Red Dragon Inn
Dreamweaver's Lair => From the Dragon's Mouth => Tales of the Cat => Topic started by: Panther on December 30, 2007, 06:19:46 PM
Moving away from the Inn just as the sun was starting to rise, he turned to make his way towards the Market. As he moved down the road, mindful of the puddles of slush here out a habit to move quietly more than any concern over getting wet his hand slipped to a pouch at his hip, fingers finding the smooth round stone he had put there after she had returned it to him. It played between his fingers for a few moments before he pulled his hand free once again.
Less than two days ago it was about her neck, he doubted S'jira had removed it even to bathe in the months since he first slipped it about her neck as a sign of his claim over her. The weeks had gone by quickly and she had made great changes in that time, he often would find himself wondering just how she viewed him. While he felt she was beyond looking to him as a master, the alternative possibly put him at even less ease.
Passing in to the area that was the Market Place, shop fronts were just starting to be opened, the sound of cart wheels against cobbles as the city was waking for another day. Slipping past the book store he could smell the fresh baked pastries in the oven of the tea shop inside and then he turned down an alley that snaked it's way across the next couple of blocks.
At first, he had figured it was nothing more than her trying to appease her new 'master'. The over the following days and weeks he tried to tell himself it was just a crush. She was ... beautiful, of that there was no doubt. Not that the thought of taking her to his bed had not crossed his mind, but he was nearly twice her age. And he had promised himself he would not take her like that while she still thought herself as 'his', not in that way. No matter how he felt about her, to do so would be ... wrong. But by the gods, there were times he could not get her out of his mind. Her soft voice, the gentle smile, and her scent. Even now he could smell it as if she were standing next to him.
A slight shift in direction and he paused near the back door of one of the and made as if he was looking from doorway to doorway, pulling a piece of parchment from his pouch he glanced to the blank surface, and then scanned the different doorways again. The casual observer would likely consider him to be looking to match a shop name or other description to one of the various rear entries, when actually he was taking the time to verify there was nobody else within sight or earshot. Reaching up with one hand he raked his fingers through still damp hair before back-tracking the way he came by a few doorways.
A latch is lifted and the door under the unmarked entry swings open on very well oiled hinges. He moves inside, closing the door behind him. The short hallway is lit by a dim oil lamp mounted on the wall to his right. There is another door a few paces further in, a rather solid looking one. But rather than moving to it, he turns and raps out a short series of knocks on the wall to his left. A moment goes by and what looked to be a knothole in a board that makes up the wall opens up and an eye is just barely seen in the darkness beyond.
"Yar errly" a gravely voice is heard from behind the wall.
"I said by 8. It is not yet then. And I know he is up or you would not be."
There was a short pause, the knothole was replaced and the sound of iron against wood was heard, and then a section of the wall swung silently inward. A brief glance was made to the one guarding the doorway, and while half a head shorter than he was, the guard was nearly twice his weight. A polite nod was given as his cloak and pouch were put to a hook at the landing, the piece of parchment was flashed to the guard and he moved down the staircase that took two, three, and then a fourth turn before coming to a landing in the cellar of the building overhead. The room there was simple, but clean and well kept. Some nice rugs on the floor and a few comfortable chairs were grouped near each other near what could well be described as a throne of sorts. A high back, plush chair, ornately decorated with embroidery and bead work on a slightly raised platform against the back wall of the room. There were a number of doors on a couple of the walls that led to rooms and passes that connected to other cellars.
The lamps were still burning low as he moved to stand behind one of the chairs closest the 'throne'. Now he would wait, and he knew it. It was part of the game, part of the dance. His fingertip drummed lightly on the back of the chair as he stood there. He did not gaze about the room. He had been here enough to know all the details of the things about him. And other than a chair or two being arranged differently at times, nothing here changed.
The minutes ticked by and one of the doors opened. That is one thing that did change, it seemed each time he entered, Aziz would come from a random door. It too was part of the game. The door was opened by a guard, who entered the room and then held the door as Aziz entered, dressed in a finely tailor clothes. Nothing flashy, but definitely of high quality and the finest weaves. A polite nod was given to Aziz as he moved to sit upon his throne and motioned for his guest to have a seat as well.
A quick glance was made to the guard who remained by the door Aziz had entered from and he moved around to sit in the chair he had been standing behind.
"This visit is unexpected my friend," the caramel smooth voice of Aziz said, "is your client looking for work so soon again?"
A slight shake of his head. "No, things are fine in that regard. I come on behalf of another client... " That elicited a slight raise of an eyebrow from Aziz "... more of a personal favor for a friend I suppose." Friend of a friend, more of the game. "When it was brought to me, I felt it was something a man of your... influence was the best to ask for help." The parchment he had been holding was offered out and taken.
