The City at the Center of the World

Chapter Two

Brutes and Bottles

Returning to the Coins, Denrick and Maral stopped first back at the Second Vault inn, where they spoke to the young night clerk about some of the locals. First asking about the missing watch member Hrotha, they were told that she was often used as a source of information and a go-between for criminal elements, including a group of Sczarni that operated out of the Puddles district. When he was asked about Auntie Gust, the teen replied that she was a midwife and worker of minor magic who might or might not be in her right mind. Maral thanked the clerk and tipped him quite generously for the information.

Departing the Second Vault, Maral and Denrick staked out positions to watch the House of Bright Wings. Before long, the witnessed the departure of the sales clerk Borl, who carried a stoppered jug and was accompanied by a pair of bodyguards. Following unseen, Denrick and Maral watched as Borl and his companions made their way to a nameless drinking establishment in the Puddles, where Borl conducted a business meeting with a group of four inebriated toughs. During the conversation Borl was seen to remove the stopper from his jug, and seemed to speak into it and listen for a response. Eventually, the parties went their separate ways, with Borl and his bodyguards appearing to be headed back towards the House of Bright Wings. Suspecting that Borl had set the toughs to kidnapping, Denrick and Maral followed them to the a hostel in the Foreign Quarter.

Moments after the four drunks entered the hostel, shouts and crashes were heard. Maral and Denrik rushed through the door to find the proprietor unconscious and bleeding, while his wife shouted that his armed assailants had made their way up to the second floor. As Denrik and Maral raced up the stairs, they saw that the criminals were attempting to bash open one of the doors. A skirmish erupted in the hallway and the untrained thugs quickly succumbed to the onslaught of Maral’s blade and Denrik’s mace.

Denrik made effort to keep one of the attackers from dying of his wounds. Subduing the man, he and Maral interrogated him about the service that he was performing. The badly injured bravo admitted that they had been hired by Borl to snatch the room’s inhabitant, a young Chelaxian scholar named Jornic Rael. Although they had no knowledge of the House of Bright Wings’ operations, the thugs had performed freelance services for Borl in the past, and Borl had arranged to meet with them in a few hours’ time to pick up their quarry. When asked about Borl’s mysterious jug, the man said that he had on occasion seen Borl whisper into it and listen as though receiving an answer, a sight that had caused the ruffian to feel great unease. After Denrick and Maral extracted the location of Borl’s planned exchange, the trio left the thug in the custody of the recovering innkeep and his wife.

Making their way back to the Hand of Glory, Maral and Denrick met with Enos Corwin, to whom they explained what had transpired that evening. Upon hearing their report, Corwin decided that they should move against Droda Strush’s operation immediately.

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