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23 Flamerule - evening - kronk9
23 Flamerule - evening
Katri lead us inside building. It half-timber, painted white, but windows are covered with heavy curtains. Inside it dark. All the furniture covered with sheets; there is thick layer of dust on everything.

"The owner is a merchant. He and his family are on an extended trip in Calimshan," Katri said, leading way inside. "They won't be back until Marpenoth."

"And he let you use his house."

She grin. "No."

There are paintings on walls of gnomes and elves. Kronk not know much about art, but they look like they worth money. One is of an female elf in full battle gear, posing with long blade.
Kronk point to picture. "Surprised you not sell this."

"Ah, I would, but these artworks are easy to trace. My fences would never take such a thing. Better to stick with coinage." She smile. "Come on, its drafty in this part of the house. I've got a place set up in back."

She did have place in back. It still the same furniture, but dust covers are folded up. She have a couch to sleep on, and a table with stuff on it: a lantern, set of thieving tools, various bits of paper.

Katri light lantern. "Let's look at what we've got."

She dump stuff in satchel out on table. There was a lot of stuff. Papers, trinkets, little stuff. Kronk pick up piece of paper. There were squiggly lines on it. "Is this writing?"

"It is if you can read elvish."

Katri sift through it, frown on her face. "Look at all this junk. Hardly any of it's worth a copper." She pull out a ring. "An official seal, with the name..." She hold it up to candle. "...Aesir. Well, that might be worth a few coins."

"What's this?" Kronk pick up little metal staff with wings on it.

"I've no idea." She take it. "Looks like a wand or something. Ye gods, do you know how hard magic items are to fence in Silverymoon? I wish he'd been carrying some simple coin..."

While she muttering to self, Kronk keep looking at papers. There is drawing on one. Square with circles inside. Kronk pick it up, turn it around. Can't see what it is.

Katri pull out another scrap of metal. "Do you recognize this?"

It little piece of silver, about size of fingertip, shaped like a shield. Kronk shrug. "Don't know."

"Funny, I could swear I've seen the Spellguard with items like these..."

I hold up paper. "Can you read this?"

She take paper, study it. "Looks like a map or something. You know...it's very odd finding all of this together. I wonder..." She scrunch up her face.

Kronk quiet for a few moments. "What you wonder?"

Katri look up as if startled. "Kronk, this could be bad business. If this is what I think it is, we have to be very careful. I want to see if I can take care of it alone--"


"Little brother, don't start with me."

"No! Kronk not let you go alone." Shake my head. "Kronk never let someone go alone again."

Katri give Kronk hard look. Then she shake head and sigh. "Oh, very well. Maybe you can even be of some use. But we're going to have to hurry," she say, and begin putting things in drawer in side table.

"Why? What hurry?"

"We'll have to see if we can find the man we stole this from."


Streets are much less crowded now. Sun is low in sky, only people out are shopkeepers closing up their storefronts, a few guards, and one man, looking around shops, searching ground.

He look panicky, like he desperate. Has to find something he lost. It the noble we robbed.

I'm on rooftop, looking down at street. I make whistle sound, like sparrow. It sound Katri taught me. There is another whistle from across the street.

I climb ladder down from roof, into alley. Out on street, noble man is digging through garbage can, pulling out wads of paper and bits of food, getting it all over his hands. They look like clean hands, not used to having garbage on them. The air is cool, and stink from can linger in air, but there is sweat on his bald head.


He look up fast. Eyes widen when he see me. "You!"

Kronk grin. "Yeah. It me."

He not very big, even for a human. But he grab Kronk's shirt in his fists. "What did you do with that satchel? You pulled a scam on me, you and that little blind beggar, didn't you?! Where is it? Where IS it?! I have to get it back, do you understand?"

Kronk push him away, gentle. "She have it."

He turn to look where Kronk is pointing. Katri is standing across street, smiling, in front of alley. She hold satchel and wave it a little so he can see.

"Give me that!!" He start to run toward her, but I grab his shoulder before he get far. "Not so fast," I say as I walk beside him, forcing him towards Katri.

It funny--he was running towards her, but as soon as Kronk walk with him, he act like he not want to go.

Katri is still in her work clothes, but she not have blindfold, or cane, or hat. The man have confused look on face at first.

Katri hold up the bag. "I believe this once belonged to you?"