"I am looking for anything and everything there is to know about that symbol. This will likely go beyond RhyDin. All questions should be asked discretely of course."
"Of course." Aziz replied, then glanced over to the parchment, finding a rubbing that showed a circle, inside of which was a hawk, a pair of swords clutched in it's talons.
He was heading for the Marketplace, off to do his usual rounds of picking up a few things for the kitchen of the Dragon. He did not need to do this, it would be a simple thing to have someone else deal with what may seem such a menial task as picking up breads and such. But it was a nice part of his day, it gave him a excuse to wander the Market, and an excuse to, well... keep an eye on certain things..
Passing by some of the store-front merchants, he chanced to take a look down the alley way and he had to stop himself from doing a double-take. The mark was there, the one that meant Aziz had something for him. That was no surprise. In the few weeks that had gone by since he had approached Aziz with the rubbing of a circle, a hawk, and a pair of swords bits of information had trickled back to him through his 'agent'. His initial thoughts were confirmed that it was a family crest of sorts, and now he had further information on it and the land it originated. Aziz had agreed to use his connections to gain even more info by using connections from that land. For a price of course. But what was different this time was the additional mark, the one that signalled that it was urgent.
It was a mark that had been used few times in his years of dealing with Aziz, and it was never used lightly.
He kept walking past the alleyway, deeper in to the market, stopping only to purchase a nondescript cloak of felted wool before finding his way into one of the abandoned warehouses. The pain was blocked out as he forced the change, the cloak and a pair of soft leather boots from his pouch were donned, and his hair tied back as he slipped back out in to the sunlight, working his way back towards a particular alleyway.
It took a lot of self-control to hide his initial reaction to the news, but he managed to remain cordial and agreed that this information would be worthwhile to his client, assuring Aziz the payment would be coming through the usual channels. As quickly as he could, he excused himself and was soon wending his way through some of the alleys, taking a far less than direct route towards the Dragon, circling around it by a few blocks before actually turning back towards it.
As he moved, shadows danced here and there under the overcast morning sky, his mind was swimming with the impact of what Aziz had told him. They had found the grave from which he took the rubbing, the grave of S'jira's former master. This was of no suprise, he would have doubted the skills of Aziz and his men had they not found this. But on top of that they traced it back to his homeland, and figured out who it was laying in the grave, along with the fact that he had a brother. But this is not what concerned him now. What had his mind going in a dozen different direction is the fact that this brother, Gracus u'Lor, was now - right now, in RhyDin. Camped just outside the city.
This was not good, if they were here, they knew about Kiroth and more than likely where he now lay. And if they knew that, they would have no trouble in finding S'jira. This was not good.
A few scenarios played through his mind as he moved as casually as possible down the road, coming up on the front of the Dragon, scenarios he had thought through in the past. Right now, the best one seemed to be the most direct. This Gracus would no doubt try to make a claim to his slain brothers property, and that mean S'jira. He would approach him with an offer to buy her himself. A reasonable offer... but one he knew would have to be tripled or more before this was settled. And 'jira... was she working laundry today? He wasn't sure. But he would have to find her, tell her to stay close to the Inn for now. She would worry, but he knew she would do so without question.
As he turned the corner of the crossroad closest to the Dragon and approached the porch, he was so deep in thought he almost missed it. The tan colored leather against the darkened ground. Even so he had one foot on the porch steps before it struck him what it was, and at that moment he could feel the bottom of his stomach give out.
A couple of steps and he had the sheepskin boot in his hand, and even in this form he picked up enough scent to confirm it was hers. And as the sun broke free of a cloud and a glimmer caught his eye. Dropping to a crouch he scooped up what was a necklace, with a moonstar pendant. The one he had taken from her neck the night he decided to lay claim to her. Squeezing it in his hand he closed his eyes and just stood there, breathing deeply for a few moments. He could still smell her... and the fear. He opened his eyes and glanced about, there were too many walking the street for him to change right here.
Instead, he turned back again, rushing up the stairs of the porch and shoving the front door to the Dragon open. The few patrons inside this time of day paid him little notice and he moved quickly, the hood of the newly purchased cloak still up and doing a fair job at hiding his face. Around tables, past the bar and up to the second floor he went... moving past his own room and further down the hall to find a vacant room in which to shift.
And then, it would be time to hunt.
((editors note: This, and the previous posting all takes place about the same time as To Step From the Shadows (http://rdi.dragonsmark.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8994) ))