for the start, and another pouch for each assassin we catch.''

Telesse handled the pouch. She was a relatively well off merchant, but this type of gold could set her up for months. Another couple of these and she may never need to work again. ''So you're just carrying piles of gold around. Alright, bring one here'' she said, tossing the small cache back to the beastman.

-------

Tasina was beginning to lose interest, but Idarion wasn't done chastising her just yet.
''What is the problem with your division's expenditure? What's this? 2000 gold Danari towards the assassin case? We may have senate funding but not to catch 7 proposed criminals?'' Tasina shrugged and began to explain. ''You wanted the best there were to hunt down these people, besides that, how much coin would YOU put on the lives of the 3 Chancellors that are dead? I would have spent more but...''
Idarion glared. ''Yes, you remembered that you still have people to pay, and an organisation to finance.''
''Aside from that, why not multiple teams? Each of the Ambassadors' methods of death were different, but the Chancellors were all the same- A burn mark to the torso.''
That Tasina couldn't answer. She could have told him that her organisation may be infiltrated, and thus can't handle an operation that big, but then again if she did, he'd overreact, and any hope of catching a spy or a mole would be lost.

''One for the start, and another pouch for each assassin we catch.''

The soldier had just produced more gold than Kaddika had ever seen in his life. Just the fact that nobody was attempting to shiv him for the money set the snow elf slightly more at ease.

"So you're just carrying piles of gold around. Alright, bring one here."

Kaddika felt himself breaking into a cold sweat as numerous unsettling thoughts swam through his mind: If the soldier gave him gold, he might be contractually obligated to join this little group. Was this a set-up? Were there organizations in the city that pressured newcomers into non-negotiable business deals like this one?

More people had streamed into the tavern when the man had begun talking. Kaddika felt that if he didn't make his position known now, there'd be no backing out of this. Sucking in a deep breath, Kaddika slowly stepped out from behind the pillar and approached the bar, addressing the young speaker.

"Um, um, listen..." He began sweating even more when he realized he hadn't planned out a speech, and the next words poured from his mouth unbidden and without waiting for a reaction. "Uh, I'd like to opt out of this...group meeting, before I have to sign anything or, um, s-something. So, if there's more of this," he added, snatching the pouch of gold from the lizardman. The heft of the pouch took him by surprise. "Wow, um, w-well, if there's more of this, I-I don't want any part of it. I mean, I think you got the wrong guy. Your note, maybe it was meant for somebody else? I mean, I mean, what could a doctor do f-for you anyway..."

He trailed off, embarrassed, and laughed weakly as he waited for the man to say something.

This doesn't make sense. Marlocke read the note again, then turned back to the hooded man.
"What is the meaning of this?" He brandished the paper. "This says that you are supposed to assist my-er, our investigation. I've heard nothing of this - who are you? Who are you working for?"

On his other side, the girl - Marcelle - was casually rambling on, apparently uninterested in the rather threatening newcomer. Maybe this kind of thing happened all the time to individuals of lesser importance.
She offered a card, which he took. His office had made use of private investigators a few times in the past - at the very least, they were expendable - but he had not seen this woman before. Marlocke wasn't sure if he believed her story - his superiors certainly withheld information from him on occasion, but they weren't the kind to trouble themselves with hiring outside help directly...

"...I'm looking into this for some...interested parties who prefer to remain nameless for the time being, and would be happy to pool information with you and your department on these cases."

Keeping an eye on the hooded man, Marlocke replied. "I'm afraid I cannot help you. Currently I am investigating a string of recent murders of high-ranking officials, and I cannot concern myself, or my department, with some mere burglaries."

One for the start, and another pouch for each assassin we catch.

Catching the pouch when it is thrown to him Rekta opens the pouch and rummages through it.

Um, um, listen... Uh, I'd like to opt out of this...group meeting, before I have to sign anything or, um, s-something. So, if there's more of this, Wow, um, w-well, if there's more of this, I-I don't want any part of it. I mean, I think you got the wrong guy. Your note, maybe it was meant for somebody else? I mean, I mean, what could a doctor do f-for you anyway...

Looking up when the person next to him snatchs it out of his hand Rekta flicks his tail catching the hand holding the pouch and making it pop out of his hand. Catching it from the air Rekta sits back down and bares some fang at this man.
"If you want to look at a pouch get another from him, already this has been taken from me and once given it is mine. Find your own."

Sorting it slightly with his claw he pulls two out and lays the on the table, taking an arrow and scoring the face of the coin he nods and pockets everything again. Slipping the pouch into his quiver and pushing it down to the bottom under the arrows. Looking at this man giving out so much gold. Waiting for him to answer the question given by one of the gold takers.

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