"Give that here!" Man start to lunge for it, but Kronk grab his arm. Katri pull bag away, smiling.

"Yes, I think we've established its value to you."

He squints at her. "You...you were that blind child..."

"Quite astute, Lord Aesir. Oh yes," she add when his eyebrows go up, "we know your name, don't we, Kronk?"

"It was his seal on papers." Kronk know enough to play along.

"Indeed, his seal and a map of the inner ward. And several lauthaul tokens. You know what that looks like, Kronk? I think he was part of a plot against the High Lady."

Aesir scowl. "What do you want?" he growl.

"For the bag? Why, nothing." She hold out the satchel. "You can have it back for free."

He grab it away, open it. It empty.

"The property inside is another matter," she continue. "I think a man of your obvious stature can afford twenty thousand gold quite easily."

Aesir face her. "How do I know you still have everything?"

She hold up one token. "There are four of these in all. Plus a small scepter, and some papers. Twenty thousand for everything. That's the arrangement."

"Let me see that."

Sometimes a thief keep a little hideout blade up his sleeve, with this gadget that pops it into hand when they need it. Kronk never seen a rich person use one before, but Aesir must have one: he put out hand like he going to take the token, then grab Katri. Next thing, he standing there grabbing Katri from behind, holding blade to her throat.

"Give the scarbearer the token," he grunt, teeth clenched. Kronk put out hand, never stop looking Aesir in the eye. She drop it in my hand.

"Now this is an arrangement more to my liking. There are some very powerful people who want those trinkets, and they'll be very unhappy with me if I don't show up with them in an hour. I have little time nor any patience for your pathetic attempts at blackmail. So here is what we will do. Your scarbearer friend will lead us to where you've secreted my employer's property, I will take what is mine, and we will go our separate ways."

He push blade into her throat a little. There is trickle of red down blade. "Or else we'll find out if our little thief's insides are as red as her hair."

"Kill her and you die."

"If I don't retrieve those tokens, I'm dead anyway."

"He doesn't know where I hid it." Katri's voice is strained. The knife make it hard to talk.

"I say he does."

Aesir not break eyes with Kronk. Kronk not break either, but I look at Katri's face while I'm doing it. Katri is seventeen. Kronk only fifteen [author's note: accurate?]; Katri like to say she my older sister...but fifteen for half-orc is older than seventeen for human.

"Kronk...don't...don't do it..."

She never tried blackmail before. Her eyes are wide. She trying to be brave, but Kronk can see she didn't think it turn out like this. She scared.

Kronk nod to Aesir. "I'll take you."


It short trip back to merchant's house. Kronk lead way though back alleys; Aesir make us go that way, still holding knife on Katri.

Inside, he raise light with flick of his free hand. Must be magic user. Kronk hate magic users.

"Where are they," he growl.

I point. "That drawer."

"Open it."

Inside, everything is there.

Aesir nod. "Good. And now..."

Before I can stop him, he lower knife and drive it into her belly. She gasp, sliding off the blade to floor.

"I'm damned if I'll have any witnesses."

Kronk smile. "You just make bad mistake."

He back against wall as he realize it. Katri was only thing stopping Kronk. He hold knife out like it keep me away. Now it his eyes that are wide.

His hand is puny in Kronk's. I take his knife hand, turn it towards his heart.

"You...you can't...please..."

"Kronk like this arrangement better."

He fight to keep blade away...but it go in between ribs anyway.

It dark now without his magic light. Kronk light candle, trying to find her. Katri is on floor. Blood gathering around her. Kronk gather her up.

"Where...where are you taking...taking me..."

"Healer. You need help."

"No!" She almost scream it, but then start coughing blood. "Kronk...whoever his friends were...they'll be looking...anyway, the High Guard...they'll arrest me."

"Then where..."

She pant for a few moments. Her voice is weak. "Take me...take me to...the Shining Scroll...Brightbuckler Street...Xara will help us..."

Katri pass out. I gather up all we found in the satchel, and head out into street. It nearly deserted.

Kronk wonder what the merchant will say when he find body in Marpenoth.


Shining Scroll look like magic place. Round blue door with silver things painted on it. Inside it crowded. Not much room for half-orc with bleeding girl in arms.

There is a little counter with doorway behind it. A woman come out with hair same color as Katri, but different eyes. She wear dark brown gown, kind that look plain but isn't. She have big smile before she see us.

