I have worked for all sorts of people in Korvosa, from respectable thieves and crime bosses, to nobles and merchants of ill repute. Having been employed by what turned out a headless spectre was certainly a strange turn of events. As a general rule, dead people remained dead. Especially those that had been decapitated.
You had to hand it to Gaedren. Only he could inspire so much disgust and rancour as to make one demand justice from beyond the grave. I guess I would have felt the same, if I knew he kept my head as a souvenir.
As if things were not strange enough, you had to add the death of King Eodred fuelling riots all across the city, an otyugh breaking free from the sewers, and to top it off, I got to meet the Queen. This last one was the most unexpected.
I was just finishing my coffee, curiously watching Terrens pick bits of toast from Shakros plate, while we figured out our next steps. What a sight the three of us must make: a half-elf, a half-orc, and a half whatever Terrens is. He tries very hard to not stand out, but there is something hiding behind that thick scarf and hood of his. It’s a wasted effort, but I don’t want to tell him. I think it might hurt his feelings. So maybe he is so ugly his own mother wouldn’t love him, it’s not like Shakro and I fare much better.
Most of the time, I can be quite proud of my skills at observing, but I think the very real possibility of spilling my guts and a severed head in front of me diverted my attention from the other objects in Gaedrens stash. The coffee having had its reviving effect on me, my companions went over the items they had found. Amongst them, a brooch with a pseudodragon and an imp coiled around each other. Specifically, Queen Ileosa Arabasti’s brooch with a pseudodragon and an imp coiled around each other. How Gaedren came across such an object eluded me, but I intended to find out. As soon as we took it back and collected a reward, of course. Walking around in a rioting city with that sort of treasure is a sure way to get killed by both mob and Guard.
We headed to Castle Korvosa, where we figured we could just hand it in to a royal guard, collect our reward, and be on our merry way. An audience with the recently widowed Queen and her beautiful and deadly handmaiden Sabina Merrin was not something we were prepared for, or, at least me personally, wanted.
I know the Queen must have said something important, she addressed us as if the throne room had been full of people and not just us. I was too distracted by Sabina. Not only was she stunning, but the way she carried herself and that sword of hers, you could tell right away she was a student of Orisini. She looked like she would cut me in half in one swift motion if I so much as winked at her.
Thank Abadar my instinct for survival got the best of me and I didn’t try to flirt.
The reward we received for the brooch was, to say the least, overwhelming. I had never seen so much money. We decided to go to the temple of Abadar, the city’s main bank, to deposit it. You just don’t walk around with a small crate filled with coin, not even in an orderly and civilized city like Korvosa.
We spent more time there than I care to admit, trying to figure out which kind of account to open that would be fair and safe for the three of us. It also didn’t help that we had to go to the back of the queue five times, wasting valuable time.
Field Marshal Kroft is my kind of person. By that, I mean that she was the kind of person that would hire you for a job, in this case assist the Korvosan Guard in an ‘unofficial’ manner, and sign the appropriate paperwork. You don’t want to do an unofficial job for the Guard and not have the proper documentation. The right paper will get you out of all sorts of trouble, and can mean the difference from ‘stealing’ to ‘collecting evidence’, and ‘murder’ to ‘enactment of justice by the authority of the Korvosan Guard’.
Our assignment was simple enough. Find Verik Vancaskerkin, an ex-sergeant in the Korvosan Guard who decided a career as a butcher was a step up from his guard duties. He opened up a shop called ‘[[All the World’s Meat]]’, which sounded just like my kind of place. In fact, the shop was up in North Point, my very own district. Field Marshall Kroft wanted us to check up on him, given that he had convinced a bunch of his fellow guards to follow him. Ask him a few questions, maybe persuade him to come back the Guard. The city was rioting, after all. They needed all the help they could get.
Instead of a conversation, the situation resulted in Shakro jumping in through a window, and me kicking one of his very rude and uncooperative shop assistants in his noble bits. It wasn’t supposed go like that. We were being civil, just asking a few questions. The two so called butchers would not even let us through the door and speak to Verik.
I felt the conversation turning hostile. Must have been their threats that tipped me off. So it took a proactive stance and swung my foot at that particular spot between the guy’s legs. I must hand it to him, he only stumbled for a second, and took a step back, but didn’t go down.
Then they drew their swords, and things got a bit more complicated.
I could hear Terrens skitter behind me, fumbling about with his scarf. Shakro did not appreciate the shop assistance adopting such an aggressive posture. I think that he, like me, didn’t think swords make good butchering utensils. Makes for a sloppy cut.
With me blocking the door and Terrens tripping on his garments, Shakro must have decided the window would make for a good entrance point. He burst there, glass shattering everywhere, shouting in a terrifying voice “WHY WON’T YOU TALK!?”
The effect would have been amazing, had he not landed on a table full of meat and fallen on his back. The butcher, a target presented right in front of him, chopped down hard on the orc priest.
Considering the time for words were over, I used the butt of my sword to bash the other agonizing butcher in the head. This time he went down like a sack of potatoes. I turned to the remaining one, the one trying to turn Shakro into orc beef. It appeared Terrens had thrown a viscous substance at the man, tangling him with some sticky goo to the floor. But his hands were still free, and he still held a sword. I warned him to yield, but common sense was clearly not a quality either of these two possessed.
He stabbed at me as Terrens hopped over to the table and, kneeling besides Shakro, hurried to patch him up and stop the blood flow. I tried to repeat the calming technique I had used on his companion, but this one had a thicker skull, and it took several tries before he went down.
Having been stabbed and verbally abused, my patience was not at its highest. Both shop assistants taking a nap, I walked to the back of the shop and kicked the door in.Verik and I were going to have a very serious conversation about how to treat your clients.