Saeth watched the tribune as he strode away, then slowly turned to the others who’d gone delving. “It seems that we’ll need to be careful to keep our noses clean, and most of these leads are beyond our means. And we could do with some relaxation anyway, after the battle this morning. I recommend we pick up some sausages, then spend the afternoon loitering about the docks.”
She stretched, readying herself to go. Then, suddenly, a worrying though struck her. “Oh, and can we keep an eye on what happens to the two Veils who yet breathe? If they are released… or even if they just send a message, I imagine we could be in for an unpleasant meeting. Nicholai, would you be up to that?” She didn’t like the man, but he certainly had as much to lose as any of them if a message got out. She glanced at Maruc, who was more shaken by the Veiled Society’s evils than the other companions. “Besides, that could give us another link to these villains.”
“The two diggers we apprehended earlier are likely within the Ducal compound,” responded Nicolai. “I very much doubt they will be able to get a message out without help from the Ducal guard. And that is a combination that I do not think likely, given that they are accused of being complicit with the murder of a relative of one of the Duke’s chief allies. The Vorloi are relatively new here, only since the Duke took over, and have done more than well enough from him. I would think the Torenescu and Radu would have more to gain from this.”
“I’m drawn to the idea that, yes, in the long term the goal may be to remove the Duke,” continued the youth, “but who would gain? Would the Torenescu openly attack the Vorloi? I’m not sure. I think ot more likely they were set up. The ring I found was too obvious. It was there as I came through the trap door. If those two digging that pit hadn’t been ordered not to, wouldn’t they have taken it, or ransacked the place? Gah! I’m supposed to be trying to go straight, not thinking like a paranoid old man in a bar!”
Saeth shrugged inside. If he didn’t think he was up to keeping track of the two capitives, he could’ve just said so. As for her… she’d sleep lightly for the next few days, whatever confidence the others might have in the Duke’s gaolers. “Well, I don’t suppose having another pair of eyes dockside could hurt. Shall we be off?”
“Those two diggers would seem to be small wheels in the big machine,” Nicolai interjected. “I doubt they know anything more of value. But who do we need to talk to next. Torenescu or Radu. And I certainly believe that the house of Zweis Radu would be worth investigating. Probably sooner rather than later. However, I think we should all go together. As I’m sure there will be problems at one or other residence.”
“Well the Tribune’s men are probably looking for Skevlos—likely staking out the docks. And we’ve been told to keep from directly interferring in the investigation, which likely means keeping away from Zweis Radu as well.” He scratches his beard, “Why don’t we check out this Stephanos Torenescu fellow? The one whom Lucia insulted and is likely being framed for her death. Perhaps he can tell us more?”
The group continued debating for several minutes, and then it was decided that since they were in the Old Quarter anyway, it wouldn’t be too far out of their way to walk by the Zweis Radu residence, and then visit the villa complex where the Torenescu family lived. Surely, just taking a stroll around town wouldn’t violate the Tribune’s edict!
And so, they made their way to their first stop. The street bustled with activity, as Zweis Radu’s house was just east of the Grand Market. It was in the midst of several houses and businesses that were owned by the family. Nicolai looked around carefully, but concluded that there was too much activity at this hour to be able to do a proper job of sneaking around. In fact, they all had a feeling that eyes were watching them, although that could be simply attributed to the oddity of a dwarf, an elf and three humans in one group travelling together.
So, they continued to walk east toward the Torenscu Villa. As they walked through the Grand Market, a crowd gathered around a central fountain. An orator stood atop the fountain’s edge.
“And I tell you, these Torenescu are dangerous. Do they care for you? Do they care for the safety of common workers? They steal food from your children’s mouths to fatten themselves in luxury!”
Saeth elbowed Miklos, and murmurred softly, “That speaker, does he have a Thyatian nose, or is he a native, like the Toranescu? I really can’t tell the difference.” The elf-girl hoped she had the human bloodlines right by now–immortals knew they’d been mentioned enough!
“I’m not sure, I shall take a closer look Mistress Seath… I’ll meet you back at the Toothless Gargoyle if we get separated. Have no fear for me I am fleet of foot!” and with that, Miklos, comfortable and adept at moving through cities, disappeared into the crowd.
The crowd was getting restless. Several men shouted cries of agreement. Men raised their fists and their voices grew in number. The speaker attracted more and more people—some merely curious and others in agreement with him.
The clatter of hooves on the street made the crowd turn. Ringing the outer edges of the marketplace were 30 of the Duke’s horsemen. The orator and crowd grew silent. Three riders slowly bring their mounts toward the center of the crowd. Suddenly, an angry cry erupted from the crowd and something flashes through the air. The lead rider falls, struck by a rock.