"Hello, and what spellwork might--" Her face fall. "Oh, dear Sune. What's happened? Katri?"

Katri roll her head towards her. "Xara...he cut me..."

Xara wave her hand and front door bolt itself shut. She clear off front counter. "Lay her here."

Katri groan as Kronk put her flat. Her eyes are swimming when Xara take her hand. She squeeze it while she look at wound.

"This is deep. Infection is a serious concern." She reach behind her, grab bottle from shelf, check it, begin pouring it into knife cut. Katri tighten up, gasp in pain.

Xara smooth hand on Katri forehead. "I know, I know dear heart, but we have to keep the infection from spreading. I'll give you something for the pain as soon as you can handle it." She look at Kronk. "Bring her into the cellar with me. We don't have long to stop the blood loss."

There is stairway down to basement. It big room, very dark, but in smaller room off side, there is kitchen area, a large table, and cot. She clear off table, point at me to put Katri on it. Katri is still writhing. Xara begin to chant something, and there is gentle glow on her hands. She work them on Katri's wound.

Kronk have to ask. "You...are Katri's mother?"

"No. Just an...ally." She not look up from her work.

"She'll be okay?"

She nod. "Yes. But the healing magic will take some time." Now she look at Kronk. "You did well getting her here, but there's nothing more you can do for her right now. There's a seat outside. I'll let you know when she's better."

Kronk turn to leave. Behind me, I hear Katri's voice, very weak. "Xara...I'm sorry..."

"Hush, now. It will be alright."


Xara's basement is full of magic things: bottles with corks, scrolls of paper with squiggly lines, bags and wands and rings and jewelry. There is brown robe in corner, hanging on a hook. Crystal ball sits on table. And on a big perch, there is big black bird, watching Kronk.

Kronk stare at bird. "You think magic lady pay for all this stuff?"

Bird shifted head, made noise: "kaw!"

Xara come out of kitchen area. Kronk stand.

"Is she...?"

"She is fine. See for yourself."

She follow Kronk into kitchen. Katri is on cot, laid out.

"She lost a great deal of blood. The girl needs to rest."

Kronk kneel down, rub hand along her cheek. She shift against it but not open eyes.

When Kronk stand, Xara stood staring at me. Her face was not happy.

"What has happened to Katri?"

Kronk shrug. "It long story."

She gesture to chairs around the table. "We have all night."

We sit, and Kronk tell story. All of it, from robbing Aesir to bringing Katri here. At end she nod to herself.

"Whatever they were planning, it must have been big." She turn to Kronk. "Do you still have the items you stole?"

Kronk still have satchel. We scatter things in it across the table. When she see the scepter, she make sound like curse under breath.

"What is it?"

"Kronk, these things need to be turned over to the Silveymoon High guard. I know Katri didn't want to. She was afraid of being caught. But I know people in the High Guard." She put out a hand. "I know you don't know me. You've trusted me this far with Katri's life. Trust me a little more."

Before tonight, Kronk had never met this person. But she save Katri's life. For nothing. Help her when no one else would. Kronk nod.

"Katri will be alright?"

Xara smile. "Let her rest here for tonight. Find a place to rest and you can visit her in the morning."

Current Mood: worried worried

4 comments or Leave a comment
dandycat From: dandycat Date: July 24th, 2008 06:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Don't trust her! Don't believe her!

I came up with a proposal for how the tokens ended up on our specific characters after you logged off and I am working on it with C & D's blessing. As soon as I get things down in detail, I'll fill you in. :)
dandycat From: dandycat Date: July 24th, 2008 06:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, by the way, I like this (it depends on a number of factors, though, as to whether she is sea-worthy). And a post can almost never be too long.
vaudy From: vaudy Date: July 24th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're just hell-bent on convincing that Xara Tantlor is not a vile bitch, aren't you? :P

I like this, although when you first created Kronk, you aged him seventeen, not fifteen. I noticed a couple of minor typos, but I don't feel like going back through to find them.
sarchasmic From: sarchasmic Date: July 24th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sabrina noticed the age discrepancy, as well. I don't think either of us mind him being 15, but whatever it is, make it consistent.

Also, having been party to Sabrina's idea for getting those trinkets/scepter planted on the party, I'll hold off on talking about choosing between and/or integrating the two until our Friday chat.

It's a good post, and an interesting take on integrating the later storylines by including Xara here.
4 comments or Leave a comment