I tried to think of some actions that I could take other than merely waiting for Cladarielle to solve all my problems for me – I don’t like playing the victim – but I couldn’t come up with anything that wasn’t grasping at straws of the most egregious nature. So I spent the morning lying around Gorum’s bookstore – between yesterday and this morning I’ve seen a sum total of zero customers come through. It’s a miracle that someone happened by to open the door and let me in at all. Late in the afternoon Gorum closed up the shop and we went to an inn a few blocks away for lunch. There was nothing very impressive about it but the owner and sole employee was a fellow dwarf that Gorum was clearly sweet on so that explains why we were there.
While Gorum is extraordinarily tall and skinny for a dwarf Kichwa Heavyhammer is exactly as short and broad as you’d expect – but she had blonde hair in an elaborate braid-crown that was rather fetching. Have you ever seen two socially backwards dwarfs try to flirt? It’s like the verbal equivalent of a full body dry heave. I have a feeling this has been going on for years and will probably continue so until they both die of old age hundreds of years from now before either one of them summons the courage to make a move. I did my best to ignore them as I enjoyed some rabbit stew. Definitely not the kind of fare that I would have liked as a person but as a cat it was wonderful wonderful.
At one point a long haired fellow in a fancy blue robe interrupted the abomination of the two dwarves awkwardly making passes at each other to complain.
“What kind of establishment is this? There’s a cat on a table over there!”
I glanced over and realized that it was one of the scholars that I had rescued from the woods “Not that long ago I saw you shoveling barbecued spider thorax into your face Rindol, I wouldn’t worry about a little cat hair if I were you.”
He rocked back as if he had been punched in the chest “How did you see that?!”
“Because I’m a witch!”
I hissed at him and he scurried back to his table and slammed a bycocket on his head like it was some manner of witch-repellent and buried his nose in a book while he nursed a large mug of something. Probably something pussified like small beer. Kichwa was momentarily stunned and worried by this exchange but she quickly went back to flirting gracelessly with Gorum. The next interruption was a little more serious. A tall woman with bushy black hair in a guard uniform wearing a breastplate came striding down the stairs and slammed the front door shut.
“There’s been a murder! No one is to leave the premises.” She pinned Kichwa with her glare “Keys, now!”
After a moment of frightened inaction Kichwa tossed the woman a ring of keys which she used to lock the front door as two more guardsmen came scrambling down the stairs – one was a handsome middle-aged fellow with sideburns so straight you could use them as a ruler and the another that looked like he was about sixteen years old and alternated between stumbling over his feet and stumbling over his words. She tossed the keys to the older fellow.
“Callon, lock the back door, Hilo check for any other ways out of here.”
As they obeyed her commands the woman looked over the handful of people in the common room with piercing eyes.
“I just found our commanding officer dead in his room, which means that one of you killed him. And . . .”
“Why were you staying in an inn?”
She looked around for who spoke, her eyes sliding over me, which is reasonable.
“Yeah, me, the cat, I said that – there’s talking cats now. If you’re with the watch why would you be staying at an inn?”
“That’s none of your concern.”
“I mean it is and it isn’t. The only thing I know for sure is that neither I, nor my friend Gorum here killed anyone because we just got here. From my point of view you may have killed your own officer, and through that lens the fact that you’re staying here is my concern because that’s a very strange thing for a watchman to do. Er, watchwoman.”
Sideburns came back with the keyring in his hand “How dare you accuse the sergeant of that! I’ll have you know . . .”
She held her hand up to forestall whatever he was going to say “No, no the cat is right.” She shook her head like someone trying to wake up “I’m sorry, that was just a weird thing to say. Everyone else here was here last night, the cat and the male dwarf are the only ones who we know didn’t do it.”
“So there’s an easy solution here, let Gorum and I out and we’ll find a watchman and tell him to send a squad over – they’ll handle the investigation and everything will be great.”
She didn’t hesitate for a moment before speaking “No.”
“We can’t do that. We can’t involve any member of the watch outside of those of us here now.”
“Okay, you’re staying in an inn and you don’t want to involve any other member of the watch? That’s insanely suspicious. Is there any reason to believe you even are part of the watch? Those could be uniforms you stole.”
Her underling was about to get all bristly again, but at that moment there came a cry and hew from the kitchen. Sideburns stuffed the keys into his pocket as he and the sergeant ran toward the yelling. I cat galloped across the floor to get a look as well. In the kitchen the young watchman was being throttled by a large strong-looking Kostelos woman with an ugly birthmark. The two guards sprang to the aid of their compatriot, seizing the woman by the arms and bending them back in ways arms weren’t designed to bend. Once his throat was free he young guard fell to the floor grabbing at his neck and managed to croak.
“She was trying to get away!”
As the three of them were struggling I called out to the woman in her native tongue to stop fighting them or she was going to get her skull bashed in. She seemed more surprised to hear Kostelos being spoken at all than she was by the fact that it was being spoken by a cat. She did stop resisting which bought her a punch to the gut from Sideburns once they had her under control – if there’s one thing guardsmen like it’s getting in a few extra blows once you’re given up. I think there would have been more if the sergeant hadn’t ordered him to stop. They dragged her out into the common room and threw her into a chair, Sideburns then going back into the kitchen to close and lock that door as well.
Rindol felt the need to speak up at this point “Well there’s your murderer right there.”
Kichwa was outraged “She’s not a murderer, she brings me meat and groceries!”
Sideburns sneered “Why was she trying to leave then?”
“Probably because you guys shouted for no one to leave, strangely that tends to make people want to leave immediately – they’re funny like that. Before we start slinging accusations around how did this officer of yours die? Are you sure he was murdered?”
The sergeant shook her head “I’m not sure how he died. He had a wound that he got yesterday but it’s not one that would be fatal and there’s no time for infection to have set it. I found him lying on the floor of his room, he was still in his clothes so it looks like he never went to bed.”
“It’s well past midday, why were you just looking in on him now?”
“We had a late night on a case.”
“Alright, here’s the plan, first of all Callon give those keys over to my friend Gorum here – that way everyone can be confident that they’re in the hands of a neutral party. Then let’s go take a look at this dead officer and see what’s what.”
Callon looked at his sergeant “Are we really going to be taking orders from a cat?”
After a moment of thought she answered “I don’t think we have a choice. We don’t know what happened here.”
Callon was struggling to keep a calm tone “You know that we didn’t do anything to Theros.”
The sergeant looked him square in the eye “I don’t know that Callon.”
Hair regrowth progress : NA
Inventory: Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Enchanted Tattoo (Storm)
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane,
Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee, Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer